Color – is an often asked question.
I have not found that it matters to the fish so the only consideration should be visibility to others.
Obviously if you wish to be seen a bright color is best.
I’ve found, in my unscientific way, basically through observation on the water, that the most visible colors are orange, mango, lime and yellow.
Colors like white and red while considered bright aren’t. White looks like a wave curling and red disappears too easily at distance of lower light. Drab colors are hard to see. So it depends on where you’re fishing and your goals.
I favor dull kayaks because I can make a dull kayak much more visible by putting an orange flag on it and wearing bright colors.
The flag is much more noticeable then the bright kayak hull. Also I can’t make an orange kayak dull.
Why would you want a dull kayak? I often fish places where I don’t wish to be seen. There can be any number of reasons but I’ll give one.
I might be in a shallow bay adjacent to a larger body of water and I’m catching fish. There can be boats buzzing in the larger body of water and
I don’t want them to notice me and see me catching fish. If they came into the shallow bay they might put the fish down and ruin my fishing.
There are more examples, but when I want to be seen I just put my flat up.
Accessory Friendly – some kayaks accept accessories more readily than others.
They have nice surfaces for mounting things like rod holders, fish finders and such.
Some fishermen are content with taking one rod and a box of lures but far more turn their kayaks into fishing machines that incorporate a wide array of accessories.
You’re going to want a kayak that can easily accept these additions.
Fishing Logistics - we are all individuals and conversely we all use kayaks differently for fishing.
Sometimes it’s a regional thing. For example the way southern Californians rig and use their kayaks is very different than someone fishing the inshore waters of Texas of Florida.
Bait tanks are commonly used in southern California but not nearly as much other places.
Here in the northeast I rarely take a bait tank and when I do so it is in freshwater.
The bait is shiners and my elaborate plumbed system isn’t necessary.
If you’re going to be fishing shallow areas where sight fishing is advantageous then a model that accommodates standing is a major feature to consider.
Some kayak models allow you to effectively fish shallow flats better than any other means.
The best places to fish are always those where nobody else can effectively do so and I’ve had some spectacular fishing in such places in a kayak that affords easy standing and the ability to maximize my experience there.
You’ve got to be able to sit comfortably in the kayak since you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the kayak.
In environments like a large lake, bay or ocean you’re not going to have the ability to get out regularly and stretch either.
Most kayaks allow you to choose any seat you wish. I recommend getting the best you can afford but money isn’t the only determining factor.
We’re all different and it has to work for your anatomy. Some kayaks come with integrated seat systems.
This is common with SIKs and less so with SOTs.
If it’s a fixed system make sure it’s comfortable and works for you. Even SOTs that have seat systems can accommodate an aftermarket seat with a little work. Usually it’s as simple as connecting them or adding a couple deck loops.
Besides the construction of the seat there are other factors that come into play; the ergonomics of the kayak.
For me I find if a kayak doesn’t have a nice slope to support my legs at a nice angle my sciatica goes nuts and I can’t sit in the kayak very long.
It doesn’t matter what I do. I can’t use the kayak after a half hour or so. Nothing else is going to matter if you can’t get comfortable in the kayak.
Wetness is sometimes a big issue to some folks with the most common complaint being water in the seat area.
Some models have drainage in the seat while others don’t.
When I’m wearing dry wear it really doesn’t matter but in transitional times when it’s too warm for dry wear but isn’t warm enough for shorts and a t-shirt I don’t want to be sitting in a puddle.
Fishing is a gear intensive sport for some.
Most serious kayak fishermen take a serious amount of gear with them.
The kayak needs to handle this gear.
There are basically two types of storage in a kayak.I call them initial and secondary.
Initial is anything that can be easily reached while in the cockpit without help. That means if you need to get out of the kayak or a buddy needs to access it while on the water, then it isn’t initial storage.
Most popular SOTs used for fishing have an area behind the seat called a tank well.
This space was originally designed for transporting dive tanks on the kayak as a SOT makes a great dive kayak.
The tank well is a great place to store items too. Many kayak anglers use milk crates in the well and then put their gear in the crate.
There’s a variety of things you can use besides crates but you have to have the space.
Many designs utilize hatches. A hatch in the cockpit of the kayak is easy to use and gives you access to the interior of the kayak.
Hatches vary from anemic little 4” diameter circles to cavernous rectangles that can handle a small child.
I love a center hatch and like at least an 8” round.
There are also pouches and such that can be added to the seat backs and straps to store commonly used items. Some seats have add-on pouches and such.
Most kayaks have a hatch in the bow.
Most aren’t accessible while on the water but some are.
I love a front hatch I can access while on the water by myself easily.
I use easily because I could get into the front hatch of a Tarpon 16 while on the water but it was precarious and conditions had to be very calm.
Conversely getting into the front hatch of a Hobie Revolution is easy.