What to Look for in a Fishing Kayak

A few tips for fishing small, inland waters

Did you know that the oldest known fishing hook dates back to 40,000 BC? We’ve come a long way since then and today, fishing is more than a tool for survival – especially in Northeastern Ontario. If you’re planning a fishing trip, I’d like to tell you why you should give kayak fishing a try at least once.

It’s a hobby, a relaxing pastime, and can be a great adventure sport. Kayak fishing encourages a healthy lifestyle! It’s a chance to get close to Mother Nature and experience the great outdoors. Fishing is fun regardless of your gender and culture. 

Why Kayak Fishing?

More and more people are tending towards traditional kayak fishing. If you’re a fisherman by profession, motorboats can save you time; but if you do it for fun and are going to fish in small inland waters like lakes, rivers, watercourses, inlets, and bays, you should really give kayak fishing a chance.

  • Kayaks move quicker: With no sound of motor or paddles slicing through the water, you’ll easily find fish before they scare from noise      
  • Allow better access: Kayaks can take you anywhere you want to go for fishing. They allow easy access, whether it’s a narrow bay or a stream loaded with fish that boaters can’t reach
  • Kayaks are economical: No gas! Almost no upkeep! No repair! No oil! No storage overhead! No boat registration! No insurance! It’s a one-time fee and maintenance fees are low. Another popular option is renting a kayak and practicing with it before committing to purchasing your own (scroll down for a list of operators).
  • Convenient: If you own a hard shell kayak, hang it on your garage’s wall. If you have an inflatable kayak, just release the air and fold it into your trunk or vehicle to transport it anywhere.
  • Calorie Burner: Kayak fishing is great exercise. Fishing = Fun + Fitness! What’s better than that?

Choosing a Fishing Kayak For Small Inland Waters

Kayaks are preferred for reaching less accessible inland waters such as inlets, back lakes, and small rivers. When renting or purchasing a fishing kayak, make sure you ask yourself these three questions. 

Do you want a sit-on-top or decked kayak?

Sit-on-top kayaks are extremely user-friendly, stable and easy to get in and out of. You sit in a higher position, allowing you more visibility and a better casting position. Sit-on-tops have huge storage space and mounting options for accompanying kayak gears.

These are self-bailing, meaning all water will drain out from small scrubber holes in the kayak. These aren't efficient for paddling long distances, but are ideal for newer paddlers and fishing small inland waters.

On the other hand, decked or sit-inside kayaks are great for those who use the kayak for travel, not for fun. It doesn’t soak you while paddling and fishing. These are useful for practicing and fishing. The downside is that they aren’t as spacious, and give little freedom to move in and out. If you do flip for some reason, your boat will also be filled with water.

Are you fishing in moving or calm water?

For calm waters, you can use almost any kayak although some are more practical than others. If you’re paddling a long distance on flat calm water, choose a fishing kayak that tracks well (moves straight in the water).

For more unsteady streams, people should be pickier and look for stability, too. If you’re going to fish in a stream or river with moving water, a shorter and more maneuverable boat is the best way to go. If you choose a boat with a deep keel and even rudders, it can work against you while fishing in moving water.

How far are you going to paddle?

A narrow and long boat moves through the water smoothly. It’s an important consideration if you would be paddling 30-50 km a day. For 2-8 km a day, go with a more maneuverable short and wide kayak.

Don’t forget to separate the moments of your upper and lower body to allow your hips to reach according to the motion of the boat. This is important to allow your upper body area to remain stable and in the centerline of the boat.

Find a Fishing Kayak Rental

In 2015, we told you about our favourite places to go kayak fishing, but how about some of the best places to rent a fishing kayak? Here are some of options available throughout the region:

Flat-Decked Kayaks

General Kayak Rentals

Talk to Your Lodge/Resort Operator

If you’re planning a fishing getaway at a lodge or resort, check with your operator to see what types of facilities they have available! Many offer the use of lodge kayaks at no additional cost or for a small fee.

About Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is the founder of Kayak Fisher, an online resource providing valuable product reviews and purchasing options for all things related to Kayak fishing.

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