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Kayak Fishing

Life Out Here isn’t limited to dry land. And we’re quick to admit that nothing quite compares to the pleasures of a day on the water, casting a line in the hopes of reeling in the big one.

Fact is, we’re fans of just about any kind of fishing you can name. But there’s something special about kayak fishing that sets it apart from the rest.

Ask anyone who’s done it, and odds are they can’t wait to do it again. Because nothing brings you closer to the experience, whether you’re sitting or standing. To begin with, there’s just something about fishing right at the level of the water. Everything about the experience becomes more real. More exciting. Sitting at the waterline, a 2 pound smallmouth feels like a a 10 pound lunker. And every catch is one to remember. And when you’re standing up, it can feel as though you’re literally standing on the water itself. All in all, it’s an entirely unique experience, and it’s no wonder that it’s becoming increasingly popular.

But before you can enjoy all the pleasures kayak fishing has to offer, it’s important to learn a bit about the equipment and the safety precautions involved.

Types Of Kayaks
Everyone’s different – not just in terms of body size, but also in terms of what they’re looking to get out of a kayaking experience. So it’s helpful to understand the differences between the various kinds of kayaks.

 Sit-On-Top (SOT) Kayaks
Because of their flexibility and wider range of motion, these are the popular choice for most kayak anglers. Instead of a deep hull that you sit inside, with your legs extended into the hollow bow, Sit-On-Top kayaks have a seat that’s either molded from, or attached to, the top of the kayak itself. They’re easy to use, adaptable to a wide range of body sizes and types, and comfortable. They also offer a great deal of storage space for gear.

Sit-Inside Kayaks
As the name implies, the sit-inside version requires that you sit inside the hull itself. They’ll often feature a neoprene or nylon “skirt” that wraps around the user, to help waterproof the opening. This version most closely resembles the original design of the watercraft used for fishing by the indigenous peoples of the Artic, North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans.

But beyond the kayak itself, there are other factors to consider as well.

Everyone’s familiar with the standard double-headed kayak paddle, and for good reason. It’s easy to use, affordable, and quite practical. That said, if you plan to use your kayak for fishing, you have to keep in mind that you’ll spend a fair bit of time having to store your paddle out of the way when casting and reeling.

That’s one of the reasons pedal-powered kayaks are becoming increasingly popular. Not only do they allow you to leverage your leg muscles instead of your arms, helping you go farther and faster, they also free up your hands to handle your gear. (Only one hand is needed to control the rudder, instead of two to paddle the boat. 

The drawbacks of pedal or motor-powered versions are largely the same. First, they can be quite expensive. And second, they limit your ability to explore shallow water, since their propellers extend beneath the bottom of the kayak.

Transport & Storage

Before making the investment in a kayak, it’s important to plan ahead. Because they take up quite a bit of space. And some are more difficult to transport than others.

Most kayakers transport them on the roof of their vehicle – using an array of padding, straps, or custom roof racks. But remember that the size of the kayak will play a role here. Because while a longer kayak makes for more on-board storage space, not to mention faster speeds in the water, they’re also heavier – and may require some help to get on and off a vehicle.

At home, you need to determine if you have a suitable indoor space (garage, basement, shed, etc.) to store a kayak. Some owners use pulley systems to raise them off the floor, while others simply leave them on the ground. But no matter which you choose, it’s a good idea to keep it indoors if possible. Because while it’s tempting to leave a kayak outside all season long, over time the sun and elements can cause premature damage. 

As much fun as kayaking can be, it also has the potential to be dangerous if certain simple safety precautions aren’t followed. In addition to always wearing a lifejacket and paying strict attention to what you’re doing, it’s an excellent idea to take an on-water safety or skill development course. Not only will you learn the basics of properly operating a kayak, including learning the “rules of the road,” you’ll also learn vital safety tips – such as what to do if you should you fall in the water or capsize.

But one of the key pieces of advice would be this; know your limits. Unless you’re an experienced paddler, it’s best to stay close to shore until you have a firm grasp of both the operation and safety precautions of kayaking.

All in all, kayak fishing is one of the most enjoyable ways to spend a day on the water. And keeping these few tips in mind prior to getting started can help make sure you get the most out of the experience.

So paddle safe, and enjoy!