Kayaks are a fantastic way to connect with the outdoors. I think the two biggest advantages of kayaks are their size, and their price. Yes I know some kayaks like rockpool or tiderace kayaks for example go for $3000+ but there are a plethora of options for under $1000, or even under $500. It all depends on what you intend your kayaks purpose to be and what features you really want. If you’re looking for a touring kayak you’re probably going to want something that’s long, smooth, narrow, and has ample storage space. Most people who get touring kayaks are using them in the ocean so searching for a sea kayak is a great way to do research on these. In the summer/fall 2011 issue of Kayak Angler they have a small article about Kayak Kevin. He’s a kayak fisherman who likes to take long distance trips. The kayak he uses is a sit on top ocean kayak manta which is heavy and slow, but it works well for him and plenty of other people I’m sure. Ocean kayak makes an incredible product and I’m sure his will last him a very long time. That just goes to show that any kayak can work for long distance, you just have to work with it. If you’re looking for fishing specific kayaks you’re going to find their price to be around $1000 on average fully set up. Jackson kayak makes quite a few kayaks for all sorts of purposes including fishing and they really work with you on what will work best. Other angler specific kayaks include; Wilderness Systems, Hobie Kayaks, FeelFree Kayaks, and the list goes on. Something I think is innovative about the FeelFree kayaks that definitely sets them apart is their wheel in the keel. It’s simply a plastic wheel in the rear of the kayak to allow you to roll it through the parking lot, down the trail, or in your driveway at home. Great design feature from them! One thought on fishing kayaks for anyone with a low budget or anyone who just can’t bring themselves to spend $1000+ on a kayak, build one. Something everyone used to have to do. Kayak fishing hasn’t always been a big thing. It wasn’t until somewhere around the early 2000’s that you could even find info on the sport let alone gear. Nowadays there’s magazines, competitions, forums, and people everywhere fishing in kayaks. So how do you build a fishing kayak? First place to start is with the kayak you can use any kayak you’d like, a cheap one from a sporting goods store, a nicer one from a more specialized outdoors store, or a really nice one that you’ll find in a kayak specific store. There’s only a few things that you’ll need to do to take a day tripper kayak and make it into a fishing day tripper kayak. You’ll absolutely need at least 1 rod holder, although I’d get 2-3. I currently have 2 flush mount rod holders on my kayak.
Another type of holder is one that can be clipped around the cockpit which is great if you don’t want to drill holes. The cheapest and most helpful upgrade would have to be a paddle clip, if your kayak doesn’t come with one, so you’re not fumbling with your paddle and trying to reel in a fish. Anchors and anchor trolleys are very helpful when fishing in windy conditions or in a strong current. A lot of people really like drift socks for slower currents. Everyone I see who fishes from a sit on top kayak has a milk crate in the rear with a few rod holders, tackle box, radio, and other gear bungee corded down. If you get those few items, which costs less than $100 easily, you’ll be ready to fish all day with no issues. There is definitely other things that are nice to have. If you’re fishing in the ocean you may want a gaf or a lip gripper. Some people like nets but I see no need for them really. Another great thing to add to any kayak is either a flag or beacon so you’re visible to boats. If you’re going on long distance trips a compass is a good thing to invest in, make sure there is no metal around where you mount it though. And there ya go, a kayak that is fishing ready and safe for probably $400-500 if you get a half way decent kayak to build off of.
I try to take good care of my kayak and you should too by washing it after most uses. I just use some car washing soap and give it a good scrub down. Depending on the kayak you may need a specific type of soap but it works fine for my kayak. What upgrades have you done to your kayak to make it better for fishing, touring, or general day tripping?