Kayak fishing is an evolving sport. The first quantum leap was the use of plastic as a hull material. The next leap was the Sit on Top (SOT) kayak. After that came better designs and then pedal drives. I don’t know if it will be the last leap but the next big thing is going to be the electric kayak (EK). Using an electric motor to propel a kayak isn’t anything new. Over a decade ago Cobra added a motor mount that would make it easy to attach a motor. Malibu Kayaks followed suit and anglers have been making their own for some time too. Anglers with the skill to do so have also taken motors and made integrated units that worked with the kayaks infrastructure. They were innovative and worked well but most folks don’t have the capability.
It’s as if someone hit a switch and an arms race of sorts was on. Bassyaks, an eastern CT company started making integrated kits for a bunch of popular models. In fact Steve, the mad engineer behind the company, will motorize almost anything if you ask. Next Legacy Paddlesports took advantage of the pedal drive opening in those kayak models and dropped a motor in. Next was Ocean Kayak as they released the Torque. Their parent company Johnson Outdoors owns Minn Kota as well so it was only a matter of time before they produced a slick factory model. Somewhere along the line, Torqueedo made a lightweight state of the art system utilizing the latest technology. It’s a Lamborghini and very impressive but like all advanced technology you’ve got to pay for it. Hobie recognizing the trend worked with Torqueedo to add a system to their mirage drive kayaks.
What we have is nothing short of a revolution. Many ask why motorize a kayak. Why not just get a boat. Well it really comes down to an EK is still a kayak with all the inherent advantages a kayak offers like low expense, versatility and an array of model and outfitting choices. One day while we were launching our EKs on the Hudson River a boater said we ought to get a boat. I asked him if he could take his small car topper to the ocean and launch through the surf the next day. He couldn’t but I could.
Some kayak anglers don’t like the idea citing that they like the physical aspect of kayaking to go fishing. I like exercise too but I didn’t become a kayak fisherman for the exercise. I did so to catch more fish and that’s what an EK helps me do. In some places where you launch and where the fish are can be some distance from each other. The motor helps close that gap. They also allow you to fish in wind or current when it would be impossible otherwise. I’ve fished spots I would never be able to fish using pedals or a paddle. The other thing I like is I’m no kid anymore and I physically can’t handle fishing everyday or when I go away twice a day. With an EK it comes down to how much sitting I can handle. Another terrific advantage is in photography and taking video. I have much more control over the kayak and it makes both a lot easier.
You’ve got a few choices. If you have a kayak you like you can probably add a system to it especially if it is a model that can accommodate a rudder. Then your choice is to add a Bassyak or Torqueedo system. If you’re looking to get something ready to go Bassyaks has assembled kayaks too as do Hobie, Legacy and Ocean Kayak.
In the not too distant future EKs are going to be common place in kayak fishing. The reason being they allow one to fish more.