Choosing the Right Kayak for Kayak Fishing

One of the most successful ways to fish on the flats is to be in a kayak. Not only is it very stealthy, but you can access places that boaters can only dream of. With that said, becoming a more skilled angler will also be an outcome of kayaking.

Kayak angler fishing the flats.

In selecting a kayak, I suggest that you try many different styles before you make your choice. Ones’ taste or fishing needs may be very different from the others. Many paddling shops will allow you to do so, or they even rent them for a very affordable rate. I could write a book on the different styles of kayaks and the certain situations they are used for but the first thing to consider if you want a sit–on-top or a traditional kayak. I myself use the sit-on-top models because they seem to be more stable, thus I am able to stand and fish or pole myself around. Sit-on-tops also have a feature called scupper holes. These are holes throughout the kayak that helps to displace any water that comes in, therefore not allowing you to take in water and submerging.

Another thing to consider is color. Although it may not make a difference to the fish, choosing a brighter color will aid in boaters to see you from a distance. Colors such as red, yellow and orange may not seem to be attractive to you but they definitely can save your life! If bright colors aren’t your cup of tea, then invest in a flag system. Scotty sells several of them that even have neat L.E.D. lights for low-light conditions.

I will only write a little on paddle selection since I am still in the testing mode myself. There are just as many paddle manufacturers as there are kayak manufacturers. Prices can range anywhere from $50 for a basic to $300 for a much lighter composite material for fatigue. The important thing is to get one that feels best to you, (personal preference). Starting with an inexpensive model and then working your way up the ladder is a good idea. You may be surprised at what an $80 model can do.

How to Rig a Kayak

Custom kayak rigging.

Now the big question,” How do I custom rig my kayak?” The answer is in the question itself,” custom”. Many rigging techniques and how-to’s can be found in almost every paddling forum on the net. Be careful though, a lot of these forums may show you some pretty neat looking stuff but that’s just what it is, neat looking and can serve no purpose on the water. Personally I like to keep things simple. Anything more than a few rod holders and a holder for a GPS are all You will need. A milk crate can be customized in countless ways if you feel you need to add more. Being able to re-arrange your rigging techniques is possible, therefore giving you more options.


Last but not least, we should emphasize on safety. Life vest and a whistle or horn are a must and it’s the law to have them on board at all times. Once again, there are hundreds of brands and styles to choose from. Sterns makes a very inexpensive PFD that’s sold at Wal-Mart (yep, I said it) that costs under $20 as well as whistles and horns.

That should cover all the basics to get you on the water and fishing. Don’t forget that in Florida you must purchase a fishing license if you are going to fish from a vessel. Residents pay $17 and non-residents are $47 and are good for 1 year. So be sure to be cautious on the water and enjoy this beautiful fishery we call home. Tight lines and Phat Fish!

Derick Burgos
Phatfish Kayak Charters

The Online Fisherman

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