Initially, I wasn’t a kayak fan. I thought using a kayak for fishing would require an additional skill set. I thought it’d be a tippy platform that I would easily swamp, and that overall it’d be a pain in the neck. During those days I would have no part of them, but then a buddy showed me his hard-chine, open cockpit kayak. I got in and paddled and fished. After that first experience I never looked back.
There are a lot of options when it comes to fishing kayaks, and they offer a great value if you’re looking to fish in places that are in between wading and your boat. Some you sit-in while others you sit-on (called sit-atop). Some are propelled by paddles, some are moved by foot pedals (which move the paddles) and some are propelled by small trolling motors. A number of them have specialized gear to make life easier, and those rod holders, comfortable seats, and even pontoons come in handy at some point. You might not think those features are important, but if you get them you’ll wonder how you lived with out ‘em.
My kayak enables me to fish high up in an estuary, in areas that are super muddy (and where I will sink up to my knee), and across boulder fields that hold fish and destroy props. In those areas I can choose my approach. Sometimes I will drift, other times I pull the kayak on to a bank and wade, or I will stake out so I can remain on a pod of fish. I move in the shadows of stealth not because I am especially quiet; my kayak is.
Don’t get me wrong, my boat is not for sale. But with the kayak I don’t need to pay attention backing down a ramp. And beyond throwing a tarp over it, no winterization is necessary.
I haven’t used my kayak in all types of waters, but I’ve fished from it in saltwater river systems, on flats, along beach fronts, along boulder fields, and on freshwater lakes and ponds. It’s opened up a lot of previously closed fishing areas to me, and I’m thankful for that. Now is a good time to look for a kayak; a lot of shops that rent them during the season sell them off for a big time discount. It’s been a decade since I got my first kayak, and I am glad I did.