Usually when people hear “kayak,” they think “whitewater,” but I would like to introduce you to the wonderful world of kayak fishing. Kayaks glide quietly across a lake or stream, allowing you to reach places inaccessible by larger boats. Their light weight makes life easier. Throw them in the back of your truck or slide them on your car rack and you’re quickly on your way. You can easily store them and maintain them. Storage requires only minimal space.
The kayak simplifies fishing to a purer and pleasurable level. It’s easy to handle, maneuver and won’t spook fish as easily as some other boats. No need for motors—a paddle and arm power are all you need. No more crowded boat ramps or cumbersome trailers. Fishing doesn’t get any cooler than this.
The fishing kayak’s design makes it very stable. Many fishing kayaks have a dihedral hull, which makes them difficult to tip over. Your center of gravity is lower, and you’re closer to the water. With some fishing kayaks, you can sit inside the craft and with others, you sit on top. To me, the sit-insides are a bit confining. I prefer the sit-on-tops for their ease and comfort. Comfort—a key word. Find a store with a pool where you can try each brand, testing them for fit and stability.
I have personally fished from the Ocean Kayak Scrambler XT, the Wilderness Ride 135 and the Manta Ray 12 made by Native Watercraft. The only downside I see with all of these is mobility. You’re pretty much confined to one sitting position, hence the need for a comfortable seat. That is why I chose the Manta Ray 12. It has a far superior seat compared to others I’ve tried. I can fish for hours without getting a sore back. It may be a little less stable than the Ride, but it tracks through the water well. The ability to track well takes additional energy and strain off the arm muscles.
Where can you purchase a decent fishing kayak? Shop around, and do your research. Look on Craigslist, your local classified ads, or outdoor forums. Why buy a new one when you can find a nice used one? I purchased my used Manta Ray 12 for about $300 less than the retail price of a new one. Inspect it thoroughly for normal wear and tear. Stay away from ones that have deep scratches. Preferably, find a place where you can test out your potential purchase before you buy it.
Stay tuned for more articles on kayak fishing, and next time you see a spec drifting across the lake, that just might be me, soaking in the rays, enjoying another day with God and nature.