Why Are We Seeing So Many Fishing Kayaks?

kayak fishing on a lake with sunsetSome who don’t know may ask, what is a fishing kayak? However, most of us have seen them, particularly if you live in a state like Florida. Men, women, and children fishing from kayaks.

But these look somewhat different than the ones we are normally accustomed to seeing. Well, that’s because what you are looking for is a fishing kayak – specifically built for kayak fishing, the hottest trend in sport fishing today.

the kayak itself has been around for over 4000 years and first used by the indigenous people of the North Atlantic – the Yupik, Aleut and Inuit. They were made of wood were available and, where there was none, of whalebone covered with stretched stitched seal and other animal skin to make them water-tight.

The kayak, which meant “hunter’s boat” to the natives, was used for hunting seal and whale in the water as well as other animals along the shoreline.                       

In some ways, today’s fishing kayaks represent a more sophisticated version of the early indigenous fisherman’s kayak.

The modern fisherman’s kayak It is built with one target in mind – the sport or recreational fisherman who wants a different way of fishing. And before anyone suggests that it is the poor man’s fishing boat, let me add that I have known many recreational fishermen who own $50,000 watercraft, with all the latest technology, who prefer to kayak fish for whatever reason.

For some it may be that are looking for something that tests their physical abilities; for others, it is more consistent with the “going green”  lifestyle that they have chosen to live.

Think about it: there are no gases being released into the atmosphere or pollutants spilled into our waters – you are the craft’s energy source. And how about the health benefits? What other activity lets you build rock-solid arms while doing what you enjoy most! 

Closer Look at A Modern Water Hunter’s Boat

catching striped bass from fishing kayak

With that being said, today’s fishing kayaks are every bit the modern hunter’s boat. They are light-weight, sleek, stealth, specialized and equipped, in some cases, with everything the recreational fisherman could want.

First of all, material construction. No longer made of whalebone and animal skin, today’s fishing kayak is made of high-grade durable polyethylene (plastic), come in 9 – 14 ft lengths and weight handling capacities anywhere from 250 to 550 lbs.

These nimble watercraft give you the flexibility to fish just about anywhere, even areas where others cannot.  One can find an application for just about any situation, whether you are looking to do river, lake or ocean kayak fishing.

The standard kayak is the “sit in” fishing kayak where your body and legs are inside the kayak. However, more anglers today are opting for “sit on top” fishing kayaks that allow for greater maneuverability and storage space below. There are also fishing kayaks for two if you’re looking to take some company with you.

Price- wise they can cost as little as $250- $300 for a budget, entry-level kayak with maybe nothing more than a couple of rod holders,  to ten times that amount for some of the feature-rich models.

Also, popular on the scene are pedal fishing kayaks (vs paddle types). They come with a hand-controlled rudder for easy steering and are very useful for those who would rather use their legs for power or just like keeping their hands free for other things like snapping photos or rigging up tackle while moving.

On the high end you have some of the best fishing kayaks, loaded with a just about every imaginable upgrade. We are talking tons of options and accessories such as fully adjustable seats, built-in storage hatch, live well, built-in tackle storage, GPS, fish finders and so on.

I have even seen some powered by small electric and gas motors, though in my opinion, this is overkill and kind of defeats much of the experience.

Hobie, Old Town and Jackson Kayak (there too many good brands to mention here) make some for the best kayaks for fishing and offer good value for your money; and outdoor retailers like Bass Pro Shops and Dick’s Sporting Goods are just a few places  where you can find a kayak to fit your needs.

Fishing from Kayaks Here to Stay and Growing

Considering what the fishing kayak can offer – ease of portability and use, budget-friendly entry points, great fun, and a healthy lifestyle, not to mention being eco-friendly – it is fairly easy to understand why we are seeing so many kayak fishermen everywhere these days.

The concept is still fairly new for most anglers but is rapidly becoming more popular. Will it replace how most of us are going to fish? Probably not, but it gives the sport fisherman one more option and that means it will only continue to grow.

Let us know what are your thoughts on this exciting trend in recreational fishing.