As kayak angling grows in popularity so does the range of kayaks that are aimed at the angler. A frequently asked question is, ‘What is the best fishing kayak?’ In all honesty there is no right or wrong answer. As with fishing gear, kayak fishing equipment very much comes down to a case of personal preference and what my suit and be adored by one man may be hated by the next.
As a general rule, the longer a kayak is the faster it will move through the water. The width determines its stability. For a sea angling kayak we are looking for a good trade-off between both dimensions. For saltwater angling I would not consider a boat any less than thirteen feet long. This length will allow you to cover a reasonable distance on your trips but should also be able to ride over a lot of swells with ease.
A kayak that paddles easily, tracks in a straight line and has decent stability will tick all the boxes for the angler. One consideration for longer boats would be to look at the option of having a rudder installed. When paddling across the wind the back of a kayak gets caught and pushed in the direction of the wind. The paddler has to make corrective paddle strokes to counter this which destroys paddle stroke and rhythm. The addition of a rudder eliminates this problem and is well worth thinking about, especially if you would like to clock up serious mileage. Let’s face it; British and Irish weather rarely gives us a day without a breath of wind.
The final major thing to look at in a kayak before buying is the weight of the boat. Is it light enough that you can lift it onto your car roof bars unassisted? You may also have to drag the boat a fair distance across a beach to get to your fishing marks. Individual strength of the user will be a huge factor with regards to weight of the kayak but it is an important aspect to consider.
Most good kayak retailers should have a few demonstration models that they should be happy for you to try. Don’t rush into a hasty purchase and look to try as many different kayaks as you can before parting with your cash. Have a good look at all the fittings and fixtures and make sure they are well installed. Look at the plastic used in the construction of the boat and whether it seems solid or flimsy. Second hand is also an option but be sure to try before you buy and if you have any doubts then walk away.
Kayaks are very much a case of personal preference so make sure that the one you end up with is the one for you. A good retailer should be happy to talk you through options and, if possible, try to get a kayaking friend to accompany you. There are some cheaper models available online but remember; you get what you pay for. This craft will be taking you to sea and your life may depend on it, now is not the time to try and skimp to save a few quid!
Article seen in Sea Angler