Kayak fishing is an ancient art that our ancestors perfected over the years. This day, it is more of a hobby than a necessity. There is an oddly relaxing sense of calmness that comes from fishing on a kayak. If you want to be a part of this activity, one of the first elements you need is a stable fishing kayak.
For a beginner, kayak fishing can be quite challenging. It might not be as hard to balance as a canoe, but it still requires a decent level of skill to handle well. However, some types of kayaks are more stable than others and require less experience to balance on the water.
In this article, we will give you a quick rundown of different types of kayaks and the factors that affect their stability.
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What Factors Affect the Stability of a Kayak?
If you use your kayak mostly for fishing, stability should be one of your top priorities. These days, you can find kayaks where you can stand up even if you are in the middle of a river. The amount of stability required for such a feat was unimaginable in the past.
The main two components that affect the stability of a kayak are its length and type. We will discuss the different types of kayaks later; for now, our focus will be on the length or size of the kayak.
As a rule of thumb, kayaks with a wider base are more stable. Because of their larger area of coverage when on the water, they tend to wobble less. In addition, if the kayak is shorter in length, you will feel a drastic improvement in its stability. With a shorter nose, kayaks offer more balance over water.
However, this type of kayaks is not very fast or maneuverable. Although you can drift calmly across the water with little effort, taking rapid turns with these kayaks can be challenging. For the best mobility, you want a vessel with a narrow base and a longer body.
For fishing, mobility is not usually a prime concern. Once you get to a fishing spot, you can focus fully on fishing without having to worry about the balance and stability if you have a fat kayak with a wide base. In fact, you can even stand up if you want without having to worry about capsizing.
Different Types of Kayaks
In terms of design and function, there are mainly two types of kayaks, sit-on-top and sit-in. Both of them can be used for fishing, and both come in many different sizes. Let us take a quick look at the two main varieties of kayaks and how they might impact your fishing experience.
Sit-in Fishing Kayaks
Sit-in kayaks require you to sit inside the kayak with a skirt around the cockpit to prevent water from getting in. The obvious advantage of this type of kayak is because of the skirt; you are protected from outside elements. However, these kayaks tend to have limited space.
Although this kayak can be used for fishing, you cannot stand up on top of it. Balancing this type of kayak can also be difficult for beginners. Mostly, people use this type of kayaks for rapid movement.
Sit-on-Top Fishing Kayaks
Sit-on-top kayaks come with a hull-mounted seat where the paddle seats in contrast to sitting inside the cockpit. A sit-on-top kayak features an open design. It is also self-bailing, which means you will most certainly get wet when paddling on a sit-on-top kayak.
However, these boats often give better stability and, as such, are more suitable for inexperienced paddlers. In addition, because of the open design, you have a lot of storage space. Although the kayaks are slower than their sit-in counterparts, you can stand up, get in, and get out of it with minimal effort.
Sit-in vs. Sit-on-Top | Which One is Better for Fishing?
For an inexperienced paddler who wants to learn kayak fishing, a sit-on-top would be the most obvious choice. Although sit-in kayaks are great for fishing, they lack in terms of stability and storage. Speed is not something that beginners need, and sit-on-top kayaks do not make that a priority.
Besides, the ability to hop in and out of a sit-on-top kayak easily means you will be able to stretch your legs every once in a while, if you are fishing for a long time. Since the hull is open, you will get easy access to all your fishing gear. You can also carry more equipment and fishing accessories with you.
In fact, you can even take a cooler with you on a sit-on-top kayak, where you can store the fish you catch to keep it fresh. Some people even bring cold drinks that they can enjoy while fishing.
But the most appealing element of sit-on-top kayaks is that they are virtually unsinkable. Even if you are a complete beginner, you are not likely to capsize a sit-on-top kayak. Some sit-on-top kayaks even support two or three persons, which means you can go kayaking with a friend.
Although we would not recommend stand-up fishing from your sit-on-top kayak, if you do not have the experience, you should have little trouble doing it. Because of the better primary and secondary stability of this type of kayaks, you might feel a slight wobble, but your boat is unlikely to tip over.
Fishing on a kayak is a relaxing and spiritual experience. Whether you are going solo or with a friend, you will surely enjoy your time. Although the learning curve might feel a bit too steep, once you start, you will be able to quickly learn your way around it.
We hope our article could help you figure out the best kayak choice for your needs.