Fishing from a kayak can be a fun, inexpensive alternative to bank fishing or even fishing from a boat! This sport has exploded in popularity in recent years and for good reason! In fact, just visit your local boat ramp on the weekend and you’re almost certain to see someone getting ready to launch their fishing yak.
While kayak fishing may not be the perfect fit for all anglers, it’s a great way for those who don’t have a boat to get out to where the fish are. Heck… they’re even fun for those of us who have boats!
In case you’re on the fence as to whether or not a kayak is right for you, here are 11 advantages when it comes to fishing from a kayak that just might change your mind.
1. They Cost Less Than a Boat
One of the biggest advantages of fishing out of a kayak is that relatively speaking, they are cheap when compared to a boat. The average price for a good fishing kayak that has all the bells and whistles is between $1000 and $4000.
Granted, that’s no drop in the bucket for some people, but when compared to buying a fishing boat (which will cost you as much as a brand new car, or in some cases as much as your house), it’s a pretty good deal.
However, the savings don’t stop with the initial purchase! Here are a few more areas where you’re going to save a tremendous amount of money with a kayak as opposed to a boat.
- Tag and Registration
Insurance – With a kayak, you don’t have to have insurance as you do with a boat! However, if you’ve just bought yourself a brand new Hobie Pro Angler, it might be a good idea to think about it.
Tag and Registration – Unless you decide to outfit your kayak with a trolling motor you are not required to register and pay a yearly fee. However, if you decide to pull your kayak on a trailer, you will obviously have to pay for a tag and title for the trailer.
Maintenance – Aside from a good cleaning from time to time and maybe on rare occasions a quick patchwork, there’s no real maintenance needed for a kayak.
Fuel – No fuel required equals big savings when it comes time to go fishing. It costs me about $90 bucks whenever I have to fill my boat’s 30-gallon tank up.
Depreciation – Boats are like cars in that they lose value due to depreciation (as much as 20% the first year). With a kayak, you don’t have to worry about this!
You will also find that you will save money on the little things when fishing from a kayak as opposed to a boat. With a kayak, your space is limited, so you won’t spend nearly as much money filling up your cooler with ice, drinks, and snacks. This can save you as much as $50 per trip!
2. Kayaks Are Great for Beginners
If you’re looking to venture out onto the water, but don’t have any real experience with boats, a kayak might be a better option.
With a kayak, you just need to learn a few basic skills before taking it out. With a boat, you’ll find the learning curve is much more difficult.
Here are a few skills that you will need to get pretty good at before taking your brand new boat out for a spin.
- Navigational Rules
- How to Turn The Boat on and Operate it
- How to Backup a Trailer
- Boating and Boat Ramp Etiquette
These are the skills that you need to know before you even attempt to take your boat out. Once you’re out on the water, it gets a little more difficult!
You then have to learn how to:
- Properly Read a Fish Finder/GPS
- Know The Flow of Boating Traffic
- Learn How to Adjust Your Speed When Needed
- Avoid Areas That Are Too Shallow
- Dock Your Boat
- Load Your Boat on Your Trailer
If you’ve grown up around boats, you may have already acquired some of these skills. However, if you’re a complete newbie when it comes to boats, it can be a little intimidating learning them for the first time. I know it was for me!
This is another advantage that a kayak has over a boat!
Even a complete newbie can learn all that they need to know in a matter of an hour or so.
As long as you have the proper safety gear so that you are compliant with the law, understand how to load and launch your kayak properly at the boat ramp, you are pretty much good to go.
It might also be a good idea to check out a couple of videos that show how to get back into a kayak if you happen to flip over while on the water.
3. Allows You to go Where a Boat Can’t
If you’re the type of fisherman who loves to get into the nooks and crannies of a lake, creek, or river, a boat (even a small flats boat) is just not gonna cut it!
This is where choosing to go with a kayak is a better option!
With a kayak, you pretty much have an open palette as to where you can take it.
Sure, if the water gets too shallow, you might have to get out and pull it a bit, but try doing that with a boat!
Accessing these hidden gems can make for a great day of fishing!
I’ve caught some of my biggest fish when I’ve had to duck and cover to avoid tree branches while trekking through backcountry mangroves just to reach a secluded fishing spot that I happen to see on Google maps.
In fact, the redfish that you see me holding in front of my kayak was caught this way!
4. You’ll go Fishing More With a Kayak
Don’t get me wrong…I love my boat! It allows me to take my whole family out on the water from time to time. We love spending the day on one of the many spoil islands that dot the Indian River Lagoon here in Melbourne, Florida.
However, if I’m being completely honest, I went fishing a whole lot more when I had my kayak!
This was mainly due to it being so easy to load and go, not to mention when I was done fishing for the day, cleaning it was a breeze.
With a boat, it takes a lot more work! This can be a real deterrent when you’re thinking about whether you want to go fishing or not.
It can sometimes take me several hours just getting it ready to take out the following day.
Also, once I get to the boat ramp, it can take anywhere from 15 minutes to over an hour depending on how busy the ramp is before I’m actually heading to my favorite fishing spot.
With a kayak, I was in the water and on my way in a matter of minutes.
When it was time to head home, once again with a boat, you are at the mercy of how busy the boat ramp is.
This is not a problem with a kayak!
Let’s not forget that once you get your boat home, you have to spray it down, flush the motor out with freshwater if you were in saltwater, put up all your gear, and cover it with a boat cover. This can easily take an hour or so.
A kayak only requires a simple spray down and you’re good to go!
5. Kayaks Are Virtually Maintenance Free
When it comes to fishing kayaks, you virtually have no maintenance in order to keep it operational.
Aside from spraying it down after each use and giving it a good cleaning from time to time if you keep it stored outside, there’s nothing that needs to be done.
A boat, however, is a completely different story!
Not only do they require more cleanings in order to keep the hull and interior up to par, but they also require a yearly service to the outboard.
Also, if you live up north, you’re probably going to need to winterize your boat. This is not only an added expense, but it also requires more work.
Once the winter has passed and boating season is near, you then have to spend time/money in getting it ready for the summer.
Kayaks don’t require any of this!
6. Go Fishing By Yourself For Once
Do you enjoy fishing by yourself? If so, fishing from a kayak is probably going to be a better choice over a boat.
I’m not sure if every new boat owner experiences this, but after I first bought my first boat, I all of a sudden had friends that I didn’t even know I had.
I couldn’t even mention that I was planning on taking the boat out without a handful of my co-workers virtually inviting themselves. By the way, most never even offered to split the gas bill or at least bring the beer.
However, this isn’t the only reason for not going by yourself!
Having at least one other person with you when taking a boat out can be a real help, especially if that person is a little more knowledgeable than you.
An extra person can help with speeding things up at the boat ramp, as well as throw the anchor and pass you a cold beer from time to time.
With that being said, you still have someone else with you.
If you’d much rather go fishing solo, then I highly recommend that you go with a fishing kayak instead of a boat.
7. No Need For a Truck or Trailer
Unless you have one of the larger kayaks being sold on the market such as a Hobie Pro Angler, there’s no need for a truck or even a trailer in order to haul your kayak.
Most kayaks can be hauled on top of a roof rack attached to your car.
I had an Old Town Predator 13, which was a little over thirteen feet long and weighed about 90 pounds.
I had no problem hauling it around on the roof rack of my small Nissan Sentra, which I installed!
Because it was on the heavy side, I had to learn a few tricks in order to load it by myself, but other than that, it was a breeze.
Now, if you already have a truck, this process just got a heck of a lot easier!
Unless you have a small Jon Boat or Gheenoe, you’re pretty much going to need a truck or SUV in order to get it to the water.
8. You Can Fish All Bodies of Water
With some boats, you are limited to where you can and can’t fish! With a kayak, your options are endless.
Want to fish that small lake out in the middle of nowhere that doesn’t have a boat ramp? No problem! With a kayak, you don’t need a boat ramp in order to launch it.
Maybe you want to fish just off the beach in the open ocean, but know that there’s no way that your little 14-foot aluminum Jon boat is going to make it through the inlet.
If you have a kayak, all you have to do is buy a good kayak trolly and find a sandy path to the beach and you’re good to go.
You can also fish the backcountry grass flats without worrying about the tide slipping out before your very eyes and leaving you landlocked until the tide comes back in.
A 14 ft kayak with an average size man in it along with some fishing gear can easily float in less than a foot of water. How do I know this? Well, because I’ve done it before!
9. The Fish Will Never Know That Your Coming
One of the biggest advantages of fishing in a kayak is its stealth-like qualities! With the proper approach, you can sneak up on your prey without them having the slightest clue that your there.
I’ve actually been sight fishing for redfish before in my kayak, only to glance to the side and see a huge snook hanging out within only a few feet of where I’m at.
Try doing that with a boat!
Even if you turn off your motor well in advance and use your trolling motor to approach your desired fishing area, the vibrations of a boat’s trolling motor can still alert the fish that something is not quite right.
As long as you’re using a paddle or push pole, you’ll never have this problem when fishing in a kayak.
You’ll find that by not spooking the fish before you even cast out your first line, you’re going to catch a lot more fish!
10. Get Your Exercise While You Fish
While exercise is sort of a byproduct if you will of fishing from a kayak, it’s very real! In fact, it’s what causes a lot of kayak fishermen to contemplate installing a trolling motor on their kayak.
Even a casual paddle of only a half mile to and from your fishing destination will give you a pretty good work out.
Not only can paddling eventually strengthen your entire upper body, including your back, shoulders, chest, arms, and abs, but it can also give you an incredible cardio workout too.
Quick tip: Make sure to take it easy for your first trip out on the water, or you will pay for it the next day!
11. Storing a Kayak is a Breeze
Lastly, storing a kayak is much much easier than figuring out how to store your boat and in some cases much cheaper.
If you have a garage, your storage problem is solved!
However, if you don’t have a garage, don’t worry! An outside storage shed can work just as good as long as it can accommodate the size of your kayak.
The biggest concern when storing a kayak is keeping it out of the direct sunlight for extended periods of time.
If exposed too long, over time, the sun’s rays can start to warp the plastic that the kayak is made of, or at the bare minimum, cause the color to fade.
If you have to store it out in the elements, try to keep it under a shade tree or some other type of cover.
Either way, these options are much easier, not to mention cheaper than storing a boat!
Fishing from a kayak has many advantages, especially if you are new to fishing in general.
The best part about a kayak is that even the most expensive fishing kayaks are relatively inexpensive when compared to a boat.
This opens the door for just about anyone wanting to be able to have a fun-filled day out on the water catching a few fish.
Also, if you find out that it’s not for you, the investment is not as substantial. So you’re not likely to lose much if any money at all if you decide to sell it.