Kayak fishing is a water sport that has greatly expanded in popularity. Anglers who try it once are often times hooked, and rapidly find themselves shopping for a fishing kayak at the nearest sporting goods store. Equally appealing is the fact that kayaks can be launched from the beach or ramp and then fished in just about any type of water conditions.
Choosing a Kayak for Saltwater Fishing
Fishing kayaks come in many different styles and sizes and it is important to choose the right one before spending money. Not only will this give you the most enjoyment during your time on the water, it will be safer for you on the water. When choosing your kayak for fishing, begin by narrowing down your options which is actually pretty easy, and starts with knowing how and at what locations you’ll be using the kayak.
Choosing the ultimate fishing kayak:
- SIK or SOK: Most fishermen prefer sit-on-top kayaks (SOK), especially for saltwater kayak fishing. These are inherently safer, being that they can roll over without filling up with water, and they allow the angler plenty of room to move around or even hang a leg over the side for stability when landing a big fish. Sit-inside kayaks (SIK) are preferred for swift moving waters and in situations when a light-weight kayak is needed. SIK’s also provide a more dry, stable ride than a SOK.
- Propulsion: Many fishing kayaks are propelled with paddle, but pedal drives are a popular option in the Hobie Mirage Drives and now the new Hobie Mirage Drive 180 with reverse line of kayaks. These leg-powered drives are popular with anglers in that they free up the hands for casting and reeling. Electric trolling motor powered kayaks are rapidly gaining in popularity.
- Length: Generally, the longer the kayak, the faster it will cover distances. The trade-off being a loss of maneuverability and more weight when transporting the kayak to launch sites.
- Width: Wider kayaks are more stable and can support more capacity by having a larger beam. However, beam width is not the only factor affecting kayak stability.
- Weight: Considering your car top weight capacity will be a major factor when choosing a fishing kayak. A heavier kayak might require a wheeled cart to move it down to the launch site or even some help as many weigh over 200 pounds.
- Storage/Extras: Consider how much storage you want on your kayak. Will you be keeping fish or many supplies? Is live bait important to you? Do you need batteries?
- Seating: Many fishing kayaks now have adjustable seating with a firm back support.
- Stand-Up Capability: Extra-wide beams offer stability on kayaks that allow an angler to stand up and cast to targets in the shallows.
The Best Fishing Kayak
A do-everything sporting powerhouse, Hobie’s Mirage Outback is large enough to carry plenty of fishing tackle, camera gear or even a date night picnic, with exceptional hands-free maneuverability. Built around the comfortable Vantage CT seat, the Outback is so stable you might be tempted to stand when you cast. Studded with thoughtful features such as molded-in rod holders, generous below deck storage options, and the smooth Twist and Stow rudder, the versatile Outback is ready for your outdoor adventure. New for 2017 – MirageDrive 180 Shift Into a New Dimension Hobie’s bio-engineered MirageDrive propulsion system for kayaks was revolutionary in its inception in 1997 and has been evolving ever since. Now comes the biggest evolution – so far. Introducing the patent-pending Hobie MirageDrive 180 forward-reverse propulsion system that will be integrated into all 2017 model year Mirage kayaks. Weighing in at under eight pounds, the MirageDrive 180 produces full power in both directions and offers unprecedented maneuverability.
The user can pull one of two shift cables to pivot the fins 180 degrees, almost instantly from forward to reverse and back again. The dual fins provide shallow water access and easy shore landings by simply pushing one pedal forward. Imagine the Possibilities: backing fish out of cover; safely fishing closer to obstructions; or fishing downstream while holding in current. Hands-free propulsion in any direction means better control: to cast, to present baits, and to concentrate on landing bigger fish. Pictures can be snapped or cold beverage enjoyed on the way back in without ever stopping. The MirageDrive 180 continues to deliver on Hobie’s legacy for snappy, reliable performance, confidence-inspiring power and all-day efficiency. But this is only one element of what makes kayaking and fishing, Hobie-style, so sweet.
After reviewing these options you should of now dramatically reduced your choices, and now most of your decisions will be concerned with the comfort and functionality of your fishing kayak. You will probably find yourself wanting some high tech additions to your new hobby by turning it into an efficient fishing machine.
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