By Mark Lozer
One of the most common questions I get asked is “what kayak should I buy?” by anglers looking to getting started in the sport. That is a very opened ended questioned that I could go on forever about the differences in kayaks for days. I equate it to buying a car. You can get a Mustang or a Pick-up truck, a Yugo or a Cadillac. It depends on your wallet and what you want it to do.
There are three basic types of kayaks which to choose:
1) Sit inside
2) Sit on-top
3) The newer hybrids
Let’s take a look at each of the types of kayaks:
Sit inside Kayaks
This type of kayak is exactly as it sounds. You sit inside the kayak like the traditional Eskimo style boats. The advantage of this is that everything is inside the boat, less resistance and a faster ride. This style is a great option for covering a lot of distance and staying drier. The disadvantage is in its nickname SINK, any water that gets in stays in until you remove it. If you ever roll the boat and it fills up with water you are really in trouble. Plus there is no great place to store gear and easily get to it. A sit inside is great option for touring but not the best for fishing from.
Sit On-top Kayaks
The sit on top is the next one and probably the best for fishing. As the name applies you sit on top of the kayak. The boat still has a hollow hull for some storage and numerous scupper holes through out for water to quickly drain out. Another advantage is all the rigging options. You can mount rod holders, bottom machines, tackle storage and anchoring systems on top. All of this is easily reachable and makes fishing from this platform much easier than the previous boat. Disadvantage is if your gear is not secure and the kayak rolls over everything is going to the bottom of the water.
The hybrids that are the market now are more of a cross between a canoe and kayak. A lot more stable than the previous two which makes it a nice boat for anglers who want more stability. With its completely open cockpit keeping gear out of the elements is almost impossible. The openness is nice for carrying lots of gear and makes it easy to obtain. The stableness also is good for standing and sight fishing from. These boats to me are definitely a great best suited for calmer waters and when paddling long distances are not needed. Personally I love this kayak for “flats” style fishing in the inlets and backcountry fishing.
This is a basic run down on the kayak options available to you. Other things to consider are the length of the boat and weight. The rule of thumb is the longer the kayak, the easier it will track and quicker it will be. Also more boat equals more weight so loading and transporting can be an issue. Next article we will touch on the self-propelled and motorized options along with basic rigging and some must have accessories.