By Ron Strauss, President Of MN Kayak Fishing Association
How to get the perfect fishing kayak for your needs
The good news is the number of fishing kayak manufacturers and models have expanded in the last five years. The bad news is it’s tougher than ever to choose your perfect model in a crowded field. This guide will help you understand key things you should consider and do when looking for your first fishing kayak or upgrading to new a model.
Have an idea of what type of kayak fishing you’ll do most of the time
Different models are made for different types of fishing. If you’ll be fishing small rivers and streams, a shorter, lighter kayak may be best for you. If you intend to fish big water, a longer, wider, ultra-stable fishing kayak makes more sense. Avoid the thinking that these are all “just plastic boats” and this one is the same as that one. It’s that thinking that drives people to purchase the lowest cost kayak, which results in a bad experience or pushes them away from the sport. Thinking through how you will use your fishing kayak upfront and demoing proper kayaks for that usage will result in a better on the water experience.
Think ahead to how you’ll transport your fishing kayak
All kayaks are rated for carrying capacity. Large fishing kayaks can carry more than 500 pounds. The Hobie Pro Angler 14 is rated at 600 pounds carrying capacity. That capacity is for the person(s) and gear on-board. Being able to carry that large of a load also means the kayak, seat and drive weigh in at 138 pounds. The hull weight alone is 110 pounds.
Putting that kayak on a trailer or loading it in the back of a pickup truck can be done fairly easily by one person after learning some basic techniques. However, lifting that large of a kayak on car-top racks will be too much lifting for most people to do alone. There are “lift assist” car-top racks that help. The point is that you should consider that there will be times you need to load or unload your kayak by yourself. In fact, most times this may be the case.
Join an online group or follow kayak fishing pages
You can get lots of input and opinions online about what the right fishing kayak is for you. Join local kayak fishing clubs and pages on social media. Ask questions, the kayak fishing community is very engaged and helpful. Keep in mind, people tend to be loyal to brands they’ve chosen, it validates their decision. Look for positive statements about features and benefits that match what you’re looking for. Most of all, have fun being part of a kayak fishing community and learning about the sport.
People in kayak fishing groups may let you take their kayak for a test ride, just ask them. We do this all the time in the club I belong to. We’ll meet up and try out new boats or check out the other angler's new ride. It’s lots of fun and you’ll learn a lot.
Consider renting a top purchase candidate and use it for an extended outing
A good quality fishing kayak is a significant investment. I encourage you to demo all the models you’re interested in. However, a half-hour demo on the water may not be enough to get a real feel for how a kayak will work for you during a longer fishing outing or on a different type of water.
When you rent a fishing kayak you get the full experience of loading, unloading, launching, rigging, and fishing multiple waters. You’ll have more time to think about what gear and tools you’ll need and where you’ll place them. You’ll get an idea on how much space the kayak will take up in your garage when you’re not using it and how you’ll store it. The list of benefits to renting a fishing kayak you’re interested in is long. Consider it before purchasing any fishing kayak.
Hi Tempo will even allow you to apply rental fees towards the purchase of a new fishing kayak. Some limitations apply, call, message or email us for information.
DEMO, DEMO, DEMO! Take your time. Talk to sales consultants, ask people online. But most of all, get on the water with the fishing kayaks you’re interested in purchasing. Bring a rod or two and some lures each time you demo a kayak. Demoing or renting a kayak you’re interested in purchasing is the top way to prevent buyer’s remorse or getting inaccurate perceptions about kayak fishing. Try before you buy!
Our Hobie Demo page, reserve your FREE kayak demo
Our Hobie Kayak Rental page: reserve your rental
Join the top kayak fishing club in the upper Midwest: Minnesota Kayak Fishing Association