This section is an introduction to the basics of Kayak gear.
In our club you'll find all types of fishermen some fish from inshore waters, freshwater or surf. The focus of our club website is specifically geared to fishing for Redfish, Seatrout and Snook in the Indian river, Banana river and Mosquito Lagoon estuaries. If your interest is fly fishing, then Mike Wong wrote a great WIKI article on that topic.
that said fishing in these areas we tend to use light inshore gear. There is no perfect set up. Just as every fisherman has his preferences there are many possible set-ups,I will keep on bringing articles on this topic in the future
I have divided up this page with multiple tabs that will cover the various pieces of kayak related equipment. We are not sponsored nor do we endorse any product. Any recommendations come from personal use or has been shared by club members. If any links to manufacturer are included, it is done so as a convenience to you to locate additional information.
Please click on the other tabs to view more...
Hopefully this will serve as a primer for setting up your kayak for our local conditions. Some topics have been well written by others or are better understood by viewing videos on YouTube which I have included when pertinent to the topic. Kayaking is a great sport and when safety rules are followed, it is a safe method to fish. Like all sports you can injure yourself and even risk your life. The true guide is experience but even experienced fishermen have been surprised by not keeping safety in mind and using common sense. We always recommend going out with a partner and using our forum to find one if real easy.
Tight lines, enjoy and stay safe.
The sport of kayak fishing is really changing and companies are redesigning their kayaks to meet the needs of anglers and are now producing kayaks that are fast, stable, and make great fishing platforms. There is no such animal as a perfect fishing kayak for everyone because everyone is different in preferences.
We recommend that you spend some time learning from other club members what they like about their kayaks. Think about the kinds of water you will fish, your height as well as your weight and even how you will be transporting your kayak on your vehicle.
Consider your present preferred method of fishing, whether that is with live bait, artificial, or flies. A kayak that works well for one person's type of fishing could be a horrible choice for somebody else.
For the past two years we have put together a kayak swap picnic. Everyone brought their yaks and club members were able to "trade" rides for an afternoon. We are a pretty opinionated and passionate group about what we do and the gear we do it with. We have since created a WIKI article as a result of our experiences to give prospective kayak owners impressions from seasoned kayak owners about their crafts.
Unlike many commercial websites, this article does not have a salesman's bias. We are not sponsored by anyone, links to the individual kayak companies are includes as an aid for our members only.
The following Kayaks were reviewed by club members and posted on our WIKI. Read them here.
Emotion "Grand Slam"
Heritage "Redfish 12"
Hurricane "Phoenix 140"
Kaskazi "Dorado II"
Malibu kayaks "X13"
Native "Magic 12" and "Ultimate"
Ocean Kayak "Prowler 13 Angler Big Game"
Perception "Swing & Prism"
Wilderness Systems "Commander" and the complete "Tarpon" series
Paddles can be made with inexpensive plastics like polypropylene or nylon and can be purchased for as low as $65 to $80. Fiberglass can be bought for $80 to $150 and ultimately carbon fiber which can bring you up to $250 all the way to the $400+ range. The main compromise between all these materials being weight versus cost. Polypropylene and nylon are the cheapest but also tend to weight the most. Carbon fiber comes in as the lightest but most expensive. Keep in mind that every extra ounce of weight on the paddle adds more effort to your stroke.
Think of a stroke being left, right and left. If you have a 40 ounce plastic paddle versus a 25 ounce carbon fiber that's 15 ounces x 20 strokes per minute which equals 300 ounces. Times this against an hour of paddling which works out to be 18,000 ounces! Otherwise stated this works out to be 1125 pounds per hour extra for no necessary reason, unless you are preparing for an "Ironman event".
Other considerations you might have, will be feathering as well as one versus two piece construction.
Two piece construction makes it easy to store when traveling on the road or storing between outings. Feathering is the ability to have one side of the paddle that can rotate zero to 90 degrees in relationship to the other wing of the paddle therefore reducing wind drag as you use it with each stroke. This is a great feature especially as the wind picks up, however it does necessitates a change in your paddling style to maximize it's benefit. On cheaper paddles, this feature is limited and in addition adds weight by using a simplistic and heavy 2-3 button interlock. Some manufacturers such as ONNO have a infinitely adjustable and lightweight interlock system but comes with a heavier price tag.
The paddle's length and blade style should match the user and the type of paddling (long distance touring, shallow water angling, etc.) you will be mostly enjoying. The taller you sit in the kayak the longer the paddle you will need. Most paddle manufacturers will make some recommendation but it's best if you get a chance to actually try out the paddle yourself on your kayak on the water.
For those of us that fish here in central Florida, we tend to use the SOT (sit on top) style of kayaks. They are easier to fish from and they are more comfortable in our very hot and humid climate.
You can browse these links to view a few of the various manufacturers. You can get your hands on many of these at some of the big boy stores around town. A few are only available on-line
You will find Kayak seats as cheap as $45 and they can go all the way to $200. Spending good money on a great seat is the best investment dollar for dollar you will make. If you have ever sat in an uncomfortable chair for a couple of hours you will appreciate this fact. On a regular outing you will spent four to six hours of pleasure or pain depending on your choice. Just remember, it's no fun to fish if you are uncomfortable.
When reviewing seats look for good back support. You should have feet rest installed on your kayak so that you can press against when paddling and locking you into place with your back comfortably cradled by your seat. This will reduce the stress to your lower back and give you more control when making tight turns.
Just like on a bicycle, gel seats are excellent. There are quite a few choices on the market but generally the choice in-store at some of the big stores and even the kayak specialty shops are very limited. You can get a greater selection by browsing on-line.
Native makes a great seat for their kayaks which has been described by Frambo and Mikaluch as the equivalent of sitting in a beach chair. Unfortunately without some major structural engineering that seat only works on the native. Wilderness kayaks come with a built-in back rest but then the investment comes in the form of an adhesive seat pad. Usually these can be found with more of a selection for a reasonable price in the local stores.
Staying dry is another key factor to seat comfort. Some kayaks are sloped in such a way as to have the water drain toward the seat with scupper hole. Find any method to avoid getting the seat wet. Once wet they lose their ability to keep you comfortable. Re-engineering a platform with drainage hole leading toward the scupper holes and adding extra padding can make a huge difference.
In the section below you will find a listing of various seat manufacturers
Surf to summit
The ideal morning on the lagoon consist of absolutely no wind and a surface just like glass. That is just as likely to happen as winning the lotto. Lacking those conditions we have to look at the use of some sort of anchoring device.
The choices are usually the traditional anchor or a stake-out pole and sometimes in conjunction with a anchor trolley.
Let's begin with anchors. The weight of the kayak makes the use of very small anchor possible. Usually a 3 LBS mushroom anchor will keep you in place. You can also find a small retractable anchor which have been designed with kayaks in mind. These are great because they fold up so you can easily store them. The only downside is the extra weight you take with you and they are difficult to deploy quietly when stalking your prey. Stealthy, easy to store and quick to deploy are stake out poles. These work well on the flats however are ineffective in deeper water
Since we rarely fish the flats in more than two feet of water the stake out pole works like a charm.
I actually carry two poles that I use separately and sometimes in combination. This has worked very well for me. One side has a longer (3 feet) stakeout pole that doubles as a push pole when I occasionally run aground on seaweed mats. It is also attached to an anchor trolley that allows me to adjust my position. The second one is attached to the other side of my kayak and can prevent me from pivoting in the wind. I installed a simple sailing style fairlead that acts as a holster and which allows me to quickly pull it out and use. A simply cam cleat allows adjustment for any slack
The poles should be made of a strong rust resistant material usually PVC or some sort of plastic.
Here is a list of various poles. The one by Mredick is a club member and receive strong praise from their owners.
John "Toast" Oast of Fishyaker.com demonstrates how easy it is to install a basic anchor trolley system on a kayak on this YouTube video
You can go out and spend mucho dollars on a specially configured kayak tackle bag but I tend to think this is overkill. I find that generally when I am out fishing I use my same go-to lures. For years I carried items I never used on the trip and with that in mind, I use one water-tight plano box where I keep a few choice top-water, chug bug, spoons, D.O.A. Shrimps of various colors. I have a 2nd smaller water-tight box that I keep a mix bag of jerk baits. I spray them once per outing with one of the scented liquids which keeps them moist and flexible. That's it! I go out with 3 poles each rigged with a different lure so I do not need to re-tie once on the water. The tackle case gives me the choice to switch if I find the fish are targeting something specific.
There are so many great links out there that simply using YouTube will easily help you locate dozens of D.I.Y. videos. The choices are astounding. A weekend in your garage with a drill, zip ties, bungee cord and some PVC will yield a crate that will provide a customized fishing locker for years to come
Try searching for "pvc rod holder" and "kayak crate" to yield some great results. To get started take one regular plastic "milk" crate that can now be purchased at Home Depot or Lowes. Attach some Stainless steel carabiners (also available at Lowes) on a bungee cord to the crate for easy removal.
You can drill some holes and attach a triple rod holder on the back side. The align your poles straight up which is invaluable when maneuvering in tight spaces near mangroves.
After those basics any additional gear can be kept in place by bungee straps. A variety of Bungee colors and sizes can be found at West marine and Skycraft down on Fairbanks a few blocks east of I-4. You can even spray paint the crate to match your yak.
If you have a cool looking crate you are proud of email me some pictures with a few notes so I can add it here in the future.
In this section I am listing all items that you should have on-board your kayak when going out fishing. I hope to add additional information and links to each listed item when time permits.
I usually have my gear stored in my crate and an additional secondary crate that I can carry down to the water which then goes back in the vehicle. I have a complete checklist that I review the night before as I do a check when I load everything for the road. This extra step the night before ensures that I don't end up driving all the way to the coast only to realize that I don't have something important missing. I know of kayak fisherman (including myself) that have arrived without Sunglasses, their fishing license and even their seat. Items in Italics are required when paddling by the FWC.Boca style lip gripper
Pliers or hemostat
First aid kit
Flare and whistle
Scotty rod holder(s)
Compass and Map or GPS
Always carry more water than you think you will need in summer. I keep a 1.5 liter Camelbak attached behind my seat and I relocated my drinking tube clip to one of my seat straps. It is a no fuss operation to grab my drink tube an keep it out of the brackish water. I also carry additional water stored inside my storage compartment with an ice pack.