Kayak angling has been among the fastest growing recreational sports over the past decade. You hear a lot about the increasing (and to me, mystifying) popularity of stand-up paddle-boarding, but in reality kayaks designed for fishing have outsold SUPs 10-to-1 over the past 5 years. The reasons for the kayak angling trend are threefold: 1) The best fishing is found in places that cannot be easily accessed from shore; 2) Traditional fishing boats are expensive to own and maintain, and difficult to store, transport and launch; 3) Relatively inexpensive kayaks designed especially for angling are readily available in nearly every sporting goods store.
If you are thinking about taking the plunge into kayak angling, there are a few things you need to know and consider. The first and most critical decision you’ll need to make is sit-on-top (SOT) or sit-inside. SOTs are the more popular choice for fishing because they offer a lot of on-deck storage for ready access to equipment and allow the angler to move around a bit more and cast from a wider variety of positions. Many would contend that SOTs are more stable and more difficult to swamp or flip. On the other hand, sit-insides tend to be drier, and quite honestly I think “swampability” is hugely exaggerated. I have fished for years on large lakes and rivers from a sit-inside and have never had more than an inch or two of water in the cockpit from a rogue wave. Conversely, I’ve paddled SOTs and been soaking wet the whole time. To put it bluntly, if you paddle a SOT, you are going to be wet… very wet, so if you tend to fish in areas where the water is colder or if you simply don’t like being wet all the time, then the sit-inside is probably a better bet. Continue reading