These hard-core fishing machines go where the big boats can’t—and then some
Kayak fishing is rapidly growing in popularity, and for good reason. Modern fishing kayaks are safe, stable and tricked out for angling, not to mention inexpensive and easy to transport.
$1,819, Wilderness Systems, www.wildernesssystems.com
Key features: 13' 6" kayak designed for paddling or Wilderness Systems’ optional electric motor or pedal drive; SlideTrax accessory rails; multi-position seat; copious storage.
The promise: “Easy navigation and hands-free fishing.”
It’s important to select a kayak based on where and how you fish. Consider the type and size of water you frequently fish, and whether you like to troll, cast or stand up—or do it all.
Sit-on-top kayaks, resembling a surfboard with a moulded cockpit, are the most popular models for fishing. They’re stable and easy to get into and out of, and they’re self-bailing. Traditional sit-it kayaks still have a place, especially on smaller lakes and slow rivers. Less expensive, sit-ins are also lighter and keep the angler drier.
Kayaks are at their most versatile and manoeuvrable when being paddled. The more expensive pedal-drive models, on the other hand, are fast and less tiring, and they free up your hands for fishing. Pedal drives can break down, however, and they get fouled up with weeds. They also need to be pulled up in very shallow water, so you still have to carry a paddle.
ARGO 100 ANGLER
$446.99, Pelican International, www.pelicansport.com
Key features: 10-foot, 37-pound boat suits both adult and youth paddlers; adjustable footrests and padded backrest with seat cushion; swivel and flush-mount rod holders.
The promise: “A great starter fishing kayak.”
US$2,649, Hobie Cat Company, www.hobiecat.com
Key features: MirageDrive 180 forward and reverse pedal propulsion, with ST Turbo Fins; 12' 1" hull in new camo colour; adjustable Vantage CT seat; Lowrance-ready transducer mount.
The promise: “Quicker and nimbler than ever.”
STEALTH PRO ANGLER
US$799, Emotion Kayaks, www.emotionkayaks.com
Key features: 11' 6" beginner-to-intermediate kayak; V-tunnel combination hull for stability; universal YakAttack GearTrac System for accessories; three-position seat.
The promise: “A versatile, customizable, innovative, sit-on-top kayak.”
US$1,899, Jackson Kayak, www.jacksonkayak.com
Key features: Fly-line-friendly hinging hatches, footrest and open footwell; 12' 8" hull for tracking and 30-inch beam for stability when standing; moulded fly-rod holders with padded reel pockets.
The promise: “Designed specifically for fly fishing.”
$2,099 (US$1,649), NuCanoe Inc., www.nucanoe.com
Key features: Open 13' 6" platform-style design with integrated storage, rod holders, paddle holsters and accessory tracks; adjustable-height seat swivels 360 degrees; available in various angler packages.
The promise: “Speed, stability and open space.”
TRIDENT 15 ANGLER
$1,874.99, Ocean Kayak, www.oceankayak.com
Key features: A 15' 7" boat for big water with sealed bow and stern hatches; fully adjustable seat; modular storage console; gunnel accessory tracks; transducer-compatible scupper.
The promise: “The choice of professional kayak anglers.”
$3,499.99 (US$2799.99), Old Town Canoe Co., www.oldtowncanoe.com
Key features: 13' 2" tri-hull design powered by Old Town’s forward-reverse PDL Drive; weedless prop; slip-resistant deck; built-in transducer scupper; six removable accessory mounting plates.
The promise: “Unrivalled boat control and fishability.”