Promising simplicity, versatility and access to new waters, kayaks are the ultimate fishing machines. Here’s how to get in on the action
#2 GET THE ESSENTIAL ACCESSORIES
As is the case with all small boats, federal regulations require kayaks to carry a PFD for each person on board, a sound-signalling device, a buoyant heaving line and a bailer (except for SOTs, which are self-bailing). And all kayakers should always wear a PFD, with no exceptions, ever.
I also suggest a paddle leash. Recreational kayakers have to work pretty hard to lose a paddle overboard, but mishaps are a lot more likely when you’re distracted by a fish. Other essentials for a day on the water include layered clothing, rain gear, warm or water-friendly footwear (depending on the season), plus drinks and snacks.
I think rod holders are the most essential fishing accessory, both for trolling and for storing multiple rods. A close second is some kind of crate to store gear, fastened behind your seat where it’s out of the way, but easy to reach. There are numerous more sophisticated add-ons for specialized tactics, and most sonar companies offer kayak kits to install transducers and GPS/chartplotter units. (Check out some of the latest accessories here.)