Wednesday, February 1st, 2023
Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

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Growing gear segment: Fishing Kayaks for 2015

Kayak fishing is one of the fastest growing facets of open-water fishing in the country. Kayaking once was relegated to whitewater daredevils enclosed from the waste down in plastic with the only goal getting through rapidly moving water without drowning or breaking bones. Now kayak manufacturers realize the buying power of the angling community and are building watercraft that cater to freshwater and saltwater fishing.

Hobie 

The boating experts at Hobie have been leading the charge on this consumer segment for years. Not only does Hobie manufacture kayaks that are stable, designed for the addition of sonar, loaded with storage for rods and tackle, they also take the paddling out of the equation with a leg-powered propulsion system called the MirageDrive. An electric powered drive is also available.

Fully removable and adjustable, the MirageDrive system puts the largest human muscle group into play – the legs – making kayaking easier and more efficient than ever. Taking the paddling-with-arms out of the equation also frees up your hands for fishing. Anglers can hold the rod when trolling and maneuver when fighting a fish. 

There are three Hobie kayaks designed for anglers. The Pro Angler series features 12- and 14-foot models for single seat angling, and the 17T is a tandem model for two anglers. The Outback series is a sleeker, lighter weight kayak great for the angler who just wants to toss the watercraft into the back of the truck and go. The Sport model is a few inches shy of 10 feet but is extremely stable and lightweight and perfect for the wilderness kayaker. All Hobies have the ability to be transported easily on the ground with the custom wheel system that plugs right into the scupper holes.

Freedom Hawk

Those who like to stand while fishing will find kayaks designed for them. The Freedom Hawk Freedom 12 Stand Up Fishing Kayak has the easy mobility of a kayak with the stability of a jon boat. The kayak has a patented inline outrigger system that offers outstanding stability when you stand to fish. This system gives anglers a choice of three positions.

The conventional first position provides traditional kayak handling, the second position spreads the outriggers out at a 45-degree angle for maximum stability while fishing, while the third “inline” position delivers additional stability and maximum efficiency when paddling, fishing, or polling. The specialized outriggers remove easily for transport and storage, leaving you with a 9-foot kayak that weighs just 54 pounds to carry and load. 

Emotion and Ascend

For anglers looking to get into kayak fishing inexpensively, there is the Emotion and Ascend lines of kayaks.

Falling into the “few hundred dollar” price range, these kayaks are actually quite stable, come with built-in rod holders, and the larger units have ample storage. Depending on your preference for sitting inside the kayak or on top, Emotion and Ascend have both models available.

Old Town

While all of the kayaks profiled up until now have been the style that you sit atop, there are some enclosed angling options. The Old Town fishing kayaks have three series that anglers slide into and one series that has the angler sitting on top. Old Town’s top of the line kayak is their Predator XL Minn Kota model that gives the angler the option of installing one of three center consoles. One is just a simple storage unit. Another can be a sonar system and the third is a complete hands-free navigation and trolling system with 45 pounds of variable thrust that has both forward and reverse.

Ocean

Let’s look at some paddle craft. One manufacturer that has been in the fishing realm for some time builds the Ocean kayak. The Prowler Big Game II offers ample room and outstanding stability without sacrificing performance. Central to the Big Game II are six strategically placed mounting brackets that allow the user to outfit the boat based on their personal specifications without having to drill into the hull.

The Prowler Big Game II features stern stringers designed to carry volume in the rear of the boat. This combined with the Element Seating System delivers stability, security and a seamless connection between the paddler and the kayak. The unique Mod Pod center hatch system provides easy access to fishing rods and is loaded with a myriad of mounting options for after-market accessories, while the Big Game II features a transducer-compatible scupper hole to make installing fish finders a snap. 

Jackson

Known worldwide, Jackson Kayaks boasts 14 models of fishing kayaks from 10 to 15 feet long. One of Jackson’s most popular models is the Cuda. Designed into the Cuda is stability to fish big water, like lakes, rivers, and oceans, but the kayak is also sleek giving the watercraft speed for covering distance. The Cuda has an angler-designed deck for tackle and rod storage. There are a few unique features such as its rod-tip protector, molded-in fly-rod stagers, vertical tackle stagers, and center hatch for easy internal rod storage.

Accessories

Kayaks don’t need many accessories. Those that are most popular are sonar units and livewells. Both Lowrance and Humminbird manufacture sonar unit packages that are specifically designed for kayaks. Hobie sells a livewell unit that custom fits all of their fishing kayaks. 

There are many third-party manufacturers that have gotten into kayak accessories. Today’s Tackle shortened its standard Fish-Well just for kayak anglers who want to keep fish or bait alive. Ascend has a mounting bracket for an electric trolling motor. Portage wheels can either be purchased through the kayak manufacturers or through third parties. There are numerous companies that make dry storage bags. Kayak anglers should never want for accessories.

All indications suggest the growing popularity of kayak fishing won’t be subsiding anytime soon. This is great for those wishing to enter the sport as more manufacturers will be stepping into the mix to offer anglers more options.

 

 

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