The trend of kayak fishing is growing in popularity; many people wonder which kayak is best. If you are in the market for a top fly fishing kayak, there are several things to take into consideration to ensure you get the best craft for your money. Read on for our buyers guide and towards the bottom of this article you will find our fly fishing kayak reviews.
What and Where are You Fishing?
The key to making the right decision is to determine where you will fish most of the time. If you are thinking about going on a long solo trip to a remote river, you will need one type of kayak. Experts warn, however, that it’s best not to invest in a specialty kayak if you are not going to use it for that purpose most of the time.
The type of fish that you will be chasing will also make a difference in the kayak that you choose. If you want to catch freshwater bass, you will need an entirely different kayak than if you are fishing for trout. Will you be fishing alone or with a friend? Will you be fishing near the shore or venturing out into deeper waters? All of these questions will help you to get closer to the kayak that you want. Another good factor to consider is what fly fishing kayak setup you want. Different models will be suited to different rigging and setup.
Kayak Hull Choices
As a general rule, the longer the kayak, the speedier it is. Shorter kayaks are typically shorter, but are easier to maneuver. Long kayaks are hard to turn, but are great for easily traveling straight on. The shorter kayaks allow you to make turns quickly, moving your craft along with the currents. Most kayaks are between 10 and 15 feet in length, and most fly fishermen tend to go with a shorter craft.
Wider kayaks travel through the water more slowly but are more stable than narrow ones that are more likely to tip over. If you plan to stand up and want to have the firmest footing for your fly fishing, you will want a short, wide kayak. More athletic fishermen and those who are of smaller stature may be fine with a narrower kayak. The majority of kayaks are between 30 and 35 inches in width.
Another factor is the profile of the hull. Kayaks with a curvy hull look like bananas and are upturned at the both the stern and the bow. These kayaks are easier to turn and are best for rivers and rapidly moving water which will require effort and agility.
Sit on Top Kayaks vs. Sit Inside Kayaks
Sit on top kayaks are outfitted with a hollow depression that you sit on. Your entire body is exposed, and they are easy to get in and out of. Sit-in kayaks are hollowed out and have a single opening for the rider. The fisherman sits inside of it, with only the top half of his body exposed.
Sit on top kayaks are the most popular type for fly fishing, and fishermen love them because they are easier to get in and out of. If you are angling to reel in a big catch, you don’t have to wriggle out of the kayak to pull it in. Most fishermen love sit-on-top kayaks because they are less likely to flood and take on water. Sit-on-top kayaks are better for dealing with rapids and ocean waves. They give you a taller vantage point, allowing you better lines of sight. They are also better for storage, and you can bring along buckets, bait, gear and dry goods.
If you are transitioning from a canoe to a kayak, you may prefer a sit-in. Some fishermen feel more secure inside of a sit inside, and like the protection from the elements that it provides. You will stay drier in a sit inside kayak.
Some of the best fly fishing kayaks combine stability and balance with speed, giving you the best possible platform to make a great catch.
Fly Fishing Kayaks for Sale
Below I have made a list of the best fly fishing kayaks for the money. Be sure to read through it and make a decision based on your specific needs.
Perception Pescador Pro
For the new and experienced fisherman alike, this sit on top kayak comes with an adjustable seat, foot brace system and molded in rod holders. Comfort carry holders let you easily hook on your paddles for easy safekeeping while you fish. This kayak is 12 feet long, 32 inches wide and weighs 64 pounds. It can hold a capacity of up to 375 pounds and retails for about $829.
Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120
This 12-foot kayak is made for speed and has a multi-chine hull that offers both support and stability. It features stabilizers that keep it upright, even in rough waters and rapids. The innovative seat features a mesh backing and support for your legs and back, making for a comfortable ride. The kayak is 12 feet long, 30 inches wide and weighs 63 pounds. It can accommodate one rider of up to 350 pounds. The Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 retails for $939.
Eddyline C-135 Sit on Top Kayak
Larger fishermen love the extra space and capacity that the Eddyline C-135 model provides. Accommodating rides up to 450 pounds—100 pounds more than comparable models—this kayak gives you the stability you need to stand and cast. With an adjustable seat, extra storage space and carrying handles, you can enjoy this kayak for both easy days on the lake and hardcore fishing in rough waters. The Eddyline C-135 is one of the most popular on the market and weighs a whopping 69 pounds. At 13 feet and 6 inches long, it has a sleek body that is great for cutting through choppy waters and staying on course. This kayak retails for $2,199.
Advanced Elements StraitEdge Angler Pro Inflatable Kayak
When you want just to throw your kayak in the car and go, this model fits the bill. The fact that it is inflatable does not take away from its utility, however. At 10 feet long, it’s a bit shorter than its contemporaries, but it makes up for its lack of length with stability. It comes with a suspension seat and can accommodate up to 400 pounds. This model retails for $999.95.
When it comes to finding the best fly fishing kayaks, there are many choices on the market. Find the one that makes your next excursion one for the record books.