Choosing the Best Fishing Kayak for Your Needs | Great Days Outdoors

Choosing the Best Fishing Kayak for Your Needs

At one time, not so very long ago, choosing the best fishing kayak was easy.  There just weren’t too many kayaks suitable for full-time fishing available, so someone who wanted to get into the kayak fishing game had to take what was available.

Those days are long gone, and now, the problem folks face when considering a kayak for fishing purposes is that there is a very wide range of kayaks offered for fishing purposes. It can be confusing trying to wade through all of the options, styles, lengths, weights, not to mention colors which fishing kayaks come in today.

Almost as confusing as the myriad of fishing kayak choices, anglers have to decide whether to buy from online sources, big box stores or specialized kayak shops.

It’s a lot to try and sort through.



However, we received some good advice from Jaron Brooks, an experienced kayak angler who operates the kayak section of Buck’s Island Marine in Southside, Alabama near Lake Guntersville, and he gives some good ideas which can simplify the choices for the best kayak for fishing.


best fishing kayak

Buying from a local kayak shop is a good idea.





How to Choose a Fishing Kayak for YOU

The first thing that any potential fishing kayak buyers needs to keep in mind is that not every fishing kayak will work well for all anglers. Anglers come in different sizes and we fish in different ways. Consequently what works for one angler may be quite unsuitable for another angler. It’s all very individual, and fishing kayak buyers really can’t rely on internet videos, print ads, or even the direction of magazine writers too much when selecting a kayak.

Kayaks are not cheap, and buying a fishing kayak without a bit of looking and testing is not a wise thing.


best fishing kayak

Buck’s Island Marine has a full range of kayaks for anglers.


Look at the pros and cons of each possible kayak. Small things like rod holders, storage pockets, straps to secure gear can be very important.  A sit in kayak versus a sit on top fishing kayak. Also, each individual angler has specific requirements. For instance, a lot of older folks can’t stand up and fish in certain kayaks that younger anglers can- they need more stable kayaks. 

Also, the seat in a fishing kayak is crucial. Good lumbar support and adjustability is important. This will vary for each person and each kayak,” Brooks said, “


Small Water Kayaks

Kayaks are perhaps the very best possible fishing craft for small waters. Whether it’s a mountain creek, a major lake backwater or even salt marshes and bayous on the coast, kayaks will take anglers to places- and fish- that no other anglers can get to.

Some fishing kayaks are better designed and built for small water use.  Ease of transport, ease of paddling, seat design and comfort, storage space, and ability to handle sometimes rapidly moving waters are all considerations for selecting a good small water fishing kayak.

“I think seating for small water kayaks should be lower in the kayak- a lower center of gravity. When fishing smaller waters, good rod protection is important. Rods can be broken in small, moving water easily.  Small water kayaks need to be strong roto-molded seamless hulls for protection when bumping into rocks and trees and for more secure portage,” Brooks explained.


fishing kayaks

Buck’s Island Marine carries a full range of brands and models for kayak anglers use.


Brooks recommends the Jackson Kayak Bite Angler model kayak for small water use. This is a paddle kayak that is lightweight with an open layout and is very tough.  Brooks said, “It’s an easy boat to figure out.”  


Big Water Kayaks

For those anglers who spend a lot of time on big waters, major lakes and rivers and the open Gulf, kayaks face a different set of requirements, and selection of big water kayaks needs to keep these elements in mind.  Long distance travel from launch to fishing spots and back to take-out point, potentially rough sea conditions, and need for more equipment placement and storage are all points big water anglers need to keep in mind when looking at kayaks.

“In general for big water use, a pedal drive kayak is best. Pedal drives can be fine-tuned.,” Brooks advised.

Also, some remarkable possibilities for fishing kayaks have recently been developed by electric motor drives.  These battery-powered motors provide kayak anglers with maximum range and speed.  


bucks island showroom

A large, open showroom at Buck’s Island Marine makes selecting fishing kayak much easier.


“We sell motorized kayaks according to the buyer’s needs. Among the units we sell, the Torqeedo motors and Minnkotas work very well for kayak use,”  Brooks said, 

A specific kayak recommended by Brooks for big water use is the Hobie Pro Angler 12 or 14.  

“This kayak offers lots of gear storage, rod protections, and lots of crate storage behind the seat.  The seat on this kayak is excellent, and there is good mounting for electronic gear.  The Hobie Pro Angler has a real wide cockpit, and the kayak is very stable.  With the 360 degree Mirage Drive, this is a good open water fishing kayak,” Brooks noted.


General Purpose Kayaks

Many kayak anglers spend time on the water in a lot of different situations, and a kayak which will provide good service in a lot of different situations is a good thing.

A general purpose fishing kayak will allow an angler to fish smaller water effectively and also provide safe and secure service when the boat is taken on big waters.

“I think the Hobie Outback is a good general purpose kayak. I use it on small waters like creeks, and I also use it to fish ledges and other structure on big lakes,” Brooks.noted.


many different kayaks

There are many choices to consider- working with a local kayak shop makes the choice easier.


 “The Jackson pedal drive Bite Angler has a good adjustable seat and works well in a large range of conditions,” he added.


And The Most Important Point of All

One of the biggest mistakes an angler thinking about buying a new fishing kayak can make is putting too much trust in what is said and written about specific kayaks without actually trying the boat out.

When looking at a major purchase like a new fishing kayak, there is no single action which will provide good information to the buyer better than actually spending time sitting in the boat, paddling or pedaling the boat, and seeing how it fits and feels.

“At Buck’s Island Marine, we do on-the-water demos any day of the week.  We’ll put you in a PFD and you can go on the water. It’s a big thing at Buck’s Island Marine- we want you to enjoy what you buy from us- and be safe and comfortable,”.”Brooks stated,

Brooks adds, “Right now we have a good inventory of new kayaks. We just got our 2022 shipment of Hobies and Jacksons and we have lots of models and lots of color choices.”


Contact Information

Jaron Brooks

Bucks Island Marine



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