Be sure to have all of the necessary kayak fishing gear after purchasing your new kayak.
When a new kayak angler loads up that new kayak along with their kayak fishing gear, and heads for the water for the first time, something usually becomes apparent very quickly. No matter what brand of kayak, what size, or what features come with the new boat, no new fishing kayak is quite ready to go on the first trip.
We asked Jeff Jones, a member of the Vibe Kayak Pro Fishing Team to help us help new kayak owners in their first selection of good kayak fishing gear. We made up a list of ideas on our own beforehand, and we were not surprised but a lot pleased when Jeff came up with exactly the same ideas for needed gear for new kayak owners. Great minds run in similar tracks, we suppose.
First Gear Purchase- A PFD that will be worn.
Jeff Jones laughs when he says, “For the first purchase for a new kayak, get a personal floatation device (PFD) that fits and that you’ll wear.” The best PFD in the world is worthless if the angler won’t wear it- all of the time.
There’s a great range of PFDs available from those old bulky orange life jackets to modern, lightweight, inflatable units that are so comfortable they are easy to forget they’re being worn.
New kayak anglers can try on a lot of PFDs at most good kayak shops, and this try on to see what fits is the best idea. Anglers should not go by price, either. Cheap PFDs are better than nothing, but if they don’t fit well, they can make fishing a real pain- literally.
Jeff says, ” I like the Northwest River Supplies (NRS) Chinook PFD. This PFD is lightweight and comfortable for all-day fishing trips.”
Seriously, a good PFD is not an option- it’s necessary.
Second Gear Purchase- A Paddle that Fits
Kayak paddles come in a wide range of size and price and quality. Many kayaks bought in big package stores come with a paddle, but these paddles are generally heavy, cheaply made, and they usually don’t fit the paddler.
Paddles need to fit each particular kayaker, and like shoes, one size absolutely does not fit everyone.
Jeff Jones advises new kayak owners, “ Try the Bending Branches Paddle Selection chart that is on their website online. This chart will help match a paddle to each particular paddler’s kayak width, arm length, weight, and other factors.”
When asked to name his paddle preference, Jeff says that the Bending Branches Angler Ace paddle offers no-frills with high-quality construction and lightweight- it only weighs 30 ounces. A strong, lightweight paddle makes a long day’s paddling much easier on the arms and back.
Third Gear Purchase- Storage that Fits
Each particular kayak will come with a little bit of storage as part of the kayak. Some brands have a lot of internal storage, and some have bins and tackle box holders molded into the boat itself.
Most anglers will use flat tackle boxes of some size to hold their kayak fishing gear, and most kayaks have built in areas to store these flat tackle boxes. Several of these clear plastic boxes can be stored on most fishing kayaks.
Jeff Jones says that he has used milk crate type storage boxes which generally sit behind the paddler’s seat and offer a good deal of enclosed storage for larger gear.
One thing that most kayak anglers discover fairly quickly is that fishing from a kayak usually doesn’t require a whole lot of gear, and so there’s just not as much stuff to store as on a bigger powerboat.
Fourth Gear Purchase- Rod management Stuff That Fits
Most new kayaks built for fishing come with molded-in rod holders, and these tend to be pretty adequate for rod storage, but many new kayak anglers discover that they’d be better served with rod holders in different locations than the stock holders.
There are many brands of rod holders and rod holder tracks sold. But Jeff Jones recommends the Yak Attack 2008 round ball holders. These are totally adjustable, and the tracks are good for not just rod holders, but for a wide range of additional kayak fishing gear that will fit the tracks. Many kayaks come with track already installed, but adding a short run of rod-holder track is not difficult, and it’s not terribly expensive.
A difficult situation that every kayak angler faces from time to time is when a rod slips out of hand or just rolls off the deck of the kayak. It’s frustrating to see a favorite rod and reel splash and sink into deep water.
Jeff Jones recommends a pretty cool product for new kayak anglers. The Savur Outdoors Retro- Fit Rod Retriever is basically a water activated float that releases and comes to the surface when a rod sinks to a certain depth. This makes getting that rod back possible.
Buying Needed Gear- Where to Go
When it comes to buying new kayak fishing gear, there’s a wide range of places a new buyer can go. There are online sources, but online sources don’t allow try-outs to make sure the gear fits. Big box stores often sell kayaks, but the folks working there may or may not know much about kayaks and gear. Probably the best source of information when it comes to choosing gear for a new fishing kayak is to look at kayak specialty shops, and there are several in the Gulf Coast Region. These shops encourage new customers to try gear on, and the folks who work in these shops know kayaks and what works.
Jeff Jones says,” I use Real South Outdoor Gear in Hattiesburg, Mississippi for my gear purchases. They sell everything that a new kayak owner needs”
“There are online sources, but online sources don’t allow try-outs to make sure the gear fits.”
No matter what source a new kayak buyer uses, sooner or later these four items- a good PFD, more and better storage on the ‘yak, a quality paddle, and rod management gear will become necessary. And the time on the water will be much safer, more pleasant, and more fish will be caught when these things are added to the new kayak.
For more information about kayak fishing, new kayak anglers can look at CFCR Fishing on YouTube- Jeff Jones takes viewers on some pretty fine fishing trips and gives some good advice for new kayak anglers.
Important Contact Information
3380 Town Point Dr, Suite 210
Kennesaw, GA 30144
Real South Outdoor Gear
5296 Old Highway 11, Suite 4
Savur Rod Retrieval