BEST KAYAK STABILIZER: INTRO
After you read KayakFishingCorner.com’s Kayak Stabilizer Ultimate Guide, you’ll likely decide that a kayak stabilizer is the ideal kayak fishing accessory to incorporate into your kayak fishing collection. But which kayak stabilizer is best? First, you can reference our rank of The 5 Best Kayak Outriggers to get started!
I dealt with the same situation when trying to select which kayak stabilizer to move forward with. These days there are several kayak stabilizers on the market. I wanted the best kayak stabilizer available, but which one would it prove to be?
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Best Kayak Stabilizer: Overview
Water sport enthusiasts have long used stabilizers on boats of all kinds of different shapes and sizes. The stabilizer is designed to increase surface area, stability and balance. The fishing kayak is no exception. Kayak stabilizers have begun to become more and more available on the market. The quality of the products has gone up, while the price has basically stayed flat or even come down a little bit. We are happy to see the greater availability of the kayak stabilizer on the market. It is one of the most important pieces of kayak fishing gear on the market today!
Many members of the kayak fishing community have written to KFC informing us of their own experience and difficulty in deciding which kayak stabilizer was the very best kayak stabilizer. It was time to put pen to paper. I needed to do some serious research into kayak stabilizer availabilities. I had to know, without a doubt, which was the best kayak stabilizer.
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I have included all of the details for the best kayak stabilizer. To do so, I organized this post into several different categories. First is a brief “how to” check list about how to use what we’ve named as the best kayak stabilizer. Next is a section listing all of the critical features of this particular stabilizer. After that, we’ve added a brief story about our own personal experience with the stabilizer you see highlighted below. Lastly, we’ve added a link towards the bottom of this post that will direct you to where you can find out more about this particular stabilizer! There is plenty of information available on the product page!
Take it from me. Kayak stabilizers are expensive pieces of kayak fishing gear. Also, you only really have a need for one of them, rather than a several different makes and models. Because of the expense, and the “one time only” type nature, its important that you pick the best kayak stabilizer the first time. If you choose the kayak stabilizer that we’ve highlighted in this post, you will be very happy with your choice. Several of our other readers have been!
One other thing before we get started. One of the best compliments to a kayak stabilizer kit is a kayak trolling motor. A trolling motor is a great example of a piece of kayak fishing gear that is worth its weight in gold, but only if properly used. Find out if it is right for you, learn how to use a kayak trolling motor with the help of KFC’s guide, and make sure you move forward with the best kayak trolling motor battery!
Best Kayak Stabilizer: How to Use
We want to spend a little time going over some stabilizer 101. What good does it do to have the best kayak stabilizer, but not know how to properly attach or use it on the water? The guide below takes you through some tips and tricks that will have you up and running with your kayak stabilizer in no time. Let’s get started:
- Decide where on your fishing kayak you want to install your kayak stabilizer.
- One favorite spot of ours is roughly 2/3rds and 3/4ths of the way towards the rear of the fishing kayak.
- Putting the stabilizer close to the stern of the kayak keeps the stabilizer’s pontoons out of the way of your paddling stroke. It also results in less risk of entanglement of your fishing line or other kayak fishing accessories!
- Another good reason to put the stabilizer near the stern is because it allows for more stability. Kayak fishermen usually stand close to the back of the fishing kayak, right in front of the kayak’s seat, when casting their reels.
- Now is the time to secure the kayak stabilizer to the hull of the fishing kayak.
- Stabilizer packages include mounting hardware. A correct installation will look like the image below:
- Now is the best time to attach the pontoons to the arms of the kayak stabilizer. This is a very critical step.
- Be certain that the pontoons are safely attached to the stabilizer arms, even lightly pushing on them to make sure the connection is sound. The pontoons must never become detached while you are away from the shoreline.
- This is the point where we like to adjust the angle of the kayak stabilizer’s arms. The adjustment should be made to match the type of water you are going to face.
- Angle upwards if you only want them to engage when the fishing kayak is leaning far to one side or the other.
- Tilt them nearly parallel with the water (like shown below) if you want them to move evenly along with the fishing kayak, offering little resistance.
- Adjust slightly downward if you want to put pressure on the water. This angle creates the most amount of leverage against the “rocking” of the kayak while you are in wavy conditions.
- Please never angle the stabilizer at too steep of a downward position. Too steep of an angle will put strain on the connection point. It may even result in damage to the kayak’s hull!
Learn even more about how to use kayak stabilizers with KFC’s helpful guide.
Important Features of the Best Kayak Stabilizer
The purpose of a stabilizer is to keep the fishing kayak stable and balanced, both while the fishing kayak is moving, and during times when at rest (like when you’ve found a prime fishing location)!
A stabilizer will provide a larger surface area so that the kayak has something to balance against when experiencing force (like waves) from the opposite side of the stabilizer. Its basically a counter balancing system. A high quality stabilizer is critical in instances when force is asserted against the kayak from a wave, current, or even wind!
Kayak stabilizers, sometimes called kayak “outriggers”, aren’t going to be needed on 100% of your kayak fishing trips. Honestly, there are tons of times where waters will be serene enough that a stabilizer won’t serve much of a purpose at all. However, conditions on the water are dynamic. Better to have your kayak stabilizer and not need it, rather than the other way around. Given that most kayak stabilizers, including the best kayak stabilizer that we showcase here, are removable and adjustable, we always suggest that you put serious consideration into bringing them along on every trip – you just never know!
The “arms” of our named Best Kayak Stabilizer are almost 3 feet in length. When combined with the width of the average fishing kayak, and the thickness of the buoys, this 3 foot length results in a fishing kayak surface area that reaches over 9 feet!
A kayak stabilizer is only going to be as good as the length of its arms. If they are too short you won’t have enough leverage or surface area for the counterbalancing effect desired. If they are too long you will experience difficulty steering the fishing kayak around tight passages and could put too much strain on the hull of the fishing kayak. Three feet is the sweet spot in terms of length!
The Best Kayak Stabilizer’s pontoons are perfect in size to provide ample buoyancy to handle waves, currents and the wind. It is critical that your kayak stabilizer has high quality and buoyant pontoons. This particular model of stabilizer has molded PVC pontoons, which are highly durable, very buoyant, and come with the additional benefit of making the fishing kayak more visible to other traffic that might happen to be on the water (due to their bright yellow coloring) without taking away from the natural beauty of your surroundings!
The adjustability of this kayak stabilizer’s arms is also a great perk! Adjustability is critical because many times, even when the forecast calls for a calm day of weather, it is possible to encounter waves of different sizes (like from passing boats) and even quickly deteriorating conditions.
Look below. Do you see that the device used to mount the kayak stabilizer to the fishing kayak itself an internal ratcheting system? This allows for an endless number of angles of adjustment!
You’ll need the ability to raise or lower the kayak stabilizers depending upon the kind of waves you might encounter. Deepen the rudder into the water when you are paddling forward and desire to maintain a straight course. Do this by raising the stabilizers thus allowing the rudder, and fishing kayak, to sit lower in the water.
Sometimes when the water is particularly choppy you’ll need to lower the stabilizers. This will apply pressure to the water. The surface area will increase. The desired counter balancing will result. When properly counter balanced, the fishing kayak will be a more formidable opponent to waves, winds and currents!
Buy the Best Kayak Stabilizer
My kayak stabilizer has become one of my favorite kayak fishing accessories. This particular stabilizer attached to the hull of my kayak relatively easily – it only took me about 10 minutes per stabilizer!
I also like the adjustability of the stabilizer because it makes it great for when I am unsure of what kind of waters I am going face. The ability to adjust the arms at a moment’s notice is great! The manufacturer has also paid attention to quality. I have now heard a number of testimonials attesting to the durability of this kayak stabilizer year after year. Some readers mention that they only kayak fish in the ocean, and that the stabilizer has been able to withstand the constant pressure of the waves without compromising its shape, function, or any of its connection points!
My Experience with the Best Kayak Stabilizer
I have recently been exploring all different kinds of kayak fishing destinations. One of my favorite new spots is in Broken Bow Lake in far southeastern Oklahoma. Why? Because this particular lake is very large, surrounded by mountainous terrain, and is ful of a wide variety of game fish!
Last Fall, early in the morning on one trip, I must have caught 5 or so large mouth bass in just under three hours. I was having such great luck that I failed to notice a gathering storm.
Soon, I was stuck in the middle of the lake when the winds went from 5-10mph, all the way up to 50mph gusts! The high winds, combined with the wakes from many power boats that were scrambling for cover, was almost enough to overturn my fishing kayak!
The water was a brutal 45 degrees, and with many hundreds of dollars worth of kayak fishing gear certain to be lost if I experienced an overturn, I was very worried. I promised myself right then and there that I would track down the best kayak stabilizer, and wouldn’t ever travel out onto the water again without having it installed on my kayak!
Quality – 3.8/5
Kayak stabilizers, perhaps more than any other piece of kayak fishing gear, have come a long way in recent years. That being said, we still see complaints from time to time regarding the quality of the piece that actually connects the stabilizer’s arm to the hull of the kayak. Some readers suggest that it cracks over time. We think the cracking could, at least some of the time, be caused by improper placement (too far forward, backward, low or high). Be sure to properly mount your stabilizer to ensure that you are giving its quality a fair chance!
Performance – 4.2/5
Once on the water, the kayak stabilizer performs its function (keeping the kayaker upright and balanced) quite nicely. We were concerned that the pontoons of the stabilizer might cause drag in the water and prevent us from paddling or using our trolling motor to travel quickly. The pontoons, however, are shaped quite wisely and actually glide through the water with relative ease!
Price – 4/5
Stabilizers can be expensive. There is no way around that. While some of the low quality models can be found for $50 or $75, you’ll be making a much wiser investment if you go over the $100 or $125 threshold. Stabilizers, at least in our experience, are one place where you don’t want to try to save a buck or two. The cheaper stabilizers will break down sooner and you’ll spend more money in the long run. Buy right the first time!
Durability – 4.15/5
You can do yourself a favor in terms of prolonged durability by making sure you properly install your stabilizer (as explained above). If you have done so, you can reasonably expect that your stabilizer will be durable enough to last you at least 4 or so years (depending on frequency of use, of course). Because they can be installed and removed with ease, you’ll also want to keep your stabilizer properly stored when not in use. Improper storage will decrease the durability of an otherwise reasonably durable piece of kayak fishing gear.
Overall – 4.03/5
Coming in at just over 4 out of possible 5 points, the kayak stabilizer is on the “buy” list for KFC readers. While there are admittedly some concerns (discussed in the Quality section above) we believe that these can be mitigated by proper installation and technique. We know that a number of our readers have recently been jumping on the stabilizer trend and nearly all of them report that they, at very least, feel much more stable on the water. Especially when they are casting from a standing position!
BEST KAYAK STABILIZER: CONCLUSION
I hope this article has helped you learn more about what we feel is the best kayak stabilizer on the market today. Questions about KFC’s named best kayak stabilizer? We’d be happy to help, just make sure to write a comment near the bottom of this page! Remember, you will not need kayak stabilizers for every single kayak fishing trip. Thankfully, many kayak stabilizers, like the Best Kayak Stabilizer, are built to allow you to easily raise the stabilizers up and out of your way if the need for them never comes. But, if your weather conditions quickly worsen, you can drop the stabilizers and keep on kayak fishing with a much reduced chance of overturning!
Keep in mind that stabilizers are not “permanent”. Just snap the stabilizers on and off as your need or desire for them changes based on the location and weather conditions of your kayak fishing destination. Yes, this will take some time, but not very long. The ability to go “on again” and “off again” is worth it!
KFC will continue to actively monitor the market to see if another, possibly superior, kayak stabilizer comes onto the market! For now, we are certain that you’ll be happy with this particular model! But wait, do most of your kayak fishing trips take you to the great blue sea? If so, you’ll be best suited by considering a kayak stabilizer for ocean based kayak fishing, as it is specifically built to handle the waves and currents found in the ocean! These 5 exercises can also help you improve your balance – the old fashioned way!
Ok, so where to begin? Take a look at this compilation of some great kayak fishing destinations!
Do you have any questions regarding KFC’s Best Kayak Stabilizer award winner? What about kayak fishing in general? Please share with the rest of the KayakFishingCorner community by posting in the Comments section below. We love to hear from the KFC community!