Kayak Fishing


Kayak Fishing is an exciting outdoor experience that is exploding in popularity.  This explosion is not only taking place in the United States; it is spreading globally as well. Kayak Fishing perfectly blends the exhilaration of kayaking with the joy of fishing.  It promotes a sense of adventure, outdoor activity, a bond with nature, and most importantly, FUN!

Despite the recent surge in popularity, many members of this KFC Community still believe that there is room for future growth.  I personally anticipate this rapid growth to continue, and I have made it a priority to educate as many people as possible about the pleasure of fishing from a kayak.   I have created this Kayak Fishing Ultimate Guide to spread knowledge and continue the growth of this wonderful community.


This Kayak Fishing Ultimate Guide is dedicated to explaining the main facts in detail.  I have gathered this knowledge from my own personal experience and extensive research.  I thoroughly enjoy analyzing the history of kayaks and fishing including how they have both evolved.  Due to the expansive information included on this post, I have provided an brief overview of topics.

Please note: This post contains affiliate links. An affiliate link means that we may earn advertising/referral fees if you make a purchase through our links. 

  1. History of Kayak Fishing
  2. The Fishing Kayak
  3. Kayak Fishing vs. Traditional Fishing
  4. Kayak Fishing Price

History of Kayak Fishing

kayak fishing history

As with any topic, to better understand kayak fishing, we first looked to broaden our knowledge and appreciation of the history of kayak fishing, a history that dates back  thousands of years, with a number of researchers pegging the date at approximately 5,000 years ago, a date coinciding with the arrival of the Aleutian people, North America’s aborigines.

The Aleutian made their homes off of Alaska’s western and southwestern coast, in the area between the Bering Strait and Aleutian Islands. The climate of this particular area of North America fluctuates a great deal depending on the temperature, which is a function, largely, of season. In colder temperatures, the Aleutian peoples were forced to navigate a territory largely encased in sea ice. Upon the thaw, however, channels of various sizes, and even large seas, appeared in areas that were once entombed by the ice. 

The Aleutian peoples were forced to adapt to this world of oscillating ice and water, as their diet consisted, at least in part, of marine life that was fished from the sea, or terrestrial animals who also fed on such marine life.  But how could the Aleutians navigate out onto the icy water where the channels appeared in an irregular, and often times infrequent, manner? Some kind of boat would be required, but not just any boat.

kayak fishing kayak invention

This boat must be one constructed of the materials and resources that were readily available to the Aleutians. It must be lightweight, such that the Aleutians could easily transport it with them to quickly respond to the ever changing elements. The boat must be stable, capable of balancing the weight of its occupants, and disallowing its crew from falling overboard into the icy waters and facing certain death. It must be hardy, able to withstand blows from sea ice and rocky shore lines. Finally, the boat must be buoyant, sufficient to buoy the many thousands of pounds of its human occupants, and hopefully such occupants’ prize from a long days’, or weeks’ worth of hunting.

  The answer: A kayak. The Aleutians constructed their kayaks by treating and stretching animal hides over frames built of whale bone. Alternative construction styles included kayaks made of wood, though remnants of these type of kayaks have been found with less frequency. The Aleutians used their kayaks predominantly for hunting motivated travels. The word “kayak”, after all can be loosely translated into “hunter’s boat”.

Fast forward several thousand years, and the boat originally designed by the Aleutians has changed in several material ways, though its shape and general layout remain nearly identical. Long gone are the days of whale bones and animal hides. Today’s fishing kayaks are constructed predominantly of linear polyethylene or fiberglass, with rubber, plastics and nylons comprising the remainder of the commonly found components other than the “hull” and “deck”.

Kayaks are sometimes created by thermoforming, where the hull and deck are built separately and joined at a seam. A second process is known as roto-molding, and results in a much more expensive and durable kayak. This process is very similar to the “baking” of a kayak in one large oven.  The result of this process yields a kayak with no “seam”.

The Fishing Kayak: A Wonderful Piece of Technology

kayak fishing types of kayaks

 Now that you know a little bit about the history of the kayak, and have broadened your understanding of how kayaks are manufactured, its time to jump into a discussion on my favorite type of kayak: The Fishing Kayak. OK, so what is a fishing kayak? How does it differ from other types of kayaks that you have seen on the rivers, lakes and oceans?

Well, fishing kayaks, as you might have guessed, are quite similar to “standard” kayaks, though they differ in certain components and designs all in an aim to give its occupant an enjoyable and fruitful fishing experience. Sure, you could fish from an ordinary kayak, but we think you’ll soon discover why the fishing kayak has found its niche.

 Fishing kayaks typically seat one or two occupants, though there are several on the market today that can comfortably seat three! Fishing kayaks are typically designed with multiple kayak rod holders. Some of these fishing rod holders are adjustable, ensuring the occupant’s ability to customize his or her kayak to the particular fishing situation he or she is confronted with.

The remaining fishing rod holders are known as “flush”, meaning they are fixed to the fishing kayak itself, such that the fisherman is ensured of the stability of his or her fishing kayak. Nearly all fishing kayaks also come with an abundance of “dry storage” areas that are perfect for the security and protection of items one might bring on a kayak fishing expedition that are sensitive to water. Often times there will be a dry storage located in front, behind, and alongside of the fisherman.

Certain times these compartments latch shut, though we’ve also seen designs that feature a “screw tight” system to ensure a proper seal. It has been my experience that each such system is perfectly capable of keeping your water sensitive items safe and dry, all while ensuring they remain accessible if need be. Next, fishing kayaks feature kayak paddle holders which are essentially large clamps into which the occupant is able to insert his or her paddles.

This is a particularly important component of the fishing kayak, as often times during the fishing process, after the initial paddling and transportation piece of the experience is complete, the fisherman will need to switch from a grip on his or her paddles to a grip on his or her fishing pole, and then back again. The paddle parks and rod holders are a must have in any serious kayak fisherman’s fishing kayak.

Many fishing kayaks also include a “pedal-drive” type system, where the fishing kayak is powered and maneuvered by the occupant using his feet much like he or she would on a bicycle.  Some fishing kayaks also feature rear rudder control and a trolling motor. A rear rudder control allows the fisherman to maneuver his or her fishing kayak to the desired destination without disrupting the water with multiple turns. Finally, most fishing kayaks are built around one, two or even three kayak chairs, which are typically constructed of tubular aluminum frames and are capable of adjusting to any number of different positions to ensure the comfort of the fisherman.

 So now you know how a typical fishing kayak might differ from a traditional kayak, but you still ask the question: Why kayak fishing? Kayak fishing is growing at an exponential rate. Anyone who has been kayak fishing wouldn’t be surprised to learn of the sport’s growth, but what about someone who hasn’t yet tried it, or even heard of it? Kayak fishing is a reasonably affordable and widely available sport. This wide availability is due, in large part, to the variety of waterways upon which one can partake in kayak fishing. Kayak fishing today occurs on oceans, river, lakes, and ponds.

If there is a body of water, it can be fished via a fishing kayak. The transportation of one’s own fishing kayak has also never been easier, as more and more vehicular transportation devices are coming on the market every day. Whether an SUV kayak roof rack, a kayak cradle, a kayak trailer, or any number of other contraptions, it is easier than ever to take your fishing kayak along for the ride. If you do not yet have a fishing kayak, its certainly a possibility that your water-based destination has a fishing kayak rental shop. The ability to partake in kayak fishing has never been easier.

Kayak Fishing vs Traditional Fishing

Often times I am approached by readers with the same basic question: I have been fishing once or twice, and frankly, I find it boring, why would kayak fishing be any different? Kayak fishing is substantially different than traditional shore based fishing, and even traditional fishing via a motorboat. Kayak fishing allows people to access narrow depths and channels that would otherwise be inaccessible to motorboat.

It allows fisherman to quickly travel to more remote, or perhaps deeper, parts of the waterway that a traditional shore-based fisherman would be precluded from. Most importantly, kayak fishing isn’t just fishing, and it isn’t just kayaking. It’s the perfect hybrid of each such activity. Any “boredom” experienced when the fish aren’t biting is quickly mitigated by the fisherman’s ability to pull his or her paddles from the fishing kayak’s paddle parks and venture to a new location on the waterway.

The fishing kayak also offers the tremendously unique advantage of being able to experience the fishing process from just inches above the waterline. In clear waters, the fisherman has an unobstructed vista of the subsurface, and in darker waters, the fisherman experiences the pleasure of the sound of water gently flowing against the frame of the fishing kayak as he or she gently captains it along the water way.  There is also the added benefit of being almost entirely soundless. That’s right, most fishing kayaks are without mechanical motor, allowing a fisherman to soundlessly approach his or her targeted fishing area, or even quietly approach wild life that are seen near the water’s edge.

Kayak Fishing Price

Other times readers approach me with concerns on the price of certain fishing kayaks. Kayak fishing is one of those activities that can be as expensive or inexpensive as an individual desires it to be.  Yes, the entry price of your very first fishing kayak, even on the low end, is roughly $500. That said, you don’t have to buy a new fishing kayak every year.

national park kayak fishing

I know several of our readers have owned their fishing kayaks for over a decade, and have taken them on hundreds of trips. The reality is, the “cost” of your fishing kayak rapidly decreases each time you use it, and I’m certain you’ll find that the sport is quite a bit cheaper than a number of alternative avenues of entertainment that an individual is presented with today. Also, don’t forget, aside from some national and state parks which might charge a relatively cheap price of entry, most waterways are free admission!

 Ok, so you’ve read up on the history, have a general understanding of the sport, and you’re itching to get started. What do you need? What are the basic, entry level “must haves” to get you out on the water and under way with your kayak fishing adventure? Well, before you buy a fishing kayak, or any equipment or accessories, you’ll want to locate and categorize the body of water you wish to go kayak fishing upon.

This will directly impact your upcoming purchases. Are you desiring to take your fishing kayak to the lake? A local river? The ocean? Each of these bodies of water differs from the others in terms of the nature its water. You’ll want to consider salinity levels, depths, currents, waves, and a number of other factors and ensure that your purchase aligns with your destination. Of course, at KayakFisingHQ, we have thoroughly written about a number of “water-specific” fishing kayaks here, here and here,  and have also provided an opinion on what we believe the best “all-around” fishing kayak is here.

After identifying your desired destination, and selecting the fishing kayak and paddles that you feel are best, you’ll want to evaluate your vehicle and determine what type of aftermarket transportation accessory you’ll need to properly transport your fishing kayak. Next, you’ll want to select accessories to customize your kayak fishing experience for your needs.

For example, you might want to fish several different depths at once, requiring you to purchase a number of different rod holders from which you can secure your fishing rods. You’ll also want to purchase a tackle box and various weights, lures and bobbers to properly dress your lines for the depths and fish you are attempting to target. In addition, you’ll want to ensure you have an appropriate personal flotation device. Make sure you purchase a personal flotation device that affords a maximum degree of comfort and safety.  This series of items only scratches the surface, and you’ll want to be sure to read our post on Must Haves for Your First Kayak Fishing Outing here for our thorough write up on this front.

Enjoy Kayak Fishing

The primary concern for most people is the cost of equipment.  Everyone can enjoy kayak fishing, even if you are on a budget.  Most people already own a fishing pole, and simple Kayaks are relatively cheap to rent or buy.  These excursions can include weeks of fishing lakes, rivers and oceans.

how to enjoy kayak fishing

They can also be as short as a two hour outing at a local lake. Many people While kayak fishing affords many with the opportunity to get out and enjoy some time by oneself, Kayak fishing is also a fantastic means through which to enhance your social life, spending time with your friends and family in a fun, rewarding, and relaxing environment. Want to take two kayaks on the road at once? Check out the kayak trailer built for two! Still not sold? Check out the Top 5 Reasons to Buy a Kayak Trailer!

The sport itself, at least at the entry level, doesn’t require a tremendous skill set, and even the truest of amateurs are able to get out on the water and enjoy themselves after only a minimal amount of reading and interaction with the required boat and equipment.

Learn more about the mechanics behind kayak fishing by learning how to build your own kayak!

Want to make your kayak fishing outing more comfortable? Try installing a Sit-In Kayak Seat Cushion for your longer kayak fishing outings! Tired of getting blisters from paddling your kayak? Learn How to Use Kayak Paddle Grips!


Kayak Fishing is a wonderful outdoor sport that is rapidly increasing in popularity. It allows you to simultaneously experience the thrill of the outdoors, the beauty of nature, the adventure of kayaking, and the skill and strategy of fishing. If you’re looking for the next big outdoor adventure and/or fishing experience, you’ve found it.

We encourage you to check out the remainder of KayakFishingCorner for reviews, suggestions, how-to articles, calendars, upcoming events, frequently asked questions, and so much more.  We are passionate about spreading the awareness of kayak fishing to all ages and demographics, and hope that you’ll feel the same after getting out on the water and undertaking a kayak fishing experience of your own.

Kayak Fishing Comments

How long have you been Kayak Fishing?  What do you enjoy about it?  Please share your knowledge and experiences with the KFC Community.  I really appreciate all of you that take the time to leave a comment below.  You help motivate me to continue pouring my heart and soul into this site!

See you on the water!

David Scott

Kayak Fishing Ultimate Guide: Experience the BEST Way to Fish!
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Kayak Fishing Ultimate Guide: Experience the BEST Way to Fish!
Kayak Fishing is an extremely FUN experience that is exploding in popularity! Learn everything about it on this Kayak Fishing Ultimate Guide.
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Kayak Fishing HQ
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2 Replies to “Kayak Fishing”

  1. So stoked to see a site resource for my new hobby! I’m new but looking forward to reading more. How do you feel about inflatables? I don’t have a full time job (fingers crossed) and money is tight right now.

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