Why river fishing kayak is in trend and demand

River fishing kayak is a popular trend in sport fishing. Kayak dealers have now started customizing some of their recreational kayaks for fishing including such items as rod holders, anchor trolleys, fish finders and bait containers. Hobie and Native Watercraft, among other manufacturers, even developed a unique way to propel a kayak, using pedals instead of a paddle. In addition, there is a tremendous amount of gear designed specifically for kayak fishing. So, why use a kayak to go fishing?

river fishing kayak

River fishing kayak requires low cost

River fishing kayak comes at low cost and demands easy maintenance. Comparing the cost of a kayak rigged for fishing to the cost of a boat, motor and trailer, a fisherman can save a lot of money. Of course, adding in ongoing fuel costs, registration and insurance, the savings can really add up. Kayaks are also low maintenance. Really all that is needed is a good rinsing after a day out on the water. These small watercraft require little storage space and are easy to pack and load. There are no lines to wait in on the weekends as a boat ramp is not necessary for launching.

Healthy exercise

River fishing kayak are great for recreational paddling, but they can be used to get fit, tone muscles and develop endurance. Kayaking is also used as a cross training activity for other sports or fitness routines. Paddling is a low impact sport that provides a great upper body workout, but done properly also strengthens the core. Fishing from the kayak adds more fitness elements that require balance as anglers maneuver between fishing poles and paddles and in and out of casting positions.


With a kayak, a fisherman can literally sneak up on fish. There is no motor or noise to scare the fish away so the quiet enhances fish-catching ability. The pace of paddling a kayak and the currents it creates mimic natural water flow and don’t disturb schools of fish. Paddlers have access to areas that bigger boats can’t get to. Shallow waterways are no longer a problem since paddling can be done in mere inches of water. Little creeks and back bays off main rivers can easily be explored. Kayaks offer plenty of storage space for rods, tackle and a cooler and everything is within reach.


Kayak fishing is the perfect opportunity to slow down and take it all in. Slow, quiet paddling allows the fisherman to see marine life up close and enjoy natural beauty in a peaceful setting. Another appealing aspect about kayaking is that it poses little risk of injury to the environment.

Hooked on kayak fishing

Ever wonder why someone would venture miles out to sea on a tiny kayak through waves and pounding surf? To catch more fish and be close to nature is a quick answer.

Kayak boating on the rise

Almost anywhere you go on our nation’s waterways these days you will find an increasing presence of kayaks plying the waters. These craft are equally adept traversing our rivers, lakes, bays and oceans and much credit needs to be given to advances in technology offering more types of kayaks that are suitable for each particular type of water condition. A variety of kayaks are offered with specific needs in mind. For instance some kayaks are designed to be used in moving waters such as rivers while others are designed for more benign environments such as bays and lakes. In modifying hull designs kayak manufacturers can create more stable platforms for activities like fishing or more streamlined hulls for additional speed.

Fisherman hooked on kayaks

The sport of river fishing kayak is growing rapidly as well with more and more anglers opting for this relatively simple way to get near fish. According to Paul McDonald, an avid kayak fisherman from San Diego, one of the main advantages of river fishing kayak is expense, “for me I love that I can hop in my kayak and go fish without spending a small fortune.” He adds, “kayak fishing is not for everyone as some of the best fishing is in rough conditions.” McDonald cautions that when fishing offshore “make sure you have all of the safety equipment, PFDs, marine radio, cell phone, proper clothes, extra water and the correct fishing tackle.” When discussing any anxious moments while kayaking offshore McDonald, a lifetime surfer indicated “although I have surfed most of my life, there is always a tinge of apprehension when going in or out through the surf. Sometimes while you are out there the swell begins to get bigger. It can get you to thinking.” He adds “but most of the time it’s the best of nature. Some of the sea life you get to see is amazing.” McDonald indicated that proposed inshore fishing regulations are a concern to kayak fisherman as their range is limited.

Getting started

While relatively inexpensive when compared to other types of fishing boats, fully rigged angler’s kayaks are not cheap. For instance one of the industry leading manufacturers, Ocean Kayak offers their Prowler Trident 15 with a number of angler packages to suit the needs of different types of fishing but prices can easily start in the $1400 range. These types of packages will usually offer rod holders, a variety of seat options, upgraded paddles, numerous storage compartments and some even have built in bait tanks. Other manufacturers such as Hobie, world renowned for their innovations in sailing and other water oriented sports offer kayak technology with foot powered propulsion systems and paddles as an additional option. There are numerous kayak manufacturers all with a different spin on construction, hull design, options, weight, propulsion and overall performance. Kayakers seem to be very adamant about particular brands and a visit to a couple of kayak blogs will reinforce that observation. For instance a manufacturer’s claim of an average speed of 10 knots on a certain model was countered by a kayaker’s response that 10 knots on that model could only be achieved going over a waterfall. That being said such manufacturers as Malibu Kayaks, Emotion Kayaks, Wavewalker, Nucanoe, and many others are actively competing for this growing market.

Do kayakers catch more fish

But the overriding question is do kayakers catch more fish? Posing this question to Paul McDonald, struggling with a heavy load of freshly caught fish he responded, “Ok the story of the week really isn’t me. The story should be about one of the best squid runs in decades. There were some big time names getting some big fish, but anyone who was out there hooked up including myself.” So maybe kayak fisherman don’t catch more fish than their powerboat brethren, but being one with nature and keeping fit in the process has attracted an enthusiastic following committed to the sport.

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