Kayak Fishing Gear 101

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Sanibel Island made national news this month when local kayak angler  Jon Black reeled in the catch of a lifetime.  Headlines read something along the lines of “Southwest Florida Man Reels in 552-Pound Goliath Grouper From Kayak.” Beyond 10 seconds of fame, he also broke a world record for “Largest Kayak Bottom Fish” ever caught.

You could be next. Check out the video, below!

Here are tips on what type of gear you need before giving it a go with your fishing pole.

Kayak fishing is extremely physical. When it comes to equipment, it holds true that you get what you pay for. Skimping on gear could hold you back on the water, infringe on your safety and even cost you catches. It is also important to choose equipment including your seat,  kayak, paddle and fishing gear that is customized and comfortable for you.

Catch the next “Goliath Grouper” in Sanibel Island with the right kayak fishing gear.

Size & Shape

Like people, kayaks come in all lengths, widths and heights. Wide kayaks offer stability and support greater body weight, while long kayaks cover longer distances and maneuver well through tight spaces. For kayak fishing, wide is the way to go!

Wide kayaks allow anglers to stand and sight-cast in shallow inshore areas. When assessing weight, lighter kayaks will hold less weight, but move quicker on the water and be easier to load on your vehicle. These are just two factors to consider when purchasing a kayak.

Paddle or Pedal

Other things to consider include mobility. Traditionally kayaks ran off manpower. Today, anglers have the option motor-powered pedals. These electric-motor-powered kayaks are growing in popularity, offering benefits including:

  • arm and hand mobility
  • reduced angler fatigue
  • improved performance

If you prefer the traditional practice of paddling, it is important to choose a paddle that’s the right weight and propel design for you and your angling style.

Seat Selection

Kayak fishing calls for a lot of sitting, which is why you should select your seat wisely. For saltwater angling, kayaks with elevated seats, known as sit-on-top kayaks (SOK), are the most popular and safe option. They do not fill will water if rolled over, and they offer improved leg mobility and stability while reeling.

For mangrove angling, sit-inside kayaks (SIK) might be more preferable due to their lighter weight. You can also choose a seat with cushioned back support, known as the lawn chair style. Overall, comfort is key! Pick the type of seating the is best for you. 

Try it, Before You Buy It

Want to try kayak fishing before you buy the gear? Give us a call at (239) 437-1660 or rent a kayak online! We offer charters and kayak rentals, or stop in for more information and tips on kayak fishing in the Sanibel Island-Fort Myers areas.