Fishing from a dock or shore hardly requires any gear at all. A rod, reel, and lure can get you out casting. Fishing from a boat, on the other hand, requires a laundry list of other items, not the least of which is a boat.
Kayak fishing is the perfect in-between that won’t break the bank. Kayaks start at a couple of hundred dollars plus a few other essentials. With that, you can be exploring rivers and shorelines in just inches of water. But first, you may want to pick up some of the best kayak fishing accessories to get you started.
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Old Town Topwater 120 PDL Kayak
A sturdy boat is the core of the kayak fishing setup. Old Town knows boats — the brand has been building them since 1898.
The latest Topwater 120 PDL is the perfect base for kayak fishing. Its double-U-shaped hull is quick for getting to your favorite fishing spots yet wide and stable enough to stand and cast, or fly fish. The rotomolded plastic hull is bombproof and stands up to rock hits or dragging along the shore with no problem. Shoes won’t slip on the EVA foam deck.
Operating a paddle and a rod at the same time is hard, so in the Topwater PDL series, you paddle with your feet. Old Town added a peddle drive system: foot pedals connected to a small propeller underneath the boat. Pedal forward, move forward; pedal backward, move backward. A small lever to the left of the seat controls the rudder.
In shallow waters of less than 10 inches, you can pull up the drive unit and get back to a standard kayak draft of only a couple inches in the water. A secure paddle clip on the left side holds a paddle for launching and getting through shallow water. Old Town’s Predator Angler paddle has glass-filled polypropylene blades that are lightweight but durable, allowing them to push off rocks and branches with ease. A notch in the blades is perfect for unhooking snagged lines.
NRS Chinook PFD
No one should be out on the water without a personal flotation device but most are bulky and not meant for fishing. The NRS Chinook is specifically made for carrying fishing essentials, making life on the water that much better.
Three zipper pockets, four Velcro pockets, plyer holders, a rod holder loop, and a lash tab for a knife are a few of the storage options on this fishing vest cross life jacket. The back has padding high and mesh low so it doesn’t get in the way of kayak seats.
Shimano Stradic FK Reel
Another fishing essential that you don’t want to shrimp on, I mean skimp on, is your reel. Shimano certainly knows its stuff when it comes to metal gears, owning a large portion of the bike and e-bike industry.
The Stradic FK reel is great for salt or freshwater fishing. Shimano uses a metalworking technology developed in Sakai, Japan that dates back to 5th century to create the Hagane process — cold-forged drive gear that provides what Shimano calls “eternally smooth reeling.” The X-Ship pinion gear meshes smoothly even when reeling in the biggest fish.
Shimano Solara Spinning Rod
At only $30, you can’t go wrong with the Solara Rod from Shimano. It’s built with durable yet lightweight fiberglass with a graphite reel seat and aluminum guides. The fast action lets you cast more accurately for getting into those shallows or under docks. The cork handle will stay in your hands even when wet.
IceMule Pro Cooler
Fishing ain’t fishing without somewhere to keep drinks cold. I suppose having a place to store your catch is good, too, though you may not want to mix them.
IceMule has been making innovative coolers for ages, some with soft sides and some with hard. The IceMule Pro is a soft bag, with a leakproof rolltop. It can be strapped down anywhere in your kayak and packed down flat to store. Bungees on the outside make it easy to strap down or attach other items. Keeps ice for over 24 hours.
Check out these other backpack coolers for other great choices to throw on the boat.
YakGear Angler Crate Kit
One downside to kayaks is their limited space so keeping things organized is critical. Several companies have taken homemade milk crate organizers and used them to make kayak -based storage. The YakGear Crate kit is a starter kit based on a sturdy, customizable milk crate.
The kit starts with the crate and includes an accessory pouch and rod holders that strap to the side in any configuration you want. Fishing kayaks usually have a spot right behind the seat for a crate but you can put them anywhere you like. Each side of the crate fits two or three rod-holders for holding rods, nets or paddles. The accessory pouch attaches to one of the sides for holding tackle boxes, extra line, or anything else you need access to quickly.
Plano Compact Side-by-Side Tackle Box
Fishing isn’t fishing without some sort of tackle. Gear will get lost and broken quickly without some sort of good tackle box. The Side-by-Side Tackle Box by Plano is a simple, small box that keeps your small lures within reach. The tops are clear so you know exactly what’s in each compartment. The top side is adjustable for 11 all the way up to 32 spots.
EGO S2 Slider Net
Landing fish in a small boat can be hard. Many fish have been lost even after they were 99% of the way there. A good net will make sure those fish get on board.
The S2 Slider nets from EGO extend at the push of a button. The Compact series goes from 18 inches to 36 inches, holds 30 pounds retracted, 20 pounds extended and has fish-friendly rubber or PVC-coated nets available.
Piscifun III Aluminum Pliers
Prying three-pronged hooks from a thrashing fish in a small boat is always fun but pliers make it far easier. Multi-use pliers can do everything from removing hooks to cutting line to crimping sleeves and leads. The Piscifun III Aluminum Pliers do all those things.
The lightweight pliers come with a leash and sheath so you never lose them overboard. The leash can be attached straight to your vest if it’s got a tool holder or simply to your belt with the sheath. When the cutter blades get dull, screw on a new set.
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