For most bass anglers, the bass boat is the way to go. It is more comfortable, has more storage and certainly has more power than most any other boat used for fishing.
Kayaks are, by definition, human-powered water craft. A person gets in with a two-bladed paddle and propels the boat through the water by working the blades in opposite; forward thrusting with each other. Compared to a bass boat, kayaks are very small and lack a lot of storage space or power. Don’t let that fool you; though, kayaks can be made into very versatile and powerful fishing machines with many of the features the best of the bass boats have.
In its basic form, the fishing yak comes with a rod holder, built-in cup holders, bungee corded storage areas fore and aft and a comfortable seat. From there, anglers start accessorizing to fit their specific angling needs and it may surprise you how truly functional these plastic boats can be.
One of the most important add-ons for a kayak is storage. Most of the kayaks built with fishing in mind, have recessed areas that have bungee cords over them for holding things inside, but often, that isn’t enough space. That’s where milk crate style boxes come in handy. These boxes are perfect for holding lots of gear, tackle, spare parts and lunch, if needed. They fit nicely in the recessed areas in the rear of the kayak and gives the angler easy access to anything needed for a day on the water.
There are many different types of these boxes; but most of them are rigid in construction and easily loaded into and out of the kayak. When on the yak, they are held securely by bungees attached to the metal cleats on the hull. Not all trips on the water require this much storage; but for those long days on the water, extra storage is nice to have.
As I mentioned earlier, the basic fishing kayak comes with a rod holder. We bass anglers know, however, that one rod is just never enough and we usually need at least three or four to attack any given situation. Fishing out of a kayak is no different. While it is important to keep your gear minimal, it doesn’t mean you have to do without.
Veteran Jackson Kayak pro and professional angler with Deep Creek Ventures, LLC Drew Gregory knows this all too well. All of his yaks are outfitted with at least three rod holders to keep the extra rods up and out of the way so he can fish very effectively.
“It’s important to have the right rods at hand all the time and I like to keep them close.” Gregory states.
Since kayaks are plastic, drilling into the top of the hull is not difficult to do. The main thing is to be able to reconcile within yourself that it needs to be done and not worry about that first hole! Once the first one is completed, the rest come much easier.
When choosing rod holders it is important to find holders that will release the rods easily, but still have locking straps to keep the rods in the holders under extreme conditions and water types.
Storage boxes and rod holders are almost a must for organization on the water, but there added niceties that anglers add to make fishing better, too. One of those items is a good depth finder/GPS unit.
Electronics companies have started addressing the need for depth reading and fish finding units for smaller water craft and they have built units that are perfect for adding to a kayak. Humminbird, Lowrance, Garmin and Raytheon all have small, but powerful depth finding units that fit into the compact style of kayak angling. Whether color or grayscale, these units are essential for helping the anglers read the bottom contours and see if any schools of bait or fish are under their silent stalkers.
Tim Stewart, founder of the Hardcore Kayak Fishing Team and member of the Great Outdoor Provision Co. Fishing team, trusts his Lowrance Elite 4x to give him the knowledge he needs to see what he is fishing and how the bait might be.
“It’s small and gives a great picture of what I need to see,” Stewart states.
Of course, adding a fish finder also means adding a battery to keep it powered. Fortunately for yakkers, there are plenty of small, 12 volt batteries on the market making it easy to find power for your ride. Since the depth finding units take very little power to operate, the charge on the battery tends to stay fresh and fully juiced all day.
Another advantage of having the battery onboard is that it can power up some other types of accessories, as well.
Bass angling yakkers are really no different than motor boat bassers… there are always more gadgets to add to make catching bass more effective.
Power-Pole has introduced a boat anchoring system for smaller boats and Drew Gregory has found it to be a nice add-on for bass angling during the spring.
“This is really nice for fishing bass beds and staying put in the wind,” Gregory said. He also noted that it fits quote nicely on the back of his Jackson kayak.
Another cool tool is the action camera. With companies like GoPro, Sony and Nikon adding the small, waterproof wide angle action cameras to their lineup, anglers are taking advantage. These little units give great photos with high details and resolution that can be used as easily on the web or in print.
Platforms can also be added to yaks to aid anglers fishing the spawning season or the flats a higher vantage point than just standing on the bottom of the yak.
When all is said and done, bass yakkers are finding that if it can be done or added to a bass boat, then there is a way to add it to a kayak. It won’t be long until livewells and coolers become standard equipment for the plastic armada, or, maybe not, but someone out there is going to try and that is a fact!