Summer vacation season is officially in and many anglers will be heading on vacation for some fun in the sun. That doesn’t mean you have to take a break from fishing. Just be sure you pack some plastic.
One of the benefits of owning and/or fishing from a kayak on vacation, or anytime for that matter, is the number of locations where they can be used.
Unlike a motor boat, a public boat ramp isn’t necessary to put a kayak or canoe in the water. Kayaks can be launched from roadside throw-in points, bridge overpasses, inlets, private docks, or even off the beach.
Choosing a kayak to use for fishing is a little different than choosing one for recreational paddling. Generally speaking, anglers aren’t keen on traveling great distances from where they put in to where they are going to fish. So wider is better than longer. Anglers are more interested in stability. A wide bottom means a more stable platform. It may even allow the anglers to stand in the bottom of the boat when fishing.
Sit-on tops often have sealed hatches to store gear, or at least have molded features that allow for the carrying of gear. Another feature is that most of the popular sit-on tops have rod holders attached. A rod holder in and of itself does not make any kayak a fishing kayak. But it is a step in the right direction.
Once you’ve been bitten by the kayak fishing bug, one of the most important features at the next level is some type of rudder or tracking system so that the boat tracks in a straight line when being paddled. A rudder system that is operated with foot pedals is an advanced feature, but well worth it when trying to maneuver hands-free.
Get in a situation where you can paddle to a spot, then let the tide, current or wind slowly push you through the area. This lets you fish without occupying your hands for paddling or maneuvering. Pedal kayaks already have the hands-free thing covered and make for great hands-free propulsion with only a little steering required.
A final word about preparation for kayak fishing is to decide if you are going to fish with live bait or artificial baits on your outing. Outside of a small cooler or one of those buckets that you troll alongside the boat, space is limited for carrying any type of live bait. Likewise, a small compartmentalized tackle box for artificial baits will fit nicely under your feet or in a storage well.
Through the years, many pieces of kayaking gear have vied for the tank well space. The milk crate remained supreme, until recently. The milk crate has been unseated by today’s modern wave of fishing coolers.
Bridgett Valet started out as a kayak fishing pro-staffer for Sparta, Tennessee-based Jackson Kayaks and has made the jump to full time marketing rep for the company shortly after Jackson began producing its line of tough, heavy insulated coolers under the Orion brand name.
“We had all the equipment necessary to make roto-molded plastic gear and were contracting coolers for other brands,” said Valet. “Then we decided to put what we know about the outdoor industry and kayaking into our own coolers.”
Kayak fishing applications were at the top of the list for Jackson, whose line of fishing kayaks has exceeded both their recreational paddling and whitewater kayaking lines. The Orion line even resembles Jackson’s fishing kayaks with one piece roto molded shell construction in swirled coloration, integrated gear tracks, and Marine Mat deck covers.
The company also decided to go all out with features specifically targeted to anglers, who found it easy to strap on a cooler for use as locking dry space for the yak or traditional cooler storage on any boat.
Accessories for the Gear Track are limited only to the imagination of the user. Jackson/Orion sized their gear track to easily integrate with both Yak Attack and RAM Mount accessories.
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