The Perfect Perch

For the Kayak Fisherman, it is easy to be overwhelmed by finding the perfect fishing vessel to fulfill their needs. RTM Fishing’s Damien Garreau speaks to the difficulty of this task. “The Fisherman searches a kayak that is functional and ergonomic, with easily accessible storage. They want stable yet responsive boats in order to move quickly from spot to spot. When choosing, the fisherman must balance transporting fishing kit, electronic capabilities, the weight, speed and stability, and the best compromise in terms of price.”

With so many boat designs and features on offer, it is hard to know which is best.

Dividing fisherman is their preferred style of fishing craft. The choice is endless: from Sit-on-Top kayaks, to Sit-In Kayaks, Stand Up boards, Inflatable drift boats, Pedal and Paddle powered. Each style of paddle craft offers distinct advantages to the catch.

For many, the hands-free advantage of the Pedal kayak is an obvious winner. Woody Calloway, Brand Manager at Native Watercraft, agrees. “With the ability to pedal instead of paddle, if you feel a fish strike, you can quickly pull away from the grass, or any structure the fish wants to go into. Additionally, by having a pedal kayak you can hold ground against the tide without anchoring when a fish is on your line.”

Others opt for the ease of inflatables to explore hard to access waterways. “Inflatable boats are inexpensive, versatile, portable and easy to set up”, asserts Gumotex. “We offer unique fishing boats, which allow for a completely new fishing experience. Thanks to their low weight and foldability, it is relatively simple to take them places that are otherwise inaccessible.”

No matter the style of craft you use, it is the add-ons, accessories, connectivity and customizability that make the difference.

Today, fishing vessels of every type offer infinite possibilities for attaching equipment and baggage, not to mention options for motors, fishing rod mounts
, seats, removable storage, coolers, rod holders, ropes, 
bottle holders
, handles, oarlock holders, paddles and oars 
. The trend is more, not less, with high-end boats offering at least 3 places for the avid fisher to store their rod collection and the ability to customize accessory placement with sidetrack rails. Among all these details, which matter most?

In a gear intensive sport, storage becomes highly important. This is where sit-on-tops and inflatables excel, offering extensive hatch placements and space. Storage falls second only to features maximizing comfort, such as seats, where little details can make a big difference for long days on the water.

Jackson Kayak’s new feature rich Cuda HD showcases their Elite Seat 3.0 System with multiple hi/lo positions and the ability to move fore and aft in order to trim the kayak based upon weight load. A Therm-a-Rest® lumbar pad enhances comfort and the seat can be removed for use on shore.

Wilderness Systems Radar 115 includes SlideTraxTM rails and a multitude of storage options, as well as their award winning, patented AirPro MAX high-low seat that can be trimmed for paddling or pedaling positions. It can even be stowed vertically to increase standing area.

You don’t have to choose between comfort, propulsion, and connectivity with RTM Fishing’s Abaco 3.60 Luxe, winner of the 2015 “Coolest Gear of the Show: Fishing” award. The Abaco 3.60 is sit-on-top with a built in engine, intelligent onboard computer that connects to your smart phone, fish finder, and has a premium adjustable seat.

Furthering connectivity and customization possibility is the 2017 Rainbow Koi, which features a solar panel charger and waterproof USB slot for cell phones, cameras, fish finder and other electronic devices. The Koi also has side-tracks to attach accessories like rod and phone holders, echo sounder, and anchors, rod holders, wide waterproof hatches, a padded seat with adjustable heights, elastic deck net, and an ample removable central hatch ideal to stock fishing poles.

On the water, the fisherman is the master of their domain, with a place and purpose for everything. It is a trend that is sure to continue as we want to bring more on the water with us and designers seek to differentiate themselves from the pack.

By: Anna Bruno, Kayak Session, Paddle World and Sup World Mag editor.