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9 Myths Surrounding Kayak Fishing Debunked

Nicola Burridge
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You may be wondering whether some of those rumors you’ve heard from your fishing buddies are true. When it comes to kayak fishing, there are many misconceptions that people have.

But to put your mind at ease, we’ve busted some of the myths about kayak fishing.

Myth 1: Kayaks Are Unstable

Fishing kayaks are very stable and they do not tip over easily. Despite sometimes feeling a little tippy, especially to new paddlers, fishing kayaks are typically crafted with a very high level of primary stability.

This initial kayak stability is what makes a fishing kayak incredibly stable on flat water.

Hull design can affect how stable the kayak is, with a flat bottom hull being designed for flatwater paddling.

Pontoon, tunnel, or cat-style hulls can offer even greater stability. These types of hulls are generally preferred on fishing kayaks that are designed for standing up.

Many fishing kayaks have been engineered for stand-up fishing and feature a padded standing platform for traction and comfort. The wider the kayak, the more stable it should be for standing up.

Video: Standing On A Fishing Kayak

Some inflatable kayaks that have drop-stitch construction in the floor can usually be stable enough to stand up, as these floors are similar to a paddle board.

Myth 2: Kayaks Are Uncomfortable

Fishing kayaks are designed with anglers in mind. This means fishing kayaks tend to be more comfortable than recreational kayaks, for example, as the manufacturers know that fishing is not a quick activity and most kayak anglers will be sitting for long periods of time.

Fishing kayak seats will usually be elevated off the deck, which can provide a more natural sitting position, allowing your knees to be bent, like you’re sitting on a chair at home.

Fishing kayak seats tend to feature mesh fabric for breathability and they will often have a good level of back support.

Many kayaks have upgraded seats that feature comfortable padding and adjustable lumbar support, which can be useful whether you have a bad back or not. 

Myth 3: There’s Not Much Space For Gear

Fishing kayaks generally have a lot more space for gear than some other types of kayaks. Most fishing kayaks are sit-on-top kayaks with large, spacious decks that can accommodate all your essential kayak fishing equipment.

Fishing kayak parked beside a serene riverPin

Almost all sit-on-top fishing kayaks will have a cargo deck to store a fishing crate or a cooler. Bungee cords are usually included so you can keep your items tied down to the deck.

Most fishing kayaks will also have integrated rod holders so you can keep your fishing rods safe while you paddle to your honey hole.

Gear tracks are also found on many kayaks, so you can mount additional rod holders as well as other accessories and electronics, including fish finders.

You will also find fishing kayaks that have sealed storage hatches to keep equipment safe and dry below deck so that it’s out of the way while you’re trying to fish. Some kayaks will also have tackle tray holders and other tackle storage options to keep items within easy reach of your seat.

While there is not as much space on a kayak compared to a bass boat or larger fishing boat, you will have space for the essentials on your fishing kayak packing list. You may just need to downsize some of your gear to suit your kayak.

Myth 4: A Shark Or Alligator Will Attack

Yes, sharks can and do attack kayaks. But this is extremely rare.

Shark attack statistics show that while you’re more likely to get attacked by a shark in the USA than anywhere else in the world, there were only 41 unprovoked bites in the US in 2022 (out of the hundreds of millions of people who swim or paddle in the waters around the US).

There were a total of 57 unprovoked bites globally in 2022 out of a total of 108 total attacks. Out of the 108 worldwide shark attacks, only four of those were boat bites (and that includes kayaks).

Similarly, alligator attacks on kayakers are also very rare. An alligator will only usually attack you if it feels threatened, which can be more likely during mating season and nesting season during spring and early summer.

Find out more on kayaking with alligators here.

You can minimize your chances of getting attacked or approached by a shark or alligator by not cleaning fish on your kayak, practicing catch and release, and by avoiding bringing your dog along for the ride.

Myth 5: A Big Fish Will Pull You Overboard

While some big fish are certainly capable of pulling your kayak along for a ride, there are some things you can do to mitigate the risk of being pulled overboard.

To maintain balance, it can be better to sit down rather than stand up, even though you might feel like you have less control ove the fish.

A marlin leaping high above the waves, with fishing lure in pursuit.Pin

If you’re unable to reel in the fish safely, use your knife to cut the line.

You can stop a big fish from pulling your kayak over by keeping your rod pointed toward the bow of the kayak. If the fish moves to the side, lean to the other side to turn in the direction of the fish so that you’re not pulled off sideways.

Myth 6: Fishing Kayaks Are Slow

It is true that fishing kayaks are not the fastest kayaks out there, especially if you want to compare them to sea kayaks or racing kayaks.

Most fishing kayaks will move at a similar pace to most recreational kayaks. And if your kayak has a pedal drive system it will go much faster than most kayaks.

Pedal kayak speed will be significantly faster than a non-pedal kayak, often up to around 8 mph.

Myth 7: Kayak Fishing Is Expensive

While many top-end fishing kayaks can cost several thousand dollars, there are many more affordable fishing kayaks on the market, with plenty of budget kayaks and inflatable kayaks costing under $500.

If you opt for a used one, you can get a fishing kayak even cheaper.

Fishing kayaks can be more affordable than other types of boats, as you can usually store the kayak at home, unlike larger boats that will need to be stored at a marina.

woman in a kayak holding a fishing rod and netPin

You can also usually streamline your fishing equipment to fit in a kayak, so you don’t need a lot of rods or unnecessary gear. The bare essential fishing equipment is perfectly adequate.

Compared to bank fishing or shore fishing, the only added expense is the kayak (plus the paddle and PFD). 

Myth 8: You Can’t Catch A Big Fish From A Kayak

Fishing kayaks can access areas of bays and lakes that large boats can’t. This means, that with a kayak, you can fish in waters where big fish might be hiding, such as shallow weeded areas and creeks.

As well as catching big freshwater species, you can also catch saltwater species from a kayak.

It can be a little trickier to land big fish in a kayak because of the size of the fish compared to the size of your kayak. But it is possible.

You might find it easier to put one leg out of the kayak while you land the fish, to help stabilize your kayak and get the fish into the boat.

Video: How to Land Bigger Fish From Your Kayak

Myth 9: You Need A Lot Of Paddling Skills To Fish From A Kayak

Most sit-on-top fishing kayaks are designed to be easy to paddle and most people can get the hang of paddling right away without many other skills required.

You might not be using the correct or most efficient kayaking technique at first but as long as you’re able to paddle forward and control your kayak, you can usually get out on the water.

Learn how to paddle a kayak.

Children in a kayak, one girl paddling while the other enjoys the ride.Pin

Because fishing kayaks are usually sit-on-top kayaks, they are generally easy to get in and out of, and you don’t require special skills, such as rolling.

If you have a pedal kayak, this can require even fewer skills and can be used by almost anyone at any age.

Kayak fishing in flatwater environments can be better if you’re new to kayaking, as the water will be calm and there will usually be fewer currents to deal with.

Windy conditions may also require additional skills or accessories, such as a rudder to counter the effects of the wind on the direction of your kayak.

Fished For Facts: The Real Truths Behind Kayak Angling Have Now Been Revealed

Now that you’ve discovered the truth about kayak fishing, it’s time to get yourself on the water to experience it for yourself.

Do you have any stories of your own to add to these myths? Let us know if you enjoyed it. And remember to share it with your fellow anglers.


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