When I tell people that I fly fish from my kayak, it’s often followed by doubt, mockery or respect, and sometimes it’s a mix of all three. Kayak fishing is exploding and with so many options and price points to get into throwing flies at reds, it can quickly become overwhelming and confusing. Hopefully, this article can smooth things out and narrow down your search for the perfect fly fishing yak.
When I started kayak fishing, I did not have the luxury of standing from the kayak. Barely wide enough to keep my 6’ 2” 245 lb. frame from entering the clear waters with the redfish, snook and trout, my kayak was “iffy” to say the least. Having upgraded to a newer and more stable kayak, I am able to comfortably stand and fish for hours.
My point of that last bit is to show the importance of stability in a fly fishing kayak. But, along with stability, there are many other factors that must be taken into consideration. Here is my list of the top three factors when choosing a new fly fishing kayak.
1. NAME YOUR PRICE- My mom used to tell me when I was younger, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch”. The same concept holds true when choosing a kayak. The most important thing, to me anyway, is to set a price point for yourself and build your search around that. If you set a price point at or around $1000, I can tell you that you will have more options than you’d think. While it would be nice to go drop the money on the most expensive kayak you can find (trust me, more expensive doesn’t always mean better), that’s not realistic for the average guy like you and me. So, once you set your price limit, start looking for kayaks within that budget that have the characteristics that I will soon describe.
2. ALLAROUNDER- Start by looking for kayaks that have a little bit of everything. Stability is critical when fly fishing, or saltwater fishing in general. Any kayak within the 32 to 36-inch mark in width is a good choice. Also, consider your size. If you are a smaller individual, you can probably get away with a narrower yak and, if you’re larger, try adding some width. Next, look for one that is longer than 10 feet. My preferred range is 11 to14 feet in length because it tracks well through rough water, but still is small enough to get into those back creeks teeming with reds or linesiders. Finally, look at those that are fairly simple. You don’t want a lot of accessories at your feet or by you to catch your line in your lap.
3. MATCH IT TO YOU- Now I’m not a psychic so I don’t know you and what you like. What I do know is that you have to be happy with your decision. It may take a few kayaks to know what you want, so I am a big fan of demoing a kayak, or six, and finding your happy medium.
So, now that I’ve given you the run down on what you should look for in your fly fishing vessel of fish destruction, here’s a list of my favorite kayaks under $1000:
● Feel Free Lure 10
● 3 Waters Kayak Big Fish 120
● Feel Free Moken 12.5