Is It Practical to Fly Fish from a Kayak?

A kayak is a small and narrow watercraft propelled by paddling with double paddlers, foot-powered rotating propellers, electric motors, or gas engines. They have been in existence for over 4000 years.

They provided a means of accessing the aqua food sources. Over the years, their usage evolved and is now majorly used for sporting activities like Kayaking and recreational fishing. If you are using a kayak for fly fishing, are you being practical?

You can fly fish from a kayak, but it is quite a challenge- not all kayaks are suitable for fishing. There are specially designed kayaks for fishing, so you should know the difference. If you already own one, you only need fishing gear for your kayak.

Fly fishing is a hobby that many people take up to challenge themselves and see the extremities of fishing. Doing it from a kayak is the ultimate challenge thus far. This article talks about all you need to know about fishing with kayaks.

Are Kayaks Good For Fishing?

Are Kayaks Good For Fishing

The primary reason for the invention of the kayak was for fishing and hunting in water. Kayaks are suitable for use in both inland and coastal waters.

Kayaks allow you to fish in areas as small as ponds to massive places like oceans. They aid you in fishing in almost every type of water condition. You can go fishing with a kayak in fast-running, calm, wavy, clear, or swampy water.

There are a lot of kayaks designed to meet the specific needs of anglers. They vary in size, stability, speed, and other fishing details. We want to highlight some of the reasons why fishing from a kayak is a good experience.

Kayaks are small and narrow, making them useful even in constricted waters, allowing you access to every nook and cranny of water. They get you as close as you need to go in any type of water, be it a river, a marsh swamp, or even a small creek.

Paddled kayaks are perfect for sneaking up on fish. They are quiet and move without causing many ripples; you can get so close to fish without startling them, making an easy catch.

Sit-on-top kayaks have a lot of room for you to stretch and stand up and cast your fly rod or reel with ease. Kayaks are also easy to control and allow you to make sharp turns.

Due to their small size, kayaks are easy to store. When not in use, you can easily keep them in your home in places like a basement, garage, or shed. This allows you to cut the costs like storage at the dock as with other boats.

Transporting kayaks is quite easy as they are light and can fit in trucks. This makes it easy to take it along with you if you are considering changing waters.

Suppose you are normally an inshore angler and are looking to experience the deep offshore waters. In that case, fishing from a kayak should be among your viable options as kayaks are pretty cheap compared to other boats. You can get kayaks for prices as low as $180.

Modern kayaks feature materials like fiberglass and polyethylene. These materials are washable. All you have to do is use a little detergent and water to rinse off the smell, dirt, and mud that may have splashed on the kayak.

Is A Sit-On Or Sit-In Kayak Better For Fishing?

Traditionally, kayaks consisted of animal skin stretched over a wooden or whalebone skeleton. They had a deck and a couple of cockpits. Modern kayaks have a deck, hull, stern, and bow.

Sit-in kayaks can have up to three cockpits. Each cockpit sits one paddler. In this type of kayak, your entire lower body is in the kayak. On the other hand, sit on top kayaks and have an open deck where you, as the paddler, sit. Your legs are thus exposed and have space to stretch out. There are footwells to support the feet.

Which Is Better?

Sit-on-top kayaks are broader and more stable than sit-inside kayaks though they are slower than sit-in kayaks due to their width. SIKs have room to store a lot of fishing equipment as compared to sit-on-top kayaks as they have storage compartments at the front and back.

If your kayak capsizes, a sit-on-top kayak is safer as it will automatically eject you, giving you time to swim and right it. It is challenging to get off the sit-inside kayak, and it is hazardous if you do not know how to do the Eskimo Roll. If you manage to right your SIK, the chances are that water would have filled the cockpit.

It is easy to get off and on SOT kayaks allowing you easier access to the water; if you want to go for a swim while in the water, sit-inside kayaks, on the other hand, are challenging to get off.

If you are fishing during winter, Sit inside kayaks are warmer and keep you drier than SOT kayaks. They protect your lower body from wind and water. During the summer, it also protects you from the harsh UV rays.

It is easier to sneak up on fish with a sit-on-top kayak as it moves slowly. Since it is open on top and has footwells, launching your fly rod is relatively easy.

Fly fishing on a sit-on-top kayak is easier than in a sit-in kayak. On a sit-on-top kayak, you can you’re your rod while standing and facing any direction. The latter kayak only allows for forwarding movement, so you can only fish while facing forward.

The light materials that make a SOT kayak make them sink-proof. They also have small holes known as scuppers to allow the drainage of water.

SOT kayaks are heavier and more difficult to transport than sit-in kayaks.

What Color Kayak Is Best for Fishing?

What Color Kayak Is Best for Fishing

The color of a kayak suitable for fishing is a common topic of debate among anglers. A good color for you for your kayak should:

Be visible

When you take your fly fishing to vast waters, like oceans, color is vital for visibility. Other people using the water go for bright colors like solid yellow, bright orange, lime green, or camo to be visible to other people.

They reflect a lot of light and stand out, even in low light. They are easy to spot during bad weather and inform other water users to clear off your location as they approach.

If you already have a dark-colored kayak, you can add stripes of yellow or lime green. You can also use these colors on your alarm flags.

Not spook the fish

Some people argue that using bright-colored kayaks can warn the fish of your presence. The research conducted so far shows that fish are not so sensitive to colors but easily react to shadows.

It is advisable to make the bottom of your kayak blend in with the water; for instance, if you are going fishing on a sunny day, go for a white bottom kayak. If you are fishing along the beach, go for a sand-colored base.

Some colors are wrong. These colors may be bright, but they may confuse people. They are:


White kayaks usually appear as surfs or crashing waves.


Red kayaks are visible only for a short distance, especially in low light

Blue and dark green

Blue and green blend in with the color of the water and vegetation, making such colored kayaks challenging to spot from afar, making it difficult for help to get to you in case of an accident.

Suppose you prefer to use a dark-colored kayak to avoid run-ins with other water animals like sea lions. Make sure that your flag is always up just in case you need help.

What Is the Most Stable Kayak for Fishing?

The stability of a watercraft is its ability to maintain equilibrium or resume its original position after tipping on its side caused by external factors like waves, wind, or load. 

Some skilled kayakers can perform the Eskimo roll; that is, they can roll and ship the kayak without it capsizing or ejecting them. You should note that this is a recovery feature not very easy to perform.

Stability is a significant safety concern in kayak fishing, especially if you are fly fishing.  You should always ensure your kayak is stable primarily and secondarily while on your fishing trip. 

Primary stability is the initial stability of a kayak on flat, still water. It mainly relates to how the paddler feels while aboard the kayak. Secondary stability refers to the ability of a kayak to stay stable when it has heeled or constantly tilting on its side.

A good kayak should have good secondary stability as it determines the safety and paddling performance of the kayak. Kayak stability is greatly affected by its length, width, and load capacity. To ensure kayak stability, you may have to forgo other things like speed.

The most stable kayak for fishing, in our opinion, is the S4 cartop cat skiff which can guarantee the safety of up to three paddlers.

As an adventurous angler, we would advise you to consider fly fishing from a kayak. It is thrilling and truly a one-of-a-kind experience. Kayaks are gaining popularity as the go-to vessels in the angling world.