FishUSA now offers fishing kayaks, which are designed from the water up for anglers and their equipment. These modern kayaks differ from the original hunting kayaks of the Arctic in many ways. Instead of stretching skins or other material over an internal frame, modern kayaks are roto-molded in durable plastics. Polyethylene resins are used to make a hard, hollow shell to support the angler, as well as a wide range of accessories, while also being a bit flexible and impact resistant. Modern fishing kayaks typically do not feature an enclosed compartment like their predecessors did. Due to the physical actions of paddling a low-profile boat while needing access to all equipment at a moment’s notice, the standard design referred to as “sit-on-top” is the preferred style for fishing kayaks. The angler sits on top of the hollow shell which is designed to be in contact with the lower back, legs and feet of the paddler to gain maneuverability while remaining stable. Built-in dry storage compartments and other features allow for storage of tackle, provisions and other items you would want to keep dry. Some fishing kayaks even have live bait compartments built right into the shell.
There seem to be no anthropometry stats of kayakers, who may not be representative of the general population. In the American civilian population of the early 1960s, about 0.7% of men and 9% of women weighed under 50 kg (110 lb); 20% of men and 7% of women weighed over 190 pounds (86 kg). In the same population in the late sixties, the average weight of both male and female children crossed 50 kg (110 lb) at age thirteen. In the early 2000s, it was a year or two earlier, and the mean weight of adults was over 10 kg (22 lb) heavier. Also in the early 2000s, the mean weight of men was 190 pounds (86 kg), and the mean weight of women was 163 pounds (74 kg).
The more kayaks you own and the more often you use them will determine how much you would benefit from a kayak trailer. It’s true that for one (or maybe 2) you can toss it in the back (and front) of your SUV or strap it to a roof rack but even that is definitely a struggle that you won’t want to do frequently. Even if you have a smooth and uncomplicated method of transporting your kayak, that doesn’t mean you have a good method of hauling it from truck to beach or dock. A hand trailer to pull your kayak from the car to your tent and then to the water will go a long way in keeping your outing stress-free.
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Plan your first few trips to be short and safe. Choose a bright and sunny day that doesn’t have a forecast of rain or high winds to keep your environmental challenges as predictable as possible. Also, know your limits and underestimate the amount of time you can safely kayak before you get fatigued. Like other workouts, you don’t want to overdo your first kayaking trips and make it difficult to paddle back to shore. Limit your first trip to an hour and then extend as you feel comfortable.
Use Google Earth or other online sources to scout out small non-motor lakes, streams and rivers. One of the best things about kayak fishing is the ability to get on water that isn’t crowded with boaters. Pay attention to where ramp and entry points are located, as well as where some prime fishing spots may be. Doing this will help you save time, stay safe and will increase your chances of catching some fish!
"Sit on top" kayaks place the paddler in an open, shallowly-concave deck above the water level. This style is usually used for non-white water activities as most find it harder to stay inside the kayak while also preventing them from "rolling" which allows the user to upright themselves if they flip over. There are some benefits to sit on tops such as the ability for a "dry hatch" these are a compartment, that usually runs the length of the kayak, which in addition to providing more buoyancy allows for the kayaker to store various equipment in. "Sit on top" kayaks often use "through holes" which allows any water that got in the boat to make it through the deck and dry hatch to drain. "Cockpit style" involves sitting with the legs and hips inside the kayak hull with a spray deck or "spray skirt" that creates a water-resistant seal around the waist. There is a wide range of "cockpit style" boats which usually allow for more user control of the boat as they are able to push against the walls of the boat to tip in order to complete maneuvers. A common variant of "cockpit style" kayaks are "play boats" these are usually very short kayaks in which the user does tricks and maneuvers: "Inflatables" are a hybrid of the two previous configurations; these boats have an open deck, but the paddler sits below the level of the deck. These boats are often subject to more instability due to the way the boat sits higher in the water. They are often used in a more commercial setting, they are often affectionately called "Duckies". "Tandems" are configured for multiple paddlers, in contrast to the single person designs featured by most kayaks. Tandems can be used by two or even three paddlers.