You drag your Ol’ Trusty Poly-E boat from the water (or fiberglass if you’re Boujee) after a long day of kayak fishing… you and your pals have spent hours upon hours hunting shorelines and structure… The weather was ideal and your body is sending reports that you’ve probably put in more miles than ever… You feel accomplished. It’s time to kick back now, crack open a cold one and enjoy stories of the day or a legend or two of yesterday.
As always, before relaxation may commence, everyone begins chatting near the launch; the topic of conversation… “New Gear”. Whether it be a shiny new reel, some new lures, or the latest gadgetry in the fishing/kayaking world; it never fails, someone’s going to want to show off their new toy. And wanting that new toy; It’s inevitable, like a bug, and it will Make… You… ITCH! Most of us kayakers are Gear Heads…
How do I know what I need?
We see the new products released each year, we hear about them on social media, see adds through YouTube sneak peeks, and we wait for them to hit the retail shelves. I tell ya, the waiting game can be a pain. But out of aaaalllllll that gear, how do you know what’s really right for you? How can you be smart about spending your money and really get what you need? Or, what if you’re a NEW kayaker and you just want to figure out where to start.
In my opinion, the answer to that question is in knowing yourself, knowing your fishing style, and knowing how best you use your pedal/paddle craft. I’ve given this advice hundreds of times before to both experienced and newbie kayak fishermen and I wholeheartedly believe it to be the correct action to take when developing a future game plan.
Essentials vs. Non-Essentials
First things first… mainly for the new yakkers… you should recognize that there are “Essentials” and “Non-Essentials”. Let’s hit up those essentials.
Number one, after you’ve acquired the boat of your dreams, you’ll need a paddle. Just to get on the water and have some fun, you can literally use a stick out of a tree, but it’s gonna be a very small amount of fun and very short lived. The better the paddle, the more fun you’ll be able to have over a prolonged period of time. If you don’t like fun, I would recommend the tree branch. For those that want to lock in some enjoyment, spend a buck, you’ll get it back hand over fist in paddle strokes.
Number two, you’ll NEED to ensure your safety, should things get a little hairy on your excursion. The truth is, anything is better than nothing; however, just like the paddle scenario, getting the right PFD will ensure you’ll have more fun over a prolonged period of time, should you spend a little extra money on something comfortable with a few features you’ll enjoy. Regardless, it’s important to PREVENT DROWNING!!
That’s it… that’s all you really need to get out on the water and have some fun… (be smart, check your local laws and regulations to make 100% sure you are covered with the essentials). Much of the rest is personal preference and creature comforts.
What do you do in your kayak?
However, maybe your plans are more serious than just getting out there and having a little fun. Maybe you’re interested in developing a craft, or competing in a tournament series, or maybe you simply want to get out with your family and friends to fish for a day. Whatever the case may be, you kind of have two choices in what you can do. Completely outfit your adventure all at once, or do a little bit at a time.
All at once or Piece-by-piece?
There’s always going to be the consumer that snatches up ALL THE THINGS in one fell swoop. They get it all and don’t need to worry about needing it and not having it. Like I said, outfitting their adventure all at once. Then there are folks that are more like me, buy the boat, and fish the boat. Fish that boat just the way it comes. Find all the small little idiosyncrasies within the craft itself and take some time to figure things out. In my mind, regular use will begin to define what accessories and gear you will benefit from the most.
What I’ve found, through miles and miles and miles of usage, and hours upon hours upon hours of staring at my kayak, and beer after beer after icy cold beer, the gear that pays you back the most would be as follows.
Top 3 Fishing Accessories
Number one, an anchor trolley… suuuuuper important if you plan to fish tidal waters as the trolley allows the user to safely anchor the boat with the current b moving the attachment point up and down the kayak.
Number two, a device to anchor your boat. In my opinion, a stakeout stick is worth its weight in gold (and where the lightest in class are worth TWICE that). To me a stakeout stick is convenient to use, although sometimes a pain to transport. Others that may fish rivers, creeks, or lakes; a Bruce Claw anchor is money (in the hippest of sense). And if you’re into drifting, a drift sock or chain can be very useful attached to your trolley.
Number three, and I am going to be specific, the YakAttack BlackPak. I’ve used nearly every crate option available, including a few DIY options and nothing compares to the ruggedness, the flexibility, and sex appeal of the BlackPak.
The rest is really up to you… and the best way to experience this gear is not reading about it from me, but at the launch, with your buds, sharing a frosty cold beverage and swapping fish stories. So get it there and get wet!