So you have decided to get into kayaking and or kayak fishing. Now you want to know what kayak is good for you. Well one of the things that I have learned along the way is that it is best if you try out several kayaks before purchasing one.
Ok so why this walk down memory lane? Well I wanted to detail some of my mistakes in purchasing which could have been remedied by some patience and practice.
First up, where can you get the practice. Well this can be accomplished easiest through a vendor demo day. These are popular in the spring with many vendors but they also have them throughout the year. At a demo day, you can literally test out dozens of different kayaks and equipment. They are usually held by the water, in a bay, or lake. Also, vendors will bring their whole gallery of kayaks out. In my area Appomattox River Company (ARC), Blue Ridge Mountain Sports (BMRS), and Wild River Outfitters (WRO) have annual demo days. I would highly recommend going to one and trying out a bunch of kayaks. Usually these are free, sometimes they will have a nominal fee which goes to cover things such as park fees or insurance needed for such an event. If you can't find a demo day, look for local clubs. I am active with the Pirates of Lynnhaven Kayak Fishing club and we regularly have people asking about what kayak to buy and without fail, someone is always there to offer to let the new kayak test out their kayak. Dont be shy, jump onto one of your local kayak club's online forums and ask. You will find that people are eager to help promote the sport.
Now you know where to get the practice, but what should you look for. There are many theories as to what the best kayaks are. I will not get into specifics on brands & models because most brands make solid kayaks, but sticking with one of the more popular brands will probably serve you well. A few of the popular brands are Wilderness Systems, Native, Ocean Kayak, Hobie, Herritage, and Perception. What I will do is detail 3 different types of kayaks and give pros and con's to each.
First up is the touring kayak. This is a SINK style kayak. These are designed for slow rivers and open waters. They can also be referred to as a sea kayak. They typically are long and narrow with a lot of internal storage in the bow and stern. These are designed to cut through the water and are great if you are looking at long paddles on slow moving rivers, lakes, bay's or even in the ocean. If you are looking at fishing from one of these kayaks, it is possible, but probably not your best choice. I have known people to fish from them, but shortly they moved to a more fishing friendly platform.
This is just a general overview of the different types of kayaks. For more specifics, visit your local kayak retailer, or send me an email and I would be more than happy to assist in anyway I can.