Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Looking to get your next fishing kayak?

Here in New Brunswick on the East Coast of Canada, we look forward to April as the traditional month when the weather finally turns a corner and conditions get to where we can comfortably get out for a paddle without having to wrap up in 7 layers of clothes.  So naturally, with the growth in popularity in the sport of kayak fishing many folk are now thinking about getting involved.   I have heard recently from a number of people looking to invest in their first fishing kayak and have lots of questions as to how they should go about choosing the best ride for them.

Just with purchasing a vehicle, I would say the number one rule in choosing your next (or especially first!) fishing kayak is to try before you buy.   Try more than one model of kayak if you can, and more than one brand.   That way you can get a feel for the differences between different styles of fishing kayaks and develop an appreciation for those features that appeal the most to you.

You are going to need to set your price point.   The cheaper box store kayaks, can be had for under $1000.   There is certainly nothing wrong with getting one of these boats if that is where your price point needs to be.   Many days of enjoyment can be had on these kayaks.  However these kayaks are generally not built to be used outside of calm slow moving water, such as a lake on a nice day.    To safely handle the ocean or windy conditions in open water, you really want to invest in a kayak that was built for it.

The cheaper box-store makes of kayaks typically are made from less durable materials (thinner, cheaper plastics) and will not offer the performance or comfort of the mainstream brands.   Personally I wouldn't let anyone in my family take a $500 Pelican kayak out on the Bay of Fundy or attempt to cross a big lake in strong winds, but I would be comfortable with them fishing for pickerel in Kingston Creek or on the Hammond River.

lf you want to get a quality fishing kayak that will perform exceptionally well in a wide variety of conditions and will last you for many years, be prepared to spend up to $2000 (with taxes), That being said, the resell value of a quality brand of fishing kayak is quite high.   You could have one for several years and turn around and sell if for just a few hundred less than you had paid!    In all honesty, you really do get what you pay for!

Of course, not all fishing kayaks are created equal, and there is no one fishing kayak that is just right for everyone.   There are significant differences in styles, strengths and weaknesses from brand to brand and model to model.   You may know someone who loves their particular model of fishing kayak, however if you try it you may find it too heavy, small, slow, unstable, uncomfortable, or perhaps just too much for what you are looking for.   Not everyone needs a fully equipped fishing battleship afterall!

Here in the Greater Saint John region I can recommend two avenues of in person research you can do.   First is to hit the facebook page for the Greater Saint John Kayak Anglers.    This is a group of (at the moment)  over 90 people active in the sport who are more than willing to offer thoughts and opinions to anyone with questions about different makes of kayaks.   During the year we have several outings and if you wanted to get out and give kayak fishing a whirl, several members of the group would be happy to assist, perhaps helping to find you a loaner fishing kayak for the day.

Another option would be to give me a call or an e-mail.    I can take people out for either a full or half day of guided kayak fishing, bringing a couple of different of models of kayak with us to try out.    An afternoon or day of kayak fishing would really help you appreciate not only the kayak itself, but also the types of accessories and rigging you may want to do on your kayak after the purchase.  As a nice bonus, guided fishing clients that wish to purchase an Old Town or Ocean Kayak model of fishing kayak can get a discount off the regular price of these boats from our local retailer Outdoors NB!  

If you weren't interested in doing a guided outing, I could still meet you here in Quispamsis and show you all of the kayaks I have in my mini-fleet, perhaps even meet you at nearby Meenan's Cove beach for you to do a short test ride.   We would be able to talk through topics such as hull design, intended use, capacity ratings, layout.... etc.   All things you need to keep in mind when choosing your next kayak.

For those not in our area, seek out a retailer who would allow you to do a test run.    Eco-Logical Adventures in Oromocto would be one such store.   If you choose to go with a store that doesn't offer test runs, then be sure to understand their store policy on returns in case you purchase a kayak you end up not satisfied with after riding for an hour.    This again, is something you need to keep in mind when looking at box store kayaks.

Hopefully if you are one of those looking to get into the sport, I've given you something to chew on here.   This is a sport that will open up possibilities for your fishing adventures you have never imagined, so I strongly encourage you follow through and give it a try.   It is something you really won't regret!

1 comment:

  1. New Mills Tackle Shop stocks a wide range of competitively priced, quality game and coarse fishing equipment, from Shakespeare to Greys. What´s more with a lake on hand and a multitude of rod, reel and line demos to try.