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Customizing Your Kayak

Kayaks are such versatile watercraft that there is almost nothing you can do on the water that you can’t do from a kayak. But as you discover what YOU love to do in your kayak, you might want to make your kayak work for you.

Maybe you’ve been kayaking for a while and you are discovering a few adjustments to your kayak that would just make things easier. Have no fear, there are customizations that you can make to your kayak to ensure that it works for YOU!

Here are some common kayak “upgrades” for general and fishing use.

General Kayak Customization:

Light or Flag

This small upgrade can have a big impact. Because kayaks sit so close to the water, they can be hard for other boaters to see and maneuver around. Adding a flag can alert others to your presence. Especially if you are anchored or otherwise blending into the environment. A light can also be added protection, especially at night or dawn / dusk.

Anchor System

Having the ability to stack out or anchor out your kayak can be a nice change of pace. Whether you are fishing or just taking a break from the paddle, you can benefit from the ability to stay still on the water. Kayaks can be a bit difficult to secure, however, because of their low profile and propensity to get swamped. You can invest in an anchor pulley system which lets your kayak “ride the currents” a bit and still stay anchored by swiveling around an anchor point with pulleys. An anchor stake or pole is also popular, particularly in shallow waters.

Storage: Bungees & Crates

It seems you can never have enough storage on your kayak. One nice upgrade is to work on storage and organization. You can capitalize on the existing bungees or deck space and add to what is already there. Additionally, you can invest in a milk crate organizational system which is quite popular with kayak anglers as you can keep everything at your fingertips and easily carry it from vehicle to kayak in one trip.

Stand-up (steady) Bars or Pull-up Assist Straps

While these are particularly attractive to fishing aficionados (because they desire to stand to cast), stand-up bars & straps can also be helpful to all kayakers. Whether to assist in exiting the kayak, to help kayakers of a certain age, or to benefit your casting, there are many reasons to invest in a system to help you get to a standing position.

Kayak Sun Shade Canopy

Whatever your kayak adventure activity involves, some may want protection from the sun. As the name implies, kayak sunshade canopies offer protection and relief from the blazing sun while you’re out on the water. Typically, they’re cloth or canvas type materials and can be mounted on your yak. Sun shade canopies for kayaks come in all shapes and sizes, so you can choose which style best fits your kayak and/or adventure activity!

Fishing Kayak Customization:

Gear Track

While many kayaks today come with a gear track already installed. You don’t need to fear it if yours doesn’t have it. Gear tracks are a common upgrade that can be added to your kayak. They are popular because they are so versatile. They allow you to add all sorts of gear to your kayak to enhance your experience. You can add all sorts of different mounts to the track that allow you to connect lights, cameras, GPS, and so much more.

Fish Finder

While this will likely get added to your gear track, it deserves its own mention because it is more than just mounting the monitor to your gear track. A fish finder will require mounting a power source and sensors, so this upgrade is more labor intensive, but worth the effort when you see the results.

Deck Padding

One of the benefits of kayak fishing is how silently you can approach the fish. However, if you get right over your prey and drop a rod or knock a paddle, you can negate all your stealthy work. Adding some deck padding can dampen sound to enhance your quiet approach.

Paddle & Rod Holders

Again, some of these may be included with your kayak purchase - or can be attached to the gear track mentioned above, but they get their own mention because of how helpful they are. If you are fishing from your kayak, you are going to want holders for your rod, paddle, and even your water bottles. You will be glad you did.


Outfitting and customizing your kayak “just right for you” can enhance your kayaking games and make getting out on the water an even more enjoyable experience. And don’t stop with these suggestions, there is so much more to do that can make your kayak yours. Happy paddling!

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