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Fishing From a Sit-In Kayak

Kayak fishing has a robust following as more and more people have discovered the amazing advantages of these lightweight, maneuverable, and economical crafts. However, if you’ve spent any time at all looking at fishing kayaks, you have probably seen that they are largely of the sit-on-top variety.

Sit-on-top vs. Sit-in

And there are good reasons for the popularity of sit-on-tops for kayak fishing. Sit-on-tops have been touted for their stability, abundant storage, and comfortable adjustable seating.

Traditional sit-in kayaks have been less conducive to fishing. The sit-in was accused of restricting movement, offering less accessible storage, and uncomfortable seating. 

But don’t discount the traditional sit-in kayak. There have been some innovative trends in sit-in kayaks that are bringing them back into the kayak fishing game.

Sit-In Kayak Innovations

Kayak engineers and designers have heard the call of kayak fishers. They are seeking to get the best of both worlds. If you are looking for a lightweight, versatile kayak with dry storage and a more protected cockpit, take a look at these new sit-ins.

Hybrid Sit-Ins

  • Larger cockpit - Improved sit-ins have a larger cockpit, so they mimic a sit-on-top with more space to maneuver and the ability to rig a dashboard with equipment. Carving out a larger cockpit also means less plastic for a lighter weight yak.
  • Performance - With a sit-in, you are also really low to the water for improved stability. Sit-in kayaks under 12 ft are good for fishing because they are more maneuverable but also more prone to side-to-side motion, so adding width and tweaking the hull have improved performance for fishing on newer hydrids.
  • Upgraded seating - Newer sit-in designs have more comfortable seats including frames with breathable mesh and adjustability rather than the molded seats of traditional sit-ins.
  • Flat on-deck areas - Sit-ins for fishing are also designed with more deck areas available for allowing tackle and fishing gear to be close at hand. The flat areas are rigged with bungees to hold your gear.
  • Dry storage - If you love the dry storage available on a sit-in kayak, you won’t be disappointed in the hybrids as they still offer hatches for storing. This makes hybrid sit-in kayaks particularly good for multi day trips where you want to store your camping goods inside and your fishing gear on top. Best of both worlds.

Fishing from a Sit-In Kayak

There are a few challenges of fishing from a sit-in kayak.

  • You will naturally be closer to the water with a sit-in kayak. This means you are more stable but it will also impact your casting. To counteract the low water position, practice a side-arm cast and avoid a long backcast. You can also hold the rod higher (even at eye height) while you are working a top-water lure.
  • Mounting some elevated rod holders can help to compensate for the low-profile of your kayak. Most of your gear will need to be bungeed to the deck. Fish finders and electronics can be mounted at the front of the cockpit or put on a gear track.

But there are some advantages as well.

  • Weight & stability. Sit-in kayaks are often lighter than their sit-on-top brethren because they have less plastic. Also, they can be quite stable as you sit inside the kayak and close to the water - less chance to lose your balance and tumble out.
  • Sitting inside the yak can also offer protection from the elements. If you are able to add a spray skirt you have even more of a benefit.

Whether you choose a sit-in or sit-on-top kayak, there is no reason you can’t make the most of your paddle craft. Just go for it and see why so many are embracing kayak fishing. Happy Fishing!

 

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