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The Future of Kayak Fishing: Emerging Technologies

Life in the twenty-first century can seem like a world away from the decades that preceded it. Technological advances develop like the speed of light and it can be difficult to keep up. But it seems like “keep up” we must. Even in the realm of kayak fishing, cutting-edge technologies are impacting the way we fish today and into the future.

Here are some of the emerging technologies being used in kayak fishing today.

Sonar Advancement for Kayak Fishing

Sonar has been used by anglers for decades, but today’s rod-throwers are benefitting from side-imaging, forward-imaging, and CHIRP sonar as well as sonar optimized lures.

Side-imaging and Front-imaging Sonar

Recent advances in sonar technology have brought side and front imaging sonar into the fish-finding game. While traditional sonar is still excellent for downward views from an anchored craft, “live” sonar-like front-imaging allows kayakers to troll along and shoot sonar to the front and sides, expanding their view and bringing more data to the game. Being able to cast to a target area before your boat reaches it levels up your fishing game. 


CHIRP (Compressed High Intensity Radar Pulse) is a type of sonar. By sending out a wide range of frequencies (like car radio scans for an FM station), CHIRP sonar produces more accurate and detailed images. Structures, fish, and bottom terrain are more easily read than with traditional 2D sonar. This helps make fish finder images easier to interpret. 

Optimized Lures

Advances in sonar technology have also come with advances in lures. Using the advantage of “live sonar”, lure makers are creating products that are designed to appear on the screen and show just how the fish are responding. By being able to “see” how the fish are reacting, anglers can change their presentation, get a re-do at a hesitant fish, or provoke a reaction strike. 

Virtual Reality Kayak Fishing Experiences

Embracing the virtual world can be an exciting way to hone your fishing skills and use new technologies. There are a few ways that anglers can experience virtual opportunities. 

Simulators/Video Games

Delving into a digital world with simulators and video games can help anglers hone their skills and get a taste of fishing even if they can’t be out on the water. Virtual Reality fishing is exploding in popularity as virtual anglers get to “fish” in realistic settings with natural motion. Virtual reality lets them fish from the comfort of home while they experience fishing spots from around the world. Advances in digital realism have created “games” that feel compellingly accurate. This allows anglers to keep up their skills in the off-season, to get to waters they would never experience otherwise, and just enjoy the sport when they can’t readily get to the water. For an even more immersive experience, anglers can go to an actual simulator with even more realistic effects. With rods that actually bend and lines that pull, simulators can help with education and training on new lures and tackle. 

Virtual Fishing Tournaments 

Another virtual element is the growth of virtual tournaments. With advances in applications and the growth of handheld devices, fishing tournaments today can be handled completely online. Entrants can fish their own waters and then upload their catch to the app (per the rules and regulations of each contest) so they can fish for prizes and build community with people around the world without the expense and hassle of travel. These opportunities are particularly beneficial for those just getting started in competitive fishing as the entry fees and stakes are usually lower. 

Drone for Kayak Fishing

The use of drones in kayak fishing is drawing more and more attention. Whether you embrace the idea of scouting and dropping bait from a drone or not, many anglers are exploring the possibilities of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

With improvements and developments in GPS and imaging, drones can be used to give an eagle-eye view of an area. They can spot fish under the water. And some drones are even equipped with auto-casting to bring your line right to the fish. (And sometimes even drop your bait.) While debates continue over the ethics and regulation of drone fishing, some anglers are enjoying the results of these emerging technologies. 

AI-Powered for Kayak Fishing

Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to make impacts in all areas of life, including kayak fishing. You might be wondering how AI can be involved in the age-old practice of casting and reeling. Well, there are a number of ways that AI is impacting the kayak fishing game.

Fish Finders

If you’ve ever used an old-school fish finder with simple 2D displays, you might be aware of the learning curve involved in interpreting what you are seeing on the screen. With the advancement in sonar technology and the use of AI, that is changing. AI-powered fish finders can pinpoint fish accurately, differentiate between species & sizes, suggest bait options, and communicate that information clearly.

Fishing Apps

There’s an app for that! And indeed there is. So many new apps are developing that are powered with AI and can bring fishing info to your fingertips. Factors like water temperature, salinity, food sources, weather patterns, tides, and lunar phases all get processed and communicated to the angler through AI processes. Anything that can influence fish behavior is knowledge for the fisherman. AI brings it to you with predictions, advice, and more. 

AI-Enhanced Fishing Gear

In addition to the information you can receive directly from fish finders and apps, AI is also helping to transform the gear that anglers use. Using the power of AI even rods, reels, and lures are getting an upgrade. Imagine if your rod could communicate water temperature or depth. What if your gear told you the type of fish that was nibbling at your bait? It might sound out of this world, but devices are evolving that do exactly that. 

AI is also being used to help design lures and other baits to make fishing more effective. And they can work with advances in sonar as mentioned above. With AI, you can customize rods, reels, and lures to your specifications or ask for advice on the right gear for each trip, time of year, and type of water body.

Whether you embrace these emerging technologies or long for simpler times, you will likely find these advances are here to stay. No matter how it happens, there is still nothing quite like the thrill of the catch. Happy Fishing!

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