Here are the basics of inflatable kayak fishing and what you need to know before you dive into the world of the ‘inflatables’:
Whenever you see an inflatable fishing kayak advertised (or a “ducky”) they are usually called “the biggest bang for your dollar”, and are hyped up as great river running boats, long-distance boats, good fishing boats and good floating boats. However, what do real anglers think of these blow-up boats?
It’s safe to say that at one point, inflatable kayaks were largely considered water toys of sorts, but a great boost in performance technology has helped legitimize them as sporting boats, play boats and fishing boats.
The newest models track straighter and move faster than ever before, and yet are small enough to be stored in a closet or car trunk.
Pros Of Inflatable Kayak Fishing:
- Right away, we see the most obvious benefit: the ability to pack up your “boat” and head home. You don’t have to pay for storage or pay for transportation. Why you can pack up your boat on a plane or a train, right next to your fishing gear! With a hard-shelled kayak or canoe, you are stuck with a massive vehicle to keep, maintain and transport.
- Inflatable kayaks are also much less expensive than hard-shelled kayak models. There are some inflatable kayak enthusiasts who debate this point, suggesting that inflatable kayaks can be just as expensive as regular kayaks. The truth is, cheaply made inflatablescan be very affordable, while quality inflatable kayaks remain competitively priced, if slightly less expensive, because of their popularity and superior performance.
- You will be spend equal or less time spent on inflating or deflating as you would caring for a hard-shelled kayak. While you might think the process is tedious (and it might be without a foot, hand or electric pump), compared to the time you will need to secure a traditional kayak on top of a car or in a trailer, 10 minutes is pretty good!
- Inflatable kayaks are safe for children and easy to learn for beginners. They are also comfortable against the skin and feel like a couch on water.
- Inflatable kayaks are very difficult to sink. You might think such an inflatable device would be sensitive to pricks and tears, but modern inflatable kayaks actually have separate air chambers to ensure that even if a tear or pop occurred, the entire structure would not deflate. Besides, we’re not talking balloons here…these structures are usually made from heavy duty PVC or polyester/nylon.
- A surprisingly large selection awaits you in inflatable kayaks! You can choose from small kayaks fit for one or two people, or even a ten person inflatable raft. You can also find kayaks for different water adventures, such as open sea or white water.
There is only one primary con involved in inflatable kayak fishing, and that is in a lack of speed and maneuverability.
Inflatables are said to slower than the “real thing” because of wide or flat bottoms, which naturally resist higher speeds. Of course, it’s relative to the fact that hard-shelled kayaks are often made with special construction elements that make them faster or easier to control. The fact is, many inflatable kayaks also have special elements and designs that make the vehicle faster, wind-resistant and easier to paddle.
Anecdotally, some anglers claim that kayaks require more effort to paddle than conventional structures, but this ultimately depends on the design and the technology the manufacturer uses.
Anecdotally, some inflatable kayak fishing enthusiasts claim their inflatable model can support hundreds of pounds of extra weight in ways that traditional structures cannot. So who is to say? Your own experience will determine the best choice for you.
There are many types of kayaks to choose from, including recreational kayaks (easy control), sea kayaks (built to travel long distances), sit-on-top kayaks for beginning lessons, and special kayaks designed exclusively for fishing.
Fishing kayaks, besides being built for sea expeditions, also have extra features like rod holders, cooler holders and tackle boxes. They are also reinforced to allow for standing, which provides anglers with better visibility and casting.
Remember this: it’s not necessarily the design that is going to cause differences in speed and maneuverability. By nature, shorter kayaks are easier to turn and control than long kayaks. At the same time, longer kayaks offer greater stability, greater speeds and easier paddling.
When making your inflatable fishing kayak selection, focus on the essentials of:
- Where are you planning to fish?
- How far are you going to travel?
- Are you traveling and paddling alone?
- What is your level of experience in kayaking?
- How are you going to transport your kayak?