This Is Why You Need a Kayak for Fishing

When you plan a day of fishing, you never go without your trusty fishing boat. It’s been with you for years through your dry days and your biggest fishing catches. Then last weekend, a friend of yours brought you fishing on a kayak and you loved it. Now you’re thinking of buying one as well. What are the benefits of fishing on a kayak?

This is why you need a kayak for fishing:

  • Quieter on the water
  • Low-cost
  • Easy maintenance
  • Good exercise
  • Better for the environment
  • Faster to cross long distances
  • Customizable
  • Access to more fishing areas
  • Simple launching

Ahead, we’ll elaborate on each of the 9 points above, talking in much more detail about the benefits of kayaks over fishing boats. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll certainly want to at least rent a kayak for fishing if not buy one outright! 

9 Reasons to Choose a Kayak Over a Boat for Fishing

Quieter on the Water

Although fish don’t have external ears, they can hear. Their ears are known as otoliths. Through a combination of their otoliths and lateral lines, fish can sense noise and then flee at the first sign of danger. 

When you come rumbling through the lake or river in your motorized fishing boat, you’re going to disturb the fish. Admittedly, fish cannot hear loud noises that are above water, but your boat is both above and below the waterline, so the fish will certainly hear your trawling engine. 

Once you stop the engine and sit still for a while, the fish might poke their heads out, but then again, they just as easily might not. 

In a kayak, you don’t make nearly as much noise. The sound of your oar cutting through the water isn’t loud. You already know that noises above the surface such as conversations will not disturb the fish either.

This gives you the first crack at the fish in the river or lake before they scatter. You could just have one of your most successful fishing days yet! 


Do you remember how much you paid for your fishing boat? If your boat is a few years old, you might be a little fuzzy on its price tag, so we’ll remind you. 

The average price of a fishing boat is $50,000 to $100,000 and up. Yes, you very well could have spent six figures on your fishing boat. It’s no wonder you don’t remember. You might have mentally blocked out the cost!

A fishing kayak, by comparison, costs between $750 and $1,100. That’s right, you can indeed get your hands on a new, high-quality fishing kayak for under a grand. 

Even an $1,100 fishing kayak is $48,900 to $98,900 cheaper than a $100,000 fishing boat. With all the extra money you’re saving, you can buy yourself a new fishing rod, lures, hooks, the whole nine! 

Easy Maintenance

Fishing boats are always more difficult to maintain given that they’re motorized. All the extra care you have to give the engine takes its toll. You must flush the engine, check the clamps, and inspect the motor inside and out. 

That’s not even all the maintenance you have to do on your fishing boat. You must also clean the exterior and interior, lubricate the parts, release the drain plugs, open the valves and faucets, clean the upholstery, and replace any damaged parts.

If that sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is. No wonder you’re exhausted! 

Maintaining a kayak requires far less of your effort. You should inspect the hull, clean the boat inside and out, check the rigging, and cover your kayak when it’s not in use. In the case of inflatable kayaks, you can deflate them and store them until the next time. That’s about it.

As you’re beginning to see, fishing boats suck up your time and money, two of the most valuable things we have in this life. Kayaking will save you more of both! 

Good Exercise

It takes virtually no effort to commandeer a motorized fishing boat to a specific point on the water. 

Fishing itself, while fun, doesn’t burn the most calories either. If you’re sitting in a boat fishing, you’ll torch 143 calories an hour if you weigh 150 pounds. If you weigh 250 pounds, now you’d burn 239 calories an hour.

That’s hardly enough calories to burn off lunch. If you sit and idly snack during those long stretches when nothing happens on your boat, you could find yourself packing on the calories without realizing it. 

So much for a healthy activity!

A kayak has no motor and instead relies exclusively on your physical prowess to get around. Besides the above-mentioned fishing calories, you will also burn calories as you paddle about. That’s a benefit you don’t get when in a motorized fishing boat.

How many calories do you burn while kayaking? According to the American Council on Exercise or ACE, if you weigh 125 pounds, you’ll burn 283 calories per hour of kayaking. Those who weigh 150 pounds will torch 340 calories an hour. 

If you’re 150 pounds and you spend only 60 minutes kayaking and four hours fishing, that’s 912 calories burnt. An angler in a motorized fishing boat misses out on those extra 340 calories, so they’d burn only 572 calories.

Related Reading: Is Fishing from a Kayak Hard? The Pros and Cons

Better for the Environment

Our planet needs our help more than ever. With every choice, we can make eco-friendly decisions that reduce our carbon footprint, or we can further contribute to the devastation that’s ravaging our planet.

If your vessel of choice for fishing is a motorized boat, you’re only widening your carbon footprint, not shrinking it. The gasoline that fuels your boat can be very harmful to the environment.

When gas evaporates, it releases vapors that worsen air pollution. Burning gas can produce nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide, none of which are healthy for humans. Particulate matter enters the air as well, further reducing its quality. 

Carbon dioxide, by the way, is the primary greenhouse gas and the one that’s currently accelerating global warming. Without reducing our human activities that produce carbon dioxide, global warming will continue to happen, leading to more weather extremes and natural disasters.

The waters suffer when you use gas-powered boats as well. Gas is poisonous to animals, and when it enters the water, it penetrates a sea creature’s body. Their eyes, chemoreceptors, skin, and gills are damaged. 

A fish’s swim bladder, which promotes buoyancy, can fill thanks to the gas so fish can no longer float properly. 

Although fish have a means of detecting gas so they can make their escape, they can only do so if the gas levels are at concentrations of around 0.05 milligram per liter. 

If the water that contains gas happens to make it through to your tap, it can do damage to you and your family too. Even breathing in gas-contaminated air can be dangerous.

As you know by now, kayaks are not motorized, so they won’t do harm to the environment. You don’t have to worry about gas affecting the local wildlife (and your fellow humans), nor do you have to stress about introducing more carbon dioxide into the air. 

Faster to Cross Long Distances

If you put a motorized fishing boat and a kayak head-to-head, the fishing boat would be the stronger, more powerful option every time. Its motor allows the boat to generate horsepower that can propel it through the water.

Don’t sleep on your kayak though! If you’re adept at paddling, you can cross surprisingly far expanses of water in a kayak in little time. We’re not saying you’d beat a fishing boat, per se, but then again, this isn’t a race.

Besides, reaching your destinations in your kayak delivers a sense of satisfaction and pride that you never get when you passively ride in your fishing boat. 


Fishing kayaks are designed for every type of fishing you could ever want to do, from fishing in rivers and lakes to venturing out into the big, blue ocean. Even open-water fishing is on the table. 

You can also deck out your fishing kayak with all the features and accessories you need for everyday fishing. Your options include rudders for handling wind, standing decks so you can fish on your feet, gear tracks for a fish finder, more seats, rod holders, and storage compartments and boxes galore. 

When we say you have storage options, by the way, we mean it. For instance, you can add a dry bag to your kayak, internal fishing rod storage areas, tank wells for a cooler or tacklebox, mesh pockets, dry storage at the midship or stern, enclosed bow hatches, and more. 

You’ll want for nothing when using a fishing kayak, and you get to enjoy all the other above-mentioned benefits to boot. 

Access to More Fishing Areas

Due to their slim, streamlined shape and the lack of motor, commandeering a fishing kayak opens your possibilities far more than traversing the same body of water in a fishing boat. 

You’ll have the freedom to explore areas that weren’t accessible to you before. These areas could be rife with fish so you can fill your cooler full of incredible catches. 

Your height in relation to the waterline when kayaking is another factor that improves your accessibility. Since you’re lower to the water, you’ll be forced to modify and thus improve your fishing game, becoming more skilled. 

Simple Launching

Your fishing boat glides through the water smoothly when its motor is on, but outside of the water, it’s a heavy, lumbering piece of metal that’s cumbersome to deal with. Launching the boat into the water is one of your least favorite parts, as you always break a sweat.

Not so with a kayak! You can launch the vessel right from a dock rather than purchasing a dedicated trailer. The average kayak weighs less than 100 pounds, so it’s hundreds of pounds lighter than even a comparably sized fishing boat. Handling the kayak will be like a dream.

You’ll spend less time wrestling with trailers and determining the precise launching angle so you can launch your boat and have more time to get to the food stuff, such as fishing! 

Related Reading: Kayak Fishing Tips and Tricks

9 Best Fishing Kayaks Available

Fishing kayaks are one of the best ways to fish, and they are simply a blast. If you have been in search of which one you should get, look no further. I have found 9 of the best fishing kayak.

So what are the 9 best fishing kayaks? The best kayaks for fishing are:

  1. BKC Angler Sit on Top Fishing Kayak
  2. Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120
  3. Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot 120
  4. Elkton Fishing Tandem Kayak
  5. Perception Kayak Pescador Pro
  6. Native Watercraft Slayer
  7. Hobie Mirage Outback
  8. Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14
  9. Wilderness Systems 115

Buying a new fishing kayak can be really difficult. There is a lot to take into consideration.

Click the link to read more on each of these fishing kayaks. I include all the pros and cons of each kayak, weight, size and so much more.

Final Thoughts

Fishing boats are preferable for many anglers, but let’s be real, they’re not the most efficient option. The average fishing boat is large, heavy, noisy, hard to handle, and full of gas that can pollute the water and affect local marine life (and sometimes human life as well).

Kayaks cost less money, require less maintenance, and make less noise. They might be an unconventional choice for fishing, but once you try a kayak over a fishing boat, we bet you’ll never want to go back! 

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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