Kayak Fishing In Cold Weather

In sum, SOT kayaks, and even sit-in kayaks offer too little stability, comfort and protection from the elements to serve as fishing kayaks in northern regions. These facts also imply less safety for the anglers, so it’s easy to understand why the number of kayak anglers in the north is much smaller than in the south.

Although kayaks were invented by Inuits living in the arctic circle, kayak fishing as a recreational sport, or outdoor activity, is largely confined to the southern regions: Southeast, South, and Southwestern regions of the United States, and so much to the colder Northern regions.

Florida, called the sunshine state, is world capital of fishing, and also the world capital for kayak fishing. It has the biggest number of kayak anglers, kayak fishing guides, kayak fishing clubs, websites, dealers, online forums, etc.  Texas is number two, and then other southern states follow at a distance.

This is why many people think that a fishing kayak is a ‘yak’, that is a sit-on-top kayak, or SOT kayak. Things are much different in the northern part of the United States, and in Canada, where kayak fishing hasn’t been accepted with a lot of enthusiasm, because of the different climate, and that includes both colder weather and water.

The simple truth is that capsizing your kayak in cold water is anything between very unpleasant and a very dangerous, because of hypothermia. Just being constantly splashed and sprayed by cold water is unpleasant and could be hazardous too, especially in cold and windy days. That’s what fishing from a kayak (sit-in or SOT) means  in the North, unless you accept a kayak fishing season that’s limited to the months of July and August, and in the further north you, even that would be stretching it.

In sum, SOT kayaks, and even sit-in kayaks offer too little stability, comfort and protection from the elements to serve as fishing kayaks in cold regions. These facts also imply less safety for the anglers, so it’s easy to understand why the number of kayak anglers in the north is much smaller than in the south.

I’ll further discuss this subject in future posts.

The Fascinating Kayak Fishing World

The sport of kayak fishing and the kayak fishing industry have evolved considerably in the past decade, and this blog will cover both.

The statistics for this sport are unreliable, and possibly even non-existent, but judging by the number of participants in local kayak fishing tournaments in the US, for which the statistics are reliable, and by other sources of quasi reliable data (E.G. Google), it is possible to estimate the total number of people who fish regularly from kayaks (I.E. kayak anglers) as ranging in the lower tens of thousands.

The sport of kayak fishing and the kayak fishing industry have evolved considerably in the past decade, and this blog will cover both.

The statistics for this sport are unreliable, and possibly even non-existent, but judging by the number of participants in local kayak fishing tournaments in the US, for which the statistics are reliable, and by other sources of quasi reliable data (E.G. Google), it is possible to estimate the total number of people who fish regularly from kayaks (I.E. kayak anglers) as ranging in the lower tens of thousands.

This number is still very small in comparison with the overall number of people who take part in recreational fishing, estimated at over forty million in the US alone, and compared with the total number of leisure boats registered in the US, which attains seventeen million – most of them motorboats.

The United States being the biggest market for boats, kayaks, and fishing gear makes such estimate more compatible with reality.

As for the growth rate in participation, judging from Internet activity, as well as numbers of participants in local kayak fishing tournaments, it is possible to say that the exponential growth rate that characterized the first half of this decade has plateaued, or at least come down to a rate of a few percent annually.

The New Jersey store that pioneered this sport, and played an important role in promoting it through its popular online forums, closed a year ago. On the other hand, major distributors of fishing gear and fishing boats now offer fishing kayaks as part of their regular product offering.

As far as media coverage in concerned, two opposite trends can be perceived:

The first is a slow decrease in external coverage, that is the overall attention given to kayak fishing in the general media (TV and newspapers) has been decreasing steadily.

On the other hand, the kayak fishing market itself has come up with a plethora of online publications, from kayak fishing magazines to websites and discussion forums, and blogs. There is still only one hard copy kayak fishing magazine, and it is not clear if its publishers intend to keep printing it, since its number of issues published per year keeps decreasing.

Kayak fishing has become much more popular in the southern, warmer regions of the United States, and its popularity decreases in a direct relation to factors such as average temperature (weather), water temperature, and the number of sunny days, or ‘fishable days’ in the year. Although fishing from shore and from boats is very popular in the Northern regions, kayak fishing isn’t.

This probably explains why sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks are more popular as fishing kayaks than sit-in (SIK) kayaks are. Simply, southern kayak anglers prefer the SOT over the SIK  due the its being self-bailing, and they are less concerned about being protected from the elements, I.E. cold water and/or cold wind. As for northern anglers, they don’t seem to embrace the notion that fishing from a small, unstable and exposed boat such as either a SOT or a sit-in kayak is fun.

Kayak Fishing Bull

I believe that kayak fishing is a great idea, and a great sport, and it could become much more popular in the future, once there are more good fishing kayaks out there.

Hi,

I’m YakBull, the kayak fishing dude.

I believe that kayak fishing is a great idea, and a great sport, and it could become much more popular in the future, once there are more good fishing kayaks out there.

What I mean to say is that I understand that all manufacturers and vendors need to promote their products, including fishing kayaks, but I don’t have to believe everything I hear, or read, and I don’t have to like being told anything from nonsense to outright lies about these products.

In my new blog, I’ll discuss kayak fishing as a sport, with an emphasis on its huge potential, and on the problems that prevent it from growing faster, especially what makes anglers stop practicing it, and what makes other anglers reluctant from even giving kayak fishing a try.

The main advantages I see in kayak fishing compared to fishing from bigger boats are:

Initial low cost of the kayak, and low maintenance costs, potentially healthy outdoor exercise – at least when paddling is concerned, and not motorized fishing kayaks, and ease of maintenance and access to launching.

The main drawbacks depend on which region you fish in (cold or warm), whether you fish inland or offshore, and what your physical condition is, I.E. your weight, age, fitness, etc. More specifically, it is not a secret that kayaks in general, and fishing kayaks included, have a variety of physical problems associated with their use, of which kayak back pain (a.k.a ‘yak back’) is the best known, and most problematic.