Like every other sport or
activity, kayak fishing has its own myths and beliefs that
evolved over the years as a result of fishing kayak vendors'
marketing campaigns and more naturally - as fishing tales...
True Or False? - Questions You May Have Asked Yourself:
Sit-On-Top kayak (SOT) is more comfortable than a Sit-In Kayak (SIK)"
That may be true if you feel comfortable sitting on a paddle
board that offers you absolutely ne protection from water or weather,
and has has holes ('scupper holes') going from its deck down through
its hulls and below waterline. These holes were put there to
drain the water that's nearly always present on the deck from because
of spray and waves, but they obviously conduct water in the other
direction too, that is from below up and into the space you're seated
on. In sum, there is no such thing as a dry SOT kayak.
kayak can get you where other boats
-This statement is not very accurate since those who claim so ignore a
of small, shallow-draft water crafts including motorized and human powered pirogues,
canoes, dinghies, rafts and more. Both whitewater canoeing and
down river canoeing are still practiced by many, and so is fishing from
canoes, dinghies etc.
-“Kayaks are faster than canoes.”
–This statement is based on an erroneous comparison between some faster
kayak models to the most common canoe models that are usually large and
very stable, while in fact fishing kayaks are rather slow by nature and
some racing canoe models are very fast.
-“Kayaks are more stable than
-This statement is false, and canoes are still very popular as fishing
boats, mainly because they are usually wider and offer more
stability. You can sometime see people casting standing in a
canoe if water and weather permit, but have you ever seen someone
casting standing in a kayak? -It is said that very small and
lightweight people can, but this is certainly not true for the
overwhelming majority of people.
-“The Sit-On-Top (SOT) is a new type of
–Wrong. The first commercial SOT models were introduced on the US
market in the beginning of the seventies. Native peoples all over the
world have used small sit-on-top paddle crafts for millennia, sometime even with double blade paddles.
-“Kayaks were the fishing boats of choice for natives of Greenland,
Northern Canada and Alaska."
-In fact these people preferred large and stable canoes called Umiak,
especially for open water fishing. They used kayaks more often in
protected waters, and mainly for sneaking close to their prey when hunting.
"The Arctic skin boat known to
Inuit as the kayak was
protected from waves, spray and the elements by a watertight, covered deck.
Low and slender in shape, the speedy kayak was admirably designed for its
primary function: the pursuit of sea
mammals, waterfowl caribou. These hunting boats,
quiet in use, were found all over the North, as far west as Siberia,
among the Chukchi and Koryak; and as far east as Greenland and Labrador,
among the Inuit."
See: Canadian Museum of Civilization
-“Modern kayaks are both stabler and
-Totally false: Paddle sports are generally slow, and the slowest
kayaks are those designed for fishing. The reason for that being
that the monohull design is constrained by the laws of hydrodynamics to
a tradeoff between speed and stability, and since fishing kayaks are
required to offer more stability than other kayaks they are
slower. Furthermore, Sit-On-Top (SOT) kayaks are even slower
since their scupper holes substantially increase drag.
-“A good kayak seat is very
–The fact of the matter is that the original native people's kayaks
never had seats, and the whole concept of kayak seat is rather
misleading since leg numbness is the result of bad circulation in the
legs coming from being seated in the “L” kayaking position, which most
of us stopped using since we were toddlers. As for lower back
pains, they result from the legs pushing your body against the seat's
backrest (AKA “lumbar support”) in an attempt to prevent your body from
sliding down. Expensive, cushioned and otherwise sophisticated
seats may delay the appearance of these annoying and potentially
dangerous physiological symptoms, but eventually they will appear
simply because kayaks offer you just one, unusual and therefore
problematic position without any option to switch to other paddling or
-“Kayak fishing is a water sport and therefore you have to get wet!"
-Not acceptable. First of all kayak fishing doesn't necessarily have to
be wet if you use a sit-in kayak on flat water. Second, getting
wet and staying wet for long hours is not an option in colder climates
and waters, that is in about half of the US territory. Third,
being wet for hours is unpleasant even in warm climates and waters, and
can cause rashes and infections. Conclusion:
You don't have to listen to SOT manufacturers’ excuse for not having
found better solution to “wet ride” and “soggy bottom” problems that
are plaguing people who fish from SOTs and are a main turnoff for those
who want to participate in kayak fishing. And just for the
record, you don't really want to wear waders while in your kayak, not
just because it's uncomfortable but also because it's dangerous.
-“Scupper holes drain the water from your SOT.”
-False. Scupper holes drain the water only from the deck, but not from
the hull of the SOT kayak, which can get water leaking inside without
you being capable of noticing it, until it's too late...
Scupper holes also get water onto the deck from below, as the kayak is bouncing up and down, and from side to side.
-“Kayak stability is important only for beginning fishermen.”
–Not when it comes to fishing kayaks since the overwhelming majority of
North Americans have neither the skills nor the physical attributes
that Inuit and other native kayak fishermen had, and SOT kayaks are
essentially less stable than comparable sit-in kayaks since their
center of gravity (CG) is higher. Therefore, modern, recreational kayak
fishermen are exposed to a much higher risk of capsizing than the
original, native kayak fishermen were. You may get used to
fishing from an unstable kayak until the inevitable moment comes when
you'll capsize in unsafe conditions. –Some people can ride a mono cycle
quite easily but that doesn't mean you should try it...
-“SOTs are more versatile than Sit-in kayaks.”
–Not if you would even consider fishing with a SOT in cold water and/or
old weather, -conditions that are common to much of the US and
Canada. Also, SOTs offer you little or no protection in the surf,
and are less maneuverable than sit-in kayaks, which elevates the risk
of injuries and accidents even in warm waters (e.g. shark bytes,
-“You can roll a
"In reality, 99% of people who paddle kayaks can't even roll a SIK tough it's basically easier than rolling a SOT, so it would
be a waste of time for you to try to roll a fishing SOT, especially
considering the fact that in order to do so you'll have to strap
yourself to your boat, which is very dangerous, especially in the surf
where capsizing is more likely to happen.
-“You can cast standing in a kayak.”
-Although nobody really believes this since most people don't even feel
fully confident just sitting in a kayak, this myth keeps being
mentioned on Internet forums in discussions about stable fishing
kayaks. Technically speaking, children and very small adults can
sometime stand in a kayak, usually a wide sit-in since it has a lower
center of gravity than a SOT. However, nobody can stand in any
type of kayak confidently enough to cast. Some people can cast
standing in large size canoes, and anybody can cast standing from a W
-“Rudders solve both your tracking and maneuvering problems.”
–Although many would like to believe so, the reality is more complex
and not particularly encouraging one to use a rudder: Native
kayakers never used rudders but Kayak manufacturers introduced rudders
with the intent to improve kayaks’ directional stability (i.e.
tracking) and maneuverability. Keeping any monohull including
kayaks is a problem since zigzagging makes the boat go a longer
distance, and constantly correcting the kayak's course can require a
lot of your energy and time. Moreover, tracking becomes more
difficult as water and weather conditions deteriorate. But
looking only at (unpublished) results of hydrodynamics tests shows that
rudders increase total drag by up to 10%, and considering the constant
mental and physical effort that manipulating the rudder requires from
the paddler it is possible to say that rudders reduce effective speed
by about 25%. Naturally, the more experienced the paddler the
less effort is wasted, but the less the rudder is required in the first
place. As for maneuvering, a rudder can make a noticeable
difference especially if the kayak is very long (e.g. 16’-18’ long
seakayaks) and the paddler inexperienced, but its effectiveness is
dubious in shorter (i.e. more maneuverable) kayaks.
fishing kayaks are so stable you can hardly tip them over,
even if you try."
-This is an absurd falsehood: The only people who are not in
danger of tipping a modern fishing kayak are small children who sit and
behave nicely in their kayak. In fact, when you need to struggle
with a big fish kayaks are impractical since they can offer little
support to your pulling effort. Only few kayak fishermen are
capable of catching big fish from their kayaks without any assistance.
-“Most kayak fishermen fish at sea.”
–This image doesn't seem to fit reality, where most people who use
kayaks for fishing tend to do it in protected waters, for obvious
-While this may be true compared to boats that require towing, it's not
necessarily true within the class of paddle craft since kayaks are more
difficult to get into and out from than canoes are, and consequently
also more difficult when it comes to launching and taking out.
-“SOTs are stabler than SIKs.”
-Quite the opposite: SOTs offer paddlers to sit in the unstable “L”
kayaking position on top of a deck, while SIKs offer them to sit it
that same position at the bottom of the hull. This difference in
the center of gravity (CG) height works against the SOT and needs to be
compensated by a wider hull.
-“Hatches offer practical means for
-Few thing could be further from the truth: In fact, you can't
access what's inside the hatches from your seat, and in most cases the
hatches fail to be totally waterproof.
-"SOTs are very safe kayaks, and they are self bailing."
False. The hulls of SOT kayaks are not self bailing, and there's no
means to drain water out of them unless you pump it out, or drain it
out through a hole, while the SOT is on dry land. The only part in a
SOT that's continuously drained is its deck, through water flowing down
its sides and down the scupper holes. SOT kayaks'
neither self bailing nor offer proper means for seeing water
in through the hatches, deck rigging holes, and cracks, and this means
you could find yourself paddling a sinking kayak when it's already too
late to do anything about it.
-"The best color for a fishing kayak is dark green or camo because it's harder for fish to see."
When fish look up to the water surface they see a bright
light coming from above, and when they look down to the bottom they see
darker shades. This is why most marine predators have light bellies and
dark backs. There is no scientific proof that light colored or
dark colored fishing kayaks (or canoes) perform better, but it is
absolutely certain that light colors, especially yellow are more
visible outside the water, and therefore are safer for you when fast
and/or big motorboats are around.
Electric trolling motors vs. gas outboard motors, transom mounts vs side mounts, offshore and inland - and more.
Stand up fishing kayak pictures, and what they mean to you
Pictures of young, lightweight and athletic
fishermen standing in their kayak look nice, but they don't necessarily
mean you can do it and feel confident and safe while you fish.
More about the stability in fishing kayaks >
Bob Smaldone - Standing carefree in full stability and confidence, even if you're over 70 year old
Jeff McGoveren - Stand up with no balancing act even if you're 6'3" tall, 245 lbs heavy, and middle aged
The Sellards - Multiple passengers can stand in this kayak too
Bill Davenport - 6'3" tall, sixty something, and with an artificial knee - Standing and fly fishing in saltwater
Ken Short - 70 y/o - Any fisherman should be able to stand up in their kayak,
Stand up paddling is an essential part of kayak fishing standing
Rox Davis - You should be standing on the bottom of the kayak's hulls, below waterline, and not on top of its deck
Gary Thorberg is a big guy whose passion is fly fishing standing in his W kayak. His favorite species are musky, carp and bass
Norm Craig - Being elderly, heavy and having a bad back isn't a problem
Standing up is an essential part of fly fishing
John Fabina - 6'3" 250 lbs - Big and tall anglers need to be able to cast freely, and enjoy the same
range of motion and stability they are used to when fishing from
Standing up in a kayak means having the capability to focus on things
that are important to you, and not having to pay attention to keeping
This Invention Is Protected By U.S. Utility Patent Number 6871608