As the popularity of kayak fishing increases more kayak designers and manufacturers are drawn to offer their solutions to kayak fishermen. Interestingly, if one can judge from the solutions the main problem that needs addressing is the fishing kayaks’ poor stability.
Out of three recent, original monohull designs all three are explicitly designed to be stabler than regular fishing kayaks, and two out of the three represent experiments in combining canoe features into the kayak design – for the purpose of increasing overall stability.
The two canoe-like or canoe hybrids are different by the fact that one is a SOT and the other a SIK. Both are very wide, and are offered as solutions for flat water fishing. This could mean that either their manufacturers estimate the offshore kayak fishing market to be too small to be worth addressing, or their boats not to perform well enough in the surf. This brings up again the question of seaworthiness, and whether these designs are indeed stable, comfortable and and safe enough to be used for standup fishing.
The third new fishing kayak design is a monohull as well, but it departs from the conventional approach of trying to increase stability by making the hull wider. This design offers a mechanism enabling splitting the rear part of the kayak in two and pulling the ends sideways, thus creating a stabler platform for the fishermen to fish from. The obvious problem with this design is that once the fishing configuration is deployed the ‘kayak’ becomes nearly stationary since paddling it does not meet any standard of efficiency. This fishing kayak is not offered for offshore fishing either, which again implies that its manufacturers may have some concerns about its possible performance in the ocean.
In this context it is interesting to see that another manufacturer of fishing kayaks now offers outriggers to accompany their kayaks, which is yet another fact that shows stability to be a problem at the core of the kayak fishing concept.
Overall, the appearance of new designs and solutions that address the stability problem is a sign showing that some kayak designers and manufacturers are attentive to the real problems that kayak fisherman face. Whether any of the solutions offered are viable in the long run remains to be seen.