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Kayak Fishing on a Budget Subscribe to comments to this posting
Posted by Richard Phillips   •   Sunday, 2016-July-17

By Dan Allard

So you want to get into kayak fishing- great! kayak fishing is a fun and unique way to fish, and is a great alternative for those not looking to invest in a powerboat. Maintenance costs are low and the initial investment is relatively inexpensive. So what do you need to get started, how much will it cost, and how can you keep costs down? Read on to learn how to start kayak fishing on a budget.

The first step isn't to buy a kayak; it's to try one out. Kayak fishing isn't for everyone- you'll get wet and face some unique challenges you won't find in other forms of fishing. You don't want to make the investment and find it isn't right for you. Many dealers will let you demo their kayaks, and if they don't they'll most likely apply rental fees to future purchases. So call around and take one out for a test drive.

After you've tested one out and know its right for you, you're ready to buy a kayak. New kayaks will range from $600 to $2,000, but if you buy used you may be able to cut the price in half. You can also find deals on new kayaks during the off season, when dealers are pushing old inventory to make room for new models.

Look around and see what options you have within your budget. Paddle kayaks are cheaper than pedal kayaks, and generally larger kayaks are more expensive than smaller ones. Look online, in the classifieds of your newspaper, and at your local dealer shops to see what's available. Don't hesitate to ask dealers if they have any used kayaks, or if any are discounted due to scratches or imperfections.

Now that you have your kayak, you'll need a paddle. Even though you're on a budget, don't go for the cheapest one you can find. You'll be sorry once the paddle breaks and you're a mile from shore. Look for a strong and sturdy paddle, and don't worry so much about weight difference. A $50 difference in price might only amount to a few ounces difference in weight. For a paddle you're looking at $40 to $400+.

Next you'll need a PFD, or personal flotation device. Again don't jump for the cheapest version here. Above all else look for comfort, because if you buy a cheap PFD that's uncomfortable to wear, you probably won't wear it. And what good is that? Also look at fishing PFD's, which have pockets that make kayak fishing much easier.

Alright, finally time for the accessories. If your kayak doesn't have a rod holder, this is a good place to start. Your local kayak shop should be able to outfit your kayak with an angler package, which will be around $100. If you're looking to save money you have a couple options here. The cheapest and easiest option is to take a milk crate and attach a couple short PVC pipes to use as rod holders. This will also give you some extra storage space.

Another option you have is to cut out a couple holes in your kayak and install flush mount rod holders yourself. You should be able to find these for under $20 each. If you're not a 'do-it-yourselfer', you'll have to go with one of the options above.

Considering you have a pole and some fishing tackle already, you're ready to hit the water! This is enough equipment to get you started. But there are some other items you should consider. The first is a paddle leash. You can find these for around $10, no need for anything fancy here.

You'll also have to think about how you're going to transport your kayak. If you have an SUV with a roof rack or flat bed pickup truck, just throw in some padding and straps and you're ready to go. If you'll be using a car, you'll need to purchase some foam blocks to place on your roof and some straps. You should be able to find a kit online for $40 or less.

Once you reach the launch destination, will you be carrying your kayak to the water? You may want to consider a kayak cart, which are less than $100. You probably don't need one of these, but if it fits into your budget get one. Your back will thank you for it.

This is all you need to start kayak fishing on a budget. You can always add more accessories later, like navigation systems, specialized clothing, and new fishing equipment. The important thing is to get out on the water and enjoy your new hobby. So what are you waiting for? Go out and catch some fish!

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