The idea of casting your fishing reels while standing up in a kayak seems quite farfetched. That’s pretty understandable, particularly if you are new to kayak fishing. For a fact, standing in a kayak while fishing can be tricky and dangerous. You cannot do that in any random kayak. But with stand-up kayaks, any experienced kayaking enthusiast will effortlessly hack this.
Traditionally, kayaking is about sitting and paddling. And that is why the most popular types of kayaks are the sit-on and the sit-in models. Of course, sitting in a water vessel lowers the center of gravity, thereby improving stability. Sitting also enhances balance and is quite recommended for relatively new kayakers, yet to master the advanced kayaking skills and tricks.
But stand-up fishing kayaks have characteristics that make standing in them possible. With good experience, skills, and paddling techniques, you will find standing in a stand-up kayak effortless and comfortable. Besides, fishing from a standing position provides you with more convenience and versatility than when you have to sit down throughout your fishing expedition.
Always put on a life jacket when fishing on a kayak irrespective of your skill level and swimming capabilities. You never know when you will need it.
Characteristics of A Good Stand-Up Kayak
Like we already noted, stand-up kayaking vessels have features that separate them from other models. These features include;
a. Spacious Deck
Characteristically, stand-up fishing kayaks have incredibly spacious decks. You need sufficient space to stand. The extensive deck allows you to spread legs appropriately for balance and comfort. There is also enough room to move around and change direction.
The spacious deck can also comfortably hold seats to allow you to monitor your reels. Sometimes, the seats can flip up or slide to provide you with more space when you need it. You can conveniently move the seat out of the way. Such a feature comes in handy when you are reeling in your catch. Besides, you need space to fit all your gear without piling them in a disorganized heap.
b. Wide Base
Wide bases are known for stability, and this is the most important feature of stand-up kayaks. Ideally, you need maximum stability when you go fishing on a stand-up kayak. You do not want to struggle to find balance and fumble when casting your reels.
Again, wobbling from side to side or back and forth is a recipe for anxiety, even for enthusiastic water lovers. You may also fall in water if the anxiety levels increase. And you do not want to end up dead or hooked up on your fishing gear. At the very least, a fall off your vessel will make you too drenched. That is only bearable in warm weather. It could be so discomforting in cold weather.
While all these models feature wide bases, size varies from one kayak to the other. Novice kayakers may go for models with as wide bases as possible. The wider the surface area, the more stable the vessel.
c. Flat Deck
You do not want to stand on an uncomfortable surface as you maneuver your boat or cast your reels. So, the standing surface becomes a point of consideration.
And talking about hulls, stand-up boats have hard, flat decks. Can you stand on a flexible surface with the required stability? Or, will you be stable and comfortable standing on a curved surface for hours? Take an example of inflatable fishing kayaks whose sitting or standing surfaces are relatively soft and flexible; standing would be a difficult mission.
For stand-up models, standing is comfortable since the decks are flat hard. Also, they do not have any protrusions arising from unnecessary storage pockets. For cases of storage pockets, they will always flush with the deck to ensure that the standing surface remains flat. You can position yourself appropriately and maximize your performance.
The surfaces are non-slip. You cannot prevent your kayak interior from getting wet. While wet surfaces are generally dangerous, these non-slip stand-up hulls pose no threat at all. You can even stand on them even when wet.
d. Hull Design
In terms of design, hulls are either flat or pontoon. These designs, in tandem with the wide surface area at the base, help to maximize stability.
Flat hulls are unbelievably stable on flat water. And you will find them more viable if you are looking for a fishing vessel for bays, slow rivers, and calm lakes. However, paddling flat hulls in surfs and choppier conditions can be a nightmare.
Also known as tunnel hulls, pontoon hulls are equally good features of stand-up fishing vessels. They are very stable and combine both secondary and primary stability features. Therefore, you will find pontoon hulls ideal in any water conditions, calm and choppier. They are less likely to tip over. Finally, they feature incredible tracking capabilities, meaning you can conveniently paddle them in a straight line.
Irrespective of whether you opt for a pontoon or flat hull, pair your vessel of choice with the right standing paddle. You may opt for hybrid models if you have the experience and skills to use them. They work well for stand-up vessels.
e. Standing Pads
When you go fishing in a stand-up vessel, you will stand for the better part of the day. This can be very discomforting if you will be standing on an uncomfortable surface. In fact, the chances are that you will hurt your feet after hours of standing on an uneven surface.
Interestingly, standing pads provide the required comfort and stability for your feet. Any vessels designed with stand-up fishing in mind will always have them. They feature the right friction levels, meaning that there are no chances for slipping. Even with a wet deck, you will not fall.
Standing pads are even and may provide extra cushioning. And if your dog will be part of your fishing entourage, the better. Standing pads provide unbeatable traction between your dog’s paws and the deck.
f. Stand Assist Straps
Finally, some kayaks have stand assist straps that enhance more stability and comfort. While this is not a mandatory inclusion in every stand-up fishing kayak that you will find on the market, it is necessary. The straps are ideal for aiding balance and comfort.
The main function of the straps is to help you center yourself on the deck. They come in handy both when sitting and when standing. Some anglers by kayaks without these straps but make modifications to include them. Of course, this is not a difficult undertaking.
Advantages of Fishing While Standing in A Kayak
Just like anglers prefer standing in boats while fishing, seasoned kayakers also prefer doing the same. Of course, standing gives an angler a variety of fishing advantages. Some of the benefits include;
Good for Your Physicality
Your health comes first, irrespective of the type of leisure, economic, or sporting activity you choose to pursue. And while fishing, you are certainly going to look at your positioning. Your position impacts immensely on your comfort and overall physical health.
Even though you will find it impossible to stand on non-stand-up kayaking models, sitting for long hours is uncomfortable. You risk backaches and numb feet. However, changing your fishing position is a sure way of staying healthier.
Since stand-up kayaks also allow sitting, you can change positions. Not that standing up goes well with everyone, but changing positions is healthy.
Sit when you want to relax your legs and stand when you want to improve blood circulation to the lower extremities. It is a perfect way of giving your lower back a break and avoiding structural deformities. Besides, you can fish for hours without feeling uncomfortable.
A Wider Viewing Angle
While sitting limits your viewing to a single direction, being able to stand and move in your kayak is phenomenal. It delivers you a comprehensive view of your surroundings.
Also, you need the widest range view of your surrounding when fishing. Fishing in a standing position gives you that. It allows you to see further away from you and deeper into clear waters. Moreover, standing also enables you to see obstacles from far distances and avoid them in time.
Improved Casting Accuracy
Casting accuracy is a key determinant of your fishing success. You want to make sure that you strike your targets with every cast you make. And as you would expect, casting accuracy depends on your positioning.
Standing remains one of the best fishing positions. It enables you to cast further and gives you sufficient room to make your casts. Ideally, you will realize a massive improvement in your accuracy when you begin to fish while standing. However, one mistake that beginners make while casting from a standing position is using their bodies to cast. That is a mistake that you should avoid at all costs. Stick to using your arms while casting.
Easy Access to Your Gear
Of course, fishing goes beyond the fishing reel, fishing line, hooks, and baits. You need an assortment of other fishing gear for a successful and effortless adventure. But carrying a lot of equipment when you cannot access them is a big waste.
For sit-in or sit-on kayaks, your positioning is single-directional. Therefore, you are more likely to access storage pockets from a single direction. Standing improves your positioning and allows you to access your gear whenever you need them.
Easier Flipping and Pitching
As an angler, some of the things you will do more often include pitching and flipping. However, doing either of these while sitting is difficult, and the result will be inaccurate. Be on your feet while pitching or flipping, and you will notice the difference.
How to Use a Stand-Up Kayak
Everyone can learn the technique of using a stand-up kayak. Without the right tricks and tips, you will most likely tip over, which can be dangerous.
Note the following steps when learning to use a stand-up kayak;
- The difficulty levels of using a kayak are dependent on your physical condition. Aspects such as your weight, flexibility, and leg strength play a major role.
- Practice standing on your vessel on dry land. Set your kayak in your backyard and sit on the kayak seat. Putting equal pressure on both legs, stand up gently. You can use a standing strap to cut down the weight on your legs.
- Now sit down without rushing any of your hands on the deck for support. You will fall if you try that. Always ensure that you keep equal pressure, whether going up or down.
- Stand up again. Once up, bend over and pick your fishing rod. Try out some mock casting. Ensure you use your arms when casting and not your body as you do this. Using your body will shift your weight and is a recipe for a fall.
- Once you are comfortable with the above steps, head to the water. Your first time on water must not be too far from the shore. Position the vessel parallel to the shore, embark into the kayak, one leg first, and sit.
- Push the boat into the water until you are between 6 to 10 feet into the water. Trust the stability of your kayak, and try rocking it back and forth gently with your hips. Rock it until the movement is uniform and effortless.
- Get one leg away from the seat and stand up, ensuring that you balance your weight on both feet. Be confident and keep your eyes on the horizon and not on the boat.
- Once comfortable on your feet, rock the boat back and forth using your feel. Start gently and try to learn how to put your weight on a single fool without tipping. Put weight on a single foot in turns. The essence of trying out this is that you will have to lean or lift a leg at some point during fishing.
- Sit down without putting a hand on the deck or the seat. Also, ensure that you do not turn in an attempt to locate the seat.
- Try getting up and down when carrying a fishing rod until you are comfortable.
- Paddle your boat deeper into the water. Confirm that the front is clear and get up gently with the boat still in motion.
- Use your paddle to paddle the boat while standing.
- Go down and pick your fishing rod, set your fishing reel, and use the usual casting techniques to cast your fishing reel. Start with casting in front and sideways. Later, you can learn how to cast behind you while standing.
You are now ready to get your first catch into the kayak.
A stand-up fishing kayak is an incredible vessel for weekend fishing expeditions. It guarantees more accurate and longer casting distances, better pitching and flipping, and more visibility. Besides, you will enjoy a more advanced hook-setting stance than when sitting.
While many people think that kayaks are risky, that’s not the truth. With the right skills, they are pretty safe. Using a stand-up kayak requires some experience, and whether you are on land or on water, you will need the correct shoes for kayaking. Besides, kayaks are now pretty affordable and you will get incredible fishing kayaks under $500. We hope that this guide furnishes you with everything you need to know about stand-up kayaks.
Anthony has been an angler for the past 15 years. His experience makes him an invaluable asset to FISHING GEN and writes on fishing expeditions as well as fishing gear.