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If there is one thing we hear the most on social media, or in person, it's, "just buy a boat!" We're guessing you may have been told this even if you told your friends about wanting a fishing kayak. But, as you may have already figured out, fishing kayaks provide different experiences and maybe more importantly, different opportunities.
Check out our full video next, and then we'll break it down further below!
To recap the video, here are eight things bass boat anglers don't want you to know about fishing kayaks:
1. Purchase Price
Quality fishing kayaks range anywhere from $1,000 to $6,000. While this is no small fee, it is much less than a new bass boat which start in the $15,000 range for a bare bones boat. Like boats, fishing kayak prices do increase as you add more accessories or different drive systems like pedals or fins:
Pedal Drive System
Pedal drives allow anglers to propel the kayak with a pedaling system much like a bike. Pedal drives require full circular revolutions just like a bike that spins the prop. Most pedal drives allow for forward and reverse by pedaling in either direction. This can offer a big advantage when in tight spots.
Fin Drive System
Fin drives, like pedal drives, are propelled using pedals. Two fins attached to the pedal system flap sideways to propel the kayak. Fin drives only require minimal pedaling forwards and backwards, not circular revolutions like the pedal drive and can be put flush against the bottom of the hull. Fin drives are a good option for shallow water and for operators who may have limited joint mobility. Not all fin drives are capable of reverse movement.
Powered Drive System
Just like a fishing boat fitted with a trolling motor, a propeller-driven fishing kayak is fitted with a small 12-volt motor. This approach to kayak propulsion is both great for quickly covering long distances and also keeping quiet while closing in on a prime fishing spot. Powered kayaks require a battery.
Adding any of the above drive types will increase the price of your kayak much in the same way that adding more horsepower to a boat motor would. However, you can get fishing kayaks with a pedal drive starting as low as (as of this posting) $1,399.
2. Friend Attachment
This one may say strange, but do you ever find yourself in a situation where you like fishing with friends, or a partner, but get frustrated by their fishing style, loud habits, or maybe that they steal all of the fish? We admit, fishing with friends is always way more fun, but in a fishing kayak, you can choose to go your separate ways to fish a certain area the way you want when you want.
Being able to group with others while also having the choice to do your own thing is the best of both worlds. Especially those times when a companion may be driving you insane on the inside!
3. Gas Prices
We'll keep this one short. Gas prices are through the roof right now. Most boat motors require premium gasoline, which only increases the cost. For example, a Bass Tracker has an average gas tank size of 47 gallons and the average gas price in the United States right now is $3.65. Roughly, you would be looking at a fill up price of around $171 every time you needed to fill up your bass boat from empty.
Different factors will increase or decrease that price, like how you run your motor (keeping your RPMs down will conserve some gas much like running an electric kayak motor at a slower pace will increase battery life), and what your local gas prices currently are. In short, the only gas you pay with your fishing kayak is the vehicle you use to get you to the water.
4. Insurance Costs
Let's also keep this one brief. A bass boat, or any boat for that matter, requires insurance. Your fishing kayak does not. Many come with hull warranties through the manufacturer, so depending on the brand you pick, you won't need insurance. While you can choose to add your kayak to your personal insurance policy (if it allows), you are not required to.
Additional, after initial purchase, costs for boats add up quickly when factoring in monthly gas and insurance bills.
5. Hard to Reach Areas
We didn't list the most obvious advantage a fishing kayak has first or last. But here it is, fishing kayaks have the unique ability to get to some places boats simply can't. Whether that is small creeks that spill into lakes, backwaters off of big rivers, or shallow flats, fishing kayaks can get to some untapped areas.
One of the coolest things about fishing kayaks is exploring areas you didn't know existed or simply could never reach. Many of our anglers have found new sweet spots they don't really have to worry about being discovered by anyone else. Sure, getting around might take us a bit longer, but finding the areas where it is quiet and no other anglers are around is what fishing is all about.
6. Technology & Customization
Having a fishing kayak instead of a boat does not mean sacrificing the technology that you can utilize on a bass boat. Check out our video with Mason Brock and Johnathan Dominguez where they show off their decked out Hobie Pro Angler and Old Town AutoPilots.
Their kayaks are a perfect example of what is possible with a fishing kayak in 2023 and beyond. Their kayaks were built out after years of experience and honing their skills. Yes, while their kayaks have a lot more money invested in them than the initial starting price, they are examples of what is possible with a fishing kayak if you want to grow as you own and learn.
Much like the gas prices and insurance costs, boats come with far more maintenance than a fishing kayak. Motor upkeep, electronics upkeep, carpet and chair maintenance are just a few things that need constant attention. Have you ever got to the boat ramp and launched your boat only to realize it won't turn over or start?
Short of finding out you have a massive puncture in your kayak when you go to launch, you won't have any experiences where you get to the water and can't fish. Maintenance with a fishing kayak is mostly specific to just keeping it clean or adding accessories. If you add an electric motor you will need more maintenance than a paddle or pedal kayak, but the cost is still miniscule compared to a boat motor.
Every year, the kayak fishing tournament scene gets bigger and bigger. Some boat anglers may try to tell you that there is no money to be won from a fishing kayak, but that is no longer true. Kayak fishing tournaments handing out 5-figure checks are becoming more regular as each new season comes and goes.
This past year, Eco Fishing Shop sponsored their own tournament called the Big Bass 250. The winner walked away with more than $12,000 in winnings from that tournament alone. The 2023 tournament will be even bigger.
Learn More & Ask Questions
These eight things are just a few points amongst many reasons why a fishing kayak is a great investment. If you already own one, you probably have a reason we didn't mention. If you don't own one, you probably have more questions. A great place to start is by joining our public community, The Kayak Anglers Resource, where you can ask questions of members who have real experience. Or, check out our YouTube channels for reviews and how-tos: Eco Fishing Shop and Kayak Anglers Resource.
Learn from other kayak anglers who were in your shoes and asking some of the same questions. Here are some of their discussions you may find useful to jump in on:
Here are some additional resources to help if you are new to the sport and your head is swimming with all of the information you have likely researched recently: