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Must Have Kayak Accessories: Essential Gear for Kayak Fishing

Must Have Kayak Accessories: Essential Gear for Kayak Fishing

Every angler Googles or searches something along the lines of, “which kayak accessories do I need?” In theory, it is a great idea. In reality, it leads to confusion, more questions and sometimes, way too much wasted money.

Fishing kayaks have many advantages over boats. They can go in skinnier water, get to places boats can’t, can be launched from almost anywhere and are typically a lot less costly over their lifespan. One clear disadvantage is space. You have to be precise with your setup. Too much gear leads to clutter and frustration, which brings us back to your question: “What kayak accessories are must-haves?”

Let’s break kayak accessories down into three categories:

  • Must have kayak accessories
  • Useful kayak accessories
  • Advanced kayak accessories

Must Have Kayak Accessories

Talk to any kayaker, whether they are recreational or anglers, and they’ll all tell you one accessory you cannot go on the water without. Your lifejacket (or PFD). No matter your level of experience or the water you are on, you can never be certain you won’t capsize. A PFD is a must have for all kayakers.

Lifejackets & PFDs

NRS Chinook PFD

NRS Chinook Fishing Life Jacket PFD


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NRS Women's Shenook PFD

NRS Women's Shenook Fishing PFD


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Old Town Lure II Angler PFD

Old Town Lure II Angler PFD


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NRS Matik Inflatable PFD

NRS Matik Inflatable PFD


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This is rather obvious. When you are purchasing a kayak (in store or online), check to see if it comes with a paddle. Some do, but most don’t. Even if you plan to purchase a kayak that has a propulsion system like a propeller/fin drive or even a motor, you will always need a paddle on board for certain situations.

We went in depth about choosing the right paddle and how to adjust them in our One Mistake Most Kayak Anglers Make blog. Make sure you have a good paddle on board and educate yourself on how to adjust it and practice your paddle stroke. Efficient paddling is a must for more enjoyment on the water.

Solstice 4-piece paddle

Solstice 4-piece Quick Release Paddle

4-piece quick release aluminum performance paddle with 3-position adjustability that can be broken down for easy storage and travel.


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kokopelli paddle

Kokopelli Alpine Lake 4-Piece Paddle

4-piece introductory paddle made of an impact resistant nylon composite blade and fiberglass shaft. 0 degree feather.


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NuCanoe Aluminum wave paddle

NuCanoe Aluminum Wave Paddle

250 or 275cm Aluminum paddle featuring the Wave blade from Cannon Paddles. 4 lb weight, 56 x 2 x 2 in.


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Feelfree camo paddle

Feelfree Camo Series Angler Paddle

Two-piece fiberglass paddle with glass reinforced blades. Lightweight paddle with lengths from 230-260cm.


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Old Town carlisle paddle

Old Town Carlisle Magic Angler Paddle

Two-piece, lightweight curved glass filled polypropylene blades with fiberglass shaft. Hook retrieval. 60 degree feathering.


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Bending branches paddle

Bending Branches Angler Scout Paddle

Engineered polymer reinforced fiberglass blades, aluminum shaft, built-in hook retrieval and adjustable feathering (0 & 60 degrees).


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Safety Flag

We’ve included this one as a must-have assuming you will use your kayak at some point on water with boat traffic. No matter if it is day or night, if you are on the water in your kayak where there are any sort of obstructed views or boat traffic, you want to make sure you can be seen. Another simple accessory that can prevent collisions or capsizings by making yourself visible to other people on the water are accessory rail visibility flags.

YakAttack VISICarbon Pro

YakAttack VISICarbon Pro


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YakAttack VISICarbon Pro with Mighy Mount

YakAttack VISICarbon Pro with Mighty Mount


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Useful Kayak Accessories

Next up we have kayak accessories that make kayaking more enjoyable. These kayak accessories may not be must-haves, but they help keep your kayak organized and more customized to how you want to use your kayak.

Storage & Gear Organization

Feelfree Camo Crate Bag

Feelfree Camo Crate Bag


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Perception Seatback Cooler

Perception Splash Seatback Cooler


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YakAttack Blackpak Pro 13x16

YakAttack BlackPak Pro 13x16


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YakAttack Blackpak Pro 16x16

YakAttack BlackPak Pro 16x16


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Check out our full lineup of Kayak Gear, Storage & Outfitting.

Rod Holders & Mounts

If you plan on fishing, a rod holder could be considered a must-have kayak accessory. Most fishing kayaks come with molded in rod storage, but many of them behind your seat. If you need to change bait, set your rod down while removing a catch, or to take a break, having a rod holder in front of your seat makes your experience better. There are lots of great aftermarket options that utilize accessory rails.

If you plan on filming your adventures, purchasing a fish finder, or customizing your kayak further, your accessory rails are where most of your mounts and gear will go. Here are some mounts and accessory rail gear you may find useful based on how you will want to use your kayak:

Fishing Nets

A fishing net in your kayak is not always necessary. Like shore fishing or boat fishing, a net is a need based entirely on the type of fishing you will be doing. If you are targeting bigger fish, a net can be an essential piece of gear no matter the platform you are fishing from. However, space in your kayak is limited and nets are awkwardly shaped and take up a lot of space. From your kayak, it is hard to beat the YakAttack leverage net which uses an arm brace to give you leverage while in a sitting position.

YakAttack Landing Leverage Net 12 x 20

YakAttack Leverage Net 12x20 Hoop with Foam Extension


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YakAttack Pro Leverage Net 20 x 21

YakAttack Leverage Net 20x21 Hoop with Foam Extension


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Advanced Kayak Accessories

These kayak accessories are still important and useful but not necessarily a must-have for first time or recreational kayakers. You can add more advanced accessories as you learn more about your kayak and how you’d like to use it. They can take your kayak to a new level and completely change your experience on the water, but they can also be complicated to install and use.

A lot of new kayak anglers make the mistake of buying advanced accessories before they even know if they’ll need them or if they can install them. Here are a few kayak accessories that are either for people with more experience or kayak anglers who know exactly what they want.

Fish Finders

Fish finders can be relatively easy to install, but we consider them a more advanced accessory because they may require drilling and additional accessory pairings like the mounts from above and batteries.

Garmin Striker 4

Garmin STRIKER 4 Transducer


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Garmin Striker Vivid 5cv

Garmin STRIKER Vivid 5cv Transducer


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Garmin Striker 7cv

Garmin STRIKER Vivid 7cv Transducer


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Garmin Striker 7sv

Garmin STRIKER Vivid 7sv Transducer


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Garmin LiveScope Plus

Garmin Panoptix LiveScope Plus System


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These are just a handful of selections of fish finders available ranging from the most cost friendly basic fish finders to the ultra-advanced tournament-level fish finders. Check out our entire range of fish finders in our Garmin Buyer's Guide.


All electronics require batteries. If you plan to run a fish finder, lights, or a motor, you will need a battery. Battery voltage and amp hours vary in range. A fish finder will run for a full day on as little as a 10Ah battery. However, if you plan to run a motor, you will want a battery closer to the 100Ah range. Check out our full range of lithium batteries.


Motors take your kayak to another stratosphere. Whether it is adding a bow/stern motor or more kayak specific motors that drop through pedal drive slots, aftermarket kayak motors are changing the sport. Adding a motor to your kayak is also one of the most complicated and expensive accessories you can add to your kayak. Tournament anglers rely on kayak motors to give them an edge during competition.

You can cover more ground, spot-lock yourself in place and use your time on the water more efficiently with a motor. Be sure to click on the motors to get the full breakdown on their capabilities and compatibilities.

MotorGuide Xi3 Freshwater Trolling Motor

MotorGuide Xi3 Freshwater Kayak Trolling Motor


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Newport NK180

Newport NK180 Electric Kayak Motor


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Bixpy K-1 Outboard Motor Kit

Bixpy K-1 Outboard Kit


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Torqeeod Ultralight 1103AC

Torqeedo Ultralight 1103AC


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Be sure to browse our full collection of kayak motors and their adapters to find an option that is perfect for you.

Do Your Research & Ask Around

It is easy to get wide eyes when dreaming of your perfect kayak setup. We see some of the craziest setups around in our line of work. But, those kinds of advanced setups with all the bells & whistles are not necessary for everyone. Sometimes, it is easier to take fellow kayakers' word for it rather than a retailers. That's why we created the Kayak Anglers Resource - a community of kayak anglers who share their experiences, ask questions and give honest reviews and assessments of kayaks and accessories. We can share our expertise until we are blue in the face, but a fellow anglers words often mean more.

A great example is the active discussion titled, Clean, efficient fishing gear setup for your kayak. The most important thing is to research, ask questions and have patience. Take your time building your kayak out. Start with the must-haves and take your kayak out on the water multiple times to start to get a feel for what would be helpful. Only then will you begin to learn what accessories are essential for your kayak.

If you find yourself overwhelmed or still unsure which kayak or accessories are right for you and your adventure, check out some of our additional resources. Our YouTube channels for reviews and how-tos: Eco Fishing Shop and Kayak Anglers Resource.

Browse all of our blogs and Buyer's Guides to most of our brands below. To check out our full range of the best fishing kayaks and accessories we have to offer, available to you via free and fast shipping, click HERE. We are happy to help and answer any questions. Click the chat button, give us a call or ask your questions in the public community, we will be there to answer no matter how you communicate!

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