Fly Fishing & Kayaking

Choosing The Right Kayak For Fly Fishing

Written by: Jeff, Sr editor of

Do you enjoy a good adrenaline rush just as much as sitting around relaxing as the breeze blows through your hair? How would you like to enjoy both pleasantries simultaneously?

Look no further than fly fishing from a kayak. Traveling to your nearest fishing hole will give you the opportunity to enjoy the thrills of kayaking.

After you’ve arrived, you’ll be able to catch your breath, while tossing your line in the water. Before you get started, you’ll need to invest in the right kayak.

Utilize the information below to ensure you find the best kayak for fly fishing.


Familiarize Yourself With Your Ideal Surroundings

It is safe to say that each fisherman’s preferences will vary widely. More experienced kayakers will likely want to tread through more volatile waters.

However, inexperienced kayakers will be better off remaining in calmer waters.

When attempting to find the right kayak, it is pertinent to be realistic about your skills and your ideal surroundings.

Simultaneously, it is important to consider your ideal trip. Do you want to camp out nearby or will you return to shore with your fish?

A more spacious kayak will give you the ability to pack more items. This is best for those wanting to camp and fish during the same trip.


Understanding Kayak Length and Width

It is vital to learn about the impact of a longer and shorter kayak. In general, a longer kayak will deliver faster speeds and vice versa.

For kayak fishing, it is generally best to stick with a shorter kayak. Since your primary goal is to fish, you’ll only need enough speed to reach your fishing spot.

Width is likely even more important. This is the case, because width will help to determine the overall stability of the kayak.

You’re going to be pulling and tugging while fishing. Therefore, stability is of paramount importance.

A wider kayak is best, since it’ll provide you with the stability needed to fly fish effectively. provides in-depth guides for sit-in and sit-on kayaks that are ideal for fly fishing.

Choosing Kayak Coloring

You’ll be surprised to learn that color isn’t all that important. Research has concluded that fish are unable to see the same spectrum of colors as humans.

Instead, they’ll be keener to rely on light and shadows. With this mind, color isn’t that big of a deal.

Still, a lot of experts recommend choosing a color that will blend into the sky overhead. Therefore, you may want to stick with a light blue. Choosing one of the colors below is recommended.

  • Green
  • White
  • Blue

Stay away from yellow and orange. Also, make sure you’re aware of the proper way to care for your fly line and you’ll be able to enjoy your day out on the water.

Recreational Kayaks

The first thing you must consider when investing in a kayak is what type of activity you will be doing.

Many people enjoy just mild river trips and nothing else in particular. If this sounds like you, then your best option will be a recreational kayak.

This type of boat will provide you with the ability to make turning around easier, but will make achieving a straight line extremely difficult.

The design is typically shorter and wider than the popular touring kayak.


Touring Kayak

If you are into extended wilderness trips, then the touring kayak will be your best option.

Not only are these types of kayaks extremely stable, but they also offer plenty of carrying capacity. Since they track very well, they are extremely difficult to turn around.

Some kayakers will refer to the touring kayak as a sea kayak, even though they are not restricted just to the ocean.

With a few updates, manufacturers have created a touring kayak that features improved maneuverability and lighter weight.

Downriver Kayak

The downriver kayak was specifically designed to move through water at a very quick pace. This is why they are often utilized for racing and other kayaking competitive sports.

Since the boat’s design is very narrow and long, it does not offer a lot of stability, so if you are looking for a kayak to fly fish from, this will not be your best option.

However, you can add an outrigger to make the kayak for stable, which is exactly what most fly-fishing enthusiasts do.

To outrig the kayak, you will need to invest in a few supplies:

  • 12’ 80 PVC pipe
  • ½” 80 PVC 90 degree elbows
  • ½” PVC adaptors and end caps
  • U-bolts bungee cords

Proper and Comfortable Seating

While there might be times when you find yourself standing and fishing, the seat of your kayak must be taken into serious consideration. You will not be standing while you are paddling to your fishing location and you might find you’re in the sitting position more often than you could imagine.

A comfortable seat will not only provide you with a more relaxing and suiting ride, but it will also prevent you from getting exhausted throughout the day. Along with this, it can prevent damage to the back and lower extremities.

The main thing to consider is the seating position that you are looking for. Some seats can provide low, high, or kick back seating. While only a few seats offer all three positions.

The low seating position is great for running small rapids, while the high seating is excellent for those anglers who want a little more height when fishing.

The kick back is awesome when you want to just lean back and take a little break, or swoon over the huge fish that you just snagged.

Clean Deck Area

Fly-fishing is a whole different sport than any other type of fishing. Instead of just casting your line and waiting for a fish to bite, you have to constantly cast and reel in.

This is why it is imperative that you invest in a kayak that has a good clean and open deck area. You don’t want to miss out on that prize fish just because your line got snagged from something on the cockpit.

Foot pegs and rod holders are some of the types of cockpit accessories that you want to stay away from, when it comes to a fly-fishing kayak.

Greater Flare

Fly-fishing from a kayak requires a lot of stability in order to stay upright. A kayak with a greater flare will offer much more stability that other designs.

The flare is the curvature of the sides outward, just in case you are not familiar with this term.

A kayak with less flare will not offer as much stability, but if it does flip over, you will be able to roll it back over easier.

Many kayak fishermen prefer a model with less flare to more flare, because they do not want to risk not being about to roll the boat upright in the event of an accident.



Author Bio:

Jeff is a fishing and kayaking enthusiast, a proud father and an avid Houston Astros fan. Jeff created his kayak fishing blog early 2016 with a plan to provide useful information and resources for kayak fishing, canoeing and fishing in general to new anglers. A longtime passion turning into a new career with the help of his son Kevin. You can email Jeff at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *