Can You Fish from a Regular Kayak?

Can you fish from a regular kayak?

can you fish from a regular kayak

My first time kayak fishing was on a recreational kayak.

After a long time of shore fishing, I wanted a little change for my trip by having a boat, which would help me get to better spots.

Fortunately, my friend got a touring kayak, so I asked to borrow it for my first fishing kayak adventure. That’s when I realized there was a difference between a fishing kayak and a regular one.

So, Can you fish from a regular kayak?

Yes, fishing from a regular kayak is possible, although it will have some inconveniences.

If you are planning to fish by boat often, consider buying a fishing one of your own.

My experience when fishing on a recreation kayak

can you fish from a regular kayak

The first time kayaking was a memorable experience.

My friend and I fished on the Chattooga River in North Carolina. In the clear river, we could see the fish swimming in the submerged rocks and fallen trees.

We paddled to spots with lots of fish and caught quite a lot that day.

The only failure that day was that the kayak was not too suitable.

The kayak I borrowed from my friend is a sit-in one quite uncomfortable for long periods of fishing.

I’ll cover these problems below, so keep reading if interested.

Can you fish from a regular kayak – Just try

can you fish from a recreational kayak

Can you fish from a regular kayak? Yes, you can. 

Although it will have certain limitations, this will be the best way for you to find out if you love the sport or not.

If you are a newbie, I suggest you can try fishing with a regular kayak first. And when you have enough interest in this sport, it’s not too late to start learning to buy a fishing one for yourself.

My best advice to you is that if you already own a boat or can borrow one, you shoud use it for your first fishing trip. If you don’t have a boat yet, you should buy a fishing kayak for the best experience from the beginning. It is also the most cost-effective way.

The disadvantage of a regular kayak

can you fish with a regular kayak

Sit-in design

The most obvious inconvenience of the regular kayak is the sit-in design, while current fishing kayaks are all sit-on-top designs that help you sit and fish more comfortably and have better sight lines.

These designs are great for straight paddling or recreation, but they are not for fishing that lasts 4 to 6 hours.

You will quickly feel uncomfortable because of jammed your legs up in the kayak. Just sitting in one position will also make your back tired quickly. Plus, your skin is often rubbed against the rim of the seating area, causing raw spots.

The experience will be awful if you get wet, you will feel tired and have no mentality for any fun anymore.

There is little space for storage

The most inconvenient point of the regular kayak is that the space is too small.

When going fishing, we will need to bring a lot of gear, in addition to fishing gear, such as rods, net, lures, lines, pliers, bucket, etc. you also have to bring personal belongings such as sunglasses, drinking water, sunscreen, clothes, etc.

If you bring all of them, you will have no room to sit.

There are no fishing holders

Of course, a regular kayak will not have fishing holders. 

You will have a little trouble managing between holding the fishing rod and paddle.

Ordinary, I would put the rod on the top of the kayak deck with the reel snagged inside the cockpit so the rod won’t drop when I paddle. As I get to the next spot, I’ll put the paddle across the cockpit and start fishing.

Poor stability, difficult to fix position

Regular kayaks are designed lightweight for easy maneuverability, so it is often difficult to stop, and positioning and stability are not as good as fishing ones.

Tips for fishing with a regular kayak

can you fish on a regular kayak

After fishing on a recreational kayak, I have found a few ways to overcome a small part of the above inconveniences.

Bring an extra lightweight jacket

You may need to wear this jacket if it’s cold and rainy. When you are on the kayak, you can roll it up and put it behind your back for more comfort.

Bring as little gear as possible

Since the space on the kayak is so narrow, consider bringing as little as possible.

Put everything you need in a small backpack and put it between your legs. When the pack is not in use, you can push it into the cockpit to have more room to sit.

You can also put essentials such as a water bottle in your pocket to save more room.

Use an anchor

Regular kayaks can move with the wind or the currents of the river/stream. An anchor can solve your problem.

Where will you put the fish when you catch them?

Because the regular kayak space is too small to fit a cooler, you can use stringers or nets instead.

If you haven’t known the correct fish storage method, I have an article on where to put fish on a kayak. You can refer to it.


You don’t need to put too much emphasis on having a boat for fishing. You can completely upgrade it slowly over time.

The important thing is to give yourself a fun outing and catch some fish.

Thanks for reading our article about Can you fish in a regular kayak? If you have any questions, leave a comment below. You can see more posts on our website here.

Further reading

Fishing From a Traditional Kayak

How to Choose a Fishing Kayak

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