The Best Kayak Fishing Accessories







A day out kayak fishing will go much smoother with the right gear by your side. We’ve done the research to bring you the best kayak fishing accessories available for your comfort, safety, and convenience. Our goal: Get you to better fishing!TM

NEW ACCESSORIES

We like to bring you the latest, so here’s a few updates to our original article:

1. Fish Grips
2. Visibility Flag & Light

3. Paddle Drip Rings
4. Drift Chute

5. Anchor Trolley

6. Push Pole

7. Rugged Kayak Crate

ORIGINAL ACCESSORIES

1. Scotty Fly Rod Holder With Mount
2. Stohlquist Fisherman PFD
3. Compass Surf Anchor Plus 5L Dry Bag
4. Mustang Survival Throw Bag & Rope 75′
5. Stohlquist Waterware Kayak Rescue Squeeze Knife
6. BFULL Dry Bags
7. SAMS FX Aluminum Landing Nets Catch and Release
8. Yeti Hopper Flip 12
9. Seattle Sports Kayak Paddle Leash
10. Carlion IPX8 Waterproof Smart Phone Pouch
11. TMS Deluxe Boat Carrier
12. Scotty #302 Inflatable Outriggers
13. Vibe Kayaks Deluxe Padded Kayak Seat
14. Scotty #455 Bait Board
15. Deeper Pro Plus Smart Sonar – GPS Wireless Fish Finder
16. YakGear Angler’s Crate


From literally hundreds of options, we bring you critical analysis of kayak fishing accessories that will make your kayak fishing more productive and safe.  After careful review of gear specifications, our own use, and user feedback, we recommend these specific products even while making you aware of any limitations and considerations (things that help the gear perform its best).  We also provide other options that may meet your needs depending on your preferences – and to verify that what we’ve recommended is exactly what you need.

We virtually guarantee we’ve brought some products to light you probably haven’t heard about before. Let’s get started, and other publishers take note – this is a fully proprietary review and we monitor and enforce copyright!  Please use our Contact page to request licensing permission, reprint or other editorial uses.

These top fishing kayak accessories are useful for any type of kayak.  We haven’t favored any specific brand.

KAYAK FISHING ACCESSORIES – NEW ADDITIONS

1. Fish Grips

Fish grips are a great way to save space, because they can effectively eliminate the need for a net.  They give you a secure way to hold the fish while you take out the hook, measure it, take a photo, etc.

Not to mention, if you don’t already use a net, it gives you an extra degree of assurance you’ll be able to hang onto it long enough to snap a pic.  After all, who will believe you without the photo….We like the YakGear Fish Grip in green:


2. Visibility Flag & Light

Give yourself and those with you an extra measure of safety with a combined flag & light setup.  These serve an important function to keep kayaks traveling together within easy sight of each other.  They also alert motor boats and other craft well before they would see you otherwise.

With 360-degree visibility, the flag is more visible by day, the light by night.  Of course, just like your car lights, be sure to turn the light on when it turns dusk out!  Some of the best fishing starts early on, so use it in the morning too.

We like the YakAttack VISICarbon Pro 360 Degree LED Kayak Fishing Visibility Flag:


3. Kayak Paddle Drip Rings

Well we may be more sensitive to drips than others, but you have to admit, that in cooler climates at least, a steady drip, drip, drip can be downright annoying.

Enter the drip ring.  These fit on your paddle outside your hand grips, and simply divert water running off the paddle and down the shaft towards your hands…and wrists….and down your arm.  They don’t prevent all drips, especially when you are paddling fast, but they block most of it.

While there are of course many varieties out there, in particular we like these because they glow in the dark giving you an added level of visibility in low light – Seattle Sports Glow in The Dark Seawall Drip Rings for Kayak Paddles, which come in neon green:


4. Drift Chute / Drift Sock

You paddle like crazy up wind, and then it just blows you back down wind.  Even for low-cut fishing kayaks, wind can be the bane of your day out on a big lake or saltwater.

The drift chute, also called a drift sock, has actually been used for centuries to control downwind float speed.  Today, these kayak-specific designs will check your speed well.  They really come in handy when you want to fish a given spot well without drifting by too fast, saving you energy from having to paddle back upwind.  In fact, they also act as somewhat of a rudder, slowing drift to help keep you on course better as well.

We like this mid-priced option by Dyna-Living, because it also comes with a drift anchor ball (if not an anchor itself), which can be used to help sight the location of the drift sock (helping you manage direction, or separately as a visual on a separate anchor line).  This makes it a “best value” purchase compared to other products we reviewed.  Check out the Dyna-Living Boat Drift Socks Sea Anchor 24 Inches Drift Anchor with Anchor Ball Boat Anchor Kit for Kayak


5. Anchor Trolley

Beyond your anchor itself, if you do a lot of anchoring, then consider an anchor trolley to make your life a little easier.

For starters, a good kayak anchor trolley acts just like an adjustable cleat.  In turn, this lets you adjust the angle of your boat, which is really handy when wind or current or tide changes your boat position.

Beyond that, some anglers even choose to use a trolley on both sides of their kayak, which gives you immediate choice and versatility in selecting which position to anchor in.

For a solid combination of quality at a reasonable price, with the additional feature of their LeverLoc technology, consider the YakAttack LeverLoc Anchor Trolley – Kayak Anchor Trolley Kit, which is Made in the USA:


6. Stakeout Pole / Push Pole

Ever try to sneak up on a fish you are sight casting to, only to have your boat move and spook it?  Worse yet, ever have to chase your ‘yak downstream or down current, after not tying it up well enough during a paddling break?

We love this ingenious product, because in shallow waters and on the shoreline at least, it serves the purpose of an anchor without all the hassle of an anchor.  In fact, it also helps avoid spooking fish which an anchor is prone to do – with it’s ker-plop in the water or banging against the side of the boat.

Whether you use it to push (done for centuries in shallow waters and saltwater flats), or just to stake out a position, these can be one of your best friends in shallow water.  We’ve assumed the less expensive 6′ version, but if you need 8′ you can also get a longer version of the YakAttack ParkNPole Stakeout Pole:


7. Rugged Kayak Crate

In our article about kayak modifications, we cover lots of ideas including how to convert a simple milk crate to a cost effective fishing crate on your kayak.  So, why would you want a more expensive version of the same thing?

Depends on your needs and fishing conditions.  Here’s one that has huge value because it already comes with 4 fishing rod holders integrated into the design.  Not to mention, it provides covered protection for all your tackle and flies, and is a bit sturdier than a milk crate.

One caution for this unit, it was designed to hold spinning rods.  Fly rods with a long fighting butt work fine, but anything shorter you’ll want to modify it as needed.  And don’t forget, a rod leash is always a good idea.

Designed for kayak fishing by Wilderness Systems Kayak Crate With 4 Rod Holders For Kayak Tackle Storage, check it out:


KAYAK FISHING ACCESSORIES PRODUCT REVIEWS

(original article)

1. Scotty Fly Rod Holder With Mount

Being able to operate hands free is critical, whether launching, paddling, trolling, beaching or docking. This Scotty rod holder was designed specifically for fly fishing.

It’s reasonably easy to install, however, be sure to first check and see if you need the Scotty boat deck hardware kit to make installation sturdy.

Customer reviews are largely positive, and geared at understanding how to most effectively use the product. Some report that it works best with larger rods with a butt, but others refute that. In all cases, fully tightening and using the rubber strap is critical to fully securing your rod.

The product is well designed, allowing for a full swivel 360 degrees, mounting on top of the deck or side, and at reasonable cost. This product will also help prevent broken rods by keeping your rod off the deck when not in use.

To learn about additional Scotty kayaking products including spinning rod holders and other gear:


2. Stohlquist Fisherman Personal Flotation Device (PFD)

Safety while kayaking goes without saying, and Stohlquist raised the bar by combining life vest and fishing vest functionality.

The vest does not compromise life vest performance, in fact has some customer reported white water saves that worked out well.

If more limited in fly fishing vest capacity than a regular life vest, don’t fret – it is generous in its attachments, pockets and storage (especially when you consider it’s packed with flotation).

Materials are quality 500 denier nylon cordura shell with 200 denier oxford liner. Comfort is enhance with neoprene padded, adjustable shoulders.  Note Stohlquist does make a PFD designed specifically for women, but not in the fishing vest style (that we’ve found yet anyway).

Perhaps most importantly, overall performance is such that many kayakers report they don’t even realize you’re wearing it.  This is testimony to the design, because it’s easy to assume that adding fishing vest pockets on top of flotation would be unwieldy.

Quality alternatives:

To learn about additional Stohlquist Waterwear products:


3. Compass Surf Anchor Plus 5L Dry Bag

A quality anchor has many uses while kayak fishing.  First and foremost, to keep you in place while working an area with your fly rod, it’ll help keep you targeted where the fish are and avoid drifting away from a promising cast.

For most situations one anchor will work find.  When you expect wind or significant drift, consider two anchors to prevent rotation around the anchor point.  An alternative to two anchors is to try and anchor so you stay downwind and don’t rotate as much, but this isn’t always possible and the wind can shift.

We wouldn’t recommend this anchor if it wasn’t high quality by itself, but we love the fact that it comes with a 5L dry bag for extra value.  The anchor itself is well design, folds for compact storage and comes with it’s own separate storage bag for convenience and space management.

The material is forged steel, not aluminum like many anchors so it’s more durable and less likely to bend or break which can happen if it gets snagged.  It has a universal design that is also useful for canoes and paddle boards.  The one disadvantage we’ve found for this make and model, is that like all grapple hook designs, you can get hung up if the anchor snags on underwater rock or wood structures.  While excellent for most lake, ocean, and some rivers (such as glacial till or soft bottoms without many snags), if you expect to be getting hung up then a non-grapple design (e.g. triangular lead weight or cylindrical design) may be better for you.

To check out other Compass Surf and kayak anchor products:


4. Mustang Survival Throw Bag & Rope 75′

A throw-rope isn’t just one of those extra kayak fishing accessories, it’s literally a life line to another kayaker in trouble. It takes up minimal space, but should be kept where you can easily access it such as a cockpit gear hatch. It can also be used as a tow-rope when another kayaker is exhausted.

We chose the Mustang for its generous 75 foot length, ability to see the rope in the bag, and proven track record not only with individual kayakers, but also on science expeditions and trips.

Like all throw-ropes, it needs to be packed so it won’t tangle when thrown. That means packing it in from bottom to top, watching it so it doesn’t coil in a way that can create snags when thrown (like fishing line can when coiled). Be sure to take a water / kayak rescue course to learn the best rescue methods and techniques.

For additional Mustang Survival throw bags and products:


5. Stohlquist Waterware Kayak Rescue Squeeze Knife

Kayak rescue knives were originally designed for white water kayakers, which need super quick action or self saves when a kayaker was in distress. The knives are designed for super easy access (usually strapped externally to the chest area of the life vest), and have serrated edges to quickly cut through snagged fabric (e.g. PFD hung up on a sweeper tree structure) or rope or nylon webbing.

Today, these knives are more universally available and also useful for all kinds of water sports and rescue. Capsized or tangled boats, or other hazards created by swiftly changing conditions or fighting the monster fish of a lifetime make these knives useful at any time.

We’ve chosen to recommend the Stohlquist knife because of its superior easy release design, and it comes sharper than most other brands.

For additional water rescue knives:


6. BFULL Waterproof Dry Bags

We’ll say it up front, there are several high quality, more established dry bag companies than BFULL, including Wilderness Systems, Sak Gear, UniGear and Earthpak among others. If you have a tried and true preference, we’re not suggesting you change.

We’ve decided to highlight an up-and-comer consistent with our value theme – quality for the price. Are BFULL dry bags perfect? None of the brands are are. Are they performing well in particular relative to the weight and price, and bringing new features and improvements to the market and their own products? Yes.

We like the high degree of waterproofing with newer sealing technology that normally comes with a thicker, bulkier material.  As a result, the lighter and more flexible dry bag is ideal for kayaking and kayak fishing.  All for a reasonable price, with a range of sizes and colors to aid your packing.

BFULL is improving their products from early reports that sometimes the bags tore near the outer pocket zipper ends, and that the outer pocket itself wasn’t reliably waterproof as advertising had suggested (which has been corrected).

All in all we think BFULL is taking their place in with the more established companies, and we like where their product vision is going – pushing the market as a whole to better performance with lighter weight materials.

For additional dry bag options:


7. SAMS FX Landing Net – Catch and Release

This net stands out from nets in a number of respects. The proprietary Micro Mesh is a knotless material that is very fish friendly. Overall it’s a lightweight net, durable, large enough for most fish, with a grip that performs well even when wet. That means when your fish gives you a big tail-slap next to the boat on its last surge for freedom, this net will perform!

You’ll just want to make sure it’s large enough for the fish you are pursuing.  A number of users are annoyed by hooks being harder to remove from the smaller mesh size.

If used as intended, this net is durable.  Some people like to use their nets to capture bait minnows or crawfish, and if you scrap the bottom doing that you may compromise the netting.  If you do that a lot, you may prefer a net with netting that is secured to the inside.  All in all, we recommend this net due to it’s high quality to weight ratio needed for kayak fishing.

Check out this alternative for a compact, smaller foldable net:  Toasis Small Foldable Landing Net for Fly Fishing Trout Bass Catch and Release Hand Net Nylon Mes  

For more products by SAMS FX Fishing, check out these additional kayak fishing accessories:


8. Yeti Hopper Flip 12 Cooler

Without a doubt, Yeti has taken over the quality cooler market with superior products.  We see them visible where ever we go, from hardware stores to surf shops.

If you’re out for any length of time, you’ll need something more than a styrofoam box or even cheap plastic cooler to keep your food and water cool.

The Hopper Flip 12 does this in spades, and sports a wide top that flips open for easy access and visibility (hence the name).

Yeti touts – and delivers – that this unit is 100% leak proof – including the zipper.  That means not only temperature retention, but also safety – your food won’t get spoiled by algae or brackish water for example.  The proprietary ColdCell insulation is closed cell – which as you know from sleeping pads means less heat (or cold) transfer.

Can you get by with a lesser model for kayak fishing?  Yes perhaps, but once you have a Flip 12 you won’t be able to turn back….

For alternative Yeti products, check these options out:


9. Seattle Sports Paddle (& Fishing Rod) Leash

This is one of those things that seems optional, until you lose a nice rod and reel overboard, or have to paddle by hand and abort trip because your paddle floated away.  Once that happens, no question!

There are many leashes on the market.  Many for a few dollars less don’t have the features of this one.  Some for almost twice as much don’t add much value if any.  We chose the Seattle Sports leash for it’s well thought out design and quality coupled with very reasonable cost.

This leash is designed to not only secure your paddle, but also your rod.  You can buy two, or you can switch uses while fishing, as long as you stow your paddle or fishing rod securely after switching.

Consider that the bright color is helpful when things are happening quickly, you can tell more easily where your gear is going to grab it before it gets submerged or snagged and damaged.

It might not be long enough for some very tall paddlers, and if your paddle shaft is thin or narrow it might slide along the shaft instead of fitting snugly (which can be corrected with an extra drip guard or duct tape).

For more products by Seattle Sports, check these options out:


10. Carlion IPX8 Waterproof Smart Phone Pouch

Just like dry bags, there are literally a boatload of cell phone pouch makers.  Same thing, if you have a tried and true preference, we’re not suggesting you change.  And just as in dry bags, we’ve decided to highlight an up-and-comer consistent with our value theme – quality for the price.

Check out this very cool cell phone pouch by Carlion, in camo no less.  It has a formal waterproofing rating of IPX8 (which means to 100 feet, though they take care to suggest you don’t take it below

45 feet).

It’s nearly universal in its ability to house various makes, models and sizes of cell phones (including iPhone Xs XR X 8 Plus 7 6, Samsung Galaxy S9 S8 S7 S6 Note 7 6 5, HTC, LG, Motorola – 6.3″).

We really like that the clear material is made with high fluoroscopy, meaning it can take clear and colorful underwater pictures (as long as your phone is up to the task!).  To top it off, literally, Carlion designed in additional features including a double sealing water proofing feature at the folding point, and a mini-compass which can help keep you on track if you are glancing at your phone once in a while.

The main drawback includes reports that the wrist strap attachment hole can fail, just make sure you don’t pull to hard on it (e.g. don’t use it for fish bait!).  Also, while formally rated, the maker suggests you only dive half as deep as it’s actually rated for, probably just to give you a safety factor.  I don’t know about you, but I rarely get down to 50 feet much less 100, so I’m good with their call.

Alternative Product:  Moko Underwater Waterproof Phone Pouch (2-Pack)

For other waterproof phone cases and kayak fishing accessories:


11. TMS Deluxe Kayak Carrier Tote Trolley

TMS makes a more basic model, but we chose the Deluxe for it’s size and features.

This dolly supports a weight of 150 pounds (which only needs to be half your boat plus gear weight when carried at the other end), which is plenty enough for most boats plus gear (if it’s more than 300 pounds total you probably don’t want to buy it or carry it!).

While TMS says it fits up to a 12 foot long boat, we think the size is less important than the weight.  With a metal frame made of stainless anodized aluminum, this tote is very durable and will resist corrosion over time.

Foam bumpers on both arms protect your boat from damage, while a strap ensures your kayak stays on the carrier. Some buyers report they need an extra rachet strap to ensure the boat stays on if it hits an obstacle such as a rock.  The wheels are generously wide inflatable which helps to navigate walking through sand and gravel. This boat’s a quality plus for getting even large kayaks or canoes to your launch point.

To compare with other brands of boat carriers, dollies, carts, totes, trollies – and whatever else the same thing can be called:


12. _Scotty #302 Kayak Stabilizer System

Fly casting is easier when you are standing up, and standing up demands a stable kayak.  You can buy a very stable kayak, and/or you can add outriggers.

When it comes to quality and stability, we recommend Scotty #302s.  Unlike other products above where we recommended lower-price-while-still-high-quality gear, in this case we are recommending top of the line.  Other brand outriggers are either too flimsy or unreliable.

Be sure to use these outriggers when you expect extra wind and waves, in addition to casting.  Just know that for longer trips, extra drag is created so you want to think ahead to when and where the outriggers are most useful.  You can also stow them “just in case,” with the knowledge that unlike some other brands that are more easily adjustable, these really need a quick landing to adjust the angle or install / add.  All that said, we are recommending Scotty’s as a proven, reliable product and brand where others fall down.

Check out other Scotty kayak fishing accessories at:


If you want to evaluate the best fishing kayaks for your needs, you can find lots of information at Best Fishing Kayaks 2019 For Fly Fishing.  And we’re the first to say, sometimes you can save a lot of money just by making a few modifications to your existing kayak, instead of buying a brand new one.  Lots of ideas at 22 Kayak Modifications For Fly Fishing.

13. Vibe Kayaks Deluxe Padded Kayak Seat

This one doesn’t need much ‘splaining – especially if you’ve been the subject of a sore back after paddling. More cush for your tush, and more support for more of your back means way more comfortable paddling.

You’ll just want to make sure that it is correctly installed.  For this much support, the product requires 4 connection points, and some kayaks only come with 2 built in.  In that case, you’ll want to buy the supplemental installation parts.  If you’re OK with the higher back restricting your back cast (hey it might help you with the old 12 & 2 anyway!), then that’s a small tradeoff for much more comfortable paddling.

For more Vibe kayak accessories:


14. Scotty #455 Bait Board

Ok fly fisher-people – no need to turn your nose up at something called a bait board – it’s actually a very clever workstation.  Basically a convenient flat space for both fishing and other conveniences, quite often kayaks don’t have a lot of flat area and gear can get kicked around and tangled when put in your cockpit.

The setup is straightforward with mount posts (may need to order separately), and you can adjust the height and angle depending on your needs. Be careful to avoid knocking it with your paddle, and to still have the contents secured to the bait board or you could lose gear if you tip or capsize.  One tip – before you mount it, try out in several temporary positions, best to do while on the water – so you don’t have to relocate it.

With attachments (also ordered separately) you can mount tools such as camera, fish finder, cup holder, etc. to the edges of this board.  With this and other accessories, you can be in the water and productive for a very long time.

For Scotty bait board and other Scotty kayak accessories:


15. Deeper Pro Plus Smart Sonar – GPS Wireless Fish Finder

Especially in deeper water, your fishing will step it up a few notches with a GPS fish finder. This Deeper unit pairs with both iOS and Android devices, to wirelessly sync with them. Sonar graphics allow you to pinpoint where fish are in high resolution detail. The unique, castable design allows you to use it from shore, kayak, other water craft,  through the ice, and even from float tubes.

This portable unit is powerful enough to map the water you’re fishing in, after which you can transfer data to your home computer to create 3D models of the water you fish. It works up to 330 feet deep and marks waypoints to reference later or come back to try again for that trophy fish that just broke off!

The main considerations are because it’s castable, you’ll want a separate heavy duty (but cheap is OK) casting rod to use.  Some users have damaged the casing or sensor by casting into shallow water or hitting rocks or logs, so be careful where you cast.  The main disadvantage is when the battery needs replacing, instead of self-perform you mail the unit into the factory.  We hope this will be changed in the future but wanted to make sure you are aware.

It connects using Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth, which results in a stronger electronic connection.  It does take some practice to read sonar really well (e.g. to differentiate between thermoclines and other structure), but all in all this is truly and asset that can step up your fishing game, especially when seeking out the lunkers that lie deep awaiting for your cast.

To compare with other Kayak fish finders:


16. Yak Gear Angler’s Crate

For many ‘yakers, this is the single most essential piece of gear. A simple milk crate can help organize a lot of your gear, and be neatly strapped to multiple locations on your boat depending on whether you need to actively access the contents or stow them for storage. Just make sure the contents are securely bungeed inside the crate in case of tipping or capsizing!

If the benefits are so clear – easy extra storage, lightweight, doesn’t take on water, and really inexpensive – then why would we put it way at the end of our review you say? Well, we figure you can get one of these at nearly any store with office supplies. That said, many are produced in a cheap way these days, such that the end product is flimsy or flexible. So, we wanted to make sure you know that YakGear produces a strong and sturdy one specifically make for kayaking.

Well that’s it folks – by now you will be more than ready to hit the water!

Wrap Up – Kayak Fishing Accessories

There you have it, many of the best kayak fishing accessories available on the market.  In addition to these, be sure to check and see if there are any accessories specific to your boat, such as perception kayak accessories, lifetime kayak accessories, or hobie kayak accessories.  You’ll want to make sure you pick the best kayak accessories available for your preferences and situation.  You can also do a general search for example kayak accessories amazon.  We like to think we’ve brought you not only the practical, but also the cool kayak accessories.  Stay tuned for our upcoming article about DIY kayak accessories!

Well that’s it folks – with these kayak accessories for fishing – by now you will be more than ready to hit the water!

FAQs

What kayak accessories do I need?

We like to look at both must-have kayak accessories vs. wants.  Must-have’s include a paddle leash (which doubles as a fishing rod leash), rescue rope, dry bag(s), water bottles, visibility light / flag, and of course life jacket.  There endless possibilities for wants, but our favorites are extra seat cushions & back support, back deck storage crate, fishing rod holder, drift chute, tackle board, anchor trolley, landing net, GPS tracker / fish finder, outriggers and even a sail, and kayak cart.  Just tailor the best accessories to meet your specific fishing conditions, and you’ll have a great day out there!

What do you need for kayak fishing?

Fishing adds a dimension of complexity to kayaking, but a few key accessories will make even a long day comfortable and safe.  Our favorite fishing-specific kayak accessories are a rod holder(s), rod leash that doubles as a paddle leash, fishing gear crate with bungee cords for organization, a drift chute to control drift, an anchor trolley, a tackle board to spread out when rigging your line, a landing net for larger fish, and a GPS tracker / fish finder.  If you like to stand while casting, a hand-rail can be handy.

What are the best kayak accessories?

The best kayak accessories go beyond the basics, to really make your paddling comfortable and safe.  Beyond the necessary basics (rescue rope, dry bags, life jacket, and visibility flag/light), there are a bunch of great 3rd party accessories.  These include super comfortable seat and back-rest replacements, storage crates, paddle drip rings, outriggers, kayak carts for transport, and even sails to save you energy.  If you like kayak fishing, consider getting a rod holder, tackle board, landing net, and fish finder.

How do you keep fish while kayaking?

There are several ways to keep fish beyond those you release.  If you want to keep them fresh for later eating, consider keeping them alive on a long fish stringer till the end of your paddle.  We like a 6 to 10-foot stringer, and some even come with a visible float.  If you are paddling distances however, you won’t want the drag, so come equipped with a cooler full of ice which will also keep them fresh.

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