Get Ready for the Kayaking Season

Types of kayaks

Kayaks come in various shapes and sizes to travel on the water. Depending on the kayaker’s intent, some kayaks are better for paddling down a river and others only in lakes. I read out of a couple library books and researched kayaks for two months. After researching, I discovered a broad selection of kayaks out there for fishing, long trips, and some even suitable for snorkeling and fly-fishing.

Some kayaks are for daytrips and others will meet the demands of a traveler for several days. Given this freedom to paddle for days one could travel the shores and parks of North and South Lake Leelanau. The best kayaks to do this in are touring kayaks which have a narrow “V”-shaped hull and long length for storage (14+ feet). These kayaks go fast, and track in one direction well. As kayaks get broader there is a trade-off for maneuverability as the kayaks get shorter and more stable. A kayak which is over twelve feet long may not maneuver well in a river. Given the narrowness of a touring kayak the kayaker may need to brace in stormy weather to prevent capsizing.

Instead, a less experienced kayaker might like a kayak one can simply jump out of, such as a sit-on top kayak. The option to sit-on a kayak is better for those who plan to swim or snorkel. These kayaks also prove better for fishing since some sit-on kayaks are designed to stand on. The Freedom Hawk Pathfinder is a new type of kayak that uses levers to open up pontoons like wings in a “Y” shape, giving the boat eight feet of stability and the option to accommodate a trolling motor. The best kayaks for fishing will have a flat hull or (even better) a pontoon hull. Leaning to the either side, the pontoon style board will be less tippy. Ideally, a stable platform is necessary to do fly fishing. The new Pelican Catch 120 has a 34” beam and pontoon hull built somewhat like a miniature bass boat. This kayak is also made for standing on.

If you are reading this article and saying “I have never tried a kayak” there several locations to try one, listed below.

Remember safety and to check the weather. Don’t get sunburn. It is a good idea to pack an emergency blanket and towel in case one gets wet in cold weather. In some kayaks a spare paddle could be stored below. A paddle leash is an inexpensive security measure and easy to make.

Happy paddling!
Jason Safronoff

Not Sure If You Like Kayaking? Try One Locally

All About Water
8995 South Kasson Street
Cedar, Michigan 49621
Harbor House Trading Company
101 N Main Street, PO Box 940
Leland, Michigan 49654
Phone: 231-256-7530 | rrr@lelandharborhouse.com
Sunset Watersports – Leelanau Peninsula -Boat Rental Service
7716 E Otto Rd
Lake Leelanau, MI 49653
Phone: (231) 357-3790

My Top Picks for Fishing Kayaks (Beginners to Intermediate)

Wilderness Systems Ride 115 Max
Freedom Hawk Freedom 14 or Pathfinder (14’ long)
Pelican Catch 120
Future Beach Angler 144

Kayak Dealers
Dunham’s Sports (The Catch 120)
Cabela’s (Freedom Hawk Pathfinder and Freedom 14, the older model)
Back Country North (Wilderness Systems Ride 115 Max)
MC Sports (Pelican kayaks)

2 Replies to “Get Ready for the Kayaking Season

  1. Very informative, Jason. Thanks! I was not aware of the “pontoon” style kayak – they sound perfect for fishing and standing up.

  2. Actually, to note Dunham’s has a great 20% off coupon for email subscribers which apply to kayaks. And the price for their future beach angler 144 is marked lower at $469, check what current prices are. Other kayaks might be available after the season at rental locations too.

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