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Thread: Categorizing your fishing yak gear: Essential vs. Helpful vs. Niche

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Sykesville, MD

    Default Categorizing your fishing yak gear: Essential vs. Helpful vs. Niche

    Remember the day when you first got your fishing yak and you needed to purchase essential gear before going out? Then, after going out, you purchased some more gear that made your life easier or more comfortable when fishing, then finally once you knew yak fishing was your true hobby so you went all in on souping up your ride?

    I think it would be great if we could have a thread categorizing essential vs helpful vs. niche gear for fishing yaks (for newbs like myself). Man of these items can be purchased on and

    From the limited research I've gathered, here is the essential gear that I think would be needed before your first launch (please note, items within groups are not ordered in priority):

    Essential Gear
    1. Yak (of course) - Properly titled/registered if using an electric/fuel motor drive
    2. Annual MD Fishing License
    3. Paddle
    4. Personal Flotation Device (life jacket)
    5. Fishing Rod
    6. Fishing net
    7. Tackle/Plano Boxes
    8. Tackle crate
    9. Fishing tackle (line, lures, weights, etc)
    10. Fishing tools (knife, pliers)
    11. Fish measuring device (Hawg trough, etc.)
    12. Noise device (whistle or air horn)
    13. Trailer or roof rack system
    14. Hat, sunblock and insect repellent
    15. First Aid Kit
    16. Floating VHF radio or communication device
    17. Bailing device (large sponge or top half of milk jug works in a pinch)
    18. Flashlight/Signaling device (when fishing at and and/or in remote areas)

    Am I missing anything?

    Helpful Gear
    1. Anchor/Anchor trolley system
    2. Fish Finder with transducer (with GPS) and battery
    3. Stake out pole
    4. Extra hardware mounts (cleats, rod holders, extension arms, paddle holders, Scotty gear/yak attack/RAM mounts)
    5. Landing Cart/Gear
    6. Leashes or Floats
    7. Cooler
    8. Deck mats or traction mats
    9. Plano Boxes
    10. Fish Grip
    11. Fish scale
    12. Rudder with rudder system or skeg
    13. Fishing Bag
    14. Paddle Grips or Kayak Gloves

    Am I missing anything?

    All in (niche) Gear
    1. Trolley motor/pedal drive
    2. Command stand
    3. Outrigger
    4. LED fishing lights
    5. Live Well
    6. Sunscreen Roof
    7. GoPro mounts or GoPro Boomstick

    Am I missing anything?

    (A similar discussion on this can be found here)


    Last edited by smithmal; 10-18-2017 at 02:20 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    St Mary's County


    Under essential you need a noise making device like a whistle or air horn. It's standard boating safety gear per DNR and you can get ticketed without it. I'd also have phone or radio under essential. For me the fish measuring board is essential. Don't want to guess on a close fish.
    Pro Angler 14 "The Grand Wazoo"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Sykesville, MD



    Excellent point. I did not know about the noise maker. Also with essential gear you would need a fishing licenses. What registrations need to be in place for non-motorized vs. motorized kayaks?


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    North East, MD


    Under helpful, (maybe essential depending on where you fish) is a floating VHF radio.

    2015 Viking Profish Reload

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Catonsville, MD


    Fishing net could be moved to the helpful gear category, rather than essential, as many folks go without them. And if you intend to keep fish that have a size limit, a measuring device would be essential.

    Some of the "helpful gear" or "all in" gear could be switched around, but it really comes down to how you fish. For me, an anchor would be way down the list, but for someone soaking bait for catfish, it may be practically essential. For my fishing, a rudder is at the top of the list of helpful gear as my boat doesn't track that well without one and it is just much easier to troll with a rudder. Same could be said of rod holders as trolling with a paddle yak is not really possible without them.

    2013 Wilderness Systems Ride 135

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Glen Burnie


    I second a VHF radio being on the essential list. Maybe not for everybody or every situation but any big water or going out alone it's a must have.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011


    I made the same thread couple months ago. One thing I realized now is that, buy all your accessories after taking your kayak out couple times. I think that is the biggest lessons learned I realized. This is what everyone here has told me also.

    Here is my thread. You will see lot of similarities. I wished I didn't buy half of the accessories...
    2015 Hobie Revolution 11

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Pasadena, MD


    Aside from the legal necessities of a license and PFD, the answer is, it depends.

    It depends on how you fish as Keven said.

    I've read the stories of many kayak anglers on this forum and most seem to go through an evolution. I've done it myself.

    They start with the basic gear, a single rod and reel being most important, of course. Then they enthusiastically ramp up their purchases of both fishing gear and accessories for their kayaks. ( and are probably two sites saved in their browsers.) They may even buy a second or third kayak. Then they find their favorite kayak fishing style and tailor what they carry to that style. Invariably, that means that many items they enthusiastically purchased as essential either wind up sitting in a corner of their garage or basement or are sold on this forum to others starting their evolution.

    The lists, the purchases, the evolution -- it's part of the fun of kayak fishing.

    Slate Hobie Revolution 13
    Hidden Oak Native Ultimate 12
    Red Native Ultimate 14.5

    Author: The Simple Joys of Kayak Fishing (Tips and Tales From an Old Guy in His Plastic Boat)
    Available on and via PM

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Southern Maryland- Charles County


    It took me two days to outfit the Lady Luck...after five years with my "Ugly Duckling" Outback, I knew exactly what I wanted on my kayak...and my wants are "essential" to me...first and foremost was my electronics had to be professional, neat, clean and waterproof...all waterproof thru-hull wiring fittings, marine grade wiring, Hobie battery holder...then came the YakAttack aluminum rails and backing plates that allow complete versitility of accessories...a DIY pvc rod holder system that fits into the two behind the seat flush factory rod holders...a YakAttack anchor trolley system, red turbo fins and sailing rudder...all done....see you on the water...
    "Lady Luck" 2016 Red Hibiscus Outback
    "Wet Dream" 2011 yellow Ocean Prowler 13

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Midway between Baltimore and Washington


    This is typically what I bring.

    PFD with whistle attached to it
    fishing rod
    small fishing bag. over the shoulder type bag that is a little larger than a fanny pack, but not by much.
    inside the fishing bag I pack my lures for the day, needle nose pliers, fish grip.
    A hat and sunblock are essential for me.
    prescription polarized sunglasses

    I rarely bring a net.

    Depending on the launch, I will bring a cart for my kayak to tow the boat to the water from my vehicle.

    I'm pretty minimal.

    I will sometimes bring a fish finder, like maybe 5% of my trips.

    My crate with lures/plano boxes stays home almost all of the time now days.


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