Are Inflatable Kayaks Safe For Fishing? (and Alternatives)


Are inflatable kayaks safe for fishing

Kayak fishing has gained much popularity in recent years, and more and more people are keen to try this method of fishing. There are many types of kayak that are suitable for fishing, but you may want to try the activity out before you commit to it. If you only have an inflatable kayak, would you be able to use this boat as a tryout? Are inflatable kayaks safe for fishing?

Inflatable kayaks are safe for fishing if the kayak has been designed for the purpose of fishing and is used within the parameters that it was designed for. These kayaks are not suited to windy conditions, rough water, or strong currents and should, therefore, not be used in these conditions.

Sharp and pointy hooks, knives, and pliers are all instruments that kayak fishermen use onboard their craft. These sharp, pointed metal tools are generally not considered to be ideal tools and equipment to have on board an inflatable boat. So how is it possible that you can fish from an inflatable kayak and not puncture the craft?

Can You Fish From An Inflatable Kayak?

The materials that inflatable boats are manufactured from have come a long way since the early days. They have become more robust, durable, and resistant to puncture. While they have become more resistant to these potential hazards, they are not impervious to them.

Given that there are still risks with using inflatable boats to fish from, it is most certainly possible. Many manufacturers make inflatable kayaks that they advertise as specific boats for the kayak fishing community.

So essentially, the answer is yes, you can fish from an inflatable kayak, with the provision that you take a few additional precautions due to the inflatable nature of the kayak. There are other options like bass boats and pontoon style inflatables for a couple to three hundred dollars. Which is a significant reduction from the upwards of thousands of dollars that a polycarbonate fishing kayak can cost.

Is It Safe To Fish From An Inflatable Kayak?

An inflatable kayak has some significant differences to other fishing kayaks, other than the obvious one being that the hull is inflated with air.

Inflatable kayaks perform differently out on the water and are more susceptible to certain weather conditions than kayaks that are of a more sturdy, rigid frame. This may cause you to raise the concern of whether it is safe or not to use an inflatable for fishing.

To allay your fears, it is certainly safe to fish from an inflatable kayak, as long as you take into account some additional methods and steps to minimize the risks of using an inflatable vessel.

Not all inflatable boats are designed for fishing, so if you want to fish safely from an inflatable kayak, it would be in your best interest to choose a kayak that has been specifically designed for fishing. The manufacturers have taken into account the hazards associated with fishing and have designed their craft to be as safe as possible for the activity.

Other inflatable boats would not have these eventualities in mind when they were designed and manufactured, and this is where fishing from an inflatable boat may not be a safe undertaking.

What Are The Problems Fishing From An Inflatable Kayak?

Due to the nature of the inflatable kayak, there are some characteristics of the boat that you need to consider when using this type of kayak for fishing.

  • It is easily blown across the water by the wind. If you are not paying attention, you could easily drift with the wind and currents and find yourself far from the bank or further downstream than you expected. This could pose challenges getting back to the safety should the weather turn, or it starts to get dark.
  • Not very maneuverable. Inflatable kayaks are not made for their maneuverability which can make them a little difficult to direct into tight fishing spots, negotiate obstacles, or control the boat in fast-moving water.
  • Slow and difficult to push through the water. Inflatable kayaks are not built for performance in the water, and while fishing is not a race, there are times when you need to get places with a bit of speed. An inflatable will not be the best kayak for this. It also takes more energy to overcome the resistance of the water on the hull, which results in more energy needed to propel these kayaks through the water.
  • Susceptible to puncture. Even though the materials have advanced and become more resistant to puncture, they are not immune. This means that you must be constantly vigilant for potential puncture hazards both above and below the water. The hazards below the water may be difficult to spot if the water is not clear. Additional care and precautionary measures needs to be taken when using sharp fishing gear such as hooks and knives.
  • Safety is always a concern out in the water: 30 years of kayaking and my fair share of hair raising moments has taught me that. The best weapon you have to protect yourself is planning. So if you are new, or need a refresher we have some kayak fishing safety tips here as well.

Despite these characteristics / disadvantages for fishing from an inflatable kayak, they do have their place and are safe to use for fishing as long as they are used in the appropriate manner.

Inflatable kayaks are great for smaller bodies of water such as ponds, creeks, small slow-flowing rivers, and small dams.

On larger bodies of water such as large dams, lakes, strong flowing rivers, and coastal regions, inflatable kayaks would not be recommended as an ideal kayak for fishing. In these locations, the situations can change quickly, which would make it no longer safe to use an inflatable kayak for fishing.

What To Do If Your Inflatable Kayak Gets A Puncture?

Most inflatable kayaks that are designed for fishing will have separate inflatable compartments to avoid the entire vessel collapsing if it gets punctured. Only the affected compartment will lose air, but the rest of the boat should remain intact and help to keep it afloat.

You will still, however, need to take immediate action once you notice a leak in your inflatable kayak.

The most important thing you should do when you notice that your inflatable kayak has sprung a leak is to establish how far you are from the bank. If you feel that the leak is slow enough, you can make your way to the shore immediately.

If heading to shore is not a possibility, then you need to take alternative actions, most of which require that you have planned ahead for this event.

If you are going to be traveling some distance from shore with an inflatable kayak, you should always have the following items on the boat.

  • A manual hand pump. This will, at the very least, help you to keep the kayak inflated to help you reach the shore.
  • A puncture repair kit. If the leak is small, a puncture repair kit that is designed for your type of boat can help you to repair the leak. Then use the pump to re-inflate the compartment.
  • A roll of duct tape. For bigger punctures, you can try to seal the hole with duct tape and then re-inflate with the pump.
  • A personal floatation device. Never leave shore without a personal floatation device. If all the other repair attempts fail, this device could save your life.

These repair methods only work well if the leak is above or near the waterline. Should the puncture be below the waterline, you may have to make your way to shore while pausing to use the pump to re-inflate the kayak to compensate for the air loss. 

Alternatives To Fishing From An Inflatable Kayak

If the waters that you fish in have strong currents, or it is a large body of water that has the potential for you to drift a long way from shore, then an alternative kayak would be the more suitable choice for fishing.

There are a host of alternative fishing kayaks that can be used on waters that are not suitable for inflatable kayaks. We have a run down of the best fishing kayaks for under 1000 and 500 dollars on the market at the moment on the site as well.

Rigid kayaks that can be the sit-on type or the sit-in type of kayak can be made from various plastics and polycarbonate materials. Their designs and rigidity make them more appropriate for the waters where an inflatable kayak is not suitable.

We have articles throughout the site on some things to look for in hard bodied fishing kayaks. Including how to choose what you need in a fishing kayak.

Conclusion

Inflatable Fishing kayaks are useful because they are easy to transport, they are lightweight, and if deflated after use, they take up very little storage space. Some of these inflatable kayaks can even have trolling motors fitted to them to make getting around a little easier.

However, these craft do have their limitations, so if the conditions that you regularly fish in are not conducive to the use of an inflatable kayak, you would do better to purchase a more appropriate craft rather than take a risk.

References

https://www.wildernesssystems.com/us/

https://www.bigskyfishing.com/inflatable-boats/inflatable-fishing-kayaks/

https://bestinflatablesports.com/inflatable-boat-punctured-on-water/

https://kayakfisherly.com/inflatable-kayak-safety/

Marc

Hi I am Marc, when I am not in a classroom teaching you will find me, or more likely not find me, on a boat, trekking through the woods, sitting by a river or pier hoping for tight lines or a straight shot. I have been teaching Outdoor skills, fishing, archery, shooting, Kayaking, Climbing and more for over 30 years. Its about time I shared some of that with you all.

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