How to Build a Fishing Kayak

How to Build a Fishing Kayak
You can fish out of any style of kayak, but the best kayaks for fishing have several common characteristics: good stability, enough rocker to improve maneuverability, and forward deck space for accessories. Sit-on-top kayaks with these characteristics also offer the additional benefits of molded tank to hold gear, freedom of body movement, and self-draining hulls. A few sit-on-top designs are available to the homebuilder. One such design, the Sea Island Sport by kayak designer Nick Schade. can be outfitted as a fishing kayak. Whichever design you choose to build, the outfitting is the same.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Kayak kit
  • Rod holders
  • Depth finder
  • Through hull wire fitting
  • Silicone sealant
  • Marine plywood
  • Fiberglass
  • Bait bucket
  • Kayak anchor kit
Step 1
Following the kit's instructions, assemble the pieces from the kayak kit into full-length panels. Join the full-length panels together using the copper wire that was included in the kit. By joining the panels together, the kayak forms its final shape. Take the time to make sure you aligned the panels correctly, so that the boat is fair --- even from side to side.
Step 2
Using the supplied fiberglass, glass the panels together at the seams. When the glass is dry, pull out the copper wire. Then fiberglass the inside and outside of the hull. Once the glass is dry, outfit the kayak.
Step 3
Attach rod holders for and aft. Most anglers set their kayaks up with two rod holders aft of the cockpit and one or two forward. The aft holders should be kept near the paddler for ease of access, but the forward holders must be kept forward enough not to interfere with your paddle stroke.
Step 4
Install a depth finder on the forward deck of the kayak. Install the transducer and battery on the bottom of the boat inside the forward hatch. And screw the display unit onto the deck. Drill a hole big enough to allow the wires to pass from the transducer and battery to the display unit. Seal the hole with a hull-fitting and silicone sealant.
Step 5
If the kayak doesn't have an open rear tank, build one by cutting a rectangular opening into the aft deck big enough to hold a bait bucket, tackle box, and other gear you plan on bringing fishing. Build a box to fit into this opening using marine plywood. The box should extend completely to the bilge of the kayak. Fiberglass the inside and outside of the box, and then using fiberglass attach the box to the hull.
Step 6
Install an anchor system into the kayak. If you built a box into the back of the kayak, make a place to store a folding anchor. The clam cleat should be placed near your side for ease of access. Use fairleads to run the anchor line to the stern's stem. Make sure to buy an anchor kit specifically designed for kayaks.

Tips & Warnings

Purchase rod holders and fishing gear at your local fishing or kayak specialty store. They are available online at big-box fishing and kayak retailers.
Ropes and lines can create entrapment issues, so be sure to carry a knife on your lifevest, which may help you free yourself from any entrapment.

Article Written By Bryan Hansel

Bryan Hansel is a freelance photographer and kayaking guide who began writing in 1993. His outdoors articles appear on various websites. Hansel holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and religion from the University of Iowa.

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