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Bogdan Pascaru - A Short Guide to Kayak Fishing

Bogdan Pascaru – A Guide to Kayak Fishing

Are you interested in kayak fishing but need help figuring out where to start? Here’s my story and a brief guide to help you get started!

I have been fishing since I was a child in Romania, where I was born. Fishing started as a hobby for me but quickly became more than a passion – it runs through my veins. While I initially focused on carp angling, for the past 15 years since I settled in the UK, I have been primarily interested in lure angling. 

During these years, I have explored new waters and experimented with various lures and techniques to catch the biggest fish. I have gained experience in many freshwaters in SE UK and on large reservoirs.

Where It All Started

Five years ago, I decided to take on a new challenge in my fishing life – kayak fishing. It’s a whole new level of fishing that I have come to enjoy since my very first day. Nowadays, I spend most of my fishing days exploring new waters from my kayak. In fact, only few months after I purchased my kayak I started participating in kayak fishing competitions and achieved impressive results despite being a beginner.

Bogdan Pascaru - A Short Guide to Kayak Fishing
My fully-loaded fishing kayak

When I began my search for the best fishing kayak, I spent several months scouring countless websites, blogs, articles, forums, and videos to understand the most important factors to consider when choosing a fishing kayak. 

While it is a complex subject that could fill a book, I will do my best to share the most important steps based on my own experience. As a freshwater angler who primarily fishes on rivers, canals, lakes, and large reservoirs, I sought out a kayak that would meet my specific needs.

An illustration of the many types of fishing kayaks

As I previously mentioned, there are many different types of fishing kayaks available on the market. However, due to my preference for freedom, as well as a touch of laziness (to be honest), I have opted for a pedal system instead of the traditional paddle system.

Pedal kayaks are an excellent way to make kayaking accessible to people of all abilities. These kayaks use foot paddles instead of regular paddles, making them a great option for those who want to work out their legs or keep their hands free for other activities like fishing, taking photos, enjoying a river-view lunch, or even having a beer.

When choosing the best pedal kayak with limited options on the UK market, I had to consider several factors.

Additional equipment required for effective kayak fishing

Which Fishing Kayak is Right for You?

When it comes to choosing a kayak, it’s similar to picking out a boat or a car. You need to go through a long list of specifications and determine which features are necessary and which ones you can compromise on. Once you have a good understanding of your options, you can begin the process of selecting the right kayak for your needs. Here are some key factors to keep in mind before making your first fishing kayak purchase.

Where Will You Store Your Fishing Kayak?

When I was considering purchasing a kayak, the first thing I needed to think about was storage. Fortunately, I live in a house with a medium-sized garden, which allowed me to explore my options further. Through my research, I discovered that almost every angler who fishes in freshwater recommends choosing a kayak with a medium length of 10-12 feet, as it makes it easier to access narrow streams and turn around on less wide waters. By selecting a kayak with these specifications, I was able to tick off another chapter in my decision-making process.

I managed to build a kayak shed but there are plenty of other storage options to suit individual requirements including racks, stands or covers. After all, not everyone is keen on the idea of housing their kayak in their living room. Be sure to remember that whatever option you choose, store your kayak away from direct sunlight and heat.

My solution to proper fishing kayak storage

What’s Your Kayak Fishing Budget?

Another important aspect to consider is the budget. Kayak fishing, also known as an “extreme sport” by its old users, can be quite expensive and may not be accessible to everyone. In the UK market, I have identified three major brands that manufacture pedal kayaks. Please note that this information is from 2018, and there may be more brands available now.

Perception Pescador Pilot Pro 12 – £2,000

First on my list is the Perception Pescador Pilot Pro 12, a budget-friendly entry-level kayak. It’s a 12ft fishing kayak that comes with a comfortable seat and a pedal-drive system. It can be purchased at UK dealers for around £2,000.

Learn more about the Perception Pescador Pilot Pro 12

Old Town Predator PDL Pedal Drive Fishing Kayak – £3,500

The second option is the Old Town Predator PDL Pedal Drive Fishing Kayak. This kayak offers superior stability, ultimate comfort, and loads of storage capacity. Its efficient PDL pedal drive also provides a hands-free fishing platform for the serious angler. While it is a mid – to high-budget kayak that costs around £3,500 on the UK market, it is definitely worth considering for anyone looking for a high-quality fishing kayak.

Learn more about the Old Town Predator PDL

Hobie Pro Angler 12 or 14, outback, passport and linx – £1,500 – £6,000

The third option, which is considered the “Maserati” of kayaks, includes the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12 or 14, Hobie Mirage Outback, and Hobie Passport. These kayaks are unique and truly premier crafts. They come in a range of prices, from £1,500 to £6,000, and offer an option for every angler.

Hobie Mirage Passport
Learn more about the Hobie Pro Angler 12

How Will You Transport Your Fishing Kayak? 

Once you have made a decision on which kayak to purchase, the next step is to figure out how to transport it to your desired location for fishing. Nowadays, there are several options available such as trailers, roof racks, carts, and straps that make transportation a breeze. Although I can manage to load and unload my kayak on my own when it’s empty, some kayaks can be heavier than 35 kilos, and you may require help to load them.

I transport my kayak on the roof of my vehicle

Try Before You Buy A Fishing Kayak!

Once you have a clear idea of what you want from a fishing kayak, the next step is to choose a few that match your desired criteria and try them out! It is always a good idea to demo a kayak before making a purchase. Before you evaluate the fishing kayaks at your local paddlesport shop or marina, it is essential to understand the significant characteristics of kayaks. Although most fishing kayaks can be used for various activities, it is important to keep in mind that no single kayak can excel at every activity.

Everything I need – ready to go!

My preferred kayak is the Perception Pescador Pilot Pro 12 pedal kayak, as it meets all my requirements. Below is a manufacturer’s description…

“The Pescador Pilot is an affordable sit-on-top kayak packed to the gills with fishing features and complete with the included Pilot Drive pedal drive system. The Pilot Drive is performance-engineered to achieve the perfect balance of simplicity and ingenuity and is ergonomically optimized for all-day hands-free fishing. Outfitted with a Captain’s Chair with on-the-fly adjustable gear tracks and tension knobs, four molded-in rod holders, two Yak Attack accessory tracks, a transducer scupper, and two storage consoles for mounting electronics. The best feature? A price that propels the Pescador Pilot into a class all its own.”

You’ll Need Insurance, A Permit And A Membership Too!

If you want to use a kayak in the inland waters of the UK, you must have valid insurance and a permit to use the waterway.

Angling Trust offers a membership for kayakers. This membership includes third-party liability insurance, waterway permit, and fishing permit for all Canal and River Trust waters.

By becoming a British Canoeing Member, you’ll receive third-party liability insurance as well as a waterway permit for over 3,000 miles of UK rivers.

Make sure you have a valid EA fishing license and permission from the fishing rights owner before fishing in a particular area.

My customised fishing kayak – perfectly set up for my fishing

What Else Might I Need To Consider?

Customizing your kayak is much like customizing cars or any other hobby. It’s all about personal preferences. For instance, I have rigged my kayak to make it easy for me to access the fish finder and other accessories quickly. 

Depending on your budget, you can choose from different rod holders, camera sticks, and a wide range of fishfinders. Also, you must wear suitable clothing based on the season you’ll be fishing. 

During the winter months, you’ll need a properly dry suit or similar, and a full waterproof and windproof suit is necessary for all other months. There are many options available to choose from. 

Lastly, a buoyancy aid is imperative to stay safe while kayak fishing. It will help you stay afloat if you find yourself in the water. Buoyancy aids, also known as personal flotation devices (PFDs), come in various styles.

Make sure you’re wearing a suitable buoyancy aid

To Conclude…

I hope I have covered all the important aspects you need to consider when purchasing a fishing kayak. Once you get out on the water, your fishing opportunities will be limitless.

One of the most exciting parts of kayak fishing is the chance to compete. I participated in my first kayak fishing competition in 2019, and since then, more and more freshwater competitions have been organized.

Over the past four years, I have participated in more than 20 competitions, winning three and placing in the top 10 almost every year. I am looking forward to the upcoming 2024 competition season!

2023 European Kayak Fishing Champion
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Bogdan Pascaru
Bogdan Pascaru

Bogdan has experience in many forms of angling but most notably kayak fishing. With a wealth of knowledge from real-world experience Bogdan has won kayak fishing competitions and caught some excellent fish.