In this day and age, you don’t need a big, expensive boat to get to good fishing spots. Float tubes, pontoons and kayaks are less expensive to buy and maintain, plus they’re fun to fish out of, especially the newer ones that are outfitted with rod holders, bait wells, depth finders, even cup holders. There are ones that have pedal power allowing you to cast and move, use a trolling or small outboard motor, and there are inflatable kayaks that are the least expensive to buy.
But before going helter-skelter in buying one, there are some considerations. Is it going to be used on flatwater, moving water, white water or in the ocean? Would you prefer a sit-on-top or sit-in model? And what length would be suitable for your needs?
The best initial bet if you’re a first timer is to talk to an experience kayaker for their feedback before buying. If you don’t know of one, stop up at Leaser Lake most any weekend and you’re certain to find a kayak angler in the parking lots or wait until one comes ashore.
One of the first things to consider once you decide the type you prefer, is its cost. Starter or entry-level kayaks start at around $250. Ones equipped for fishing fetch $500 and more.
Then there’s the decision of a sit-on-top or sit-inside kayak. Experts say a sit-on-top is easy to get in and out of, which is especially helpful if you plan to kayak and wade. This model increases visibility and casting distance but leaves the angler vulnerable to splashing and waves.
A sit-in-side model protects the angler from waves and water and is more stable. It also offers inside storage (although some sit-on’s have sealed compartments) and is good for river, ocean or quieter ponds and lakes.
Now if you want a pure fishing kayak that has rod holders, you’ll find they’re around 30 inches wide for more stability. Because of that, they’re less tippy and will allow you to be able to cast, set the hook and land tough fighting fish without feeling like you’re about to take a swim. They also have more storage features, molded tackle trays and casting handles. Their drawback is they won’t cut through the water as quickly.
If the water is choppy because of the wind, you’ll need a lightweight folding anchor or stake-pole. The anchor works best in deep water whereas the stake-pole is better in shallow water. The poles can be bought or made from PVC pipe and stuck into the lakes’ bottom, often through the kayaks’ scupper holes.
Length and weight are considerations. A longer kayak will move faster and have more storage space. The drawback, they weigh more. The popular size is 10-12 feet in length that puts them around 50 pounds. Unless you have a pickup truck or trailer, hoisting one atop the car and onto special and expensive kayak roof racks, could be trying at the end of a fishing day. And if not using a kayak cart with wheels, carrying one over your head could be problematic and tiring if the waters’ edge requires a hike (like Promised Land’s two lakes).
A kayak’s portability allows you to launch anywhere you can stand, even 60-degree river banks, common on the Lehigh and Delaware rivers. Leaser Lake, however, now has a kayak launch dock that’s at the dam end of the lake and it makes entering the water considerably easier.
STRIPER ACTION HOT
According to On the Water Magazine, stripers in southern New Jersey are being caught along the beaches including a 30-pound cow that was taken on a fly from the surf. Stripers up to 30 pounds are being hooked off Ocean County and are migrating up from the south.
In northern New Jersey, stripers are hot in Raritan Bay and up into the Delaware and Hudson rivers. Smaller linesiders are showing up in the surf throughout NJ.
The Tackle Box in Hazlet reports bass fishing is fantastic throughout Raritan Bay and all the way into the back bay, near the Naval Pier, at West Bank and Old Orchard. Anglers are throwing shads, Mojo’s, bunker chunks and livelining. Loads of bunker are being reported in the rivers and bass have been right behind and gorging on them.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.