Every day, the editors at Kayak Angler receive photos from readers around the world. A steady stream of grip and grins, dawn and dusk, pimped-out kayaks and trophy catches flash across our desktops. Now we’re turning the tide. The 2016 Destination Guide captures the 25 most popular paddle-fishing hotspots on Earth, with local insight from the pros who fish there. Chances are, one of these destinations is close to you. Others are only as far away as you dare to dream or drive. —Ric Burnley
Outer Banks, North Carolina
Known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic, North Carolina’s storied Outer Banks consists of a narrow band of sand butting against the raw power of the Gulf Stream. The resulting weather and waves have been the doom of many ships and a boon for kayak anglers. Local guide Rob Alderman (www.outerbankskayakfishing.com) covers the ocean and sound from the Virginia line to Ocracoke Island. “That’s 120 miles of coast,” he points out. Alderman splits his time between stalking sea trout, flounder and redfish in the sounds and charging the surf to chase cobia, bull reds, sharks and mackerel on the seaside. Fishing is best spring through fall with shoulder seasons the hottest. Winter can be white hot for striped bass when the wandering fish migrate past the northern Outer Banks. On the inevitable lay day, these islands offer the best surfing, kite surfing and wind surfing on the East Coast. Or climb one of the local lighthouses for a breathtaking view of the Graveyard.
Durham, North Carolina
Durham, North Carolina, is one of the fastest growing cities in America. With the Eno River flowing through town and pristine mountain streams and crystal clear lakes a short drive away, obviously many people are moving to the area for the fishing. Local guide and outfitter Gary Ribet (www.froggywaters.com) describes the whole region as a kayak fishing destination. “There are too many options to focus on just one river or lake,” he explains. Ribet recommends the Eno River for largemouth bass in the fall. White and black crappie school up in the spring providing fast action and great table fare. For a unique challenge…