Best Kayak Fishing Gear For 2023

Buyer’s Guide | Kayak Angler

Next to the fish, the best thing about fishing is the gear. Kayak anglers not only use rods, reels, lines and lures, but also have fishing apparel, tools, accessories, storage and propulsion options. Before you get overwhelmed, putting together an arsenal of kayak fishing gear requires informed choices about the best tools and tackle for the fishing you do.

By its nature, kayak fishing requires an angler to cut the fat and take only what’s necessary for the places you fish and the way you fish. Do you really need two dozen crankbaits in your tackle box? Instead, take three colors that catch the most fish. Are you going to use five rod holders on a 12-foot plastic boat? Rig your ride with accessories strategically placed to support how you fish.

And there is no better time to rig up. The sport’s explosive popularity has blasted store shelves with high-tech gear to make paddling and casting easier and more fun. The best kayak fishing gear is now available in more places at a lower price. Anyone can outfit a fishing kayak like a pro.

Choosing and using the best kayak fishing gear will lead to more fish in the net and more fun on the water. Below, you’ll find a guide to the most advanced rods, reels, lines, lures, clothes, accessories, tools and storage. We’ve provided a one-stop shop for everything you need to paddle out and bring in the big one.


Woman standing beside fishing kayak with cooler, drybag, and other gear.

Best kayak fishing gear


Hang out at a popular kayak launch and it won’t be long before you’ll see someone with a motorized kayak. Adding an electric motor to a kayak is easier with DIY aftermarket power plants. Even though many anglers pedal or motor their kayaks, most people like to paddle. The simplicity, quiet and total control make paddling attractive to many kayakers.

Choosing the best motor or paddle is key to a successful day on the water. A reliable motor will get you to the fish and back, while a great paddle will make every stroke a joy. Check out these articles on picking the best kayak motor or paddle.

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To handle the tough conditions faced by kayak anglers, you’ll want to choose the best fishing tackle for the fishing you do. On a kayak, rods, reels, line and lures are exposed to spray, salt, sand and grime. Rods get banged up, reels will be doused, line stretched to the breaking point and lures and bait tested to extremes.

When choosing tackle, kayak anglers must consider weight and space. Only take what is necessary and leave the rest in the garage. For this reason, we’ve put together top tips for choosing the best kayak fishing tackle you’ll need to catch the fish of a lifetime.

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Fishing apparel

There’s no place to hide from the weather on a kayak. Wind, spray, sun, rain, cold and heat will have their way with an angler. To beat back Mother Nature, choose the best kayak fishing apparel. High-tech fabrics and active design make fishing more comfortable in any conditions. Check out these favorites for kayak fishing fashion.

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Back in the day, kayak anglers had to bastardize existing fishing accessories to fit their kayaks. PVC holders strapped to milk crates, drilled-into hulls, popped rivets, bungee cords, duct tape and gobs of silicone sealant were the hallmarks of kayak rigging. Today, setting up a kayak no longer requires a trip to the hardware store. While many anglers still choose to DIY their rigging, we now have access to a wide variety of the best rod holders, fish finders, anchors, mounts, bags and safety gear.

The latest generation of the best kayak fishing accessories are tough and smart. Follow the advice below to choose and install custom features that make fishing easier and more comfortable. With today’s accessories, anyone can turn a kayak into a fishing machine.

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Fishing tools

Use the right tool for the job, that’s the best advice for any angler. Removing a hook, cutting bait, cleaning a fish or landing a fish requires pliers, nets and knives that are light and indestructible. We’ve put the best kayak fishing tools to the test on the water and in the field. Check out the winners below.



A place for everything and everything in its place. There is no space on a kayak for extra gear and unnecessary tackle. Organizing lures, rods and tools keeps them in reach and on the boat. For many of us, if a boater can have it so can a kayak angler. As a result, folks using live bait have great options for powerful livewells and aerators. And keeping your catch cold in the hot sun is possible with new options for coolers and fish bags. It doesn’t take long to learn, the best kayak fishing gear is useless unless you can use it when needed.


How we chose the best kayak fishing gear

We consider several factors when choosing the best gear for kayak fishing. From ensuring we judge the gear according to its intended purpose to making sure you’re actually able to buy it, here are the things we consider when picking the best kayak fishing gear in each category:

  • Purpose. Comparing apples to apples.
  • Performance. How well does it do its job?
  • Features. Sometimes we’re all about bells and whistles, sometimes not.
  • Real-world testing. We put them to the test on the water.
  • Price. Is it affordable? Does its performance justify its cost?
  • Sales. Best-selling models are best-sellers for a reason.
  • Availability. It won’t be good if you can’t buy it.
  • Designer and brand interviews. We ask the people who made it why.

Let’s find you the perfect kayak fishing gear

Use the Kayak Angler Buyer’s Guide’s reviews, specs and expert rankings to help you find the right gear at the right price.