For Bonafide Kayaks pro staffer Trevor Soety, a sit-inside kayak is perfect for pond hopping the neighborhoods around Orlando, Florida. “There are tons of lakes I grew up fishing that are now surrounded by houses,” he snickers. Soety doesn’t let that stop him. Using a light, compact and versatile sit-inside kayak, he can still reach hidden ponds. “I’ve dragged my kayak over fences and through yards,” he says, then adds, “after asking permission, of course.” Once he’s on the water, he still needs stability to stand and throw topwater frogs and finesse lures. Find out Soety’s sit-inside rigging tips to stay on top of the bite.
Ultimate Rigging Guide for Sit-Inside Fishing
For grab-and-go fishing, nothing beats a sit-inside kayak; the boats are lighter than a sit-on-top making it easier to load and launch. “The whole kayak weighs less than 70 pounds,” Soety says, allowing him to car top the boat and drag it to suburban fishing holes.
For a modern fishing sit-inside, Soety uses a Bonafide EX123. The modified sit-inside has a tunnel hull for added stability and improved tracking. “The pontoons give me a place to put my feet when I’m standing,” Soety adds.
Modern fishing sit-inside kayaks feature a large cockpit opening making it easier to enter and exit the kayak. The extra space also has more room for a frame seat elevated off the bottom of the boat.
Sit-inside kayaks offer more storage space below deck for camping gear or tons of tackle. Soety likes the space for stashing his life vest, cam straps and net between trips. “I’m always ready to go,” Soety says.
To power his sit-inside, Soety uses a Bending Branches Angler Pro Carbon paddle. “It’s light and stiff, perfect for stand-up fishing,” he explains. He chooses a 250 cm shaft to reach the water over the high sides of the kayak and while standing in the cockpit. Light blades are especially important with a long shaft to reduce swing weight that causes fatigue.
Nets, Gaffs and Grippers
Soety doesn’t let big bass escape. He carries a folding landing net that fits inside the cockpit or rests across the bow. “The Leverage Landing Net will fit in my rod holder, even when it’s folded,” he adds. Storing a net where it won’t tangle or fall overboard keep the tool from being a distraction. Many anglers have shared the experience when the landing net actually cost them a fish.
Soety also carries a Gambler Lures gripper scale to weigh his lunkers. “The scale is waterproof and corrosion resistant,” Soety explains. He stores the gripper in his crate. The gripper scale allows Soety to weigh a fish without risk of losing it overboard.
A sit inside kayak offers plenty of dry storage. The Bonafide EX123 has a sealed bulkhead separating the cockpit from the stern for watertight storage. Not only is this a good place to store camping gear or dry clothes, but Soety can store his net, cam straps and life vest between trips. “The boat is ready to go anytime,” he says.
To haul tackle and gear into hidden honey holes, Soety carries a drybag back pack. When he’s dragging a kayak to the water, the backpack is slung over his shoulders. On the water, he carries the bag behind his seat for quick access to his camera equipment.
“I carry a couple Plano tackle trays with the most effective lures for Florida,” he says. He keeps his hooks and sinkers in a smaller tray. He limits his quiver to two rods: one with a topwater and the other a finesse bait. “I’m a power fisherman,” Soety says. He moves quickly and covers the water with two tactics.
Sit-Inside Fishing Crate
A YakAttack BlackPak fits perfectly on top the EX123’s rear hatch cover. One of the challenges of rigging a sit-inside for fishing is adding external storage. Strapping a crate to the rear deck puts the weight high and completely exposes the crate to the elements and gravity. Bonafide’s EX123 has a hatch cover molded to accept a large storage crate and webbed with bungees to hold it in place.
To stage his rods for casting, Soety uses two YakAttack Bazooka Tube rod holders. He installed an elevated rod holder to a gear track on each side of the cockpit. Mating the rod tube to a Lock and Load mounting system allows him to adjust the angle and remove the rod holder quickly.
Soety has modified a monopod to fit in the flush-mount rod holder behind his seat. “I can extend the monopod or remove it and place it in another rod holder,” he says. The extended camera stand allows him to take photos from different angles or collapse the monopod and store it inside the kayak.
Looking for a cool PFD for the Florida heat, Soety chooses the NRS Chinook. “It has really soft foam that forms to fit,” he points out. The angler loads his life vest with nippers, scissors and a safety whistle. He keeps his cell phone on a Rogue Fishing phone tether attached to a leash of 550 paracord he can clip to his life vest.
Soety leaves the electronics at home on his pond-hopping trips. “Adding too much gear defeats the purpose,” he says. The battery, display and transducer take up space and add weight, making it harder to commando launch.
This article was first published in the Fall 2020 issue of Kayak Angler Magazine. Subscribe to Kayak Angler Magazine’s print and digital editions, or browse the archives.
Backyard bomber, rigging a sit-inside kayak for fishing lets you access to hidden hotspots. | Feature photo: Trevor Soety