The Best Bass Boat: The Kayak?

By Andy Whitcomb

Jun 27, 2016

The pros know that the kayak reaches bass fishing areas that other boats can’t. Get tips on hand-free propulsion and learn how to add a trolling engine.

The kayak is a tremendously popular water craft. It is light, quiet, stable, and grants access to water that many other fishing boats may not be able to reach. Although not yet allowed in Bassmaster tournaments, several elite anglers like Hank Parker and Mike Iaconelli now enjoy using a kayak to chase their beloved bass just for fun.

There are three methods of propulsion for kayaks

1. Paddle. With a paddle on each end of a single pole, the kayak paddle lets you alternate strokes on each side in rhythm without needing to switch hands like with the canoe paddle. These are the lightest versions (30-40 pounds) and thus are easier to portage (carry). They are fast but longer models may be a bit cumbersome to turn.

2. Peddle. This upgrade let you use your leg muscles just like riding a bike. This frees up your hands for casting your favorite bass lures.  Although heavier, these models are faster and usually come with a rudder for better turning control. 

3. Electric trolling engine. There are DIY setups using a milk crate, a 2x4, and C-clamps to hold a standard trolling engine on one side. Or if you have the means, deluxe versions with a built in propulsion unit housed in the center of the watercraft. Faster still, these versions also are the heaviest. At 130 pounds or so many bass anglers now need a small trailer to help access water.

Be sure to check the fishing boat regulations of your state. Registration for different waterways can depend on such factors as length and if a trolling engine is used. Once properly stickered, the kayak can put you on water that no bass boat has seen, and more quietly. 
Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.