If you’re an avid kayak angler, or know and love one, you probably know that there’s a lot more to kayak fishing than a boat, a rod, and a reel.
From gear that can keep you or a loved one safe, to electronics that locate fish, to carts designed to make transporting a heavy ‘yak a lot easier, you can assemble a long list of essential kayak fishing accessories.
But it’s also true that kayaks don’t provide a lot of extra space, and nothing’s worse than something that does little to help but takes up much-needed room.
That might leave you a little lost!
If you’re new to the sport, or just looking for the perfect gift for that special angler on your list, we’re here to help. Below, you’ll find reviews of some of the most essential kayak fishing accessories. on the market.
Quick glance at the best kayak fishing accessories:
Table of Contents (clickable)
Material: reinforced polymer and stainless steel
Max. capacity: 300 lbs.
Lugging a heavy kayak across a large parking lot is a lot less than fun. And with ‘yaks that tip the scales into the triple-digits, many anglers simply find this next to impossible.
Even dragging a kayak across dirt, grass, or sand can be tougher than you think. I know: I’ve done it countless times myself!
It was never a part of the experience I wanted to have.
The answer to this hassle is a kayak cart, and RAILBLAZA’s C-tug is one of my favorites.
Built from super-light reinforced polymers, it can hold a kayak weighing up to 300 pounds! That’s just crazy strong when compared to similar aluminum-framed options. In the real world, that means that kayaks like Jackson Kayak’s Mayfly and Big Rig FD are no sweat, fully loaded.
That’s a bigger deal than it might seem, as this heavyweight will simply crush the competition.
And with solid polymer wheels, there’s no worry about punctures or airing-up. Grippy enough for any terrain and wide enough for sand, the C-tug gets it done wherever you launch your ‘yak.
When you’re ready to go, simply break down this cart, drop it in your bow hatch, and go.
The NRS OS Chinook is a kayak angler’s dream PFD, offering unbeatable storage and safety.
The hi-viz orange can be hard to come by unless you go straight to the manufacturer, and it’s undoubtedly the best option for safety, especially if you’re a big water angler (or know one who needs a new PFD!).
And NRS clearly thought this PFD through for kayak enthusiasts. With zippered pockets for a VHF radio and plenty of space for everything from pliers to a knife, this safety essential works double duty as a small tackle box. Expect plenty of attachment points for gear and plenty of internal storage options to help keep you organized.
The OS Chinook is packed with storage options, including a VHF radio pocket.
It’s simply awesome on this front.
Comfort is good, as well. The OS Chinook skips the mesh panels, for the most part, relying on clever design instead. What you’ll find is lots of air instead of mesh, leaving the competition behind.
What’s better than mesh? Air!
The fit is excellent if you measure and select the appropriate size. The OS Chinook offers plenty of adjustment points to get the right fit for you.
Expect 400 denier ripstop nylon on the exterior and softer, less abrasive material on the inner next to your clothes.
Finally, that hi-viz orange is matched with multiple strips of reflective material, increasing low-light visibility tremendously.
For my money, there’s not a better kayak fishing PFD out there.
Looking for more suggestions? Check out our kayak fishing pfd buying guide!
Transmitting power: 6W maximum
Waterproof rating: IPX8; floating
Battery: rechargeable Lithium-Ion; up to 11 hours of battery life; 3 hour charging time
Standard Horizon is the name to beat in handheld VHF radio circles, and the HX890 goes a long way toward explaining why. This excellent radio delivers the goods at a level its competitors simply can’t.
6W of power drive transmission provides easy line-of-sight communication as well as the expected over-the-horizon possibilities of the Coast Guard. Each of these radios offers that kind of performance, so there’s nothing really outstanding about the Standard Horizon here.
And just as you’d expect, this radio provides access to all American, international, and Canadian channels, including all weather channels. From small craft advisories to high winds and rough seas, you’ll be in the know.
Where the Standard Horizon starts to pull away is battery tech. With a battery life that’s at least 50% longer in the real world than either the Uniden or the Icom, you can see what you’re paying for immediately. Recharging times, whether you use an AC adapter or the automobile auxiliary, are in the neighborhood of three hours.
Expect an easy-to-read screen and intuitive controls. That said, I always suggest reading the user manual.
The DSC is activated with a covered button on the right rear of the radio, augmented by GPS to broadcast your radio’s exact position. Sound quality is excellent.
Another point where the Standard Horizon really shines is waterproofing. It really earns its IPX8 rating, and it does, in fact, float (and activates a strobe light, whether powered on or not). That’s a huge selling point to me, as you’ll have no trouble with wind-borne spray or rain, and should your radio take a spill--no worries!
Overall, I think the Standard Horizon is the best handheld VHF radio on the market.
Frequency: CHIRP 83/200 kHz
Screen size: 5”
Resolution: 800 x 480
Maximum depth:1,500’ (and more with optional transducers)
The Humminbird Helix 5 GT PT is an incredible fishing accessory that’s perfect for kayak anglers. Loaded with features that would impress even a professional, it’s driven by a powerful CHIRP sonar that can penetrate 1,500 feet of water. For inshore kayak fishermen, that’s a depth that will impress.
Offering a 5-inch screen, kayakers may find this on the large side, though display visibility will be awesome. With better resolution than any of the competitors we review, you can expect the ultimate in crisp, clear images, too. You’ll have no issues reading this display in full sun, either.
The Helix 5 uses a transom-mounted transducer and is powered by a large 10-20 VDC rechargeable battery. As with other models that are designed for powerboats, it’s up to you whether this presents a deal-breaking problem. The good news on this front is that customers report battery life in the range of 16 hours of continuous use, enough for roughly two days of fishing.
However, users complain about a common problem with sophisticated fish finders: the menus and features can be confusing and hard to understand. If this is your choice, you’ll want to sit down with the manual and give it some study. The reward will be a range of options that are nearly unmatched.
For more options check out our guide on the best kayak fish finders!
Handle material: fixed aluminum
Size: 19” x 21”
Mesh material: rubber
Hoop shape: squared teardrop
EGO’s S1 Genesis is a very, very good landing net for anglers who have the space and want to keep it simple. And since it can be lashed to your bow under a bungee, attached to the side in a rod keeper, or stowed behind your seat, there’s always a good place to put this big net.
Offering a 31-inch fixed aluminum handle and a big-mouthed hoop, it provides plenty of reach and lots of space to land big fish. With fully 50 inches of maximum reach, it makes landing mean fish a breeze.
Available in an array of mesh materials, I recommend the clear rubber model as it’s less likely to spook fish and cause trouble landing them. And of course, I won’t recommend the nylon models at all, as they simply do too much damage to delicate fish.
This net is deep enough for big, bad reds, pike, and anything else you’d use a landing net on.
Tough, durable, and no-nonsense, the EGO S1 Genesis also floats, making it virtually impossible to lose on the water.
Inshore anglers know the frustration of the current and tide pulling their kayaks away from biting fish.
You’ve found that perfect spot: a submerged hump teeming with hits on your fishfinder, a channel just past the breakers, or a submerged wreck loaded with fish, but you just can’t keep your kayak where it needs to be.
The answer: a drift sock!
Essentially a small parachute, drift socks slow the effects of the tide and current, keeping you put when the water’s too deep for an anchor. And by pairing them with an anchor trolly, you can reorient your boat to the current, keeping you facing where you can do the most good.
Moocy’s drift sock is made from tough PVC, and it’ll last a lifetime if you rinse it down when you get home. It’s also light and foldable, making it easy to store on your ‘yak.
You’ll need to add the line and float to make the drift sock work, as they’re sold separately.
Overall length: 7”
Closed length: 4”
Blade length: 3”
Blade thickness: .09
Handle material: FRN
Blade material: AUS-8
Blade grind: full flat
Locking mechanism: liner
Weight: 2.4 ounces
Ontario’s RAT 2 folder gained an immediate following when it first hit the market, and just a few minutes in your hand explains why.
At an unbelievably low price, Ontario manages to deliver a great tool for the outdoor enthusiast. The three-inch blade is made from AUS-8, a mid-range stainless steel that’s easy to sharpen and exceptionally tough. Ground full flat with a drop point, it’s useful for everything from cutting bait to cleaning fish. The thumb-ramp and choil allow you to choke up on the blade, too, providing exceptional control of the tip.
I’ve found that this blade sharpens easily and holds an edge pretty well. I’ve had some minor trouble with the edge chipping on bone, but this was easily corrected with a single sharpening.
The blade is opened via an ambidextrous thumb stud, and it can be swung into place easily. The liner lock then engages with an audible click, and the lock-up is solid and secure.
The FRN scales are backed by stainless liners, making this knife positively bomb-proof. But though they’re micro-textured, they can get a tad slick, and this is my only real criticism of the design. The overall shape of the handle is excellent, and the open design makes this knife very easy to clean.
The RAT 2 comes with a four-way repositionable pocket clip, making this a great knife for lefties.
I have found that after a few months, the clip can wear loose in the mounting holes, but a drop or two of Loctite fixes that immediately.
Material: Teflon coated stainless steel/tungsten carbide
KastKing’s Cutthroat Fishing Pliers are about as close to perfect as you can get. Made from tough, durable materials, they offer fantastic performance at a reasonable price.
KastKing has chosen to manufacture the Cutthroat from Teflon-coated stainless steel, making them quite durable and tough. The Teflon-stainless combination works very well to prevent corrosion from salt water, and I really like this material choice because steel is so much more durable than aluminum when really pressed to work hard.
Like many fishing pliers, the Cutthroat features two tungsten carbide blades on the outside of the mouth, allowing you to cut heavy braid easily. A rarity among the competition, they will do a reasonable job on wire, too. They probably wouldn’t be my first choice for the task, but they can get the job done.
The jaws offer plenty of teeth, providing an excellent grip, and you’ll find crimping tools and a split ring tip there as well. KastKing recommends tightening knots by inserting the hooks through eyes drilled in the jaws. That seems a bit much to me, but your mileage may vary.
The handle is coated in a nice rubber grip that I prefer to bare metal. I think I get a surer purchase on these pliers than I do with the competition, and the spring-loaded hinge ensures easy one-handed use.
Finally, there are two excellent positions for the included lanyard. Reasonably-priced, this is our top pick for a pair of fishing pliers.
Shopping for kayak fishing accessories can feel overwhelming. There’s no lack of choice, and it can be really tough to separate the necessary from the nearly useless.
We hope that this article has helped you find just the right addition for your ‘yak, and if it has, we’d love to hear from you.
Please leave a comment below!