Fishing & Hunting Tips

Terms and terminology of kayak That you need to know before start!

No wonder kayaking is an excellent activity which keeps our mind and body healthy, it’s kind of the food of our soul. By kayaking, you can intimately connect yourself with the deep nature. And in this awfully busy life, we really need some release which kayaking or kayak fishing can provide us.

But when if we are new to this, it often gets confusing to understand the kayak. As a result, we choose the wrong kayak for us cause there are tons of options. Keep that in mind, here we are going to show you all the terms and terminology or break the jargon busters make things a bit easier for you. Hope it will help.

Before getting started, if you’re looking forward to some kayak fishing then please check our awesome article about kayak fishing guide for beginners– 28 detailed tips.

Kayak parts

Kayak parts

Bow- it’s the front end part of a kayak, the other side of the stern of a kayak

Stern- just the other side of Bow, the very end of a kayak where you will find grab handles and Skeg/rudder. What’s skeg and rudder? Keep scrolling folks, you’ll find soon.

Grab handle-  at the tip of the bow, there’s a grab handle. You’ll also find another grab handle on the stern of the kayak. Usually, the grab handles are t-type handles comes with most of the kayaks.

Deck- it’s the top of the kayak, the area where the anger belongs. In a sit-inside kayak, it’s an area which covers the paddler’s leg and in a sit-on-top kayak, it’s the whole flat area on top of the boat, including where the paddler sits. It’s totally exposed to the sky.

Cockpit- this is the place where the paddler sits.

Hatch- a little storage area where you can stow your essential equipment in order to keep them protected from water. Almost every kayak offers a couple of hatches which can be water sealed/waterproof and are covered by bands of elastic. Expensive kayak offers much advanced Hatch system.

Hull- it’s very bottom of the kayak, contacts directly with the water. While buying a kayak, you’ll often find displacement-style hull with a “V” shaped keel and there’s this style called planing hull, which is shaped with a flat bottom and steep sides. Although this type of hull sacrifices speed but gains maneuverability.


Scrapper holes/ drain plugs: SOT or the sit-on-top kayak offers scrapper holes/ drain plugs in the deck. These scrapper holes won’t let any water stay longer in the deck.

Footpegs: again on a modern-day sit-on-top kayak, you’ll find foot pegs which provides some extra comfort. With the increasing price of the kayak, you’ll get more premium adjustable foot pegs.

Knee pads: these are some extra-features for comforting your knee which comes really handy for a long day fishing or kayaking session. You will find them on both sides of the kayak.

Rudder: premium kayaks often offer a rudder on the rear side which is a fin that can be controlled manually. Radder helps with steering and maneuverability.

Skeg: skeg is a part used for tracking, it’s a fin shaped part situated along the underside (keel) of the kayak. Expensive kayak offers skeg for better tracking ability.

Terms related to the performance of a kayak

Stability: it’s a term which refers to how stable the kayak is, you’ll find the Sit-on-top kayak as the most stable kayak. They are mainly fishing kayaks where you’ll need stability.

Maneuverable: confused with the term maneuverability? The maneuverability of a boat refers to the responsiveness of a kayak. In other words, maneuverability refers to how quickly and efficiently the kayak can turn and responds to turning paddle strokes. You’ll find the short kayaks as more maneuverable while the longer kayaks are less maneuverable.

Speed: how finely the kayak moves forward cutting through the water is referred to as the speed of a kayak. Longer and narrower kayak can spell much speed than a shorter and wider kayak.

Tracking: new paddlers often mix this term with the speed. Tracking means how straight the kayak moves. If the kayak continues moving forward cutting through the water smoothly after stop paddling, then you can regulate the kayak as good tracking ability.

Edging: it’s a technique related with turning, edging a kayak is the ability to rock the kayak from side-to-side, removing one side of the hull from the water. This technique may require some practice.

Edging can be performed easily on a recreational or ocean kayak.

Rocker: Think rocking horse or rocking chair. Rocker refers to how much the bow and stern of the kayak are affected by the water line. For instance, you can have two kayaks that are the same size but one has rocker and one does not, the kayak with the rocker will have a larger area of the kayak above the water line. Kayak rocker will allow for quicker turning and more maneuverability.

Chine: The Chine describes the part of the kayak that transitions between the bottom and the side of the kayak. The main type of chines you will hear about are hard and soft chines. Soft chines are more rounded and transition softly. There will be no clearly defined side walls or edges. Hard chines have more defined edges and are generally good for “edging” your kayak.

Tank well: it’s simply another term for deck storage.

Portage: it’s the portability or storage capability of a kayak.

Types of different kayak

Whitewater Kayaks

Since it’s a part of extreme sports, whitewater kayaking is the popular form of kayaking which has a long history. They are designed for rivers with rapids and strong currents. There are basically two types which are suited for a specific type of water and paddling environment.

  • Creek boats
  • Play boats

This is kayaking where you need PDF and kayaking helmets for must. Don’t forget to wear them.

Sea kayaks/ touring kayaks/ ocean kayaks

If you wanna paddle through the ocean or any huge body of water, let yourself flow with the wave and spending some quality times, then you might need a sea kayak or touring kayak.

These kayaks have a long and narrow body which spells great speed and tracking ability while sacrificing maneuverability. However, you don’t need much of maneuverability in a large body of water. The longer shape ensures easy paddling and less effort to cover a long distance, that’s why they are called touring kayaks.

Sea kayaks have some added features than river kayaks and whitewater kayaks. They feature bungee cords to rudders and dry hatches. This will help you carry some storage like smartphone, water bottle or some snacks maybe!

Recreational kayaks/ Rec kayaks

Never been on a kayak before? A recreational kayak will the best fit for you then. Since recreational kayaks are the perfect choice for novice paddlers, they tend to be more wide and flat for better stability, easy to control and comes at an affordable price.

These kayaks are also suitable for an activity like fishing because of the stability and storage option. Just remember that these kayaks are mostly for calm waters or flat waters. Don’t dare kayaking it in a fast-moving river or white waters.

Fishing Kayaks

Kayak fishing is totally a different segment which is dominating the market nowadays. There are tons of models for kayak fishing and these kayaks are specially designed for fishing with better fishability, rigability and storage capability. You’ll also find them as the most stable one cause fishing requires your physical movement where you’ll need stability.

Let’s find out the types of fishing kayak.

  • Sit-inside kayak: these are kayaks specialized for fishing with some added features. Though sit-inside kayaks are not a great choice for fishing because of their less storage capability, rigability and fishability but they are great solutions for cold freezing water in winter times.
    Sit-inside kayaks have greater speed and tracking ability compared to sit-on-top/SOT kayaks. You can have them if you wanna keep yourself fully dry.
  • Sit-on-top kayak: want ultra-stability from a kayak? A kayak which has better fishability, rigability and storage capability? Sit-on-top kayaks are the kayak you’re looking for. Here are some great examples, feel free to check out our latest article on best kayaks under 1000$.

These sit-on-top kayaks have an open deck and cockpit is either constructed with rotomolded polyethylene or an external chair, a seat for the paddler. They used to have a wider body which provides insane stability. Guess what, you can even stand-up in a sit-on-top kayak which will allow you for better sight fishing and castability.  

If you wanna know more, check out our latest article on Sit-inside vs Sit-on-top kayak– you’ll find an answer which one’s the best for fishing!

Your kayak accessories checklist

  • PFD or Life Jacket
  • Paddle
  • Helmet (for whitewater)
  • Wetsuit
  • Drysuit
  • Roof racks for car
  • Float bags
  • Dry bags
  • Milk crate(for extra storage on a fishing kayak)
  • Water bottle

Sun cream

Nicholi Wyto

Hey I'm Nicholi Wyto is a professional sports fisherman and hunter, love to enjoy spending time in Michigan’s rugged northern forests. I love to explore my experience and help others who are interested in fishing and hunting.

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