The Perfect Kayak Rod

Three fishing rods built for the rigors of kayak fishing.

Kayak fishing rods
Kayak fishing rods have to satisfy a variety of needs. Jon Whittle

To survive in a kayak, a fishing rod must be tough and sensitive. My rods either bang around in my rod holders or lie directly on the wet, sandy deck. And because a kayak constantly bends to the will of wind, waves and current, I find it much harder to work a lure, feel a bite and fight a fish.

Space also matters. I stay away from rods over 7 ½ feet long. A shorter butt section helps me work the rod around my life jacket.

For backwater fishing, I pack a light-action rod to finesse-fish lightweight baits; a medium stick to cast small jigs and twitch baits; and a medium-heavy rod for heavier lures, deep water and bigger fish. These three rods make the cut.

Shimano Teramar XX SE Casting (TXECX70MH)

This medium-heavy model measures 7 feet long, features extra-fast action, and handles 15- to 40-pound braid. The premium cork handle with less filler is more durable when soaking in a wet kayak cockpit. Low-profile Fuji guides are less likely to break or chip rolling around in the kayak. The blank is wrapped with carbon-fiber tape to increase strength and reduce rod twist when the rod is bent double over the side of my boat.

St. Croix Mojo Yak Casting (MYC70MF)

My choice for a medium rod also measures 7 feet long; it features fast action and handles 10- to 17-pound-test. My hands are always soaking-wet and slimy, and these Winn grips are super-grippy and nearly indestructible. To cast from a moving kayak, Kigan Master Hand 3D guides with durable aluminum-oxide rings reduce friction to increase distance. The rod blank distributes carbon-fiber material and resin in key locations to increase strength and sensitivity.

13 Fishing Omen Black 3 Kayak Spinning (OB3S610ML-K)

At 6 feet, 10 inches, this medium-light, extra-fast spinning rod lets me finesse a light bait in front of a finicky fish. Hand-picked Portuguese cork handles and an ergonomic, low-profile reel seat are soft, grippy and super-sensitive. Alps VD line guides with corrosion-resistant frames stand up to saltwater immersion. When my rods are lying on the kayak deck, the Omen Black’s rear-facing hook keeper doesn’t snag lines.

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