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Must-Have Gear & Accessories for Your Fishing Kayak or SUP

Outfit your kayak or board with these five key items.

June 1, 2021
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Before you launch your kayak or paddleboard, you need several key pieces of gear for a safe outing. Think small and think lightweight. Crucial gear that you must have includes a life jacket, a paddle, and some form of electronic communication such as a satellite communicator or handheld VHF radio. To keep hydrated, bring a cooler, and to facilitate fishing, add a few rod holders.

West Marine Coastal Automatic Inflatable Life Jacket
West Marine Coastal Automatic Inflatable Life Jacket Courtesy West Marine

West Marine Coastal Automatic Inflatable Life Jacket

Drab? Perhaps. Critical? Absolutely. Don’t fool yourself, anything can happen on the water. West Marine’s coastal jacket inflates automatically: Even if you’re knocked silly, you’ll float face up. This jacket’s low profile means you’ll barely know it’s there—until you need it. $149.99; westmarine.com.

YakAttack Omega rod holder
YakAttack Omega Courtesy YakAttack

YakAttack Omega

A fishing kayak without rod holders is an expensive plastic cork. Doll up your ride with a few YakAttack Omega track-mounted holders. They keep your reels out of the water and rotate to point any direction. They adapt to fly, spin, baitcast and even conventional tackle. $30; yakattack.us.

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This kayak paddle will get you home quickly
Bending Branches Angler Pro Plus Courtesy Bending Branches

Bending Branches Angler Pro Plus

Your paddle might grow cobwebs on your pedal kayak, but when you must blade home after a freak grounding, you’ll beg for carbon fiber. Heavy kayaks with elevated frame seats require high-power paddles like the 30-ounce Angler Pro Plus. A telescoping ferrule allows multiple feathering angles and paddle lengths. $324.95; bendingbranches.com.

Keep beverages cold with this Yeti cooler
Yeti Hopper Flip 12 Courtesy Yeti

Yeti Hopper Flip 12

The perfect passenger for a SUP or kayak, this chill cube can be bungeed anywhere on deck. Fill it with a 4-pound Yeti ice pack, lunch, and drinks or slime it up with bait. The outer shell is made from the same stuff they use for whitewater rafts. $249.99; yeti.com.

Easily navigate foreign waters with this handheld GPS unit
Garmin GPSMap 86sci Courtesy Garmin

Garmin GPSMap 86sci

Kayaks and SUPs take us way off the main channel, but with a handheld GPS and satellite communicator like the 86sci, you’re never off the grid. With two-way messaging, you can even start the brag chain before you get home. $649.99; garmin.com.

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