some questions concerning accessories =>
1) if you get an anchor how do you put it on ( if not factory installed)and where( fore or aft)?
The most important thing about an anchor is accessibility. Until I rig my Loon 138, I just drop anchor over the side of the cockpit. A more sophisticated system is the anchor trolley. Basically, its a double line running between two padeyes placed both forward and aft (maybe one in the middle if your kayak is over 10 ft). I tie a loop in the middle of the part of the line that doesn’t run through the middle padeye and have the anchor rope attached to a snap, snap attached to the loop in the trolley line. That allows you to anchor fore, aft, or mid ship.
2) rod holders - can you make your own and again where would you put/secure them to your kayak?
Do you have a sit-in or sit-on-top? With the sit-in its more difficult and commercial rod holders work better…I like Scotty. With a sit-on, get a milk crate and attach pvc to it (most prefer mounting the pvc at a slight slant) and place the milk crate in the tank well. Still, Scotty, Ram, Tite-lock, Berkely rod holders are much better. They’re adjustable.
3) paddles - i’m just not sure about these,they all seem the same to me. what’s the difference(length of and composition of, feathering?)?
Talk to a kayak shop about length. The real difference in paddles is the material they are made from. Aluminum paddles are heavier for the most part. They’ll do the job, but tire you out if you paddle long distances. Fiberglass may be slightly lighter, carbon fiber the lightest. Its all about paddling comfort and exertion from holding a heavy vs lighter paddle for hours at a time. As to blades, the carbon fiber paddles come with either plastic or carbon fiber blades or some varient mix. Mine is an Aquabound carbon shaft with plastic blades. It works for me and is a good compromise…lighter than aluminum or glass, but I feel the paddle blades are better for the kind of fishing I do…sometimes stick my paddle into places I probably shouldn’t. Cost is also a consideration. Lighter materials cost more.
4) length of kayak - is longer really better?
In general, longer is faster, though width also plays into the equation. Shorter turns faster and may be better in tight creeks/rivers.
5) rudders vs skegs - what’s the difference ( besides the retractability)
No experience with either. Pose the question on the advice forum and you’ll get 100 replys, each negating the other. A lot depends on where you use the kayak. In a river with moderate current or stronger, the rudder doesn’t seem to be much help. Its more of a help from what I understand if its windy or your kayak doesn’t track well. Some argue that a well designed/built kayak needs no rudder.
6) does skegs/rudders leak?
Any place you put a hole in a kayak is subject ot leaking, but they don’t, for the most part. At least on the kayak fishing forums I monitor, I never hear complaints about rudders leaking.