Kayak fishing without a car in Boston

I recently got interested in fishing (very serious about taking it as a hobby) and I want to get into kayak fishing. Note that I am new to both, fishing and paddling.

Although I don’t have a car, I live fairly close to the water in Boston (200 feet from the Charles River and 1.5 miles from the inner harbor). However, the ideal launch location (in terms or proximity to fishing spots) is ~2miles miles from where I live. So:

  • how far can an average person haul a relatively lightweight fishing kayak in a cart (mostly on the sidewalks)?
  • anyone tried pulling a kayak with a bicycle trailer?
  • can you haul kayaks on car rentals? Are there on-demand style services for hauling your kayak to and from the water?
  • how far the launch point can be from the intended fishing location? 2-3 miles is considered reasonable for a day trip?

Kayak rentals are not a good option as most rental places that are accessible to me have only Sit-In kayaks that are pretty uncomfortable for fishing and launch locations are very far from where I want to go fishing.

I have seen a few people around the Minneapolis area on bicycles pulling a kayak on a trailer. I guess it would be pretty easy to cover up to 10 miles or more like that.

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I regularly walk my boat from storage to a launch point near my home. .6 miles. The storage area is at 226 feet in altitude, the launch sea level. Makes for a slower trip back home rolling the boat uphill.

Paddling a couple of miles is also an option, if there is a closer launch point than the one optimal for proximity for the fishing. You paddle at about the same speed you would walk. I am guessing the area you are at is tidal - if you schedule the trip for when the tide would help you, then that would make it easier (but reverse happens if you get the tides wrong).

I haven’t towed a kayak behind a bike, but it is definitely possible. They do make trailers for kayaks. Bring a good lock for your bike.

None of the taxis/ubers/lyfts/etc. I know have ways to carry kayaks. You can carry on rentals, but can be spotty. I’ve done, but there is significant risk of scratching roof of rental car and it can be hard to make sure the boat is fully attached to the roof… If you can get a car that has a roof rack, it would be much easier/safer, but general rental companies don’t guarantee certain cars. The urban short term rental companies do rental specific cars, so that could work. I have used ZipCar here, and it looks like they are also in Boston. They have some cars which have roof racks with bike adapters on - you could cover the adapters with foam and attach your boat to those pretty easily.

A 2-3 mile paddle for most people is about an hour (keep in mind, another hour back). Up to you and your fitness as to whether that is worth doing.

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Towing a kayak on a level paved surface in relatively easy. Depends on how far you want to walk on a regular basis. Keep in mind you have to walk back. A bicycle trailer is easier, and kayak trailers are not hard to find.

I wouldn’t recommend carrying a kayak on a rental car. Too easy to accidentally ding one up, especially if the car is not properly equipped to carry a kayak and it might be hard to get the boat secure. It also might be prohibited in the fine print of the rental contract.

Another option is to check with nearby marinas. Many will offer kayak storage space for a nominal fee. If you will get there by bike, let them know. Sometimes rental fees will be reduced if you will not be taking up a parking space.

For a distance of 2-3 miles, even one way after you have gotten some experience, is reasonable. Keep in mind that many fishing and rec kayaks are not suitable for big open water and weather can change quickly.

If just getting started, although it’s hard with the pandemic, an introductory kayaking class is strongly recommended. There are a lot of safety aspects that may not be obvious. and learning good paddling technique will make life on the water lot more enjoyable.

ALWAYS wear a PFD at all times, properly fastened. A whistle or other sound producing signaling device is a USCG requirement. Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back. A waterproof VHF radio with weather alert is strongly recommended, especially if going out solo. A cell phone in a waterproof case is another option. Have these with your PFD, not attached to the boat.

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Thanks, @Peter-CA and @rstevens15 for your replies. These are extremely helpful tips and hints. I will be looking into all of these options now…

Here’s one option.

It wouldn’t be too hard to walk the two miles on level ground if you get a center mount canoe/kayak cart since those carry all the weight on the cart…but in my experience you wouldn’t go out as often if you had to walk an hour each way to get onto the water.

And although fishing kayaks are great for fishing you can fish out of just about any canoe or kayak so you could also consider getting something a bit more sleek (narrow) since it would cover more distance more easily once on the water.

Finally - maybe you could find someone near your target put-in that would let you store a kayak on their property. It can’t hurt to look around and ask.

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The water tribe competiters in the round Florida race portage from the St Mary’s river to the Suwannee river, 40 miles. …or is it 42 I can’t remember. Of course that is country roads.

Fishing kayaks, fishing kayak gear and fishing kayakers tend to get bigger and heavier. You will want to keep the equipment, the boat, etc on the trim side if you are toting it anywhere. But don’t get too small a boat.

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UberXL is your friend. :slight_smile:

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Get a folding kayak or inflatable. There are models under 20 pounds that can be carried on your back or in a rolling duffel bag on public transport. I’ve carried my folders through airports and onto trains and buses and checked them as overseas luggage – would also fit in a Bugger type kiddie trailer for a bicycle. I have a 24 pound Pakboat Puffin 12’ kayak that I can set up in between 20 and 30 minutes (depends on how often I have done it – I get faster through the season) and there are inflatables that are even quicker to set up. I also have a 4-piece carbon paddle that fits in the duffel (Cannon makes them. AirKayaks sells them, and a range of inflatable boats).