What is the best way to carry gear ?

I have never fished from a kayak before and would like to start this year. Can you tell me your opinion on the best way to rig up your kayak. I own a Swifty Islander. Thank you for your input.

Rigging can be pretty personal. It depends on how you fish, what kind of gear you use and the boat. Paddle the boat to see what is reachable and where you would like to put things. It is easier to keep an eye on front rod holders but you have to be careful about paddle clearance. Rod holders behind the seat work well but be careful of stroke clearance. I have developed a preference for the Ram Tube rod holders because they are infinitely adjustable. I am not limited to set increments as on other rod holders. I velcro my depth sounder and GPS which is easy to change. If you anchor, look into anchor trollies which allow you to control anchor placement from your seat.

As said, a lot of how a kayak or canoe
is rigged is personal preference. How you fish and the species you fish for also affects rigging and carrying gear, as does where you fish. A fly fisherman, for example, may not have much, if any rigging. I target catfish, gator gar, and am considering going after carp. My gear needs lean toward the heavy.

I also fish 5-6 rods at the same time. So, I need plenty of rod holders. I anchor a lot, so have double anchor trolleys on my kayak. That way, I can minimize the impact of the wind by using two anchors.

Small boats
limit your ability to haul a ton of gear. At 9.5 feet the Swifty is among the smallest. With a boat that short I would be looking at a fishing PFD with tons of pockets, at the least a fishing vest to hold my tackle. You should be able to haul a couple of rods with you. I keep one between my legs in the cockpit and the other strapped to the rear deck. Usually when I use my kayak though I just take the one rod. For anchoring I use a drift anchor and clip it to the side of the boat with a quick release carabiner. You could also anchor it using a three pound rubber dumbell attached the same way. I don’t use rod holders in a kayak as I find them a pain in the a$$. Just as easy to tuck the rod between your leg and the hull to troll and you instantly feel the bite.

I fish for trout and bass mostly and I don’t like my boat cluttered up with a lot of stuff. I usually take 2 rods, a small tackle bag, a daypack with essential gear, and a small cooler. I paddle a 16’ solo canoe most of the time.

Take it easy on your first trip and add or subtract from the stuff you take as you continue fine tuning your fishing rig. Part of the fun is making your boat into your personal fishing machine.

Harmony makes a couple of dashboard that will fit your boat.