April 29, 2017

Examining The Anatomy Of A Fishing Kayak

We don't do guest posts that frequently on Troutrageous!, however, the content provided by Jeff from South Texas Kayak was so well composed and thorough, I thought I'd make an exception. Enjoy.

Are you a current canoe or paddleboat enthusiast? Are you thinking about venturing over into the kayak market? Well, you will probably find it much more enjoyable and challenging than other water sports. Kayaks have the capabilities to not only travel faster, but they can venture into harsher parts of the water. This is not to even mention the fact that you get two blades to paddle with instead of one. Kayaks also sit closer to the water, which can be a truly amazing feeling. However, the whole process isn’t just as easy as jumping right into the kayaking market.

You need to be aware of the anatomy and components of a kayak in order to truly understand the vessel and choose one that best suits you.

Knowing Your Genre Of Kayaking

The first thing you need to be aware of is, that there are several different genres of kayaking.
Just to name a few genres, you have:
• Whitewater
• Sea, surf
• Touring
• Recreational

Depending on the type of kayaking that you plan on doing, it might affect the type of kayak that you choose to buy. While there are a variety of different kayaks available, there is common terminology that is used throughout the community.

Knowing this terminology and anatomy will help you better learn the sport of kayaking. It will also make it much easier when it comes to speaking to other enthusiasts. By analyzing the Kayak Fishing Gear Guide, you will be able to gain more insight into fishing kayaks and the associated gear.

The Bow Of A Kayak

You will probably hear people often times refer to the bow of the kayak. When you hear this, you should know that they are actually talking about the front of the craft. In fact, this is the universal term for all different types of boat. It doesn’t matter if you are talking about a motorboat, canoe, or kayak, because the bow still means the front of the boat.

The Stern Of The Kayak

Just like the bow, the stern is another universal term that means that same thing on all boats. When you hear the term stern, you can think of the rear of the boat. It is important to be aware of these terms because people will use them often when talking about kayaks.

Starboard And Port Sides Of A Kayak

Two more universal terms that you need to familiarize yourself with are the starboard and port sides of the kayak. Starboard means the right side of the kayak, while the port side refers to the left side of the craft.

The Hull Of The Kayak

The hull is probably another universal term that you are somewhat familiar with. However, when it comes to the hull of a kayak, thing can get really tricky. The reason for this is, because kayakers are actually talking about the bottom of the boat when they refer to the hull. In the rest of the boating world, the term hull almost always refers to the entire body of the craft.

Understanding The Deck

The deck of a kayak is actually the top of the boat. Different types of kayaks will offer different styles of decks. For instance, the sea kayak really has a lot of accessories on the deck. You will find everything from bungees to cleats, and hatches.

The Cockpit

The cockpit of a kayak is actually the part of the boat that you are going to sit in. When you look at a kayak, you will see a large hole in the center of the deck. This is what is known to the kayaking world as the cockpit. However, the seats of a kayak can be different for different types of boats. For instance, some seats can be suspended from the rim of the cockpit, whereas others can sit directly on the bottom of the craft.

It is also important to know that the sizes and shapes of cockpits can vary greatly. Some sea kayaks will contain an almost circular cockpit, whereas in touring and recreational kayaks the cockpits are almost oval. Oval cockpits can come in handy if you are not quite as slim as you used to be. If you intend to kayak and fish with a friend, you should consider investing in one of the tandem fishing kayaks. With one of these models, you will have dual seats to accommodate your friend.


Anytime you hear the term coaming it is actually referring to the lip or rim of the cockpit. This is where the skirt usually attaches. The cockpits of most kayaks can be covered with what is known as a skirt. This is a waterproof material that covers the waist of the kayaker once he or she in inside the craft. This not only helps keep the kayaker dry, but it also helps keep the inside of the boat dry.

Foot Braces, Foot Pegs, Or Footpads

Once you are inside the kayak, you will find some kind of adjustable foot support, which is known as the foot braces. It is important to know that every manufacturer is different and will design their foot braces a little bit differently. These braces are also sometimes referred to as foot pegs or footpads. The balls of your feet should rest perfectly against these braces. There are also pads located on the underside of the deck, which allows users to rest their knees.

Once everything is adjusted perfectly, it should almost be like the craft becomes an extension of your body. This gives riders total control over the boat and allows them to maneuver through harsh and unforgiving waters.

Thigh Braces And Thigh Hooks

Other components that can aid the kayaker in controlling the craft are known as thigh braces or thigh hooks. These devices are located on the underside of the cockpit. These components allow users to safely and comfortably press their thighs against them while they are paddling.

Walls And Bulkheads

Located inside the deck of certain kayaks users can also find what are known as walls or bulkheads. These foam partitions are either glued or fastened in place and they prevent the kayak from collapsing. Since these bulkheads seal off one or both ends of the boat, they can also be used as a watertight storage compartment. Gear will be loaded through a hatch that is located on the top of the deck.


As you can see, there are quite a few components that are involved with a kayak. You also need to keep in mind that every kayak can be outfitted or customized with different accessories to suit a certain boater’s style and needs. Now, that you know the basics, you shouldn’t have a problem communicating with other kayakers or choosing a kayak that accommodates your needs.

Author Bio:
Jeff is a fishing and kayaking enthusiast, a proud father and an avid Houston Astros fan. Jeff created his kayak fishing blog southtexaskayak.com with a plan to provide useful information and resources for kayak fishing, canoeing and fishing in general to new anglers. A longtime passion turning into a new career with the help of his son Kevin. You can email Jeff at info@southtexaskayak.com.


  1. From this article i know about basic knowledge of kayak. Great post

  2. I thought the Left side was the "port" side (remembered as both have 4 letters. The opposite of aft would be forward. Don't mean to be a dink, but if this is for beginners then IMO accuracy maters.

    1. Thanks for the catch. I've updated & should have reviewed my guest's post for accuracy. Slipped right by me.