Top 4 Fishing Kayaks With the Best Storage Options

shutterstock_151222223 (1)Only paddlesport enthusiasts who double as anglers really know the thrill of taking a kayak out on a day trip or tour loaded with everything you need for a unique fishing adventure. A 2011 Topline survey found a drastic jump in national interest in paddlesport recreation. According to the survey, more than 8 million people reported participating in recreational kayaking—a 31 percent increase over the previous three years. When choosing a kayak to take out on a fishing trip, storage space should be a defining factor in your kayak decision. Here are some of the best storage-friendly fishing kayaks.

Strike 120X Angler

The Strike 120X Angler is a 12 foot sit-on-top fishing kayak for the discriminating angler. Both stable and maneuverable, the Strike 120X Angler is great for both intermediate and beginner fishermen looking for the right one-man kayak. With a bow-hinged quick-locking hatch and easily accessible day hatch, the Strike 120X has plenty of storage options for small items like spray-on sunscreen and daily essentials like trail mix and bottled water. On the Strike 120X’s stern is a bungee-topped storage space for backpacks and camping gear, and the swivel rod holder allows you to lean back and enjoy the flow of the river, lake or ocean without worrying about losing your rod.

Enduro 12 Angler

The Enduro 12 Angler is like wish-fulfillment for those who need more storage capacity than the average paddler. The Enduro Angler possesses two sealed bulkhead storage compartments, making it perfect for storing all the camping gear you need to glide through coves and lakes without having to worry about running out of supplies. The Enduro 12 Angler’s foredeck contains ample shock-cord storage and paddle space, while its built-in 360 degree rod holder easily fits many types of rods and reels. For the serious angler looking for a durable camping kayak, the Enduro 12 Angler is an affordable option.

Wilderness Ride 135 Advance Angler

Known for their stability and performance, the Wilderness Systems Ride line of kayaks are some of the best for serious kayak fishers. The Ride 135′s bow hatch is perfect for larger items like camping gear, whereas necessary items like polarized replacement lenses for your Oakleys are easily accessed from the smaller 8-inch hatch midship. Tackle boxes fit perfectly in the space under the Ride 135′s leg-lifters, and the flat surface design of the kayak allows for gear to be lashed on with bungee cords for easy storage.

StraitEdge Angler

This is a lightweight and easily transported inflatable kayak. When collapsed, the StraitEdge Angler takes up only about 5,100 cubic inches of storage space. When inflated, the StraitEdge offers two rod holders as well as a bungee deck and D-rings designed to provide a ton of storage options in a minimal space. The StraitEdge easily accepts many aftermarket fishing rail-mounts for total customization. This unique combination of characteristics means that the StraitEdge Angler isn’t just a fishing kayak with great storage options for the cost and size, but it’s also a kayak that’s easy to store—so easy, in fact it might even fit in your other kayak’s bulkhead! An incredibly lightweight 41 pounds, this kayak is perfect for the minimalist kayak fisherman who wants to make sure everything he packs makes the most efficient use of storage space.

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Lots of fishing opportunities to explore this summer

Summer in Whatcom County is a special time; not only because the rain subsides long enough for us to dry out a bit and dust off the moss and mold.  Along with the dryer weather come some unique fishing opportunities that shouldn’t be missed.

Alpine lakes

First, as dry warm weather continues to melt snow alpine lakes begin to emerge from under the snowpack and bug and fish life begin in earnest. That are a ton of alpine lakes in the Mt. Baker Snoqualmie wilderness that have fish – mainly cutthroat and brook trout. Check the regs before fishing anything, and even use the reg book as a guide to find what waters are open and have fish.

Check the Whatcom lakes section for a list of some of the lakes available to fish.


Bass are warm water creatures, so with warm temperatures they begin to feed and the opportunity for blasting topwater takes steps up a notch. Check out Terrell and Fazon in Whatcom County and Clear and Big Lake in Skagit for opportunities. More information is available here


Summer crabbing season is open in Marine Area 7 south and lower marine areas. 7 North doesn’t open until mid August, but expect good crabbing when it does. There have been good reports of crab this year so get some while it’s open.


Baker Lake should be winding down by now, and the river opener is long past. The Fraser river is expecting record returns so this year might be a good time to look north. Licenses are more expensive for non-residents, but the fishing can make the cost well worth it.

For more opportunities explore the archives of the forum as a lot of good information is available from years past. Access the Forum by clicking here.

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Explorations Academy Summer FlyFishing Whatcom County class

Explorations Academy is an independent, experiential high school here in Bellingham. Our Summer Adventure Institute offers summer classes that are active, engaging, and fun!

Students can earn high school credit with each of our Summer Adventure Institute classes for additional surcharge. For more information about credits and transcripts, please contact Explorations Academy’s main office: (360) 671-8085.

Details:Summer Adventure Institute Flyfishing Whatcom County class

  • You do not have to be an Explorations Academy student to enroll in a Summer Adventure Institute class.
  • The summer flyfishing class is called “Flyfishing Whatcom County” and is geared toward beginners.
  • The dates for this class are July 7 – 11. The registration deadline for Flyfishing Whatcom County is June 30, 5pm.
  • Students will learn how to tie basic flies, how to cast, techniques, bugs/macro-invertebrates, and more.
  • The class will begin with covering the basics on Whatcom Creek, and then move on to other local streams and lakes.
  • Minimum age to participate is 14.
  • It costs $400 to register. All gear will be provided, except for fishing license. Students must posses a WA state combo (salt and freshwater) fishing license prior to the beginning of class.
  • Financial aid may be available depending on the number of applicants.
  • Other Summer Adventure Institute classes are nature writing, rock climbing, computer animation, and musical improv.
  • To register, participants should contact Explorations Academy’s main office: (360) 671-8085.
  • More information can be found at


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Jeremy Wade Fans: Where to Catch Your Own River Monster

Fans of Jeremy Wade’s “River Monsters” know that monsters are real and, with a little skill and hard work, can be caught. Catching a monster fish can be a ticket to fame. The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council recently stated that the biggest fish ever caught and recorded by a female angler was a 907-pound bluefin tuna caught by Donna Pascoe this year, and the sport fishing world has exploded with interest. While many freshwater monsters are currently over-fished, there are still places for the adventurous angler to seek a unique and jaw-dropping trophy for themselves.

Alligator Gar- Trinity River, Texas

The Alligator Gar is known for its long, alligator-like snout and double rows of imposing teeth. The largest freshwater fish in North America, the Alligator Gar can reach 6 feet in length, weigh up to 200 pounds and can trace its origins to the Cretaceous period. Once considered an invasive nuisance, Alligator Gar were targeted by many state and federal game and fish authorities in the United states for elimination, which has dwindled their habitats to rivers in the southern states.

Photo by Clinton & CHarles Robertson via Wikimedia Commons

To catch these monsters, you’ll need a restricted license and a boat that can stride the stump-laden and Amazon-like banks of the Trinity river, as well as a lot of time to explore. The Texas State Historical Association reports that the Trinity River is the longest river with its whole course contained within Texas and stretches 423 miles from the crux of the West and Elm forks to the coast.

Hucho Taimen- Delger Muron River, Mongolia

Taimen are the largest members of the salmon family, a fierce predator known to snatch waterfowl right off the surface of the water. According to National Geographic, Taimen are capable of growing more than six feet in length and weighing up to 200 pounds. Due to the fragile nature of the Taimen’s continued existence, adventurous anglers must practice catch-and-release fishing and use barbless hooks so this monolithic river fish might survive as a species.

Photo by Ojensen via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re looking to catch the largest salmon in the world, you’ll need to travel overland through Mongolia to the Eg-Ur Basin, which is no easy task in of itself. A wise traveler would plan to bring camping gear as well as a satellite phone if they plan on keeping any contact with the outside world during the long trek.

Giant Freshwater Stingray- Mae Klong River, Thailand

Found through many rivers in Southeast Asia, the Giant Freshwater Stingray can grow to a terrifying 1,000 pounds and measure almost 15 feet in width. Armed with a tail that carries a serrated spike that is often more than afoot long, the Giant Freshwater Stingray is seen as a bringer of bad luck by many locals. Catching one is a tremendous challenge— these giants tend to bury themselves in mud when hooked and can sink riverboats by just pulling a line. Another endangered giant, sport anglers should respect its status and practice catch-and-release fishing, especially as many locals kill the stingray regardless of whether or not it is going to be used for food.

Photo by Barry Rogge via Wikimedia Commons

The Mae Klong river can be reached by road when driving out of Bangkok. The adventurous traveler should consider traveling through the Mae Klong Railway Market while in the area. The Railway Market is built just inches from a railway that the government built right through the center of it, and local vendors sell scores of unique local seafood. They might even have some tips for the visiting fisherman.

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Opening day is coming up on April 26th

The big opener for trout season is coming up in just a few weeks. April 26th marks the opener for most lakes in Whatcom and Skagit county. A large number of lakes are stocked with heavy numbers of trout, and other opportunities are available for bass fishing and more.


Check out our Fishing Access page for a list of lakes to visit:

WDFW has released a list of stocked lakes, showing the number of trout going into each.

And be sure to read up on the regs before heading out. and pick up a license at a local vendor or online.

silver lake rainbow trout fly fishing2

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Catch record cards due by April 30th – with or without catch

Please remember to send your Salmon, Steelhead,  Sturgeon and Halibut cards in to WDFW by the end of April. If you fished for these species, WDFW requires the cards to be sent back in with or without catch.

Send your cards to:

600 Capitol Way North
Olympic, WA 98501


And don’t forget to pick up your new license for 2014 before your next trip!

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How to Install Hatches and Deck Plates on Your Boat

To anyone who’s never done it before, installing a new ventilator, hatch or deck plate can seem a bit intimidating. But with the right guidance and tools, this relatively common modification to your boat becomes easy. Let’s take a look:

Look and Measure Twice

No matter where you decide to install the hatch or deck plate, the first thing is to find out what’s on the other side of the surface, whether it’s wiring, headliner material or a light fixture. This is one area where guesswork is out of the question.

Create a tape outline of where you plan to cut and then follow it with a bladeless saw to check for any possible interference, especially around corners. If there is, use a different saw or carefully cut through the area with a hand saw. You also want to make sure that the area does not have too much crown, as the hatch manufacturer specifies a set maximum amount of curvature the hatch can accommodate.

Making the Cut

First, trace the outline with the hatch itself or the supplied paper pattern, making sure it’s squared with the boat’s centerline. Cut any fabric out of the way on the other side before cutting through with a saber saw or, preferably, a hole saw or a circle cutter. If necessary, you can even use a rotary Dremel tool to cut through the area. Afterward, grab a piece of coarse sandpaper to smooth out the edges.

Luke sailboatSealing and Fairing Things Up

After you’ve made the cutout, you’ll have to trim away a small amount – approximately a half-inch or more – of the wood or foam core material. Sand the interior surface and then apply unthickened epoxy to the area. After thickening the epoxy to a peanut butter consistency with silica or fibers, fill the gap around the cutout and wait for the epoxy to cure.

Next, you’ll want to use a straightedge to measure the curvature across the deck, just beyond the cutout. For cutouts with a slight curve, you’ll want to use epoxy paste or fiberglass laminate to build up the deck surrounding the cutout. You can also use a flat-top spacer that mimics the deck curvature on the bottom. Avoid grinding down the crown, as it will only weaken the deck further.

Installation and Finishing

Now is the time to dry-fit the hatch and drill the pilot holes for the screws. Use masking tape to define the perimeter of the hatch, and then coat the area between the mask and cutout with sealant. Be sure to use silicone or a silicone/polyurethane blend for plastic hatch and deck plate frames or polysulfide for metal frames. At this point, drop the hatch over the cutout and tighten it evenly. Be careful not to over-tighten the screws – doing so will squeeze the sealant out by accident.

An improperly installed hatch can cause a variety of problems, especially if it’s not properly framed and sealed. You’ll want your hatch or deck plate to be as watertight as possible. A set of o-ring seals can help prevent water from leaking through by providing the tightest possible seal.

The final step involves allowing the sealant to cure for up to three days. Afterward, remove the excess from around the hatch frame with a hobby knife and remove the masking tape.

Keeping your boat in good shape is crucial to safety and the overall fun you’ll have with your boat. Make sure you’re as well-equipped as your boat by learning proper regulations in your area, including if you need a boating license in certain states.

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Wild & Scenic Nooksack River Green Drinks event this Wednesday

From the Confluence Fly Shop:

Join Green Drinks at the Confluence Fly Shop on February 5th
Please join us for the Wild & Scenic Nooksack River Green Drinks event this Wednesday, February 5th from 5pm – 7pm at The Confluence Fly Shop in downtown Bellingham.  Good conversation, good information, and good beer will all be on tap as you mingle with other river lovers and learn about the exciting campaign to protect the upper Nooksack River basin.  

Green Drinks is a monthly informal gathering and networking session for people who work or are interested in the environmental field.  These events are free and open to the public.  See the attached flyer for more information on this event, or visit to learn more about the Nooksack Wild & Scenic campaign.

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Boating Accessories to Complete Your Water Experience

A boat is just the beginning. Take your watercraft out a few times and you’ll realize that you’re just scratching the surface. Boating gadgets can turn your casual ride into a tricked-out adventure, and the market is rich with forward-thinking devices. Whether you aim to get a more precise location while you’re at sea or document your travels in the water, these toys will improve your boating experience time and time again.

Solar GPS

Photo by Nachoman-au via Flickr

Welcome to the 21st century, when maps take a back seat to electronic navigation devices. A solar GPS system is the modern way to track your location and chart your course. The JT600 Solar GPS tracker runs primarily on sunlight but also features a backup battery pack. It also features two-way voice calls and supports 64 geo-fencing capabilities. Most importantly, the JT600 is waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about handling it with too much care as you venture out on the water. After the essentials — basic boating supplies and a boating license — a GPS system could be the most important tool on your boat. A solar GPS system will keep you safe and on course, two of the most important things in boating.

Monster Wakeboard Tower

Photo by Riley Bathurst via Wikimedia Commons

A powerboat is at its best when someone is cruising on the wake behind it. Upgrade your boat with a wakeboard tower. These structures enable you to drag wakeboarders around the lake, and they also serve as place to mount lights, speakers and rod holders. Monster is the gold standard in wakeboard accessories, and its selection of towers ranges from $699 to $1299. For wakeboarders, they are a must. For everyone else, they are a nice addition to consider.

Subwing Flying Machine

If wakeboarding isn’t your thing, explore that water with the Subwing Flying Machine, which closely resembles the wings of a stringray. Attach it to your boat and grab hold for an unprecedented ride through the water. Best experienced in the ocean, the carbon fiber Subwing cuts through water so you can fly over the ocean floor for as long as you can hold your breath. Consider it during snorkling with an adrenaline boost. If you’re looking to add some thrills to your lazy beach day, the Subwing will deliver. Starting at $490, this adventure accessory is will reshape your boating experience.

Sea-Doo Aqua Lounge 6

Sometimes you need to be a little closer to the water. The Sea-Doo Aqua Lounge 6 is like an inflatable hotel. Those plastic lounge comfortably seats six and features a built-in MP3 system, waterproof speakers and plenty of cupholders. When things get tight on the boat, this inflatable oasis will return you to a state of nirvana as you enjoy the water. Sea-Doo is currently running a special on the Aqua Lounge 6 for $409.

Countour Waterproof Camera

Document your wet and wild adventures with a GE high-definition underwater camera. With 1080p resolution and 4x zoom, this camera will capture the finest details of your relaxing time in the water. Use it as you snorkel or record your time on the boat with the peace of mind that your camera can handle inevitable splashes. offers a GE waterproof digital camera for $89.99.

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Nooksack River Recreation Plan Open House Nov. 6th

The Nooksack River Recreation Plan Open House is scheduled for Wednesday November 6th from 6pm – 8pm at the Central Library in downtown Bellingham.

Also please feel free to share your ideas and usage of the beautiful Nooksack river through this short online survey.

Upper Nooksack Plan OpenHouse

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