Disclaimer - This article is based on my own experience and are my personal opinions. I am nothing but a mere enthusiast and I am NOT a trained kayak instructor. It is always useful to do more research online or seek out more opinions.
Want to start kayak fishing in Singapore but have no idea where and how to start? It's not rocket science! Let us try to make sense of it all.
Fit For The Sport
It is wise to make sure that you are medically fit for the sport. We are not saying you must be an Olympic gold medalist to start kayak fishing. But if you are medically unfit or have suffered any injuries before, you may wish to consider paying the good doctor a visit. Or at least start slow. Paddle a short distance for your first launch and slowly increase the distance when you are comfortable. Remember, this is only a hobby! Safety first!
On the plus side, you get loads of exercise while kayak fishing too! Good way to trim down that waistline!
Sit-On-Top or Sit-Inside?
There are sit on top (SOT) kayaks and sit inside (SIT) kayaks.
SOTs kayaks feature an open cockpit, which makes entering and exiting the kayak easier. SOTs are more spacious. Most SOTs are also self-bailing. Water that enters the cockpit drains out through the scupper holes. But generally, it is likely you will get a little wet (wet underwear!) on SOTs.
In a sit-inside kayak the paddler sits in the cockpit of the kayak with his/her legs under the deck. Sit-inside kayaks are typically preferred by kayakers who want protection from the elements and a drier ride.
|A Sit On Top kayak|
|A Sit Inside kayak|
SOTs kayaks are generally more appropriate for inexperienced paddlers, especially those who have not perfected techniques to avoid rolling the kayak. They are also appropriate for anglers because they are usually more stable and you have more space for gears. However, we also have friends who prefer SITs kayaks because they like to go light with very minimum gear.
SIT kayaks are appropriate for the more experienced paddlers who want greater control and also for kayakers who like to stay dry. Personally I enjoyed using my Glide Angler as it keeps my underwear dry throughout the session! (in case you didn't notice, I hate wet underwear). In my opinion, SIT kayaks are also faster and easier to paddle as your center of gravity is lower.
The length of the kayak is also another factor. Logically, the longer the kayak, the faster and straighter your kayak should go. If you do not plan to paddle very far, a shorter kayak with more width may better suit your needs. A shorter kayak is easier when it comes to loading or unloading and it is also more maneuverable.
It really comes down to your own preference.
Kayaks in Singapore
The main brands of kayaks used locally are Hobie Kayaks, Emotion Kayaks (that's us), Native Watercraft, Advanced Elements Inflatables, Tequila Kayaks, Feelfree Kayaks and Ocean Kayaks.
Some of the factors which we feel should be important when choosing a kayk are - budget, storage and transport.
Emotion kayaks are affordable paddle kayaks which means you will be using a paddle and upper body muscles to propel your kayak. Hobie and Native are pricer than Emotion kayaks, but they provide a hands free kayak fishing experience with the use of their Mirage Drive and Propel Drive pedalling system.
|Native Watercraft hands-free|
Emotion and Native only have hardshell kayaks while Hobie carries both hardshell and inflatables.
|Emotion Hardshell Kayak|
|Hobie Inflatable Kayak|
|Hobie Hardshell Kayak|
|Native Watercraft Kayak|
Tequila kayaks are hardshell modular kayaks which can be split into 2 pieces.
If you are staying in an apartment with lifts, then your options are probably limited to inflatable kayaks, Tequila kayak or a few Emotion models (Spitfire 8, Spitfire 9, Comet 8 comes to mind) which can fit into most lifts.
|Emotion Spitfire 9 fitting into a HDB lift|
As for transport, if you are driving a car, then there shouldn't be much difficulty in transporting a hardshell or an inflatable around. There are several roof racks (foam, inflatable, permanent) available in the market to suit most needs.
A bit shameless marketing here, but Spitfire 9 and Comet 8 can be carried in some bigger cars without any racks. We have fitted a Spitfire 9 into a Toyota Wish and a Comet 8 into a Hyundai Matrix.
I am using a Thule roof rack with HydroGlide Kayak Carriers and I must say it is working fantastic for me. It is pricer than most racks but I really appreciate its stability and the extra grip on the kayak. Its not too difficult to handle a kayak alone. I am about 1.75cm and I can load and unload a 10ft, 24kg kayak on top of my SUV without any assistance. All I need to do is to place a mat on the car roof and slide the kayak up or down.
Below are some safety guidelines from the authorities for safe kayaking.
1) Using a canoe or kayak requires a certain level of expertise. It is not
recommended to do this sport alone. For beginners, follow an
experienced person until you are competent. Users are advised to stay in
a group during the sport, preferably under the supervision of a club or
2) Extend your range i.e., distance from the base at comfortable stages. Do
stay near the coast.
3) If you are not an experienced swimmer, be certain that the persons
near you are aware that you may need assistance in the event of any
4) Know your limitations and allow for fatigue during paddling.
5) Do not mix drinking with canoeing/kayaking.
6) Wear a proper life jacket/vest throughout the sport.
7) Inform someone ashore your intended location and duration of the trip. If
you are not back at the intended time, he/she must call for help.
8) Keep track of developments in the port through the latest charts, Port
Marine Circulars and Notices. Such circulars and notices are posted on
MPA’s website: www.mpa.gov.sg.
9) Do not enter the anchorages, prohibited areas or areas outside the
Singapore port limits.
10) Beware of tides and currents. In the event of inclement weather, the user
must immediately return to shore.
11) Canoeing and kayaking shall be carried out during the day.
and kayaks should cross the fairway only when it is safe to do so.
13) Each canoe/kayak has a distinct characteristic on the water. All users must
treat the canoes with respect and keep them in seaworthy condition.
14) Never sit or lean on a canoe except in the designated seat area
once the canoe is in the water.
15) Note that sitting in the seat area on land can cause the canoe to
16) Never step over the body of the craft. If you need to move to the
17) Canoes should not be dropped or dragged, but set down lightly.
other side, walk around the craft.
18) Do not place any heavy objects in the craft as it may cause
These are some guidelines that I can think of.
2) Know your fishes. Some fishes are poisonous and should not be handled in a small space. If in doubt, do not handle the fish and cut the line.
3) Don't get too excited when you hook up a fish! Stay calm and maintain your balance and posture while fighting the fish.
4) Be careful when handling a "sangkut" line. You may tip over or capsize if you pull too hard. It will be good if a friend can paddle over and hold onto your kayak from the other side to balance your kayak.
5) Know your limitations. We cannot stress this enough!
6) Ask if in doubts. There are many forums and platforms for newbies to ask questions on safe kayaking and kayak fishing. Please ask if you have any doubts so the experienced kayak anglers can give appropriate advice.
7) Bring plenty of water and some food.
8) Wear a cap, long pants, long sleeve top and sunblock lotion. Trust me, you will get burnt if you don't protect yourself properly.
9) The lighter a kayak is, the easier it is to paddle. Try not to over clutter your kayak with too much things. Bring only what you need.
Here are some useful links:
1) Kayaking course in Singapore if you want professsional and trained guidance
2) A very detailed explanation on choosing a kayak
3) Animated guide to paddling
4) Video: How to re-enter a Sit On Top Kayak