So, I get asked this question quite often actually, here at Edge Stuff. Are fishing kayaks easily flipped? And my answer is always yes, no, and maybe. I know this still seems confusing to some, but I will go into further detail into each of the answers, and why things are that way. At different points in time, and your experience in kayaking and fishing, you will discover exactly what I mean.
Yes, kayaks are easily flipped. That is, when you find their tipping point. Kayaks generally have excellent forgiveness to leaning from one side to the other. This is considered primary, or initial stability. You can usually lean pretty far over in your kayak before it begins to feel tippy. Wider kayaks provide greater initial stability because of the surface area on the water.
It is once you get to the limits, that the kayak will just dump you. No warning, just let you have it. This is called secondary stability. Fishing kayaks are usually wider, and provide greater secondary stability. These boats, because of being wider, also allow you to carry more gear. Wider kayaks provide greater initial and secondary stability. Length also plays a role in this, but not as great of one as width.
You will be most apt to dump your kayak getting into, and off of the boat. You should practice these things before you load your yak down with gear, to avoid losing any money to the drink. When it comes to sit on top kayaks, you will flip your kayak getting into and out of it. Until you learn the sweet spot, that is. Sit in fishing kayaks generally have less stability, and really feel like they are going to tip. This is mainly because of your weight being below the water line, kind of providing a pendulum effect. With this being said, the sweet spot on a sit inside is very minimal. Once you find it, it is too late.
Just paddling around, and doing some fishing though, kayaks are not easily flipped. I can count the number of times I have flipped mine on a “practice” (I didn’t mean to!) session on one hand. Kayaks aren’t really as unstable as people make them out to be, but with such emphasis being pushed to stability, and reviews pointing to it, people get a false representation that kayaks are unstable. This just isn’t true. While you are just yakking around fishing, unless you get into a swift current and a sticky spot, you should not have a problem.
So to sum it up, yes, you will flip your sit inside kayak while getting in or out. No, you probably won’t flip your sit on top, or your sit inside for that matter, as long as you practice exiting, and re-entering. And, you may flip it if you end up in a sticky situation. I hit a section of swifter current, and got pinned against a tree sideways. This was a very scary feeling, so if swift currents are in your area, make sure you practice maneuvering without any gear on board! Make sure to stay safe out there while Kayak Fishing, so you can stop back in here and check for new posts!