Despite what some may believe, there are, in fact, many different types of kayaks to choose from depending on your kayaking goals.
These different kayak types have distinct features that can impact function and should be selected for your specific needs.
Some kayaks are longer or wider to promote increased straight-ahead speed and stability in calm waters. On the other hand, if you see yourself in a whitewater situation, then a short, stubby, and maneuverable craft will serve you best. So which type should you choose? Keep reading!
Well, don’t get intimidated by what is ultimately a simple boat! Let’s take a look at the different types of kayaks so you can find out for yourself!
Types Of Kayaks
Lucky for you, this guide will provide guidance and information surrounding some of the main kayak types, to direct you toward the best kayak for your next adventure!
You can click on the links below to jump straight to the various types:
Sit-on-top kayaks are similar to the standard sit-in, recreational kayak.
The key difference is that instead of the occupant sitting inside the kayak structure, they sit on top, as the name implies. (photo credit: Amazon)
The open-air design of sit-on-top kayaks makes entering and exiting even easier than the typical sit-in kayak. What’s more, the lack of walls around your legs and feet provides significantly more room for a rider, making these types of kayaks extremely comfortable.
This open-air concept also makes for a more efficient hunting kayak setup, giving the hunter more range and freedom to move about.
However, the shorter length makes distance traveling in calm waters particularly difficult. In this sense, whitewater kayaks can struggle outside of a whitewater setting, which makes this model of the kayak a one-trick pony of sorts.
Kayaks are traditionally sleek and made for just a single person. But, then there are tandem kayaks…
Tandem Kayaks are designed such that two people can be seated in the watercraft as opposed to just one.
Tandem crafts can be found in numerous styles, including the sit-in and sit-on-top models. However, the tandem version of these two types of kayaks is going to be heavier and more expensive.
Fitting an extra person with you in a tandem kayak comes at a price. You are giving up speed and maneuverability due to the extra weight. However, you should expect to be more stable on the water with your extra passenger.
There are two types of portables: inflatable kayaks (like the one pictured above) and collapsable kayaks.
Portable kayaks are usually more affordable and easier to transport. However, they have factors you’ll want to consider before purchasing. For example, you’ll have to inflate or assemble them once you get to the waterfront.
Portable kayaks can make transportation a cinch. But, you’ll also be giving up some conveniences…
Portable kayaks also tend not to move through the water as efficiently as other types due to their design. They may also lack some of the comforts of a more standard-construction kayak.
With that being said, there is a range of portable kayaks available on the market, with some costing more but providing more features such as stability, upgraded seating, propulsion systems, etc.
Just like with most things, in the world of kayaks, in one way or another, you get what you pay for!
At the end of the day, there are several types of kayaks to choose from depending on what you want from the boat and the specific activity you’re looking to take part in. There is truly a kayak for all styles of life, for all cars, and for all different types and speeds of water.
The blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) is the largest catfish in North America and is a very interesting species in general. In this article, we will take a deep look at this species, its’ anatomy, and its’ behavior.
Blue Catfish (A General Description)
Some distinctive features of the blue catfish are its body shape, color, jaw and fins. (photo credit: Tennessee Aquarium – tnaqua.org).
Blue catfish have a blue-gray coloration and have wide and stocky bodies.
One of the key physical identifiers of a blue cat is a distinct and noticeable dorsal hump when it becomes a mature fish, which is a good anatomical feature to distinguish a blue catfish from a channel catfish.
The tail of the blue catfish has a deeply notched fork.
Other catfish in North America have a lower protruding jaw, but blues have an upper protruding jaw which is another observation you can make to distinguish between catfish species.
The blue catfish features barbels, or “whiskers,” which are present on all catfish species in North America.
The number of anal fin rays is also different from that of a channel cat. Blue catfish anal fin rays will vary from 30-36 rays, while channel catfish only feature between 25-29 rays.
Blue catfish (pictured here) are sometimes mistaken for channel catfish (below picture) as a result of having a similar appearance in the bodies of water where both are found.This occurs more often when trying to determine the species of the fish when they are juveniles.
The most well-known waters the blue catfish calls home would be the Mississippi river system and its branches and tributaries, which include the Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Ohio rivers, along with their tributaries and nearby smaller bodies of water.
The rivers listed above aren’t the only rivers to hold native populations, other rivers, such as the Rio Grande river and the Des Moines river in Southern Iowa, also have prominent populations of blue cats.
Interestingly, the blue catfish range extends farther south than most people in the United States are aware of, farther than any other catfish prominently found in North America, and extends throughout the Gulf coast of Mexico and continues south to the countries of Guatemala and Belize in Central America.
Blue catfish have also been introduced into many bodies of water outside where they are found historically, expanding their range and giving anglers more opportunities to catch the fish.
Blue Catfish Diet
The blue catfish has a diet comparable to all catfish species, and they will feed on various species such as frogs, mussels, crayfish, small to medium-sized fish like bluegills and bullheads, minnows, and other aquatic and semi-aquatic prey like small land mammals and birds.
Blues are opportunistic feeders like all catfish and eat virtually any animal or edible animal parts that is the appropriate size.
One interesting food choice…The blue catfish also feeds on the blue crab, a valuable species for the economy around the Chesapeake Bay. Blue crabs are the most valuable species in economic fisheries for seafood, and the number of blue crabs has suffered due to the introduction of blue catfish.
Blue cats prefer easy meals, such as animals that are already dead or wounded, this is the main reason the fish will gather near any hydroelectric dams to feed on animals and fish that have been pulled through the spillways.
Anglers who fish for blue cats favor using live bait like bullheads or cut bait from various fish species like shad, skipjack, bullhead, bluegills, and others. Some anglers also use various other types of bait, like chicken liver or a mixed catfish bait recipe that is thick, smelly, and has a consistency of something like peanut butter.
According to NOAA Fisheries, mature blue catfish will typically be less than two feet long. However, blue catfish can grow to be even 5 feet long and weigh in over 100 pounds!
Most adult blue cats, like this one pictured, tend to be less than 24 inches in length, but they can get huge… over 100 pounds!
Blue catfish is a very adaptable species that can tolerate a wide range of environments, which means that in some places where they have been intentionally or accidentally introduced, they can have negative effects on the ecosystem.
They can even tolerate water with salinity levels, such as tributaries and brackish water areas leading to the ocean.
In certain waters in Virginia, the blue catfish was purposely introduced in the 1970s, the population quickly exploded and has caused issues with the native species to this day.
In the tidal rivers leading to the Chesapeake Bay, the blue catfish has become the dominant predatory species, out-competing other species native to the waters.
Small fish species like alewives, anadromous shad species, and blueback herring have seen massive drops in numbers due to predation from the blue catfish.
There is a bit of a silver lining to the blue catfish issues in Virginia waterways, as the catfish also feed on the Asian clam and hydrilla, both of which are also invasive species. While they help keep these invasive species in check, it’s difficult to say whether this outweighs the effects the fish has on native species.
Like all fish, the blue catfish has preferences in its habitat, and to successfully catch them, you have to be in the right place at the right time.
As mentioned earlier, your best choices for bait selection will typically be live or cut bait, with cut bait being the most prominent selection. When fishing in locations holding blue cats, cut bait utilizing herring, shad, bullheads, bluegills, or manhaden is sure to seal the deal on one!
Commercially produced stink bait, chicken liver, and other smelly types of bait are the favorite of many anglers, and some swear by their effectiveness over live or cut bait in certain fishing situations.
Blues like deep holes in the river systems they inhabit, so be sure to search out any holes that are 15-25 feet in depth, along with any depressions in otherwise flat and shallow areas that are in the 10-12 foot depth range.
If there is timber present on the edges of holes or in the hole itself, be sure to add it to the top of your hit list, and even areas with rocks, rip rap, and boulders can consistently hold big blues. Maybe you can put a hook N1!
It’s a great idea to run as many rods as you legally can for blue cats, covering a fairly wide area and running a variety of bait options.
Not only does having multiple lines help you contact more fish, but running different bait options not only allows you to figure out what the fish are keyed into on any given day, but you can also adjust your offerings based on what they want.
Blue catfish can get huge and are vicious predators in the waters they inhabit. Understanding the fish, its environment, behavior, and anatomy can help you be consistent on the water when pursuing them, and the results can be epic.