3 Best Fish Bags for Kayaks
If you’re wondering what to do with your catch while kayak fishing and you’re not set on a cooler, we’ve got another solution: the best fish bags for kayaks. In this article, we’re discussing three of the best, plus taking a look at some of the benefits of using a fish bag for kayak fishing and why you might want one over a cooler.
The limited amount of space of a kayak has led anglers to many creative and resourceful solutions, turning their kayaks into highly efficient fishing vessels. This is especially true when it comes to fish storage.
Some anglers simply load a cooler onto their kayak. While this does provide a place to store fish, it's far from ideal. Coolers are very heavy, they can be difficult to transport from the car to the water, and depending on the size of the cooler, can limit the size of fish you can take home.
Let's look at some of the ways fish bags can make your life as a kayak angler a little easier...
Lightweight. Fish bags weigh about as much as a hiking backpack. Even when loaded with ice and fish, you gain huge weight savings over using a cooler on your kayak. Lighter weight means easier carrying to and from the water.
Easy to lash down. Most fish bags are designed specifically for use on kayaks and feature several tie-down points to secure the bag to the bow or the stern of a kayak. Coolers, on the other hand, usually require some monkey rigging to keep them in place.
Can hold larger fish. What happens when you hook into a fish that's longer than your cooler? Toss it back? Yeah right. Many fish bags on the market are available in extra-long sizes, so if you regularly catch large fish, like mahi-mahi, you'll have no problem bringing home the big ones with a fish bag.
Your kayak may not have space for a cooler. The nice thing about fish bags is that you can lash them down just about anywhere on your kayak. With a cooler, you're limited to stowing it behind the seat, but some kayaks don't have a large enough cargo space to accommodate a cooler. With a fish bag, even if it doesn't fit behind the seat, you can lash it down to the bow of your kayak. Problem solved!
Now that we've extolled the virtues of fish bags for kayak fishing, let's get into our top recommendations...
The Roll Catch cooler by Seattle Sports is a low-profile fish bag that's made specifically for kayak anglers.
It's a deck-top design that is intended to fit perfectly on the bow of your kayak but can easily be secured behind the seat as well.
The exterior of the Roll Catch is a reflective material that reduces heat absorption, keeping the inside nice and cold.
On the inside, there's a zippered insulation chamber that keeps your fish chilled and can be removed for easy cleaning.
The closure on the Roll Catch is nearly identical to what you'd find on a standard dry bag. You simply roll the top a few times then snap the two buckles closed, keeping everything inside cold and dry.
Available in a 20 and 32-inch model, the Roll Catch can accommodate a wide size range of both freshwater and saltwater fish. Just load some ice or some cool packs, lash it down to your bow, and fill it up with the day's catch!
Ice Mule is a relatively new company that offers a few different varieties of cooler bags.
The more basic models are nothing more than insulated dry bags, but there are also more advanced models that feature comfortable backpack straps for hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities.
Then there's the IceMule Pro Catch — one of the best fish bags for kayaks on the market.
The IceMule Pro Catch is made out of heavy-duty 1000 denier exterior fabric that will hold up to the sun, salt, and heat. It has an extra-thick interior insulation layer that, according to Ice Mule, keeps items cold for up to 24 hours.
While this isn't the same level of cold retention you'd get from a high-performance cooler, unless you're planning a multi-day kayak fishing excursion, it should adequate for the majority of your adventures. Plus, the weight savings are huge!
Like the other fish bags on the list, the Pro Catch uses a dry bag style roll top closure that provides an airtight seal for maximum cold retention. It also features two additional buckle straps for an extra secure closure when the bag is completely full.
The IceMule Pro Catch is available in three sizes: 22 inches, 32 inches, and 42 inches. If you go after large species, or if you just want extra cooler space, the 42 inch IceMule Pro Catch is the way to go!
Although only available in a 20-inch size, the Kayak Catch Cooler 20 by Seattle Sports features a unique design that might appeal to some kayak anglers.
Instead of using a dry bag style roll top closure, the Kayak Catch Cooler 20 features a zippered main compartment with a removable interior roll-top liner.
This allows you to keep your fish in the interior compartment, separate from your ice or cool packs. With this two-piece system, you can remove the inner liner for easy cleaning and leave the main fish bag attached to your kayak if you like.
Six buckle straps on the Kayak Catch Cooler give you very secure attachment to either the bow or stern of your kayak, and a drawstring cargo bungee on top gives you additional storage space to secure a jacket, tackle bag, or even your paddle. The exterior is a reflective silver material to minimize heat absorption and maximize the effectiveness of the interior closed-cell foam insulation.
If you don't need a large fish bag, the Seattle Sports Kayak Catch Cooler 20 is a very attractive and efficient choice that's slightly more robust than the Roll Catch cooler also made by Seattle Sports.
The best fish bags for kayaks provide a much-needed solution for anglers looking for an efficient way to store their catch. But even if you don't plan on keeping any fish, each of the cooler bags we've recommended here would make excellent coolers to pack enough food and drink to keep you fueled up and hydrated for a long day of paddling.