Can you fish from a jet ski? This is a typical question of many anglers. The good news is the answer is yes, you can fish from a jet ski with ease! What’s more, jet skis are easier to handle and maintain, and also much cheaper than boats. Because of this, jet ski fishing is becoming more and more popular in the United States.
If you would like to learn more about jet ski fishing, this post is for you.
We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled the basics of this unique sport along with the best fishing jet skis and accessories under one roof!
Can You Fish from a Jet Ski?
It’s a lesser-known fact that jet ski fishing has been around for many years. This new sport was born in South Africa but has become instantly popular in New Zealand and Australia.
You may wonder, “How can you fish from a jet ski? Isn’t it too unstable and couldn’t it tip over?” As you will see, today’s jet skis are surprisingly stable!
In the past, they were small water toys, like dirt bikes of the water. They featured a small and nimble hull, which made them very tipsy. They also lacked fuel and storage capacity, so they were only used for doing tricks for short adrenalin rushes along the coast.
But over the years just like cars and snowmobiles, jet skis became bigger and bigger.
Finally, many of the newest jet skis look like small boats! This means that jet skis can now be used for touring, and even fishing thanks to their more extensive capacities and dimensions.
But are jet skis good for fishing, or is this too much of a compromise? Find out in the next section!
Are Jet Skis Good for Fishing?
Contrary to popular opinion, jet skis are really good for fishing. Why? If you are looking for offshore fishing, you will definitely need a fishing boat. But unfortunately, these huge boats are difficult to handle and come with hefty price tags. This is where jet skis come into play! They are cheaper, easy to tow and launch, and unlike small fishing boats, they can even be used in the ocean.
While smaller fishing boats (like jon boats, bass boats, or small bowriders) do a good job on lakes and rivers, they are not recommended for the ocean.
This is because they typically don’t feature a deep V hull design that can efficiently cut waves. Moreover, these boats are also known for their low sides and light weight.
All of these are good points on inland waters, but on rough ocean waters they can easily become very unstable and even sink!
Keeping safety in mind, anglers typically choose bigger boats for offshore fishing. But it’s not easy to handle and launch these huge vessels, especially if you are alone. What’s more, they typically are very expensive to buy and maintain.
Therefore, if you prefer fishing alone it may not make sense to maintain a big offshore boat.
This is the reason why jet skis are good for fishing. Although they are smaller than a fishing boat, they can still be used on the ocean as their hull is virtually unsinkable. Why?
First, even if a jet ski tips over in the water, you can easily flip it back by hand and reboard from its stern.
Another big advantage of jet skis is that their top deck is completely enclosed, so water can’t enter the hull. (On smaller boats this is always a risk mainly because of their low sides.)
But even if a lot of water seeps into a jet ski (which happens very rarely), you don’t have to worry about it sinking completely. Certain parts of a jet ski’s hull is filled with floatation foam, which keeps the vessel afloat even if the hull completely fills with water.
So, the major reasons why jet skis are good for fishing are as follows:
- Lower purchase price and maintenance costs
- Easy to handle, clean, and maintain
- Easy to tow and launch even if you’re alone
- Can even be stored in your garage
- Safer than smaller boats on rough waters
- Can go in shallow water (a min. of 3 feet deep)
Although jet skis are great for fishing, don’t forget about the disadvantages!
Disadvantages of Jet Ski Fishing
Many anglers agree that the main disadvantage of jet ski fishing is the very limited storage and deck space.
Let’s face it, boats are much bigger so they can conveniently accommodate many fishing rods, a lot of gear, drinks, food, passengers, pets, and fish of course.
In contrast, jet skis only have a small storage compartment, which is why many fishing jet skis are equipped with a rear rack combined with a cooler and rod holders.
This equipment can increase the storage space of a jet ski but it still lags far behind the capacity of a boat.
Another drawback of jet ski fishing is that it’s typically less relaxing than fishing from shore or a boat.
This is because jet skis are much more exhausting to ride and they also lack many convenient features. They only feature a narrow saddle on which to sit all day and it is not really comfortable.
They also lack a Bimini top, windshield, any many other features that are typically found on boats.
Keep in mind that moving and fishing on a jet ski is typically trickier due to the lack of space and a more unstable hull.
Finally, don’t forget that jet skis are not completely safe either. Even if they are a far better choice for offshore fishing than a smaller inshore boat, they don’t offer as much safety and protection as a bigger fishing boat.
How Do You Fish from a Jet Ski?
If you want to fish from a jet ski it’s recommended that you pick up the basics of jet skiing first. Best practice is to rent a jet ski to find out whether this type of vessel meets your requirements. If so, you may want to invest in a fishing jet ski and rig it with some special accessories. The key to a great jet ski fishing day is always thorough preparation. Once you’ve rigged your jet ski, just load your fishing gear in and hit the water on the next sunny day!
Here’s a good tutorial video on how to fish from a jet ski:
Are you wondering which jet skis are best for fishing and which accessories are the most essential? Keep reading!
Which Jet Ski is Best for Fishing?
The best jet skis for fishing are the largest 3-seater models, which you can mainly find in the “Luxury” category. These models feature large rear platforms and non-supercharged (150-180 HP) engines. These machines typically offer great storage capacities and fuel ranges. Many anglers say that the best fishing jet skis are the Kawasaki Ultra LX, the FX HO Cruiser WaveRunner (Yamaha), and the Sea-Doo Fish Pro.
The latter is a dedicated fishing Sea-Doo, specifically designed and equipped for fishing trips. So, if you are looking for a fishing jet ski off-the-shelf, you can’t go wrong with a Sea-Doo Fish Pro.
If you prefer other brands, it’s highly recommended that you avoid models with supercharged engines. These performance models are powered by 230-310 HP engines, which result in poor fuel economy, less reliability, and higher maintenance.
And on the water, all you need is a reliable jet ski with great gas mileage. This is why you should stick with non-supercharged (naturally-aspirated) models with 150-180 HP.
These machines deliver plenty of power but are still more reliable than their high-performance supercharged brothers.
How Much Does a Fishing Jet Ski Cost?
As a rule of thumb, a fishing jet ski costs about $12,000-$16,000 depending on the make and model. The famous Sea-Doo Fish Pro comes with a significantly higher price tag than the competitor models in each year. But don’t forget that it comes with the basic jet ski fishing gear. If you go with another model, don’t forget that you have to purchase this stuff separately! Finally, a completely rigged fishing jet ski may cost you somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000.
How do You Set Up a Jet Ski for Fishing?
If you find the best model that meets your needs, you probably want to know how to set up your jet ski for fishing. Simply put, the most important accessories you will need are as follows:
- Fishing rack
- Rod holders/towers
- Storage bags/boxes (optional)
- Jerry cans
Let’s go into the nitty-gritty and take a closer look at each of them!
Jet Ski Fishing Rack
There is no question that the most important jet ski fishing accessory is a fishing rack. These racks come in many shapes, sizes, and materials but all of them are basically designed for the same purpose. They typically accommodate the cooler, storage boxes, and even some jerry cans. In most cases these racks feature some rod holders, which can be used for various purposes.
Jet ski fishing racks are usually made of plastic or metal pipes and are mounted on the rear deck of the jet ski.
You can build your own rack from PVC pipes, but you can also find many nice jet ski racks on the market.
Jet Ski Rod Holders/Towers
Although jet ski rod holders are typically attached to the rack, you can also mount some onto other parts of the deck. To keep them out of the way, best practice is to place these holders in front of the handlebars, on the side of the top deck.
Some owners install a complete jet ski fishing tower on their jet skis, which are usually made of stainless steel and can accommodate many fishing rods.
If you are looking for something simpler, you can even install two rod holders behind the passenger seat.
Jet Ski Cooler
The other essential jet ski fishing accessory is a cooler. You definitely need one to keep the bait, fish, and your beverages cool. Jet ski fishing coolers come in many sizes and shapes, and they are typically equipped with drain plugs to remove water from the cooler.
Sea-Doo’s cooler can be mounted to the rear platform with a special connection system, called LinQ. Thanks to this unique solution, the cooler on Sea-Doos is directly attched to the rear platform.
What’s more, you can attach rod holders and other accessories to the side of this cooler. It’s as simple as that!
Fishfinders are also considered to be basic equipment on fishing jet skis, and with good reason. They can typically be used as a GPS, which help you to navigate on the water.
Keeping safety in mind, never go on an offshore jet ski fishing trip without a GPS! Furthermore, you may want to keep a map and a compass on board. They are small, cheap, and you never know when you will need them.
Bags, Boxes, Jerry Cans
Let’s face it, anglers are known for carrying a lot of gear, but jet skis feature only a small storage compartment. Because of this, many fishing jet skis are equipped with storage boxes or bags.
These can be placed under or above the cooler, but some anglers prefer using saddle bags instead.
For longer trips you can carry some extra fuel on your jet ski in jerry cans, which can be attached to the side of the cooler.
Jet ski fishing is becoming more and more popular in the United States (and worldwide as well), and this is no accident.
Jet skis are more affordable and much smaller compared to offshore fishing boats. Consequently, you can handle them more easily, even if you are alone. Moreover, jet skis burn much less fuel and are also cheaper to maintain.
On top of that, you can easily tow them with a car and store them in your garage.
That’s why jet skis are great for fishing!