We’ve all been fishing without a boat and many of us have spent all our lives fishing without a boat. But is there a way to get onto the water and off the shore without a boat? There are actually quite a few options with many of them being quite affordable.
One of the first times I ever stepped off the shore and into the water without a boat was when I was fishing for rainbow trout on the Cumberland River. At the time, I didn’t have any waders and just walked into the river with my shorts and shoes on. The river is usually a constant 65 degrees, as the water is pulled through the dam from the bottom of Lake Cumberland, and my legs and feet became numb very quickly, but I did learn many things. One thing was that I was able to reach areas further from shore by getting out into the water. I also learned that I could fish the shoreline by standing out in the middle of the shallower parts of the river. While the cold trout streams may be a little too cold to stand in the river too long, there are plenty of freshwater rivers throughout the country that are shallow and warm enough to wade in wearing shorts and shoes. There are many situations though, that call for waders and/or wader boots. This can be because the water is too cold or the river bottom is too slippery for regular shoes. But as opposed to free with no waders and wader boots, you can find affordable waders and wader boots for those times.
The other affordable way to get onto the water without buying a boat is to buy a kayak. You can find used kayaks for $200 or less and nice sit-on-top fishing kayaks for $800 and up. If you are looking at getting a kayak, you might want to try one out or borrow some friends kayaks first to see if you like the sit-on-top kayaks or the classic sit-in kayaks. Many of the fishing-specific kayaks are sit-on-top kayaks so it’s easier to get in and out and turn around in your kayak to get gear or to switch rods.
If you’re looking for an option between waders and a kayak, then you might want to look into a float tube. A float tube is great for getting into deeper waters where you can’t wade and is usually more affordable than a kayak. The down-side with a float tube is that it is a little more difficult to maneuver versus a kayak and in cold waters, you still need to wear waders while in the float tube. Also, it’s not recommended to use a float tube on many rivers because of dangers with rapids and underwater obstacles. If you want to float on the river, look into a single seat pontoon boat like the one in the link below.
My preference for fishing without a boat would be a kayak on lakes and waders or shorts and shoes on the river. I’ve put a link below for my favorite waders from LL Bean. Not only do they feel great but they have a lifetime guarantee. If I wanted to float a large section of the river, I would probably save my money for a kayak, like the Wilderness System Tarpon series, since I can use it on the lakes also. Also with a kayak, you can paddle up a river and float back. Trying to paddle up a river with a decent current in a pontoon float can be very difficult if not impossible. But like I said, it all comes down to what type of fishing you do most often. Sometimes getting out in the water and off the shore can get you to spots that you couldn’t get to and give you fishing angles that you didn’t have on shore.