About the G.C.K.F.A.

The mission of the GCKFA is to promote the sport of kayak fishing along the Gulf Coast of Alabama and NW Florida. We accomplish this through activities that include kayak fishing tournaments, meetings, clinics and demonstrations.

GCKFA logo


The Gulf Coast Kayak Fishing Association invites you to join us on facebook to keep up with the most current information.

FaceBook Page

FaceBook Group


GCKFA logo

Tournament Captains Meeting

The Gulf Coast Kayak Fishing Association holds the annual Spring Tournament Captains Meeting, The Friday before the Saturday tournament.

The Captains meeting is a great way to meet your fellow anglers, learn about last minute rule changes and recieve door prizes.

In 2010 we started giving away the "Best Dang Tackle Box". This is a raffle to those who participate by donating a new packaged lure, you will recive a chance to win and a ticket. A ticket will be drawn and the overflowing five gallon bucket of lures could be yours! In 2012 the "Best Dang Tackle Box" had grown into two five gallon buckets full of tackle.

Kayak Raffle; Once again we will offer our Kayak raffle for those of you who would like to upgrade your fleet of kayaks.

Captain’s Meeting: Friday, Before the Saturday Tournament at 6:00 PM
Captains Meeting Location: At one of our Sponsors Resturants.

Describe the photo or the page it links to

Grassy Point Camp-out

The club planned overnight fishing trips to the Grassy Point Wildlife Management Area near the Yellow River delta. Grassy Point is located west of Choctaw NOLF off of Hwy 87 in Santa Rosa County. The events were scheduled around the changing of Daylight Savings time.

The primitive campsites provides ready access to the fishing area of Little Catfish and Catfish basins. Redfish,Trout, and Flounder can be found in the marshes, bayous and shallow waters.

  • Weekend of March 10th -11th 2018
  • Weekend of November 10 - 11th, 2018 (TBD)
  • Weekend of March 9th - 10th 2019 (TBD)
  • Weekend of November 2nd - 3rd (TBD)

Hope to see you there!

Click Here for more information.

Describe the photo or the page it links to

Rigging Clinic

The first rigging clinic was at Ted's house in Gulf Breeze, FL. We were surprised at the turnout and rigged several kayaks that day. You see when the sport of kayak fishing started its popularity, kayak vendors did not make fishing models. We had to figure out how to install fishing rod holders, fish finders, and battery boxes.

With the start of the next new year we started holding our annual rigging clinic to help new kayak anglers add, modify, or remove items to/from their kayaks to aid them in the pursuit of the perfect fishing kayak.

We welcomed new comers to bring their yaks and any rigging projects they may have had. Take advantage of the experience of others. If your yak is fully rigged, you could bring it to show off. Seeing how others have rigged their yaks is half the fun.

Also, if you have yak gear to sell or swap, bring it and we could set up a barter station.

What we learned was these projects help sell mechandise,and so we teamed up with Academy Sports and Outdoors to hold the events at their facility, in exchange for their sponsorship to help support our Annual Tournament.

Location: ACADEMY on Davis Hwy, Pensacola, FL.


Getting Started

What fishing Kayak is best for you?


We have heard or ask the question what type of kayak is the best fishing kayak? What I would like to do with this article is to provide information and points of interest that should be considered in the decision making process. Over time the question has changed from a simple do I purchase a "sit on top" or a"sit in" style kayak to much, much, more. Today the fishing kayak is almost exclusively a "sit on top" style kayak and the question has changed to one of propulsion "paddle or peddle". This too has been less of major decision factor to those who fish open water with surf and windy conditions. I think many of us who started kayak fishing before the popularity of the sport can remember the barges we use to fish out of compared to today’s products. For the serious kayak fisherman who participates in the tournament trails and does not have the luxury of picking the most favorable fishing conditions, they learn the difference between a kayak and a kayak designed for fishing. For example the mirage drive system incorporated in some of the Hobie brand kayaks offers a virtually hands free kayaking experience. This enables anglers to fish in conditions where others will have to anchor or constantly have a paddle in there hand to adjust their position, in my opinion and older age this is a major selling feature.

Things to consider:

Safety I think the question of the type of kayak should be addressed here with the sit-on-top or the sit-in style. To maintain water tight iintegrity the sit-in kayak requires a skirt that seal in the cockpit, and occupant, it is most often found for white water or surf where access to storage is not required. One of the biggest benefits to the sit on-top-kayak is the ability to do a self-rescue. Because sit-on-tops have an open deck rather than an enclosed one, there is less risk of being trapped in the boat if it tips over.
Storage capacity If you’re a big person or bring a lot of gear along you need to have a kayak that’ll handle this.  All manufacturers have stated capacities. I would not recommend being near the limit.
Maneuverability (tracking) This is factored by the length of the hull, and camber. Camber is defined as the is the curve from bow to stern (front to back) of the kayak.  The more camber there is the easier the kayak will maneuver and handle. The shorter the more manuverable that is why the white water and surf kayak are short kayaks (less than 11 ft.).

Tracking true in the water is obtained with length, In my opinion this starts with kayaks around 12 ft and gets better with length even though this can work against manuverability, Tracking is required on open water for efficiency of your paddling.
Stability Basically the wider the fishing kayak the more stable it is going to be given all other things is equal.  However the design of the hull does factor in.  There are two types of stability when we discuss the subject.  This is known as initial and secondary stability.  Initial is how much the kayak wobbles on the water.  It’s important but not nearly as much as secondary stability.  Secondary is how far a kayak can tip or lean until it dumps you in the water. 
Speed Speed is almost the opposite of maneuverability, the longer, narrower the kayak the faster, along with a minimal camber.
Weight of the kayak If the kayak is too heavy for you to move about on your own then you’re not going to use it.  In most instances you’re going to need to load the kayak onto the roof of your vehicle or if you transport in a pickup truck bed or use a trailer you should be able to load it by yourself.
Comfort The more comfortable you are the longer you can enjoy the outings. See also seating! But does the cockpit area layout fit your needs?
Seating options You might not fit their mold.  Besides how you’re built, your physical age and conditioning matter too. Will the seating area remain dry, if not will it drain? Is the seat adjustable?
Method of propulsion Paddle or peddle, I prefer the hands free for fishing and using the legs and feet for propulsion.
Transportation You need to consider how you’re going to get the kayak from where you’re going to store it to the water.  The only time this won’t matter is when you live on a body of water and that’s the only place you plan on using the kayak.  Otherwise it has to factor into your choice.
Storage Where the kayak is kept might be an issue.  If you only have space to store a 12’ kayak than buying one that’s longer doesn't make any sense. Another factor, will it be exposed to the sun, and heat. Sunlight and heat can damage most of the plastic kayaks ,so you may need to invest in a cover and locking devices if stored outside.
Visibility (color) I have not found that it matters to the fish so the only consideration should be visibility to others.  Obviously if you wish to be seen a bright color is best.  I’ve found, in my unscientific way, basically through observation on the water, that the most visible colors are orange, mango, lime and yellow. Consider reflective tape, and the saftey equipment required by law.
Availability of accessories / mounting options This can include things like drink holders, fishing rod holders, fish finders, Coolers, required lighting, battery storage for electronics, and as much customization as you can imagine.
Price / Afordability Ok, this is probably the most important factor to most newbies. Buy as much kayak (based on the other points of interest) as you can afford. You may still find the need to upgrade later, like most of us over the years.


Each of the items above could easily be documented with pages of pros and cons, but ultimately the decision is yours, my recommendation is for the buyer to read up on the models that have caught your eye. Ask your self what that model offers in each of the points to consider section. Ask your kayaking community, what they recommend for the area you will be fishing. Ask your friends to allow you to test drive their kayak, ask them what factors were key in their decision making process. Then consider the information to make an intelligent decision that works best for your needs!

Each year (normally in the spring) Pensacola Kayak and Sail and Key Sailing offer demonstration days where representatives from the various kayak manufactures will be on hand to answer your questions and offer many of the new models for you to test drive. I know the managers and if you are serious about purchasing a kayak, demonstrations can be offered just about any time of the year.

See our Links page for a listing of Kayak vendors.

If you look at the statistics the Gulf Coast Kayak Fishing Associations gathers from their tournaments the popularity of Hobie kayaks, is a reflection of what works best for the type of fishing we have along the Gulf of Mexico. Before I sound like a paid representative for a kayaking company, let me assure you that there are many good brands and types of kayak to choose from and what works for you may not work for someone else. I am a firm believer in “try it before you buy it” ! Now that you have an idea of what you want, don't forget to check out the used kayaks. When people are ready to upgrade, usually their kayaks are offered with some of the options you would be adding, like fish finders and anchor trollies for examples, all could be included with the used kayak.



Essential Kayak Gear

Paddle:   There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a paddle: blade length and shape, feathered or non-feathered, wood or aluminum or fiberglass/carbon fiber shaft, etc.

Lifejacket or Personal Floatation Device (PFD) :   Your lifejacket is one piece of kayaking equipment you never want to hit the water without. Just make sure your PFD has been approved by the U.S. Coast Guard and that it is designed for kayaking or kayak fishing.

Safety Equipment:  Being compliant with State and Federal required safety equipment ( a single 360 degree white light, flairs, and a whistle) is just a starting point. For offshore and or restricted visibility environment you might want to include a visual aid flag, VHF radio, sunscreen/sunblock, refelective tape (Like SOLAS), extra food & water, and file a float plan. Remember there is safety in numbers, take a friend kayak fishing.

Leashes:   After you considered your safety equipment and before you splash your kayak you might need to consider securing the gear you plan on taking. A paddle leash is a must! Our recommendation is to secure everything you are placing in the cockpit area, Rods, Coolers, fishing tackle storage, bait containers and anything else that you don’t want to lose if you flip your kayak.

Appropriate Clothing:  Dressing for kayaking can be tricky. The day may be warm and sunny, but that water beneath your kayak could be only a few degrees above freezing. Safety rule #1 is whenever you go kayaking; make sure you're dressed for immersion.

Comfortable Seating:  There are a number of aftermarket kayak seats available, having a comfortable dry seat aids in promoting the correct posture for paddling and will increase your ability to stay on the water and enjoy the sport.

Dry Storage / bags:  Having a dry bag or waterproof storage bags designed for electronics like your cell phone, VHF radio (for those that are not waterproof) are a must if you end up in the water. Also protect your personal items, like fishing and driver license, money, and other items you don’t want to get wet. Dry bags will keep your stuff dry while on the water, but you may risk the items getting wet if you are accessing it while underway.

Anchor and or Drift chutes/socks:  Being able to secure your position or slow the rate of drift from current or wind can save your life in an emergency situation.  These items are not only for use when you plan on anchoring in shallow water to fish a dock or a drift pattern. If you are hurt and unable to maintain your position the rescue parties may waste valuable time searching an area that you are no longer located due to environmental conditions.




Jay Kania of the Gulf Coast Kayak Fishing Association created this video for your viewing pleasure. This is an example of how you can rig your Hobie Pro-Angler 12.



See our Frequently Ask Qestions page for more great kayaking information.

  • How to install a fish finder and transducer
  • How to install an anchor trolley
  • How to build a CPR measuring board
  • What kind / size paddle should I purchase
  • How to dress for cold weather kayaking
  • Video on the basic paddle skills and strokes
  • What saftey equipment is required by Florida Law








    themed object

    Latest News

    • GCKFA Early (Discounted) Tournament Registration Ends.
    • GCKFA Online Tournament Registration Ends.
    • GCKFA Tournament Captains Meeting.
    • GCKFA Annual Spring Tournament.
    • GCKFA Bulloween Tournament
    • GCKFA Spring / Fall Campout
    • GCKFA Santa Seigh Ride Tournament
    • GCKFA Rigging Clinic
    Gulf Coast Kayak Fishing Association
    Bookmark and Share
    get in touch
    back to top

    The waterways, river, and ocean can be a dangerous place so please make sure that you take the proper precautions to ensure you have a safe adventure and obey the navigational rules of the water. As the reader you recognize this, assume all risks, to include but not limited to; property damage, personal injury, and death. By accessing this web site you agree to hold the publishers of this site and our staff harmless from any liability as a result of your use of the information provided in these pages.