Kayak Fishing Crate Shootout

     Regardless of what type of fishing you do from your kayak, you probably use a fishing crate.  For many anglers (myself included) the fishing crate is just as important as the kayak and paddle.  We can't live without them when we're out on the water.  As kayak anglers we have some great options when it comes to off the shelf fishing crates.  In this post will take a look at the most popular fishing crates on the market.  Over the years I've personally used crates from Native Watercraft, Hobie, Jackson, and YakAttack.  Hopefully my experiences with each of these crates will help you save some green when purchasing your first or next kayak fishing crate.


Jackson JKrate
     Let's start with the Jackson Kayaks JKrate.  This crate is made of high impact plastic and has a removable lid.  Featuring a carry handle, bungee strap closing system, 2 Ram Tough Tubes.  It even includes 2 YakAttack Gear Tracs for mounting any of your Gear Trac friendly accessories.  One really cool feature of the JKrate is it's ability to be setup to fit in any tank well.  You can remove the handles and swap them out with the Tough Balls so that the crate can be setup to face either direction.  It's a well built crate and you can tell that Jackson Kayaks really put some thought into the design.  Let's take a look at some of the Pros and Cons.

PROS:
  • Carry handle makes it very easy to transport crate when not on kayak.
  • Waterproof bottom keeps your gear dry and allows the crate to be plumbed as a live well.
  • Included Gear Trac allows for easy customization.
  • Recessed bungee lid closures allow the crate to be sat on when needed.
CONS:
  • Bungee lid can be hard to open when out on the water.
     The Jackson Kayaks JKrate is a really well thought out design with very few downsides.  It can be setup to fit in any kayak regardless of brand and can be easily modified to suit your fishing style.  It's a little pricey at $139.99, but if you already own a Jackson Kayak or any kayak with a smaller tank well it just may be the fishing crate you've been looking for.  To learn more about the Jackson JKrate follow the link here.


Native Watercraft Fishing Buddy
     Next up on the list is the Native Watercraft Fishing Buddy.  This soft sided crate is well thought out, even though it's one of the older crates in this shootout.  The Fishing Buddy features a 400 denier urethane coated nylon construction.  It has carrying straps, Velcro top closures, 2 side pockets for gear storage, and 6 rod holders.  It's made with closed-cell polyethylene insulation so it doubles as a soft sided cooler when needed.  It's definitely the least friendly as far as customizing goes, but it's well built and fits perfectly in the tank well of any Native Watercraft kayak.  Although I like the design it does have some quirks.  Let's take a closer look at the Pros and Cons of this particular fishing crate.

PROS:
  • Dual carrying straps make transporting this crate a breeze.
  • Velcro top closures make interior access user friendly when on the water.
  • 6 rod holders allow you to carry all your bass rods rigged up, a real advantage when tournament fishing.
CONS:
  • Over time the crate has started to absorb water making a mess in the truck after a fishing session.
  • Hooks can get caught in and on the nylon which is a pain in the A$%.
  • Can't be customized with common accessories like more modern crates.
     The Fishing Buddy from Native Watercraft is a well thought out if not slightly dated design.  It's works well as a cooler and is easy to transport with it's dual carrying handles.  If you're a tournament bass angler this just may be the fishing crate you've been looking for.  Being able to keep up to 6 rods pre-rigged and ready to go will be much appreciated when fishing against the clock.  With a price tag of $179.00 it's the most expensive of the crates in this shootout.  However it's the only crate in this line-up that doubles as an insulated cooler.  To learn more about the Fishing Buddy from Native Watercraft follow the link here.


Hobie H-Crate
     The third crate will take a look at is the Hobie H-Crate.  This fishing crate is definitely the most brand specific of the crates in this shootout.  The Hobie H-Crate is built like a tank and has a great list of features.  This crate is made from molded plastic that is full of mounting points for all your accessories.  It has 4 molded in rod holders and includes retractable bungee straps to secure those rods in even the worst of conditions.  It's the only crate on this list that comes standard with tie down straps to secure it to your kayak and has nonskid feet to keep it from sliding around.  The biggest feature of this particular crate though is the addition of the Hobie H-Rails.  These rails allow you to attach all the accessories you already use on your Hobie kayak.  Still, nothings perfect, let's review some of the Pros and Cons.

PROS:
  • Built like a tank, easily the strongest and sturdiest of the crates in this review.
  • Almost limitless modifications can be done to this fishing crate.
  • The rubber skid plates help dampen vibrations when accessing the crate, so you don't scare the fish you're trying to catch.
CONS:
  • Was a real nightmare to assemble.
  • Doesn't come stock with a lid.
  • H-Rails require special Hobie specific mounting hardware.
     The Hobie H-Crate is a wonderful fishing crate.  Especially if you already own a Hobie brand kayak.  It's design makes use of all the things that make Hobie a great fishing platform.  The rod holders worked wonderfully even if rough waters and since the sides of the crate is covered in holes you can easily mount almost any accessory to this crate.  The Hobie H-Crate comes in price wise at $139.00 making it one of the cheaper crate options in this shootout.  To learn more about the Hobie H-Crate follow the link here.


YakAttack BlackPak
     The final fishing crate will look at in this shootout is the YakAttack BlackPak.  The YakAttack BlackPak features a robust and heavy black plastic construction.  It comes with 3 rod holders and has the ability to have up to 7 more attached.  It features a bungee secured lid and has built drain holes to help keep your gear dry.  Two molded in carrying handles make it easy to transport when not on the kayak.  The BlackPak features so many different mounting points that the rigging options are almost endless.  It's got a solid build and seems to hold up well to the rigors of kayak angling.  This crate is billed to be the ultimate in fishing crate design, let's take a second to look at the Pros and Cons.

PROS:
  • Lid is easy to use when on the water.
  • Endless mounting options for your YakAttack accessories.
  • Drain holes keep your gear dry and your trunk clean.
CONS:
  • Lid is extremely loud when opening and closing.
  • Carry handles require 2 hands to stabilize the crate.
  • Kind of a pain to assemble.
     The YakAttack BlackPak is a great product.  It gives the kayak angler almost endless possibilities when rigging so you can customize it to fit your needs.  The BlackPak is a very simple design which is probably its greatest feature.  You can use almost any accessory with this fishing crate.  The YakAttack BlackPak has a retail price of $130.00 making it the least expensive of the four fishing crates featured in this shootout.  Couple this with everything listed above and I think you'll see why so many anglers are choosing this crate system.  To learn more about the YakAttack BlackPak just click the link here.
     So the final question is which of these fishing crates is right for you?  That answer obviously depends on what you do when you're out on the water.  I've used each of these crates at one time or another and now I use the YakAttack BlackPak almost exclusively.  I bought my BlackPak with the goal of having a pre-rigged crate that I could drop into the tank well of any kayak when I'm guiding clients.  Since that time it's quickly become my favorite fishing crate.  I now use it every time I'm out on the water.
     Tight Lines.

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