As a paddler, having the right equipment and accessories can make all the difference in your experience on the water. One accessory that can greatly enhance your paddling experience is a poling platform. A poling platform is a raised platform that attaches to the back of your canoe or kayak, allowing you to stand and pole through shallow water with ease.
Not only does a poling platform increase your stability and visibility, it also allows you to stand and cast your fishing line more easily, reducing the strain on your back and arms. In this post, we will cover the benefits of having a poling platform, the different types available, factors to consider when choosing one, how to install it, and alternative options if a poling platform isn’t right for you.
Benefits of having a poling platform
- Increased stability: A poling platform provides a stable and secure base to stand on, which can make poling through shallow water much easier and less stressful.
- Better visibility: Being up higher on a poling platform allows you to see further into the water, making it easier to spot fish and other wildlife.
- Ability to stand and cast more easily: With a poling platform, you can easily stand and cast your fishing line, giving you a better chance of catching the big one.
- Reduced strain on back and arms: Poling a canoe or kayak through shallow water can be tiring, but standing on a poling platform can reduce the strain on your back and arms, making it a more comfortable experience.
Types of poling platforms
There are several types of poling platforms available in the market, depending on your needs and budget.
- DIY poling platforms: These are custom-made poling platforms that you can build yourself using materials such as wood, PVC pipes, or metal. DIY poling platforms can be a cost-effective option, but they may not be as durable as pre-manufactured options.
- Pre-manufactured poling platforms: These are poling platforms that are pre-built and ready to use. They come in a variety of materials such as aluminum, fiberglass, and plastic, and they are generally more durable than DIY options.
- Commercially available poling platforms: These are poling platforms that are designed specifically for certain models of canoes or kayaks. If you have a specific model of canoe or kayak, a commercially available poling platform may be the best option for you as it will ensure a perfect fit.
Factors to consider when choosing a poling platform
When choosing a poling platform, there are several factors to consider to ensure you get the right one for your needs and budget.
- Material and durability: Consider the material the poling platform is made out of, and its durability. A more durable material will likely last longer, but may cost more.
- Weight capacity: Make sure to choose a poling platform that can accommodate your weight, as well as any gear you may have with you.
- Compatibility with your canoe/kayak: Not all poling platforms will fit every canoe or kayak. Make sure to check the compatibility of the poling platform you are considering with your canoe or kayak before purchasing.
- Price and budget: Poling platforms can range in price from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars. Consider your budget and choose a poling platform that fits within it.
How to install a poling platform
The installation process for a poling platform will vary depending on the type you choose. Below are general instructions for installing a pre-manufactured poling platform.
- Locate the mounting holes on the poling platform and mark the corresponding spots on the back of your canoe or kayak.
- Drill holes at the marks you made on your canoe or kayak.
- Attach the poling platform to the back of your canoe or kayak using nuts and bolts or screws.
- Test the platform by evenly distributing your weight on it, making sure it feels stable and secure.
- Make any necessary adjustments, tighten all screws or bolts, and you’re ready to pole!
For DIY platforms, the installation process will depend on the specific design you chose. Make sure to follow any instructions carefully and consider consulting with a professional if you are unsure about anything.
Alternatives to poling platforms
If a poling platform isn’t the right fit for you or your canoe or kayak, there are several alternative options available.
- Kayak outriggers/stabilizers: These are floatation devices that attach to the sides of your kayak, providing additional stability when poling through shallow water.
- Canoe/kayak seats with adjustable heights: Seats with adjustable heights can provide a similar benefit to poling platforms by allowing you to stand up and pole through shallow water more easily.
- Stand-up paddleboards: Stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) are specifically designed for standing and paddling, and they can be a great option for poling through shallow water.
What is a poling platform?
A poling platform is an elevated structure that attaches to the stern of a canoe or kayak, and provides a stable platform for fishing and paddling.
What are the benefits of using a poling platform?
Benefits of using a poling platform include increased stability, better visibility, the ability to stand and cast more easily, and reduced strain on your back and arms.
Are there different types of poling platforms?
Yes, there are DIY poling platforms, pre-manufactured poling platforms, and commercially available poling platforms.
How do I choose the right poling platform for my canoe or kayak?
When choosing a poling platform, consider factors such as material and durability, weight capacity, compatibility with your canoe or kayak, and price and budget.
How do I install a poling platform?
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing a pre-manufactured poling platform, or follow step-by-step instructions to build your own DIY poling platform.
Can I use alternative options instead of a poling platform?
Yes, alternative options include kayak outriggers or stabilizers, kayak or canoe seats with adjustable heights, and stand-up paddleboards.
Can I use a poling platform for any type of paddling?
Poling platforms are best used for flatwater paddling and fishing, as they can interfere with maneuverability in rougher water conditions.
Do I need to remove the poling platform when transporting my canoe or kayak?
Removing the poling platform when transporting your canoe or kayak can prolong the life of your accessory and prevent damage during transport.
Can I attach additional accessories to my poling platform?
Yes, many poling platforms have built-in attachment points for accessories such as rod holders or cup holders.
Do I need any special tools to install a poling platform?
Depending on the type of installation, you may need basic tools such as a drill and screwdriver. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for details.
When Hannah first started kayaking, she had trouble balancing on the water. Despite her best efforts, she couldn’t seem to stay afloat for long periods of time, and would often rock back and forth. It wasn’t until she discovered poling platforms that everything changed.
With a poling platform attached to her kayak, Hannah found that she could paddle with confidence and stability. The elevated platform allowed her to stand up straight and maintain her balance, giving her a clearer view of her surroundings while allowing her to paddle more efficiently.
But the benefits didn’t stop there. Thanks to her new accessory, Hannah also found that she could enjoy fishing with ease. No longer did she have to hunch over and strain her back to cast her line. Instead, she stood upright, reeling in and catching fish like a pro.
Now, Hannah can’t imagine kayaking without her trusty poling platform by her side. It’s become an essential tool for her, allowing her to make the most of her time on the water with stability and comfort.
A poling platform can be a valuable accessory for any paddler looking to pole through shallow water more easily and comfortably. They offer increased stability, better visibility, and reduced strain on your back and arms. When choosing a poling platform, consider the material, weight capacity, and compatibility with your canoe or kayak, as well as your budget.
If a poling platform isn’t the right fit for you or your situation, there are several alternative options available, such as kayak outriggers, adjustable seats, or stand-up paddleboards.
Overall, the right equipment and accessories can make all the difference in your paddling experience, so consider investing in a poling platform or alternative option that works best for you.