Jet ski fishing is an activity that has become increasingly popular nowadays. More and more jet ski owners have decided to adopt this activity as a hobby, and for good reason!

Fishing and riding a watercraft are both full of fun, so why not try them both together?

We at JetDrift have created a detailed guide for you with all the advantages of jet ski fishing, some useful tips, the most important gear and everything else you might need to start.

Also, don’t miss this useful map with marina and boat ramp locator, and with lots of useful information for fishing trips!

If you already have a PWC, or are planning to buy one, you may have several questions regarding which are the best fishing jet ski models and what are the best available jet ski fishing accessories.

If you are planning to try, or just simply would like to learn more about this amazing activity, keep on reading!

It's a unique way to catch your fish

It’s a unique way to catch your fish

From where it all began

Fishing has always been one of the most popular and traditional activities to do in the water. The easiest and the most common place to practice this this activity is near the shores on land.

Beyond land, docks and piers offer better opportunities to catch fish, but you can still not go very far from the shore.

If you would like to go further in the open water, you will need to use a vessel. Boats have been used for offshore fishing for a long time, but very recently, there has been a new player in the game.

A few years ago, PWC owners in South Africa started using their watercrafts to fish, and a new sport – Jet Ski Fishing – was born. The trend soon spread to Australia and New Zealand, and it has very recently gained popularity in the US as well.

One of the reasons why jet ski fishing came into being is the increase in the size of the jet ski hulls.

During the last decade, the sizes of various jet ski models have become bigger and bigger which is why they are much stable in the water and are being used as alternatives to small boats.

Jet ski fishing is more and more popular in the US

Jet ski fishing is more and more popular in the US

Pros and Cons of Jet Ski Fishing

There are many advantages and disadvantages associated with fishing from a jet ski. Let’s take a look at these in a nutshell!

One of the greatest and the more obvious advantages of offshore fishing is that you can catch a much greater variety of fish.
Depending on your location, you have the opportunity to catch some of the rare or tropical fish which might not be accessible from the shore.  It should be noted, however, that the different fish come with different challenges, so be prepared to face new adventures every time.

Also note that in order to catch these exotic fish, you will probably need heavy duty and specialist equipment!

On the other hand, with offshore fishing, you can cover a much larger area than otherwise. However, it I recommended to not go any further than 20-30 miles from the shore for safety reasons.

The advantages mentioned above can be availed with any time of offshore fishing; whether it’s on a boat, a ship or a watercraft. The purpose of this article is to focus on fishing on a jet ski. Let us now take a look at the specific pros and cons associated with jet ski fishing as compared to a boat.

Pros

  • Purchase price: If you compare boat and PWC prices, it’s pretty evident that jet skis are much more affordable than most boats.

  • Owning costs: Beyond the purchase prices, the maintenance costs are typically lower for jet skis.

  • Storage: Storage of a jet ski is always easier as you can store it literally anywhere depending on its size. Storage in your garage is the cheapest option. However, if you choose to store it in a marina or a self-storage as well, it will still cost you less than in case of a boat.

  • Time efficiency: Trailering, launching and cleaning a PWC is much easier as compared to a boat. This means more convenient trips for you and more of your time saved as well.

  • Easier operate: Jet skis are smaller in size. This makes them easier to maneuver making them more suitable for different types of fishing  including jig, drift or even troll fishing.

  • Fuel efficiency: Jet skis burn less fuel than larger boats. This is an important advantage because greater fuel efficiency means less cost and less time for fueling as well.

  • Higher speed: The top speeds on a jet ski are outstanding which makes them faster than most boats. This means you can spend less time traveling and more time actually fishing.

  • Closer to the water: Jet Ski seats are much closer to the water and offer easier access to it. It means you can reach your fish more easily!

  • Available accessories: Initially, it might look like it is too tricky to fish from a jet ski and there are many questions that might need answers. Fortunately, because of this sport’s rising popularity, all information and accessories that you might need are easily available.

  • Fun factor: Last, but not the least we have to mention the fun and thrill factor. You can have a great adrenaline rush whenever you ride a jet ski and that is true for fishing jet skis as well.

Jet ski fishing can be exciting and relaxing at the same time

Jet ski fishing can be exciting and relaxing at the same time

Cons

  • Passenger capacity: Even if recent watercraft models have a 3 person capacity, let’s face it, fising from a jet ski is mainly a solo activity. It means you can’t take your friends or family with you on your trips.

  • Storage capacity: It’s obvious that fishing reqiures some gear. While a boat may provide with almost unlimited space for you equipment, on a jet ski you have to think twice about what you should bring with you.

  • Lack of space: Fishing is an activity that definitely requires space for things like changing your bait and reeling. Unfortunately, jet skis don’t offer as much space as boats do.

  • Convenience: Even if jet ski seats are more convenient, they still don’t have any backrest. This can be a problem for some people. Boats are usually equipped with much more convenient seats, and in some cases even special seats for fishing purposes.

  • Protection from elements: Harsh weather and the sun are also not your best friends on a jet ski fishing tour. On a jet ski, you are much more exposed to these elements. While jet ski bikini tops and even custom-made windshield solutions are available on the market, these are still not the most common accessories for an average PWC owner.

  • Safety: While there is significantly smaller number of jet skis on the water than boats, a noticable part of the accidents is caused by jet skis according to USCG Accident Statistics. Although it is true that the safety aspect depends on the rider primarily, the boats are a safer option in general.

  • Where to put your fish: If you catch some fish you probably have to put them somewhere, right? There are really “cool” fishing coolers available nowadays, but what if you catch something bigger? You will definitely run out of space to store your catch on a jet ski and will be wishing you were on a boat.

It might seem like you can catch and bring home even a large tuna with your jet ski, but it would be correct to say that it’s not the beginner level stuff!

Selecting The Best Fishing Jet Ski

If you have decided to give jet ski fishing a go, you definitely will need to buy a PWC. That is, if you don’t already own one.

One of the most recurring questions among PWC enthusiasts is: “What is the best fishing jet ski?”

To answer this question, there are many factors that need to be kept in mind. Let’s take a look at the most important viewpoints of choosing your fishing PWC!

  • Price: PWC prices increase significantly year after year so the first and the most important factor could be the price tag for many buyers.

  • Maintenance costs: You can find significant differences between the owning costs of the different models. This is why it is highly recommended to do your research according to your budget before making the final decision.

  • Hull dimensions: For jet ski fishing you will need a large, deep and as stable a hull as possible. Typically the more powerful PWC models arrive with bigger hulls so Rec-Lite or smaller Recreation models are not the best choices.

  • Seat Capacity: Bigger jet ski models typically have a 3-person capacity, so double check this specification before you purchase one. Bigger seats mean more space for you even if you’re fishing alone.

  • Weight limit: Jet ski fishing requires a certain type of gear so always look for models with the largest weight limits and storage capacities available.

  • Reliability: Reliability on the water is always critical, it’s even more pressing if you go out to the open sea. Choose a new watercraft and try to avoid supercharged engines. Non-supercharged models have less maintenance needs and less chances of breaking down as well.

  • Performance: You will definitely need some power when it comes to PWC fishing but typically models with a performance from 150-180 HP engines are sufficient enough for jet ski fishing trips. These models arrive with naturally aspirated (non-supercharged) engines which mean more reliability and better fuel efficiency.

  • Fuel efficiency: While getting to the spot, you will ride many miles on the water which is why fuel efficiency is a critical point here. It affects your gas mileage and your budget as well. Look for models with the best gas mileage and largest fuel capacity.

  • Maneuverability: Try to choose models that have brakes and reverse systems. These not only make your jet ski riding experiences safer, but also help you when you are docking, getting off and on the trailer, or reeling in a larger fish.

  • Equipment: Always check the list of the available equipment and accessories before you buy a jet ski. You may find some attached accessories useful for fishing trips, but most of the necessary equipment you will have to purchase separately.

The Best Models

Based on the above points,
the best fishing PWCs are the

largest 3-person models,
with 150-180 HP engines.

You can discover and compare
all of these models here!

It’s also good to know that there are some models that are especially designed and equipped for fishing purposes. One of them is the Kawasaki Ultra LX-F which is introduced as the “Dedicated fishing Jet Ski”:

This model is based on the Kawasaki Ultra LX and equipped with several high quality accessories to deliver turn-key Fishing Jet Ski.

It arrives with a 3-person capacity, 212 L of storage, a stainless steel Manta rod holder, a Icey-Tek 70L premium cooler and a Lowrance Hook 2, 5″ split shot fish finder. Unfortunately, this model is currently available only in New Zealand.

Hopefully they will be available in the US market soon as jet ski fishing becomes more and more popular in the states.

It’s also good to know that you can find really good watercraft models for PWC fishing from other manufacturers beyond Kawasaki.  If you prefer other brands, you should take a look at the Sea-Doo Fish Pro, which is a dedicated fishing watercraft from the competitor manufacturer.

Jet Ski Fishing Accessories

The biggest challenge in jet ski fishing is transporting all of the gear you will need safely to the spot from where you will be fishing. This seems tricky initially, but don’t worry, everything is much easier if you get the right gear. Here are three most important accessories you may need:

Jet Ski Fishing Rod Holder

Perhaps the most important and crucial part of fishing gear for any fishing trip is a fishing rod. Because of their length and size, they might be difficult to maneuver and hold on a jet ski while driving. However, there are specific solutions to this.

Rod holders are one of the most commonly used solutions to this problem and there are several different types of them available.

Jet Ski Fishing Rack

Another, better option to this is the addition of an entire fishing rack to your watercraft. These racks are added to the back of your jet skis and they have the capacity to hold up to 6 rods.

They can also additionally hold a cooler, a tackle box and even some cans of gas in case you wander far into the water and need refueling. This way, you do not have to worry about handling all of you gear and can solely focus on driving the PWC.

Jet ski fishing rack and rod holders

Jet ski fishing rack and rod holders

Jet Ski Cooler

In order to store your catch or any refreshments you might need on the way, a cooler is you best bet. They are usually accompanied with fishing racks and have a capacity of around 50 quartz. All you have to do is fill it up once with a load of ice and you will be good to go for your whole trip.

The better models come with special drain plugs that ease the process of draining the cooler as well.

Fishfinder/GPS Combo

If you want to further venture into the water and explore on your own, it’s essential to have a reliable GPS on your jet ski. The good news is that you can find many great GPS on the market that are fishfinders at the same time.

The most common manufacturers are Lowrance, Garmin and Raymarine. You can find a great guide here on how to choose the best:

These were just the most important gears to start with. Beyond these, there are several useful jet ski fishing accessories and modifications available that are definitely worth a look.

Final Thoughts

While jet ski fishing is not for everybody, if you own a watercraft and like fishing as well it’s definitely worth a shot.

However, is it relevant for the fish if you catch them from a jet ski or a boat? Not really!

Both have their own disadvantages and advantages as well, but jet ski fishing is becoming more and more popular in the US.

Just as always, do your research before you start. You can find valuable information on the topic at PNW Jet Ski Fishing.

But don’t forget the gear you will need. The only absolutely necessary equipment is a fishing rod holder or a rack with a cooler, and your fishing gear of course. If you wish to go further, don’t miss to take a GPS with you as well. Safety first!

If you fall in love with this world, later you can equip your craft with many other useful jet ski fishing accessories. So now there is nothing left than to go out and catch some amazing fish and have some fun on your jet ski!

Picture credit: PNW Jetski Fishing

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