Best Soft Cooler To Keep Your Catch Fresh While Kayak Fishing


Here’s a question I get asked a lot:

How do you keep your catch when fishing from a kayak?

Hard coolers are big, bulky, and heavy, so they’re not very kayak friendly.

And keeping your fish on a stringer is just asking for sharks to come over and steal your dinner.

So in this video, I’m going to share with you my favorite soft-sided cooler to keep fish in while I’m on my kayak.

I’m not sponsored by this company, it’s just my favorite cooler that I’ve been using for a long time and I think you’ll like it, too.

How To Keep Fish On A Kayak [VIDEO]

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My favorite cooler for bringing on my kayak with me is the AO 48-can soft cooler.

It’s big enough to keep any inshore slot fish, plus all the food and drinks I could need for a day.

As for how much ice I bring, a 10 lb. bag is all you need for a day on the water.

If it’s been a long day and I have a long drive ahead of me, I might stop by the gas station on the way home and get more ice.

Now here’s a pro tip for making your ice last longer: keep it in the bag until you catch a fish.

I see a lot of people throw their bag of ice on the ground to break it up, then pour it in the cooler.

That’ll make it melt much faster, so I don’t empty out the bag of ice into the cooler until I catch a fish.

Also, be sure to keep your food and drinks in a plastic bag to keep them from getting fish slime all over them.


fishing around storms

The AO 48-can soft cooler is my go-to cooler for keeping my catch fresh when I’m on my kayak.

It’s big, yet light, keeps everything inside cold, and the soft sides let me easily squish it into my kayak.

What’s your favorite cooler to bring on your kayak?

Have any other questions or suggestions for keeping fish fresh while kayaking?

Let me know in the comments.

And if you know someone who needs a new kayak cooler, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Tommy Price
2 years ago

Great cooler option for sure. I have been a big fan of just using a $5 cooler bag you can pick up at any Walmart. They hold ice through the day just fine and when they get ripped or nasty just trash it and grab another.

Richard Murray
2 years ago

I fish out of a Pungo sit-in kayak and bought a similar bag but it just didn’t fit well in the cockpit or on the outside. I purchased a large cooler style backpack that is more vertical and it fits perfect behind my seat and is tall enough enough to hold good sized fish.

Scott Falcon
2 years ago

I love my AO cooler. I use the 36 can version. Tip for ya, I purchased a fish tournament weigh in bag that the bass guys use to carry fish to the scale on tournament day. It adds some protection to the bag from spiny fins and you can keep your drinks between it and the actual AO bag to keep from having slimy beer/soda on the water.

Andy Hong
2 years ago

Great advice, Tony! I’m a fan of AO Coolers.

I actually prefer the AO Coolers 38-can Stow-N-Go over the 48-can AO that you have. Instead of a straight-down-the-middle zipper like your 48, the 38 has a “coffin lid” style zippered top, so it’s easier to put fish into it. It’s also better shaped for “keeper” fish, especially slot reds, because it’s longer and wider, but not as tall.

The 38 is also useful on my boat, because it easily fits underneath any of the seats.

Pavlo Antonenko
2 years ago

Thanks for the insights, Tony. This does look like a great cooler for a kayak. I’ve had good luck with the Magellan fish bag from Academy Sports but it’s not great for keeping drinks/lunch. On the plus side, it fits nicely in the front and it’s easy to put the fish in using the velcro flap.

Last edited 2 years ago by Pavlo Antonenko


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