Best Fishing Kayaks
When it comes to fishing, there are many different types and styles and one of the most popular is grabbing a boat and drifting around a lake in the hopes to catch a monster fish. Now when it comes to boats they can get quite expensive and many opt to rent one every time they go to the local lake. In the last couple of years, many have started to make their way to using kayaks to fish their nearby lakes as kayaks are more affordable and come with all you need to start your adventure in catching that monster fish you always dreamed of getting on the line. Fishing kayaks are quieter and allow you to sneak up on schools of fish, they also allow you to access more areas as they are smaller. Below we have listed the best fishing kayaks of 2020.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 16 hrs of research
Lots of room
Great area for storage
Top Ten Fishing Kayak Reviews
1. Vibes Yellowfin 100
Lots of room
Great area for storage
This best fishing kayak from Vibes is a quality one-man kayak and not only provides a comfortable place to sit while fishing but also comes with a variety of features to help you store your gear and make fishing fun and enjoyable without any extra stress.Read more
This kayak is not only comfortable but is quite stable. If you have your eye on this fishing kayak for your next fishing expedition do not worry about the stability as this kayak will keep you balanced and keep you and your gear above water. It is 32" wide and 10' long so it is a great size and will keep you comfortable and not worrying about tipping over while using it.
This kayak is not only stable and durable but is also quite stylish. It comes in a variety of colors and has a sleek look to it. While on your next fishing trip do not be concerned if other fishermen stop you to ask you about your kayak. Not only is the kayak sleek, but also the way that the rod holders and storage are laid out does not make this kayak seem bulky but rather stylish and organized.
This kayak is great for long days of fishing as it comes with a comfortable seat and a supported backrest so you will not feel uncomfortable after a couple of hours pass. This kayak also comes with a good amount of leg room which is important as you do not want your legs to get uncomfortable and have enough room to stretch.
This is the most stable fishing kayak on the market that comes at a great price for what you get. Not only are you getting a great size kayak but also a variety of features such as a rod holder, comfortable seat, paddle holders, storage straps, and comfortable grips.
2. Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120
Their Air-Pro seat offers good back support and decent breathability
Adjustable leg length
Accepts available rudder system
The optional rudder system must be purchased separately
The Tarpon tends to lean towards a recreational kayak gone fishing. The boat does cut through the water fast, with turning on a dime. However, fishing styles may be limited by stability. If you are the standing type, this boat is not the best option for you. While it may not be a fishing machine, the Tarpon is versatile for fishing or recreation, and at the end of the day, it is still a great boat.Read more
The YAK ATTACK angler package includes two mighty mounts, Zooka tube, and VisiCarbon pro that Cuts water well, is very fast and agile with quick turning. A versatile kayak for fishing and recreation, it is not super stable so it is not a great option if you prefer to stand for fishing or paddling.
Slide traxTM accessory system, new Phase 3 AirPro sit-on-top seating system
comfortable with full adjustability, keepers XL foot brace system. Paddle holder, self-billing scupper holes, gear storage pockets, cup holder. Paddle holding bungee, storage hatch right in front of the seat. Seat not hi/lo but slightly raised off the bottom of the boat.
This fishing kayak comes with a seat but it is not the most comfortable on our list. This kayak is brought to you by a strong brand for kayaks for fishing but they lose out a bit in the comfort department.
This kayak from Wilderness Systems is a little on the pricey end but for the durability and the size, it is a great value. If you are looking for a durable fishing kayak and will be out on the lake every other weekend then it may be worth the investment. You could also check our full Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 review, and see what great features this kayak has to offer.
3. Wilderness Systems Pungo 140
Has quite a bit of storage space
Though it is a clean design, there is actually quite a bit of rigging ability topside
Their console system gives you easy access to dry gear
Can be uncomfortable for long periods of time sitting
Now for a sit-in model. By its design, at only 60 lbs this is one of the lightest models listed here and thus, it is also the easiest to load and unload from your vehicle which is an important consideration for smaller individuals. This also makes it a dream to bring to and from the shoreline, especially if you don't have direct vehicle access. Keep reading this fishing kayak review to learn more.Read more
When you think of stability you think of good fishing kayaks that you can rest yourself and your gear in safety and securely without worrying if you are going to end up in the lake. This kayak from Wilderness Systems is not only a durable kayak but also offers great stability. This stability is due to the size of the kayak as you have enough room to sit comfortably and access all your necessary gear without issue and possibly tipping your kayak.
When you think of the Wilderness Systems Pungo 140 Angler, think Porsche, think Maserati, think Lamborghini because this kayak is FAST! With a Swede Form, multi-chined, hull and a sit-inside cockpit, this kayak will get you where you are going in a hurry while keeping you dry along the way as well as providing you with some protection from the elements.
In addition to thigh and knee padding, the Phase 3 AirPro seating system provides ergonomic comfort and easy adjustability and is widely considered to be the Mercedes Benz of kayak seats because it features a contoured seat and backrest that has been specifically designed with increased comfort in mind by incorporating multiple-sized holes in the special foam padding that produce varying densities to provide extra cushioning along the spine and under the legs while comfortably supporting the buttocks.
This fishing kayak from Wilderness Systems is on the expensive side, but when you consider the features and durability to receive from this kayak, the price seems justified. The features include a generous cockpit opening includes a removable Kayak console which easily attaches to the cockpit rim for convenient access to your gear while fishing and which features a universal cup holder, a mesh pocket, gear trays that can hold a Scotty rod mount, and dry storage space for tackle boxes, sunglasses, cell phones, wallets, and other important gear. In addition, it also features sealed bulkheads in both the bow and the stern which creates dry storage space that can be easily accessed via Orbix hatches.
4. Wilderness Systems Ride 115X
Has a decent balance of both speed and acceptable maneuverability
Adjustable foot braces
The overall outfitting has clearly been well thought out
Could be more stable as it is very narrow
Although somewhat less popular than some of the other fishing kayaks for sale listed here, the Wilderness Systems Ride 115X is still a popular fishing kayak among fishermen who are looking for a self-propelled fishing platform with maximum stability and maneuverability.Read more
This kayak from Wilderness Systems is not only stylish but a sleek design that is fitting if you have a smaller SUV or car. It easily fits a single fisherman and their gear and can be unloaded and loaded easily. The wide frame also is a bonus as it adds some extra comfortability and stability to the rider.
Also, this nimble and highly stable fishing kayak features Wilderness System's "AirPro Freedom Elite" advanced kayak seat which has a contoured seat and backrest that has been specifically designed with increased comfort in mind by incorporating multiple-sized holes in the special foam padding that produce varying densities to provide extra cushioning along the spine and under the legs while comfortably supporting the buttocks.
Another kayak that seems to be on the expensive side but when looking closer at what you get with this kayak from Wilderness Systems, the price seems to be justified. The features of the Ride 115X are removable electronics console that enables you to mount a fish finder and transducer while storing the battery inside the console and then when you are ready to transport or store the kayak, the entire console is easily removed. Also, the Ride 115X has SlideTrax equipment mounting rails installed on the bow, stern, and under the electronics console so that you can easily mount rod holders, camera mounts, and safety flags on the kayak and a flattened area have been provided on either gunwale to enable the flush mounting of rod holders.
Last, the Wilderness Systems Ride 115X also features plenty of storage space with sealed hatches in both the bow and amidships along with an open "tank well" storage compartment in the stern. If you are looking for the best kayak for fishing, you should consider this one as it has made on our top ten list.
5. Feelfree Moken 14
Plenty of storage
Has a stand assist strap to aid in standing up much easier
The wheel in the keel is a great feature that really makes a difference when transporting
Being a longer model, the maneuverability isn't as easy as a shorter version
The Moken is very highly reviewed, people simply love these kayaks. While it doesn’t come completely outfitted with every bell and whistle, the price allows you to customize your boat.Read more
The Feelfree Moken 14 kayak is not only affordable but also quite stable thanks to its wide frame. It can comfortably sit a single rider and their fishing gear while keeping them stable as they cruise to their fishing spot. The last thing you want to worry about when you are fishing is trying to stay afloat and that will not be an issue with this kayak.
This sleek and easily transported fishing kayak does not only look great but also comes at an affordable price. One noticeable feature that you'll see is the Convenient wheel in the keel for transport, a molded-in paddle park, rod holders, and center console. Set up with a kingfisher seat, quick-release modular Uni-track rails, stand up the leash, and standing pad to accommodate fishermen and their gadgets.
While perhaps not as well known as the above-mentioned brands, the Moken 14 made by Feelfree is nonetheless a popular, fishing-specific, sit-on-top, kayak. Specifically designed to be an off-shore fishing craft, the Moken 14 is long and slim and features a Swede Form, "Ocean Angler", double-tunnel, hull with a prominent keel for superior speed and tracking to enable you to reach those distant offshore waters quickly and easily.
Furthermore, it also features a Center Console which provides an easy-access storage area as well as a place to mount electronics in addition to the Oval Hinge hatch located in the bow which also allows for quick access to your gear while on the water. For mounting accessories such as rod holders, the gunwales are fitted with Feelfree's UniTrack system which also works in conjunction with their Uni-Bar to turn your cockpit into a fishing command center.
This exclusive accessory is designed to mount to your Uni-Track system to create an accessible dashboard for all of your electronics and other rigging accessories and, because it uses the Uni-Track system, the Uni-Bar easily slides backward and forwards.
Also, it includes easy access lure hangers along with an integrated ruler that measures up to 15”. Furthermore, it has a Paddle Keeper system to allow you to park your paddle out of the way while fishing.
Last, for easy transport, the Moken 14 features a Wheel in the Keel which consists of a hard, plastic, wheel mounted in the keel so that in order to transport your kayak from your vehicle to the launch and back again, all you have to do is lift the bow and pull.
Also, the Moken 14 includes the brand's KingFisher Seat which features an internal skeleton that causes the seat to retain its shape hour after hour so that it will not sag or collapse with continual use while also controlling the degree of flex laterally without putting pressure on the sensitive lower areas of the body.
In addition, it features a dedicated conjure lumbar cushion that provides extra support to the lower back. Plus, the bilge of the Moken 14 features a "standing platform" molded into the hull for a comfortable stance while sight fishing.
This fishing Kayak from Moken is one of the most affordable on our list as it comes in at a reasonable price that even a beginner kayak fisherman can afford. Do not think that due to the affordable price tag that you are not getting as many features with this kayak, as that is not the case.
6. Old Town Predator 13
Fairly fast and stable
Has a decent amount of dry storage space
Compatible with many extras such as outriggers and stand-up bar for more stability
Heavy to transport
The Old Town Predator 13 is a recent model that has proven to be very popular among kayak anglers. Designed by fishermen for fishermen, the Predator 13 was built by the Old Town pro staff to handle larger bodies of water such as lakes, bays, and protected coastal waters.Read more
In fact, one of this kayak's outstanding features is the prominent keel at both the bow and stern to aid in tracking combined with the pontoon-like Tri-Hull design to provide superior initial stability.
Another noteworthy feature is the Element Seating System which incorporates a rigid frame and which enables the paddler to choose either the "Travel" position for increased stability or the "Attack" position for increased visibility and maneuverability or the "Stand-Up" position for poling or sight casting. In addition, many anglers are reporting that the rigid seat frame provides a significantly higher degree of comfort than standard sit-on-top kayak seats.
This kayak from Old Town is stylish, sleek, and jammed with features. Two additional handy features of the Predator 13 are the molded paddle rest which provides a convenient place to temporarily park your paddle and the side-mounted paddle storage which provides you with a place to park your paddle when not in use.
Furthermore, it features a large, dry-storage compartment in the bow that is accessible via a large hatch with a click-seal cover that locks with a simple click, a center console with a "mod pod" cover that allows you to customize your gear arraignment along with six, strategically placed, removable, high-strength mounting plates that allow you to customize your craft without drilling holes in the hull.
Thi sold town fishing kayak is quite comfortable as it offers a stable and durable chair, that is made from a mesh material so you can mold into the chair. Old Town knows that you will be sitting for a long period of time, so they understand that they can make the kayak look sleek and stylish but it is all about comfort.
This old town fishing kayak comes in as one of the more expensive kayaks on our list but for good reason. It comes with a variety of convenient features that will keep you comfortable and exploring your local lakes to bring home a monster fish. You could also check out the Old Town Vapor 12 Angler kayak review.
7. Perception Kayak Pescador Pro
Great room for storage
12 ft. in length
Could be more stable
The Perception's Pescador offers users a technical fishing experience on a quality built sea kayak that any true man or women of the fish hunt can appreciate. Check out its features and benefits below.Read more
It is designed with premium stability, tracking, as well as many other features. Another bonus of this kayak is the multiple options for storage and rigging that it offers.
Perception's Pescador is an overhauled version of the original, and it is built for the serious fisherman or fisherwoman.
The Pescador packs well so that you can take all that you need onto it and easily find it in the bow tankwell, which is covered with a mesh cover. It also has a rear tankwell.
To keep you fully organized and ready to catch some big fish, there are rod holders that are molded in. Not to mention, there is also an addition of a molded-in tackle box storage with a center console for fish finding electronics.
To ensure that you are fully comfortable, the seat reclines and is adjustable to fit your needs as a comfortable fisherman or fisherwoman.
This kayak comes at an affordable price and is great for the features it comes with for a beginner or advanced fisherman. It will not break the bank but give you the storage, stability, and style you expect from a fishing kayak at a great price. You could check out our full review about the other kayak from this company, perception sport sound 12,5 angler kayak.
8. Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14
Holds 6 rods, 2 horizontal and 4 vertical
Increased versatility from the addition of their H-rail modular storage system
Will accept mounting of devices such as GPS and fish finders
Heavy to transport
The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 is the dream fishing kayak, and the price reflects that. The features are seemingly endless, what doesn’t this kayak have. The MirageDrive 180 has changed the game on pedal kayaks. It is apparent that they had the angler in mind when designing it, it is not just a recreational kayak with rod holders.Read more
Making use of the largest muscle group in the human body, Hobie's MirageDrive with dual steering transfers the arduous task of propelling your kayak from your shoulders and arms to your legs; thus leaving your hands free to concentrate on casting your lure to just the right place or landing that big fish. Plus, a tracking skeg and a retractable rudder system help to keep you on course and a sail mount enables you to attach a sail for effortless travel to your fishing destination.
Furthermore, for those of you who like to stand up when you fish, the Angler 14 includes mid-ship rails on the gunwales instead of the stand-assist strap featured on most fishing kayaks to make standing and reseating easier.
For the kayak angler who wants it all, the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 is the kayak for you! In fact, by combining a sit-on-top hull design with their Vantage ST seat and MirageDrive propulsion system, Hobie has created what may very well be the ultimate fishing kayak!
It should also be noted that at 138 lbs., this kayak literally weighs twice that of a standard, sit-on-top, fishing kayak and thus, it may make loading and unloading the kayak more than some paddlers can handle. But, as long as you don't mind the weight, this fishing kayak truly has it all!
The Hobie Mirage comes to you at a high price tag, but if you are looking for quality and features, then this may be the kayak for you as the MirageDrive 180, bluefins pedal drive with the forward-reverse propulsion system, fins pivot 180 degrees instantly with shift cables for hands-free fishing and kayaking. Retractable skeg for tracking, H-Rail for mounting with cup holder. Four standard horizontal and two molded-in rod holders.
Elevated Vantage ST seat with Boa system lumbar support, and under-seat tackle storage. A center console hatch conceals a mesh storage pocket with pivoting storage for two included Plano Tackle boxes, with storage underneath. Front hatch has a removable liner, Livewell-ready cargo area. Also, set up with a retractable rudder system. It is very stable for standing paddling and fishing, making it more versatile for different fishermen or fishing spots.
Also, with six horizontal rod holders and molded-in vertical rod storage, two Plano tackle boxes, a Lowrance Ready fish finder mount, and a Large Rectangular Hatch with Pivoting Tackle Management System, the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 is ready to pursue your favorite fish species without extensive customization.
9. Hobie Mirage Outback
Maneuvering fins can pivot 180 degrees
Fins can be adjusted for shore landing by a simple function of a peddle
Propulsion is hands-free
The Hobie Mirage Outback is undoubtedly one of our best picks just looking at it you can be sure that this kayak is not only extremely functional but that it is also super comfortable and perfectly equipped for every fisherman needs.
One of the top features of this kayak is its MirageDrive system. The mega drive pedal features two flexible fins at the bottom of your kayak that propels your kayak while you peddle, this system lets you use your leg muscles which are stronger than your arm muscles to propel your kayak for longer times. As the fins are centered under the center of your boat there is no drifting on the paddle and provides great tracking.Read more
This fishing kayak with pedals from Hoble is not only stylish and jammed with features but also quite stable to the wide frame.
Mirage Drive 180- bluefins pedal drive with a forward-reverse propulsion system, fins pivot 180 degrees instantly with shift cables for hands-free fishing and kayaking. Vantage seat maximizes stand-up space and storage seat back, bottom, height, and lumbar support all adjustable. Two-piece paddle with on-hull storage in addition to MirageDrive. The twist and stow rudder is retractable and engaged or disengaged by the pull of a handle. Also, includes four molded-in rod holders.
Although the Hobie Mirage Outback may appear to be similar to the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 to the inexperienced eye, it actually features a very different hull design. In fact, while the Pro Angler 14 somewhat resembles a "flats boat" with its extra-wide, extra-stable, hull design and squared bow and stern, the Outback reverts to a more conventional kayak hull design. In addition, the Outback is somewhat shorter and significantly slimmer and lighter than the Pro Angler 14 but, it does retain Hobie's MirageDrive propulsion system for hands-free paddling.
The Vantage CT seating system is the piece that adds all of the comforts, it is adjustable and flexible, was designed to give you more comfort while offering great visibility while fishing.
Hobie knows fishing and comfort. The combination of the Vantage seat and the
MirageDrive 180 lets you stay on the water longer and more comfortably at that. With the hands-free option of the MirageDrive, you don't have to put down your rod to paddle. Spend less time getting around in the water, and more time fishing it with the Outback.
Definitely a must-have. An extremely powerful unit with lots of possibilities and that will provide you with lots of fun.
The Outback comes to you with a high price tag but once you take a look at what you get included and the quality of the fishing kayak with pedals you will quickly realize that the price is justified. It has 4 for rod holders and lots of storage, bins and pockets are everywhere so you really don't need to even buy rod holders and mount them, and the ones that come featured in the kayak are perfect for use.
Also, the Outback features a retractable "Twist and Stow" rudder system to aid in maneuvering and tracking and it includes a two-piece paddle that clips onto the gunwale when not needed. In addition, the Hobie Outback features three sealed storage hatches as well as a large, open, storage compartment with bungee cords to hold your gear in place and, like the Pro Angler 14, it also features a built-in Lowrance Ready transducer mount designed work with a Lowrance fish finder unit as well as a sail mount for those days when you would rather use the wind instead of the MirageDrive to propel your kayak.
10. Native Watercraft Slayer
The new design offers increased helm response
The seating and foot brace systems are fully adjustable to allow anglers of different sizes to equally enjoy this boat
The installed track rails allow secure mounting of electronic gear
The Slayer 14 fishing kayak made by Native Watercraft is another very popular kayak specifically designed for fishermen. Featuring a sit-on-top hull design to provide the paddler with the greatest ease when entering or exiting the cockpit, it also features a rudder-ready, hard-chined, hull with a prominent keel to aid in tracking.Read more
In addition, it includes Native Watercraft’s First Class Seating which features a rigid, aluminum, frame with HiFlo 3D suspension mesh that can be adjusted to either a high position for a dry ride or a low position for greater stability along with incredible back support and the ability to recline the seat.
Another unique feature found only on Native Watercraft kayaks is the Tag Along Wheel. This feature comes in the form of a hard, plastic, wheel permanently attached to the stern of the kayak so that all you have to do to transport the kayak from the car to the launch and back again is grab the padded bow handle, lift the kayak, and pull.
Another nice feature of the Slayer 14 is the molded-in electronics console which works in conjunction with their Groove equipment rail mounting system. The Slayer Electronics Console provides a dry storage area for your batteries when running depth or fish finders and thumb screws eliminate the need for tools when accessing the console.
Also, the console cover has a Groove Track insert that allows equipment or rod holders to easily be added or exchanged. Plus, the gunwale-mounted Groove equipment mounting system enables you to easily add or remove components at your leisure and to lock them down anywhere along the rail.
This kayak is quite comfortable as it comes with a padded seat and extra leg room as Native knows you will spend quite some time sitting and waiting for that monster fish. So they want you to be comfortable which you will be if you decide to go with this vessel.
This kayak comes to you wit ha higher price tag but due to the durability and features that are included the price tag is justified. So, if you are looking for the best kayak for fishing without worrying about the price, this one is a perfect choice for you. After very thorough research, tests, and reviews, this product has made on our top ten fishing kayak reviews.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Stability is pretty important in any type of watercraft, but it really counts when you are moving around more, casting, accessing gear, bringing in your catch and even tossing fishing nets. When it comes to the stability needed for fishing, the clear winner in many cases tends to be the open-top or sit-on-top models. The hull design is usually a bit wider with less draft than a model that you need to climb into.
In whole, this is an important aspect of a suitable choice, but it becomes a factor which matters, even more, when you head offshore, which is getting more and more popular with anglers of different skill levels. Once you leave the protection of lakes, semi-closed inlets and other bodies of water where there tends to be much less current or motion, You will definitely want to be in something that doesn’t feel like it will capsize at any moment from leaning too far or reaching too fast for some gear.
Choosing the best fishing kayaks is like choosing the right shoes. There’s no one-size-fits-all shoe just as there isn’t one type of kayak. Before you can decide which fishing kayak you should buy, you need to figure out what kind of fishing you will be doing, what your budget is and what your fitness level is. Every kayak out there excels in some things and comes up short in other aspects. Come up with a list of must-haves, would-like-to-haves, and can-live-without items. Check out the list of the top rated fishing kayaks later on in this article and see which boxes get ticked.
By the time you are done reading you should have a good idea of which one will best suit your needs, so let’s go through the basics of what kind of fishing kayaks are available and what to look for in a kayak.
The two main fishing kayak styles are Sit-on-Top (SOT) or Sit-in. SOT types don’t typically flood or take on as much water, and can drain through scuppers. Although scuppers can be noisy because of drag or catch on things underwater. More flexible storage options are available. Sit-In gear can’t fall off the boat, it’s more stable to stand in because it is in the water not on top of it. The Gear will also be more protected inside the boat.
Ocean, rivers, and lakes all are very different fishing environments and require different kayak features and design. Oceans will need longer boats for paddling longer distances and be able to handle the waves and the wind. Rivers typically see shorter kayaks with great agility for changing currents. Lakes may need a mixture of speed and agility.
If you choose to sit and fish, snag-ables on the deck of the kayak may become an issue, and chair comfort will be more important. For standing, stability is the biggest factor with room to stand, a wider kayak with flatter bottom will reduce tipping. Also useful are a good standing pad for traction and comfort, and a hi/lo seat to stand and sit with ease.
Sit-on-top fishing kayaks differ from sit-in fishing kayaks mainly in that they have large, open, cockpits. Also, all sit-on-top fishing kayaks feature a high degree of initial stability and their extra-large cockpits make them easy to enter and exit in the event of a capsize. Plus, sit-on-top kayaks are constructed using a double-hull construction such that there is an enclosed air space between the inner and outer hulls that traps air inside and therefore, sit-on-top kayaks are literally unsinkable. Plus, they are designed with scupper holes in the bilge which allows any water that may enter the cockpit to escape; thus keeping the cockpit relatively dry.
Furthermore, as a general rule, these fishing kayaks usually range from 10 to 14 feet in length and have a relatively wide beam and thus, they have a high degree of initial stability. Last, due to their wide, open, cockpits and extreme initial stability, they are the most popular type of fishing kayak available.
The negatives are that you are exposed to the sun and wind and can end up too hot or too cold sitting on top. They are also much slower than their SIK brethren. Since they don’t go much below the surface of the water, they don’t glide as well. Even with proper paddling technique, you will have to work harder to go the same distance as a SIK. Unless you have a pedal propulsion kayak like a Hobie, which we will get into later on.
SOK tend to be much heavier than SIK since they are made with polyethylene and are often made in multiple layers for strength. It’s not unusual for a SOK to weigh over 50 pounds, making it a challenge for some to mount on racks.
Sit-in fishing kayaks differ from sit-on-top fishing kayaks in that they have large, enclosed, cockpits. Also, all sit-in fishing kayaks feature extra-large cockpits that make them easy to enter and exit and yet also provide a dry ride due to the ability to add a nylon spray skirt. In addition, they usually range from 8 to 14 feet in length and they generally have more efficient hull designs than sit-on-top kayaks and thus, they are a good choice for those paddlers who prefer a little faster hull design and dry ride.
The more popular models for rowing and sport, sit-in models, are less popular for fishing but are still preferred by some who like the fit and function better. Besides the position in which you ride, the most noticeable difference is the topside layout. Fishing-specific sit-on models tend to be set up more to accommodate gear and tackle.
You will be sitting for hours at a time in your kayak. It’s really important that you stay as comfortable as possible and choose one of the best kayaks for fishing out there. If you have back issues then you really need to consider what type of seat would be best for you. A bad seat in a kayak shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, however. You can always find a seat you like and mount that on the kayak. Keep the seat it came with for back-up, just in case.
Do you really want it to be a chore to get in and out of the thing? Most people don’t. This is another area where the SOT models really come out on top, literally. They are much easier to access, simply requiring you to hop on.
Another reason why this is something to think about is in a situation where the craft might capsize. Getting out and righting the boat can be quite a challenge for some, especially with a sit-in model where the inside will fill with water. this will require some skill and knowledge on the best way to expel the water while setting the boat right.
One more thing that may add to the challenge will be in the case where you have a bunch of gear stored inside with you. Since sit-inside kayaks typically have less accessible exterior storage, many tend to jam much of the gear down around their legs inside. Add that factor to needing to exit in a hurry if capsized, then getting the water out and worrying about losing some of your stuff that was inside.
Although you can certainly find an option for different budgets, the price you pay should really be based on needs, skill level, frequency of use, and of course, what you can really afford to pay.
The more specialized a fishing kayak for sale is, the more you can expect to pay. Like many other things, the price will often reflect the product’s overall quality as well. Though it isn’t the case 100% of the time, this is a true factor more often than not and should be taken into consideration before going too cheap with what you pick.
With that being said, the same can sometimes go for the super expensive products as well. Just because a brand claims some amazing features, that doesn’t always mean that you will necessarily benefit from them all. If you tend to only go out on the water every once in a while, well then you probably aren’t going to be at a level where those features that are targeted for more professional levels will truly benefit.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
The first step is to figure out your desired position of the seating, as well as access to any gear that you will need to get to easily. You’ll need to take into account factors such as your particular skill and familiarity with boating, or more specifically kayaking. It’s a good idea to really consider how long you go out for, as well as how far, and also the potential catch. You will need to carry it all back. Also, think about what tackle gear you need, and even think about how much you will need to easily access. The answer is usually “all of it”. Most fishing-specific models have a sit-on-top configuration. That way you won’t be confined inside the craft, allowing you to move more freely. Some anglers, however, prefer the more traditional sit-in models.
When looking into investing in a kayak for fishing, remember to stay within your budget. There are models that are affordable and a little more expensive but the best thing to do is to make a list of what you want in a kayak and what style of fishing you enjoy most and buy a kayak that fits. This way you get what you are looking for in a kayak in your budget.
Other Factors to Consider
The longer the kayak, the faster and straighter they travel. Longer kayaks, however, are less maneuverable. They also are usually heavier than the shorter ones and are more difficult to lift into a car rack or carry to the water.
Wide kayaks usually offer more stability than narrow ones. This isn’t the only factor in stability, though, so don’t always assume that a wide kayak will automatically be more stable. What they do offer, though is a wider cockpit area thus more room to move around and more room for your gear.
It isn’t really a factor when floating, but the weight is definitely something to think about when you need to get the kayak on your vehicle, then off again, then from the car to the water. Maybe you have direct access to the shoreline, but then maybe you don’t. These are all things to consider. Many models weigh in around the vicinity of 60 to 70 pounds, depending on the size and construction.
But there are other factors that will add weight, such as accessories like mounted storage systems, modified or enhanced rudder systems and trolling motors or propulsion features. Remember, you can add what you want or need to the boat, but everything you put on, you will eventually have to carry.
Though many are similar in the overall design of the structures, there are obvious differences between the brands and models. However, there are standard requirements and features which are found on these that are intended to make them more effective and efficient for the angler. Here are some key features to look for when trying to make your choice.
-Standing room and standing pads, boat wider and less rounded bottom with a strong keel for tracking.
-Fishfinders and Transducers, or at least a solid attachment area where they can be effectively mounted.
-Adjustable seating. Able to raise you up enough for easy standing or sitting, faster paddling and better reach and maneuverability of arms and upper body.
-position for longer distances, and of course comfort and customization through adjustability.
-Drive Systems- pedal, paddle, rudder, optional motors.
-Specialized gear storage, and enough of it for your needs.
-Track systems for additional gear mounting and accessory mounting.
Some things to think about when deciding what type of fishing kayak to purchase: What style of a kayak? Where will you be fishing? What kind of fishing, standing or sitting? What drive system suits you, pedal, or paddle?
Paddles: They are typically more versatile, types of paddles can be double or single, and can be used sitting or standing. However, distances and time on the water may be limited by arm strength. These paddlers tend to be lighter than pedal kayaks.
Pedals: Foot pedals control propulsion (fins or propeller etc.), but a rudder is used to track and turn by hand. They resemble recumbent bicycles and allow your legs to do the brunt of the work, but limits you to only sitting and pedaling. You will not need to put down your rod and pick up a paddle to adjust the position. With a pedal kayak, you do still have the option to paddle if you would like to.
Rudders: These are helpful if you are paddling large open water exposed to wind and waves. The length of the kayak is important, longer kayaks utilize a rudder for tracking and being less susceptible to wind.
Out on the kayak, it’s just you and the water. No chattering fisherman, no boat motors, just the sound of the water lapping against your hull. Total peace of mind and tranquility! Besides the benefit of the quiet to your mental health, there is a more practical bonus. Fish can’t hear you coming like they can on an inflatable fishing boats or fishing kayaks.
My favorite thing in the world is to come upon a blitz of feeding fish, with birds diving into the fray and fish jumping clear out of the water while they chase the bait to the surface. In the kayak, I can paddle right into the heart of the maelstrom!
Countless times I have had a blitz all to myself with fish jumping all around me, literally splashing me in the face. Catching dozens of fish is not unheard of during a blitz like that. Then, the boats show up and drive the fish away. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted!
Access To More Areas
I have caught many fish in less than 2 feet of water. Especially when I fish the river inlets for Spring stripers as they forage for small bait on the edge of the water. Try doing that in a boat! With many potential great fishing spots being inaccessible by foot, you are severely limited when fishing from shore.
I can also get in really close to rocks and reefs that a boat can’t risk. With waves churning over some rocks that the big fish really love, I can get within a few feet and place some casts right into the boil. I have seen many captains eye me with envy as I deck a big one while they can only watch!
While some kayaks can get very expensive, with costs running into the thousands, the typical costs associated with kayak fishing are much lower than buying a boat. Cheap fishing kayaks are available on the market. For a few hundred dollars you can get yourself a very nice fishing package that will get you on the water and catching fish. That simply isn’t possible if you want a boat.
You also won’t be paying the high costs of fuel. The only fuel you might need are some carbs to keep your energy up to paddle all day! And then there are the mooring costs. You have to pay to moor your boat all summer but a kayak can be kept in your backyard, a shed, basement or garage at no cost. You won’t be paying insurance or for any kind of maintenance. There’s no motor that needs to be serviced every year before you get on the water and nothing to break down midseason that needs repair.
When trolling for fish, you need to go the speed of a fish. In a kayak, it is very easy to maintain a slow troll. Sometimes in boast, you really can’t get your trolling speed under 2 knots an hour. In a kayak that is about the speed, you would do at a normal pace. And you can get it even slower.
Getting out on the water for a day of fishing is as simple as throwing your gear in the back of your car, topping your kayak in the rack and driving over to a good spot to launch.
Most days it would take me no more than a half hour to get from loading my gear to when I got the kayak wet. It may take you that long just to get your boat into the water when you get to your launch. Especially if there is a line of boats waiting in front of you.
No need to worry about taking turns launching from a kayak. Simply find a good spot where you can park your car and still get your kayak to the water and you are done. I live near the water and within 5 minutes of my house have infinite possibilities to launch a kayak. There are only 3 public launches for boats in my town. You do the math!
Being more or less level with the water makes for a better cast and retrieve. You may not get the casting distance as you would standing on a boat, but as I already wrote, you can get closer to the fish in a kayak anyway. When you retrieve at water level, you can get much more natural action from your lure than you can when standing on a boat high above the water.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What is the best kayak for a beginner fisherman?
Sport kayaking takes some skill and best fishing kayaks. There are a few things that beginners won’t necessarily be used to at first such as keeping the craft upright in active waters, getting used to the feel while paddling, maintaining stability, getting in and out easily, and of course, what to do if you happen to capsize.
A sit-in model will immediately fill up with water when capsized, so knowing how to handle that situation is something you will need to learn. A stand-up model is probably the way to go when getting started. To begin with, if capsized you won’t have as much to worry about, especially if your gear is all well secured when it happens. These models don’t really fill up, as there isn’t that internal portion for sitting.
Another good reason the start with a stand-up model is the fact that they are way easier to get in and out of, as well as being a bit more stable.
q: How much storage space should my kayak have?
Well, the answer really lies in your personal needs. It depends on the amount of gear and tackle you typically haul with you, plus what kind of catch you are planning on going after. The answer to this question can found in your preferences of how much you like to bring along added with what you typically catch.
So the amount of storage you need is up to how much gear you need to bring with you. Perhaps lay out your gear and see how much gear you have and get a kayak to is fitting to your gear.
q: Are fishing kayaks safe?
They are very safe. As with anything that floats, you need to do your part to ensure that it stays a safe activity. Always wear a life vest. Don’t just keep it handy. Keep it on since you don’t know if you will be able to get to it in case of an emergency. Always inspect your kayak before you take it on the water. Look for cracks and check that the storage hatches seal well. You don’t want to capsize and then find out the hatch didn’t close. Check the weather forecast before you venture out.
Use common sense and your outing in a kayak will be a safe one. Before you head out in your kayak for the first time, I highly recommend talking to your local Coast Guard and ask about how to keep safe on the water. The most important thing to keep in mind for safety is to know your limits. Don’t get yourself into a situation you are not able to get out of.
q: Where do you keep your catch?
I usually bring a stringer along. I slip the line through the gill and mouth and then tie up my fish to the kayak and let them drift. Of course, I don’t do this if there are sharks around! Sometimes I put a small bucket in my rear well and throw them in there if they are small enough. If it isn’t too hot out I will put them inside the hull by throwing them in the hatch.
q: What if I fall into the water while using a sea kayak?
There are a lot of videos on the internet that you should check out to see how it is done. You may even find one specific to the type of kayak you own. One thing you should definitely do after you watch some tutorials is to practice. If you have a pool or a shallow spot with calm water, you can fall in and try out your technique to get back in without risking your safety.