The best fishing kayak is the only solution for enjoying the calming wonders of the water so you don’t feel on the brink of toppling over and ruining your favorite fishing shirt. These kayaks provide the most secure balance whether you want to sit, stand, or crouch, and make it easier than ever to get the catch you’ve been dreaming off since you were a nipper.
It’s not just about stability and balance, though. You’ll also get easy carrying, padded seats for extra comfort, and a myriad of storage options to ensure you leave nothing essential behind on dry land. If you want to take the kids out and show them why you like sitting on the water all day, we’ve got the kayak for you. If you enjoy the solitude of private kayak fishing trips, then we’ve also got the kayak for you.
In fact, we’ve got kayaks for all fisherman, whether it’s something you’ve loved all your life or something you’re just getting started on. So come check out our catch of the day.
The Best Fishing Kayaks
Even though it wasn’t the easiest decision we’ve ever made, we have selected the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 as the best fishing kayak available right now. It provides everything fisherman – novice or veteran – needs while also coming at an excellent and affordable price to further sweeten the deal.
Constructed with dense, UV-protected polyethylene, you’ll get a durable and reliable kayak that won’t fade or crack if you’re out in the sun most of the year. Along with this, it offers comfort in its adjustable padded seats and multiple foot holes to suit kayakers of all ages, which is perfect for finally convincing your kids there’s nothing uncool about fishing.
Dense UV-protected polyethylene construction
Adjustable padded seat provides comfort
Stability chine rails
Front and rear handles for easy transportation
- Weight56.5 pounds
Two 6” storage compartments and top mount fishing rod holder
Multiple footrests for different-sized kayakers
Stable and easy to stand up in if needed
Back scupper holes blast water over you if you move around
If you’re looking for a slightly more affordable solution, the Sevylor Coleman 2-Person Fishing Kayak may be the one for you. It’s tough and durable, with 18-gauge PVC construction, similar to what you’ll find in the best camping inflatable mattresses, which makes it ideal for lake usage as it’s capable of gliding comfortably through more restricted routes.
Inside, there are multiple air chambers that ensure safety and keep you afloat on the rare chance that part of it gets punctured. Combined with this is the airtight anti-leak system that’ll make you feel secure and dry no matter how tumultuous the water gets.
Rugged PVC construction for lake use
Multiple air chambers to stay afloat if one is punctured
Airtight anti-leak system
Adjustable rod holders for hand-free fishing
- Weight41.2 pounds
Mesh pockets ensure easy gear storage
Super portable, lightweight, and easy to inflate
Large enough to fit large adults and kids maximum
Trolling motor doesn’t come included
Now we’re moving into the mid-range to upper-level of fishing kayak options price-wise, and the Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130 Angler Kayak is an excellent step up for those who want to graduate from entry-level options to something with a little more meat.
First, It’s massively convenient, with a pre-installed toe rudder making it easier than ever to steer around the lake, through the mangroves, or out into the ocean. This also helps you conserve and save energy for when a mammoth fish wants to test your mettle.
Pre-installed toe rudder control system helps save energy
Multiple easy storage options
Vibe Hero seat provides excellent comfort and support
2 flush-mount rod holders and 4 integrated gear tracks for customized rigging
- BrandVibe Kayaks
- Weight80 pounds
Massive amounts of room and storage space
Handles well in the water
Tracks straight for a large kayak
Heavy and requires 2 people for loading and unloading
The Perception Kayak Pescador Pilot Fishing Kayak is, on top of being an excellent example of alliteration, a top quality option that can easily take your fishing to a whole other level. Within, there is a remarkable amount of storage options for fishing gear, fishing lures, tackle, and the ever-important cooler of beer. If you’re short on space at any point, you can remove chairs and pedals to give you a further space so you can be readily prepared for anything.
The pedal drive function (which as we said is removable if you prefer to work out your arms) gives you the option for simple and hassle-free movement, while the four molded-in rod holders give you a further hands-free opportunity. This allows you to sip a drink, have your lunch, or get cool pictures of your surroundings while you’re waiting for a bite.
Pedal drive function for easy movement and also removable
Ample storage options
Ergonomic mesh captain’s chair is comfortable and removable
Four molded-in rod holders
- BrandPerception Kayak
- Weight57.9 pounds
Ideal for flat, slow-moving, and coastal waters
Gear tracks eliminate need to drill holes
1-handed rudder control with a 360-degree turning radius
Plates for locking pedal system may slide
Like a boss, the SUNDOLPHIN Boss SS Sit On/Stand On Top Angler Kayak offers versatile fishing options for those who don’t enjoy sitting down all day long. To do this, it provides excellent balance and stability, even when the waters get a little too choppy for our liking.
The catamaran hull comes designed with a stable, trustworthy platform, which offers further reliability thanks to non-slip pads and a stand-up strap, which prevents any nasty falls, but isn’t mandatory if you think you can overcome the ocean. (Hint: you probably can’t).
Catamaran hull design with a stable platform
Non-slip pads and stand up strap
Dual-position fold-down seat
Carry handles and paddle holders included
- Weight78 pounds
Excellent stability, size and features at a great price
Easily moves against wind and stays on track
Resistant to leaking
Oar could be an inch or two longer because of the size of the kayak
Another mid-range option is the also pretty cooly named Emotion Stealth Angler Kayak, which brings a veritable Triple Threat of features that make it stand out among similarly priced options. This includes a dual flush mount and a single deck rod holder for our convenience, and the adjustable padded seat is comfortable but could be a little thicker for all-day use, yet still comes with quick release attachments to provide extra space if required, for when you decided to wear your fishing vest for example. For further space, you can use the solace hatch that offers under-deck storage if needed.
All of this is no good, though, if it’s not possible to even get the kayak to the shore. Thankfully, four comfortably carry handles make it easy to move from the car to the water without ruining your hands and making the thought of gripping a paddle the last thing you want.
Triple Threat fishing configuration with 2 flush mounts and 1 deck rod holder
Adjustable padded seat with quick release attachments
Four comfortable carry handles for simple transportation
Solace hatch provides under-deck storage
- BrandEmotion Kayaks
- Weight58 pounds
Stable and easy tracking hull design
Molded-in footwells secure feet and offer comfort
Self-bailing scupper holes drain water with ease
Seat pad quite thin and not as secure as we’d like
No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you, the Hobie Mirage Outback Kayak is an awesome piece of vessel engineering that comes with a maximum amount of storage with the Vantage CT seat that also offers sufficient standing room should you want to get a greater – um – vantage point at the great open ocean beyond.
The sail mount – which we’ll admit is something you must purchase separately – is what makes it so appealing, and will make moving through all water conditions easier than you’ve ever experienced. You can combine this with the nimble, speedy MirageDrive, which ensures easy plain sailing and allows you to focus on the fishing aspect of kayaking.
Large covered bow hatch
Sail mount capabilities
Reversing MirageDrive 180 ensures fast and nimble ride
Vantage CT seat maximized storage and standing area
- Weight100 pounds
Mesh pockets and cup holder allows wide storage capabilities
Bungee tie-downs help secure kayak during transportation
Heavy and difficult to handle when out of the water
If you’re looking for awesome fishing features but aren’t too keen about spending too much, the Pelican Catch 100 Kayak is an excellent option that gets you from A to B and all the way back to A again with zero hassle. An advanced model of previous editions, it comes with a redesigned handle that’s ergonomic to make it easy and comfortable to take to the shore and set sail.
This evolution continues with the seat which comes with additional padding to improve comfort for all-day sitting and might make all those hours waiting for a bite just a little more bearable. The accessory pockets may make it even more bearable as you can store all the snacks and additional gear you need all within easy reaching distance. There’s also a bow hatch which is useful, but also not contained, so you’ll risk anything store in there to slide about and make it difficult to find unless you block the gap off.
Redesigned ergonomic handle
New seat with additional padding to ensure all-day comfort
Accessory pockets for gear storage
- Weight58 pounds
Ample space for tackle
Stable enough to stand up in
Bow hatch storage area not contained
The Ocean Kayak Prowler Big Game II Fishing Kayak is a solid, stable, highly efficient fishing platform which offers an awesome Element seating system that allows for customizable positioning to suit you and your crew. This seat is also arguably the most comfortable one so far, making all day fishing a complete (sea)breeze, and ensuring you don’t suffer fatigue and can enjoy your fishing trip like you’re supposed to.
The Click Seal bow hatch cover ensures it keeps your gear safe and dry (for example, your fishing backpack) while also creating more space for you within the hull. If you’re looking for hands-free fishing, the 6 mounting brackets are strategically spaced to place your rods for a little relaxation throughout the day. The Mod Pod center hatch also makes it easy to retrieve these rods should you see something that catches your eye.
Solid and stable fishing platform
Element seating system with customizable positioning
6 strategically placed mounting brackets
Click Seal bow hatch cover keeps gear and items dry
- BrandOcean Kayak
- ModelOcean Kayak
- Weight4,950 pounds
Ideal for lakes and offshore fishing
Adjustable foot track brace system
Mod Pod center hatch makes it easy to retrieve rods
Not the fastest kayak available
The final catch of the day is the Ocean Kayak Malibu Pedal Kayak which comes with an advanced bicycle-style PDL Drive system for easy, controlled movement no matter what the water’s like. It can cruise at over 5 miles per hour and uses an impressive 10.3:1 gear system that makes pedaling effortless. This system also offers comfortable, stable, and enjoyable rides for you or whoever you trust with taking the captain’s hat, and allows for hassle-free maneuverability so your fishing trip is fun, which is the whole point anyway, isn’t it?
As for your gear, it offers the same protection as the Prowler with the Click Seal hatch that’s easy to reach, while the bow hatch is pet-friendly so you can bring your furry (or scaly or slimy) friends along for the ride. The Element seat is breathable and adjustable, with backrest straps that allow you to customize to your body and enjoy a fatigue-free ride.
Advanced PDL drive system for fun, stable rides and easy turning
Click Seal hatch for simple, dry storage
Pet-friendly bow hatch and removable bungee
Comfortable Element beach seat with mesh storage pocket
- BrandOcean Kayak
- ModelOcean Kayak
- Weight100 pounds
The pedaling style is comfortable on the knees and legs
Multiple cup holders
Stern carrying handles for easy transportation
Paddle not sold with the product
Fishing Kayak Buying Guide
How We Chose Our Selection Of Fishing Kayaks
Brand – There’s a reason people look for the top brands for kayaking so we identified well-known brands we knew we could trust. These included luxury brands while also considering great mid-range kayak brands that can provide everything a novice needs to get into kayak fishing.
Reviews – Fishing canoe reviews are an excellent source of information we’d otherwise not know unless we’d had the chance to test them out ourselves. They can tell us how fast they are, whether they are stable enough to stand in, and how much storage space there. We can also discover anything wrong with the kayaks to help us make our decision.
Price – The beauty of kayaking is that anybody can do it, so we looked for a wide range of affordable kayaks while also considering that more experience kayak fishermen will be looking, too. This allowed us to pick excellent budget options and truly awesome top-of-the-range models.
Features To Look For In Fishing Kayaks
Stability – Nobody wants to fall into the water when kayaking so stability is a huge thing, especially if you enjoy standing on your kayak to get your fishing done. You can check stability by looking at the chine it uses, which ranges from soft chine in a u-shape to hard chine with a v-shape.
Sit In – A sit in kayak provides protection from the elements and is ideal for cold water kayaking, and because of its more closed-off design, it comes with self-bailing features that drain water for your benefit.
Sit On – Sit on kayaks are better for beginners are they’re easier to climb in and out of and are more breathable. These are great for hot weather and in such conditions, you won’t mind the slight amount of water that will eventually get in from waves or paddle splashing.
Comfort – If you’re sat in a kayak all day, you want to be comfortable, so consider the seat padding and adjustability when searching for your kayak. You can further enhance this comfort with available footrests, or you can just put your feet up on the side and relax, watch out for hungry fish nipping at your toes, though.
Storage – Kayaks have plenty of excellent storage options both beneath the hull and around the side walls. This gives you ample room to bring all the accessories and gear you need for your day out fishing, this gives you the chance to be as over-prepared as possible, but also ensure you have everything you need when on the water including snacks and emergency gear.
Length – Longer kayaks will be faster than shorter ones, so if you like to explore as much as possible as you fish, a long kayak is your best bet. However, if you prefer to take it easy, go for a short one and enjoy kicking back and relaxing
Width – The wider the kayak, the more stable you’ll be which ensures you’re likely to stay dry while you fish. If you like to stand, then opting for a wide kayak is the best option as you’ll have more room to balance and steady yourself should you start to rock.
Weight – Kayak weight will impact how easy it is to transport and if you prefer solo fishing, look for something light as you’ll otherwise struggle to carry it to and from the water. It will also determine how well your kayak floats along the water and impact your top speed.
Pedals – Pedals may make your fishing trip easier but they are not essential. If you want completely hands-free fishing, pedals are an excellent solution to this, as you only need to use the rudder to steer, which is much easier than paddling. You won’t get as much of an arm workout, but we’re sure you don’t mind that.
Rudders – Rudders determine how easy it is to steer your kayak but the effectiveness of the rudder will vary between brands and price ranges. You want to find a rudder that offers as close to the east 360-degree movement as possible, as this ensures you can get out of any tight situations with ease no matter where you fish.
Accessories – Accessories include motors, which go even further than standard pedals and ensure the most efficient kayaking experience you’ve ever seen and make it easier to move around when under the baking hot sun. If you’ve ever tried kayaking in the middle of the hottest summer, you know how draining in can be after just a few minutes, so a motor will be a welcome addition to your kayak.
You can also invest in a kayak cart, which makes it easier to transport your vessel to the water and prevents damage to it by saving it from rocks and rogue debris.
Types Of Fishing Kayaks
Unlike standard kayaks, fishing kayaks come in just three different types.
Sit In – These have a larger cockpit seating area and are better for cold water fishing as it offers more protection from the elements and stability is improved so you’re less likely to topple over.
Sit On – The type most preferred by anglers as they can add accessories with ease while also allowing them to get out and wade through the water.
Motorized and Pedal – Great for saving energy and eliminates having to paddle the whole time, but may the extra features mean more maintenance. You can adapt some standard kayaks by installing motors if they have the proper components.
Benefits of Kayak Fishing
Kayak fishing is an under-appreciated sport many people may not even consider trying. Much like regular kayaking, it gives you the chance to get out and experience fresh air, while also serving as an exercise through either paddling or pedaling, whichever option works for you. But there’s more to it than this, and the benefits of kayak fishing may not be what you’d expect.
It’s Affordable – Well, it’s more affordable than fishing in a motorboat or something similar both as an initial purchase and over time. You need not to pay to store it anywhere, and the maintenance costs aren’t anywhere near what you might pay for upkeep on a boat.
Anyone Can Do It – This affordability also means that anyone can do it no matter how old or young you are. Unlike boating, there’s no elitism, there’s no need to sign up to exclusive clubs, and there are no fitness requirements to get out on the water and enjoy yourself.
It’s Something Different – No one appreciates kayak fishing until they try it, and it’s something entirely different from anything you’ve ever done before. You get to go wherever you please and can explore everything from mangrove to lakes or reefs to open ocean, which gives you a variety of different fish species to find.
You Can Do It Anywhere – Kayaks are so lightweight you can attach them to your car and drive to any water source you want, and if you arrive somewhere, that’s not as accessible as you’d hoped, you can strap your kayak to the roof and head off to explore someplace else. The traveling and freedom mean you can go wherever you want and discover things other people would never find.
It Shows You Something Different – Kayaks are much closer to the surface of the water, which gives you the chance to see things you wouldn’t be able to if you were in a boat, or not on water at all. You get low angles and can notice fish near the surface better, and you may even get a once-in-a-lifetime treat. You’re also drifting rather than speeding along, which is nice and relaxing. So much so that you won’t even mind if you don’t get a bite.
Fishing Kayak FAQ
Q: Are sit-in kayaks better than sit-on-top?
A: We don’t like to say anything is better than the other, and a lot of time it depends on your preference or needs. Sit in kayaks protect you from the wind and keep your body dry and are better if you’re kayaking in cold waters.
Sit on kayaks are more user-friendly as they make it simpler to climb in and out. They also drain by themselves through a process known as self-bailing. However, you aren’t as protected and will get wet, so if that doesn’t sound fun, well you probably shouldn’t be kayaking in the first place.
Sit in kayaks may be better for beginners, but they aren’t suitable for all situations.
Q: How much storage do I need?
A: You need enough storage to carry everything you need. Fishing kayaks provide more than enough room for gear, accessories, refreshments, and tackle, so this shouldn’t be a problem. There are mesh pockets found around the sides of your kayak, and you’ll also have bow and center hatches for further storage options.
Better kayaks also offer removable parts such as pedals or seats, which provides even more space for storage. If you’re fishing with a buddy in the same kayak, you will need more space than if you were going it alone.
Q: What do I need to take with me when kayak fishing?
A: When you go kayak fishing, take with you everything you think you will need. This includes food, refreshments, gear, tackles, and any backup equipment you think will be necessary.
Having and not needing is always better than needing and not having, so it’s up to you to decide which accessories you deem essential. As we said, you shouldn’t have to worry about not having enough storage space, and anything you don’t use can you can at least save until next time just in case you need it then.
The more you go kayaking, the better acquainted you’ll become with what the essentials are, and eventually, you’ll know what you always need to take with you for easy experience, while also including anything you think will be useful, even if they aren’t always necessary.
For a more complete experience, you can buy fishing shirts and similar gear, which is good to have as they’ll give you extra storage options for gear and accessories.
Q: How do I take care of my fishing kayak?
A: You don’t want to damage your kayak ever, but particularly when you first buy it as we all know they aren’t cheap. If you want your kayak to last as long as possible, follow these steps for all year-round care to ensure longevity and fun, carefree fishing once the season rolls around.
Out of Season
- Check for hull damage
- Inspect the rigging
- Replace the old part or accessories
- Restock emergency gear
- Invest in a kayak cart
- Clean it often
- Keep it out of the sun
- Cover the seating area
Q: How safe are fishing kayaks?
A: Fishing kayaks are as safe as you make them. This means as long as you remain sensible and recognize your limits with water condition and knowing when to give up on a catch, you should be okay. However, it’s easy to get too enthusiastic when fishing and the allure of fame and fortune following a big catch may be too much to resist.
If this happens, you could end up in the water, which you might not mind, but the surrounding fish may do. You might also find it difficult to get back in, which will be a problem if you’re fishing by yourself. If you’re worried about this, invest in a bright-colored kayak (yellow, orange, or red) to make it easy for passing boats and rescue vehicles to spot you.
Fishing kayaks are designed to be as safe as possible, but you can’t always guarantee things will go swimmingly. What you can do is be prepared for the worst. Hopefully, you’ll end up over-prepared, but we can all agree that’s better than being under-prepared.