Fishing is an excellent pastime activity that allows you to escape the stress and problems on land. No one stops you from packing your fishing equipment and essentials and going to your favorite fishing spot from time to time. To make your fishing plans possible, you need to use the best fishing kayak that you can find.
Several kayaks brands are claiming to be the best, but nobody can tell you which one is the best except you. If you know what features to look for, you will get the kayak that is best for your use, even if some people consider it not.
Because of this, this article will inform or remind you what the factors to consider when buying a fishing kayak are. You will also learn some of the fishing kayaks that most anglers and paddlers love to offer you some suggestions.
Top 10 Best Fishing Kayaks Reviewed
- Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100
- Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak
- Brooklyn Kayak Company TK122
- Hobie Mirage Passport Fishing Kayak
- Perception Pescador Pilot 12.0
- Vanhunks Manatee
- BIC Yakkair HP2 Fishing
- Bonafide SS107
- Brooklyn Kayak Company RA220
- Vibe Skipjack 120T
- Length (feet and inches): 10’ 0”
- Width (inches): 31
- Weight (pounds): 51
- Maximum capacity (pounds): 275
If you are a solo angler, you might want to consider the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100. It comes with adjustable footrests that make you feel comfortable and accommodate you no matter your size.
This kayak has a flat bottom and chine rails, which is one reason for its excellent stability. For this reason, you can be in any position you want.
This kayak has a high-density polyethylene construction making it durable against abrasions and resistant to UV-rays. Despite its durable nature, you can carry it without breaking a sweat because it only weighs 51 pounds.
It comes with a padded seat and back support that you may adjust according to your liking. It also comes with rod holders to keep your fishing rods secured while paddling without any distractions.
This model has handles and storage compartments at the front and back of the boat for easy transport and provides you room to store your gear. This kayak also comes with straps to secure your equipment.
|Comes with storage||Fragile hull and seat|
- Length (feet and inches): 15’0
- Width (inches): 32
- Weight (pounds): 52
- Maximum capacity (pounds): 550
Suppose you are unsure whether to buy a solo kayak or a tandem kayak for your undecided friend. In that case, the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak will solve this problem for you. As the term states, this Advanced Elements model is a convertible kayak. You can ride it solo, or you can convert it to a tandem kayak.
This kayak has an open deck for tandem angling. It allows getting in and out of it without any problems.
It only means that this inflatable kayak is also versatile. Also, this kayak is comfortable because of its adjustable seats.
Despite being a convertible, the AdvancedFrame has a durable three-layered construction that is resistant against abrasion and puncture. For this reason, it serves its purpose well as a fishing and day touring kayak.
If your friend changes his or her mind about going with you, you can still go solo. This kayak will not stop you from having an independent fishing day. Close the open deck in minutes, and you now have a solo kayak.
Aside from these fantastic features, it also offers several perks. It includes the bungee deck lacing, rear hatch, and arched deck riser for a closed deck. The open deck features an additional mesh pocket for more storage.
|Convertible feature||Not the best option for rough water condition|
|Easy to set up||Limited storage space|
- Length (feet and inches): 12’8”
- Width (inches): 34
- Weight (pounds): 74
- Maximum capacity (pounds): 770
The Brooklyn Kayak Company TK122 is what you should have if you are looking for an almost perfect fishing kayak on your next trip to the lake. It offers comfort and performance. Its wide and flat bottom provides stability in various water conditions.
It has a comfortable mesh, aluminum-framed seat with back support both to your upper and lower back.
It can carry as much as 770 pounds to accommodate you, your friends, and your gears. It is enough to take as many as three people. It comes with handles that allow you and your friend to carry it easily.
The TK122 comes with watertight dry storage with bungee cords, extra seats, four handles, paddles, scupper plugs, rod holders, hatches, drain plugs, etc.
You can select one of the several colors available: army green, blue camo, and yellow-orange.
|Large maximum capacity||Not for the standing position|
|Spacious||Requires two people to carry|
- Length (feet and inches): 10’5”
- Width (inches): 34
- Weight (pounds): 75
- Maximum capacity (pounds): 325
Hobie is a well-known brand when it comes to pedal kayaks. That is why by hearing this brand, you can already tell that the Mirage Passport model is a pedal kayak too. Hobie claims that this kayak model is a combination of value and performance, and it allows you a hands-free way to propel your boat.
What makes this kayak interesting is its ST fins that allow you to propel the boat in any direction. It will enable you to paddle even the remote waters and beaches, making the Mirage Passport model versatile for exploration and fishing.
What this kayak provides are speed and enhanced surface area.
Another feature that is likable about this model is its stackable hull. If you own several of it or if your family members own some, you can stack them on top of each other to save space.
This model also features its 8-inch Twist-n-Seal hatch that can keep your accessories dry. It also comes with a Twist and Stow rudder that makes it easy for the paddlers to steer it in any direction they want.
This model comes with molded-in rod holders, accessory tube, and mounting tracks for extra storage. It also has a comfortable mesh, aluminum-framed seat.
|Comes with mounts for extra storage for equipment and gear||Non-adjustable seats|
|Versatile for any water condition|
|User-friendly steering system|
- Length (feet and inches): 12’5”
- Width (inches): 33.75
- Weight (pounds): 85
- Maximum capacity (pounds): 475
Perception Pescador Pilot 12.0 is a must-have if you are looking for a spacious and comfortable sit-on pedal fishing kayak. By hearing its name, you can already tell that it is a fishing kayak.
This model features a propeller system that allows you to propel your kayak both forward and reverse in any water condition. Whether you want to paddle the lakes, rivers, saltwater, or ocean, this boat will not stop you from getting there.
This kayak has ample storage and mounts that are spacious and customizable. It also has a spacious captain chair that provides excellent ventilation to make you feel refreshed all the time. Aside from that, the seat comes with adjustable back support, and the cockpit is broad, making you feel comfortable.
What makes the Pescador Pilot more impressive is that you can even stand on this boat because it is highly stable.
This model comes with a padding kit, rod holder, rod leash, and two paddles.
|Packed with tons of features at a humble price range||Heavy for transport|
#6. Vanhunks Manatee
- Length (feet and inches): 9
- Width (inches): 32
- Weight (pounds): 51
- Maximum capacity (pounds): 330
If you are looking for a user-friendly and comfortable fishing kayak, the Vanhunks Manatee is worth considering. Although its name comes from a sea cow, it does not weigh like one. However, like the manatee, it performs smoothly in different water bodies that include rivers, ocean, and lakes.
The Manatee focuses on providing stability and responsive control. Its 32-inch width can attest to it.
Aside from its width, it has enough capacity to get you through your day trip and fishing
Almost everybody loves the Vanhunks Manatee, and everyone can use it from beginners to pro paddlers. Everyone will surely get some fun riding it because its primary purpose is to serve as a perfect recreational boat for your fishing pastime.
The Manatee comes with storage compartments that are round and square. It also comes with a drain plug and a container to place your fishfinder. Fishfinder is not a part of a package, but it comes with rod holders, scupper plugs, bungee, cup holder, and other amenities.
|Comfortable seat||Not the best for rough waters|
- Length (feet and inches): 13’5”
- Width (inches): 37.8
- Weight (pounds): 33
- Maximum capacity (pounds): 550
If you are looking for an inflatable kind of fishing kayak that provides more portability, you should consider the BIC Yakkair HP2 Fishing. It is a sit-on kayak that comes with a wheeled backpack that makes carrying it easy, whether you travel by car or on foot.
Aside from this impressive feature, it also takes minutes to set-up, although it has a high-pressure keel and floor, and PVC for its V-shaped hull’s durability. You can count on it that not even your fishing hooks can puncture it. Despite its heavy-duty nature, this inflatable kayak is impressively light.
What makes this inflatable fishing kayak more impressive is that you can go for a solo or tandem ride. All that you need to do is install or remove the detachable seat. Because of this, it allows you to have more room for your fishing gear and equipment when you go for solo angling.
This model is easy to inflate. All you need is a pressure pump. When you deflate it, you can fold it into a small size that can fit into a wheeled backpack that you can carry without any help.
|Excellent tracking and stability||Not versatile enough|
#8. Bonafide SS107
- Length (feet and inches): 10’7”
- Width (inches): 34.5
- Weight (pounds): 84 if seat included
- Maximum capacity (pounds): 425
At first glance, you might probably think that the Bonafide SS107 is an entry-level kayak that you should ignore because of its small size. However, it proves that it is more than what you can see because it has the ideal features that anglers like you will love.
Because of its small size, you can trust that this boat is incredibly stable and excellent in paddling. It has features that the anglers need for long hours of fishing and adventure.
This model comes with the HiRise seating, an elevated seat that allows you to sit on your bent legs, putting pressure away from your lower back. It also comes with a SeatRack frame that will enable you to sit in a lower position.
Although it is small, you can get into the position that you are comfortable with to make sure you can get an excellent catch. This model comes with the YakAttack GearTrac that provides you extra room to place your gear.
- Length (feet and inches): 11’6”
- Width (inches): 34
- Weight (pounds): 68
- Maximum capacity (pounds): 550
If you are looking for a fishing kayak that provides ample storage space, you should consider the Brooklyn Kayak Company RA220. It is a sit-on kayak that is suitable for your multi-day adventure ride and fishing.
With its 34-inch weight, you can trust that this kayak is stable enough to support you in a standing position. You do not have to worry about falling because of this feature.It comes with a hull and bungee where you can safely place your paddle when you want to fish without any distractions. It also has rod holders where you can keep your fishing poles while you are paddling.
What makes it more impressive is it supports the hands-free operation. You can use the foot pedal to steer the kayak in any water conditions.
This model is available in a wide range of color selections. Army green, gray camo, and sky blue are some of them.
It comes with a paddle, four handles, hatches, rod holders, drain plug, bungee tie-down, etc.
|Have mounts for extra storage||Not as durable as the other models|
#10. Vibe Skipjack 120T
- Length (feet and inches): 12’2”
- Width (inches): 35
- Weight (pounds): 72
- Maximum capacity (pounds): 500
The Vibe Skipjack 120 is only one of the three models of the Skipjack series. They vary in dimensions and prices, but they are the same in features, construction, and color availability. According to the brand, this series has been around for years. It applied some updates to improve its overall appearance and performance.
Now, the Skipjack series focuses on providing ruggedness, portability, and comfort, which show on the different features of the boats. The Skipjack has a seat with back support made from comfortable materials.
It also comes with handles, a tank, and V-wave hatches.
According to Vibe, the kayak becomes more durable and offers more space because of its molded-in features. It comes with rod holders and round hatches. It also comes with molded-in handles for better portability.
Vibe is proud to present that its new version of Skipjack is already available in different colors: Caribbean blue, wildfire, and moss camo. The 90 model is also available in jamberry.
|Comes with mounts||Non-adjustable seat buckles|
|Plenty of storage|
Top Pick – Our Favorite Fishing Kayak
There are several affordable and quality fishing kayaks on the market, but only you can judge which is the best. Although this article listed some of the recommended kayaks that you might like, in the end, you will be the one who is going to use it. However, this article will provide you the best suggestions on kayaks that most customers like.
As a top pick, this article goes for the Brooklyn Kayak Company TK122. Although it is not perfect because it requires two people to carry it and standing on it can be unstable, it is almost ideal for other features.
It has a whopping 770 pounds capacity that is more than enough to carry your gears if you go for solo fishing. If you want to fish with one or two of your friends, you can do so.
What makes this kayak more impressive is the comfort that it gives. The seats have back support that allows you to have a comfortable day trip. Unlike most kayaks, this model is available in several choices of colors.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Fishing Kayak
At first glance, you will probably think that kayaks are all the same. However, they come in different varieties. These differences aim to meet the diverse needs of paddlers and water conditions.
Types of Kayaks
If you are an angler, you should know the best type that is more appropriate for your use. It should make your fishing effortless.
Inflatable kayaks are a unique type because of their features. It is an ideal option for kayakers who are always complaining about how heavy their kayaks are or how bulky they are in their garage. Inflatable kayaks allow you to inflate or deflate them in minutes. When deflated, you can fold it like a blanket, store it in a carry bag, and you are ready to go.
Although inflatable kayaks seem fragile, they are not. Many paddlers advise that these are the better options when riding the whitewater because they do not shatter when they hit a rock. Instead, they only bounce from it because the inflatable kayak’s construction is resistant to puncture and abrasion.
Also, they are cheaper compared to the hard-shelled ones.
If you ask if you can use an inflatable kayak for fishing, you can. There are inflatable kayaks out in the market that have a design suitable for fishing.
You only need to know that you should prioritize the quality instead of the price when buying one. One of the determiners for the cost of an inflatable kayak is the durability of the material. You also have to do further research to learn which inflatable kayak is best for fishing.
Inflatable kayaks come in different varieties too, and not all are best for fishing.
Sit-in is short for sit-inside kayaks. What makes this type different from the sit-on is that it requires the paddler to sit in an enclosed area of the kayak, called the cockpit. This type is the typical one that you can find on traditional kayaks.
Because you sit inside an enclosed area, water splashes are the least of your problems. It also protects you from the wind, and spray skirt is wearable for this kayak type. The only problem is that, in case water gets into the cockpit or if you accidentally flip it upside down, you will have to bail the water out of the cockpit manually.
Although no one stops you from fishing from a sit-in kayak, it is not advisable because of the limited range of motion.
The sit-on is short for sit-on-top kayaks.
This type offers effortless paddling, stability, and usability. Getting in and out of it is as easy as a breeze. That is why this type of kayak is an ideal option for beginners because it also allows them to explore various water bodies, such as rivers, canals, lakes, and saltwater.
What distinguishes a sit-on kayak from the other types is the sealed broad hull and the molded seat that needs the paddler to sit on top of it.
Because of its broad structure and hull, it offers stability.
The only downsides of a sit-on kayak are that it is slow. You should also expect that no boat parts can protect you from water splashes as you paddle.
The sit-on type can be useful for anglers because they do not aim for speed or fishing. They also do not have to worry much about splashes. After all, they often have to stay at one location to another because their only goal is to catch a fair amount of fish.
Although most fishing kayaks are also sit-on kayaks, it is best to add it as a separate list among the kayak types because not all sit-ons have the features ideal for fishing. Also, some sit-ins come with fishing features.
What makes the fishing kayaks distinguishable is the amenities that the kayak offers. These kayaks have built-in coolers, rod holders, and tackle boxes. Some may also include a fish finder or GPS.
Not all types of kayaks are perfect because each has its pros and cons. As for the fishing kayak, you should know what to expect before making a purchase.
If you are a canoer and love being one, you will love what a fishing kayak can offer you. These kayaks are lightweight, stable, and maneuverable.
If your ears are sensitive to noise, it is also not an issue with fishing kayaks, unless want it motorized. Fishing kayaks are also cheap and do not require serious maintenance.
It can also help get you into narrow parts of the water.
The advantages mentioned above can also become its disadvantages if you are suffering from seasickness. Because fishing kayaks are lightweight, you should expect a bumpy ride because they are sensitive to the wind and waves.
Also, if you fish with more than one person, maneuvering can already be an issue.
Splashes can also be a problem when you are in wavy waters.
Because of this, fishing kayaks are only advisable for solo anglers who do not mind getting splashes when the water becomes wavy.
Your budget takes the majority of the percentage of your purchasing power. It is the one that sets limits on the features that you like your kayak to have. Your goal is to maximize the necessary features that you can get from a kayak without sacrificing the quality.
A high-quality kayak that can provide its service for long years deserves your investment. It is better and cheaper than buying cheap products from time to time.
When it comes to the kayak’s comfortable features, you need to consider the footrests, thigh braces, and seats. Most kayaks aiming to provide maximum comfort made these features customizable to adjust them based on your liking.
Some kayaks come with removable seats to give you an option to replace them for more comfortable ones.
You may also buy a cushion for added comfort if your kayak comes with plastic seats.
Many kayaks have seats that allow you to elevate them high from the hull, so you will not be sitting in the water.
Kayaks come in different sizes for a reason. That is why you should consider the size too when buying a fishing kayak.
When it comes to length, what you need to know is that the narrower and lengthy the kayaks are, the faster they are. It is because these kayaks are more effective in cutting through waters.
They are also the ones that are excellent in tracking. That is why you can expect that you will not end up spinning in circles, especially on the flatwater. Multi-purpose kayaks are not the best when it comes to tracking, but they compensate by having a rudder, keel, or skeg to enable them to move in a straight direction.
If you are looking for a stable kayak, look for the wider one. If you are a beginner, it is advisable to buy a kayak with a broader width.
When it comes to weight, you should consider how much you are willing to carry and your transport mode. If you are traveling on foot, it is better to buy an inflatable fishing kayak. If you have a trailer and a vehicle, you can buy a large one. However, you also have to consider the number of people who will be carrying and lifting it.
Because there are tons of fishing kayaks available on the market, you cannot expect that most of them have the same construction. Various brands compete by improving their products, and you can expect that they include the material they also use to create fishing kayaks.
Fiberglas is not the best option, but it has its upsides too. This material is lightweight and enables kayaks to glide better in waters.
However, it is also fragile and more expensive. Kayaks for cruising has this construction.
Kevlar is not a durable option, but it weighs less than fiberglass, and it is more resistant against punctures and abrasions. Its other downside is that it is expensive.
As the term states, this material consists of three layers. It has a durable and shiny outside appearance that is handy for gliding the water. Because these are three layers, it means that it is durable and buoyant because of its thick construction.
Aside from these perks, it also provides excellent insulation helping keep the paddler feel warm in a sit-in kayak.
Single Layer Linear Polyethylene
Among the others, the Single Layer Linear Polyethylene is the best. It offers not only durability but also resistance to abrasion and weather. Most kayaks have this construction.
The weight capacity is a crucial consideration for any boats if you do not find sinking enjoyable. Take note of the boat’s weight capacity and make sure to follow through it.
You have to consider your weight and the weight of the passengers, even your pets.
The weight of your fishing gear and other equipment you place aboard your kayak also adds to it.
If you plan to take your pet, accessories, or your house aboard the kayak, you probably think that you only have to buy the one with a higher weight capacity. Before purchasing the kayak with the largest capacity on the store, you should know that the higher it is, the heavier the boat is. Because it is heavy, it will be more challenging to maneuver.
If you buy a hands-free pedal-operated fishing kayak, you should opt for the type that gives you the best speed and maneuverability. It may either be rotational or push-pedal.
As the term describes, a push pedal operates when your feet push each pedal. The kayaks with this type have underwater flaps; that is why kayas can move forward. These are not fast but stable.
If you have gone cycling, it is what you will be doing for rotational types. This time you also include using your legs to move the kayak. As a result, this type of operation offers better speed, and it will be less tiring for you because it includes using your legs.
When selecting a fishing kayak, rudders may not play a significant role unless during the time that you are traveling to your designated fishing spot. You use your feet to operate the rudders that enable you to control the kayak’s direction.
Number of Passengers
The number of passengers can be an essential consideration too. It will be a waste of money to buy a two or three-seater kayak if you are angling solo.
That is why if you are at the store, avoid being overly excited about the different fishing kayaks that you see. You should consider the probability of kayaking with somebody in the future and your pet too.
Some kayaks can accommodate up to three people aboard.
The amenities make the fishing kayaks stand out among the other kayak types. That is why you need to know the kind of amenities you can expect or look for when buying a fishing kayak.
Because riding in a fishing kayak is enjoyable, it may lead you to unfamiliar waters where you are not sure at all if any living creatures exist. It is where the fish finder can help you.
As mentioned, most fishing kayaks are sit-on types. It means that you will encounter a lot of water splashes as you paddle. Although you might enjoy taking free showers from the lake, it does not mean that your phones are too. It is where the dry storage may come in handy.
Gear holders can be a handy feature if you have a lot of equipment to take with you. Although having this perk on your boat and your equipment will still add to the ship’s overall capacity, you can at least have them organized for easier access.
It may seem minimal, but it is a crucial fishing boat amenity that you should consider. Because your main intention for buying a boat is to fish, it means that you will be stopping at some point and stop paddling. It means that the paddles should be in a secured place where they will not distract you while you move around the boat in any position you want to fish.
Without paddle holders, there is a risk that you might stumble on them, and they will fall off the boat. Getting your clothes wet and swimming with the fishes to retrieve the paddles is the least of what you want to do.
The paddle holders look like a bungee cord on the side of the boat.
When it comes to rod holders, you need to know that you do not need much of them. Two or three is already enough to meet your needs.
Transom Trolling Motors
Not all fishing kayaks have a transom that can accommodate a trolling motor, especially the old models. You may still work around the kayak if it lacks this feature, but you should learn first if the manufacturer recommends it.
For your convenience, if you plan to propel your kayak using a trolling motor, you should find a model with a transom that can accommodate an engine.
Some kayaks come with anchor trolleys, while some do not. If you already have a successful experience installing your anchor trolleys on the kayak, you can buy a fishing kayak that comes without it.
However, if you are a newbie, do not attempt to install it yourself because you do not risk damaging your boat. It is better to buy a kayak that has this feature already.
The GPS can be a handy perk if you are the type who loves exploring the waters wherever your kayak may take you. If you happen to see yourself in unfamiliar areas, this device can help you find your way home.
In this review, you have learned some of the best fishing kayaks on the market. Although it suggested some of the best kayaks on the market, it does not mean that it will be best for you. That is why it also tackles the factors for consideration when buying one, so you know what to look for when purchasing for the best fishing kayak for your use.
Hopefully, this article has helped you find the fishing kayak to use on your next trip.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: How to Transport My Fishing Kayak on the Roof of My Vehicle?
A: You can transport your kayak from your car’s roof by using a car roof rack. What you need to do is tie it securely to it on the two sides. You may push your kayak behind the roof rack or its side, depending on the vehicle model.
Q: Is It Possible to Stand on a Fishing Kayak
A: It depends on the model. Kayaks should have a strong floor and be highly stable so that you can stand on it. It is best to ask the experts who have already used the model. If you are small, you can probably get away with some models, but if not, you have to choose the model that can allow you to stand.
Q: What Is the Best Paddle for My Fishing Kayak?
A: First of all, you should know that paddles are worthy of your investment. Choose the paddle’s best length based on the size of your kayak and your torso’s size. If you want to know the recommended standard length, it should be around 94 inches long. Most anglers already feel comfortable using paddles this long. If you want to make sure that you will not be wasting money on paddles that are not suitable for your use, it is best to buy telescopic paddles that allow you to adjust their length from 94 to 100 inches.
Q: Is It Possible to Fall From a Fishing Kayak?
A: Like any other boats, it is possible to fall from a fishing kayak when you make some wrong moves. For example, you tip-off if you stand on a kayak that is not stable enough to support you. The good thing is that most modern fishing kayaks are sturdy to support unbalanced weight most of the time. However, mistakes are unavoidable sometimes. That is why it is best to train yourself to re-entry to get ready when it happens.