Top 8 Best Stand Up Fishing Kayaks | 2020 Reviews (Lifetime)

Passionate anglers understand the advantages of standing up while fishing. Although fishing in a sitting position is much comfortable, fishing in a standing position gives you a full range of motion, where you can cast your line wider and farther. Since standing plays an essential role in fishing, every angler needs a stable fishing kayak to prevent them from tripping or falling over.

While many people thought of kayaking as a seated watersport, kayak manufacturers created kayaks designed for stand-up fishing. Ideally, the best stand-up fishing kayaks guarantee optimal stability and safety. Although you may lack kayaking skills, the right stand up kayak will not let you topple over as you cast a line or reel in a catch.

This kayak buying guide will give you the best stand up fishing kayaks online. You can also check out the basics of stand up fishing kayaks, including a product review, top brands for fishing kayaks, kayak buying guide, and an FAQ section. Continue reading below to know how to maximize your next fishing session.

Top 8 Best Stand Up Fishing Kayaks Reviewed

  1. Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak by Lifetime – Best Overall
  2. Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-On-Top Kayak by Sun Dolphin – Best Value
  3. Sport Fisher 10-Foot Tandem Fishing Kayak by Lifetime – Editor’s Choice
  4. Lotus Sit-On-Top Kayak With Paddle by Lifetime 
  5. UH-TK181 Sit-On-Top Tandem Fishing Kayak by BKC
  6. Bali SS 12-Foot Sit-On-Top Kayak by Sun Dolphin 
  7. Yellowfin 100 10-Foot Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak by Vibe Kayaks 
  8. Mirage Outback Kayak by Hobie 

#1. Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak by Lifetime – Best Overall

Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak by Lifetime

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Specifications

  • Weight capacity: 275 lbs.
  • Multiple footrest positions for different sizes
  • Two-flush mounted fishing rod holders
  • Two 6″ storage compartments in the center and rear
  • Stable flat bottom, deep hull tracking channels
  • Adjustable padded seat for comfort

The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 is one of the top-rated stand up kayaks for fishing as it comes with a self-bailing cockpit and rod holders. Lifetime is known for manufacturing a variety of vessels made for outdoor fun and fishing. Their well-known kayak model, the Lotus, is one of their value-priced kayaks that offer competitive features.

Lifetime uses a UV-protected polyethylene for its construction. The high-density material ensures the kayak can withstand strong waves on rivers or lakes while protecting it from the damaging UV rays. It’s also puncture resistant against obstacles like protruding rocks in the water. 

The Tamarack Angler offers a superior comfort level that allows you to fish all day without getting tired. The molded footrest positions help fit various sizes of paddlers. It also features padded seats with an adjustable padded backrest, so you can let your back relax while enjoying a whole day of paddling. 

This stand-up fishing kayak is very stable when moving on water due to its deep hull tracking channels. The hull design comes with chine rails and a wide beam. This additional feature ensures the kayak’s stability amid rough conditions. You don’t have to worry about getting tossed over while standing or fishing on the deck.

As a ten-foot boat, the Tamarack Angler has a limited capacity of 275 lbs. It has molded footwells that will make moving and standing a little challenging. However, the Tamarack is still a well-designed kayak with handy fishing features.

ProsCons
Comes with one adjustable rod holder and two flush rod holdersBuilt-in foot braces limit moving space
Padded seat with adjustable backrestUnreachable rear storage

#2. Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-On-Top Kayak by Sun Dolphin – Best Value

Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-On-Top Kayak by Sun Dolphin

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Specifications

  • Weight capacity: 250 lbs.
  • Portable Accessory Carrier for extra storage
  • Dry storage compartment and shock cord deck rigging
  • Open cockpit for easy entry
  • Comfortable seating area with protective thigh pads
  • Adjustable foot braces and paddle holder

The Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10 is the best sit-on-top fishing kayak for budget-minded paddlers. It is a lightweight kayak perfect for beginners that is easy to control and polish your paddling skills. Its manufacturer, Sun Dolphin, makes an entire line of paddleboards, plastic kayaks, fishing boats, pedal boats, and canoes.

The Bali SS 10 boasts of its high comfort level to passionate paddlers. The adjustable foot braces allow you to customize it based on your posture and height to get a more stable feel while standing on the kayak. It also includes padded thigh braces for additional safety and comfort for your thighs, while the padded backrest with straps allow you to paddle without getting tired.

Sun Dolphin uses a rugged Forti flex polyethylene that is high-density and UV-stabilized. This material helps strengthen the kayak by adding durability and protection against debris and saltwater. With its 10-foot hull length, you can easily maneuver the boat and control water with its short, wide vessels.

The Bali SS 10 has a prime storage feature called the Portable Accessory Carrier located in the rear cargo area. It includes a built-in sealed hatch and carrying handle, where you can store small items like the compass and keys.

ProsCons
Side-mounted foot braces for a spacious room when standing upNo fishing-specific features or rod holders
Uses durable material as protection from debrisNot self-draining

#3. Sport Fisher 10-Foot Tandem Fishing Kayak by Lifetime – Editor’s Choice

Sport Fisher 10-Foot Tandem Fishing Kayak by Lifetime

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Specifications

  • Weight capacity: 500 lbs.
  • Made of high-density, UV-protected polyethylene for strength and durability
  • Hull design for great stability and tracking
  • HDPE construction against cracking, fading, and peeling
  • Multiple footrest positions for different sizes
  • Two double-sided paddles, paddle clips, padded backrests, fishing pole holders

This ten-foot tandem kayak from Lifetime is a uniquely designed cockpit, where you can install seats for two or three people. This kayak works for you if you prefer paddling with your friends. With a weight capacity of 500 pounds, this kayak can hold two adults and one small passenger, leaving you plenty of storage capacity while standing up.

Lifetime is an expert when it comes to manufacturing outdoor plastic products. They mainly produce kayaks made from high-density polyethylene plastic, playground equipment, and outdoor sheds.

The Sports Fisher comes with a stable and easy-to-track tunnel hull that lets you fish while standing up or sitting down. It has an ergonomic high-and-dry seat with comfortable backrests and a molded-in side-saddle center seat great for casting. It also has multiple footrest positions so it can accommodate paddlers of different sizes.

Lifetime uses a durable and lightweight high-density polyethylene with UV-protection to prevent the kayak from cracking, fading, or peeling under the bright sun. The hull and chassis are sturdy enough to reduce punctures as you paddle over obstacles like protruding rocks. Plus, the kayak is stable enough to help you stand without tripping or falling into the water.

ProsCons
Flexible design for positioning seats and loadThe short and wide design makes it difficult to control during strong waves
Footwells that are comfortable to stand-inDifficult to rig coolers and extra gear

#4. Lotus Sit-On-Top Kayak With Paddle by Lifetime 

Lotus Sit-On-Top Kayak With Paddle by Lifetime

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Specifications

  • Weight capacity: 250 lbs.
  • Made of polyethylene
  • Adjustable quick-release seat back for comfort
  • Tank well storage and bungee cord lacing to secure loose items
  • Multiple footrest positions for different sizes
  • Center carry handle for easy transport

The Lotus Sit-On-Top Kayak from Lifetime is a stand-up fishing kayak ideal for calm creeks and lakes, where you don’t need to bring several fishing gears. It is the perfect fishing kayak for those who don’t want to carry around a heavy and large kayak.

The Lotus is a short and lightweight kayak that is easily transportable. It also made from polyethylene, making it durable and sturdy. Lifetime ensures that you experience superior comfort as it comes with an adjustable quick-release backrest. You can also store your fishing items in the tank well storage with bungee cord lacing to secure your items safely.

This stand-up kayak has multiple footrest positions to accommodate various sizes of paddlers. It also has a center carry handle for easy travel to the waterfront. 

ProsCons
Lighter and shorter, making it easy to transportLimit standing options
Self-drainingNo fishing features

#5. UH-TK181 Sit-On-Top Tandem Fishing Kayak by BKC

UH-TK181 Sit-On-Top Tandem Fishing Kayak by BKC

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Specifications

  • Weight capacity: 440 lbs.
  • Fully-loaded paddle accessories
  • Roto-molded high-density polyethylene for stability
  • Built-in fishing road holders
  • Dual watertight storage hatches
  • Rear cargo space with bungee cord

The UH-TK181 from BKC is a tandem fishing kayak with plenty of storage space. BKC included some great features, including an all-around stable platform, allowing you to enjoy kayak fishing. BKC stands for Brooklyn Kayak Company that manufactures paddleboards and kayaks in their New York City facility. Their goal is to create easy-to-use vessels perfect for fishing or paddling around.

The UH-TK181 has plenty of extra space that can fit three persons. It also has fully loaded accessories including, one bungee cargo tie-down, two paddle parks, six built-in rod holders, two waterproof hatches, two adjustable aluminum paddles, and two soft padded seats. You have all the accessories you need for your next fishing session.

BKC ensures that the UH-TK181 is crafted for superior stability. They used a Roto-Molded high-density polyethylene material, making it the best fishing kayak for ocean, river, or lake. It will keep you balanced amid swift currents, choppy waters, or any sort of conditions.

ProsCons
Comes with two paddles and two seatsMay not paddle well when used solo
Lightweight and easy to carryMolded seats limit load balancing.

#6. Bali SS 12-Foot Sit-On-Top Kayak by Sun Dolphin 

Bali SS 12-Foot Sit-On-Top Kayak by Sun Dolphin

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Specifications

  • Weight capacity: 395 lbs.
  • Tracks and paddles with ease
  • Portable Accessory Carrier for extra storage
  • Storage compartment with shock cord deck rigging
  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Large seating area with thigh pads, adjustable foot braces, and paddle holder

The Sun Dolphin Bali 12 SS is one of the most stable kayaks for fishing. Although the Bali SS is a little pricey than other competitors, you get the best value for a kayak with extra feet of waterline length for greater stability and carrying capacity.

The Bali 12 SS tracks and paddles with ease while giving you superior stability in any water condition. Despite its extra dimensions, this stand-up fishing kayak is lightweight and easy to carry. It also comes with a Portable Accessory Carrier as extra storage for your fishing kits. The storage compartment includes a shock cord deck rigging to keep your items in place.

Another standout feature of the Bali 12 SS is the large and comfortable seating area, protective thigh pads, adjustable foot braces, and paddle holder.

ProsCons
Open cockpit deck for comfortable standingRear storage and cockpit areas are not self-draining

#7. Yellowfin 100 10-Foot Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak by Vibe Kayaks 

Yellowfin 100 10-Foot Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak by Vibe Kayaks

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Specifications

  • Weight capacity: 375 lbs.
  • Perfect throw-and-go kayak
  • Offers best of stability and maneuverability
  • Easy to move by hand and transport with optimum control
  • Four flush mount fishing rod holders
  • Comfortable Vibe Hero Framed seat and paddle

The Yellowfin 100 from Vibe Kayaks is a one-person sit-on-top kayak that provides superior stability and maneuverability. It is a fishing kayak that is easy to move and transport and comes with several accessories, including rod holders, a comfortable mesh set, extra storage, and two storage hatches.

Vibe Kayaks is one of the top-rated fishing kayaks in the USA. Besides kayaks, they create coolers and roto-molded kayaks, ideal for outdoor activities. That is why you can’t count on Yellowfin 100 to give you a value-priced kayak.

The Yellowfin 100 ensures optimum control for adventurers because of its perfect size and weight, making it stable and easy to carry. It comes with a mount for accessories, including a four-flush mount fishing rod and holders. Plus, it offers great comfort with the Hero Framed Seat and paddle.

ProsCons
Flat deck and side-mount footrest for standing upDifficult to control in swift currents

#8. Mirage Outback Kayak by Hobie 

Mirage Outback Kayak by Hobie

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Specifications

  • Weight capacity: 396 lbs.
  • Pedal-powered Mirage Drive
  • Comes with rudder
  • Comfortable seat and paddle and great storage
  • Good for fishing with rod holders
  • Easy to install fishfinders

The Hobie Mirage Outback is an exceptional fishing kayak with great features. It features Hobie’s “Mirage Drive,” allowing you to pedal through the water instead of paddling. This way, you can free your hands for reeling and casting big catches. Plus, it has an attractive design and plenty of storage space in the hatches and bow locker.

Hobie is known for its stand-up paddleboards, fishing kayaks, surfboards, and Hobie Cat sailboats. Most of their models utilize the foot-powered Mirage Drive, a unique feature among fishing kayaks. 

Hobie fishing kayaks that use a foot-powered drive system are a classic favorite among avid anglers as it allows you to navigate the vessel and control the fishing rod. It also comes as a form of exercise that lets you use your leg muscles.

ProsCons
Comes with paddle and comfortable seatLimited fishing features

Top Pick for Best Stand Up Fishing Kayaks: Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak by Lifetime

Finding the best fishing kayak can be overwhelming as there are tons of things to consider before ending up buying the right model. While there are several stand up fishing kayaks for anglers available in local dealers and online markets, the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 is the best stand up fishing kayaks for 2020 that comes with amazing features without hurting your budget.

The Tamarack Angler 100 comes with the complete features necessary for a standard fishing kayak. It serves as a great kayak for both beginners and professionals looking for comfort, safety, and stability. At 31 inches wide with stable chine rails and flat bottom, the Tamarack is a stable kayak. It doesn’t rock when casting and doesn’t tip when you get a large catch. It also has deep hull tracking channels, allowing you to maneuver smoothly on the water.

This stand-up kayak includes two-flush mounted fishing rod holders and a top mount fishing rod holder for hands-free fishing. Once a fish bites, you can use the paddle cradle with a cord to securely hold your paddle. It also includes enough storage for your gears, including the two sealed storage hatches, extra storage space on deck for small coolers, and straps on the front and rear to secure your bags.

Lifetime uses a high-density polyethylene that is UV-protected and blow-molded for its construction. It gives the kayak a more durable quality to withstand tough and rough situations, making it damage resistant. 

For those who have other preferences for their fishing kayaks, you may want to check out other kayaks mentioned in this article that promises premium quality and stability. All of them came from well-known kayak brands with a great reputation among avid anglers.


Best Stand Up Fishing Kayaks Brands

Kayak owners always want the best kayak model for their fishing session. They compare their kayaks with their friends and often wonder if their kayak is good enough. That is why they are always on the lookout for new models from the best kayak brands. Here are the top brands that are known for manufacturing stand up fishing kayaks.  

Lifetime

Lifetime is known for manufacturing the most stable sit-on-top kayaks worldwide.  It started in a small garage in Riverdale, Utah, where its founder decided to build a unique basketball hoop for his family. His passion for innovation grew beyond his initial project. By March 1985, he created a company called Lifetime Products. His goal is to create durable and lasting products for his customers.

Lifetime built their kayaks from high-density polyethylene plastic, making them lightweight and durable. They also design different styles and accessories for adult and kid kayaks that come with built-in features, such as paddle cradles, rod holders, and cup holders.

Sun Dolphin

Known as the nation’s leading kayak company, Sun Dolphin started in 1982 as a small family business that creates a single two-person pedal boat. They soon grow as a kayak company that combines innovation, unparalleled service, and affordable products. Since then, Sun Dolphin has become America’s leading manufacturer of outdoor recreational products.

Today, Sun Dolphin has a wide range of watercraft lines, including stand-up paddleboards, recreational kayaks, fishing boats, canoes, etc. Despite their growth, their company continues to manufacture its kayak products in a small town in Michigan.

Vibe Kayaks

Vibe Kayaks is a Georgia-based recreational fishing and kayak outdoor company. They started in 2013 by creating a premium quality fishing kayak perfect for budget-minded anglers. Its founder, Josh Thomas, used his passion for kayak fishing to create kayaks that cater to the needs of paddlers and adventurers with different skill levels.

Today, Vibe Kayaks has become a high-growth kayak company that has captured the kayak fishing industry’s middle market. Besides kayaks, Vibe has extended its product line, including lifestyle apparel, fishing tools, accessories, rigging, and other parts.  


Features to Consider When Buying Stand Up Fishing Kayaks (Buyer’s Guide)

Are you wondering which kayak best suits your style and fishing needs? Here are some key features and valuable advice on what to look for when purchasing a stand-up fishing kayak.

Primary Fishing Location and Type of Usage

Before getting a kayak, determine whether you will be using the boat on a slow-moving river, wavy coastal waters, or a glass-like lake. Since each body of water possesses a specific set of water safety rules, your fishing location has a lot to do with your buying conditions, including stability, durability, and safety features. Take a good note of the specific water laws in your preferred location, if they allow using a motorized fishing kayak.

Comfort, Design, and Durability

Choosing a fishing kayak with durable material and design is essential. Premium watercraft usually comes at a hefty price, although they are less expensive than the traditional motorized fishing boats. One of the most durable and reliable kayak construction materials is high-density polyethylene. As much as possible, look for a kayak that is built to last.

Kayak Type and Speed

Kayaks are either sit-in or sit-on-top. The sit-on-top setup has better stability and storage, but sit-in kayaks ensure great maneuverability and speed. Another determining factor for speed is the kayak’s propulsion method.

Pedal kayaks use a propeller beneath the boat, where you can move through the water by pedaling. Besides motorized kayaks, the pedal propulsion system provides better speed. However, some anglers prefer the simple paddle design to serve as an upper-body workout.

Dimension and Weight Capacity

Stand-up fishing kayaks are generally larger than kayaks used for paddling. Look for kayaks with enough space so you can store your fishing equipment. Kayaks usually range from 10 to 14 feet. Before buying one, check your intended storage area so you can have enough space for your fishing items.

Weight is another consideration when buying kayaks. Besides dimensions, stand-up fishing kayaks vary in weight as well. A heavy kayak tends to be more stable on the water with enough storage space and weight capacity. However, a heavier kayak can be difficult to travel and store due to its weight.  

Stability and Safety Features

Stability is one of the main factors when you plan on standing while kayak fishing. You can determine a kayak’s stability level with its hull shape. The most stable ones have a flat hull, where the kayak’s base tends to be flatter rather than V-shaped or rounded. Not only does a flat hull provides stability, but it gives you more space to move around onboard. Flat-hull kayaks are an ideal choice for anglers who want a spacious, safe, and stable watercraft.

Storage and Portability

A kayak’s onboard space is essential for anglers. They need enough space to move around and store their fishing gear and safety equipment. The most spacious kayaks have plenty of storage in the boat’s stern and bow. It should also be accessible enough while protecting your belongings from water and weather.

A kayak’s weight and size are essential factors in terms of portability. However, even heavy fishing kayaks provide great portability that comes with kayak cart or sturdy carry handles. You can look for kayaks with T-shaped handles on the stern and bow to carry it easily.

Accessories

For those who want to go fishing on fast-moving waters, you need a kayak anchor to keep you in one place while fishing. Other fishing-specific accessories include fish finders, a mounting system for GPS, and built-in rod holders. Since most fishing accessories tend to be purchased separately, your kayak should have enough space to accommodate these accessories.

Budget and Warranty

Stand-up fishing kayaks range incredibly in price, so you need to establish a budget beforehand. Affordable fishing kayaks are less than $1,000, but you may want to spend anywhere between $1,000 to $2,000.

Manufacturers who offer warranties on their kayaks means that they have faith in their products. Unfortunately, not all fishing kayaks come with a limited lifetime warranty. However, a kayak manufacturer should provide unique warranty coverage.


Conclusion

Most anglers want to have the best view of the water to get the best catch when fishing. That is why kayak manufacturers created a stand-up fishing kayak to help you see deeper into the water and gaze further. Standing up while fishing is also convenient as it allows you to spot impending obstacles and avoid them. By buying the best stand up fishing kayaks, you can get a better kayak fishing experience.

Among all the stand-up fishing kayaks mentioned in this product review, the Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak by Lifetime takes the top spot as the best stand up fishing kayak. It is one of the best kayaks for fishing that comes with a self-bailing cockpit and rod holders.

Lifetime is known as one of the top manufacturers of fishing kayaks worldwide. They produce various vessels made for outdoor fun and fishing-specific activities. At an affordable price, you get the best value for your kayak with competitive features.

The Tamarack Angler has a total capacity of 275 pounds (one person). Its fishing version includes one adjustable rod holder and two flush rod holders. You can also sit comfortably with the padded seat and adjustable backrest. This kayak model can be purchased with or without a paddle.

With several varieties of kayaks, choosing the best kayak model and brand is a tough choice. But as you have covered all the essentials of buying a stand-up fishing kayak, may this buying guide help you with your purchase decision.  In the end, it all comes down to how you are going to balance its features, including stability, capacity, storage, and weight capacity. 


FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

It is only natural for anglers, especially beginners, to have tons of questions regarding fishing kayaks. Here are some of the most asked questions about stand-up fishing kayaks.

Do I need to add a stabilizer or outrigger for my stand-up fishing kayak?

A kayak outrigger looks like a pair of long, buoyant poles fitted to either side of your kayak. Anglers use outriggers when they want to stabilize their kayaks while keeping it balanced. Most of the time, investing your money in an outrigger is not often practical or necessary, especially to those who prefer to fish in calm waters with few currents and waves.

You can buy an outrigger or stabilizer if you are planning to go on deep-sea kayak fishing. You can use the outrigger for deep-sea trolling, where waves are incredibly larger.

Do kayaks have a specific weight limit?

Each kayak model comes with a specific maximum capacity. They usually range from 200 to 500 pounds. A kayak’s weight capacity and stability depend on its dimensions, including its hull design, length, and width.

Most sit-on-top kayaks provide a generous weight capacity, allowing up to two to three passengers. However, you still need to check if you are carrying heavy fishing gear that might affect its overall load. Kayaks that are more than 12 feet have better stability and capacity, but they can be heavier and harder to move or transport.

What is the average length of a stand-up fishing kayak?

Although there are still some outliers, most stand-up fishing kayaks range between 10 to 14 feet long. Shorter kayaks need to be wide enough to maintain. However, these kayaks tend to have poor handling. Meanwhile, kayaks more than 14 feet long tend to be hard to get to and from the water and difficult and heavy to carry. 

Ideally, a 12 or 14-foot long kayak offers the best balance of maneuverability, stability, and storage for your fishing gear.  

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