Fishing from a kayak can make for one of the best cheap days out that anyone can have, as you’ll know if you have tried it. It allows you to get out and o=about on the water, take in some scenery, get exercise, and even catch some dinner if you’re lucky. Whatever type of kayaking and fishing you like to do, there’s a kayak out there that’s sure to suit your needs and budget.
In this guide, we’re going to look at some of the best fishing kayaks available. We’ll give you some advice on what we think you should look for in a fishing kayak/kayak in general, and we’ll provide a section of fishing kayak reviews – here we’ll cover what we think on some of the best kayaks that are available to buy today.
Fishing Kayaks come in a large variety of types and specifications. Some of the most common and basic variations include sit on top fishing kayaks, stand up fishing kayaks, as well as inflatable and paddleboard options too.
What Types Are Available And What’s Good About Each?
Sit On Top
Sit on Top Kayaks are the most prominent kind in the fishing sector of kayaks. Sit on top kayaks are very easy to get in and out of, as well as move your hands and legs around on. They are not nearly as confined as sit inside kayaks, and allow the user a lot more freedom and space to move.
This freedom and space to move around at ease is exactly what a fisherman needs. If you’re trying to land a big fish that’s out in the water or are trying to cast your line to the exact spot that you know the fish are lying, the last thing you need is for your body movements to be constricted by the sides of a kayak. A sit on top kayak is great for just this.
Advantages of Sit on Top Fishing Kayaks
- They are extremely easy to get in and out of
- Your body movements aren’t restricted in the same way that they are on more enclosed boats
- Storage space for your equipment tends to be very good
- They are airier and make for an all-round nicer fishing experience
Disadvantages of Sit On Top Fishing Kayaks
- You’re more likely to get wet – due to the design of fishing kayaks, whenever you’re paddling along or your boat is getting hit by some choppy water, water can come inside the boat fairly easily. However, sit on top kayaks are fitted with drainage points that work automatically, so this isn’t all that considerable a disadvantage in the grand scheme of things
- Not as suitable as sit inside kayaks for choppier water, for the same reason as above. Sit inside kayaks can also be more stable than sit on tops, die to the fact that they have taller sides to balance with
Although sit on top kayaks are more popular in the world of fishing, it doesn’t mean that sit inside kayaks aren’t good. Sit inside kayaks, in many senses, can be in fact more suited to some users. It all comes down to your experience, as well as the type of locations/waters in which you are planning to fish.
For example, if you’re planning to fish out at sea or in a faster-moving river, a sit-inside kayak would be a better choice for your fishing expedition due to the fact they are more stable and will keep you drier in the rougher water. If you were to take a sit on top kayak into choppy fast-moving water, you would soon find yourself and your equipment getting really rather wet.
Some people simply just prefer the secure feeling that one can get from a sit-inside kayak. Another point to consider is the climate of the locations that you will be fishing in. If it’s cold or there’s a considerable amount of rain, a sit-inside kayak could keep your lower body drier and warmer than a sit on top.
Advantages of Sit Inside Kayaks
- They are more suited to fast-moving waters due to their higher levels of stability and protection
- You’ll stay warmer and drier than in a sit on top kayak
Disadvantages of Sit Inside Kayaks
- Your body movements are more restricted due to the higher sides and more confined nature of the boat – this isn’t ideal for a lot of types of fishing
Stand Up Kayaks
Stand Up Kayaks come in a couple of different variations – kayaks that are designed for standing and sitting, and those that are designed solely to be stood on.
Kayaks that are designed just for standing on are called paddleboards. We wouldn’t overly recommend taking a paddleboard fishing, for a number of different reasons:
- There’s nowhere to store equipment that you’re not using as they are simply just a board
- Harder to retain good balance on than conventional kayaks
- Not suitable for rougher waters unless you’re experienced
- More strenuous to paddle and not comfortable for a long day on the water
Aside from paddleboards, however, there are in fact kayaks that have been designed to allow you to safely and comfortably sit or stand. These kayaks have a comfortable seat for when you’d like to sit down, as well as a deck that’s been designed so that you don’t slip on it should it become wet.
For almost every category of fishing kayak that we’ve already mentioned, there is an inflatable version available. Inflatable kayaks have various advantages and disadvantages that we’ll take a quick look at. However, if you’re interested in inflatable kayaks and inflatable kayaks for fishing, you should take a look at our in-depth article on them right here!
- They are lightweight and pack into a small space
- Very easy to store and transport
- Often cheaper, and make for a great way into the sport
- More likely to sink, since they could become punctured (this is unlikely due to the very strong materials that inflatable kayaks are made with today)
- Have to be completely dry before packing away to avoid mould
- More perishable – inflatable kayaks tend not to last as long as hard shells do.
What You Should Look For When Buying A Fishing Kayak
Good storage options
A good amount and variety of storage space are especially important when you’re fishing from a kayak since you’ll have so many different things to store. You’ll want somewhere to store your personal belongings that’s watertight and safe, as well as somewhere to store fishing bait and additional equipment that you aren’t using.
Look for a fishing kayak that has waterproof storage hatches that are within easy reach of the seats, as well as front and back secure storage spaces. When we recommend you our favorite fishing kayaks, all of our recommendations will have ample storage.
A stable boat
Whilst this might seem like too obvious a point to make, it most certainly is not. To ensure that you have a stable boat for fishing, look for one that’s not too long and thin – this type of kayak is more suited to touring and higher speeds due to its long and streamlined nature.
A fishing kayak shouldn’t be too long (unless a tandem of course) and should have a relatively broad base that allows you to have the maximum stability whilst sitting down or standing up on the kayak.
An Appropriate Size and Weight Limit For Your Needs
Before you go kayaking, have a look at the weight of the equipment that you plan on putting on your kayak. Anglers can take quite a lot of equipment, and this is an important point to consider before you go out on a kayak. Kayaks have weight capacities that they can take – ensure that the weight of your gear plus yourself does not exceed it!
Points To Consider Before You Commit
Storage and Transportation – Even though buying a good fishing kayak can provide you with endless fun, they are only good fun if you are able to use them. Something that many buyers forget to consider before purchasing is the space that they are going to use to transport and store their boat. Storing a kayak requires quite a lot of space, as does transporting one require a relatively large vehicle.
What Are The Best Fishing Kayaks?
Now that you’re fully informed on the market, fishing kayak variations, and other important points to consider, let’s have a look at what could be your first or indeed next fishing kayak.
Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler – A Popular Choice For Anglers
The Prowler 13 from Ocean Kayak is an extremely popular choice for many anglers, and it’s easy to see why this is the case.
As a sit on top fishing kayak, the Ocean Prowler allows you to have as much space as you would like to move around whilst your onboard. It’s not the widest of kayaks but does still stand up very well to being stood on and riding in slightly rougher patches of water. It’s very stable indeed. This design gives the ocean prowler the best of both worlds – the streamlined precision of a touring kayak, and the stability of a shorter and wider kayak.
There is plenty of storage available on the Ocean Prowler. There’s a good-sized storage hatch towards the front of the boat, and an open space area with bungee cords to secure at the rear of the boat. This space at the rear of the boat is ideal for storing those parts of your equipment that you don’t mind getting wet.
As you may have guessed from the name, this boat is designed primarily for fishing. It makes for a great fishing kayak, coming fitted with rod holders and a very comfortable seat.
- Fast and streamlined, yet still very stable
- Extremely comfortable padded seat
- Fantastic looking design
- Perfectly kitted out for fishing – it’s got rod holders that are well-positioned, as well as ample storage (both wet and dry) for equipment and bait
- Fully adjustable comfortable seat
- Mid-length at 13”4
- Very lightweight at only 56 pounds, whilst being able to carry up to 325 lbs
Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 – The Ultimate Fishing Kayak
Hobie is one of the most powerful and well-known names in kayaking – that is, well-known for its supreme build quality.
The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler is an extremely high-end, high-quality fishing kayak that has been equipped with everything you could possibly need whilst out on the water.
This kayak has a tremendous amount of storage space for equipment that you’re not using as well as equipment that you are. There’s a storage hatch towards the front of the boat, as well as a further sealed one towards the back. This is a great feature that we really love – kayaks often have an open storage area at the back of the boat that means your equipment can get wet – not with a Hobie!
However, the stand out feature of the Hobie Mirage is, without doubt, the highly advanced pedal system that’s installed to drive the boat forward with great force and ease. The pedal system on top of the boat is connected to a dual propeller system underneath. This system on its own allows you to get to the place that you’d like to fish at very quickly indeed, without even paddling!
There is a multitude of places on the Hobie Mirage on which you can place different accessories and tools to accommodate your fishing. There’s an H-rail within easy reach f the seat, as well as six rod holders – you can be sure that you’ll never be struggling for a space to rest your rod on this kayak.
- Needless to say, this kayak is made by one of if not the best brand out there
- 12 feet in length and 36 inches wide – a perfectly proportioned boat for stability whilst fishing, either sitting down or standing up
- Pedal-powered – the pedal system in the Hobie Mirage is very advanced and very efficient. You can get anywhere you’d like to go completely handsfree and at speed
- Ample storage for all of your fishing equipment
- Fishfinder compatible – there’s a transducer mount in place and ready to go
Sun Dolphin Excursion – A Sit Inside Fishing Kayak
Although sit on top kayaks are certainly the more popular ones for anglers, you may have had a read at the advantages and disadvantages of sit-inside kayaks and thought that one would be more suited to you – many others do too!
The Sun Dolphin Excursion is a great little sit-in kayak that has been very well manufactured – this can be seen from the high build quality. It has been constructed from polyethylene and is therefore very durable as well as resistant to the elements.
At 10 feet in length and 30 inches in width, it’s a short and stable kayak. You should have absolutely no problems staying upright whilst fishing in this boat.
Being adapted for fishing, the Sun Dolphin Excursion has three rod holders in total – two normal and one swiveling mount. There’s plenty of storage towards the stern of this kayak too.
- Sit-inside – you’ll stay warmer and drier in this boat than you would on a sit on top kayak
- Well-equipped for fishing with three rod holders and ample space for equipment storage
- Very comfortable seat and good legroom
- Lightweight and Durable
Sevylor Coleman Colorado Tandem – A Tandem Inflatable Option
If you have decided that your needs would be more suited to an inflatable fishing kayak, then look no further than the Coleman Colorado! With 2 seats and a lot of storage area, this kayak makes a great vessel for two adults that would like a day out fishing on the water, but without the stress of a hard shell kayak.
The Colorado is very durable, being made from thick PVC that’s very hard to puncture. In the unlikely and very unfortunate event that a puncture was to take place, the Colorado’s made from a number of air chambers so you don’t need to worry about the entire boat deflating.
The Coleman Colorado is extremely positively reviewed by its users, with many reporting on how durable it is. Considering that this boat weighs in at just 40 pounds, it can take comfortably two adults and a bundle of fishing equipment – pretty amazing if you ask us!
- Made from very hard-wearing PVC and tarpaulin – this kayak offers extreme durability in a very lightweight and storable package
- Constructed from a number of air chambers to prevent against entire boat deflation in the event of a puncture
- Ready for fishing – this kayak is fitted with rod holders and has ample storage areas for equipment that you’re not using
- Paddle rests
- Very easy to pack away and store
A quick tip: If you’re planning on purchasing this inflatable kayak, always make sure that it is completely dry before packing away to avoid mold.