Best Fishing Kayak 2017 – Ultimate Buying Guide and Reviews

Finding the Best Fishing Kayak for You!

Fishing is a great water sport that is very relaxing and is easily combined with other water sports. Kayaks can be great for fishing, especially if you want to fish out on open water, but don’t want to spend too much money on a big boat. Depending on where you plan on going with your kayak, it is possible to choose from a few different options, to make sure you get the best fishing kayak experience. Just like picking the right fishing reel for a particular breed of fish, or different weather, you also need to consider what the best fishing kayak is for your needs.

What to Look for Before Buying a Kayak

Before buying the best fishing kayak for you, you need to know what to look for. There are several factors that need to be taken into consideration. For example, how will you store your kayak? Some kayaks are very large and can be up to 17 feet long. Before buying one, you should know if you will be able to store something that large, or if you need something that will be able to be disassembled for easier storage. Also, it is important to know how you will be transporting your kayak to and from the water. If you do not have a vehicle that is large enough to accommodate a 17-foot long kayak, then what you really have is a very large and expensive garage decoration.

You should also know your own limitations as a kayaker. If you are more advanced, then you will probably be fine with a kayak that is a little faster, and a little less stable. If you are more of a beginner, then the best fishing kayak for you will be something that is very stable, though these tend to be larger, and a little slower. The best fishing kayaks are probably going to be more on the stable side of the spectrum since most fishing is done in calmer waters. Other features which are important to consider when looking at different kinds of kayaks are whether the kayak is self-bailing, meaning the water will drain out on its own, different kinds of materials that it can be made from, such as polyethylene, rubber, etc.

Different Kinds of Kayaks

There are a lot of different kinds of kayaks available. A few examples are sit-on-top, recreational, touring, modular, inflatable, and folding kayaks. Each of these types of kayaks has their own drawbacks and benefits, and in order to find the best fishing kayak for your needs, it is important to understand what these are.

  • Sit-on-top kayaks are great for people who are planning to spend most of their time in warm climates. They are not great for cooler climates because they leave you mostly exposed to the elements. Because the kayaker sits above the water and has a higher center of gravity, these tend to be wider, and are therefore more stable and great for kids, beginners, and of course anglers. These are also self-bailing.

  • Recreational kayaks are probably one of the best fishing kayak examples because these are for calm waters and casual paddlers. They offer a lot of initial stability, because of the large cockpit and wide beam, which makes them easy to get in and out of. These types of kayaks can be very heavy, and hard to maneuver, however.

  • Touring kayaks are great for long kayaking trips. They can be some of the best fishing kayaks because they have extra storage, for longer overnight trips. There is also day touring kayaks which are smaller and more maneuverable than multi-day boats. These also usually have some sort of tracking system, like a rudder.

  • Inflatable, Folding and Modular kayaks are all examples of kayaks that can be disassembled at different levels. This means that they are all able to be stored and transported fairly easily, which gives them an advantage over other types of kayaks. Inflatable kayaks are especially buoyant and easy to turn, but they tend to be slower and are not as sturdy as other options. Modular kayaks are durable and can be modified to accommodate more than one person. Folding kayaks are the best for small storage capacity and storage space.
Top 14 Fishing Kayak Reviews

Now that you have some basic information about different kinds of kayaks, here are 15 different kayak reviews made available for your perusal. Hopefully, this will allow you to make an informed decision about the best fishing kayak for you.

Best Kayaks for Beginners

Picture

Name

Best For

Dimensions

Propulsion

Price

best fishing kayak

Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 Sit-in Kayak

Everywhere

13 x 30 x 120 inches

Paddle

best fishing kayak

Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

Flatwater, Rivers,Inshore

20 x 34 x 144 inches

Paddle

Editor Rating:

This kayak is made from high-density polyethylene. It has adjustable foot rests and a high-backed, adjustable, padded seat. It is a relatively light weight for just one person to carry and comes with carry handles on either end. It has a relatively large open cockpit, with a reasonable amount of storage and is pretty stable. It is made for the novice kayaker, so it is pretty basic in terms of features, but it has everything that is truly necessary.

best fishing kayak

Pros

  • Relatively lightweight, easily carried by one person.
  • Good amount of storage, for long days on the water.
  • Adjustable seat and footrests make it comfortable for people of varying heights.
  • Reasonably good maneuvering and tracking, for novice kayakers.

Cons

  • Not many extra features.
  • Hard shell makes it inconvenient for storage purposes.
  • Will not hold up in rough conditions, for easy going waters only.
  • Little more expensive than it probably should be.

There are no bells and whistles here, just a good quality, basic product. This is one of the best fishing kayaks for someone who doesn’t really know that much about kayaking, or is just looking for something casual, for occasional easy use. That being said, a casual kayaker probably does not want to spend this kind of money on something so basic.

Editor Rating:

This is a great versatile kayak, which can seat two people, plus a small child or pet, but can also be used solo just by switching to the center seat. It is a stable plastic kayak, so it is on the heavier side, and though with one person the storage is great, with two people the storage can get tight, and with a child or pet, there is really not much at all, though obviously, this is to be expected, and there are gear straps available. The seats and foot wells are molded in and should be comfortable for people of any height. It is great for tracking and is reasonably maneuverable.

best fishing kayak

Pros

  • Extremely versatile, good for use with up to two and a half people.
  • Very stable and easy to use.
  • Reasonably amount of storage for angler purposes.
  • Good for tracking.

Cons

  • Storage runs out when maximum number of people on board.
  • Kind of heavy for one person.
  • Very expensive.

If you and your partner are looking for a kayak in which to go fishing together, then this is the best fishing kayak for you. It is also a fairly decent kayak for any other purpose that you might have for it. As one Amazon kayak review put it, “it does just about everything, though it’s not necessarily the best at any of them.” The price will definitely make you think twice about buying this tandem kayak, but it will last quite a while.

Best Inflatable Kayaks

Picture

Name

Best For

Dimensions

Propulsion

Price

best fishing kayak

Intex Challenger K1 Kayak

Lakes/ Mild Rivers

20 x 36 x 123 inches

Paddle

best fishing kayak

Intex Challenger K1 Kayak

Lakes/ Slow-Moving Rivers

14.96 x 29.92 x 137.8 inches

Paddle

best fishing kayak

Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Kayak

Flat water/River/Lakes

15 x 15 x 20 inches

Paddle

best fishing kayak

Ocean Kayak Frenzy Kayak

River/Lakes

15 x 15 x 20 inches

Paddle

best fishing kayak

Aire Lynx II

Big Water/Creeks/Local River

12’6″ x 39″ inches

Paddle

best fishing kayak

Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak

River/Lake

11.4 x 21 x 34 inches

Paddle

Editor Rating:

One of best fishing kayaks is bright yellow two-person kayak. It is, as the title suggests, and an inflatable kayak, which means that it is lightweight and easy to transport. The kayak is made of a tough vinyl and comes with an attachable rudder, and two aluminum oars. The seats have inflatable backrests, and it comes with an air pump, and two Boston valves, so inflating and deflating are quick and painless.

best fishing kayak

Pros

  • High visibility in the water, due to yellow color.
  • Quick assembly, from air pump and valves.
  • Good maneuverability, with attachable rudder.
  • Reasonable amount of storage.
  • Very stable.

Cons

  • Needs two people, not good for solo anglers.
  • Not very versatile, needs to be in very calm waters.
  • Not as sturdy as hard shell boats.

This kayak would be one of the best cheap fishing kayaks that you could find on the market right now, especially for couples who enjoy taking day trips out on the water together. It is a great kayak for beginners who do not plan on doing any overnight trips, or for people who do not have a lot of storage space available.

Editor Rating:

This inflatable one-person kayak is an extremely affordable. It comes with a hand-operated air pump and an 84-inch oar. The material is very durable, considering it is inflatable, made from a welded material. It also comes with a cargo net, which allows for extra storage, and a large, super comfortable cockpit. It is considered one of the best fishing kayaks to handle on slow moving or stationary waters.

best fishing kayak

Pros

  • Very affordable.
  • Extra storage space.
  • Lightweight and compact for storage and transportation.
  • Large cockpit is comfortable and adds good initial stability.

Cons

  • Takes longer to assemble and disassemble.
  • “Low profile graphics” make for low visibility on open water.
  • Not good for overnight trips.
  • Low stability in rougher waters.

This kayak is one of best cheap fishing kayaks because of the extra storage and stability, which will make it perfect for storing fishing tackle, and hanging out in smooth waters. The extra comfortable cockpit is a definite plus for anglers who want to take it easy and spend the whole day relaxing in the water. For such an affordable price, it is also a surprisingly durable kayak.

Editor Rating:

This is a recreational kayak that is a kind of hybrid frame. It has built in aluminum framework, with 7 inflatable chambers, giving it the durability of a hard shell kayak, with the advantages of being lightweight and easier to store, like an inflatable. It also comes with three layers of thick, puncture-resistant material, for added durability. It is okay for tracking, and not great for maneuverability, with a high-backed, padded seat for extra comfort. Buyers beware, there have been mixed reviews about whether one needs to purchase an extra backbone, in order to improve the speed and tracking of this kayak. It is a snug-fit sit-in kayak, so there is limited storage once you’re in there.

best fishing kayak

Pros

  • Inflatable chambers make it great for storage, and lightweight.
  • Aluminum framework gives it added durability and stability.
  • Three layers of material also add to this very durable kayak.

Cons

  • Very pricey, especially if you decide you need the extra backbone.
  • Not great for maneuverability or tracking.
  • Limited storage space for fishing gear, and leg room.

This is almost definitely not the best fishing kayak for the money. Durability and ease of storage seem to be the only really positive thing that you can say about it. It is very stable, but one would probably not want to spend a whole day out fishing in it, especially when you consider the necessities of a tackle box, etc.

Editor Rating:

This is an inflatable kayak with built-in aluminum ribs and three layers of material for added durability. It has interchangeable decks which allow you to make it a tandem or a solo kayak, and when deflated, it all fits conveniently into a duffle bag. The seats are padded and high-backed, so they are relatively comfortable. It is not a self-bailing kayak, so you will get a little wet, but there is a reasonable amount of storage. The aluminum frame makes it easy to track and maneuver.

best fishing kayak

Pros

  • Easy storage in a duffel.
  • Very durable and stable for an inflatable.
  • Versatile for one or two people.
  • Easy tracking and maneuverability.

Cons

  • Almost as expensive as a hard shell.
  • Storage could be better.
  • Not self-bailing, and difficult to dry out.

If you just want an extra kayak to have for friends or to quickly toss in the trunk of your car, then this is the best fishing kayak for you. However, if you are looking for a primary fishing kayak, then this is not the one. It is almost the same price as a hard shell kayak, without the same level of speed, durability, or storage.

Editor Rating:

This tandem, rubber inflatable kayak has PVC-coated tubes and floor, making it pretty lightweight. It has three self-bailing drain holes, which help to keep you dry and make less work when you’re packing up. The Cheetah seats are high-backed, padded, and double as camp chairs, with storage pockets and cup holders built in. It can be adjusted for solo kayaking.

best fishing kayak

Pros

  • Versatile for one or two people.
  • Lightweight.
  • Easily stored when not in use.
  • Self-bailing.

Cons

  • Rubber and PVC make it less durable than other inflatable’s.
  • Very expensive.

This is probably not the best fishing kayak you could find. For an inflatable, it is extremely overpriced, especially considering that PVC framing is not going to be as durable as aluminum, which can be found in most other inflatable models. There is a considerable amount of storage, and it is nice that it is self-bailing, but not worth it.

Editor Rating:

This is a pretty amazing inflatable kayak, which claims to be capable of handling up to class 3 rapids. Most of the kayaks on this list are class 1 and 2 capable only, including the hard shells, so this is pretty impressive. It is a two person only kayak, and there is no mention anywhere that it can be converted for solo use. It is self-bailing, and comes with two skegs attached, for excellent tracking and maneuverability. The boat itself is made of a durable polykrylar material and has plenty of dry storage for fishing.

best fishing kayak

Pros

  • Self-bailing to keep you dry.
  • Durable enough for up to class 3 rapids.
  • Two skegs give it best tracking and maneuverability among inflatables.
  • Plenty of storage, perfect for anglers.
  • Affordable.

Cons

  • Not very versatile, must be used by two people.

If you have a partner or a buddy that will always want to go fishing with you, there is no reason not to purchase this best fishing kayak inflatable. It is easily stored anywhere, it is durable enough for impromptu adventures through some rapids, and it is backed by a 3-year warranty. However, if you’re just a solo angler, who would rather get some peace and quiet as opposed to adventure, this is probably not the best fishing kayak for you.

Best Sit-on-Top Kayak

Picture

Name

Best For

Dimensions

Propulsion

Price

best fishing kayak

Sun Dolphin Bali SS 

River/Lakes

11 x 30 x 144 inches

Paddle

best fishing kayak

Perception R15 Pescadores 120 Kayak

River/Lakes

13.1 x 28 x 144 inches

Paddle

best fishing kayak

Malibu Kayaks Stealth 14 Fish

River/Lakes

12.5 x 34 x 175 inches

Paddle

best fishing kayak

Ocean Kayak Frenzy Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

River/Lakes

18 x 31 x 108 inches

Paddle

Editor Rating:

This example of the best fishing kayaks is a relatively expensive one. It is great for tracking, or in other words, staying straight on course, though is probably not going to be great for maneuverability. It is made from polyurethane plastic, so it is very sturdy, but a bit on the heavier side of the spectrum. The large, padded, open cockpit makes it very comfortable and easy to get in and out of, with good initial stability. There is plenty of dry storage, and shock cord deck rigging available also.

best fishing kayak

Pros

  • Very sturdy, with hard polyurethane shell.
  • Good for staying on course and easy paddling.
  • Very comfortable for long days on the water.
  • Excellent initial stability for swimmers or beginner kayakers.

Cons

  • High priced.
  • Low maneuverability.
  • Not great for people who don’t have a lot of storage or who don’t have large vehicles for transport.
  • Low secondary stability, so you wouldn't want to take it on days with rough conditions.

If you live in a warm climate and close to the water, then this will be one of the best fishing kayaks for you, especially if you’re a beginner and don’t want to fuss with assembling your boat every time you want to take it out. This kayak will undoubtedly last you a fair few seasons and will be exceedingly comfortable for fishing, with plenty of storage for fishing gear. It is maybe not the best fishing kayak for the money, however, unless you really have your heart set on it.

Editor Rating:

This is a pretty standard hard shell, sit-on-top kayak, but it might be the best fishing kayak for your needs. The hard shell makes it very durable, with the added benefits of great tracking, and reasonably good maneuverability. It comes with two fishing pole holders, and plenty of storage space with a bow, stern and center hatch. You should expect to get wet, but the boat basically bails itself out, so no added work. There are adjustable footrests, which help with maneuverability and with comfort, though the seat itself is a little lacking for comfort.

best fishing kayak

Pros

  • Two fishing pole holders.
  • Plenty of storage space.
  • Great for maneuverability and tracking.
  • Very stable.
  • Self-bailing.
  • Durable.
  • Adjustable foot rests.

Cons

  • Quite pricey.
  • Difficult to store and transport.
  • Sit-on-top is not great for rough conditions
  • Heavy.

This is a one of the best fishing kayaks around, with all the amenities in mind for a good day out on the water. You definitely will pay for all the extra features, and hopefully, you have a way to store and transport it. However, there are nothing but positive kayak reviews for this beauty of a boat, so it will probably be worth it.

Editor Rating:

This is the possible the best fishing kayak. There seems to be no limit to the number of cool features on this bad boat, including, but not limited to, a patented casting platform, adjustable foot rests, three storage hatches, including a “mid-ship bait tank storage system,” which is also self-draining and circulating, two front and two rear rod holders, and a cup holder. It claims to be “unparalleled” in stability and durability and is backed by a lifetime warranty. So what’s the catch?

best fishing kayak

Pros

  • Stability.
  • Durability.
  • Maneuverability.
  • Especially geared towards anglers.
  • Self-bailing.
  • Cup holder.

Cons

  • Very expensive.
  • Not exactly versatile, if you want to do something other than fishing.
  • Not great for storage.

If you plan on doing nothing other than fish on your kayak, and you have a place to store one that is not compactible, and an extra thousand dollars to spend, there is no reason not to buy this kayak. It will undoubtedly surpass all of you fishing kayak needs, and is quite possibly the best fishing kayak there is.

Editor Rating:

This kayak packs a lot of fun in a little package, and is a great alternative for people who want something easily stored and transported, but don’t want an inflatable. It is a mere 9 feet long, so much shorter than the average kayak, but still with ample leg room for taller kayakers, due to the sit-on-top design. The storage space is limited to bungee-style deck storage, so your stuff will get wet. The Tri-form hull means that it will have great secondary stability and tracking, and the small size means that it will maneuver easily.

best fishing kayak

Pros

  • Small size means that it is easily stored and transported.
  • Hard shell keeps it durable.
  • Hull shape adds stability.

Cons

  • Not great initial stability, maybe not best option for a novice.
  • Not much storage for angling gear.

If you plan on doing nothing other than fish on your kayak, and you have a place to store one that is not compactible, and an extra thousand dollars to spend, there is no reason not to buy this kayak. It will undoubtedly surpass all of you fishing kayak needs, and is quite possibly the best fishing kayak there is.

Best Kayaks for Fishing

Picture

Name

Best For

Dimensions

Propulsion

Price

best fishing kayak

Lifetime Sports Kayak

River/Lakes

19 x 36 x 120 inches

Paddle

best fishing kayak

Hobie Mirage Outback Kayak

River/Lakes

12′ 1″ x 33″ inches

Mirage Drive/Paddle

Editor Rating:

This kayak on the list is definitely not pretty to look at, but don’t let that fool you, it is still one of the best fishing kayaks around. The awkward looking design actually gives it enough balance to allow anglers to stand or sit side saddle when they are not paddling. The boat can comfortably seat up to three people, but it can be paddled by a solo kayaker. It has multiple footrest positions, for anglers of all heights, a rear hull dry-storage space, and four-rod holders.

best fishing kayak

Pros

  • Versatile, holding one, two, or three people.
  • Options to stand or sit while fishing.
  • Polyethylene molded design makes it extra durable.
  • Plenty of storage for gear.

Cons

  • Definitely on the expensive side of the spectrum.
  • Awkward for storage or transport due to lard hard shell design.

This is possibly the best fishing kayak that you can find for under $600, considering that it is especially geared towards anglers. Since it is so large and a little heavier than other kayaks, it would probably be best used with more than one person, but that is not a necessity. It is a simple design, with a lot of the benefits of some of the more expensive fishing kayaks available, without unnecessary features driving up the cost.

Editor Rating:

This is one of the best fishing kayaks available, with a generous amount of below deck storage, molded fishing rod holders, and a “Twist and Stow rudder” for excellent maneuverability. It claims to be stable enough for standing casts, though it is definitely on the heavier side of the spectrum. It also comes equipped with Mirage Drive 180, which is a hands-free, peddles operated reverse propulsion system, allowing for added agility in the water. Obviously, something this high-tech doesn’t come cheap.

best fishing kayak

Pros

  • Unsurpassed maneuverability.
  • Great storage space, for gear.
  • Rod holders and standing casts.

Cons

  • This is the most expensive kayak on the list.
  • Extra-large size makes it awkward to store and transport.
  • Very heavy.

This is one of the best fishing kayaks available but, while the high-tech features of this kayak make it very cool, they also make it very expensive, and one has to ask themselves if they really need a hands-free reverse propulsion system on their kayak. After all, if you want a boat that you don’t need to paddle, go and get yourself something with a motor, for almost the same price.

Final Word

So now that you have some examples of the best fishing kayaks that are available on the market, hopefully, you can make an informed decision about the best fishing kayak for your specific needs. Whether you are looking for something specifically made for hardcore fishing trips, or you are looking for something that is geared toward family fun, or you just want a cool kayak that can do a little bit of everything, there is something out there for you. The most important features to remember, is that it is the best fishing kayak for YOU that it is FUN! So get out there, and get fishing.

(FAQ) Frequently Asked Questions About Best Fishing Kayak

Which Kayak Should I Buy?

Is kayaking a good way to stay fit?

What should I Wear kayaking?

Is there a weight limit on a kayak?

How fast can you go on a kayak?