11 Best Fishing Kayaks: Your Buyer’s Guide

best fishing kayak

Vibe Kayaks

In the world of both fresh and saltwater angling, kayaks have taken off as the vessel of choice to chase fish from. More portable and less expensive than other traditional fishing boat alternatives, it makes sense that more and more anglers are choosing to add a fishing kayak to their arsenal of gear.

We’ve put together a top list of the best fishing kayaks currently on the market so you can find what vessel is best for your favorite stream, lake or stretch of coastline and get on the water.

old town topwater fishing kayak Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Pedal drive keeps your hands free and is brilliant for covering lots of water
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Lots of deck space for standing and actively fishing
Price: $1,999.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
feel free lure fishing kayak Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Excellent stability while stand-up fishing
  • Patented “wheel-on-the-keel” allows you to transport this kayak on your own easily
  • Gravity seat is great for long sits
Price: $1,099.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Wilderness Systems Radar 135 Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Plenty of deck space for standing
  • Slidetrax rail system
  • Hybrid pedal or paddle kayak
Price: $1,499.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 Kayak Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Impressively lightweight at just 42 pounds
  • Slidetrax rail system is perfect for adding your favorite accessories
  • Nifty side pockets within the cockpit
Price: $759.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
ocean kayak prowler Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Sleek hull built for speed without sacrificing stability
  • Tons of above and under-deck storage
  • Equipped with rod holders and paddle stays, keeping your hands free
Price: $949.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
feelfree moken 10 lite Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Wheel-on-the-keel makes for easy transport to the waters edge
  • Unitrack rail system makes this boat customizable in all the right places
  • Highly rated for comfort/posture assist
Price: $741.19 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Only nine feet and 46 pounds!
  • Very reasonably priced
  • Includes four rod holders
Price: $478.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 130T 13 Foot Tandem Angler Kayak Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Very reasonable price for how much boat you are getting
  • Can accomodate a small trolling motor
  • Center seat compatible for adding a child, or for paddling solo
Price: $1,128.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Brooklyn Kayak Company fishing kayak Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Includes seven rod holders across the boat
  • Lightweight at just 68 pounds- especially if your loading/unloading with a friend
  • Comes with two paddles & seats included
Price: $887.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Sundolphin fishing kayak Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Portable accessible carrier (P.A.C) can be used for a variety of purposes
  • Open deck is easily customizable
  • Very light vessel at about 40 pounds that's easily loaded and unloaded into/onto your vehicle
Price: $799.25 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Very affordable
  • Comes with an adjustable rod holder
  • Five year limited warranty
Price: $448.71 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Old Town Topwater PDL Angler Fishing Kayak

    • Pedal drive keeps your hands free and is brilliant for covering lots of water
    • Lightweight and portable at just 100 pounds (with the pedal drive included)
    • Lots of deck space for standing and actively fishing
    • Easily equipped with mounted accessories and electronics
    • 450 pound weight capacity and tons of gear storage
    • Comfortable, elevated seating that puts you nice and high on the water
    • Fairly expensive
    • Pedal drive snags line if fly fishing - make sure to use a stripping basket or face the stern to avoid frustration
    • Rear carry handle is a bit awkward

    Old Town’s Topwater Pedal Drive Fishing Kayak is a seriously awesome angling tool for kayak fishermen who cover a lot of water.

    I was sent a Topwater PDL to run gear trials on last season, and I’ve been really impressed with the boat’s performance. I own several fishing kayaks, but the Topwater is my go-to for most days on the water because of its awesome portability and on the water features. 

    You gotta love the luxury of a pedal drive. By using your legs rather than arms to power your kayak, your hands are free to fish! You can move and cast at the same time, effectively troll and even make minor positioning adjustments when anchored at the tap of a pedal!

    Steering is super precise and simple using the hand rudder control and man oh man does this kayak move quick! You could practically water ski off the back of this vessel the propellor is so efficient! 

    Pedal drive kayaks are a particularly great option for anglers with reduced mobility, make sure to check out our list of the best pedal kayaks for some other killer options! If you’re a serious angler looking for the best of the best, the Predator PDL also by Old Town is another crowd favorite worth looking into!

    This boat is just under a 100 pounds (with the removable pedal drive included) and 10.5 feet long so it’s easy enough to load and unload it on your own. Im able to load it into the back of my Subaru Outback alone, but need a hand when putting it up on my roof racks. All in all it’s a very portable kayak considering the amount of deck space and storage capacity. 

    The prop furthermore has a 5-year warranty so you can buy in confidence! It is worth mentioning that if you’re a fly fisherman, the pedal drive will snag your line while standing up and casting in the Topwater. You need to either wear a stripping basket or be super conscious of your line management if you want to avoid frustrating line snags. Spin fishermen will have no issue.

    I love the amount of above and below deck storage space with this kayak – there’s no shortage of room to bring along all your gear. The weight capacity is 450 pounds, so you won’t have any issues bringing along all your equipment. Additional rod mounts, electronics and other accessories are furthermore easily added to the Topwater using the provided rail system. I have a Garmin fishfinder installed on my boat and the wiring and installation was a total breeze!

    For those looking for a fishing kayak to really go the distance with, the Topwater PDL is up for anything! 

  2. 2. Feel Free Lure 11.5 Fishing Kayak

    • Excellent stability while stand-up fishing
    • Patented “wheel-on-the-keel” allows you to transport this kayak on your own easily
    • Tons of deck space for gear in addition to the dry well, center console and recessed keel
    • Included gravity seat is the Cadillac of kayak seating, allowing you to fish for hours without feeling jammed up and in need of a stretch
    • The accessories offered by Feel Free for mounting on the rail system are pricey, so be prepared to spend some more dough if you want to customize this kayak with attachments by the same manufacturer
    • Coming in at 76 pounds, this kayak is barely light enough to be put on a car top by yourself
    • Built in rod holders are not very deep

    The Feel Free Lure 11.5 Fishing Kayak is a sit-on-top kayak with tons of deck space that is to me, the standard for stand-up fishing kayaks.

    Its tough polyethylene hull is designed particularly for stability while fishing. Although not the speediest boat when paddling longer distances, this boat tracks very well and can’t be beat when it comes to keeping an even deck. I purchased a Lure 11.5 last spring and can personally attest to this boats incredible stability.

    I stand and cast a fly rod with complete confidence that I won’t take a spill. It’s a fantastic boat for sight fishing due to how high it puts you above the water – perfect for finding those bass beds during the spawn! If you’re looking for a boat to fly fish from then look no further, this kayak provides excellent casting space from both the sitting and standing position.

    Feel Free’s patented gravity seat is a major game-changer when it comes to comfortability and practicality while fishing. You can paddle with the seat lowered flush with the deck for maximum stability and paddling strength, or lift the seat to its highest setting in order to stretch your legs and get a great vantage point over the water.

    A uni-track rail system on the front of the boat makes this kayak totally customizable – great for the serious kayak fishermen looking to put all the bells and whistles on their boat. Rod holders, a center console, a dry well and recessed storage space on the stern make this boat the full package.

    Perhaps the coolest feature of this kayak is the wheel-on-the-keel; allowing you to simply lift the bow and roll your yak right to the water. Feel Free also offers this model in 10 foot and 13 foot lengths, so if you’re looking for just a little less or a little more boat, they’ve got you covered.

    A top of the line kayak that can be customized to your needs, the Lure 11.5 is what so many of the other kayaks out there are trying to emulate. 

  3. 3. Wilderness Systems Radar 135

    • Plenty of deck space for standing
    • Hybrid paddle or pedal kayak if you purchase Wilderness System's pedal drive
    • Adjustable and removable seat is quite comfortable and well reviewed by anglers
    • Self bailing scupper holes keep the deck from pooling so you and your gear stay dry
    • Slidetrax rail system is perfect for customizing this kayak with your favorite accessories
    • The length and width may be excessive for some, making this boat impossible to load on or into some vehicles
    • The weight of this kayak (87 pounds) may discourage some from hauling it to the waters edge on their own
    • Wilderness Systems Helix PD Pedal Drive is sold eparate and quite expensive

    The Wilderness Systems Radar 135 is a great option for the angler that appreciates space that can be either paddled or pedaled depending on your preference.

    At 13.5 feet, it’s quite a large kayak designed for both comfort and functionality. The deck is extra wide, adding to this boat’s stability when standing or when paddling through rough waters.

    The seat is removable and also raises to a lifted position for getting up above the water. This is another great boat for a full range of motion while casting a fly rod or longer surfcasting gear.

    Equipped with a cup holder and paddle mount, this kayak is designed to keep your hands free while fishing or relaxing. Orbix bow and midship hatches provide you with plenty of dry storage space to go along with the bungee storage well located on the stern. The “slidetrax” system on either side of the bow allows for further modification and additions to the boat- great for adding some more rod holders or equipping some electronics.

    This boat is a great option for those interested in doing some ocean fishing due to its longer length and width. It’s a sea-worthy kayak that’s up for the challenge of taking some swells while you crank in the big one. Self-bailing scupper holes ensure that acquired water moves out of the boat, keeping the deck space as dry as possible.

    With a 550 pound weight capacity, you won’t have to leave any gear behind. Although its size makes the 135 Max a challenge to load up, comfort carry handles assist in moving the boat to and from your vehicle. If you have the means to transport this bad boy, then definitely consider the comfortability and customization potential of the Radar 135.

  4. 4. Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 Kayak

    • Slidetrax rail system is perfect for adding your favorite accessories
    • Lightweight (42 pounds) and easy to transport with the included handles
    • Included seat is praised by anglers as one of the more comfortable seats on the market
    • Nifty side pockets within the cockpit for stowing smaller items
    • Highly customizeable option
    • Does not come equipped with any rod holders
    • The recessed seat within the cockpit may impair casting a fly rod although protects from splash and wind
    • Organization potential is not as extensive as a lot of the competition

    The Tarpon 100 Kayak by Wilderness Systems is another killer option for the serious angler looking to buy a full-feature, yet straightforward fishing kayak.

    I like that the seat is partially set down into the cockpit – making for a bit more of a sheltered ride than the standard sit-on-top kayak. This characteristic will no doubt reduce the effect of wind blowing you like a sail as it so often does in kayaks with exposed cockpits.

    A large stern tank well with included bungee system ensures you’ll have space for a cooler or other cumbersome gear without jamming up your deck space. Two Orbix hatches are located on the bow and between the legs of the paddler for stowing smaller gear safely and dryly. A few extra bungees on the bow and in the cockpit add to this boat’s storage capacity.

    Wilderness System’s slidetrax rail system adds huge potential to what this yak can do. A good track system on the rails of a kayak is to me, pivotal. Mounting some electronics, rod holders or camera mounts is a breeze with the tracks provided on this boat. The center plate in the cockpit located above the included cup holder would, in my opinion, be ideal for mounting a fish finder or GPS.

    Customer reviews rave about the comfortability of the Phase 3 Airpro sit-on-top seat. The seat is very well padded as well as ventilated for keeping that breeze around on those hotter days. Surprisingly, the Tarpon 100 weighs in at just 42 pounds, quite light for such an all-inclusive boat.

    At ten feet, this boat is a great intermediate size – not too large to transport nor too small for handling rougher waters. The manageable weight is really appreciated after those long days of paddling. Unfortunately, there are no rod holders included with the Tarpon 100 off the shelf, so plan on mounting a few on the slidetrax rail system before getting on the water.

    Overall, this kayak by Wilderness Systems is a high-end boat with a ton of customization potential so you can personalize it to fit your fishing style. Check out this video for a run-through of the Tarpon 100’s features!

  5. 5. Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Fishing Kayak

    • Sleek hull built for speed without sacrificing stability
    • Equipped with rod holders and paddle stays, keeping your hands free
    • Front hatch opens up to an under deck compartment spanning the length of the boat for stowing all your extra gear dryly
    • The deck generally reflects heat on hot days
    • Reasonable price point for a boat of this size
    • Seat can become uncomfortable after a few hours (Ocean Kayak does offer an upgrade)
    • Placement of the rod holders is a little awkward, requiring a big reach from the cockpit
    • Although quite stable, this is not a stand up kayak

    The Prowler 13 by Ocean Kayak is another great option if interested in a sit-on-top fishing kayak that’s both impressively stable for enduring choppy conditions as well as streamlined for covering water quickly.

    The performance hull of this boat is designed for speed, but also provides plenty of stability if paddling in the ocean. The rear storage space located in the stern is oversized to accommodate for whatever gear you want to bring out on the water – coolers, tackle boxes or even scuba tanks can be secured with the bungee system.

    There’s plenty of dry storage space as well, a small hatch in the cockpit and larger storage well in the bow. The large hatch in the front of the boat opens to a compartment within the hull that stretches from bow to stern – so there’s a ton of under deck storage. Ocean Kayak even recommends stowing extra fishing poles below deck because of the length of the compartment, which is a cool innovation in kayak storage potential if you ask me.

    The Prowler 13 also comes equipped with two rod holders located behind the seat, so don’t worry, you can comfortably keep your rods above deck as well.

    There are also two paddle holders on either side of the boat as well as two cup holders. The Prowler 13 is meant to keep your hands free and deck clear while you pursue the big one. This kayak is also transducer compatible, so be prepared to rig up your favorite electronics to the cockpit.

    The small center console with bungee clip could be the perfect place to mount a fish finder. This boat can also be paired with a rudder kit for those who want optimum tracking while fishing in rougher waters or on the high seas.

    Although some customer reviews claim you can stand in this kayak, it is not a stand-up kayak and you may find yourself in the water if you get ambitious and attempt to fish from your feet. None the less, the fact that some anglers are well balanced enough to fish standing in the Prowler speaks volumes about this boat’s stability.

    Ocean Kayak builds their boats to last, so between the skid plate and tough polyethylene hull, this kayak should hold up for years with the proper maintenance. All in all, this is a reliable, capable and affordable kayak with plenty of fishermen friendly features on board.

  6. 6. Feel Free Moken 10 Lite Fishing Kayak

    • Wheel-on-the-keel makes for easy transport to the waters edge
    • Unitrack rail system makes this boat customizable in all the right places
    • Kingfisher seat is highly rated for comfort and posture while casting
    • Wide deck provides plenty of space for casting as well as great stability while paddling
    • Particularly lightweight option
    • The Moken 10 although very stable, is not a stand up kayak
    • Due to the width of this kayak, you may have issues fitting in the back of your station wagon or hatchback
    • Fairly expensive

    The Moken 10 Lite by Feel Free is another killer kayak I cannot recommend enough for those seeking a particularly portable and easy to transport option.

    A few of my fishing pals own this boat, and although they envy my Lure 11.5, they absolutely love fishing from the Moken. A bit more compact and one and a half feet shorter than the Lure 11.5, the Moken is a sweet alternative to Feel Free’s top-end models.

    The patented wheel-on-the-keel allows you to roll this kayak right from your vehicle to the water’s edge. To be honest, sometimes I wish I owned the Moken myself when I watch my buddy toss it right in the back of his Subaru Outback.

    The unitrack rail system on both sides of the boat allow for maximum customization and can fit a wide array of accessories. The Moken comes equipped with the Kingfisher seat providing a very comfortable ride. Two flush mount rod holders behind the seat and the paddle mounts on either rail enable you to keep your deck clutter-free.

    Like the Lure, the Moken also comes with a water-resistant center console that is awesome for stowing your personal items; it’s a simple feature that I can’t say enough about. An eight-inch circular rubber hatch located between the legs of the paddler adds to this boat’s storage capacity. Side pockets and two cup holders on the rails also give you a bit more space for bringing along snacks and beverages.

    If you are looking for a fishing kayak you can stand up in, then consider the Moken 12.5 – it’s essentially the same boat but with a bit more deck space equipped with a standing pad. The Moken 10 although not a stand-up kayak, is still an excellent choice for those looking to fly fish from their vessel.

    The deck is open and the Kingfisher seat gets you above the water enough for plenty of backcast without slapping the water!

    All in all, this boat by Feel Free has everything you need to crush it on the water and impress your friends. The fishing systems by Feel Free are truly state of the art and tough to rival – check out this video for a run-through of the Moken line to find the yak best suited for you.

  7. 7. Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90

    • Only nine feet and 46 pounds!
    • Great deck width for solid stability
    • Includes four rod holders in the back and front of the boat
    • V-Wave Center Hatch and storage wells in the bow and stern provide impressive storage and organization capacity for such a small vessel
    • Very reasonably priced
    • Some reviews complaining that the seat becomes uncomfortable after a few hours of use (replaceable)
    • Shorter length rules this kayak out as a stand-up vessel
    • No track system on the rails - so any accessory customization will require some ingenuity

    The Skipjack 90 by Vibe Kayaks is perhaps the best boat for the value included in this review – for the cost, you’ll be blown away by what this kayak has to offer.

    Constructed with roto-molded high density polyethylene, this is another tough hulled boat that should stand up to some good wear and tear.

    At nine feet, the Skipjack is an awesome length for popping in the back of a station wagon or truck bed with ease. Although it’s a bit shorter than a lot of other fishing kayaks on the market, the 32-inch width of this kayak makes it a top competitor when it comes to stability.

    There are four flush mount rod holders included, two on the front rails and two behind the seat, so no need to go purchasing modifications or mounts. A cup holder, and open cockpit add to the Skipjack’s efficiency as a fishing vessel. Vibe Kayaks really knows how to make a nine-foot fishing kayak feel like an 11+ foot boat — the width of the deck being a major factor here.

    A recessed storage space with bungee tie-downs in the stern provides plenty of room for stowing gear as well as two sealed hatches in the bow and cockpit. Paddle mounts on either side of the cockpit ensure your hands will stay fishing.

    At just 46 pounds, perhaps the best trait of this kayak is its light weight. For a fishing yak with the whole nine yards, it’s quite portable and easy to handle on your own. Four handles on the bow, stern and rails make for easy transport with the help of a friend or solo.

    The Skipjack is praised as an excellent boat for beginners and advanced kayakers, so no matter your skillset, you’re gonna want to check this boat out!

  8. 8. Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 130T 13 Foot Tandem Angler Kayak

    • Very reasonable price for how much boat you are getting
    • Four pre set mounting points for adding further accessories
    • Center seat compatible for adding a child, or for paddling solo
    • Stable enough to accommodate a small trolling motor
    • Vibe Hero seats are spacious and put you nice and high above the water
    • Paddles included
    • Complaints that this kayak doesn’t track well
    • Quite a heavy boat if transporting on your own
    • Not a ton of organization potential

    The Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 130T 13 Foot Tandem Angler allows you to bring a fishing friend along at a very reasonable price point.

    This boat, like the Skipjack 90, is very modestly priced for its included features and overall design. If you and a fishing buddy are looking to split the cost of a boat, then this is a great go-to. Furthermore, there are three different seating positions, so if you choose to pop one of the seats out then you could effectively have this whole boat to yourself.

    The Yellowfin has all the features included with the Skipjack 90; four rod holders, paddle holders, two covered hatches for storage as well as four carrying handles. With a 500-pound weight capacity, there’s plenty of room aboard for two passengers and a solid amount of gear. There’s even space in the center for a third seat to accommodate a child!

    The Yellowfin 130T also comes equipped with four mounting points on the rails (two on each side) so you can get creative and add a few accessories of your own. Customer reviews insist the vessel is stable enough to stand and fish in, although I wouldn’t recommend both passengers stand at the same time. At 80 pounds, you might consider pairing this boat with a kayak dolly if you plan on using it solo.

    The weight although challenging to handle on your own is appreciated when on the water alone or with a buddy. Despite its longer length, the boat maneuvers easily and is capable of some good speed. Some anglers have even mounted a small trolling motor to the stern, proving its versatility as a very customizable kayak.

  9. 9. BKC 12.5 Foot Sit On Top Tandem Fishing Kayak

    • Lightweight at just 68 pounds- especially if your loading/unloading with a friend
    • Fairly lightweight at just 68 pounds- especially if your loading/unloading with a friend
    • Includes seven rod holders across the boat
    • Two waterproof compartments for sensitive gear and a rear cargo area for securing larger items
    • Integrated paddle mounts
    • Comes with two paddles and seats included
    • Aluminum paddles are adequate, but not the highest quality
    • Customer complaints that orientation of the flush mount rod holders interferes with paddling
    • Weight capacity is only 440 pounds, not leaving much room for gear if both passengers are on the heavy side

    This tandem kayak by Brooklyn Kayak Company is a seriously sweet ride for any die-hard duo looking to get into some fish that comes ready with everything you need to gear up with a friend and get fishing!

    The UH-TK181 comes with two lightweight aluminum paddles and two padded kayak seats included, so you and your buddy are ready to get on the water as soon as this boat comes off the shelf!

    The seats are removable, so if you choose to ride solo then you might consider removing the front seat for added deck space and casting berth. I love to bring my dog along while fishing in my rowboat, but I think removing the seat in a kayak like this would provide plenty of deck space for a pooch.

    There’s paddle rests on both sides of the boat for each passenger, as well as four flush mount AND three adjustable rod holders. Yes, that’s right, seven-rod holders total.

    There’s a dry well in front of each seat, as well as a rear cargo storage area with a bungee tie-down system. Each seat also has a pocket in back – so there’s no shortage of space for stowing gear. The hull is a bit more narrow and sleek than a lot of the other kayaks listed in this review, so if you’re looking for speed then consider checking this boat out.

    Customer reviews claim the UH-TK181 tracks well and maintains good stability on the water despite its sleeker build. At just 68 pounds, two people could really get this thing moving – a great boat for paddling into those more remote fishing spots without killing yourself.

  10. 10. Sun Dolphin Journey 10-Foot Sit-on-Top Fishing Kayak

    • Very affordable option considering all the included features
    • Open deck is easily customizable
    • Portable accessible carrier (P.A.C) can be used for a variety of purposes
    • Very light vessel at about 40 pounds that's easily loaded and unloaded into/onto your vehicle
    • Polyethylene hull is thin and susceptible to wear if abused
    • Buoyancy is focused in the stern, so there are issues tracking
    • Lower weight limit (250 pounds) and little leg room - not the kayak for larger built fishermen

    The Sun Dolphin Journey is a great economical option for the strapped for cash or amateur angler who wants to get off the shoreline and onto the water.

    With plenty of included features, this kayak is truly a great value for the price. Perfect for getting out on the lake or stream, this boat is compact and great for sneaking into your favorite honey hole. At around 40 pounds, the Journey is easily lifted onto a car-top or into a truck bed.

    The open cockpit comes equipped with a cup holder, a mounted adjustable rod holder, two side pouches and a bungee system on the bow for stowing gear. There are also thigh pads located on the rails of the cockpit as well as adjustable footpegs for added comfortability. Two additional flush mount rod holders are located behind the seat so you can bring a variety of rods out on your excursions.

    The Journey comes with a waterproof portable accessible carrier (P.A.C.) which can be removed from the stern and towed – a pretty neat feature for such a budget kayak. The weight capacity is only 250 pounds, so this boat is best for smaller built fishermen and perfect for kids. Customer reviews complain that the scupper holes let more water in than out, so I would suggest plugging them if you want to ensure a dry deck.

    The standard seat is adequate for long days on the water, but also easily removable and upgraded if you choose to install something a bit more luxurious. All in all, this kayak is by no means a top of the line product, but for the price this is an excellent boat.

    For the do-it-yourself type, with a little elbow grease, this economy fishing vessel could serve as an awesome template for some improvements through customization. Check out this video for an idea of what’s possible with the Sun Dolphin Journey.

  11. 11. Lifetime Tamarack Sit-On-Top Kayak

    • Great price - only pay for what you need in a fishing kayak
    • Comes with an adjustable rod holder located in the prime location for hands free bait fishing
    • Tough hull capable of taking a beating coupled with a five year limited warranty
    • Great intermediate size that is easy to handle on your own yet quite seaworthy
    • Seat bottom is not padded, so if you’re looking for comfort you’ll have to modify something
    • No track system on the rails, so if you DO want to customize this kayak you’ll have to drill some holes>
    • Not a good kayak for standing

    The Tamarack Sit-On-Top Kayak by Lifetime is a highly affordable and straightforward boat for the simple fishermen – but that doesn’t mean you can’t customize it to fit your fishing style.

    If you’re interested in a no-frills fishing kayak that does the job without all the bells and whistles of competitors, then this is the boat for you. Although the Tamarack is a simple vessel, it still has all the most important features a fishing kayak needs to be effective and enjoyable on the water.

    Two six-inch storage compartments on the front and rear of the deck allow for stowing gear out of sight and out of the way. Shock cord straps on the bow and stern add to the Tamarack’s storage capacity. The material used for this boat is a UV-protected high-density polyethylene, so the hull is super tough and prepared for some wear and tear.

    Two flush mount rod holders located behind the seats allow you to bring a few rods out, and a third adjustable rod holder on the starboard side of the cockpit is perfect for actively fishing bait. Multiple footrest positions ensure the cockpit can comfortability accommodate any size angler. Deep hull tracking channels run the length of the flat bottomed hull, so this boat is pretty darn stable while paddling or fishing in rougher waters.

    At ten feet long, the Tamarack is a great intermediate length that provides plenty of deck space without becoming too cumbersome to transport or maneuver. Weighing in at 52 pounds, this boat should be quite manageable to load/unload on your own. Lifetime offers a five-year limited warranty on this kayak, but we doubt you’ll need it due to its rugged design.

    Solid construction, stable design and all the necessary features you need in a fishing kayak without having to pay for anything extra – this yak is an awesome choice for the economy angler who can catch fish out of anything.

    Check out this video for a look at how you might customize the Tamarack!

Fishing Kayaks Have Come a Long Way 

There have been some killer advances in recent years that have turned the average kayak into a fully equipped fishing boat with everything you need to get on the water in comfort and style - and with all your required gear!

Between all the options available, kayaks are no longer the poor man's alternative to rowboats and motorboats when it comes to angling. With so many different options on the market these days, there's something out there specific to your fishing needs.

Portable Fishing Kayaks

While we all wish we could own a full-feature, highly equipped kayak, many of the more set-up options are just unrealistic for car-top, hatchback and even truck bed transport.

If you're seeking a fishing kayak that's particularly portable yet still well-equipped for angling, here are our top picks:

Kayaks For Fly Fishing

Fly fishermen have a different set of needs while fishing from a kayak that can, fortunately, be satisfied by many of the available modern kayak designs.

Traditional kayaks are quite difficult to fly fish from for two main reasons: line management and seat height. It's a challenge keeping your line up and above the water when casting from a low-to-the-water boat, and even more challenging keeping your line from snagging up on your seat, legs or other components of the deck/cockpit.

Keep in mind if you want to utilize a pedal kayak for fly fishing, you may need to utilize a stripping basket so your line doesn't hand up on the pedals.

Our favorite kayaks for fly fishing that provide clean, open deck spaces for line management and nice and high seating or stand-up capabilities for easier casting include: 

Ocean Fishing Kayaks

Saltwater anglers chasing game fish in more high energy, choppy conditions will require a particularly stable boat that provides the confidence to push the regular limits of a kayak and explore water farther from shore. 

Ocean fishing kayaks furthermore ought to be equipped with a high degree of storage and organization potential in order to accommodate for multiple rods, larger coolers, GPS systems, and the necessary safety equipment.

Ideally, your ocean fishing kayak will be fast-moving as well considering the longer distances involved with fishing up and down coastlines and in the open ocean. It's challenging to have both a super stable and streamlined kayak - the hull is only really capable of achieving one or the other characteristics. This makes pedal kayaks a particularly good option for ocean fishing due to their wider, stable designs and impressive propulsion systems.

Some of our favorite kayaks for ocean fishing include:

Pedal Kayaks

Pedal propulsion is a brilliant innovation in the kayaking world that allows for far faster speeds and greatly reduced exertion.

Our top list of pedal kayaks has compiled the best available options, so make sure to check it out if you like the idea of owning a particularly fast kayak that allows you to cover more water while keeping your hands free.

Kayak Fishing Accessories: 

If you're purchasing a highly customizable option, then you'll have the ability to outfit your fishing kayak with an array of accessories to enhance your fishing experience. Remember that kayaks have come a long way when it comes to angling applications, so you can truly set them up to support your fishing style

Here are some accessories to consider for your new personal fishing boat:

Accessory mounts: Many fishing kayaks have track systems and mounting plates for attaching accessory mounts for rod holders, electronics and more. A few different reliable options for effectively mounting your accessories and gear include:

Anchor systems and anchors: Don't forget to purchase a reliable anchor for your fishing kayak if wind is a factor where you're angling. While tying a kayak anchor to a line and simply tying it to your stern or bow works just fine, there are some pretty handy anchor systems that simplify and better organize the way you drop and pull anchor out there! Some of our favorite anchors and anchor systems include: 

Rod holders: There are a ton of different options for kayak rod mounts available on the market - just be sure whatever you purchase is compatible with the accessory mounts you have equipped on your vessel. Some of our favorite rod mounts include:

Camera mounts: Don't forget to purchase yourself a camera mount if you enjoy capturing photos and footage while out on the water! A few reliable options for easy install and versatile application include:

Paddle mounts: If your vessel doesn't have an integrated paddle holder, you'll absolutely want to install a device to keep your hands free once it's time to start fishing. A few reliable options include:

GPS/Fish Finders: Owning a full-feature fishing kayak means you have multiple ways to mount and utilize electronics. While it may seem like overkill at first, don't overlook the advantages of a fish finder and/or GPS unit. Having the ability map your location and drop waypoints, as well the ability to view the topography and bottom-structure can really give you an edge out there - not to mention the fish-finding ability of modern age sonar!

While fish finders and GPS units for kayak application warrant their own top list entirely, a few of our top picks include:

Power sources: If you plan on running lighting or electronics on your kayak, then you'll need a power source. Your typical trolling motor battery will be a bit too large, but there are less heavy and cumbersome alternatives perfect for kayaking applications. Check out the following for some solid value options:

Sound System: While the through-hull, pre-set holes for running electrical wiring that some kayaks feature could technically connect a sound system to a power source, there are some particularly great speakers for on-the-water use. Our favorites include:

See Also:

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