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 so you can find what vessel is best for your favorite stream, lake, or stretch of coastline and get on the water.
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1. BOTE Lono Aero Inflatable Kayak & Stand Up Paddle BoardPros:
- Convertible vessel from stand-up kayak to SUP in seconds
- Inflatable design is remarkably portable when broken down into the roller bag, measuring just 39 by 18.5 by 13.5 inches
- Top chamber on the stern can be removed for additional storage and also used as a floaty, or aqua-bar
- Integrated rod rack receivers, KULA cooler/5-gallon bucket port, sandspear sheath, front and rear storage bungees, external D-rings, and stash nets for gear organization and storage
- 4-chambered construction for enhanced stability
- 10-inch removable fin for improved tracking
- Military-grade PVC construction with an added keel guard for an excellent degree of durability
- BVA deck pad for added comfort
- Self-draining cockpit and elevated seating
- Built in grab handles for easier moving around of the vessel
- Kit includes a roller bag, hand pump, center fin, foot bar, and repair kit
- Two year manufacturer’s warranty
- Fairly heavy for an inflatable vessel at 70 pounds, but still totally manageable to transport on your own
- No kayak or SUP paddle included
- Fairly expensive option
The BOTE Lono Aero Inflatable Kayak & Stand Up Paddle Board is a wonderfully capable and versatile fishing kayak that offers exceptional portability along with a wide assortment of fishy features. The brand sent me a Lono to field test, and its performance on the water is in my opinion, unmatched by any other inflatable fishing kayak on the water.
Being an inflatable fishing boat, this vessel breaks down to just 39 by 18.5 by 13.5 inches when deflated and rolled into the included roller bag. While this kayak is indeed inflatable, don’t let it fool you into thinking it’s not durable. The military-grade PVC construction with an added keel guard makes for an excellent degree of toughness, so you’ll have to try really hard to puncture or damage this vessel.
You’ll be blown away by how much boat is packed within this compact inflatable package. Anglers who don’t have the space to store, or means to transport a hard-bodied fishing kayak will discover that the Lono is the farthest thing from a compromise when it comes to selecting a highly capable personal fishing vessel.
This is also a convertible vessel from stand-up kayak to SUP in just seconds, so if you want to ditch the removable seat and maximize your deck space and gear potential, you’ll find it paddles wonderfully as a SUP. There is also a pedal drive accessory available for purchase if you really want to cover some water.
Fly fishermen and anglers who prefer to stand up in their boat will be delighted to discover the Lono is super stable for stand-up casting and paddling. It’s also worth noting that the hull draws very little water, so this is a deadly vessel for sneaking up onto shallow ledges and tidal flats. With a little practice and the right tool, you can furthermore pole yourself around quite effectively.
Equipped with integrated rod rack receivers, a KULA cooler/5-gallon bucket port, sandspear sheath, front and rear storage bungees, external D-rings, and stash nets for gear organization and storage, this is truly a fishing machine designed for serious anglers. A self-draining cockpit and elevated seating along with a BVA deck pad for added comfort go on to ensure you remain dry and comfortable all day long.
The inflatable chamber on the stern that features a cut-out for bringing along a cooler or bait bucket can furthermore be removed if you rather utilize all of your deck space. This takes the Lono’s gear capacity from great, to excellent. This removable chamber is also a ton of fun to use as a floaty or aqua bar…just saying.
Unlike the majority of inflatable kayak options, the Lono is built with a 4-chambered construction for enhanced stability and also includes a removable 10-inch fin for improved tracking. This means it behaves more like traditional hard-kayaks than an inflatable – mostly in regards to tracking and speed.
The total weight of this vessel is 70 pounds – quite heavy for an inflatable, but indicative of this kayak’s durable build and awesome assortment of integrated features.
This kit includes a roller bag, hand pump, center fin, foot bar, and repair kit in addition to the kayak, and there is a wide array of additional accessories available for further customization.
2. Old Town Topwater PDL Angler Fishing KayakPros:
- 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!
3. Perception Outlaw 11.5 Sit-on-Top Fishing KayakPros:
- Generously sized kayak at 11.5 feet long, and 35 inches wide
- Weighs just 77 pounds, and offers a 425 pound maximum load capacity
- Wide open, self-draining deck is great for standing
- Two double-barrel rod holders can accommodate up to four fishing rods
- Three solo mount recesses enable you to easily add mounts and accessory holders (sold separately) without drilling into the boat
- Molded-in trays and cup holders are perfect for stashing tackle boxes, beverages, and other items
- 35L cooler storage area can also be used as a seat
- Large bow and stern tank wells provide ample storage for an abundance of fishing gear
- Accessory tracks are present on both sides of the boat for mounting electronics, additional rod holders and more
- Multiple colors to choose from
- 77 pound weight is low considering this kayak's size and integrated features, but may still be challenging to load and transport on your own
- Design of the hull is intended for maximum stability, so paddling this kayak longer distances will be more exerting than more streamlined vessels
- Fairly expensive option
The Perception Outlaw 11.5 Sit-on-Top Fishing Kayak is quite an impressive personal fishing vessel designed for maximum comfort, big anglers, and extensive gear loads. If you’re seeking a top-notch, highly customizable kayak for your fishing adventures, this option rivals the best of the best at a significantly lower price point.
Generously sized at 11.5 feet long, and 35 inches wide and able to support up to 425 pounds, the Outlaw weighs just 77 pounds. This is a whole lot of boat, so the fact that the brand has kept this vessel under 80 pounds is worth noting. That being said, you’ll likely want to invest in a kayak cart in order to move this bad boy around without overstraining yourself.
The wide open, self-draining deck is great for standing and designed for minimal line snags and clutter, so fly fishermen and anglers who prefer to stand up when they point and shoot will appreciate the space and stability here. Particularly large fishermen will also no doubt appreciate the abundance of legroom and high degree of buoyancy here.
In regards to storage, two integrated double-barrel rod holders can accommodate up to four fishing rods, while large bow and stern tank wells provide ample storage for an abundance of fishing gear. Accessory tracks are also present on both sides of the boat for mounting electronics, additional rod holders, and more. Perception has even integrated three solo mount recesses that enable you to easily add mounts and accessory holders without having to drill holes into the kayak.
At the stern, a 35L cooler storage area offers room for a large gear crate, cooler, or bait box, and can also be used as a seat.
Perhaps best of all, on either side of the seat, there are molded-in trays and cup holders for stashing fly boxes, a cell phone, snack, and beverages to name just a few applications. A simple feature yes, but every avid kayak angler knows the value of having your essential items easily available and close on hand.
Available in a few different colors, the Outlaw is a wonderfully equipped, feature-rich boat suited for each and every style of fisherman.
4. Perception Pescador 12 Sit-on-Top Fishing KayakPros:
- Generously sized boat at 12 feet long and 32 inches wide
- Weighs just 64 pounds and features a max load capacity of 375 pounds
- Integrated gear tracks for adding accessories without having to drill holes
- Easy open dry front hatch with latching lid and a massive rear tank well offer a great degree of storage
- Two molded-in rod holders and a drink holder enable hands-free storage while paddling
- Comfort seating system with thick ventilated padding offers a nice degree of support and breathability
- Wide color selection to choose from
- Seating is bit recessed into the cockpit, so this boat does not offer especially good elevation
- Not designed for standing, although with a little practice, some fishermen might find they can balance up there just fine
- Fairly expensive vessel
The Perception Pescador 12 Sit-on-Top Fishing Kayak is a brilliantly engineered, highly customizable option that remains easily transportable for solo anglers despite its generous size and on-the-water capabilities.
At 12 feet long and 32 inches wide, the brand has managed to keep this vessel down to just 64 pounds. This means loading it from your kayak rack to your truck bed or car top will not break your back, so anglers seeking a full-feature angling vessel that’s not unreasonable to move on their own should perk their ears here.
This is more or less a hybrid sit-in/sit-on-top kayak in our opinion. The seating configuration enables an elevated position, but still keeps your thighs essentially flush with the side rails rather than poking up above them. This makes for a less wet paddling experience while still offering an elevated vantage and casting stance. The included comfort seating system furthermore features thick ventilated padding for a nice degree of both support and breathability.
An easy-open dry front hatch with a latching lid in addition to a massive rear tank well offer a great degree of storage potential, so you won’t have to leave any gear behind with this option. Integrated gear tracks for adding accessories without drilling holes into the boat are also present, so outfitting the Pescador with electronics and other add-ons is made easy. The brand has also of course included two molded-in rod holders and a drink holder into the design to enable hands-free storage while paddling.
While this kayak is not designed for standing, its hull has been engineered for excellent stability, so more spry anglers might find that they can comfortably stand up to sight for fish and cast – just don’t say we didn’t warn ya!
Built for luxurious comfort, easy portability, and a wonderful degree of personalization, the Pescador 12 is no doubt a stellar option for a wide spectrum of anglers targeting fish in a plethora of different environments.
5. Wilderness Systems Tarpon 105 KayakPros:
- Slidetrax rail system is perfect for adding your favorite accessories
- Generous weight capacity of 325 pounds is great for particularly heavy anglers and enables you to bring a ton of gear
- 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
- Limited organization potential compared to some of the competition
The Tarpon 105 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!
6. Wilderness Systems ATAK 120 Sit-on-Top Fishing KayakPros:
- Generous boat length at 12 feet 3 inches
- Total weight of 86 pounds features a max load capacty of 400 pounds
- Sidetracks at the front, rear and mid-section of the boat enable easy accessory attachment
- Patented suspension-style seat for all day comfort enables high, low and recline positions
- Large Rear tank well with adjustable bungee and gear security straps provides a safe space for your more cumbersome gear
- Stand-up assist strap and silent traction pads enable easy and stealthy standing while actively fishing
- Flex Pod OS removable console at the front of the cockpit paired with the transducer scupper enable easy installation of your favorite electronics
- A replaceable skid plate on the hull protects your boat from gnarly abrasions
- Keepers XL Footbrace system provide large padded footrests for support and comfort
- Multiple color options
- 86 pound weight may be difficult to transport for some paddlers
- Design of the paddle park on the bow is not for everyone, so consider purchasing your own paddle mount
- No integrated rod holders, but easily outfitted with aftermarket options
- Expensive option
The Wilderness Systems ATAK 120 Sit-on-Top Fishing Kayak is a serious vessel for serious anglers. While the price point of this option is certainly not low, after examining the integrated features and specs here, it’s easy to understand why this boat is well worth the cost.
Coming in at 12 feet 3 inches long and weighing 86 pounds, this is quite a cumbersome kayak. The maximum load capacity is 400 pounds, so particularly tall and heavy anglers with extensive gear loads will find a friend here.
A patented suspension-style seat provides all-day comfort and enables high, low and recline positions, so those who struggle to remain comfortable while seated out on the boat will rejoice when they kick back in this bad boy. A stand-up assist strap and silent traction pads go on to enable easy and stealthy standing while actively fishing, so alternating between a seated and standing position is made easy.
“Celebrated for its open customizable platform, unmatchable stability, and a wind-shedding deck”, the ATAK 120 has been engineered for both user-friendly operation, as well as a high degree of personalization based on your fishing style. Sidetracks at the front, rear, and mid-section of the boat enable easy accessory attachment, while the Flex Pod OS removable console at the bow paired with the transducer scupper allows for simple installation of your favorite electronics.
The ability to customize this vessel gives it huge potential, so if you feel like adding additional rod holders and electronics, or other accessories such as a boat umbrella, the possibilities are vast.
The center easy-access storage console goes on to provide you with a safe place to stash a beverage, snack, and cell phone – Wilderness Systems has truly hit all the bases here when it comes to convenience.
A large rear tank well with adjustable bungee and gear security straps provides a safe space for your more cumbersome gear, so bringing along a bait bucket, full-size cooler, or gear crate is no problem. The possible applications of the ATAK are truly endless when you consider the capacity for gear and degree of customization potential.
Not to be overlooked, a replaceable skid plate on the hull protects your boat’s stern from gnarly abrasions and scrapes – because if you’re going to spend over a thousand dollars on a premium fishing kayak, it should hold up in the long run, right?
Available in an array of sharp colors and patterns, the hardest part of selecting this top-notch vessel from Wilderness Systems might be choosing an aesthetic!
7. Wilderness Systems Radar 115Pros:
- 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
- 450-pound weight capacity is perfect for particularly heavy anglers and enables you to pack a ton of gear
- Slidetrax rail system is perfect for customizing this kayak with your favorite accessories
- Self bailing scupper holes keep the deck from pooling so you and your gear stay dry
- 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 (85 pounds) may discourage some from hauling it to the waters edge on their own
- Wilderness Systems Helix PD Pedal Drive is sold separate and is quite expensive
At just under 12 feet, it’s a fairly 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 450-pound weight capacity, you won’t have to leave any gear behind. Although its size makes the 115 Max a challenge to load up on your own, 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 115.
8. Wilderness Systems Recon 120 Fishing KayakPros:
- Highly versatile stand-up kayak that can be propelled by paddle, pedal, or motor
- Super customizable option featuring a 450-pound weight capacity perfect for gear-intesive anglers
- Expansive, notched tankwell provides a custom-crafted space perfect for stern storage of more cumbersome items and accessories
- Midship side pockets and tackle box recesses offer a high degree of orgnanization potential
- StowPro Storage System features an extra-large gasketed hatch and a mindfully configured bin for safe, organized storage
- Rear-mounted transducer area to ensure scanners are protected and optimally positioned
- Gunwales feature Dual Rod Troughs- a unique horizontal storage system that keeps rods on-hand and away from wind and breakage
- AirPro ACE seat offers fine-tuned ergonomics, featuring a breathable construction and a one-handed lever for quick adjustments
- Track system on the side rails for further accessory attachment
- Aftermarket motors can be equipped with a direct-to-boat stern mounting interface
- Very reasonably priced considering the awesome array of features and quality of craftsmanship here
- Helix Pedal Drive is sold separately, see the Recon 120 HD if you want the pedal drive included
- 95 pound weight might be difficult to manage on your own depending on your strength
- Although its impressively responsive for its weight, propelling this heavy-duty boat by paddle may be unrealistic over particularly long distances
The Recon 120 Fishing Kayak by Wilderness Systems is a brilliantly versatile option in stand-up kayak fishing that can be propelled by paddle, pedal, or motor depending on your preference and the angling context. An equally brilliant option for targeting largemouth on the pond, or mahi on the high seas, this kayak can do it all!
This is a super customizable option suitable for fresh or saltwater angling featuring a 12-foot length and 450-pound weight capacity that’s perfect for gear-intensive anglers. We furthermore find the Recon 120 to be very reasonably priced considering its highly inclusive array of awesome features and general quality of craftsmanship.
Featuring midship side pockets and tackle box recesses as well as an expansive, notched tankwell perfect for stern storage of more cumbersome items and accessories, you can pack all of your essential gear with this boat. The brand’s StowPro Storage System is also equipped here, featuring an extra-large gasketed hatch and a mindfully configured bin for secure, organized storage.
If that wasn’t enough, the gunwales of the Recon 120 feature Dual Rod Troughs – a unique horizontal storage system that keeps rods on-hand and away from wind and breakage. A track system is also present on the side rails for further accessory attachment, while a rear-mounted transducer area ensures your scanners are protected and optimally positioned.
These features make the Recon 120 a solid option for saltwater fishing contexts that take you far from the boat launch, not to mention the fact that aftermarket motors can be easily equipped with the direct-to-boat stern mounting interface.
Perhaps best of all, the AirPro ACE seat offers fine-tuned ergonomics, featuring a breathable construction and a one-handed lever for making rapid seating adjustments. This boat is just as comfortable as it is organized and capable on the water.
Versatile in its potential angling applications, designed with wonderfully coherent organization in mind, and very reasonably priced, the Recon 120 is without a doubt one of the best fishing kayak options on the market for serious anglers seeking a do-everything boat!
9. Pelican Basscreek 100XP Angler Sit-on-top Fishing KayakPros:
- At 10 feet long and only 50 pounds, this is an exceptionally portable kayak given its capabilities
- Includes a swivel rod holder, flush mount rod holders, and six accessory eyelets
- Multi-chine flat bottom hull offers excellent stability
- Adjustable ERGOFIT G2 seating system is designed with extra cushioning and airflow in mind for maximum comfort
- 4 inch dry hatch with storage bag and Quick Lock hatch provide you with waterproof storage for your wet-sensitive gear
- Storage platform at the stern with bungee tie downs is great for storing your more cumbersome gear
- Built-in paddle mount allows you to go hands free at a moment's notice
- Integrated angler ruler for quick and easy fish measurements
- Carry handles are present at the bow, stern, and sides of the boat for easy transport
- Excellent price point
- While this is a super stable fishing kayak, it's not designed for standing
- Max weight capacity of 325 pounds may be a bit low for particularly heavy anglers and their gear
- Lacks accessory tracks or mounting points for attaching additional gear and electronics
The Pelican Basscreek 100XP Angler Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak is a budget-friendly option with a focus on portability and seated stability. If you’re seeking a simple and straightforward fishing kayak and are not terribly concerned about outfitting your vessel with an array of accessories and electronics, this is a great go-to.
At 10 feet long and weighing in at only 50 pounds, this is an exceptionally easy to store and transport kayak given its on-the-water capabilities. That being said, the Basscreek 100XP will not leave you short on storage space, featuring a storage platform at the stern with bungee tie-downs, as well as a 4-inch dry hatch with storage bag and Quick Lock hatch.
An integrated swivel rod holder, flush mount rod holders, and six accessory eyelets go on to further boost this vessel’s ability to efficiently and effectively bring along your gear.
The multi-chine flat bottom hull offers excellent stability, while the adjustable ERGOFIT G2 seating system is designed with extra cushioning and airflow in mind in order to deliver all-day comfort. This kayak is not designed for standing and actively fishing, but the good news is, you won’t feel the nagging urge to get up and stretch your tired bones even after a full day on the water.
Additional fishing-specific features like the built-in angler ruler for quick and easy fish measurements and the integrated paddle mount further simplify and streamline the angling experience – Pelican has truly engineered a mindful budget boat with this one.
10. Lifetime Tamarack Sit-On-Top KayakPros:
- 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.
11. Sun Dolphin Journey 10-Foot Sit-on-Top Fishing KayakPros:
- 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.
12. Feel Free Lure 11.5 Fishing KayakPros:
- 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.
13. Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90Pros:
- 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!
14. Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Fishing KayakPrice: $949.99Pros:
- 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 effectively 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. Nonetheless, 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.
15. Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14Price: $4,049.00Pros:
- Outfitted with the powerful and quiet Hobie Mirage Drive 180 with Turbo Fins and a retractable rudder system for easily covering long distances
- 14-Foot length, super stable standing space, extensive gear capacity and non-skid deck make this an excellent option for saltwater inshore and offshore fishing
- Extensive H-Rail space for mounting rod holders, electronics, and additional accessories
- Two vertical rod holders and six horizontal rod holders enable you to bring ALL of your weapons!
- Large front hatch with bucket and tackle boxes and center rectangular hatch featuring a pivoting tackle management system total to an awesome degree of organization
- Built-in Lowrance transducer mount and pre-installed cable plugs for super easy installation of a fishfinder/GPS
- Vantage Seating provides excellent comfort control with 4-way adjustability and Boa lumbar support
- Very high price point
- Large boat at 14-feet and 144 pounds that will be difficult to move alone without a kayak cart
- A boat of this size might require a kayak trailer, or special roof-top storage to transport depending on your vehicle
The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 is perhaps the ultimate kayak option for those anglers seeking a personal vessel that’s capable of paddling offshore and chasing big, pelagic species! If you’re in the market for an ocean-approved kayak that can cover a ton of water, accommodate a huge gear load, and remain comfortable during all-day sessions, this is a great boat to consider.
Measuring 14 feet long and featuring eight integrated rod holders and extensive H-Rail space for mounting electronics and additional accessories, there’s not much you can’t bring along with this boat. A large front hatch with a bucket and tackle boxes and a center rectangular hatch featuring a pivoting tackle management system are also present, totaling to a truly awesome degree of organization.
Outfitted with the powerful and quiet Hobie Mirage Drive 180 with Turbo Fins and a retractable rudder system, offshore anglers will be delighted to discover that the Pro Angler can MOVE despite its larger size. This is one of the most impressively efficient pedal drives on the market, so if you’re used to chasing bait and birds over long distances, you’ll love the rapid mobility this vessel offers. The Mirage Drive furthermore “kicks-up” when moving over shallow water, so this kayak is certainly not limited to the open ocean!
Not only is the Pro Angler 14 exceptionally spacious and easy to stand and fish from, the Vantage Seating system provides stellar comfort control with 4-way adjustability and a Boa lumbar support. In other words, no more feeling stiff and sore after a long day on the water.
With a built-in lowrance transducer mount and pre-installed cable plugs for super easy installation of a fishfinder/GPS, outfitting this fishing kayak with your preferred electronics is furthermore made a breeze.
The particularly long length and 144-pound weight of the Pro Angler might make it a bit of a beast to store and transport, but for passionate saltwater kayak fishermen seeking the best of the best, this vessel is well worth its weight, and price point!
16. BKC TK219 12.2′ Sit On Top Tandem Fishing KayakPros:
- Lightweight at just 68 pounds- especially if your loading/unloading with a friend
- Impressive 595 pound weight capacity can comfortably accommodate two paddlers and a ton of gear
- Includes six 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 TK219 12.2′ 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 TK219 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.
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:
- Feel Free Moken 10 Lite
- Skipjack 90 by Vibe Kayaks
- Tamarack Sit-On-Top Kayak by Lifetime
- Sun Dolphin Journey
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:
- Feel Free Lure 11.5
- Wilderness Systems Radar 135
- Old Town Topwater Pedal Fishing Kayak
- Old Town Predator Pedal Fishing Kayak
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:
- Predator PDL Pedal Fishing Kayak
- Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 Kayak
- Wilderness Systems Radar 135
- Perception Pescador Pilot 12
- Prowler 13 by Ocean Kayak
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:
- Hobie H-Rail Mounting Plate
- Brocraft Kayak Track Universal Sounder Mount
- YakAttack GearTrac Heavy-Duty Kayak Mount Track
- YakAttack Universal Mounting Plate
- RAM Universal Marine Electronic Mount
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:
- Anchor Wizard Kayak Anchoring System
- Gradient Fitness Marine 3.5 lb Folding Grapnel Anchor Kit
- Airhead Complete Grapnel Anchor System
- OceanMotion Foldable 3.5 lb Galvanized Anchor
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:
- Scotty Baitcaster Rod Holder With Gearhead & Track
- Scotty Fly Rod Holder
- Brocraft Power Lock Rod Holder With Track Adapter
- YakAttack Omega Rod Holder
- HITORHIKE Fishing Rod Holder
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:
- YakAttack RotoGrip Paddle Holder
- RAILBLAZA Paddle Grip Quikgrip
- Essential Marine Products Kayak Paddle Clip with Hardware
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:
- Don't forget to check out our gift list for kayakers for some additional accessories and pieces of gerar worth checking out!