There isn’t a single fishing kayak that’s right for everyone. But if you are a serious angler, you know that you have to go where the fish are – and the a well-designed fishing kayak can get you there!
There are a few factors to discover the most suitable yak, you can use the comparison chart that I’ve made for you. I’ve also included details about each of the columns in the notes after the chart. Hopefully by showing you these details, you can make a decision about the best fishing kayak for your purposes!
|Sun Dolphin Bali SS Kayak||10 ft|
|Sit On Top||Rigid||Single||Calm waters|
|Riot Kayaks Enduro Angler|
Flatwater Fishing Kayak
|12 ft||Sit In||Rigid||Single||Calm, flat water||$$||4.3|
|Malibu Kayaks X-Factor Fish and Dive Kayak||13 ft||Sit On Top||Rigid||Single||All Water Types - |
| Sun Dolphin Excursion Fishing Kayak||10 ft|
|Hobie Mirage Revolution Kayak||11 ft||Sit On Top||Rigid||Single||All Water Types||$$$||5.0|
|* Lifetime Sport Fisher Kayak|
with Paddles and Backrests
|10 ft||Sit In Top||Rigid||Tandem|
Up to 3 riders
|All Water Types||$$||4.5|
|Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak||12 ft||Sit On Top||Inflatable||Tandem|
Up to 2 Riders
|All Water Types||$||4.7|
|Sun Dolphin Journey SS Kayak||10 ft|
|Sit On Top||Rigid||Single||Calm Waters|
|Coleman Tahiti 2 Person Fishing Kayak||10 ft||Sit On Top||Inflatable||Tandem|
Up to 2
* Item marked with asterisk is an offer exclusive to Amazon Prime subscribers
The Best Fishing Kayaks: About The Comparison Chart
Kayaks come in many different lengths ranging from 9 feet to 14 feet. The longer versions tend to track (travel in a straight line) better while shorter yaks are a bit more sturdy in choppy water.
Seat: SIS vs SOT
This is one of the most important decisions you’ll make about your fishing kayak. There are two different types of cockpit areas in kayaks.
The more traditional kayak is referred to as a “Sit In” type, where the paddler’s lower body is inside the craft and water splashing over does not get the rider wet. The other type is a “Sit On” deck, which is wider and more accessible. This type is usually more suitable for fishing, and in some waters allows you to cast while standing on the deck. It also makes it a lot easier to get in and out if you want to wade fish.
Sit On Top Fishing Kayak
When it comes to fishing, I personally prefer the sit on top kayak for numerous reasons. This is one of the most important decisions you will make about your fishing kayak purchase.
With a sit on top kayak, you’ll experience a more comfortable “cockpit” area and usually a wider space to sit. Plus, you’ll have room to stand up if you’d like to and this gives you a better casting position while fishing from the yak. While you are more likely to get damp if you experience a chop in the water, they are far less likely to sink or take on water if flipped.
While almost all fishing kayaks come with pre-installed rod holders, SOT Kayaks also have more “working room” for setting up rigs and for casting your lines. You’ll have easy access to storage for your gear access through hatch openings.
Overall, sit on top fishing kayaks are also less expensive so you usually save several hundred dollars and won’t have the shipping headaches when you order your kayak.
Sit In Fishing Kayak
Otherwise known as SIS, these kayaks are more traditional open style, where you sit inside the hull of the kayak with your feet under the deck. If you are tall you may find it more difficult to get in and out of the yak. But you might be able to alleviate that by getting a longer model – make sure you choose one at least 10 feet long.
There is definitely more storage space in case you take extended kayaking trips or enjoying a camping excursion. There is plenty of room for fishing gear, food and other supplies
You’ll definitely stay drier in the enclosed kayak because any splash will just roll over the top of the deck. You’ll also experience a more stable ride and be far less likely to tip.
Since a sit in kayak has a more narrow body, you’ll find they are faster and much easier to maneuver in most any water condition.
You can store more in a Sit in Kayak – There’s definitely a lot more storage space in SIT’s and for those who love to take long kayaking or camping trips, then this should be your kayak of choice as it gives you more space to store your gear, supplies and food.
Material: Inflatable vs Rigid
The more traditional rigid kayaks are heavier and harder to carry. Unless you live close to the water, they usually require a truck or trailer to transport or perhaps you can stow it on the roof of your vehicle. But, you can be sure you won’t spring a leak when you aren’t in the water and you can drop the yak much more quickly.
An inflatable fishing kayak is almost a must if you don’t have storage space, or if you need to carry the fishing kayak – maybe if you were on an extended hike or camping trip. You’ll also need a pump – make sure to get one that inflates AND deflates the kayak for you. For more extensive information, read our reviews and find the best inflatable fishing kayak to suit your own activities and environmental factors.
Riders: Single vs Tandem
Tandem fishing kayaks seat either two or three riders which is great if you want a companion along and don’t want more than one kayak. But keep in mind, since they are larger they are heavier and require more than one person to carry. If you decide you want to go kayak fishing by yourself or with other kayakers – you’ll want to lean toward a single fishing kayak that allows for one person and a lot more gear!
Fishing Kayaks are not created equal when it somes to different types of water scenarios. You really have to decide where you will be fishing on the majority of your trips and decide from there. I live on the Gulf of Mexico but have the slightly calmer bay on the other side. If I fish the inlets and bayous the water is very calm compared to the surf.
So, you’ll have to decide for yourself. If you are in the surf or current, you’ll want stable rocker kayak but the tradeoff will come in how well the boat will track [[LINK]]on calmer waters.
Also, if you’ll be fishing in colder waters you will definitely want to go with a sit in kayak. However, the sit on kayak will be easier to get into and out if you decide you to do a little wade fishing.
Also keep in mind that more narrow or longer kayaks tend to be faster, while wider and shorter kayaks tend to more stable.
One way to find our what is best for you is head to the nearest kayak rental shop near you and try them out, or ask friends to take you out with them on their next trip.
Of course we all have budgets, right? I always tell my buddies: “Buy as much boat as you can afford!” You’ll seldom regret spending more on comfort, better design, and features. Personally, I am always willing to pad my budget a little and know that I’ll be comfortable and get what I need out of my best fishing kayak!
There are a few kayaks under $500, and many that cost more than $1500! Generally you are going that most fall somewhere in between. Figure what you can spend and try to add another 10% to it – you’ll be glad you did! (Note: Of all the brands and models we discuss, we try to include a link to check the lowest price, where possible.)
For the purpose of comparing your top choices of fishing kayaks, we use the $ to represent cost levels. Here is how it breaks down: $= under $500, $$ = $500 to $1500, $$$ = over $1500.
The rating number we display is based on ratings (from verified purchasers) at Amazon.com. This gives you an idea of how pleased customers are with their purchase. In some of the reviews, you’ll see pros and cons from anglers just like yourself, right down to the nitty gritty details. Sometimes the most helpful tips come from the people who are already using the same gear you are interested in.
Review of the Top 3 Fishing Kayaks
As we compared each of these fantastic yaks, we all made a commitment to choosing our personal favorites among them. We did have a difficult time narrowing it down, but here are our top 3 choices for the best fishing kayak!
This is a very popular boat among anglers looking for a versatile fishing yak. We tried out the 10 ft (Olive Green) model and found it to be a very good choice and a great value for the money. This is one of the few kayaks you can buy that already comes with the paddles and backrests, so there is no need to spend even more outfitting your kayak, it is ready to go.
Another great thing about the Sport Fisher from Lifetime is that it is ready to go for tandem riders, up to 3 riders depending on size and additional cargo. The maximum capacity is 500 pounds, which is one of the larger of all that we compare or review!
The hull is a high-density polyethylene tunnel-shape so it is easier to stand up to fishing without the worry of tipping over. This lets you fish the way YOU want to fish, instead of based on the limitations of the boat. We experienced great tracking when we tried it out. It was fairly easy to carry and launch, weighing in at 60 pounds, there are molded handles at each end that aid in lifting or carrying.
Created with the fisherman in mind, the kayak has a ton of great features any angler would want! There are FOUR fishing rod holders (more than any other in our comparison), a decent site dry-storage rear hatch, several ditty trays and cord straps for securing gear or loose items, and plentiful scupper holes that keep you dry in the cockpit.
This 10 foot “sit on top” kayak is perfect for all ages and experience levels, it is very stable and tracks well. We found that is was one of the easiest fishing kayaks to launch, maneuver for shallow and deeper waters, and it was also very easy to paddle. It was actually one of the most stable of all of the Sit-On models we looked at.
Some of the fishing-friendly built-ins include an open cockpit, the dry storage compartment for your keys, phone, and camera as well as the extra storage found in the accessory pack. Formally called a PAC or portable accessory carrier, it can be used as a backpack or you can tow it behind the boat. The deck has shock cord for storage as well.
You’ll also find adjustable paddle holders and foot braces which is really important for taller or shorter riders. The seat back is padded for extra comfort. Maximum capacity is 250 pounds for this single-rider kayak.
The Sun Dolphin Excursion is a very popular choice for fishing in rivers, lakes, and streams. It comes in either a 10 foot length, or the one we tried as a 12 foot model. This kayak is not designed to be used in ocean waters or choppy lakes. Keep to lakes and small rivers, but that being said, this boat is a winner!
I’m not a huge fan of sit-in yaks, particularly for fishing. But I found the Excursion to be very comfortable. There is plenty of room for longer legs yet the boat will fit into your car with the backseat folded down!
For the money this is a great kayak that tracks well, and is not prone to tipping. Overall I felt very secure with it in a fairly fast stream, while fishing, and maneuvering through tight channels.
The Best Fishing Kayak – Now It’s Just Up To You!
You’ve seen the best fishing kayak features and options that are available for you, its up to you to find the one that is ideal for your fishing needs and water conditions.
If you have questions or would like us to review a particular brand, send me a message on our contact page, we look forward to your feedback!