10 Best Fishing Kayaks

There is nothing better like going out on the water on a fishing kayak and paddling to get to the perfect fishing spot.

With the sun on your back and the fresh air, nothing else can compare.

Not to mention the freedom that comes with owning a kayak and paddling out on the calm waters during the dawn’s morning light.

And, when you reel in the first catch of the day, you know all the effort to get out there was well worth it.

But if you don’t have the proper fishing kayak to handle your needs, the trip can be a bit daunting.

Each person has different needs and specifications to suit their needs when it comes to picking up a fishing kayak.

There are a few of the best kayak brands in the market that deem to offer the stability and structure you need for your fishing mission out in the water.

Check out these ten best fishing kayaks currently available in the market and prepare yourself for an amazing fishing expedition.

Best Fishing Kayaks (Top 10)

How to choose the best fishing kayak?

When picking out the perfect kayak, you need to ask yourself several questions.

  • What will you be using the kayak for?
  • What kind of fish are you going to be pulling in?
  • Will you need a kayak for freshwater or saltwater?
  • What will the water temperature be like?
  • Where will you be launching the kayak?
  • Am I going single or tandem fishing?

You need to think about all of these when you look for a kayak as there are different kayaks used for various water types and angling needs.

Not to mention the various materials used for each kayak can also be different.

You will need to think about whether or not your need is for a fast or broad and stable kayak.

When picking your fishing kayak, remember that the longer and narrower the kayak is, the faster it will be. The same goes for the wider and stouter kayaks which will be slower but offer more stability.

The closer you are to the water, the faster you will be able to paddle through it, so it all comes down to physics.

A lot of other anglers find that the kayaks they purchased seem to become mundane and slow for them as time passes.

This is because of the skill set they have learned over time and the experience they have gained over the course of the kayaks life.

It is always best to pick a fishing kayak that is one grade higher than you anticipate accommodating for the experience you will gain over time.

You would hate to buy something you will outgrow in a matter of months, than one that is tricky to start with but allows you to grow and learn from.

Sit On Top Kayak Or Sit In Kayak?

While most of the fishing kayaks are suited to sit on top rather than in, the ones that allow you to ride above the water are much easier to maneuver.

The sit on top kayaks allows the angler to twist and turn without movement restrictions. This will be easier to bring in the fish.

Not to mention the fact that sit on top offers more cargo space that those that have you seated in the kayak.

The drawback for sitting on top of the water is how much water can potentially get into the boat and drench your stuff.

With the sit in option, you won’t have the elbow room you need to reel in your fish and are less stable than the sit on top models.

If you chose a fishing kayak with the "sit in" feature, you will be able to paddle faster but won’t have the storage space.

You could opt to have the kayak enclosed to store your gear, but you will still face the problem of angling the fish and getting it to the boat.

If you are paddling in water that is freezing, the sit on top will be uncomfortable and may cause the adventure to end sooner than planned. That is why it is always best to understand what your needs are for the kayak and go from there.

Things to consider​

There are several brands of fishing kayaks available in the market today. 

Each kayak is unique, has a specific construction, design and material type depending on the fishing needs.​

The best kayaks are stable, offer good space to accomodate your fishing gear and give you comfort throughout your journey.

While price is always a great factor to determine the quality of a kayak, there are fishing kayaks under $200, perfect for beginners. 

If you are an intermediate angler or a professional, spending a few bucks more on your vessel will surely provide you with more features and excitement out in the water.​

Below are a few more things you should remember when you go on to choose the best fishing kayak.

The material

There are many different materials used to design a fishing kayak.

The kayaks made from the single layer linear polyethylene are constructed from a single piece of hard, resistant material. The single layer is most resistant to abrasion and weathering and is used with the most common material. They come highly recommended because they are more durable than the three layer polyethylene kayak​.

Fishing kayaks made from the three- layer polyethylene come with a tough glossy exterior that allows it to glide better in the water. The glossy finish helps the kayaker to gain more distance in a single stroke than the single layer kayaks. The three-layer is also made with the same materials as the single layer but has the added benefit of the non-slip layer on the inside of the kayak. The non-slip provides the angler with the stability they need when fishing on rougher waters or when the catch plays hard to get.​

Fiberglass is best for surfboards since it is a very light material. Kayaks made from fiberglass will weigh less than the other kayaks made with polyethylene. Fiberglass fishing kayaks offer the best gliding over the water, but can be a bit more flimsy than those made with the polyethylene. Not to mention kayaks that are made with fiberglass are weaker and will crack or break under pressure from hauling to the site or stored improperly.​

Kevlar carbon kayaks are extremely light weight and way more durable than those made of fiberglass. However, Kevlar carbon fishing kayaks are in the higher price range than any other kayaks, and while they tend to crack and break, repairs are easy but time-consuming.

10 Best Fishing Kayaks

Now that you have a brief idea about what to look for when purchasing a fishing kayak, you might be wondering what are the best options available?

We've made it easy for you to sort it out as we've prepared a well-researched list of the ten best fishing kayaks you need to have.

1. LifeTime Tamarack Sit-on-Top Fishing Kayak

LifeTime Tamarack Sit-on-Top Kayak - fishing kayaks

The Lifetime Tamarack Kayak is one of the best fishing kayaks you can find in the market.

Constructed with single layer polyethylene that has been treated with UV protection, this fishing kayak is not affected by weather wear.

The kayak comes with a stable flat bottom but is not recommended for standing up in when reeling in the fish. It does offer a deep hull tracking channels with multiple footrest positions to suit a variety of anglers.

The Lifetime Tamarack comes with a comfortable kayak seat for those long days on the water. Not to mention it is easy to carry and transport.

With the UV protection applied to the kayak it keeps the kayak from cracking, peeling or fading in the sun.

The Lifetime can hold up to 250 pounds and offers not one, but two flush-mounted fishing rod holders. It also has one top mount fishing rod holder and enough storage space for comfortability.

Weighing in just 52 pounds, this fishing kayaks is easy to transport and can be mounted on a roof rack easily.​

Features I like​

  • Durable construction, protective against wear.
  • Multiple foot-rest for additional comfort.
  • Enough storage for fishing gear.
  • Good loading capacity.
  • Lightweight and easy to transport.

2. Sun Dolphin Excursion SS 10 Fishing Kayak

Sun Dolphin Excursion SS 10 Fishing Kayak - fishing kayaks

The Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 fishing kayak holds up to 275 pounds which will help with the extra load from the catch.

It is 10” in length and 30’ in width that makes it perfect for storing as it is not as big and bulky as other kayaks on the market.

It offers an electronic console and storage space for your tackle and gear.

The Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 include not one, but two flush-mount rod holders.

This kayak also offers one swivel rod holder and a deluxe adjustable seat with high back support for long days on the water.

This kayak also features a spray deflector collar, adjustable interior foot braces, and shock cord deck rigging.

Plus, this kayak won’t break the bank. The sleek design helps you turn better in the water.

Unlike other kayaks, this one can be used for all water conditions which is why it makes to my list as one of the best fishing kayaks.

Features I like​

  • Good loading capacity, space for additional gear.
  • Two flush-mount rod holders.
  • Adjustable foot braces, sleek design.
  • Inexpensive and durable.

3. Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130 Angler Kayak

Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130 | 13ft Angler - Single Person, Sit On Top Fishing Kayak w/Paddle & Dual Position Hero Seat - fishing kayaks

Stability and maneuverability: when it comes to kayaks, you often find yourself sacrificing one for another. But Vibe has balanced the best of both worlds with their Sea Ghost.

The Sea Ghost measures 13-feet in length and weighs 75 pounds. It features two rod holders and four integrated gear tracks. This nimble vessel also includes tackle tray holders so you don’t have to spend previous minutes searching for the right gear.

Speaking of which: storage in general is not a problem with the Sea Ghost. You can store all your gear using its multiple compartments including the 20-inch oval hatch, a rear hatch, as well as a rear tank well.

In terms of stability and comfort, it’s hard to top (metaphorically speaking). This kayak boasts pre-installed rudders controlled via your feet. Customers report having zero issues standing up during their first trip out, which speaks volumes about their sturdy frame.

Plus, the hero seat is known for being super-comfortable, even for those who have pre-existing back issues.

Features I like

  • Lifetime warranty
  • Lots of storage space
  • Very stable yet easy to maneuver
  • Specifically designed with fishing in mind

4. Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Recreational Kayak

Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Recreational Kayak - fishing kayaks

The Ocean Kayak is one of the few kayaks with the capacity to carry one, two, or two plus a child or dog.

This kayak can hold up to 375-425 pounds.

Also called as the Swiss Knife of kayaks, the Malibu might be a recreational kayak, but is perfect for fishing purpose as well.

When paddling by yourself, this kayak offers tons of room for your tackle and gear.

The Ocean Kayak has three molded-in seat wells and comes with two comfort plus seats.

The kayak is 13’ in length and 28.5” wide that only weighs 47 pounds.

For a family outing, this kayak works the best.

It comes with patented overlapping foot well making it the best kayak for taller people.

The Ocean Kayak features a skid plate and is best used for flatwater. Works well with one paddler, but the extra hands make this kayak soar.

The extra space in the kayak offers space needed for long trips that may include fishing gear.

Features I like​

  • Tandem with enough space to adjust your kid or dog.
  • Recreational kayak, also used for fishing.
  • Great for family outing.
  • Best for calm water.

5. Sun Dolphin Journey 10 Fishing Kayak

Sun Dolphin Journey 10 Fishing Kayak - fishing kayaks

The Sun Dolphin Journey kayak is the most affordable and durable fishing kayak on the market.

It comes with two flush mounted rod holders.

This kayak offers one holder swivel and has a large seating area. The open cockpit allows for the easiest entry which makes it perfect for first-time kayak anglers.

The kayak is 10" in length and 29.5" wide, weighing only 47lbs and can hold up to 250 pounds.

It is best used for calm flat waters, rivers and lakes.

While this is one of the most highly affordable kayaks, it does not leak. It comes with a dry storage compartment and shock cord deck rigging.

The Sun Dolphin has adjustable foot braces keeping your feet secure and stable as well as protective thigh pads.

This kayak is also super lightweight and easy to carry with its retractable handles.

Features I like​

  • Large seating area with space for additional gear.
  • Open cockpit for easy entry and exit.
  • Great in terms of affordability.
  • Adjustable foot braces for protection.
  • Lightweight and easy to transport.

6. Ocean Kayak Caper Fishing Kayak

Ocean Kayak Caper Fishing Kayak

The Ocean Kayak Caper is 11" in length and 31" wide weighing only 47 pounds and can hold up to 325 lbs.

The Caper is exceptional on lakes and river that are calm and offers great scupper plugs.

This fishing kayak comes with two behind the seat flush mounted fishing rod holders and wide molded in seat.

It also has the most comfortable seat that is 19 1/2 inches wide giving you the best comfort for a day out on the calm waters.

This fishing kayak comes with a large bow hatch to help you reach all your tackle and comes with a stern tank well with a bungee retention straps for other gear to be strapped to the deck.

The molded cup holders are another benefit of having this kayak.

Features I like​

  • Lightweight with good loading capacity.
  • Molded in seat to ensure comfortability.
  • Large bow hatch for easy reach.
  • Molded cup holders.

7. Old Town Dirigo 106 Kayak

Old Town Dirigo 106 Kayak - fishing kayaks

Old Town Dirigo 106 Kayak has a very spacious cockpit and is very stable for any paddler or angler.

The Old Town Dirigo comes with a cushioned seat and thigh pads along with a cup holder for additional comfortability.

The adjustable foot braces allow maximum comfort for all body sizes.

It is 10” in length and 6’ wide that can hold up to 300 pounds.

The Dirigo is lightweight because it is made with three-layer polyethylene that only weighs 44 lbs. This also makes it easy to transport to and from the water.

It does well in all water conditions, both saltwater and freshwater.

The Dirigo fits just about any angler and offers a small glove box in front to stash essential items.

The kayak is strong and stable suitable for beginners to expert anglers, and the price tag doesn’t hurt the bank.

It doesn’t come with any rod holders so you will have to rig the kayak yourself or hold your rod and you can’t stand up which makes it safe and stable.

Features I like​

  • Spacious cockpit.
  • Extremely stable even in tough water conditions.
  • Lightweight and easy to carry.
  • Strong and stable.

8. Ocean Kayak Prowler Big Game Fishing Kayak

Ocean Kayak Prowler Big Game Fishing Kayak

The Ocean Prowler is 12” in length and 9’ wide that can hold up to 500 to 600 pounds making this kayak the best choice for fishing.

Whatever you want to bring with you for a day out on the water, this kayak can manage.

Allowing you to bring enough tackle and gear for a weekend camping trip ensures you have a great fishing expedition.

Known as the Angler’s Battleship, this kayak offers everything you need for your fishing outing.

There is enough space in the Ocean Prowler for your biggest catch and then some. The sky is the limit when it comes to the space this vessel has.

The Ocean Prowler features six strategically placed mounting brackets.

This fishing kayak is designed to hold the weight in the back of the boat instead of the center like most other kayaks.

The Ocean Prowler's other feature is the "Click Seal" bow hatch cover that will keep your gear secure and dry. It is ideal for open water.

The best feature, you can stand in this kayak to help you reel in that massive beast.

Features I like​

  • Spacious to store any gear.
  • Six mounting brackets.
  • Holds weight at the back for stability.
  • Anglers can stand up and catch large bait.

9. Hobie Mirage Outback Kayak

Hobie Mirage Outback Kayak - fishing kayaks

The Hobie Mirage Outback Kayak is 12” in length and 33’ wide weighing in at 90 pounds.

While on the heavy side, this kayak is a fisherman’s dream boat.

It can hold up to 400 pounds and comes standard with a large covered bow hatch that does well in all water conditions.

The Hobie offers speed and durability and comes with Vantage CT seating system with three height options and the ability to recline and sit back while waiting for the fish to come.

The Outback included storage compartments and molded in rod holders along with a tray for cutting bait.

The Hobie comes with a gear bucket that fits around the hatch to easily access your gear.

The Outback has plenty of above and below deck stowage and paddle and rudder

This kayak works best for paddlers who weigh about 190 pounds to sit right in the water.

Not to mention, it also takes some strength since it does weigh a lot more than other kayaks.

Features I like​

  • A bit heavy for great for fishing.
  • Amazing speed and durability.
  • Gear bucket to store accessories.
  • Best for heavy built kayakers.

10. Lifetime Sports Fisher Tandem Kayak

Lifetime Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak -fishing kayaks

The Lifetime Sports Fisher Tandem Kayak can seat up to three people and holds up to 500 pounds.

The Sport has multiple footrest positions to accommodate different sizes.

The Sport is 10" in length and 36’ wide that weighs about 60 pounds and is perfect for first-time kayakers on flat calm water.

This fishing kayak is made of high-density polyethylene that is super stable and great tracking.

It is so well designed that anglers can stand up in the kayak and has a wide body that makes it easy to get in and out of the vessel.

It is super lightweight weighing only 60 pounds. The Sport comes with Ditty trays and shock cord straps to stow loose gear or items.

Because of the width of the kayak, it makes storing this kayak much more challenging than the average kayak on the market. But, if you have enough space to fit in inside your store, the sky is the limit for tandem fishing.

Features I like​

  • Can hold three people.
  • Anglers can stand up and fish.
  • Super lightweight.
  • A bit large to store but perfect for group fishing.

The Verdict

Each angler has a different goal in mind. It doesn’t matter how many fish are caught if the trip is uncomfortable and you feel it just wasn’t worth it.

With all the bells and whistles that come standard with these best fishing kayaks, you will have an excellent time out on the water, even if the fish aren’t biting.

Remember to assess your needs before purchasing any kayak and to buy a step up from your initial need.

You will grow and learn the more you are out on the water, and will want a kayak that challenges you and allows you to grow as an angler.

Janice Friedman

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 1 comments
chris - June 21, 2019

These are all terribly thought out kayaks. Slow on the water, impacted heavily by wind, no ergonomics or useful fish hatches/live wells.. I’m shocked theres not a single South African fishing kayak brand on this list, which are known by serious kayak fisherman to be the best available.


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