A fishing kayak can provide not only an enjoyable pastime but also bring in many meals. The best fishing kayak for your needs will encourage and motivate you to use it regularly, kayak in comfort and give you plenty of storage options.

A fishing kayak should be considered an investment that can bring about great returns if you are fortunate to fish in the right locations! It’s important not to rush out and buy the first one you find on sale – there are a number of considerations each person should take into account when choosing a boat. You need to know what features in a kayak are important to fishing.

And that’s why The Adventure Junkies is here to help. Our guide will tell you everything you need to know about purchasing a fishing kayak as well as show you the best models of the year.

 

THE BEST FISHING KAYAK – QUICK ANSWER

  1. Sun Dolphin Bali SS
  2. Sun Dolphin Aruba SS
  3. Riot Kayaks Escape 9
  4. Sun Dolphin Excursion
  5. Sea Eagle 330
  6. Sea Eagle 420x
  7. Ocean Kayak Frenzy
  8. Ocean Kayak Prowler
  9. Perception Pescador Pro
  10. Wilderness Systems Tarpon

 

 

FREE BONUS! Click here to download the AJ Quick Starter Guide to Kayaking

 

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND THE BEST FISHING KAYAK

PICTURE
KAYAK
BEST FOR
TYPE
NO. PERSONS
LENGTH
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
KAYAK
BEST FOR
TYPE
NO. PERSONS
LENGTH
PRICE
RATING
Sun Dolphin Bali SS
Under $400
Sit On Top
1
10ft
$
4.1
Sun Dolphin Aruba SS
Under $400
Sit In
1
8ft
$
4.3
Riot Kayaks Escape 9
Under $600
Sit On Top
1
9 ft. 29 in
$
4.1
Sun Dolphin Excursion
Under $600
Sit In
1
10ft
$$
4.2
Sea Eagle 330
Inflatable
Sit In
2
11ft
$
4.3
Sea Eagle 420x
Inflatable
Sit In
2-3
14 ft
$$$
4.6
Ocean Kayak Frenzy
Ocean
Sit On Top
1
9 ft
$$
4.7
Ocean Kayak Prowler
Ocean
Sit On Top
1
13 ft
$$$
4.5
Perception Pescador Pro
River
Sit On Top
1
10 ft. 6 in
$$
4.6
Wilderness Systems Tarpon
River
Sit On Top
1
12 ft. 3 in
$$$
4.8
Old Town Loon Angler
River
Sit In
1
10 ft. 6 in
$$$
5
Vibe Kayaks Skipjack
Tandem
Sit On Top
2
12ft. 1in
$$$
4.6
Lifetime Sport Fisher
Tandem
Sit On Top
2
10 ft
$$
4.5
Sun Dolphin Journey
Sit On Top
Sit On Top
1
10 ft
$
4.6
Perception Pescador Pilot
Sit On Top
Sit On Top
1
12 ft. 5 in.
$$$
5

 

 

FISHING KAYAKS 101

 

7 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST FISHING KAYAK

 

1. SIT IN OR SIT ON TOP?

Fishing kayaks come in different designs to hold the paddler, some of them are ‘open’ where you sit on top of the deck while other kayaks have a hole where the paddler sits in, often with a spray skirt to keep out the water. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Sit on top kayaks offer much greater maneuverability which is important when reeling in fish. However, they can let in a lot of water, while the sit-in varieties keep a lot of water out of the kayak.

Sit on top kayaks offer much easier access to gear and tend to be more stable. But they can expose your gear to the elements, unlike the sit-in. Sit-in kayaks are typically better for more seasoned paddlers who prefer the control, as well as providing more dry storage options.

 

2. PEDALS

Pedals or paddles? We’re seeing more peddle-driven models these days as they can be less tiring than paddling. However peddle models will be more expensive. Paddling offers the best control – but having peddles and a paddle gives you flexibility in all surroundings.

 

3. SEAT

Some seats can turn even the most successful day fishing to a day you can’t wait to end, thanks to a sore back and achy behind from an uncomfortable seat. The seat is one of the most important parts of a fishing kayak when it comes to comfort. You need your back to be appropriately supported, especially if you are paddling long distances, so opt for something that is comfortable or you’ll dread heading back out on the water.

 

4. STORAGE

Kayak fishing requires plenty of storage options on the kayak to store and keep all your gear and equipment. There is a limit on how much you can take on the water but having decent storage for your most important items is an important factor to consider. You’ll need to make sure you have a dry-hatch somewhere on the kayak so you can store those items you can’t allow to get wet or need protection from the elements.

 

5. WEIGHT AND LENGTH

The weight and length of a fishing kayak can play a big role in stability and ease of paddling. Typically, a long, narrow kayak will be fast while a shorter, wide kayak will be slower, but offers more stability. Beginner kayak fishers should opt for something that is smaller and more stable as they get to learn the art. You’ll also want to consider the weight of your kayak – the heavier it is, the harder it will be to lug around to your fishing destination. If it is a heavy kayak, you may need to consider some kind of trolley that can wheel your kayak to and from the car.

 

6. FISHING LOCATION

Where do you plan to kayak? In the ocean or out on the lakes? In calm waters or in the surf? These will all play a role in the type of fishing kayak you will purchase. Rough conditions on the sea will need something stable but that can also cut through surf and obstacles. Maneuverability is key. Smaller, sit on top kayaks are a better option for still water such as lakes.

 

7. CAPACITY & PERSONS

Do you plan on fishing by yourself or taking a buddy, or maybe a family member? You will need to consider if you are happy with a kayak with capacity for just one person, or two.

 

ideal fish kayak

Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/marchello74

 

FISHING KAYAK REVIEWS

 

1. BEST FISHING KAYAK UNDER $400

SUN DOLPHIN BALI SS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Flatwater

LENGTH: 10 ft

CAPACITY: 250 lbs.

FEATURES: Dry storage compartment, protective thigh pads, adjustable foot braces, comes with a portable accessory holder

PROS: Quick draining, tracks well, lightweight to carry

CONS: No fishing rod holders

 

 

 

SUN DOLPHIN ARUBA SS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Flatwater

LENGTH: 8 ft

CAPACITY: 260 lbs.

FEATURES: Adjustable padded seat, storage compartment, recessed drink holder

PROS: Plenty of leg room, good entry level fishing kayak, lightweight

CONS: Seating not particularly comfortable, very small storage hatch

 

 

 

 

2. BEST FISHING KAYAK UNDER $600

RIOT KAYAKS ESCAPE 9

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Flatwater

LENGTH: 9 ft

CAPACITY: 300 lbs.

FEATURES: Drain holes, hatch, drain plug, footrests, cord storage

PROS: Tracks well, agile kayak, best for flatwater but works in the surf too

CONS: Not enough storage space for serious fishers

 

 

 

SUN DOLPHIN EXCURSION

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Flatwater

LENGTH: 10 ft

CAPACITY: 250 lbs.

FEATURES: Rear deck storage, two flush-mount fishing rod holders, one centre swivel holder, adjustable footrests, water bottle holder

PROS: Lightweight, stable, padded seat, manoeuvrable

CONS: Could do with more compartments and storage, paddle comes separately

 

 

 

 

3. BEST INFLATABLE KAYAK FOR FISHING

SEA EAGLE 330

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Up to Class III rapids

LENGTH: 11 ft

CAPACITY: 500 lbs.

FEATURES: Inflatable spray skirts, self-bailing drain valve

PROS: Packs down well but has plenty of space to store camping or fishing gear

CONS: No bungy cords attached, a little heavy to carry

 

 

 

SEA EAGLE 420X

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Up to Class IV rapids

LENGTH: 14 ft

CAPACITY: 855 lbs.

FEATURES: Four convertible drains, front and rear rope lacing

PROS: Big enough to carry large fish, holds up to three adults, extremely durable

CONS: You won’t win any paddling races with this one

 

 

 

 

4. BEST OCEAN FISHING KAYAK

OCEAN KAYAK FRENZY

 

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Surf, recreational

LENGTH: 9 ft

CAPACITY: 325 lbs.

FEATURES: Stern tank well with removable bungees, bow and stern carry handles, cup-holder, side handles, bow deck bungee

PROS: Stable, playful enough for the surf, versatile for different paddlers from children to adults

CONS: Might need to buy scupper plugs to prevent water coming in, no compartments or holds for fishing rods

 

 

 

OCEAN KAYAK PROWLER

 

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Serious fishing

LENGTH: 13 ft

CAPACITY: 475 lbs.

FEATURES: Large front hatch, bow and stern internal storage, two rod holders, cup holders, paddle keeps, skid plate, oversized tank well for fishing gear and even SCUBA tanks

PROS: Excellent fishing kayak with plenty of storage space for all fishing gear, designed with fishing in mind, tracks well

CONS: Length of this kayak can make her difficult to manoeuvre, water pools around the footwell

 

 

 

 

5. BEST RIVER FISHING KAYAK

PERCEPTION PESCADOR PRO

 

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Flat water, serious fishing

LENGTH: 10 ft 6 in

CAPACITY: 325 lbs.

FEATURES: Stern and bow tank well, bungee cords, rod holders, cup holder, adjustable foot braces, carry handles

PROS: Designed for fishing, plenty of space for fishing gear and fishing rods, good stability and manoeuvrability

CONS: Storage areas not easily accessible while out paddling

 

 

 

WILDERNESS SYSTEMS TARPON

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Any kayaking activity which requires lots of space to carry gear

LENGTH: 12 ft 3 in

CAPACITY: 350 lbs.

FEATURES: Self-bailing hull, bow and centre dry hatch storage, shock cords for stern storage

PROS: Lots of storage space, good tracking, can handle swell and wind

CONS: Can be slow once filled with gear

 

 

 

OLD TOWN LOON ANGLER

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Anglers, flatwater

LENGTH: 10 ft 6 in

CAPACITY: 325 lbs.

FEATURES: USB port, removable work deck for fishing or camera gear, premium seat padding, adjustable footbrace system, paddle holders,

PROS: USB port a great addition, plenty of space for carrying gear, leg room

CONS: Expensive

 

 

 

 

6. BEST TANDEM FISHING KAYAK

VIBE KAYAKS SKIPJACK

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: All conditions

LENGTH: 12 ft 1 in

CAPACITY: 500 lbs.

FEATURES: Can hold two adults and a child or paddle solo from centre, two covered hatches, two flush-mount rod holders, carry handles, rear storage well with bungee cords

PROS: Very stable, good configuration options if you want to go solo or tandem

CONS: Tracking not always accurate

 

 

 

LIFETIME SPORT FISHER

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: All conditions

LENGTH: 10 ft

CAPACITY: 500 lbs.

FEATURES: Can seat up to three people, multiple footrest positions, three fishing rod holders, 6″ storage hatch

PROS: Good stability, lightweight to carry, can fish standing up, several paddle clips and other accessories ideal for organising and carrying fishing gear

CONS: Small for a tandem kayak, may need a rudder to improve tracking

 

 

 

 

7. BEST SIT ON TOP FISHING KAYAK

SUN DOLPHIN JOURNEY

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Flatwater

LENGTH: 10 ft

CAPACITY: 250 lbs.

FEATURES: Three fishing rod holders, portable accessory carrier, dry storage compartment, shock cord rigging, adjustable footrests, paddle holder

PROS: Good amount of storage

CONS: May need rudder to improve tracking

 

 

 

PERCEPTION PERSCADOR PILOT

 

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Peddle propulsion

LENGTH: 12 ft 5 in

CAPACITY: 525 lbs.

FEATURES: Peddle propulsion, moulded tank well and storage compartments with bow, centre and stern dry storage hatches, fishing rod holders,

PROS: Peddle propulsion allows travel to longer distances, good storage options for fishing gear, stable enough to stand and fish

CONS: Despite efforts to keep peddling quiet, can still be quite noisy

Top 15 Best Fishing Kayaks of 2017 – Kayak Fishing Gear and Accessories – Kayak Fishing Tips and Setup Ideas for Men and Women
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