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One of the most up close and personal fishing experiences you can have is from the deck of a kayak. You can explore out of the way streams and get within reaching distance of the water without motor noises interrupting your serenity. If you’re in the market for an amazing fishing setup, here you’ll find the best sit-on-top fishing kayaks.

Sit-on-top kayaks allow you to move around with less restriction than a sit-inside model, which is especially useful when you need to net a fish. With these sit-on-top kayaks, you get your own personal floating dock with access to the furthest reaches of the water, where the fishing is rich and the traffic is nearly nonexistent.

For more of our top kayak fishing gear recommendations, check out the Best Fishing Kayaks

 

Quick Answer - The Best Sit On Top Fishing Kayaks

  1. Wilderness Systems Tarpon 105
  2. Ocean Kayak Prowler Big Game II
  3. Perception Pescador 10
  4. Pelican Premium
  5. Old Town Predator PDL
  6. Wilderness Systems Radar 135
  7. Old Town Topwater 106 Angler
  8. Sun Dolphin Boss SS
  9. Lifetime Tamarack Angler
  10. Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90

 

Comparison Table - Best Sit On Top Fishing Kayak

PictureNameWeight CapacityWeightRod HoldersPriceRating
Wilderness Systems Tarpon 105325 lb55 lbNone$$4.2
Ocean Kayak Prowler Big Game II550-600 lb70 lbsNone$$4.7
Perception Pescador 10.0Perception Pescador 10325 lbs57 lbsYes, rear molded holders$4.6
Pelican Premium350 lbs54 lb1 Swivel and 2 Flush-Mount Holders$4.5
Old Town Predator PDLOld Town Predator PDL500 lbs117 lbs3 Flush-Mount Holders$$$5.0
Wilderness Systems Radar 135Wilderness Systems Radar 135475 lbs90 lbsNone$$$4.8
Old Town Topwater 106Old Town Topwater 106 Angler440 lbs73 lbs3$$4.5
Sun Dolphin Boss SS500 lbs78 lbs5$4.0
Lifetime Tamarack Angler275 lbs58 lbs1 top mounted and 2 flush mounted holders$4.9
Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90300 lbs46 lbs4 Flush Holders$4.7
PictureNameWeight CapacityWeightRod HoldersPriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Sit On Top Kayak for Fishing

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 105

Specs
  • Best Use: Flatwater and light surf
  • Length: 10 ft 6 in
  • Weight: 55 lb
  • Weight Capacity: 325 lb
  • Rod Holders: None
  • Seat: Deluxe adjustable, padded seat with mesh ventilation
Features
  • Two Dry Hatches And A Bungee-Strapped Tank For Storage
  • Adjustable Foot Braces To Help You Find The Right Position
  • Deck Rigging Where You Can Attach Your Own Mounts
  • Front And Back Grab Handles To Carry The Kayak
  • Reachable Cup Holder

BEST FOR: CASUAL FISHING AS AN ESCAPE

If you’re looking for a way to escape that doesn’t take much planning, then you should add the Tarpon to your list of runaway supplies. All you need is your pole, some bait, and a few hours to kick back in the plushest-as-kayaks-go seat. If you don’t feel like fishing today, your planning is even simpler! Just launch the boat from any point along the shore and let your escape begin.

The Tarpon doesn’t come with traditional fishing hookups like rod holders, but it offers plenty of attachment points where you can add them and make the ‘yak your own. Put your bait and drink under your seat and get out there to see what’s biting.

Ocean Kayak Prowler Big Game II

Specs
  • Best Use: Flatwater
  • Length: 12 ft 9 in
  • Weight: 70 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 550-600 lb
  • Rod Holders: None
  • Seat: Adjustable High/Low Seat
Features
  • Center Console with Storage Container, Cup Holder, and Tackle Tray
  • Front Dry Hatch and Rear Bungee-Corded Tank for Storage
  • Fittings for Your Own Fish Finder
  • Rear Lines to Hang Your Catch Off the Back
  • Adjustable Foot Pegs to Help You Find the Right Position

BEST FOR: HEAVY LOADS

Everything important is within easy reach inside this camouflaged ride. Your main workspace is located right between the leg rests, so you can bait your lines without straining to reach. The rear tank storage container is right behind your shoulder too. The sealed hatch at the very front keeps personal items from getting wet. With a 600 lb weight limit, you can really load this boat up.

When you’re ready to ride, the seat moves down to lower your center of gravity. At your destination, the seat rises up to get you into a better fishing position. The stable flat deck areas allow you to stand or kneel as well, so you can get into position when you have one on the line.

Perception Pescador 10

Specs
  • Best Use: Flatwater
  • Length: 10 ft 6 in
  • Weight: 57 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 325 lbs
  • Rod Holders: Yes, rear molded holders
  • Seat: Adjustable, padded seat
Features
  • Front Storage Hatch and Rear Bungee-Corded Tank for Storage
  • Molded Cup and Paddle Holders Within Reach
  • Adjustable Foot Braces Help You Find the Right Position
  • Molded Front, Back, and Side Carry Handles
  • Gear Tracks Where You Can Add Your Own Accessories
Perception Pescador 10.0

BEST FOR: TRANSITIONING BETWEEN FISHING AND RECREATIONAL USE

This fishing-ready boat can be customized to meet your angling needs. You can deck out the gear tracks with your favorite fishing mounts and pack your tackle and poles into the storage wells and molded rod holders. Even without all the hookups, the kayak can be used for fun days out on the water, fishing or not.

The 10’ Pescador may not be the best choice if you want to be able to stand up in your kayak. While the kayak feels stable and tracks nicely, standing isn’t recommended. Feel free to hang your feet over the sides and cool yourself off though!

Pelican Premium

Specs
  • Best Use: Flatwater
  • Length: 10 ft
  • Weight: 54 lb
  • Weight Capacity: 350 lbs
  • Rod Holders: 1 Swivel and 2 Flush-Mount Holders
  • Seat: Ergonomic Flip-Down Seat
Features
  • Front Hatch and Rear Netted Tank for Storage
  • Front, Back, Side, and Center Handles for Easy Carry
  • Multiple Foot Positions So You Can Find the Most Comfortable Position
  • Several Bungee Cords and Eyelets Where You Can Add Your Own Accessories
  • Built-In Angler Ruler, Paddle Holder, and Bottle Opener

BEST FOR: THE FISHING MINIMALIST

You might be surprised how many supplies you can fit on this boat, so it’s the perfect setup for an everyday angler. However, if you’re a serious fisherman who likes to bring extra equipment or add more accessories, there might be a better choice for you.

The shape of the hull, or underside, makes the kayak feel super stable and buoyant, so you can do a little moving around inside of it. Even with the flat bottom, the kayak still picks up good speed for your effort. These features are perfect if you’re new to kayaking and enjoy a leisurely pace.

Old Town Predator PDL

Specs
  • Best Use: Flatwater
  • Length: 12 ft 2 in
  • Weight: 117 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 500 lbs
  • Rod Holders: 3 Flush-Mount Holders
  • Seat: Adjustable Seat
Features
  • Pedal Motor and Rudder to Add Speed to Your Stroke
  • Non-Slip Deck to Help You Keep Your Footing While Standing
  • 6 Removable Mounting Plates so You Can Accessorize as You Wish
  • Front Hatch and Rear Bungee-Corded Tank Well for Storage
  • Front and Side Handles for Carrying to Your Launch Point
Old Town Predator PDL

BEST FOR: THE HARDCORE ANGLER

While kayaking is largely an upper-body sport, the Predator balances out the upper-body with lower-body work. The kayak uses pedal-propelled power that allows you to control your boat when your hands are busy casting and reeling. The pedal system also adds momentum to your paddle strokes when you want to make some real headway on the water.

Aside from the notable steering features, this premium kayak is an angler’s top choice. It’s decked out with mounts and storage galore for everything you could possibly need to fish for a long time. Be careful though, because the kayak may be hard for one person to handle on land, especially weighed down with gear.

Wilderness Systems Radar 135

Specs
  • Best Use: Flatwater to Mildly Choppy
  • Length: 13 ft 6 in
  • Weight: 90 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 475 lbs
  • Rod Holders: None
  • Seat: Adjustable Mesh Suspension Seat
Features
  • Front and Middle Hatches and Rear Bungee-Corded Tank for Storage
  • Adjustable Foot Pegs to Help You Achieve the Best Sitting Position
  • Pedal- and Rudder-Ready to Add Power to Your Stroke
  • Ergonomic Front and Back Handles For Carrying the Boat on Land
  • Gear Tracks Where You Can Add Your Own Accessories
Wilderness Systems Radar 135

BEST FOR: CALM AND MILDLY CHOPPY RIVERS AND LAKES

If you like the idea of having a pedal kayak like the Predator kayak above, but the cost of the Predator doesn’t line up with your budget, then the Radar might be a sensible option. This kayak comes equipped with built-in attachment points for a pedal system and rudder, should you choose to add them. 

The Radar can take quite a beating, even if the wind picks up while you’re out fishing. Along with durability, the SMART principle behind the design emphasizes Stability, Maneuverability, Acceleration, Responsiveness, and Tracking. This ‘yak is a workhorse that leaves you with plenty of energy leftover to fish your favorite spots.

Old Town Topwater 106 Angler

Specs
  • Best Use: Flatwater
  • Length: 10 ft 6 in
  • Weight: 73 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 440 lbs
  • Rod Holders: 3
  • Seat: Breathable Seat with High/Low Positions
Features
  • Flat, Barrel-Like Hull, or Underside, for Maximum Stability
  • Universal Mount For Your Own Fishfinder
  • Onboard Rod and Tackle Storage and Accessory Tracks for Organization
  • Covered Front Tank Well and Rear Bungee Storage Tank
  • Foam Deck Pads to Avoid Slipping and Foot Fatigue
Old Town Topwater 106

BEST FOR: FISHING IN STEALTH MODE

Take your rod to the Old Town road and ride until you can’t no more. The Topwater keeps you comfortable and has a generous storage capacity for multi-day fishing trips. The specially-designed pontoon hull, or flat, barrel-like underside, lets you sneak up quietly on fish without wasted effort. It also provides a stable base for stand-up fishing. 

Every inch of the boat has a fishing-specific purpose. Two rod holders behind the seat, one in front, and two under-seat rod storage positions let you bring several poles. The fishfinder mounting system and accessory tracks allow you to attach your gadgets in minutes. Despite all of that, the boat still gives you breathing room to enjoy your getaway.

Sun Dolphin Boss SS

Specs
  • Best Use: Flatwater
  • Length: 12 ft 3 in
  • Weight: 78 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 500 lbs
  • Rod Holders: 5
  • Seat: Dual-Position, Fold-Down Seat
Features
  • Flat Stable Bottom for Easy Standing
  • Front and Back Bungee-Corded Tanks for Storing Your Gear
  • Non-Slip Pads to Give You Good Footing While Standing
  • Front, Back, and Side Handles for Carrying to the Shoreline
  • Built-In Paddle Holders to Keep Your Hands Free For Casting And Reeling

BEST FOR: LOTS OF STANDING TIME

If you’re the type of angler who likes to move around on your feet, then you’ll appreciate the Boss. This kayak is built like your own personal floating dock with its flat, stable bottom, large open cockpit (or sitting area), and non-skid floor. Stand to reel, kneel to net a fish, or sit to give your legs a rest–this ‘yak lets you do it all.

At the lower end of the price range, you get a pretty sweet fishing setup too with 5 rod holders and plenty of storage space for your tools and tackle. The ‘yak has all the accessories you need to enjoy a productive (or relaxing) day on the water.

Lifetime Tamarack Angler

Specs
  • Best Use: Flatwater
  • Length: 10 ft
  • Weight: 58 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 275 lbs
  • Rod Holders: 1 top mounted and 2 flush mounted holders
  • Seat: Padded seat back and bottom
Features
  • Multiple Footrest Positions to Accommodate Different Riders
  • Front and Back Bungee Storage Compartments for Storing A Cooler and/or Tackle
  • Front and Center Storage Hatches for Storing Items You Want to Keep Dry
  • Stability Chine Rails (See Features Explained) and Deep Grooves on the Underside Offer Utmost Stability
  • Paddle Cradle Holds Your Paddle and Frees Up Your Hands

BEST FOR: SPONTANEOUS FISHING TRIPS

The Tamarack opens up new possibilities for water sports at camp or the cabin. It doesn’t take much to gather a pole or two and some bait and tackle and see what’s biting out on the pond. The boat was built to be ultra stable, which is perfect for teens and visitors too. 

The affordable price makes kayak fishing accessible to anyone. While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of a higher-end model, it gives you access to more fishing locations than you could ever get on shore. If you’re not worried about all the extra features, you’ll do just fine with the Tamarack.

Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90

Specs
  • Best Use: Flatwater and Ocean Surf
  • Length: 9 ft
  • Weight: 46 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
  • Rod Holders: 4 Flush Holders
  • Seat: Ergonomic back and seat cushion
Features
  • Comes With a Paddle, So You Don’t Have to Purchase it Separately
  • Front and Back Bungee-Corded Tanks and Center Hatch for Storage
  • Molded Paddle Rests, Center Cup Holder, and Storage Trays
  • Multiple Footrest Positions to Accommodate Different Riders
  • Fish Finder Mount

BEST FOR: ADVENTURE-READY FISHERS 

If you’re ready to go fishing, like yesterday, then this kayak package takes you there. As soon as the kayak and included paddle reach your doorstep, you can initiate launch. If you plan to fish, make sure to throw a few necessities onboard before you go. If you plan to be out for awhile, you may want to add extra cushioning to the seat as the lack of support is a common complaint. 

The exuberant color options give you an expressive alternative to your standard camo. It also helps you stand out to passing boats and hunters. You can further accessorize the ‘yak to suit your preferences with the onboard mounting system. Cast a line, “you” style.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A SIT ON TOP FISHING KAYAK

COST

The kayaks on this list range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. You need to determine a price range you’re comfortable with before making your selection. You can find a fun, reliable model for a low price (this list is for the “best” after all). But if you have more wiggle room and want a more decked-out ‘yak, then the boats on the higher end of the price range may interest you.

 

WEIGHT

Solid sit-on-top kayaks tend to lean more toward the heavy side. If you tend to go fishing alone, make sure you have a way to get your kayak to shore without help. You may be able to lift some of the kayaks on this list by yourself. Others require two-person carry or a kayak dolly to get them to and from the shore.

 

PASSENGER SIZE

Each kayak here accommodates riders of different sizes. Make sure your weight plus the weight of onboard equipment falls below the kayak’s suggested weight limit for the most efficient ride. Your height may make a difference too. All the kayaks here have variable footrest positions, but if you’re on the tall or short side, you should check to make sure your legs are comfortable inside.

 

FEATURES

Figure out which features are non-negotiable and which features would be nice to have and narrow your selection based on that. If you’re dead-set on rod holders galore or dry storage, then use your list to make a choice. It also helps to list out what tackle and gear you want to bring along and check to make sure your kayak has the storage capacity to hold it.

 

DESIRED USE

Most of the kayaks on this list work best on for flatwater fishing, but a few can handle some light waves. But how you want to use your kayak from there matters. Do you like to be able to stand up and fish? Are you interested in kayaking for fun as well as for fishing? Take your intended use into consideration to choose the right model.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

FOOTRESTS

When you paddle a kayak, you need a way to brace your feet. Footrests give you a place to brace your legs. Some kayaks come with footrests molded into the plastic while others have movable foot rests so you can find the position that works best for you.

DECK AND COCKPIT

The cockpit of the boat is the inside area that you occupy. The deck is the floorspace along the bottom of the boat that you stand on. Learn more specifics about the parts of a kayak here.

HULL

The underside of a kayak is referred to as the hull. The design of the hull affects how the kayak rides, including how stable and fast it moves. Flat or pontoon hulls feel very stable while V-shaped hulls feel tipsy but move faster.

CHINE

If you divide the hull in half lengthwise, each half is called a chine. If multiple step-like levels make up the chine, it’s called a multi-chine hull. Chine rails are flat areas or grooves on the hull that increase stability.

STORAGE TANK OR HATCH

Storage tanks are recessed storage compartments, typically secured with bungee cords. Storage hatches are lidded storage compartments that help keep your belongings dry. Many paddlers add liners to their hatches to keep items contained.

DECK RIGGING

Deck rigging, stern stringers, or grab lines are all names for bungee cords that run along the sides of the boat. The ropes can be used to pull the kayak, attach accessories, or hang an anchor or fish stringer.

GEAR TRACKS

Gear tracks are grooves along the sides of the kayak where you can attach your accessories. With gear tracks, you don’t have to drill holes or make any other modifications to the kayak to add your accessories. You can slide compatible rod holders, fish finders, cup holders, and other attachments into these universal tracks with the proper fittings.

READ MORE

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