So, you love fishing, and fishing from a boat especially? But, those old, heavy and huge wooden boats are hard to paddle, and the motor pretty much scares the fish away, right? Wouldn’t it be great if you could fish from a lightweight, stable, easy to paddle boat and still have enough space for all your fishing gear? Well, what you should be focusing or is the best fishing kayak you can find on the market.
Fishing kayaks are basically the same type of a boat as the regular kayak, only modified and suitable for fishing as well, and such type of fishing is actually much safer than with the old type of wooden boats. However, there are plenty of different models available on the market, and if you don’t know what to look for, you can easily end up with a wrong model, or a low quality one. That is why we decided to jump in and help you out.
In this article, you will first learn which are the features you should keep an eye before buying a fishing kayak, because this is not a small investment actually. After that, when you are all filled up with knowledge on the topic, we will take you through the reviews of the best models on the market, so that you make sure you are making the informed decision and picking the perfect model for your needs. But before all that, let’s take a look at the table of the reviewed models, so that you have a better idea what to expect.
Our Top Picks
|Product Name||Max Load||Weight||Length||Hull Material||Price|
|Old Town Predator 13||425 lbs||86 lbs||13.2 ft||Polyethylene (single-layer)||Check price on Amazon|
|Hobie Mirage Oasis||550 lbs||127 lbs||14.6 ft||Polyethylene||Check price on Amazon|
|Lifetime Sport Fisher||500 lbs||60 lbs||10 ft||High-density polyethylene (HDPE)||Check price on Amazon|
|Sun Dolphin Journey||250 lbs||44 lbs||10 ft||High-density polyethylene||Check price on Amazon|
|Ocean Kayak Trident 13||475 lbs||67 lbs||13.6 ft||Polyethylene||Check price on Amazon|
|Sevylor Coleman Colorado||470 lbs||43 lbs||3.3 ft||18 Gauge PVC||Check price on Amazon|
|BIC Yakkair||550 lbs||33 lbs||13.5 ft||18 Gauge PVC structure||Check price on Amazon|
|Ocean Kayak Prowler||600 lbs||70 lbs||12.9 ft||Polyethylene||Check price on Amazon|
|Maliby Kayaks X-13||450 lbs||60 lbs||29 ft||Polyethylene||Check price on Amazon|
|Sea Eagle SE370K||650 lbs||32 lbs||12.6 ft||K80 PVC||Check price on Amazon|
Features to Consider Before Buying
The length of the fishing kayak is the most important factor when it comes to performance on the water. When determining what length you need, the first thing you need to consider, is the type of water you plan to use it on. Shorter kayaks (11 feet or shorter) are more maneuverable, but more complicated to keep balance, while longer kayaks (12 feet or longer) are much faster and more stable.
If you plan on using the kayak on mostly small ponds, creeks, and backwaters, you should choose maneuverability before speed. On the other hand, for bigger lakes, rivers, or the ocean, going for the longer model would be a smarter choice.
While all the older kayak models were notorious for being and unstable, many of today’s models are stable enough to allow you to stand up, which was impossible before. However, as great this is for fishing, the better the stability, the less maneuverability the kayak has and is harder to paddle.
If you are with a bigger body and plenty of gear, and you plan on standing while fishing, you should choose a wider, more stable kayak. Such a model will also be great if you plan on using it for small ponds and rivers.
On the other hand, if you are a troller or an angler, a narrower, less stable model would be a better choice. This will allow you to easily cover greater distances during the day.
As fishermen, we’ve got the market cornered on having too much gear. For that reason, it’s important to find a yak that has enough room for all the necessities. Some models have integrated storage, and even live wells. Others have areas molded for external storage like milk crates and coolers.
Sit on top models often have molded internal hatches, whereas sit-in models feature more open space in the hull for storing gear. Make a mental list of all the things you’re likely to carry with you while fishing, and visualize where you would put everything before you buy.
Keel or No Keel
A keel is a piece of plastic that is shaped as a “fin”, and sticks down into the water from the hull, and improves kayak’s speed and tracking. Some models come with integrated keels, while some have retractable ones, and some don’t have keels at all.
If you are fishing in open water, or trolling, or plan on fishing in relatively deep waters, you should choose a kayak with a keel, as it will make your paddling more efficient. On the other hand, if you plan on floating on shallow rivers with rocks, or standing while fishing, choose a model without a keel.
The downside of being suitable for fishing, stable, and with plenty of storage for gear, is that the today’s kayaks, are heavier than before, and when doing the research, keep this in mind that.
If you plan on taking your kayak on your fishing adventures often, but without a car, you should choose a model that is lighter, especially if you have to drag it down a dirt path to the water. On the other hand, if you’re going to use your car or a truck to get to the water, you have the freedom of choosing the heavier model and take all your gear with you.
Drift or Anchor
If you are fishing with your kayak in open water, adding a traditional or electronic anchoring system can be a huge benefit. It can also be useful backwaters, where anchoring up to fish might be a smart idea.
But, keep in mind that this adds weight, and could become unnecessary for anglers that let the current drift them away while fishing. Basically, check the models, see which one would be more suitable for your fishing style, as there are also models that are not that heavy, and won’t affect the maneuverability and speed.
Best Products on Today’s Market
After getting more familiar with the things you should keep an eye on before making the final kayak choice, it’s time to take a look at some of the best models on the market.
Price: Approx. $1400
Length: 13.2 ft
Width: 33 in
Max load: 425 lbs
Weight: 86 lbs
Hull material: Polyethylene (single-layer)
Specific features: 6 mounting plates, a twofold rod holder, slip-resistant Exo-Ridge deck, 8 scupper holes with valves.
Best use: Fishing and water sports on still water
Description: The Old Town Predator 13 Kayak is one of the most recent fishing kayaks in the industry. It is designed for large water bodies such as lakes, coastal areas and bays and you can feel secure in it as it cannot be tipped. It is strong and steady against the rocks and has not two, but six removable mounting plates.
The mounting plates are placed strategically to do away with the need to drill into the hull of the kayak. The plates enable you to arrange and customize the kayak with slide tracks, GPS, rod holders and fish finders.
Furthermore, the Old Town Predator has a twofold rod holder which makes it easy and convenient for storage during casting. It has mounted retainer bungees which (when not in use) can be used to keep the paddle secure. You may also place the paddle on the molded paddle rest to free your hands to cast.
The kayak also has a comfy seating system that allows you to adjust the height, as well as the foot braces; plus it gives the option of standing up with your security guaranteed with the stand-up assist strap.
- Strong and steady
- Can be used for fishing or water sports
- Seat can only accommodate one person
- Does not have an anchor trolley
- A bit heavy
- Too slow for speed enthusiasts
- The hatch cover or center console tends to interfere with the standing space
Related: When buying a kayak, the paddles you pick will go a long way in determining your overall experience. Always consider the paddles’ length, weight, as well as the material used to manufacture the blades. The Seattle Sports Seawhisper Carbon Paddle is a great pick. It’s super light and extremely durable, even when used in rough waters.
Price: Approx. $4000
Length: 14.6 ft
Width: 33 in
Max load: 550 lbs
Weight: 127 lbs
Hull material: Polyethylene
Specific features: Rod holders, dual steering, 2 CT seats, spacious cockpit with dual Mirage Drive
Best use: Still waters, calmer sea
Description: The Hobie Mirage Oasis Kayak allows for two people to sit in it. The seating system is ideal for long distances out in the sea, and you can easily adjust the height, bottom, back of the seat as well as the lumbar support. The seats are also positioned in such a way that they are in front of the rod holders, which are placed on the opposite sides to prevent entangling. The kayak is long, narrow and lightweight, which makes it very fast.
Furthermore, there are 2 pouches on the back of the seats where you can store your drinks, snacks or bait. Also, the kayak comes in different colors, giving you a wide range of choices.
As for the shape of the kayak, the Oasis is like a flipped penguin, which makes it easier to get to offshore fishing spots. It also drives smoothly and fast in calm water, and the dual control system is great, as it is easy to alternate control of the kayak with your partner.
When it comes to paddles, the Hobie Oasis has two paddles and two pedal style paddles for a different type of drive. It is also very easy to paddle and assemble, and you can easily engage or disengage the rudder system by simply pulling the T- shape three covered loading areas.
- A nice, slick design that makes it very fast
- Ideal for use over extended durations in the sea
- Can comfortably seat 2 people
- Light and easy to launch on fishing spots
- Waterproof storage compartment isn’t so spacious
- You need to take out the Mirage Drive before you land on sand
- The drainage hole is at the back, near the rudder means that you cannot rest the kayak by its back to drain water out
Related: As a kayaker, you want to be sure that you have a reliable pump on your deck. The Aqua-Bound BilgeMaster Kayak Pump is one of the most reliable and effective models on the market. It moves water faster than most other models, and you can expel plenty of water in just a few pump strokes.
Price: Approx. $515
Length: 10 ft
Width: 36 in
Max load: 500 lbs
Weight: 60 lbs
Hull material: High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
Specific features: Paddles made of aircraft grade aluminum, cord straps and ditty trays, watertight compartments, cradles and paddle clips, cup holder; fishing pole holders, footrests, interior storage
Best use: Recreational fishing activities
Description: The Lifetime Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak allows you to take more than person along your fishing trip (it can seat up to three people). This kayak gives you the flexibility to fish either standing up or seated on the side saddle without tripping. It is wide and stable, with Ergonomic seating making it very comfortable.
Speaking of seats, they are raised, which keeps you dry as you paddle. There is also plenty of room to rest your feet with the paddles, while the backrests provide extra comfort. The kayak also has a hatch on the rear for storage, and you can easily add a trolling motor.
Furthermore, the hull design gives the kayak stability and also ensures excellent tracking, and makes the kayak strong yet very light. I also has molded- in rear and front carry handles and the drainage plugs are placed strategically and are easy to grasp, while the scupper holes allow water to drain out of the cockpit area.
All in all, the Sport Fisher sit-on-top kayak is an affordable and lightweight model that is great for anglers, and is easy to store and use.
- Affordable and great for beginners
- Easy to transport and assemble
- High quality components
- Not fast due to its width
- There are no button cushions on the seats
- It can be a challenge in windy conditions
Related: When on the water, you always have to be prepared to act if you have a man overboard. Therefore, we suggest getting the Four Bailer that contains 4 safety items all neatly packaged into one. You get a bailing bucket, buoyant heaving line, signaling device, as well as a Hi-Viz Reflector. It’s buoyant, easy to knot and throw, and dries very fast.
Price: Approx. $350
Length: 10 ft
Width: 30 in
Max load: 250 lbs
Weight: 44 lbs
Hull material: High-Density Polyethylene
Specific features: Aircraft grade aluminum and molded polymer, Adjustable foot braces, paddle holder
Best use: Calm or flat water
Description: The Sun Dolphin Journey Kayak comes with a hull design that enables tracking and provides great stability. It also has an add-on mount, from which you can include a power motor or rudder.
The rear and front carry handles are molded, and the kayak comes with a portable accessory carrier that can be used for extra storage. The Journey is lightweight, which makes it really easy to carry.
Furthermore, the kayak also has plenty of storage space in the form of ditty trays as well as shock cord straps, that keep your items safe, and a rear storage hatch that keeps your gear dry when you are out on the water. It also has fishing pole holders and scupper holes which help drain the cockpit.
As for the seating area, it is big enough and has protective thigh pads and has an elevated ergonomic seating which is very comfortable with a variety of footrest positions. Allin all, the kayak is a strong and durable model that is great for aspiring anglers as well as the experienced anglers, and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
- Very spacious
- Adjustable foot braces
- Light and easy to carry
- Great for beginners
- The pole holders sometimes allow water into the boat
- The rudder can also cause minimal racking problems
Related: As a beginner, you’ll quickly notice that kayaking all day is not that easy and requires strength. To make it a bit easier on the arms, we suggest getting lightweight paddles. The Cannon Fiberglass Kayak Paddle is a great choice. The shaft comes with three offset angles that are adjustable depending on your preference.
Price: Approx. $1300
Length: 13.6 ft
Width: 29.5 in
Max load: 475 lbs
Weight: 67 lbs
Hull material: Polyethylene
Specific features: Two hatches, a single paddle, two rod holders, oversize tank well with bungee and cooler option, side-mounted carrying handles, reflective deck rigging, skid plate, sonar shield
Best use: Fishing and sporting activities
Description: The Ocean Kayak Trident 13 Angler Kayak is a sit on top, user-friendly kayak that is very fast. It has a great length, which appeals to those who find thrills in speed. It is stable and easy to maneuver, and has a comfortable hybrid back seat with adjustable foot pegs, which make the kayak flexible for a range of paddlers.
Furthermore, the carrying handles are mounted on the side, making the kayak easy to carry. It also has a wide range of useful features such as a sonar shield, scuppers to drain the water from the cockpit, a flexible fishing pod, an adjustable foot brace system, a skid plate, and paddle keepers. It also has a bow click seal hatch oversize well tank with bungee, reflective deck rigging and a battery bag for storing your fish finder (which is battery operated).
All in all, the Trident 13 is a good choice because it is impressively stable, can move fast and easily on almost any type of water body, and you can easily carry it alone because it is very lightweight.
- Spacious room leg with an adjustable foot brace system
- Plenty of useful features
- Lightweight, very stable, and highly maneuverable
- Fast on all types of water
- Has no stand- up straps
- Does not have an anchor trolley
Related: As a kayaker out there in the waters, safety, comfort and convenience matter a lot. The NRS cVest Life Jacket comes in handy as it’s comfy when seated, has many water proof pockets where you can store your watch, phone, or other valuables, plus, it’s extremely buoyant.
Length: 10.9 ft
Width: 3.3 ft
Max load: 470 lbs
Weight: 43 lbs
Hull material: 18 gauge PVC structure
Specific features: Paddle holders, rod holders, pressure gauge, carry bag
Best use: On lakes, still water, calm rivers
Description: The Sevylor Coleman Colorado Kayak is a strong, durable, and stable, but at the same time, it is very light. It also has carry handles, which make it easy to carry and comes with adjustable seats for your comfort. The rod holders are adjustable as well, which leaves your hands free for fishing.
Furthermore, the Coleman Colorado has D-Rings that allow you to attach your stuff easily, and has an airtight system that does not leak. It also has a variety of air chambers in case one gets punctured, and the valves are double threaded, making deflation or inflation easy.
There are also storage pockets, made of mesh, which keep your snacks and gear close by. This kayak is ideal for conditions where there’s a chance of puncturing the bottom as the bottom of the kayak is made of 840D nylon cover that provides sturdy protection against. Also, if you want, you can easily fix your motor or rudder on this kayak.
All in all, this is a reliable, economical and pocket-friendly kayak that is rigged for fishing, and has a big storage capacity.
- Affordable and budget friendly
- Has a large storage capacity
- Has an airtight system that hardly leaks
- You cannot get a replacement of the seats if they are worn out
Related: In order to prevent your fishing rod and reel from getting entangled in branches or trees, it’s advisable to invest in a good rod holder. The Harmony Angler Essential Kit offers you the perfect solution; the holder can be clipped on the side or on top of most kayak decks.
Price: Approx. $700
Length: 13 ft
Width: 37.8 in
Max load: 550 lbs
Weight: 42 lbs
Hull material: 18 gauge PVC structure
Specific features: Two fishing backrests, two rod holders, two foot rests, two paddlers, paddle attachment, abrasion protector
Best use: Fishing on still and calm waters
Description: The BIC Yakkair Kayak is a durable model that is easily inflatable and affordable. It is also lightweight, which means it has a good speed on the water. The kayak is easy to assemble, and is excellent for going to hidden fishing spots. It also contains carry handles and mesh storage both at the rear and front.
The Yakkair Kayak also comes with a repair kit, a pump, bow protector and a carry bag, and you can also remove the bladder to repair if necessary. It is not only lightweight, but has a great high-pressure design and does not fold in the middle when loaded. It also allows you to exit and enter easily, and the shape design allows you to paddle easily. Furthermore, the rod holders are nicely positioned and free up your hands, giving you the flexibility to fish with more fishing rods at the same time.
All in all, this is a nice and affordable choice for fishing on the lake or a calm river, has good speed, and performs quite well considering it is an inflatable kayak.
- Lightweight, durable, affordable, and very fast
- The mesh storage is strategically placed in the front and rear
- It also comes with a complete repair kit
- The valves are not attached to anywhere in particular
- It is hard to access the bladders
- The glue is not the best quality
Related: Every kayaker ought to have a whistle with them, like the Fox 40 Sonic Blast Whistle. It delivers a really loud whistle, so that you can use it even in the midst of the roaring rivers.
Price: Approx $1400
Length: 12.9 ft
Width: 34 in
Max load: 600 lbs
Weight: 70 lbs
Hull material: Polyethylene
Specific features: Six mounting plates, big rear tank well that has a bungee, a battery bag, element seating system, paddle keepers
Best use: Rough waters
Description: The Ocean Kayak Prowler Big Game Angler II has a wide platform which ensures it is stable. It has a mold-in seat well, a Mod Pod center hatch cover and adjustable foot braces. It also has a cup holder and a transducer-compatible scupper system that lets you know when your catch is hanging outside. There is a paddle keeper on the side ensuring the safety of your paddle.
Furthermore, the Big Game II Kayak has an Element seating system that allows you to seat from a variety of positions. It is very stable and comfortable with a well-designed standing flat foot, which has an adjustable glide track foot brace system. There is sufficient storage space from the large bowl that has a cover with a click seal, which keeps your gear dry and safe.
Also, there are stern stingers to carry volume on the rear part of the kayak. The mounting brackets allow you to furnish your gear with pretty much everything you want without the need to drill into the hull. It also has comfortable carrying handles. This is an ideal kayak that gives you the sense of stability while at sea.
- Has a paddle keeper on the side for easy and safe storage of your paddles
- Very stable and comfortable, plus sufficient storage room
- Has an adjustable foot brace system
- The hatch could have been added as an option
Related: When you want to install paddle holders on a kayak that has no holes drilled, you can always try out Cascade Creek Yakclip Paddle Clip. These take just a few seconds to install, and are strong enough to secure your paddles under all conditions.
Price: Approx. $1100
Length: 14 ft
Width: 29 in
Max load: 450 lbs
Weight: 60 lbs
Hull material: Polyethylene
Specific features: Cup holder, threaded eyelets, nylon hooks, paddle holders, stern and bow handles, gator hatch
Best use: Diving, fishing, and recreational activities
Description: The Malibu X-13 Sit on Top Kayak is known for its strong design and varied functions. It has diving, fishing & recreational features, which make it one of the versatile models on the market.
It also has a wide storage to store your tools and fishing equipment, and good tracking, making it ideal for diving. You can use in either big or small lakes, ocean shores or rivers. However, if you are going to harsh and wild environs, it is best to opt for more professional kayaks.
The X-13 has a big cockpit area, a center hatch, two rod holders on the front and four on the rear, carry handles on the side, an adjustable track foot system, and a comfortable seating system. It also has shock cords, a drain plug that has a base, hull transducer and a rear bungee system for storage and keeping your gear safely in place.
There are also optional features which include an X- wing sliding console, 5 gallon live bait bucket that has a pump kit and a rudder system that has 4’ round hatch. It is a classy kayak with an amazing shape and make and we consider it quite a good investment.
- Ideal for camping, has additional space for putting your tent
- Long, comfortable, stable, and very fast
- Front holders have provisions for installing a fish finder
- It can be a bit heavy for some people
- A bit more expensive compared to standard kayaks
Related: One of the common challenges in kayaking is in getting the right paddle holders. The holders ought to be able to secure your paddles regardless of their weight or size. At only around $15, you can get the Yakattack RotoGrip Paddle Holder that’s durable and easy to install on the kayak.
Price: Approx. $290
Length: 12.6 ft
Width: 34 in
Max load: 650 lbs
Weight: 32 lbs
Hull material: K80 PVC
Specific features: High frequency welded seams, a repair kit, a gauge, I-Beam construction floor
Best use: Diving, sea fishing
Description: The Sea Eagle SE370K Inflatable Kayak is ideal both for raging waters and calm waters. It is an inflatable kayak that has a variety of features, which make your fishing experience more adventurous. It is a stable kayak that can be launched from anywhere, and you can simply put it in the trunk of your car.
Furthermore, the Sea Eagle has exceptional tracking, it can fit three people, is highly portable, and takes at least 8 minutes to inflate and assemble. The stern and bow, make it very easy to handle the kayak once you are on the water.
It also has 2 skegs at the bottom for skillful tracking and speed and has three deluxe one-way valves for faster inflation and is certified by NMMA due to its safety for the paddler. The Self-bailing drain valve allows quick deflation; it also has Inflatable spray skirts that prevent water from splashing.
The inside of the kayak is made of 38 mil PolyKrylar material, while the hull is strong, stable and durable thus can withstand punctures and or pricks. In our opinion, this is a great model with plenty of features, and it also comes at a pocket-friendly price.
- Affordable and ideal for beginners
- It’s also very stable and the PolyKrylar material used makes it super comfy
- Strong hull that can withstand punctures or pricks in rough waters
- It is difficult to carry the kayak because the carry bag has just one strap
- The paddles cannot fit in the carry bag
Related: The safety of your gear when kayaking matters much, and this is why you should always ensure that the paddles are always safely held in place. You can never go wrong with the Scotty Leash Plug Adapter. It’s highly adjustable and compatible with most paddles.
With the Sea Eagle Kayak we have reached the end of our article. After reading the features to consider before buying, you armed yourself with the most important facts that are necessary when buying a fishing kayak, if you want to avoid ending up with the wrong or a bad quality model. The important thing is to define which features are the most important ones to you, and base your final decision on that.
Now, since you defined what you should keep an eye on, our kayak reviews have definitely shortened your search time and made sure that your choice is of the finest quality and features to price ratio. But, if you are still not that sure, we can recommend the Maliby Kayaks X-13 for those who plan on using their kayak for more than just fishing.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a model that is a full fledged fishing kayak that can carry plenty of fishing gear and more than just one fishing rod, and is stable enough to allow you to stand up while fishing, we recommend the Old Town Predator 13.
Now, it’s your turn to share some thoughts. Do you think we missed to review a kayak model that should be on this list? Have you used any of the reviewed models, and if so, what are your thoughts on it? You can let us know by leaving a comment in the comments section below. Thanks for reading, and if you think that your friends will find this article interesting to read, feel free to share it on social media.