Whether you are a first time kayak fisherman or veteran kayak angler who is in need of a new vessel, choosing the right kayak can be a difficult decision.
Buying the wrong kayak can make you uncomfortable, break your rod holder or make you sink due to the weight of your equipment. Before you end up like a fish out of water, you need to know what makes a kayak good for fishing, and what makes a kayak right for you.
We are going to help you figure this out by telling you everything you need to know about kayaks designed for fishing. You might be thinking that all fishing kayaks are the same, but if you’re fishing in rivers you’re going to need a different boat than if you are aiming for the open sea.
So let us help you figure out which is the right kayak for you.
What should I look for in a Fishing Kayak?
Generally speaking, there are two types of kayaks, sit inside and sit on top. When it comes to fishing kayaks, sit inside styles are not considered to be a good choice. This is because the cargo space will be limited, and the movement you need to reel in your catch will be restricted. Sit on top kayaks, on the other hand, gives you access to your equipment, and the waves or water from the fish you catch can be drained out by the scupper holes in the bottom.
The second thing you have to consider is the stability of the kayak. When you’re wrestling to pull in your fish, you don’t want the boat tipping with every twist. The best way to make sure the kayak won’t tip is to know the environment you will be in. If you plan on standing up while you fish, then you should avoid V-shaped hulls and look for tunnel or flat bottom hulls instead. This should balance your weight.
Long kayaks are normally the best option for fishing, as they can break up waves and cut through the water smoothly. But you will need to be able to transport the boat to reach the water and maneuver the kayak around the body of water you’re in. That is where shorter kayaks are better.
Longer boats tend to have little space for your fishing equipment, as their aim is to be fast over everything else. So you need to balance the desired length with your ability to move it, and the capacity it has to hold your equipment.
Now that you know what to be looking for, you are ready to see our top 5 fishing kayaks.
Best Fishing Kayak
If the type of Kayak you’re looking for is one that can hold all of your fishing equipment with ease, then the Basscreek 100xp Angler is the one for you. This kayak can hold 325 lb which is 147 kg. This weight will need to include your own body of course, so if you’re a person on the larger side of life, then you know that it will carry you and your equipment with ease.
With its flat bottom hull, you know that it will carry you through your paddling journey with grace and stability. Although flat bottom hulls are great at keeping stability, you might think that you would be okay to stand in this kayak, but the seat cushion, adjustable backrest, and adjustable footrests should tell you that this kayak is aimed at those who want to sit comfortably.
When it comes to storage, the Basscreek has a dry storage hatch at the back of the kayak to put your bags, and a quick lock hatch at the front to keep your important gear safe if you were to capsize. This kayak also comes with a swivel rod holder and two flush-mounted rod holders, meaning you can turn or keep your rod stable as you wait for the bait to be caught.
Lastly, when it comes to length, we already know that the more you have the quicker you can go. This kayak is 120 inches long, which is 304.8 cm. That is a pretty standard size length, so would be great at making your paddling easy on the arms.
- Large Carrying Capacity
- Comfortable Seating
- Long Kayak
- Quick Lock Hatch
- No Cons!
Fishing is a slow and calming sport, and when you fish in a kayak that tranquil feeling becomes stronger. But once you’ve got a fish on your reel, you need to move fast! Having everything in easy reach is important, especially when there won’t be a lot of room in your boat.
If being able to grab your equipment quickly feels important to you, then we would recommend picking the Tamarack Angler 100. It can’t carry as much weight as Basscreek, with the maximum weight being 275 lb or 124.7 kg, but it does have two storage hatches with only a couple of lines to hold your bags down. This is great for when you need to open everything up quickly, but if you were to capsize or if you have a lot of little items you need to take with you, this open design will not protect your belongings.
Just like the Basscreek, this kayak has a flat bottom hull which is great for stability, however, it doesn’t contain all the comfortable additions that the Basscreek has. Instead, it has multiple foot positions as part of its structure. This means that you don’t have to fiddle around whilst on the kayak, and can simply move your legs to different positions to get yourself comfortable.
Most of the other features the Tamarack has are the same as the Basscreek. They are the same length and have the same kind of fishing rod holders. The only difference left is the price tag. The Tamarack is the most expensive fishing kayak on our list!
- Easy to Access Storage
- No Nonsense Foot Adjustments
- Long Kayak
You may have already figured out that long kayaks, although fast, are not suitable for you. Maybe you don’t have the storage to keep something so large, or possibly your car can’t hold too much weight.
Whatever the reason, the Sentinel 100X is a great kayak short kayak with a length of 114 inches or 289.56 cm if you prefer that unit of measurement, and it’s made from the same company as the Basscreek. The company Pelican is a well known and respected brand, so you know that your choice of kayak is safe regardless of its size.
Having a shorter kayak also has its advantages, especially if you are fishing in a pond or a river. In these environments, you will need to have a good maneuvering ability and this is what short kayaks are great at!.
Looking at some of the Sentinel’s other features, it can hold 275 lbs or 124.73 kg which is the same as the Tamarack. It is a one seater and has two storage hatches, one in the front and the other in the back. Once again this is similar to the Tamarack. The difference is that the hatch at the top of the kayak is heavily meshed to make it more secure, yet it is harder to grab things out of it quickly.
- Short Kayak
- Easy to Access Storage
- Comfortable Seating
- Smallest Carrying Capacity on our list
Both of our two seater fishing kayaks are inflatable, which means it is better at being durable than being stable. Inflatable kayaks are fantastic at resisting damage and absorbing impacts from rocky shallow locations.
If the likely location of your fishing trips is in shallow or sharp areas, like a pond or river, then you will know that the inflatable kayaks will keep you safe!
Another great thing about inflatable kayaks is their ability to hold more weight than the others. Although per seat the Colorado can’t hold as much as the Basscreek, it can still hold 400 lb which is 181.43 in kilograms. This is the biggest carrying capacity on our list and is only matched by our second inflatable kayak, the Intex Excursion Pro.
But what makes the Colorado different from the Intex Excursion Pro? Well, it is a shorter kayak. Measuring at only 129 inches or 327.66 cm. This length is still longer than the Brasscreek and the Tamarack by 9 inches, but remembering that this is a two seater kayak tells us that this is still relatively short.
The short length means it is easy to maneuver, and coupling that information with the fact that it’s inflatable means that the Colorado is the most maneuverable kayak on our list.
- Most Maneuverable in the water
- Very Durable
- Large Carrying Capacity
- Two Seater
- Not Very Fast
The Intex Excursion Pro is the cheapest kayak on our list, which might make you doubt its durability, but this Kayak doesn’t need the big price tag to do a wonderful job.
It is just as durable as the Colorado as it is inflatable, can carry the same amount of weight as the Colorado, and has some easy to access story space in the bow and stern.
The only real negative to the kayak is that the storage isn’t tied down like the other kayaks are. Instead, it simply has a shelter to place your equipment in. That doesn’t mean that this kayak isn’t ready for a fishing adventure. It still has two swivel fishing rods and fish finders to help you catch your prey.
Along with all its other talents, the Intex Excursion Pro is also the longest kayak on our list, measuring at 151 inches which translates to 383.54 cm.
- Longest Kayak
- Large Carrying Capacity
- No Secure Storage
What is the most stable type of fishing Kayak?
All fishing kayaks are designed to be stable, as the manufacturer knows that anglers need to be still on the water and handle delicate equipment.
That being said, the most stable kayaks have a flat bottom hull design. The way it works is that the flat design helps center the buoyancy at extreme angles, putting you back on track.
What to Avoid?
There is only one real quality you should look out for when buying a Kayak and that is the materials they are made out of. LDPE stands for Low Density Polyethylene. It is a flexible polyethylene and will do well against rocky underwater terrain, but over time it may not last as long.
Kayaks made of Medium Density Polyethylene or High Density polyethylene are more dense and therefore more rigid, making them more likely to last longer. Their acronyms are MDPE and HDPE.
If you are buying a fishing kayak to take on ocean waters, then there is no need to buy the LDPE as the flexible nature isn’t needed and the raft won’t last as long. But if you are hoping to go to find a kayak that can handle a couple of bumps and can be easily moved both in water and out, then avoid the HDPE.
Do I need a fish finder on a kayak?
A fish finder is a sonar device that pulses sound waves through the water. The signal then hits an object, and that image is reflected back to the surface. The fish finder measures how long it takes for the sound waves to hit the object and then come back up.
This kind of technology is amazing at helping you find pockets of fish or even vegetation locations to settle near if you know what type of feed the local fish like.
However, you don’t need a fish finder to go fishing. As helpful as it is, people have been finishing without this technology for most of their lives, so it’s not a tool that you truly need. Also, most casual fishermen go fishing for the natural, tranquil landscape. Using this technology might feel like it is taking you away from the tech-free zone.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a fishing kayak worth it?
You might be thinking that fishing on a normal kayak is a cheap way to start your kayak fishing journey, but kayaks designed to be fished in, have been built with your rods and equipment in mind.
All fishing kayaks have at least one rod holder, but most have two. This means you have the stability you would normally expect when shore fishing or river fishing. They are also wider, to keep you stable and to hold your equipment.
Regular kayaks are only designed to be fast, so they are not going to give you a good experience in comparison.
Are fishing kayaks slower than regular kayaks?
Yes, they are. Because Fishing kayaks are designed to hold fishermen’s equipment and to be steady as you reel in your catch, this means that the kayaks have to be wider than the average kayak.
Being wider means the kayak has more of the water to cut through as you paddle. This makes the kayak slow.
Do Kayaks tip over easily?
As a rule, kayaks are hard to tip over if you are on calm waters, especially if you are using a fishing kayak. If you are paddling on rapid water, otherwise known as whitewater, then you should be using a sea kayak to help keep you from capsizing.
If you tip over on a sit-on-top kayak, then you will automatically fall out. This is the safest option, especially for beginners as you don’t need to learn how to get out of the kayak.
If you tip over on a sit-inside kayak, getting back up can be harder than you think. The method to do this will depend on the design of your kayak. That being said, sit-inside kayaks have more control over their stability as your body is helping with the overall buoyancy. This means they are less likely to tip over.
Is Kayaking hard for beginners?
Kayaking is not a hard sport as you only need to know how to paddle in a way that is effective. You don’t have to be strong, as the paddle does all the work, instead, you need to focus the paddle in the right direction to glide through the water with little effort.
If your arms are sore and tired, then you have either been paddling for a long time or you aren’t using the paddle correctly.