10 Best Fishing Kayaks (2022)
Every angler needs a vessel to, at some point, venture into fishing hotspots that can’t be accessed from the shore. The best game fish learned long ago to stay away from humans, forcing us to search deeper in their habitat if we want to see them.
The type of conveyance you opt for may make or break your fishing experience. Kayaks have proven over the years to have just the right balance between stealth, maneuverability, and affordability, making them a popular choice for fishing enthusiasts.
We have reviewed the best fishing kayaks for various kayak fishing styles. We are breaking down their features, highlighting why they are best suited for a specified fishing category, and we reveal their shortcomings.
We realize that the kayak that suits your situation may not be ideal for someone else. Read on for tips on developing your own customized checklist so that you don’t end up with a fishing kayak that you will struggle to use. We even included a kayak buying guide for good measure.
Best Fishing Kayaks – Winners
Check out our quick recommendations here, or keep scrolling for detailed reviews:
- Best Overall Fishing Kayak: Perception Crank 10.0
- Best Budget Fishing Kayak: Intex Excursion Pro Kayak
- Best Lightweight Fishing Kayak: Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler Fishing Kayak
- Best Inflatable Fishing Kayak: Advanced Elements StraitEdge Angler PRO Fishing Kayak
- Best Sit-In Fishing Kayak: Ascend H10 Hybrid Sit-In Kayak
- Best Pedal Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak: Old Town Sportsman PDL 120 Pedal Sit-On-Top Kayak
- Best Two Person Fishing Kayak: BKC TK-122 Angler Tandem Sit-On-Top Kayak
- Best Fishing Kayak for Kids: Barley Kids Kayak
- Best 4 Person Kayak: BRIS 15.4 Ft Inflatable Kayak Fishing Boat
- Best Recreational Fishing Kayak: Pelican Maxim 100X Sit-In Recreational Kayak
Best Overall Fishing Kayak
Weight: 87 lbs.
Weight Capacity: 350 lbs.
Type: Sit-on-top pedal
- Efficient and easy to use pedal drive system
- Adjustable captain’s chair
- An abundance of storage areas secured with bungee lashing
- Fish and depth finder transducer scupper
- Adequate handles for easy carrying
- Side paddle park frees hands for angling
- There is a bit of interference with maneuverability as the rudder control is on the same side as the bungie cord and hook where you park the paddle.
This Perception kayak has a 6:1 gear ratio pedal drive with a fixed-pitch propeller in an improved drive housing which is efficient for kayak anglers. It will not spook the fish while you adequately cover fishing ground. You can go forward and reverse without removing the drive from the boat. It is the ideal conveyor for fishing in calm coastal waters, ponds, and lakes.
Its retractable rudder ensures your kayak tracking is straight while also aiding in steering with minimized drag. Additionally, it is conveniently controllable with one hand using a low profile knob on the port side within easy reach of the skipper from their chair.
There are two open storage areas rigged with bungee straps to secure your gear in this pedal fishing kayak; one at the bow and another is behind the captain’s seat and is adequate for coolers, camping gear, and other supplies. They are supplemented by side storage trays close to the skipper’s chair for keeping smaller items you want easy access to. All these have drainage channels and tankwell scuppers to prevent water buildup.
On matters of comfort, this pedal fishing kayak has a drink holder conveniently within arm’s length to hydrate the captain. The chair is adjustable, removable, and can even be folded separately when transporting. It has grooved spots to find the optimal padding for the captain. The chair is compatible with the Perception Kayak seat back cooler, which you can get separately with a little more investment.
The Crank 10.0’s 87 lbs. are easy to ferry with rigid carry handles at the front and rear supported by molded in side carry handles. It has a groove and a small bungee strap on the side where you can park your paddle securely while resting or casting.
It comes with a transducer scupper in the hull which enables you to mount the transducer without exposing it to stuff passing beneath the kayak that may damage it.
Best Budget Fishing Kayak
Length (inflated): 12’7”
Width (inflated): 3’1”
Depth (inflated): 1’6”
Weight: 39.01 lbs.
Weight Capacity: 400 lbs.
Type: Sit-on-top inflatable
- 2 skegs for easy tracking
- Flexible and comfortable seating arrangement
- Sturdy, durable construction
- Easy to store and carry
- 3-air chamber construction for extra safety and agility
- Accessorized with 2 paddles and a pressure pump at no extra cost
- Rod holders both point inwards, so they cross unnaturally when used at the same time
This fishing kayak deploys two skegs, a standard directional and a shallow water directional one, to lessen the effects of wind and rough water as you paddle. They facilitate tracking, keeping your bow pointed in the direction you are headed.
It is a two-person fishing kayak whose rear seat has a removable seat booster for extra elevation when required. The front seat is completely detachable to accommodate a solo fishing trip without the extra weight. The cabin comes with adjustable footrests, mounting brackets for fishing accessories, and recessed fishing rod holders. You can sit comfortably during a long fishing trip. The main storage compartments are located at the bow and stern for storing the bulkier gear.
3-air chamber construction allows a more streamlined shape while ensuring your kayak remains afloat in case of a puncture in one of the chambers, increasing safety and speed on the water. It has been certified safe by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). It comes with spring-loaded high-pressure valves for speedy inflation and deflation, a high output pump, and a pressure gauge to monitor the status.
The 3-ply material will hold up against sunlight, abrasion, and high impact; it is tough with a polyester core, and the high pressure gives it extra rigidity and stability. Its I-beam floor is rigid and substantially level for balance and comfort.
Being inflatable, the Excursion Pro kayak naturally takes care of storage and transportation logistics as it is lightweight and will easily fit in confined spaces once deflated. It even comes with a carry bag to facilitate this.
Best Lightweight Fishing Kayak
Weight Capacity: 275 lbs.
- Lightweight and compact for easy storage and transportation
- Tough and durable
- Enables access to remote water bodies
- Removable storage that can be packed at home
- Paddle is sold separately
This is an agile fishing kayak; the length of less than 10 feet and width of 30 inches enables it to take experienced anglers to narrow remote spots, some of the best fishing grounds. Its twin-arched multi-chine hull design provides exceptional stability despite its petite size. The hydrodynamics have been optimized with the latest 3D technology. As a result, you can confidently cast lines and reel in fish even while standing.
Pelican has included additional floatation material in the hull of the kayak and sufficient scupper holes at the bottom to drain off excess water for extra safety. The Sentinel 100X Angler is billed to have surpassed ABYC (American Boat and Yacht Council) standards set by marine professionals from all fields in the industry. The high molecular weight polyethylene can resist impact and breakage, yet it is still light.
Its ERGOLOUNGE seating system comprises an adjustable, wide, high-back chair with extra cushioning, so you are comfortable during those long angling seasons. There are footrests that you can adjust to optimize relaxation, a smartphone holder within reach of the skipper, and paddle or rod tie-downs so you can free your hands when you need to.
This stable kayak has adequate storage for all your fishing accessories and essentials, keeping them within reach of the spacious cockpit. There is the EXOPAK removable storage compartment in which you can pack your gear at home and just drop it in the kayak when you are ready to go fishing.
There are fewer chances of forgetting important components of your tackle box this way. There is a front storage platform, a tank well, compartments, and accessory holders in the center console.
Best Inflatable Fishing Kayak
Length (Inflated): 10’6”
Width (Inflated): 38.5”
Depth (Inflated): Unavailable
Weight: 45 lbs.
Weight Capacity: 400 lbs.
Type: Sit-on-top inflatable
- Has an allowance for electrical propulsion when speed and power are required.
- Extra stability from the wide beam and drop stitch floor construction
- Comfortable, adjustable AirFrame PRO seat
- Durability thanks to multiple chambers and reinforced material
- Most essential accessories come with the package
- The pump is sold separately
It features drop-stitch floor construction with a high-density drop stitch core for rigid stability, enabling you to even cast and reel in the fish while standing, regardless of their size and aggressiveness. This core also constitutes a key part of the chine of the hull, which enhances this StraitEdge Angler’s tracking ability. Tracking is improved further by built-in aluminum ribs, which define the bow and stern. Wide beam construction makes it extra stable for casting and reeling.
They have provided a high-back aluminum-framed adjustable AirFrame PRO seat for enhanced comfort during long padding hours. It allows you to sit higher up, can be reclined to the perfect position or folded back to create room in the cockpit interior.
An accessory frame system allows you to mount aftermarket 1-inch rail mounts for gear like rod holders or fish finders within easy access of the cockpit. The main storage areas are its front and rear decks, which come fitted with bungee straps and stainless steel d-rings to hold your gear in place.
It has multiple air chambers (5) made of multi-layer material and abrasion pads in high use areas which combine to make it tough and durable.
It comes ready to be electrically powered with a fin box that can be rigged with an ElectraFin or Bixpy outboard motor for higher speeds. The tracking fin is easily removable.
Advanced Elements provided several practical accessories with this kayak; it comes with a shoulder strapped duffel bag that you can use to ferry your gear and other accessories on and off the boat and a repair kit in case of those unprecedented scratches or tears.
Best Sit-In Fishing Kayak
Weight (with seat): 55 lbs.
Weight Capacity: 400 lbs.
- Advanced hybrid tunnel hull design
- Better balance due to lower center of gravity
- Flexible cargo management
- Comfortable sitting provision for the long haul
- Ease of transportation
- More exposure to the elements being a sit-in kayak
This Ascend vessel has a Rotomolded hybrid tunnel design with a stepped bow and keel, which combine to provide stability at rest while standing and fishing. The stepped bow and keel dampen the effects of waves slamming on the boat’s underside while functioning like a hydrofoil to decrease drag and enhance efficiency when moving at higher speeds. The optimization makes paddling easier, facilitates better buoyancy, and enhances solid straight tracking.
The tunnel hull design of this sit-in crossover ensures the seats are lower and the kayakers are sitting just above the waterline. Because of the lower center of gravity, they get a better point of balance. It also offers more storage space which is why this 10-foot kayak can haul 400 lbs. This is more than adequate gear and accessories for a full fishing trip.
Their open cockpit design from bow to stern promotes flexibility in cargo management, and everything has been designed to be within reach of the skipper. The H10 has gunnel flats with three 16-inch accessory rails supported by port and starboard under-gunnel soft storage saddlebags with an integrated waterproof mobile phone case. They also have two flush-mounted rod holders with rod leash eyelets and an expanded molded stern well with an adjustable mesh cover for more gear.
They have integrated a deluxe removable seating system with 6-position adjustments, forwards and backward, providing excellent lumbar and leg support. The sitting position is natural because your feet are naturally lower than your bottom in a sit-in kayak. They also have adjustable foot braces helping you to stay put snugly.
The lightweight kayak is easy to transport, courtesy of bow and stern rubber grip handles.
Best Pedal Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak
Weight: 87 lbs.
Weight Capacity: 500 lbs.
Type: Sit-on-top pedal
- Easy docking PDL driver with instant forward and reverse
- Impressive warranty coverage for essential parts
- Hands-free fishing platform
- High weight capacity
- Leaning towards bulky for a one passenger kayak
The Kayak is PDL driven with Old Town’s easy docking system for painless landing and docking. It allows instant forward and reverse motion that doesn’t require the pulling of knobs or cords when going forward or backward. There is a rudder control knob for steering with a tension bolt that allows you to hold position. The PDL driver requires little maintenance and is saltwater safe. It is well sealed but can be removed along with the seat so that the Sports Man kayak is easy to carry.
You haven’t encountered hands-free yet; there are three flush-mounted rod holders, one facing the bow and two facing the stern, so you can arrange for them to be within reach when you need them, yet out of sight when they are an obstruction. These are supported by a dedicated horizontal rod storage. The arrangement allows you to land fish and switch out lures using multiple rods.
They are gear-ready with two plates on both forward gunnels having 18-inch track mounts on which accessories like rods and cameras can be easily mounted. There are side pockets below these tracks and extra storage under the seat. A clip at the side of the hull secures your backup paddle until you need it.
The main storage compartments include an oversized stern well for tackle management and a sealed hatch for dry storage at the bow that is easy to open yet still watertight. There is a bonus customized tackle box in the package.
A soft EVA foam deck pad in the cockpit adds traction and comfort for any stand-up kayak angler, whether you are fishing barefoot or in boots. It also dampens sound for stealthy fishing. The double U hull design offers primary stability as the kayak glides quietly through the water.
The seat has a shuttle track which facilitates adjustment back and forth to accommodate your leg length. It has a mesh cover that provides ventilation on hot days and allows drainage to keep you dry. A deep cup holder is close by to secure your favorite beverage.
They have a recessed universal transducer mount which makes it easy to install your choice fish finder from leading manufacturers, including those with side and down imaging. It will protect their transducers from scratches and damage by underwater debris.
The Sportsman PDL 120 has the reassuring lifetime hull and deck warranty with each Old Town watercraft and a 5-year limited PDL drive warranty covering materials and material defects in workmanship.
Best Two Person Fishing Kayak
Weight: 74 lbs.
Weight Capacity: 770 lbs.
Type: Sit-on-top tandem
Sitting Capacity: 1,2 or 3 people
- Multiple sitting capacity for joint activities
- Extra stability owing to flat bottomed wide beam construction
- Multiple storage options for gear and accessories
- Dual ergonomic cushioned seats
- Reports of dry box latches coming undone in some kayaks
Sharing the workload improves any experience significantly, especially when well-coordinated. Sometimes you want to spend quality time with a friend, significant other, sibling, or children. Not everyone can afford to get two or three single kayaks. Some of your partners may also not be experienced enough to kayak paddle on their own. Well, this tandem fishing kayak can easily fit two adults and one child, allowing you to bring company on your fishing expedition.
Its 770 lbs. capacity even allows plenty of room to lug your gear even at full seating capacity. Its flat bottomed hull design and wide beam offer a stable platform for casting, lazy floating as you wait for the perfect strike and reeling in the catch. Being just slightly shy of 13 feet long, there are minimal chances of bonk paddling with your companion, and movement can be well-coordinated on the water.
The tandem fishing kayak seats are cushioned with mesh at the back and bottom to ensure you breathe easy on those hot days, and all the water that gets on them drains off. The lower and upper back support attributed to upright aluminum frames makes them comfortable for hours.
Each seat has a watertight storage hatch beneath it where your snacks, phones, cameras, bait, and other essentials can be stored. There is extra storage at the stern with a bungee cord, which can even accommodate a 20-liter cooler. It also features a recessed area at the bow hatch that will hold extra gear when fitted with mesh wire.
There are two flash mounted and two articulating rod holders that help get the rods out of the way when paddling and conveniently come in handy when you want to present multiple lures in the water simultaneously.
Two adults can easily carry this tandem fishing kayak using the Rotomolded handle in the bow and a flexible grip attached at the rear.
Best Fishing Kayak for Kids
Weight: 20.5 lbs.
Weight Capacity: 121 lbs.
- Ideal for learning purposes
- Easy to carry and store
- Sufficient storage options
- Not suitable for handling rough water
The Barley kid kayak comes with an ergonomically designed 15.2-inch long kayak paddle that is light enough for the kids to handle yet sufficient to move the kayak through the water. This gives them a chance to learn kayak balancing at an early age.
The cockpit is reasonably comfortable with foldable back support that provides sufficient leverage for the kayaking kid and yet allows you to flatten it when transporting and storing the kayak to save on space. In addition, there are multiple footrests, so the kid can utilize the ones that match their height and comfortable paddling position.
This kayak has a bottle holder inside the cockpit that can hold a bottle lying down and a cup holder that can also be used to hold a bottle upright. They are both easily accessible from the sitting position. A self-draining scupper keeps the inner kayak dry.
It comes equipped with storage options so even your young kayak angler can carry their own tackle or help you with some of yours for an authentic fishing outing. They could also haul camping gear if you plan to go camping afterward. There is a front storage hatch with a bungee enclosure and a rear storage hatch covered with mesh for this purpose.
The lightweight kid kayak is easily portable via a front handle and two others on both sides. It is easily a one-man job.
Best 4 Person Kayak
Length (inflated): 15.4’
Width (inflated): 4.3’
Inside Width: 16.5”
Depth (inflated): 17.5”
Weight (inflated): 100 lbs.
Weight capacity: 992 lbs.
Type: Sit-on-top inflatable pontoon
- Durable, heavy-duty hull
- Covered by warranty and cash back guarantee
- Has provisions for electric power propelling
- Can accommodate up to 4 people plus their gear
- Package only comes with two paddles
The floating tubes at 17.5 inches in diameter are extra-large. Their reserve buoyancy allows the BSK470 to accommodate an expansive beam size that can fit more gear and passengers and support the added weight. It has a stable deck floor courtesy of high-pressure inflation on which you can comfortably stand. There are four separate air chambers, two in each side tube in addition to the deck floor for extra safety.
The hull is made of heavy-duty 1,100 denier PVC supported with polyester to give that toughness with which this heavier kayak needs to resist underwater damage, tearing, tension or breakage. Each seam has been heat welded, and a majority of them overlapped severally for extra strength.
The streamlined tube design of this angling kayak enables them to respond better to paddling, and they can also be powered by a portable electric trolling motor up to 10 HP if you need more power or speed.
They have four fins for enhanced tracking during this movement and triangular splash guards covering the transom to shield the deck from backsplash. The guards also protect the transom holders from damage by the elements.
They are reassuringly covered by BRIS Inflatable products’ 3-year manufacturer warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee in case they don’t live up to your expectations.
Best Recreational Fishing Kayak
Weight: 39 lbs.
Weight Capacity: 275 lbs.
- Lightweight and portable
- Excellent control and maneuverability
- Sturdy durable structure
- Comfortable for the long haul
- Accessing the bow storage while on the water can be troublesome
It has been made resistant to impact and breakage thanks to Pelican’s durable multi-layer RAM-X material, which has heightened molecular weight. Its structural rigidity is reinforced during construction by employing Twin Sheet Transforming technology to fuse the deck and hull under extreme pressure and heat into a light multilayered unit. Front and rear T-handles make it seem even lighter when carrying it.
This rigid kayak has excellent maneuverability and stability courtesy of the hydrodynamic efficiency of its shallow V chine hull design, which was optimized using the latest 3D technology. As a result, you can maximize results on paddling effort while maintaining excellent tracking, so you end up exactly where you planned in good time.
The cockpit is fitted with a drain plug to prevent water accumulation. It also has a table with compartments and a bottle holder, and molded footrests to brace your feet. The star comfort feature is the adjustable ERGOFORM seating system with padded bottom and back cushions.
A bungee cord secures a bow hatch and another mesh-covered storage platform on deck at the stern, ensuring all your essential gear can be accommodated. This kayak will cover your needs whether the idea is to pass for native watercraft for stealth or you are just bathing in the sun dolphin watching.
How to Choose a Fishing Kayak: Buying Guide
The best angler kayak for you is highly dependent on your situation, which is defined by several factors. First, categorize yourself. Are you a pro angler who can swivel the kayak in rough water while working the pedal system to maintain tracking?
On the other hand, maybe you are a recreational angler who just appreciates the vibe emanating from calm water and will be more concerned about flush mount rod holders, so your tackles are automatically presented.
Think about how many paddlers you would prefer on your expeditions even as you study kayak reviews and the water bodies you will be frequenting. For example, an ocean kayak may not have the necessary wilderness systems to maneuver shallow canals.
With this in mind, here are a few basic features that will make a huge difference in your kayak fishing expeditions.
A stable kayak expands your fishing options; you can sit or stand, and you can hold a position for longer so that the fish do not catch your vibe. Different manufacturers achieved this in different ways: from hull and keel design to multiple air chambers and widened beams. Find out what measures were taken on your target kayak.
Whether you are a pro angler or a novice, your fishing canal should have adequate capacity to hold your fishing gear and other essentials. The more experienced you are, the fewer items you will require as you can tell exactly what you will use and have less chance of losing against the elements.
Length and Width
The larger the kayak, the higher its capacity to accommodate a kayak paddle holder and extra gear. Large kayaks are, however, bulky and limited in terms of where they can go. Wide kayaks with large beams are more stable but are slower than their streamlined counterparts. The type of fishing and terrain will determine which kayak is best for you.
Watch out for details such as an adjustable seat with a padded backrest and foot braces because you may find yourself spending hours on the kayak.