Best Fishing Kayak – Fishing Kayak Reviews 2016

What is the best fishing kayak? Fishing kayaks come in all different shapes and sizes and are designed to work best in certain conditions.

Some questions you might be asking:

  • What type of kayak should I use to go fishing?
  • What is the most stable fishing kayak?
  • Should I get a hard or inflatable kayak?
  • What is the best fishing kayak for the money?

Well, here on, we are going to run through the different fishing kayak types and brands, and outline how each one can benefit you for your particular needs. We’ll also recommend some of the top-rated kayaks available.

on a fishing kayak

Kayak Fishing On Calm Waters

Our job is to make your decision a whole lot easier, so hopefully we will give you all the information you are looking for!

Before you choose a fishing kayak, you need to decide which type is right for you. There are two basic types:

Sit-On Top Kayaks

Sit-in Kayaks

Sit-On Top Fishing Kayaks

Sit On Top Fishing Kayak

Sit-on top kayaks are also known as SOT (Sit-On Top). They can also be referred to as SOKs (Sit-On-top Kayak).

SOT kayaks are designed for multi-purpose recreational pastimes. They can be used for fishing, scuba diving and general touring. They have a molded depression on top and a sealed hull.

Sit-on-tops are suitable for everyone. They are very easy to get into and out of…perfect if you want to get out and do some wade fishing in shallow waters.

SOTs are generally quite wide. This is good for stability, so they’re really good if you want a stand up kayak (stand up within the kayak), want to fly cast, or if you have a tendency to get nervous paddling around.

They are especially popular for saltwater fishing, as they tend to be more stable when the waters are rough.

Having an open top also makes it easy to store and access your equipment.
The disadvantage to having width is that you will travel slightly slower, but this isn’t something that would bother most fishermen, as they aren’t in a race!

  • Don’t feel confined when paddling
  • Easy to get in and out of
  • Great for very warm or hot conditions
  • Generally more stable
  • Suitable for everyone
  • You can get wet paddling
  • May travel a little slower

Ok, let’s take a look at the best angler kayaks…

Best Sit-On Top Fishing Kayaks

Lifetime Sport Fisher Single or Tandem Kayak

Lifetime Sport Fisher Single or Tandem Kayak - Best Fishing Kayak
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This 10 foot PVC fishing kayak can be used for solo or tandem use (in fact 3 can fit on board).

It’s designed to be extremely stable, which makes it a good stand up fishing yak. There’s also scupper holes to drain any water from the cockpit area.

The seats are ergonomic with soft backrests, which makes it very comfortable to sit in.

It has ditty trays and shock cord straps to hold your loose items, a six inch storage hatch and 4 conveniently placed fishing pole holders.

Ocean Kayak Frenzy Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

Ocean Kayak Frenzy Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak
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With its Tri-Form hull, the Frenzy takes to the water….like…erm…a duck to water!

At 9 feet long, it’s a small kayak for fishing. It has a Tri-Form hull which increases maneuverability and tracking. It weighs in at just 43lbs so it’s easy to carry around. It also packs small so it can be transported easily on top of a car.

It’s good for storing on board too with bungee cords to secure down your valuables. There’s even a cup holder if you get thirsty!

It has a Comfort Plus seat and can be carried around easily with the attached handles.

Lifetime Manta Tandem Sit on Top Kayak with Paddles & Back Rests

Lifetime Manta Tandem Sit on Top Kayak with Back Rests
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This SOT (another Lifetime), is 10 feet in length, can hold up to 3 people or you have a forward cargo area that holds up to 500 pounds, making it great for fishing and/or camping.

This popular hard kayak is only 60lbs in weight., and has a hull designed for superior mobility. It includes many footrest positions to suit all shapes and sizes, making sure you don’t suffer unwanted cramp or strain.

Customers have given the Lifetime Manta very high reviews on Amazon (4.4/5 at time of writing). They have noted how comfortable the seats are and how difficult it is to flip the kayak. Even if it is flipped it can be easily righted. It’s also very easy to reboard should you venture off to fish in shallow waters.

Sit-In Fishing Kayaks

Sit In Fishing Kayak

Sit-in, also known as SIK kayaks (or sometimes SINK) have a cockpit (with seat), which sits under the hull. Often a spray skirt is also used to cover the cockpit and keep the water out.

SIKs tend to be more popular for those fishing at sea. The reason for this is because they are excellent for keeping dry. So if you are at sea and the waves are big or it’s very cold, a SIK could be for you as you will be protected from the elements by the cockpit and spray skirt.

Also, because you are sitting inside the cockpit, stability improves as well, especially when you are continuously hit by waves.

However, these factors can make SIKs more difficult for anglers to get into and out of if you’re big into wade fishing. It’s also more difficult to access fishing equipment when on the move.

  • Great for cold & rough waters
  • More stability in rougher conditions
  • Not as easy to get in & out of
  • Access to gear can be more difficult

Best Sit-In Fishing Kayaks

Sun Dolphin Excursion Sit-In Fishing Kayak

Sun Dolphin Excursion Sit-In Fishing Kayak
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The Sun Dolphin Excursion kayak is perfect for rivers and lakes. It has a UV-stabilized PVC (Polyethylene) body so it is durable and protected against peeling and paintwork fading.

10 feet long (there’s also a 12 ft version – pictured) and 30 inches wide, and coming in at 41 pounds, customers have commented on how easy it is to paddle around. And the good news is that it’s another yak that’s difficult to flip over.

It has two flush mount holders as well as a single swivel rod holder. There’s also a storage compartment and it has adjustable footrests, so anyone can fit inside comfortably.

Comes in 3 colors: 2 are different shades of green and a brown sand shade.

Advanced Elements AE1012-R AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak

Advanced Elements AE1012-R AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak
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This Advanced Elements fishing kayak has built-in aluminum ribs located at the bow and stern for extra toughness, which is complimented by its 3 layer high-end component structure.

The AE1012-R is pre-assembled at the factory, so it only needs to be unfolded, inflated and attach the seat, then you’re good to go.

Comes with a carrying duffel bag, repair kit and folding seat. The seat is padded and adjustable, so you can spend many hours paddling around without becoming uncomfortable.

Customers have rated this fishing kayak very highly. 4.5/5 stars at time of writing!

Best Inflatable Fishing Kayaks

Inflatable Fishing Kayaks are a popular option, and is suited more towards the recreational user. Yes, you may be thinking “Won’t I puncture the kayak with the fish hook or on a rock?”. Well, inflatable kayaks are actually very durable. They wouldn’t sell very well if they weren’t!

They can be made from PVC, nitrylon and haypalon.

PVC is the most popular material. It’s quite durable, relatively light and cheaper than haypalon kayaks. Haypalon & nitrylon are tougher, but they are heavier and cost more.

One of the big advantages of an inflatable kayak is that they can be deflated, which makes them easier to transport around. They are also easier to maintain. The flip side of this is that you have to spend time and effort inflating and deflating the yak.

Here are some highly rated inflatable yaks…

Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak

Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak
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Made with 18-guage PVC, it’s designed to take a battering. The Colorado has a few features that other kayaks lack.

It contains multiple air chambers, which means if you do get a puncture only a section of the yak will deflate.

There are motor fittings, should you wish to add an engine. Yes, sometimes all that paddling can get tiresome!

Customers overall are very happy with this yak. This is mainly because it has plenty of room for equipment and also because of how easy it is to inflate and deflate.

Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, 1-Person Inflatable Kayak Set

Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, 1-Person Inflatable Kayak Set
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First off, it’s one of the cheaper options available, priced well under $100. This is a good kayak for beginners, whether they be anglers or just plain kayakers.

Customers have remarked that it’s durable and incredibly easy to use as well as being very comfortable. The downside is that if you start going too fast it can start to become tricky to control. But for the price, this is to be expected, as most beginners would be unlikely to travel super-fast this won’t be too much of a problem.

The Challenger K1 is highly visible with its striking graphics. It has a cargo net at the front to hold any goods you may have, weighs only 27 pound and comes with an aluminum oar, repair patch and pump. There’s also a grab line.

This affordable fishing kayak is perfect for lakes and relatively calm rivers.

Best Tandem Fishing Kayaks

If you want to share the load, you could go for a tandem kayak (also known as a two person fishing kayak). Tandems are a great way to enjoy some company and you don’t have two kayaks at your disposal!
What is a tandem kayak? With two seats, tandem kayaks can make it more fun to paddle along. They are a great way to introduce your kids, or spouse to kayak bass fishing.

Beware though, quite often your partner may not be as experienced or willing to paddle along as you are, so bear this in mind. In fact, tandem kayaking can end up being more difficult than using solo kayaks. It really depends on your partner though!

Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable Kayak with Pro Package

Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable Kayak with Pro Package
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This inflatable is an extremely lightweight and portable fishing kayak, weighing only 32 pounds. It can hold up to three people (650 pounds total) and has plenty of room for your fishing equipment and/or camping gear.

Customers report that it is a very solid and well-made yak that can be set up in around 30 minutes, and taking it down takes considerably less.

Can be used as a single or tandem boat.

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set
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If you’re looking for a cheap tandem fishing kayak, this Intex yak could be the way to go. With bright, high visibility colors, it has safety in mind.

Another inflatable yak, it’s been designed for freshwater use on lakes and calmer rivers. The seats are also inflatable and include backrests.

It includes a skeg, which is removable, to improve stability.

Customers have noted it’s quick and easy to set up, and very stable fishing kayak – very difficult to flip over. The seats are comfortable and are perfect for supporting you while you paddle.

This is a good tandem fishing kayak for the money.

Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak
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This 12 foot tandem fishing kayak sit-on holds two adults and a child, up to 425 pounds in weight. This would be a good kayak for a one child family.

Two of the seats are Comfort Plus, but there are a further 3 molded in seat wells.

According to customers, it works really well for flat river fishing, but it may be a bit of a struggle for room with 3 people on board.

The Malibu comes in 3 different color schemes.

Kayak Fishing Tips

Sit On Top Fishing Kayak

Here are 5 tips for kayak fishing…

1) Go Prepared! – Aside from having some good fishing gear, make sure you have plenty of water, some food and sunscreen for those exposed parts of your body (it’s very easy to underestimate how strong the sun can be, particularly when it’s breezy). If for any reason you get stuck out away from dry land, it’s good to have these essentials should your excursion last longer than anticipated.

2) Stay Balanced – Sound so obvious, but always keep your head up and be wary of where you are situated within the kayak and look out for any waves or obstacles that you might inadvertently run into. This is especially the case when you are standing!

3) Everything Should Float – Another obvious one, but so easy to forget. Basically anything that doesn’t float and falls out of the yak….sinks! For valuables, like phones, GPS etc, get yourself a waterproof bag that floats and secure within the kayak.

4) Watch The Weather – Make sure you know what the weather forecast predicts for the day. The last thing you want to happen is suddenly get caught in atrocious conditions when you are the one trying to do the catching!

5) Be Confident – This is especially true if you are a beginner. Make sure you are 100% confident in your kayak before you venture out catching fish. As you get comfortable with your new kayak, stay close to land initially and gradually build up the distances you paddle, away from land.