Best Ocean Fishing Kayak
Choosing a fishing kayak can be a difficult task but when you’re choosing one for the ocean it can be even trickier.
We know there are lots of kayaks out there to pick from on the market, which is why we have put together this guide to help you choose the five best kayaks for fishing on the sea.
We'll point out the features that you should look for in an ocean fishing kayak, then look at the kayaks we like...
At a Glance: Top Ocean Fishing Kayaks
(the above links take you straight over to Amazon)
What Features Make A Good Offshore Kayak?
There are certain things that you should consider before you go ahead and purchase a fishing kayak, especially if you plan on using it for offshore fishing. Let’s go over some of the main features and considerations you should be thinking about.
Should I Go For Sit-On Or Sit-On-Top?
For kayak fishing, you will probably find it’s more convenient and comfortable in a sit-on-top than a sit-in because you have more freedom of movement. It's much easier to cast from a SOT as well. Yes, you can cast from a sit-in, but because you are confined within the cockpit, you just can't put in the same effort. Also, setting the hook and reeling in your catch is made easier when sitting on top of your yak.
US stats courstesy: americancanoe.org
Sit-on-tops are also much more generous in the storage department. If you're going out for a day's fishing, you need to bring quite a lot of gear. SOTs are generally more spacious.
You can also recover much easier from a SOT, unless you are a very experienced kayaker.
The paddler(s) sit on top of the kayak. They are not enclosed and as such, access in and out of the kayak is made easier.
SIK (Sit-In Kayak)
The paddler(s) are enclosed within the kayak. Spray skirts can be used to keep the water away from the lower body.
Stability: Solid As A Rock
When you’re contending with strong currents and waves in the ocean, you are going to want to have a stable craft that will be able to stand up to the conditions. This is where having strong secondary stability will come in handy, as it will help to prevent you tipping over.
This is where sea kayaks often tend to be longer and narrower, with less primary stability but more secondary stability. You might also want to look at the shape of the vessel’s hull, as this can guide you to whether it will have good secondary stability for handing waves.
Rounded or V-shaped hulls can offer better secondary stability and can be a good choice for sea kayaks, as they also allow for more speed through the water compared to flat hulls, which might be helpful when you’re on the ocean.
Pontoon or tunnel hulls can also be ideal for the ocean, as they can offer both strong primary and secondary stability, meaning you may even be able to stand up while fishing, allowing you to boost your sight lines.
Easy To Maneuver
For ocean paddling you will probably find that you need a kayak that has good tracking, meaning it will be better able to head in a straight line, with less chance of drifting off course with the current or the wind (also known as "weathercocking").
You will often find that yaks designed for ocean paddling may have additional features, such as a skeg or rudder, as these can help you maneuver your yak in crosswinds or currents and help you paddle in the right direction.
A skeg or rudder can often help you with turning in strong winds or currents, as it gives you an extra tool to use along with your paddle in order to fight against the conditions. A skeg will help station the stern, while the rudder will help you stay on the straight and narrow.
When you’re heading out to the ocean, having a decent amount of storage space can be useful, especially if you’re going fishing and will have a lot of gear.
For ocean kayaks, you should look for how much dry storage there is. Ideally your yak should have storage hatches both in front of your seat and behind, so you can store your fish in the front and valuables and tackle in the back.
It’s always a good idea, however, to have a couple of dry bags to keep your gear from getting wet, even if the hatches are dry. Sea kayaks will also usually have bungee cord rigging where you can secure your gear onto the deck.
For offshore fishing you should also look for how much dedicated fishing storage there is. Vessels designed for fishing will usually have built-in rod holders, as well as somewhere to store your paddle while you’re reeling in your catch or enjoying a snack.
You may also want to look for yaks that have built-in gear tracks so you’re able to mount other fishing accessories.
If you plan on spending multiple days camping while kayaking, you should also look at the amount of space there will be for your camping gear as well as your standard paddling or fishing gear.
Seating: Comfort Is Important
Seating will be important if you plan on spending any length of time on your yak. A lot of fishing kayaks will come with removable seats or may have no seat at all, requiring you to purchase one separately, which can be a good as it will allow you to choose the one you find the most comfortable.
You should look for a seat that can be adjusted to suit your paddling style as well as be comfortable while you’re just sitting in it. One with a comfortable seat back might be preferable if you’re going to be on the water for a while.
5 Best Fishing Kayaks For The Ocean
1: Vibe Sea Ghost 130 Angler Kayak
This 13 foot Sea Ghost fishing kayak is designed to stand up to ocean conditions but also be suitable for rivers and recreation, so it could be a good versatile option if you plan to fish in a range of locations.
Built for fishing, this sit-on-top yak has a durable rotomolded polyethylene hull and can hold up to 550 pounds of cargo, so you’ll be able to pack everything you need for a day or two on the water without worrying about capacity.
At 33 inches wide, this is a super stable kayak that you might find you’re even able to stand up in. It tracks well, being designed for both speed and stability, and it benefits from having a rudder installed, which should make it easier to control when you’re on the water and it can be controlled with your foot.
There are plenty of storage areas and dedicated fishing options on this one, with 2 flush mounted rod holders as well as 4 built-in gear tracks, so you can tailor the yak to your fishing preferences. There’s even a fish finder transducer port built-in, so it’s prepared for your gear to be mounted.
There is a 20 inch oval hatch at the bow, as well as a convenient center console and a sealed dry storage hatch behind the seat. Additionally, there is a spacious cargo area at the stern with bungee rigging to store larger items.
A good thing about this vessel is that it comes with a comfortable Vibe Hero seat that can be adjusted in two different positions, which could be ideal for long fishing trips. Another feature of this yak is that it also comes with a paddle included, so you can get out on the water as soon it arrives!
2: Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler
The Prowler 13 Angler kayak is a 13 foot sit-on-top fishing kayak that has a polyethylene hull that is designed for stability in both oceans and calm rivers. Its versatility and ease of use is probably what has made it so popular for kayak fishing.
It features a molded-in seat well, with a padded Comfort Plus seat back plus a molded-in cup holder to make your fishing trip more enjoyable and comfortable.
Being 28 inches wide, this craft is narrower than some other fishing yaks, but this might mean it’s also faster as it’s more streamlined for speed. However, you might not be able to stand up in it.
There are lots of storage options for your gear on this craft, with there being a large, oval watertight storage hatch at the bow, with a Click Seal lock. As well as this, there’s a 6 inch round hatch with a storage bucket conveniently located in front of the seat.
For your bulkier gear, there’s a large tank well with bungee cords at the back of the seat. There’s also bungee cord around the deck for securing other items.
For fishing, there are two flush mounted rod holders as well as paddle holders on either side of the craft. In addition to this, there is a dedicated scupper hole for your transducer.
The yak also features a skid plate, which helps to protect the keel if you have to drag it to your favorite fishing spot. Its light weight makes it easy to transport to and from the water on your own, and if you have to lift it, it benefits from having molded carrying handles at either side.
3: Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 10
This compact little fishing kayak from Native Watercraft is a 10 foot sit-on-top that is ultra stable, thanks to its 34 inch wide hull. The hull also benefits from having a tunnel, pontoon design, which helps both with stability and tracking.
The main feature on this craft is the pedal drive, meaning you can journey along the water hands free, using just your feet to power the propeller underneath the hull. It also benefits from having a rudder that you would operate with your left hand, and can help to keep your craft heading in the right direction.
The drive system can be powered both forwards and backwards with the rotational pedals but you may find you might want a paddle to be able to turn quickly in the ocean. However, its short length means you should be able to maneuver it pretty easily.
Despite its small size, there is a large amount of space for all your gear. There’s a 17 inch dry storage hatch at the bow and there’s also a separate 5 inch dry storage hatch, a cup holder and a cargo area with bungee rigging at the back.
The comfortable seat is designed for a day’s long fishing trip and can be adjusted backwards and forwards to give you a more comfortable reach for the pedals. Another feature of this little sit-on-top is that it’s engineered so you can stand up on it, giving you a better sight range when you’re casting your line and hopefully more success.
Geared for fishing, this yak benefits from two flush mounted rod holders and a rail mount system for mounting other accessories, such as more rod holders or your fish finder or GPS, and even a camera. The rails can also support a variety of brands of accessories.
This could be a good choice if you’re low on storing space at home or if you might struggle transporting a longer vessel. This one is compact enough to fit in the back of most trucks with the tailgate down and has padded side carrying handles and carry handles at the bow and stern too.
4: Ocean Kayak Trident Ultra 4.7 Kayak
If you plan on doing a lot of ocean kayak fishing then this Trident Ultra could be a good investment, as it has been designed with the help of professional kayak anglers.
The hull has been engineered with a moderate rocker and an enhanced tail fin to improve both its tracking and its ability to handle ocean waves. It also has a slightly raised bow, which should help to minimize the effects of the waves crashing on deck and keep you drier.
The long, narrow design of this craft means it should be speedier across the water than shorter, wider vessels, meaning it should also be less tiring to paddle, which can be good for ocean paddling when you have to cover a lot of distance.
This is a sit-on-top kayak that has a molded-in seat well and a padded Comfort Hybrid seat back and a molded-in bottle holder and cup holder near the seat for convenience.
For fishing, this craft is packed with dedicated features, including the live bait well and the four flush mounted rod holders.
Additionally, there is a large dry storage hatch at the bow with a watertight Click Seal lock, as well as a large storage well at the stern that is designed to fit the brand’s Ice Box storage pod, which can be purchased separately, or you can use it for a cooler or extra gear.
Another feature of this yak is the center storage area, built for you to attach your accessories to, such as your fish finder. The cover also rotates to keep your gadgets protected in rougher conditions.
For added help when you’re paddling through the ocean currents or in strong winds, there is a built-in rudder that is operated by foot pedals at either side. And when you find it’s time to reel in your catch, there are paddle holders at either side to keep your paddle safe while you tend to the fish.
When it comes to transporting this one to or from water, there are built-in carrying handles at either side as well as at the bow and stern, to make it easier for lifting onto a trailer or carrying to the shore.
5: Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 Angler Kayak
This Pungo Angler kayak is a 12 foot sit-inside craft that has been upgraded from the original Pungo 120 to give it extra fishing specific features for anglers. The sit-inside design could make it a better choice if you plan on fishing in cold conditions as you should stay a little bit drier inside the cockpit.
The multi-chined design of the V-shaped hull means it should perform well in the ocean, as it is engineered to have strong secondary stability. The seat is ergonomically designed for comfort and has a Phase 3 AirPro seat back, which can be adjusted easily with the use of the SlideLock technology and foot brace system.
It comes with Yak Attack mounting accessories, so you can mount your fishing accessories easily, and there is also a fishing rod holder included that is also mounted. There is a spacious dry storage hatch at the stern and bungee rigging on the deck both in front of the cockpit and behind, within easy reach.
Another feature of the Pungo 120 Angler is the Kayak Konsole, designed for storing your tackle and smaller gear, and there is also space to keep your favorite beverage handy.
Inside the cockpit there’s padding for your thighs and knees, which may make it more comfortable if you’re planning on being on the water for a significant length of time.
At 51 pounds, you may find this craft a little lighter than some other ocean fishing yaks, which may make it easier for you to transport if you’re heading out on your own. To help you transport it, there are two comfortable carrying handles, one at the bow and one at the stern.
So, you’ve read about the main features that you ought to look out for on your next ocean fishing kayak and hopefully you’re now able to make an informed decision when it comes to choosing your next craft.
Just remember to keep in mind how and where you plan to store your new yak, as this could affect the size of the craft you’re able buy. Also, think about how you’ll transport it and whether you’ll need a second person to help you lift the weight at any point.
Another thing to remember is to think about how much storage space you’ll need on board, especially if you plan to keep what you catch. And don’t forget about the stability of the yak and that it should have good secondary stability to be able to handle ocean waves and the windy conditions that you often find at sea.
Consider other features, such as a rudder or a skeg, that might help you stay on course on the ocean.
Here's the #1 Vibe Sea Ghost again...
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