Best Ocean Fishing Kayak – Choices for Angling at Sea
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...
Top Picks: Ocean Fishing Kayaks
12 Best Fishing Kayaks For The Ocean
1: Old Town Sportsman Salty PDL (best overall)
The Old Town Sportsman Salty PDL is the new pedal version of the Old Town Predator series of kayaks. This fishing kayak has been built for the ocean, with a stable hull that’s specifically designed to handle waves and currents, unlike some other fishing kayaks.
It features an award-winning pedal drive system that has an easy-docking function that lets you land and launch without the propeller getting in the way.
This is packed with ocean fishing features and also has the added benefit of a rudder to help you navigate moving water and track straight.
The elevated seat is designed for visibility and offers lumbar support for long days on the water. It also has spacious storage areas, rod holders, accessory tracks, and a non-slip deck.
However, this is a heavy kayak that can be difficult to move from A to B on your own.
2: Sea Eagle 385 FTA FastTrack Angler (best inflatable)
The Sea Eagle 385 FastTrack Angler is one of the best inflatable fishing kayaks for ocean fishing. It has a huge capacity, with plenty of room to bring along all your essential fishing gear plus your dog. But it’s quite heavy for an inflatable, so may not be the best if you want to hike it to remote beaches.
It comes in various packages with options to upgrade the seat to a swivel seat, or add a trolling motor.
The rigid inflatable NeedleKnife keel is designed to improve tracking and performance in waves, currents, and wind, making it ideal for ocean waters. You’ll also find fishing features, including rod holders on the spray skirts, and a fish ruler for measuring your catch.
3: Ocean Kayak Malibu II XL Angler (best tandem)
This Ocean Kayak Malibu II XL is a tandem kayak with a stable hull that’s designed to handle ocean swells and waves. It comes with two adjustable padded seats but these might not be the most comfortable if you’re looking to spend all day in them.
This Malibu kayak can also be paddled solo from the center position if you want to make the most of the extra space. It’s also relatively lightweight for a tandem fishing kayak, which can make it easier to carry, especially if there are two of you.
There are four Scotty flush mounts with two rod holders. This can be a great fishing kayak for a shorter angling trip if you’re fishing with a partner. It can also be ideal for fishing with a child.
4: Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot 136 (best motorized fishing kayak)
The Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot 136 can be the ultimate fishing kayak for oceans and big lakes. It comes complete with a saltwater-ready 45-pound thrust Minn Kota trolling motor so you can cover big water fast. But it doesn’t come cheap and it weighs a lot.
A great feature of this boat is the Spot-Lock technology that helps to keep your kayak in position. This can be useful for fishing in moving ocean currents. There’s also a rudder to help with tracking.
This is a large, spacious kayak with plenty of room for fishing gear. There are four 18-inch accessory tracks for installing gadgets and four conveniently-placed rod holders.
5: Jackson Bite Angler
The Jackson Bite Angler can be a great fishing kayak if you’re looking for a large, open deck for walkability and gear storage. It can also be ideal for taller or larger anglers looking for improved leg room.
It has a wide and stable hull that can be ideal for ocean bays and could be a good kayak for beginners because of its roomy cockpit.
You’ll find built-in rod holders for your fishing rods and gear tracks to let you mount accessories easily. However, there is no sealed storage.
The Bite Angler has an upgraded Comfort Seat for all-day fishing comfort and breathability.
6: Old Town Sportsman BigWater 132
The Old Town Sportsman BigWater 132 is made for fishing in open water, with a tri-hull design for optimum performance and stability. But there’s no rudder, so it may not be the easiest to paddle in strong currents.
There are six accessory tracks. It has a center console mod pod with excellent storage for smaller items, including splash-proof storage for your phone and magnetic hook and lure storage.
It has a comfortable adjustable Element seat, which is elevated for a drier ride and improved visibility. It also has a custom tackle box under the seat.
The deck is padded for traction and noise reduction and there’s a stand-assist strap to help you to your feet.
7: Perception Crank 10.0
The Perception Crank 10.0 can be a good option if you’re looking for a more compact ocean fishing kayak. This 10-foot kayak can potentially fit in the back of a pickup truck for easy transportation.
However, despite its compact size, it’s pretty heavy.
It features a pedal drive so you can get to your fishing hole fast and efficiently, while keeping your hands free for fishing. There is a built-in rudder to help you control the direction of your kayak in the ocean currents.
It has a decent capacity for a small kayak, with plenty of space for fishing equipment. There’s also a transducer scupper for your fish finder (not included).
8: Sea Eagle 350 FX Fishing Explorer
The Sea Eagle 350 FX is a durable inflatable fishing kayak that’s rated to handle up to Class IV whitewater. So it can be an excellent choice for fishing in ocean conditions, with the stability you want to handle waves and surf.
This kayak is designed to be easy to use, portable, and ideal for most anglers, including beginners.
It has a generous capacity and plenty of space for your essentials. It benefits from having a durable drop-stitch floor for added rigidity and improved paddling efficiency.
This is a wide kayak, which can make it a little slow on the water. But you can attach a trolling motor if you want to customize it (motor not included).
9: Wilderness Systems ATAK 120
The Wilderness Systems ATAK 120 is a smaller version of the award-winning ATAK 140. This one can be easier to maneuver and less awkward to transport. It’s packed with fishing features, making it a good choice for experienced kayak anglers. There’s also added rocker for handling waves and surf.
It’s compatible with the Helix MD Motor Drive(sold separately) so you can upgrade it to a motorized kayak if you want extra power and speed.
There are no built-in rod holders but there are plenty of gear tracks to mount your own.
The AirPro Max seat is built for comfort and support, and can be adjusted single-handedly using a cam lever.
10: Aquaglide Blackfoot Angler
The Aquaglide Blackfoot Angler is an inflatable kayak that’s designed to be easy to transport. It even comes with a backpack to let you launch in more remote locations.
It’s relatively lightweight for a fishing kayak but this can mean that it’s susceptible to being blown around in the wind. This can make it more difficult to paddle. However, there is a large skeg to help with tracking.
This has excellent storage, with MOLLE plates and pockets, mounting plates, and bungees.
The framed seat can be adjusted high or low for comfortable fishing. The hull is built for stability in waves and moderate whitewater. And there are self-bailing scupper drains.
11: FeelFree Lure 13.5 V2
The FeelFree Lure 13.5 is a stable fishing kayak that’s built for comfort and performance on a range of waters. But it’s very heavy.
However, there’s a Wheel in the Keel feature that can make it easier to haul to the water’s edge. It also has molded handles at the bow and stern.
A useful feature of this kayak is that it’s rudder-ready and compatible with the Overdrive pedal system and the Motordrive motor system (both sold separately). This means you can customize the craft to suit your fishing game, whether you want a motorized kayak or a pedal kayak.
It also has a comfortable Gravity seat and a standing platform.
12: Perception Outlaw 11.5
The Perception Outlaw 11.5 is one of the best ocean fishing kayaks in terms of value. It has lots of features designed to make your fishing trip easier.
This kayak has traction pads on the deck for standing, molded-in tackle trays, cup holders, and plenty of mounting points to let you install your own accessories. It can also hold a 35-liter cooler (sold separately).
The elevated seat can be stowed for complete deck walkability, and there’s even storage underneath the seat. The gear tracks are conveniently built within the side handles. There’s also a recess for adding a trolling motor (motor not included).
Because of the extra wide hull, the Outlaw is not very fast.
What Features Make A Good Offshore Fishing 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
The best sit-on-top fishing kayaks 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.
Conclusion: Best Kayak For Ocean Fishing
Rounding up our top picks for the best ocean fishing kayak, we think the winner is the Old Town Sportsman Salty PDL. It’s built for the ocean and features an excellent pedal drive system that’s easy to use and great for powering through currents or against the wind. It also has all the features you could need for a successful fishing trip.
Our runner-up is the Sea Eagle 385 FastTrack Angler because it has the stability to handle rough waters and can be easily transported in the trunk of your car.
Remember to think about how much gear you want to bring. Rudders or skegs can also be worth thinking about, as these can help with tracking in ocean currents.
Our favorite kayaks may not be the best fishing kayaks for you, so remember to think about the specific features you’ll need for your ocean fishing trip.
If you’ve enjoyed this guide, please share it with your fellow kayakers and if you have any questions or comments about it just let us know.