Best Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak
We’ve had a look at the best fishing kayaks, and the best sit-on-top kayaks. How about the best sit-on-top (SOT) fishing kayaks?
You’re probably here trying to find out exactly what a sit-on-top kayak is, and whether or not to consider one for fishing within. It’s ok, we hear you…
Top SOT Kayaks - At a Glance
(Note that these links will take you over to the kayaks on Amazon)
They are a popular type of kayak, and with many good reasons (don’t worry, we’re going to give you them all!).
So, What Exactly Is A Sit-On-Top Kayak?
In a nutshell, a sit-on-top (abbreviated as SOT) is a kayak with an open deck top. Molded areas are used for seating. Often, removable seats are used, so you can add the seat of your choice. Many paddlers are fussy about the seat. After all, you will be sitting in it for long periods of time (we hope!).
They are also relatively easy to board.
For most people, the easiest way to board is to step on top of the kayak, in front of the seat, and then carefully sit down. Easy!
Why Use A Sit-On-Top Kayak For Fishing?
There are several reasons so many people choose a sit-on-top kayak for catching fish.
Flexibility & Comfort
This is a biggie. One of the big reasons why kayak fishing has taken off over the last few years is because of the SOT (Sit-On Top).
In the old days of SIK (Sit-In-Kayaks) the paddler is confined to a pretty small cockpit. Now, that’s fine for paddling around. Especially if you want to do it fast. As long as you had some experience, and were practised in rolling (Eskimo) you knew you could get around safely, no matter what was thrown at you.
The problem with SIKs was that being confined to a small cockpit meant you couldn’t move around the actual kayak very well at all.
Being able to freely move around. Reel in. Cast. Get your gear set up. These are all the little things that fishing folk need to do, and SOTs are a big advantage here.
Not only that, but SOTs allow you to stand up on the ‘yak, which is great for having more of a bird’s-eye view of what’s actually going on down there! Having the freedom to move around also lets the kayaker stretch and move around. So you can stay out fishing for longer. Win!
If you’re stuck in the one position and unable to move around freely, then firstly, there a chance that you will start feeling claustrophobic. And secondly, the chances of aches and pains setting in increases. Both are a result of sitting in the one position all the time.
Fishing In Shallow Waters
This is kinda still within the flexibility category above, but hey, we wanted to break it up a little!
A SOT fishing kayak allows you to easily get in and out of the kayak. Got waders? Well, you can easily jump out and fish from outside the ‘yak.
That’s not so easy in a sit-in kayak. It can be a bit of a pain getting in and out of these, especially if you're doing it all day. In fact, there’s more chance of capsizing the kayak when wearing waders.
Capsizing with all your fishing gear on board is not so cool!
Very Quick Overview of a SOT Fishing Kayak
Storing The Catch
SOT fishing kayaks are generally better for storing your fish once you have caught them. They often come with molded-in covered storage compartments, so you can keep the fish separate from everything else.
The downside with SIKs is that you're more likely to have to keep them in the cockpit or tow with stringers (for those that don’t know, stringers are used to hook your caught fish, and are generally used with floats to keep the fish, within sight, in the water).
Of course, you could keep your bags on top of the kayak. But this isn’t recommended for more than a few minutes (unless you're sure it's cool enough). It’s just too risky to eat fish that haven’t been kept fresh.
Sit On Top vs Sit In Kayak For Fishing
We’ve already covered off a lot of the advantages and disadvantages of going either sit-on-top or sit-in (for fishing at least).
This is just a high-level view of the differences between the two.
In general, SOTs are better (for most people anyway). They allow for more freedom of movement, and in some ways, can be safer. This depends on the person of course. Competent kayakers may prefer the SIK type, because they can confidently roll if they capsize. But even experienced paddlers may struggle if out at sea and the waves keep crashing in.
Of course, on calmer or flat waters (like slow rivers or lakes), this may not matter.
Best Sit On Top Fishing Kayaks
Ok, so let us run through the most recommended it-on-top fishing kayaks on the market today.
1: Perception Kayak Pescador 120 Angling 12ft Kayak
- Length: 12 ft
- Width: 32.5 inches
- Weight: 64 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 375 pounds
This 12ft fishing kayak is at the upper end of the budget scale. As such, it is generally more stable and tracks better than other cheaper kayaks. All thanks to its multi-chine hull.
It is capable of carrying up to 350lb loads, so bigger folk, or those carrying larger loads, will like this. The kayak itself weighs 65lbs. The seat is padded, on the bottom (deck) as well as the back, and it folds away.
It also comes with features you would expect from a fishing ‘yak priced at the higher end of the budget spectrum. It has a Scotty adjustable front rod holder, and 2 fixed holders behind the seat. There’s a Keepers foot brace system to keep your legs in position, and there are storage areas both open and dry at the front, center and rear (bungee cords at rear).
A nice addition is the anchor kit and anchor trolley, so you can float in the one spot, fishin’.
2: Sun Dolphin Journey 10-Foot Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak
- Length: 10 ft
- Width: 30 inches
- Weight: 44 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
This is a great all round kayak for fishing. This 10ft dark green cruiser has been designed for the angler at heart.
Weight carrying limit on this is 250lb. We highly recommend going for the 12ft alternative if you are anywhere near approaching this weight or if you are taller than average.
The Sun Dolphin Journey kayak tracks well considering the price. It’s not going to be as stable or move around as well as the Perception offering above, but depending on your budget and how often you intend using it, this kayak could work out well for you.
So what cool features does it have? Well, it has rod holders (we kind of like to think that a fishing kayak would, haha), 3 in total. There’s an adjustable holder just in front of the seat and 2 fixed holders behind the seat.
There are paddle holders and a storage area at the front. Elastic cord is used to help hold items in place.
There’s another storage area at the rear (stern). Inside is a removable pod Sun Dolphin have named it a ‘Portable Accessory Carrier’ that can be towed behind the kayak if desired.
The seat is padded at the rear, but the deck is not. You may need to improvise with something that will cushion you if you intend to sit for long periods of time. Or just buy another seat. Rather than having multiple molded foot wells to cater for different paddler heights, the Journey has a sliding foot support.
3: Lifetime Sport Fisher Single or Tandem Kayak
- Length: 10 ft
- Width: 36 inches
- Weight: 60 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 500 pounds
It’s been around for a few years now – and with good reason! The Lifetime Sport Fisher can be used as a solo or a tandem kayak – up to you. However at 10ft, it’s going to be a bit of a squeeze for two, so it is probably in its element with a single paddler. Especially with all the fishing gear on board.
It can hold up to 550 pounds (vital for 2 people!). There are handles at the bow end and on the side for lifting around.
3 rod holders are on board, paddle holders on the sides, and there’s even a hole for a sail (not included).
Comes with 2 paddles and 2 padded backrests (no deck padding sadly). Also comes with a 5 year manufacturer’s warranty, which is good for peace of mind.
This is another great all-rounder…
4: Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak
- Length: 13ft 4 inches
- Width: 28 inches
- Weight: 56 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 325 pounds
Saving the best ‘til last? Hmmm maybe!
This 13ft kayak tracks really well. The hull is designed to track well, but also stay stable, even if the waters aren’t flat. There are options at the stern to attach a rudder should your intentions be to fish in choppier waters.
There is open storage at the back with bungee cords to hold items down. There’s also a small covered storage are in the center, perfect for grabbing small items that you need in a hurry. At the bow end, there’s a larger covered storage area for bigger valuables.
This beast has a 450 pound weight capacity limit – so it’s a strong ox. It has a padded (back and bottom) foldaway seat. There are varied molded foot wells and 2 rod holders behind the seat, and rod holder options in front of the seat…
Comes in 2 colors, brown camo and ‘urban’ camo.
Do you own any of these fishing SOTs? Maybe you own something different? Let us know about it below...