Best Stand Up Fishing Kayak – A Standing Angler’s Dream
When you think of kayaking (whether fishing or not), the first thought that probably comes to mind is sitting down in a seat – comfortably paddling along. However, the avid angler will at times, perhaps more often than not, be wanting to stand up.
There are sit-on-top fishing kayaks on the market that cater for this requirement, and there are a number of reasons for this.
Just want to know the best stand up kayak now? It's the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14ft.
Yes, stand up fishing kayaks do still have a seat. But they also have platforms at either side in the center of deck, which are designed to be stood on.
Stand Up Kayaks: Top Picks
(The links below will take you over to the products on Amazon)
Bear in mind there are alternatives to using a kayak for fishing while standing up. Stand up paddle boards (SUPs), traditional boats and just wearing plain waders are some examples, but we’re focusing purely on kayaks only today.
Top 3 Best Stand Up Fishing Kayak Reviews
1: Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 (best overall)
Ok, this is for those who take their fishing seriously!
The Pro Angler 14 comes fitted with a standing deck and a lean bar to hold onto for resting or to assist with casting.
There’s also ample storage with a hatch at the front with removable bucket, which could be used for storing catch. A console within the cockpit (again covered and useful for bait), a small open area under the seat, and open storage at the rear stern end. There’s also a very generous 6 rod holders.
Don’t want to use paddles? That’s an option too. This Hobie has a pedal drive system - known as "Mirage Drive" - that you can propel with your legs. Useful if you want to hold the road and move at the same time. Steer left and right with the dual controls at either side of the seat.
The seat is fully adjustable. You can adjust height and it’s possible to increase or reduce lumbar support.
We think this is the best fishing kayak for standing on.
There's a 12ft version if you prefer.
2: Perception Pescador Pro 12 Sit-On-Top (best value kayak)
This Perception Pescador Pro 12 is a spacious fishing yak that can be stable enough to stand on, if you have good balance. There's also a 10 feet alternative.
As well as having excellent stability, the Pescador Pro 12 has a height adjustable seat. This mesh covered seat also has an adjustable backrest for improved support and you can even remove the seat for use on shore at the end of the day. The seat is available separately.
This boat has lots of room for your fishing gear, including a large rear tank well with bungees - perfect for securing your crate or cooler. You’ll also find a mesh covered storage deck at the bow and there’s even a center console to allow you to install a fish finder (sold separately) without drilling through the hull.
There are built-in rod holders and the gear tracks on either side mean you can install your own accessories to personalize your boat to your fishing style.
It can be ideal for all day fishing trips on bays, lakes, slow moving rivers and even calm oceans.
3: Wilderness Systems Tarpon 135T (best tandem)
This Wilderness Systems Tarpon 135T is a tandem kayak that can be great for fishing with a buddy. It has a stable hull that can be ideal for flatwater paddling. You may be able to stand up in it if you have good balance but you may find the rear paddler has more room to stand than the front paddler due to the size of the deck.
This spacious kayak features two Phase 3 AirPro seats, so you both have full adjustability for tailored comfort. Each cockpit has a sealed hatch for keeping personal items within reach, as well as storage pockets for smaller items.
Each paddler also has access to two SlideTrax gear tracks, allowing you and your buddy to mount your own rod holder and other accessories. Additionally, there are sliding foot braces for each paddler and a paddle holder on each side of the deck.
There are two tankwells, one at the bow and one at the stern. Both have bungee rigging for securing your gear to the deck.
The single seater 105 version is also available.
4: Perception Outlaw 11.5
This Perception Outlaw 11.5 is a very stable yak that is fully rigged for fishing. One of its main features is its mesh covered seat. This seat can be adjusted and raised 5 inches above the deck for better sight fishing. It can also be folded away, freeing up the deck for standing.
The flat deck benefits from having traction pads for better grip, letting you move around the boat more safely.
There is plenty of room on this boat for all your gear, with a spacious rear tank well for storing a crate. There is also a mesh covered bow storage area. You’ll find molded-in trays and cup holders beside the seat and you can even remove the seat to make way for a 35 liter cooler (sold separately) and use your cooler as a seat.
The Outlaw has two double-barrel rod holders and three solo mount recesses for attaching other accessories.
The hull features deep channels to mimic the performance benefits of a pontoon hull. It can be ideal for fishing in slow moving rivers, ponds, lakes and calm bays.
5: Wilderness Systems ATAK 120
The Wilderness Systems Atak 120 is the shorter version of the Atak 140, which can be easier to maneuver and more convenient for transporting. It has plenty of fishing features and is designed for a long day on the water.
This 12 foot 3 inch boat is built for stability and features a large open deck for comfortable standing, with the benefit of a stand-assist strap and noise-minimizing non-slip padding. It is designed to handle a range of water conditions and has added rocker in the hull for better performance in choppy conditions.
Another great feature of this boat is the ergonomic Phase 3 AirPro seat, which has mesh covered padding and is fully adjustable for visibility and support.
There is a lot of storage space on this vessel, with a large cargo deck at the stern and covered storage at the bow. You’ll also find gear tracks for accessory mounting and a small stern hatch.
A great feature of Atak 120 is that it’s designed to be compatible with the Helix MD motor drive (sold separately), adding versatility. There is also a paddle holder to safely stow your paddle while you’re tackling your catch.
6: Lifetime Tamarack 120 Angler Kayak
The Lifetime Tamarack 120 Angler kayak is a compact sit-on-top fishing vessel that can be ideal for shorter days on the water, especially if you’re looking for affordability. The shorter length can make it easier to transport and store compared to a longer vessel. This short length also gives it an advantage when it comes to maneuverability on the water.
Made from high-density polyethylene, it features a built-in padded seat bottom and an adjustable padded seat back for support while paddling. Also features a self-bailing cockpit.
This is a stable little boat, with deep channels along the hull for improved performance on both flatwater and choppy water. If you have good balance you can stand up in it for easier casting.
The Tamarack has built-in rod holders, including a swivel holder, and bow and stern storage areas for your gear. Additionally, there are two 6 inch storage hatches for small items.
This is a lightweight boat with front and rear carry handles, as well as side carry handles, to help you get it to the water.
7: Hobie Mirage Compass Sit-On-Top Kayak
The Hobie Mirage Compass is a 12 foot sit-on-top kayak with a pedal drive system, giving you the opportunity to move across the water hands free.
The MirageDrive GT pedal drive features Kick-Up fins that flip up out of the way if they hit something under the water. The push pedals can help you move through the water more quickly than paddling, and can let you continue moving while your hands are tied up with fishing.
Another great feature of this yak is its stability. Its spacious flat deck is designed for standing on, giving you room to fish comfortably. The kick up rudder can help keep you on track on windy days or in strong current. It can also help with maneuverability.
When you want to sit down there’s a breathable mesh seat that is adjustable and positioned for optimum visibility.
There is plenty of room for storage on this boat, with a large rear tank well with bungee rigging for security plus a mesh covered cargo area at the bow. There’s also an 8 inch hatch for smaller items and gear tracks for mounting additional accessories.
8: Feelfree Lure 10 Fishing Kayak
Ok, onto the Feel Free Lure 10. Now, you may be looking at the weight above and thinking “Heck, that is pretty heavy!”. Well yes, it’s not the lightest kayak in the world. But its weight ends up as an advantage for those who intend standing up a lot. The weight improves stability even more. It is 36 inches wide too, so another bonus.
There’s dedicated central standing areas. You can also attach this assist bar, which is designed specifically for Feel Free kayaks. Very useful for grabbing onto if you’re feeling a little unstable, or even just to lean against should you just want to take a little of the strain out of standing.
The seat adjusts vertically to different heights. So this is really cool if you want to stay comfortable on a long fishing trip.
Other features? It has covered storage areas for bait (center console). A covered hatch at the bow, which could be used for your catch or anything else that needs cover. There’s a cord covered open store at the rear.
There’s also a tracking rail at the front for attaching electronics, rods or other accessories.
Just be wary that it is a little more challenging to paddle the bigger distances due to the weight and width.
9: Malibu Kayaks Stealth 12 Fish and Dive Package Sit-on-Top Kayak
This is the Malibu is the Stealth 12. At 12 feet long, and 33 inches wide it is built for stability. A great kayak for fishing.
There is a non-slip standing are in the middle. Under this area is the central storage hatch, and two smaller hatches at each side. We wouldn’t recommend standing on this kayak all day long. It is better set up for a mixture between standing up and sitting down. So, a good all-rounder.
There are 3 main storage areas on board. One at the bow end, which is covered. A covered ‘bait’ tank in the center (which we touched on before) and an open area at the back, with cord to hold down cargo.
It’s got 4 rod holders, two at the front, two at the rear.
Sadly, the Stealth 12 does not come with a seat, so you need to source your own. Better to pay the money and get something comfortable, if you intend sitting down for longer periods of time.
So…What Features Make A Kayak Good For Standing Up?
The two main characteristics of a good stand up kayak are width and a flat hull.
You want to be looking at a kayak with a beam (width) of at least 30 inches (32-35 ideally). Wider kayaks will help take away any anxiety that may be created by wobbling left and right. This is particularly the case when your mind is concentrating on actual fishing, rather than getting around or trying not to fall into the water!
A kayak’s stability will also depend on how long it is. A shorter, wider one will generally offer more stability than a longer, narrower one, so a short boat can usually get away with having a narrower width of, say, 30 inches. That 30 inch beam on a 14 foot kayak might not feel so wide or stable.
As the length of the yak increases, generally so should the width, as this should give you optimum stability. However, stand up yaks will generally be pretty wide, even if they’re also considered long boats.
A second feature to keep an eye out for, is a flat hull. A flat hull bottom, in tandem with a wide beam will increase stability significantly.
Make sure that you have a suitable paddle for when you’re standing up. If you can use a hybrid, that’s even better.
A flat hull can provide a high level of stability on flatwater, so it can be a good design if you’re looking to paddle on slow moving rivers, calm lakes or bays. However, a flat hull may not be the best option if you’re looking to head out into surf or choppier conditions.
A boat with a pontoon or tunnel hull can be a good feature in a stand up kayak. This type of hull design is incredibly stable because it has a combination of both primary and secondary stability, meaning it can provide a stable platform on both calm and choppy water.
A pontoon hull, or catamaran, can be less likely to tip than a V shaped hull, for example, meaning it can be an ideal hull for providing the stability needed for standing up.
This type of boat can also have good tracking, meaning it can be easier to paddle in a straight line.
One feature you will probably benefit from on a stand up kayak is a spacious deck. This can make it more comfortable to stand up and give you enough room for your feet, especially if you need to move around to balance yourself or change direction.
Some yaks have the added benefit of a sliding seat or one that flips up. This can help to create more space on deck, as you can simply move the seat out of the way while you’re standing and reposition it when you want to return to a seated position.
An important feature that can be useful on a stand up yak is a flat deck. This can let you position your feet more comfortably while standing. If the deck is curved or has a lot of storage areas protruding, this may not provide the best platform for standing.
Ideally, your feet should be flat on the deck so that you can balance easily. Some yaks that have standing platforms have storage hatches that are flush with the deck, making the area safer and easier to stand on.
Many vessels that are designed with standing and fishing in mind tend to have traction pads on the deck. This can be safer to stand on because it can provide grip underfoot so that you can stabilize yourself more easily and it can minimize the risk of slipping.
Standing pads on the deck can also usually be more comfortable to stand on, as they can provide extra cushioning. This feature can also be ideal if your dog will be joining you, as the pads can provide better traction for your dog’s paws.
Stand Assist Strap
Some yaks will have a stand-assist strap to help you stand up onto the deck. A strap can be useful whether you want to stand or sit back down, as it can help you to balance and position yourself in the center of the deck.
Advantages Of Stand Up Fishing From A Kayak
Ok, so let’s set the record straight. You can fish from a kayak whether you are sitting down or standing up. No argument from you on that one we presume!
Using a standing fishing kayak has a few advantages for sure.
Better Angler's Views Of The Fish And What’s Going On
This is the primary reason for standing up. You can see so much more when you’re eyes are looking down rather than across the water. You should be able to see deeper into the water, and you can see further away.
Also, if you’re sitting down, and depending on the conditions, you are probably less likely to be blinded be reflected sunlight bouncing off the water and ripples.
Standing up is also beneficial for seeing any upcoming obstacles that you want to avoid or areas that you want to venture into (and hopefully find some fish!). Both of these aspects are improved compared to sitting down with a more limited view, and help your fishing experience.
Video: How To Stand Up On A Fishing Kayak (ATAK Kayak)
This is an obvious one….casting. When you’re standing up, you can cast so much further and with more confidence. Your accuracy should also improve. It’s much easier than when you’re sitting down. Try to cast using the strength of your arms rather than swinging your body.
Pitching and flipping is easier. You’re going to have more success using these techniques while you’re on your two feet.
Standing up also means you should be able to access your gear more easily. You will be better positioned to access storage area, and multi-task all-round. But again, this is down to the angler. Standing up isn’t for everyone!
Standing On A Kayak Can Take Practise
Be careful though. Fishing from a kayak take some getting used to. You need a degree of flexibility, good balance and having good core strength can definitely help.
Does this mean novices can’t do it? No, not necessarily.
You just need to practise your skills. It is recommended to hone your skills on very calm and shallow water close to shore. And of course, make sure you have a good PFD, just in case! In fact, you should always have a PFD on no matter sitting or standing or how close to shore you are.
Like anything in life, the more you keep doing something, the better you become at it. In time, you will be a stand up fishing ‘pro’.
There is also a ‘happy medium’….kneeling!
Better than sitting (but not quite as advantageous as standing), kneeling down can be an option should you not be ready for standing at all times. You should have more confidence in stability, but your all-round flexibility will be compromised.
It’s an option to consider.
It Gives Your Back A Break!
It’s also good just to move into a new position. If you’ve been sitting down for a period of time, your back might start getting sore and/or your legs become numb.
Standing up can give your back a break and enable you to stay out fishing for longer.
SUP Fishing vs Kayak Fishing
If you’re really into standing up, there is also the option to use a Stand Up Paddle (SUP) board. Going the SUP route is definitely for those who intend to do very little sitting down and spend all or most of their time standing.
Not that you can’t sit on a paddle board. They occasionally do come with seats (or you can add your own if that’s an option with the particular SUP). But they aren’t a substitute for a traditional kayak, which is geared towards actually sitting down the majority of the time. Back aches will probably set in faster when sitting down on a paddle board.
Paddle boards are also relatively cheaper than ‘yaks.
So yes, you can fish standing up on a paddle board, but we’re focusing on kayaks only today.
FAQs - Fishing From Stand Up Kayaks
How Do You Stand Up On A Kayak?
Keep your feet as close to the sides of the kayak as you can, so that your body is centered on the deck. Try to stand up while maintaining this position so that you don’t lean more to one side than the other. It’s advisable to practice in warm water or a pool first. Here's a video that's useful.
Should I Use Outriggers?
Outriggers can be used to increase the stability of your yak and might help you stand up in your boat. However, you will probably still need to have good balance and a stable boat.
Is It Safe To Use A Trolling Motor When Standing?
Some trolling motors will come with an emergency switch that shuts off the power to the motor in case you fall overboard. Standing generally increases the likelihood that you could lose your balance and fall in. You can also install your own safety switch for your motor.
Can I Go Fly Fishing From A Stand Up Kayak?
Yes, you can. It can be worth making sure you have nothing on your deck for your line to get caught on when you cast.
If you’re looking for something with pedals, the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 is also an excellent runner up. It’s wide, stable and spacious, with the advantage of pedal propulsion to help you get to your fishing spot quicker and easier.
A good runner-up is the Wilderness Systems Atak 120. It features a stable, non-slip standing platform that is designed to minimize noise. It also benefits from a stand-assist strap and has plenty of room for your gear and accessories. This boat can be ideal in a range of water conditions.
And then there's the Perception Outlaw 11.5, with its walkable deck and stable hull. Its height adjustable folding seat also adds to its appeal as a great fishing boat.
Do you have a stand up fishing kayak, or are you thinking of getting one? Let us know about it below...