Best Stand Up Fishing Kayak – A Standing Angler’s Dream
When you think of kayaking, the first thought that probably comes to mind is sitting down in a seat. However, avid kayak anglers will often want 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 a perfect platform in the center of deck for standing.
Stand Up Kayaks: Top Picks
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 the top fishing kayaks on the market today for experienced kayak anglers.
Top 9 Best Stand Up Fishing Kayak Reviews
1: Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 (best overall)
This has extra space for serious anglers!
The Pro Angler 14 is exceptionally stable and comes fitted with a padded standing deck and a lean bar to hold onto for resting or to assist with casting.
There’s also ample storage for fishing equipment with a hatch at the front with removable bucket, which could be used for storing fish. A multi-use console within the cockpit (useful for bait), a small open area under the seat, and open storage at the rear for more gear. There’s also a very generous 6 rod holders.
This Hobie has a pedal drive system - known as "Mirage Drive" - that you can propel with your legs. Useful if you want to hold your fishing rod and move at the same time. Steer left and right with the dual controls at either side of the seat.
The elevated seating lets you adjust the height and increase or reduce lumbar support for an upright position.
We think this is the best fishing kayak for standing on. But it is incredibly heavy which could make it difficult to carry alone or haul to the water's edge.
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 kayak that can be stable enough to stand on, if you have good balance. But it's not as wide as some others and doesn't have a standing pads.
There's also a 10 foot 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 bungee cords- 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 or GPS units (sold separately) without drilling through the hull.
There are flush mounted 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 fishing kayak that can be great for two adults, with all the right features. This stable fishing kayak can be ideal for flat water 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 but the seats are a bit lower than some. 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 fishing rod holder. Additionally, there are adjustable foot braces for each paddler and a paddle holder on each side of the deck.
There are bow and stern tank wells. Both have bungee rigging for securing your gear to the deck. It doesn't come with two paddles.
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 from an ultra high position. It can also be folded away, freeing up the deck for a comfortable standing position.
The incredibly stable deck benefits from having non-slip pads for better grip, letting you move around the boat more safely and confidently stand to fish.
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 and accessory tracks. 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 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 other calm waters. It has ample space but it's not built for speed.
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. But it doesn't come cheap.
This boat is built for stability and features a large open deck design for comfortable standing, with the benefit of an assist strap and noise-minimizing 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 max seat, which has mesh covered padding and is fully adjustable for visibility and support.
There's 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. There's even a molded paddle rest. But there's no bungee storage.
A great feature of Atak 120 is that it’s designed to be compatible with the Helix MD motor system (sold separately), adding versatility. There's also a paddle holder for your paddle while you’re tackling your next catch.
6: Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Kayak
The Lifetime Tamarack Angler kayak is a budget-friendly compact kayak that can be ideal for shorter days on shallow waters, especially if you’re looking for affordability. It even has dry storage compartments. The shorter length can make it easier to transport and store. This short length gives it an advantage when it comes to maneuverability but it's not great in rough water.
Made from high-density polyethylene, it features a built-in padded seat bottom and an adjustable padded seat back. But you may want to upgrade the seat as it's not the best for long trips. Also features a self-bailing cockpit with self bailing scupper holes.
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 but there is no dedicated standing platform so it may not be for everyone.
The Tamarack has two flush mounted rod holders, including a swivel holder, and bow and stern storage. Additionally, there are two 6 inch storage hatches for small items and fishing accessories.
This is a lightweight boat with front and rear carry handles, as well as side carry handles.
7: Hobie Mirage Compass Sit-On-Top Kayak
Similar to the Hobie Mirage Passport, with an elevated seat, the Hobie Mirage Compass sit-on-top kayak measures 12-feet long and has a pedal drive system, giving you the opportunity to move across the water hands free. But this is a pretty pricey kayak.
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 you fish.
Another great feature of this 12 foot sit-on -top kayak is its stability. Its spacious deck is designed for standing on, giving you room to catch more fish comfortably. The kick up rudder can help keep you on track on windy days or in strong current, and can help with maneuverability.
When you want to sit down there’s a breathable mesh seat that is adjustable for optimum visibility.
There's plenty of room for storage and decent carrying capacity, with a large rear tank well with bungee rigging for security plus a mesh covered cargo area at the bow for extra gear. There’s also an 8 inch hatch offering dry storage for smaller items and gear tracks for mounting additional accessories.
8: Feelfree Lure 10 Fishing Kayak
Onto the hard shell Feel Free Lure 10. It’s not the lightest kayak but the extra weight provides extra stability so you can move around. But it's lighter than some other kayaks. The kayak measures just over 10-feet and is 36 inches wide for a stable standing position.
There’s dedicated central standing areas and an elevated seating platform. You can also attach this assist bar, which is specifically designed for Feel Free kayaks.
The seat adjusts vertically to different heights. So this is great if you want to stay comfortable for several hours on a long fishing trip.
Other features? It has covered storage for bait (center console for quick access). A covered hatch at the bow, which could be used for your catch or anything else that needs cover.
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 width and compact length. There's also an Overdrive pedal version if you want more great features.
9: Malibu Kayaks Stealth 12 Fish and Dive Package Sit-on-Top Kayak
This is the Malibu is the Stealth 12. The kayak measures 12 feet long, and 33 inches wide. It's built for stability. A great kayak for fishing with enough space for gear and adjustable footrests.
There is a padded standing area in the middle. Under this is the central storage hatch, and two storage hatches at each side. We wouldn’t recommend standing on this kayak all day long. It's better set up for a mixture between standing up and sitting down - a good all-rounder.
It has excellent storage capacity, with three main storage areas. One at the bow end, which is covered. A covered ‘bait’ tank in the center and rear storage areas, with cord to hold down cargo.
It’s got four rod holders, two at the front, two at the rear. And there's a paddle park.
Sadly, the Stealth 12 does not come with a seat, so you need to source your own.
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. Sit-on-top kayaks are generally better for standing up than sit-inside kayaks, as there's more room on the deck. And many kayak anglers could find it very tricky to stand up in a small cockpit on some sit-inside kayaks.
Most fishing kayaks offer exceptional stability, which is why it's often these boats that boast a standing platform.
You want to be looking at a kayak with a beam of at least 30 inches (32-35 ideally). Wider fishing 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 on actual fishing.
A kayak’s stability will also depend on how long it is. A shorter, wider one will generally offer more primary stability than longer, narrow ones, so short fishing kayaks 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 it might on compact kayaks.
As the length of the yak increases, 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 bottom on most kayaks in tandem with a wide beam will increase primary 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, compared to a rounded hull. 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.
Fishing kayaks with pontoon or tunnel hulls can be good in a stand up kayak as they're incredibly stable. This type of hull design is incredibly stable for most anglers because it has a combination of both primary stability and secondary stability, meaning it can provide a stable platform on both calm and choppy water so you can catch fish easily.
A pontoon hull shape, or catamaran, can be less likely to tip than a V shaped hull, meaning it can be an ideal hull for providing the stability needed for standing up.
These types of fishing kayaks 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, change direction, or adjust your standing position.
Some fishing kayaks 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.
Remember to consider how much weight a kayak can hold if you want to bring along a lot of gear and still maintain stability for standing. Scotty mounts can be useful to help keep your deck clear by mounting onto the gunwales or other places.
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 fishing kayaks that have standing platforms have storage hatches that are flush with the deck, making the area safer and easier to stand on.
Some inflatable kayaks, such as Sea Eagle kayaks, are highly portable and can also often have drop-stitch flat decks, like SUPs, that are designed for standing and they come with a travel bag for easy storage. These can be easy to transport even when fully inflated because of the lower overall weight.
A rudder or retractable skeg can help you maintain positions depending on the current in the water to help you keep your balance.
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 on hard shell kayaks.
Stand Assist Strap
Some fishing kayaks will have a strapping system 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
You can fish from a kayak whether you are sitting down or standing up.
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 your eyes are under the water surface 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 on two feet.
Standing up also means you should be able to access your gear more easily. But again, standing up isn’t for everyone!
Standing On A Kayak Can Take Practice
Standing on a kayak, especially an inflatable model, takes some getting used to. You need a degree of flexibility, good balance, and having good core strength can definitely help for kayak fishing while standing. Most fishing kayaks are built for increased stability.
You just need to practice 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, the more you keep doing something, the better you become.
There is also a ‘happy medium’….kneeling!
Better than sitting, kneeling down can be an option should you not be ready for standing at all times.
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 or your legs become numb.
Standing up can give your back a break and enable you to keep fishing for longer.
SUP Fishing vs Kayak Fishing
There's 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. 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 often cheaper than ‘yaks.
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, with your body 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, as well as space for your longer fishing rods.
If you’re looking for something with pedals for kayak fishing, the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 can be the best choice. 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 for kayak fishing. It also benefits from a helpful strap and has plenty of room for your gear and accessories. This could be the right kayak for 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 one of the best fishing kayaks for standing.
Do you have a stand up fishing kayak, or are you thinking of getting one? Let us know about it below...