Best Tandem Fishing Kayak – Angling Fun for 2 People!
Maybe you love fishing, we hear ya! Maybe you love paddling… again, we hear ya! But what about combining fishing and paddling together?
You’re likely here trying to find out more about the best tandem fishing kayaks, and what pros and cons to look out for. Well, today is your lucky day!
Quick Look: Top Tandem Fishing Kayaks
Kayak fishing has taken off in a big way this last few years. It’s a very easy way to get out there amongst the rivers, lakes and seas. Easier to transport and maintain than a boat, yet equipped enough to do most things a boat does.
A kayak is a great water craft for the budding fishermen (and women!) out there. And two-person fishing kayaks can make it even more fun.
Best Tandem Fishing Kayaks Reviewed
1: Brooklyn UH-TK181 12.5 ft Sit-On-Top Tandem Fishing Kayak (best overall)
This Brooklyn Kayak Company fishing kayak is a relative newcomer to the genre. It is also a great kayak at the higher end of the budget range and can be ideal for new kayak anglers as well as recreational paddlers. There are multiple carry handles, including bow and stern toggle handles, to make it easier for two anglers to haul.
With very similar features to the Skipjack 120T (below), the UH-TK181 comes well equipped for fishing trips and expeditions. It’s got the rear storage area with bungee, 2 padded seats and the set of paddles with paddle holders (using bungee cords).
There’s also the two Scotty rod holders. But Useful are not to be outdone on this one. Seven holders are dotted around this impressive ‘yak. Three of them are adjustable.
It is possible to carry up to 595 pounds in total weight capacity and features waterproof storage hatches. However, there is not a lot of space for large gear. Kayak only weighs 68 pounds.
Comes in 5 different colors & patterns.
2: Sea Eagle 385FTA FastTrack Angler (best inflatable)
This Sea Eagle 385FTA can be a fantastic one or two person tandem fishing kayak if you want a boat that’s convenient for transporting without sacrificing space or speed. This inflatable fishing kayak can hold up to three people, with great stability, so it can be ideal for fishing with a buddy plus a dog or a child. But you can also use it to fish solo.
It features a flat hull with a NeedleKnife rigid inflatable keel and a tapered bow for more efficient paddling on open water. It’s built for durability, with four chambers and durable materials and a drop-stitch floor, with reinforced sidewalls to prevent damage from hooks and other objects.
A great feature of this boat is that it has a very stable hull, with non-slip EVA padding on the deck to allow you to stand safely while casting and retrieving. The floor has drop-stitch construction for added rigidity and improved performance and it has multiple air chambers for safety and buoyancy.
You’ll find front and rear spray skirts that feature built-in rod and tackle storage, as well as bungee cords for securing gear. There are also D-rings for tying down other equipment and a fish ruler for measuring your catch. You may be able to install a removable mounting bracket for a motor mount.
This inflatable has quality features and included accessories, and comes with a repair kit, hand pump, and comes in a Pro Angler package with two paddles and two Tall Back seats included. It can be a great price, especially with the pump included.
3: Jackson Big Tuna Kayak (best for comfort)
The Jackson Big Tuna is the ultimate tandem fishing kayak with just about everything you could need for a successful day on the water, and can even be paddled by one person. As well as the high maximum capacity to hold all your gear, this spacious kayak has plenty of room for fishing tackle or camping gear and can be ideal for even an experienced angler.
This tandem has incredible stability, with a spacious flat deck that’s designed for standing and more comfortable casting. There are two stand-assist straps, one for each paddler, to help you get from seated to standing more easily.
The two Ergo seats are adjustable and feature mesh padding with MOLLE compatible webbing at the back. The high back seats are also elevated off the deck. A handy feature of the comfortable seating system is that the front seat can be positioned to face the rear, making it great for fishing with young kids, letting you spend time fishing together, teaching your young companion new techniques.
There is plenty of storage space on deck, with excellent storage solutions, including a removable center console (a Tuna Tank) that can be converted to a livewell if you don’t want to use it for dry storage. There is another storage compartment, as well as bungee cords for paddle storage. You’ll also find deck mounts, including both flush mount and RAM mount rod holders, as well as a 1.5 inch Tough Ball. It’s also rudder-ready and could be the best fishing kayak for paddling with a partner but it's a pretty expensive kayak.
4: Elkton Outdoors Tandem Fishing Kayak (best for capacity)
The Elkton Outdoors Tandem Fishing Kayak has a very generous capacity that can be great for larger paddlers or if you want to haul heavy fishing gear. It’s crafted from durable rotomolded polyethylene that can make it resistant to impacts and ideal for new kayak anglers. It’s also relatively lightweight compared to some other hard shell fishing kayaks.
A great feature of this fishing kayak is the adjustable rod holders and that each angler has access to their own swivel rod holder plus two flush mounted rod holders - three fishing rod holders each. The two padded seats feature high backs for added support, with multiple foot rests for stability. However, for longer trips the seats may not be the most comfy, as the padding might not be sufficient.
There is space for your gear for a day of fishing, including an airtight system storage hatch conveniently placed for each paddler, and bow and stern storage areas with bungee rigging for securing extra gear. The rear tank well can fit a small cooler and there’s a dedicated center platform for an ice chest.
This could be a great tandem fishing kayak for lakes. There are also two lightweight aluminum paddles included which can be convenient for beginners.
5: Aquaglide Chinook 120 (best budget)
This Aquaglide Chinook 120 is an inflatable tandem fishing kayak that can be great if you’re looking for something that’s easy to store at home and can fit easily in the back of your car. This is one of the best tandem fishing kayaks if portability is important.
This very lightweight inflatable kayak is extremely durable and features three air chambers for added safety and buoyancy on the water. It can handle a range of waters, including shallow water, but can be best suited to lakes and slow-moving rivers.
It has a generous capacity and room for two adults plus a child or a dog. It comes with two padded seats that can be positioned to face each other, which can be ideal for chatting with your buddy while you’re waiting for a fish to bite or eating lunch. Each seat also benefits from having two fishing rod holders and a storage pocket for easy access to tackle. There are also bungee tie down cords on the spray covers.
It also comes with an inflatable booster seat for a child to join you and paddle holders for when you need two hands for reeling in your catch.
6: Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T Tandem Kayak Package
Vibe Kayaks presents the Skipjack 120T. This 12 foot two-person recreational kayak is great for fishing and could be a good tandem fishing kayak for beginners.
It has four deck mounts for holding rods (2 holders just in front, either side, of each seat). There’s a further two rod holders directly in front of each seat. So, positioning your rod isn’t going to be a problem here!
Two seats come packed. You can either place both seats at the bow and stern ends, or if riding on your own, place one seat in the middle, with floor mounted footrests for convenience. You could fit 3 on board, as long as it’s a child – with an extra seat in the center. The high back seats are flat on deck, so you may need scupper plugs to stop water coming up through the hull.
The kayak reportedly does track well both tandem and solo. Just make sure you keep it away from any waves more than moderately choppy. Like any sit-on-top kayak, it isn’t really built for any vigorous surf.
There’s a rear cargo area (with bungee cords), but it's smaller than most tank wells. The center hatch covers also have cup holders built into them and there are paddle parks to keep your paddles safe. The molded-in side handles make it easier to carry.
Includes paddles and multiple holders.
7: Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak
Mid-priced double kayak that can easily be used for one or two paddlers. In fact, you can fit a third person on board, but this would be a child, rather than an adult, as this is one of the smallest two person fishing kayaks with limited onboard space. This could be a little small for two occupants plus gear.
It comes with two double-sided paddles, which can be clipped onto the kayak when not in use. There’s several foot wells to rest your feet and two padded backrests (sadly only the back is padded, not the bottom). You may need to purchase a different seat for a more comfortable fishing experience.
Fishing features include 3 rod holders, paddle parks and a covered storage hatch at the rear. There is the capacity to fit a trolling motor should you want a break from the paddling.
The hull is made from tough high density polyethylene, designed to track well in shallower waters. Because this Lifetime kayak sits so low, it’s ok to fish standing up, or you can “side-saddle”.
8: Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak
On to an inflatable Sevylor/Coleman kayak designed for fishing. The Colorado is a popular inflatable fishing kayak made from 18-gauge super tough laminated PVC.
It also comes with plenty of storage pockets, a fitting for a trolling motor mount, pump, paddle and rod holders (note that the pump and paddles are not included – they must be purchased separately). It comes with detachable padded seats and stainless steel D-rings to carry it around.
So yes, if you’re ready to cast the hook, then the Colorado is ready to rock ‘n’ roll.
9: Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Twin Heron Angler Tandem Kayak
The Twin Heron Angler is the only sit-in kayak offering on the list (but think of it as more of a hybrid – in between a sit-in and a sit-on).
It could be a great tandem kayak for fishing in colder conditions with enough speed to let you get to your favorite fishing spot quickly.
There are 2 Cannon fishing rod holders, and a further 6 rod holder positions for you to choose from. It’s nice to sit in comfort when you’re gone fishin’. Luckily, Old Town have packed in two Comfort Flex seats so you can sit for longer periods.
The Auto Trim hull is particularly useful if you decide to paddle solo from the rear (stern seat). The hull cleverly keeps the bow in the water to help you glide through the water and keep control. You'll also find adequate room for a dog.
Carries up to 500 pounds, with bungee deck storage at the stern, and has a Glide Track adjustable foot brace system. Available in 2 colors. Brown and ‘Urban’ (which is basically light gray).
10. Vanhunks Voyager Deluxe
The Vanhunks Voyager Deluxe is a stable two-person fishing kayak that can be ideal for longer fishing trips or if you’re looking for a more comfortable kayak seat. It can be a great angling kayak for flatwater lakes and can also handle small ocean waves, so it's a versatile craft.
The hull is typically narrower than most tandem fishing kayaks, but this could offer increased speed, especially if two of you are paddling.
The Voyager Deluxe comes with two aluminum frame seats with mesh covered padding for breathability and drainage. These comfortable seats let you and your fishing buddy sit higher off the deck for increased visibility and better sight fishing. The ergonomic seats can also be adjusted for comfort and improved support.
It also comes with two aluminum two-piece paddles, so it can be a great starter kayak. Each paddler has access to their own dry storage hatch and molded-in flush mount rod holders. There are also molded footrests to suit many kayak anglers, for added comfort and stability.
You’ll find bungee cords at the bow and stern for securing your gear to the storage areas. However, if you and your buddy plan to bring a lot of gear, this might not be the best two person kayak, as storage space for larger gear is limited. But you should be able to fit a small cooler in the rear tank well.
Why Use A 2-Person Fishing Kayak?
There are reasons to go kayak fishing in a tandem, rather than solo. And hey, there are reasons to go the solo route.
Let’s take a look…
This is probably the biggest reason to go for a two person ‘yak. Now don’t get us wrong, fishing alone can be awesome - just be safe! There’s no better way to get some quality ‘me’ time than fishing solo.
That being said, if you want to spend time with others, there’s no better way than to paddle with a friend. Fishing from one recreational kayak really can be good fun. Whether you’re out with friends, with family, or with an acquaintance from your workplace… fishing from a tandem kayak can be a wonderful shared experience.
If one of you aren’t into the actual fishing aspect, you can still enjoy all the paddling and sights. Then you can lie back and chill or read a book, while your fishing partner gets their fishing fix.
An extra pair of hands can really make a difference. If you’re fishing alone, it can be hard to position yourself, cast and reel in some big catch all at the same time. We can only really do only one thing at a time after all!
Having an extra person on board means that, with a little teamwork, you can hopefully catch more fish…faster.
While one of you positions the kayak into prime position, the other can be on the verge of casting. One could reeling in a ‘whopper’, while the other has the net on standby. Yup, there’s no doubt that having 2 pairs of hands can be a big advantage over one.
You may also be able to attach an electric motor to some models to give you extra power.
Harder To Get Around (especially if paddling solo)
This really depends on how experienced your partner is, or how well you both work together as a paddling fishing team!
While there’s no doubt that getting around in a solo kayak is probably easier for a solo kayaker, 2 people, as long as they are cohesive, can also maneuver around very well. But if you aren’t working well together as a team, the comradery can start to fall apart. Certainly, your paddling efficiency is going to suffer, so think about this.
You may also be thinking of opting for a tandem fishing kayak, just using it for solo fishing adventures. What’s to lose, right? If you travel alone, you have more storage space in that huge 2 person ‘yak, yes?
Well, yes and no. You will have more space. But just remember that the more gear you bring, the heavier the kayak is going to be. Heavy loads really can slow you down, and they can hurt the portability of the kayak. In fact, tandem kayaks are generally wider and longer, and this can really impact on how easy it is to paddle around.
2-Person Fishing Kayak: Features To Look Out For
Tandem fishing kayaks tend to vary when it comes to their size and weight. Size can be an important feature, as the more compact the kayak, the less room you’ll have for gear. The best tandem fishing kayak will have adequate space for you, your fishing partner and both of your gear bags.
If you plan to spend a night camping, then you’ll want to make sure there’s enough room for your additional gear. Remember to check out the maximum weight capacity too when you're looking for the right kayak.
As fishing kayaks can be heavier than non-angler kayaks in general, how heavy the boat is can also be something to take into consideration. Lightweight tandem fishing kayaks do exist, but the lightest ones will usually be inflatable. Sometimes a non-fishing kayak could also be used.
Think about your fishing partner’s physical strength if you think you’ll need a hand carrying the vessel or car-topping it. If you think you’ll have to do the heavy lifting alone, an inflatable might be a better option in some cases. This can be particularly important if you plan to use a tandem to fish with a child.
Having storage solutions for your fishing gear can be pretty vital on a fishing kayak. If you plan to fish all day, you should think about the additional gear you might want to bring, such as lunch and snacks, as well as fishing essentials, like a fish finder.
Most angler kayaks will have enough storage space for fishing tackle, such as fishing rods, tackle trays and even flies for fly fishing. A storage hatch can be a useful feature but this is not always found on all tandems. Most will have a rear tank well or an area where you can carry a cooler or crate.
On shorter tandems, the amount of storage may be limited, especially if there are two adults on board, as much of the space may be taken up by seating areas.
It can be useful if you have little storage areas close to your seat to minimize how often you have to move around to access your gear. Sometimes, having three or four mounting points can let you attach other gear in convenient places that are easy to reach.
Some tandem fishing kayaks come with additional features that can allow you to customize your vessel to suit your fishing style. Gear tracks are handy and can be found on many fishing kayaks, allowing you to mount additional fishing accessories, such as cup holders, extra rod holders, and various gadgets, without having to drill into the hull.
You can also often find mounts for more accessories, such as fish finders, with dedicated transducer scuppers on some angler kayaks.
Another great feature that you might find useful is a mounting point for an electric motor, which can let you easily install an electric trolling motor if you need extra power. Other fishing kayaks may instead have a rudder-ready mount so you can attach an after-market rudder for improved performance on open or moving water.
You may even find vessels that are compatible with a pedal drive, which might be useful for a few people. A pedal drive, however, might take up extra space on deck, limiting your leg space.
When you’re paddling with another person, you’re probably going to want a super stable boat. Most angler kayaks are built with stability as a key feature. Tandem kayaks may be a little longer, but not necessarily any wider.
However, most tandems are crafted to be very stable, with most tandem angler kayaks stable in flatwater environments or calm conditions. Some will also be able to handle moderate waves or river current.
While solo fishing kayaks are often designed to allow you to stand to fish, the best tandem kayak is generally not designed to do that. Two people standing on a kayak in the middle of a lake is probably not going to end well, especially if one of you has to wrestle with your catch.
Not all tandem fishing kayaks are crafted with the same level of comfort in mind. The seats can vary considerably between brands and models. If you plan to fish for several hours at a time, you might want to think about choosing a good seat.
Elevated seats are a good choice for fishing, as they can let you sit higher off the deck to improve your visibility. This can also be more comfortable for your legs, as it means you’re not sitting flat on the deck, which can also mean you stay drier.
Padded adjustable seats can be important on a long fishing trip, especially if the fish aren’t biting. The adjustability can let you tailor the support to your personal comfort levels, whether you’re relaxing on the water or paddling to your next honey hole.
You don't always have to choose the most expensive kayak to find the best seats on the market today.
And that's our take on the top-rated tandem fishing yaks out there today...
Do you have one of these kayaks? Thinking of getting one? Do you have another model you want to tell us about? Tell us about it below...