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6 Best Kayaks for Fishing 

An entire day with just nature to keep you company is something every outdoor enthusiast craves. Kayak fishing allows you to take your time, discover new scenic spots, and discover the peaceful pastime of fishing, all at your own pace.

There are several great kayaks out there to choose from, all designed specifically for fishing. In this guide, we’ve picked a selection of the best kayaks for fishing available to buy now.  

With its comfort and durability, the Perception Pescador Pro 12 is our top pick. It is popular among anglers for its smooth ride, sleek design, and the several storage nooks for fishing supplies. 

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The 6 Best Fishing Kayaks in 2024

Best Overall – Perception Pescador Pro 12 

best-kayaks-for-fishing
Image by Perception

Specs: 

  • Kayak type: Sit-on-top 
  • Number of people: 1 
  • Dimensions: 12’
  • Weight capacity: 375 pounds
  • Weight of kayak: 64 pounds

The Perception Pescador Pro 12 is a smooth and sleek kayak, ready to take you on blissful all-day fishing adventures. 

There is plenty of storage for your tackle and gear at the front and back of the fishing boat. With two integrated fishing rod holders and a comfortable stadium-style seat, this kayak is loved by reviewers for its comfort levels on long fishing days.  

The stable fishing kayak comes in some fun colors that are eye-catching when out on the water. The kayak is sturdy and stable, with a fast hull that provides excellent tracking through the water for a relaxing ride. 

Made from high-density polyethylene and a roto-molded construction, it has great durability and abrasion resistance. A replaceable skid plate also adds further protection, particularly when dragging the kayak from land into the water. 

Best Pedal Kayak – Old Town Sportsman 120 Pedal Kayak

best-kayaks-for-fishing
Image by Old Town Sportsman

Specs: 

  • Kayak type: Sit-on-top
  • Number of people: 1
  • Dimensions: 12’
  • Weight capacity: 500 pounds 
  • Weight of kayak: 104 pounds 

The Old Town Sportsman PDL 120 offers fishing enthusiasts a great investment kayak that will make fishing trips all the more enjoyable. 

Pedal kayaks may be a more expensive option than paddle kayaks, but they can be a great choice for keen anglers. They allow kayakers to precisely steer to the best fly fishing spots and cover greater distances on the water, without the need for any paddling. 

The PDL 120 features a pedal drive console that can be removed, as well as a comfortable and adjustable seat. It has plenty of storage for fishing rods, extra gear, and accessories. 

From online reviews, anglers seemed very impressed with this premium fishing kayak. However, some did mention the weight and the price were two key things to consider when purchasing it.

Best Budget – Intex Excursion Pro

best-kayaks-for-fishing
Image by Excursion Pro

Specs: 

  • Kayak type: Inflatable 
  • Number of people: 1
  • Dimensions: 10’
  • Weight capacity: 220 pounds 
  • Weight of kayak: 39 pounds 

For a fishing kayak that costs under $200, the Intex Excursion Pro is one of the most popular options available at the moment. It comes in a one-person or two-person size. 

The Intex Excursion Pro is an inflatable fishing kayak, which offers fishing enthusiasts an easy, convenient, and lightweight vessel. It is designed for fishing, but it can still be used for general fun on the water, too. 

With tough construction and great stability, the PVC materials provide the strength and support required for a great day on the water. Great value for money, this inflatable kayak comes with everything you need. 

It has extra space in the bow and stern for extra supplies, two detachable fishing rod holders, a paddle, and an adjustable GoPro camera or phone mount. It comes with a carry bag, which makes it easy to store and transport. 

Check out our picks for the best inflatable kayaks.

Best Tandem Kayak – Driftsun Teton 120 Hard Shell Kayak 

best-kayaks-for-fishing
Image by Driftsun

Specs: 

  • Kayak type: Tandem/sit-on-top
  • Number of people: 2-3
  • Dimensions: 12’2”
  • Weight capacity: 500 pounds 
  • Weight of kayak: 72 pounds 

The Driftsun Teton 120 is an attractive tandem option for you and a friend to enjoy a spot of fishing on lakes, rivers, and oceans. 

It has three seating positions, which can hold two people, as well as a center seat for a child or a dog inside the boat. Strong and sturdy, it is made from roto-molded and UV-resistant polyethylene. 

The wide hull offers a smooth and stable ride with great balance, allowing the whole crew to feel secure and balanced. It can also be used as a solo kayak, if you want to enjoy the extra space. 

The kayak comes fully equipped with two paddles, and it features rod holders, storage, cup holders, and padded seats.

Best Durable – Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 

best-kayaks-for-fishing
Image by Lifetime

Specs: 

  • Kayak type: Sit-on-top
  • Number of people: 1
  • Dimensions: 10’
  • Weight capacity: 275 pounds 
  • Weight of kayak: 51 pounds 

The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 is a durable kayak that is built to last. The kayak’s good design, with its wide bottom and rounded edges, allows the boat to move through the water with ease. 

Kayakers who have tested out this kayak were impressed by the stability and tracking through the water. It has four grab handles so that it can be easily transported to and from the water. 

There are two dry-storage hatches for fishing supplies in the bow and stern, and a swiveling rod holder so you can fish as you paddle along. Made from blow-molded high-density polyethylene, the kayak is impact resistant and made for long days on the water.  

Best for Beginners – Sun Dolphin Journey 10’

best-kayaks-for-fishing
Image by Sun Dolphin

Specs: 

  • Kayak type: Sit-on-top
  • Number of people: 1
  • Dimensions: 10’
  • Weight capacity: 395 pounds 
  • Weight of kayak: 44 pounds 

The Sun Dolphin Journey is a reliable fishing kayak with great stability—the perfect choice for those looking to get into the sport. 

The lightweight design makes it easy to carry to the water or lift onto a car’s roof racks. At under $500, the great value package includes everything you might need for a day of fishing. 

From beverage holders to adjustable foot braces and protective thigh pads, this kayak has all the accessories an angler might need. 

There is plenty of storage for fishing gear or tools, and the seating area is comfortable and roomy. Proudly made in the USA, Sun Dolphin kayaks are renowned for their good quality, and this kayak is built to survive harsh weather conditions. 

How to Choose the Best Kayak for Fishing 

When choosing a kayak for fishing, it’s important to check a few important features first, including durability, comfortability, and weight capacity. Here are some other important things to consider before you make the purchase. 

Styles of Fishing Kayaks

  • Sit-on-top: The most popular style for fishing, sit-on-top fishing kayaks feature a flat deck, with a fixed seat or molded seating area. The paddler sits on top of the deck, enjoying more freedom of movement and access to gear. They are self-bailing, which allows the boat to stay dry for longer. 
  • Sit-inside: Sit-inside kayaks allow paddlers to sit inside the cockpit with a seat positioned lower in the kayak. They are great for water performance, but there is typically less deck space for gear storage compared to sit-on-top kayaks.
  • Pedal: Pedal drive fishing kayaks use pedals to maneuver the kayak forwards or backwards through the water. This means your hands are free for fishing and you can cover greater distances. However, they tend to be more expensive to buy. 
  • Inflatable: Inflatable kayaks are quickly inflated by a hand pump or electric pump. They are easy to carry and store, less expensive, and offer a stable performance on the water. 

Stability and Durability

You will want to find a safe and stable kayak for your fishing adventure. Generally speaking, kayaks with wider hulls (the underside of the kayak’s body) offer more stability, whereas narrower hulls will be faster through the water but less stable. 

Hard-shell kayaks are usually preferred for fishing, since they are strong, durable, and versatile. Made from durable materials such as polyethylene or fiberglass, they can withstand the rigors of fishing, including scrapes against rocks or branches.

Tracking 

A kayak’s ability to track through the water and maintain a straight course is also key. 

The shape of the hull plays a role, too, as does the presence of a keel or a retractable skeg. These small fin-like structures are found on the underside of the kayak, similar to those found on boats and surf boards.  

Storage

Storage is an important feature to look for in a fishing kayak, since you will need to carry fishing gear, tackle, and fishing rods along with you on the kayak. Look for dry-storage compartments at the bow and stern, as well as fishing rod holders.

Some fishing kayaks also have phone mounts, cup holders, and even space for coolers. Bungee cords are also useful for keeping larger gear, such as coolers, in place. 

Weight Capacity

Make sure the kayak can support your body weight as well as your gear and any fish you might catch. If you carry too much on the kayak, it will become less steady and more difficult to steer through the water. 

Comfort

Since you will be spending several hours on the water at a time, comfort is very important when you’re looking to buy a fishing kayak. Check for features like adjustable seats with padded cushions or adjustable footrests. 

Transportation

Consider the size and weight of the kayak and think about how you’ll transport it. Some fishing kayaks can be heavier than regular kayaks, so make sure it is possible to lift the kayak onto and off of your vehicle’s roof rack or trailer.

Reviews and Reputation

User reviews are great for gaining insight into how a kayak performs in the real world. Look for feedback from experienced kayakers who have used the kayak for fishing in similar conditions. 

Consider the reputation of the kayak manufacturer. Established outdoor gear brands with a history of producing reliable products may be more likely to offer well-designed and durable fishing kayaks. 

Budget 

Most fishing kayaks are priced between $200 and $2,200. Your budget will depend on several factors, including your fishing expertise and where you plan to go on fishing trips. Pedal-powered fishing kayaks tend to be the most expensive to purchase.

Remember, investing in a higher-quality fishing kayak may be worth it in the long run. Think about your budget carefully and find a vessel that offers the best combination of features within that price range.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I customize my fishing kayak? 

Yes, fishing kayaks can be customized with a variety of accessories to suit your specific needs and preferences. 

Common alterations include installing additional rod holders, upgrading seating and padding, and adding electronics like fish finders and GPS units.

Are there any safety recommendations I need to know?

There are always safety considerations for any type of water sport. It is always a good idea to tell someone where you are going and the time you plan to be back. You should include a basic first-aid kit, whistle, and navigation lights in your fishing gear. 

You should always wear a personal flotation device (PFD) or life jacket when you’re on the water. For more advice, read our guide on what to wear kayaking

Your paddle kayak will come with a paddle leash, which attaches the paddle to the kayak. This allows you to always have control of the kayak, even if you drop the paddle. 

Always stay hydrated and wear SPF when you’re out on the water. 

Can I stand up in a fishing kayak?

Many fishing kayaks are wide and stable enough to allow anglers to stand up while fishing. However, standing up in a kayak still requires good balance, so always be careful. 

Final Thoughts: The Best Fishing Kayak

Exploring new waters by kayak means you can take your fishing expeditions to the next level.

After careful consideration, we chose the eye-catching Perception Pescador Pro 12 as the best kayak for fishing. With its reliability and handy storage, it is extra comfortable for long days on the lake. 

So, pack up your gear, grab your kayak, and head down to the water.

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