Fishing kayaks – Buying guide, Reviews, and Comparison

 

If you want to find the best fishing kayak, but you hardly have any time at your disposal to go through the reviews and tips prepared by our team, this short paragraph should tell you everything you ought to know. Having analyzed the feedback coming from both amateur and professional anglers, we’ve reached the conclusion that the Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 is the one you should bear in mind. This sit-on-top alternative has been designed specifically for fishing, so it is stable and perfectly capable of handling both rough and calm waters alike. The unit comes with everything you may require to get started, so you’ll get two rod holders, two cup holders, two paddle keeps, as well as a 6-inch hatch complete with a storage bucket. Furthermore, the consumer reports garnered by this model are favorable, so it appears to be worth every penny. Should the Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 no longer be available, you could consider the Sun Dolphin Aruba 10, especially if you’re looking for a sit-in option.

 

 

Comparison table

 

 

 

Our top choices

 

To make it somewhat easier for you to decide on a specific model, we have showcased some of the popular choices below. We’ve grouped them according to their design so that you can make up your mind conveniently and efficiently.

 

 

Best sit-on-top kayaks

 

Sit-on-tops are usually thought of as user-friendly as they are reasonably stable and you won’t have any hard time getting in and out of them. If you can’t deal well with feelings of confinement, you ought to consider this design. They can offer you a bit of freedom when it comes to the moves you can make.

The only drawback to fishing from a sit-on-top is that things are bound to get wet at some point or the other. However, if you’re a nervous paddler or have nothing against the occasional splash, you may find such an alternative useful enough.

 

 

Ocean Kayak Prowler 13

 

Since it has been made out of durable materials and seems to raise up to par when it comes to construction quality and performance, the Prowler 13 should probably be given some thought to. The only downside that we were able to discover in relation to this product is that it does cost a pretty penny. As such, you’ll have to make an investment.

The model boasts a stable and quiet design that allows anglers to focus on their tasks without being bothered by various mishaps pertaining to their kayak. The oversized rear tank that this model comes equipped with can easily accept anything from tackle boxes to scuba tanks and coolers or crates.

What’s more, the Prowler 13 comes with a series of additions you’re likely to grow fond of once you start going out on the water with this boat. For instance, it comes with two cup holders, two paddle keeps, as well as two rod holders.

While some of the fishermen and women who’ve reviewed the product say that they would have liked it if the pole holders had been closer to their bodies, we didn’t really come across too many complaints detailing this issue.

Pros

The versatility ensured by the design of this product cannot be denied as its construction enables anglers to fish both in calm and rough waters.

The model boasts a large front hatch that allows owners to access the items they have stored inside the kayak. The deck storage is also capable of accommodating up to two rods.

It’s also worth noting that the Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 comes with everything you might need in order to feel at ease while on the water. As such, you’re likely to appreciate the two rod holders, two cup holders, as well as the two paddle keeps that this unit has been outfitted with.

The kayak is entirely compatible with transducers so you can utilize it with various compact fish finders.

Cons

While the boat is rated at a maximum capacity of up to 450 pounds, you need to consider the water you’ll be getting and the weight of the gear that you will inevitably have to bring along.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($863)

 

 

 

 

Top sit-inside kayaks

 

If you’d much rather prefer a warmer alternative, what you need to consider is a sit-inside. This model is the perfect choice for anglers who like to fish in cool waters but who would appreciate remaining dry all throughout their trip. Of course, the downside to sit-insides is that they restrict the moves of the user, so you need to get accustomed to the feeling.

Typically, sit-insides are capable of offering more than enough secondary stability, and that’s because they’re usually narrower compared to sit-on-top choices. The fact of the matter is that they do, however, offer less storage space unless they come with a net where you can place your food and other essentials. Consider the size of the model if you’re looking for a fishing kayak for big guys.

 

 

Sun Dolphin Aruba 10

 

If you’re a beginner and hardly have the finances to make any lavish expenses and get a top-notch kayak that can cost more than five hundred dollars, you need to check out the features of the Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 as soon as possible. The model comes with everything you might need, and the neat thing about it is that it is even comfortable to use.

As it has been made out of a UV-stabilized high-density polyethylene, the model proves to be a sturdy and durable alternative. However, it’s worth emphasizing that you won’t have any trouble carrying the unit from one spot to the next or from your car to the pond or river as it is particularly lightweight.

Something that you won’t be getting with this model is a rod holder, so you’ll have to purchase it separately and make some sort of invention in order to add it to your kayak. There is enough room available for you to store your fishing equipment conveniently, so this detail does not have to be one of your concerns.

From what we have gathered, this model is rather highly spoken of as many of those who have purchased it praise the value it is capable of offering.

Pros

This boat is one of the most budget-friendly kayaks we’ve come across. It won’t ruin your budget for life, but it’s made out of durable materials and can, therefore, serve you for as long as possible.

Thanks to its innovative design, you’ll have plenty of room to store your gear in this kayak.

Both a water bottle holder and the carrying handles are provided in the package, thus eliminating the need to purchase them separately.

The padded seat that this unit has been outfitted with offers a more than decent support for the user’s back, so there won’t be anything hindering the angler’s fishing experience.

Cons

Some of the owners say that it might be a bit too small for their physical attributes, so be sure to check the dimensions before deciding to order the Sun Dolphin Aruba 10.

Several buyers argue that some kayaks are cheaper.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($270.71)

 

 

 

 

Top inflatable kayaks

 

There are several reasons for choosing an inflatable model instead of a rigid one. The first that comes to mind is related to your budget. Inflatable boats are far more reasonably priced compared to typical ones that are made of composite materials, wood, or plastics. You don’t need a roof rack in order to bring the unit to the fishing spot.

Such models are easy to store at home or anywhere you have some room available. The market now holds a variety of single and tandem inflatables, so you should decide whether you might benefit from one that can be used with multiple people or would rather opt for one just for yourself.

 

 

Sevylor Coleman Colorado

 

If you’re in the market for a new 2-person kayak and hardly know which one you should pick, the Coleman Colorado might make a good choice. On the one hand, it’s inflatable, which means that you can conveniently assemble and disassemble it according to your momentary needs. On the other hand, it’s equipped with everything you might require.

The model boasts a sturdy construction that adds to its durability and versatility as you will be able to utilize it in rough and calm waters alike. Some of the people who were kind enough to provide feedback in respect to this model say that they’ve taken their dogs along and their nails did no damage to the surface of the boat.

The rod holders that this unit comes equipped with can also be set depending on your preferences. The paddle holders are reassuring and can help you feel at ease as you won’t ever lose one in the water.

The only slightly cringeworthy detail about this model is its price. We’ve noticed that some models are significantly more budget-friendly, but the fact of the matter is that, if you’re willing to pay for quality, you need to get a lot of money out of your wallet.

Pros

With its 18-gauge PVC construction, it’s safe to say that the Sevylor Coleman Colorado is one of the most rugged inflatable kayaks available for sale nowadays. It can withstand the abuse of water, rocks, and anything that might attempt to puncture it to no avail.

Another benefit ensured by the design of the Coleman Colorado consists of the fact that it has been equipped with quick set rod holders that can be adjusted in accordance with your personal preferences.

Given the way that this inflatable has been built, you won’t encounter any difficulties if you ever want to mount a Sevylor trolling motor and start using it differently.

The holders for the paddles are secure and will offer you the reassurance you might require.

Cons

It’s not the most inflatable boat ever to have seen the light of day.

Some buyers report that the rod holders can get in your way when you are paddling.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($300)

 

 

 

 

Top fishing canoes

 

Unlike their kayak counterparts, canoes are lightweight, convenient, and efficient. They can be made of wood or polyethylene. They cannot be folded or transported as easily as inflatable kayaks, but since they’re anything but heavy, you’ll be able to carry them around quite conveniently.

Some models are specifically designed for solo use while others can be employed for two people. It’s very rare that such a boat can accommodate more than two medium-sized individuals. Depending on the quality of the construction, such a model can cost anything from a couple of hundred dollars to close to one thousand.

 

 

Old Town Canoes Discovery 119

 

If you’re a bit of a nostalgic and would rather appreciate fishing from a canoe, be sure to give a chance to the Discovery 119 as it seems to be made with the needs of the modern user in mind. Something that has to be underlined in respect to this option is that its design might be a bit misleading.

Even though it looks like it has been made out of wood, it’s actually constructed out of durable three-layer roto-molded polyethylene. Otherwise said, it will offer you great fishing experiences for as much time as possible. Now that we have established that the ruggedness ensured by the Discovery 119 is up to par, perhaps you might want to know that the model is intended for solo use.

Because it is rather small and lightweight compared to other choices in the same line, it’s not as stable. You need to be sitting at all times in order to prevent the canoe from tipping over.

Since it’s not primarily designed for angling, you will have to imagine some sort of system in order to get your rod holders to stay in place. So, in a sense, you may have to be a DIY-er for this option to make sense for you.

Pros

The polyethylene construction boasted by this option enables owners to benefit from excellent convenience as the canoe isn’t too heavy and as such, it can be carried with ease.

The quality of the design and build render this model durable and sturdy, which basically means that you’ll be able to use it for many seasons to come.

Some of the people who have bought this canoe say that it is more resilient than you might have thought it to be at first glance. It can handle weights of up to 300 pounds and more given that it has been utilized by owners weighing 270 lbs or more.

The Discovery 119 is a breeze to mount on a vehicle, so you can take it anywhere you want.

Cons

It would be a good idea to avoid standing while in this canoe as it is quite tippy.

It’s designed for solo use, so you can’t bring a friend along.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($699.99)

 

 

 

 

Top kayak accessories

 

Accessories specially designed for kayaks are available at a wide range of online retailers. If you know nothing about them, we’ll set your mind at ease by telling you that some models allow you to customize them as best as possible. For example, if you’re invested in your comfort and would like to feel at ease when angling, you can replace the seat that the unit has been outfitted with.

Furthermore, you can choose a seat cushion to increase the degree of comfort that you’ll be feeling all throughout the kayak fishing expedition. In terms of accessories, the sky’s the limit, as you can select anything that might have ever crossed your mind as long as it is compatible with the kayak model you own. You can replace the paddles, as well.

Another issue that needs to be addressed is the way you’ll be getting your kayak to the fishing spot. If you want to mount it on your car, you probably need to purchase a rack carrier or a roof rack. To make your entire experience safer, be sure to check out the range of kayak flotation devices available today. Some are personal flotation devices, but others are just bags that can ensure that your boat is always kept buoyant.

 

 

Leader Accessories Boat Seat

 

While it might not be the most affordable choice out there, the Leader Accessories unit makes a good model to keep in mind. Often times, the seats that most kayaks and boats come equipped with do little to nothing in terms of providing you the comfort you need during the endless hours you might spend on the water.

Nobody wants to quit a fishing trip beforehand, but that can happen if you don’t have the proper equipment at hand. This deluxe seat can ensure that you are able to spend as much time as you need and be patient with getting the big catch of your dreams.

The unit has been outfitted with two straps in the rear and two in the front, all of which can give you the freedom to customize the fit of the seat on the structure with which the kayak has been primarily equipped with. You’ll be amazed at the amount of support that this model can give your back and your rear.

Even though most of the consumers whose opinions we have analyzed speak highly of the features of this seat, there have been owners who have reported that they’ve run into all sorts of issues with adjusting the position of the seat.

Pros

Based on the feedback received by this option, it appears that it is one of the most comfortable choices in this line.

The fact that the unit has been outfitted with two straps in the rear and two in the front allows you to adjust its position and fit as best as possible, so as to customize it to the seat structure your kayak might come installed with.

The neat thing about this model is that it can offer plenty of support for both your back and your rear, which obviously adds to the overall comfort level experienced by the user.

Installation is a breeze, at least judging by the reviews that the seat has garnered in this sense.

Cons

Several buyers have complained about the fact that the seat isn’t as stable as they might have wanted it to be, even after they’ve adjusted the straps as best as possible.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($99.99)

 

 

 

 

CoCo 2 Pairs Universal

 

Nothing beats a pair of roof racks when you want to get up and reach the destination of your kayak fishing trip as quickly as possible. This model can be installed with ease, and so you can safely rely on its stability and design and stop worrying about whether or not your boat will be conveniently accommodated.

The steel design of this alternative makes it the perfect choice for people who aren’t willing to spend their money on a roof rack every year. The protection ensured by this product raises up to par, and so you can envisage your angling success instead of focusing on the way your kayak is transported to your fishing spot.

Something other that needs to be added in regards to this alternative is that it comes with four tie-down straps that you can use with ease in order to fasten the boat onto the roof racks. The on/off hardware that you will require in order to install and uninstall the racks is provided in the package.

All in all, it appears that this model offers enough value for the money. It does, however, come with a limited load capacity, so you won’t be able to utilize it with kayaks that are heavier than 75 lbs.

Pros

As one of the most versatile roof racks available out there, this model can be utilized for a variety of sports equipment, whether you plan to stick to transporting your kayak or use it for your surfboard in the summer.

The maximum weight of the kayak that can be used with the CoCo 2 is 75 lbs, so it addresses the needs of those who own a rather lightweight boat.

There are two pairs of racks and four tie-down straps in the package, so you won’t have to spend an extra cent on getting the straps separately.

With the sturdy construction boasted by this model, it’s safe to say that it will serve you for a more than decent amount of time.

Cons

It might not be as affordable as other alternatives, and that might be something you may have to consider if you are on a budget.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($55.99)

 

 

 

 

Buying guide

 

Whether you’re looking for the best affordable fishing kayak or you’re willing to make an investment, you have come to the right place. We’ve taken the matter into our hands by going through loads and loads of reviews, reliability surveys, and various forums so that we were eventually able to put together a comprehensive buying guide.

So, if you’re in the market for the best bass fishing kayak or one that you can use for various other species, perhaps you should take the time to read on. A little bit of extra research has never hurt prospective buyers, and neither will it hurt you.

Consider the type of kayak fishing you plan to engage in

The first thing you have to do is assess your needs and expectations. Look at the kind of kayak fishing you’re most interested in performing. Are you into freshwater angling or do you prefer saltwater fishing? While some might tend to say that this is a ridiculous question, the fact of the matter is that answering it can impact your entire experience.

Freshwater fishing can be done on still water or moving water. By the same token, saltwater fishing can be divided into inshore and offshore angling. When doing your fishing in still water, you might be able to relax while prospecting the market as the stability of the kayak matters somewhat less than it does in the case of moving water. Speed is the feature you should focus on if you plan to fish lakes and such other locations. Sit-on-top models work well in these situations.

Moving water requires enhanced maneuverability, a high degree of stability, as well as a high degree of rocker. While some choose sit-on-top kayaks, the fact is that under such circumstances, a sit-in alternative is far more sought after.

As for inshore waters kayak fishing, it appears that many anglers prefer sit-on-top choices although they should logically opt for sit-in ones. The latter have a somewhat superior degree of secondary stability, and so they might prefer better in confused seas or rough water. Offshore waters call for long kayaks, be they sit-in or sit-on-top.

 

Loading capacity and number of seats

Choosing a kayak isn’t all that easy when you begin considering that you also have to bring some food, water, as well as other essentials onboard. So, the loading capacity matters quite a bit. While some boats allow maximum loads of up to 450 pounds, others are far more limited in this sense.

The number of seats also has to be given some thought to. Do you plan to go angling all by yourself or would you rather take a buddy with you? Seating is of extreme importance when you’re out on the water because above all, the kayak needs to offer you excellent stability. If you like going fishing with your family, the natural choice would be to opt for a 3-person kayak as this way, you’ll be able to sit in the middle seat when there aren’t two other people with you.

The bigger the kayak, the more expensive it is likely to be. It wouldn’t hurt if you took the time to read some of the best fishing kayak reviews to make sure that you’re putting your pennies into something worth the while.

Safety

While focusing on comfort and the type of model you want to purchase is a good idea, the factor that should always be on your mind is whether you’re buying a safe kayak or not. The wider the boat, the greater the initial stability. On the other hand, since it will be a tad heavier than narrower alternatives, it might move slower in the water, which may or may not bother you depending on the fishing you’re engaging in.

A high degree of initial stability can be ensured by soft-chined kayaks. Secondary stability refers to how the boat can rock when it’s leaned onto its side. Narrow models have higher secondary stability compared to wider ones.

 

Sit-on-top vs. sit-in models

As their denomination suggests, sit-on-top kayaks lack a cockpit that is enclosed. Such models are usually considered to be unsinkable as they’re made out of polyethylene plastic or other materials that make them float with ease. Compared to their sit-in counterparts, sit-on-top units are a bit wider, and so they offer a greater initial stability but have a lower degree of secondary stability. They also tend to cost a pretty penny compared to sit-in models.

Taking into account all of the details we’ve mentioned about sit-on-top alternatives, it’s safe to say that they are designed for calm waters. They might do a poor job handling large waves, high winds, or swift currents.

Sit-in choices are highly recommended for inshore fishing and moving water, in general. They’re smaller than their sit-on-top counterparts and also somewhat narrower, which is why they offer reasonable initial stability but take the cake when it comes to secondary stability.

Also, sit-in options are far more affordable than their sit-on-top counterparts, even if you were to choose a 2-person fishing kayak. Thanks to their enclosed cockpit, they can ensure that you get at least partial protection from rain and other weather conditions that your expedition might suffer from.

 

How about the construction?

The way that the unit has been constructed and the materials it has been made out of are two other details you ought to bear in mind. The general rule is that polyethylene kayaks are those that are the heaviest, so you may need to consider one of these if you plan to fish along rocky shorelines, for instance. Unfortunately, this design is also a drawback, in a sense, as you’ll need to put in some effort and paddle some more. They’re rather heavy and slow.

The next option would be to consider a wood kayak. This type is significantly lighter compared to a polyethylene alternative, and the neat thing about it is that it can offer you superior speed, something that every angler needs once in a while.

Composite kayaks are a bit less affordable than the other two we’ve mentioned. In terms of weight, they’re somewhere in the middle when compared to wood and polyethylene choices.

Other features

Several additions can make your life a whole lot easier. The best fishing kayak on the market will inevitably come with a series of accessories such as carry handles, foot pegs, several storage options, and a variable number of rod holders.

If you’d like to avoid the hassle of deciding on a particular material that the kayak has been made out of, perhaps you should opt for an inflatable one. In some ways, such a choice might not exactly be in complete accordance with the definition of a kayak, but if you’re a versatile angler, you can definitely work with it.

To further improve your experience, you can safely select from the wide array of fishing kayak accessories available for sale nowadays. Whether you decide to change the seat that the boat has been outfitted with in the first place, or you just get some extras such as a life vest and a better paddle, it’s your choice, in the end. Be sure to consider your personal preferences when you’re in the market for such items.

 

 

 

 

Best kayak brands

 

As one of the most reputable manufacturers in the paddlesport industry, Sun Dolphin treats customers with the utmost respect. The boats designed by this company are well-made and convenient and can be used with ease. From what we’ve gathered, Sun Dolphin makes anything from pedal boats to canoes and kayaks and even dinghies.

A broad range of accessories is also available on the manufacturer’s official website. Given the warranty policies ensured by the manufacturer and the fact that they’ve had few to no complaints in the past, we feel confident enough to say that getting a kayak from this brand is a good idea.

 

In spite of the fact that Intex makes a good deal of other products aside from boats and accessories destined for fishing, it has become an all-time favorite brand of anglers over time. If you’re in the market for an inflatable kayak, this company might be one of those you should give some thought to.

The sporting goods made available by Intex are next to infinite as you can choose anything from professional boats to lounges, islands, and a good deal of parts and accessories. In short, Intex is another kayak brand to consider.

 

Unlike some other brands we’ve analyzed, Sevylor is considerably more versatile as it deals with the manufacture of a broad range of products intended for fishing and generally spending time outdoors. The quality of the accessories and boats designed by the company cannot be denied as in most cases, its products have acquired a good deal of appreciation on the part of those who have bought them.

Feel free to choose from the plethora of flotation aids, life jackets, and inflatable devices that are all available on Sevylor’s website and at various online retailers. Simply put, this company is another great one to add to your list.

 

Getting your game on has never been easier if you choose a boat from Ocean Kayak. It is true that some of its alternatives might be a tad pricier when compared to those from other brands, but the fact of the matter is that nothing can beat the quality and performance of these kayaks. They’re stable, convenient, and will prove to be a friend in need whenever you require their services the most.

There are several extras you can select, as well. Whether you plan to get a new seat back, hatch kit or just some decent clothing for your next kayak angling expedition, Ocean Kayak’s got you covered.

 

 

 

Frequently asked questions

 

What’s the best fishing kayak?

It’s rather impossible to give a straight answer to this question, and the reasons are many. As discussed in the buyer’s guide, you have to look at the type of water you’re doing your fishing in, your own physical features, and whether or not you plan to go on a fishing trip with friends or family. This is the reason for which finding the perfect kayak or canoe might be a daunting task.

What’s more, you should address your expectations in terms of your budget. Often times, some of the models that cost more are better constructed than those that are reasonably priced. They can be made out of superior materials, or they might just provide better stability.

 

Are fishing kayaks good?

It all comes down to what you feel most comfortable with using. In a kayak, you have little to no space to move, so you really have to be into fishing to spend several hours in the same body position. Getting a standard inflatable boat might be a better idea if you don’t like feeling stiff all of the time.

On the other hand, there are anglers who feel more in tune with the water and the natural environment of the species they’re targeting when they’re doing their fishing from a kayak. Sit-in alternatives allow you to rest comfortably and even be at the same level with the water. Of course, a splash here and there is inevitable, so be prepared to get a bit wet.

 

Are fishing kayaks stable?

There are two types of stability you need to look at when deciding between one model and the next. One of them is initial and the other is secondary. Initial stability is a good pointer as to how the kayak performs when the water is still, and there are virtually no waves or any type of disruption that might cause it to shift or balance in some way or the other.

Secondary stability is what you can experience when you’re fishing in a river and the kayak rocks from side to side. The general rule is that wider kayaks have lower secondary stability while narrower ones can offer you the benefit of a better one.

 

Why take up kayak fishing?

First off, you need to ask yourself what type of waters you have in the area you live. If there are lakes and such, a sit-on-top kayak might do you good and allow you to catch some serious local fish without you having to spend a fortune on it. Generally, kayak fishing is a recreational activity that can enable you to get in touch with nature.

Of course, some types of fishing are downright impossible with such a boat. You wouldn’t want to go out and do some serious tuna fishing from a kayak. The bigger the fish, the bigger should the boat be.

 

 

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