Best Fishing Kayak – The Complete Buying Guide

For the longest time most fishermen would use regular boats whenever they wanted to venture away from the shore in search of their next big catch. Since they were merely ordinary boats, they didn’t have the necessary compartments to store your fishing gear. Thankfully manufacturers have since realized that different users have different fishing needs. As a result they decided to create fishing kayaks specifically designed for that purpose. 

Now that these products have gained popularity, the market is filled with all types of fishing kayaks. Naturally it makes it hard to figure out which one to buy - especially if you’re a new fisherman. 

That’s where we come in, with all the answers to any questions you might have so you can make the right purchase. Follow our guidelines, and you will.

Benefits of Fishing on a Kayak:

Wondering if a fishing kayak is really necessary? Won’t any regular boat also do? If you’re one of the sceptics we’ll quickly outline a few advantages associated with fishing on a kayak.

Affordable Option:

In the past some users opted for powerboats when embarking on a fishing adventure. However that meant parting with a few extra dollars since owning one didn’t come cheap. If you’re working on a budget then a fishing kayak is probably the way to go. 

Mind you it’s not just about the low cost of the kayak but you get to dodge some of the following costs:

  • Say goodbye to fuel costs if you pick a fishing kayak. Since it’s 100% human powered you don’t have to spend money on fuel.
  • Most power boats need to be launched from boat ramps or stored. If you know anything about these ramps you’re aware ramp fees are required and storing your boat is also expensive. Fortunately kayaks can be stored and launched from virtually anywhere which means no fees.
  • Other boats require insurance while some must be registered. Neither is necessary if you buy a kayak.
  • Finally, it doesn’t cost much to repair a kayak. In fact you may never need to especially since it has no technical moving parts or motors. 

Brings You Closer to the Water:

As we mentioned earlier you can launch your kayak from any body of water. This means you can haul it into any area you think has plenty of fish. 

Not only does it bring you close to the water but you can easily maneuver those shallow waters and tight spaces. The slim profile allows you to glide even on the skinniest water bodies with absolute ease. 

Depending on your mood you can even get out and wade which is something you’re less likely to do when using other boats. Also, ducking the branches is made easier when using these.

Allows for Better Casting Angles:

Since you’re relatively close to the water you get to enjoy better fishing positions. Casting from a fishing kayak is much easier when compared to doing so from other boats.

You’re at liberty to use the ideal casting angle depending on the area you want to fish which is quite convenient.

Quiet Fishing Experience:

Most electric boats are likely to scare your prey away. Of course using a quiet boat greatly reduces that possibility. A kayak is designed in such a way to move quietly. The only sound will be your light paddling making it a stealthy fishing experience.

What Types of Kayaks Are Out There?

Now that you know the benefits associated with using a fishing kayak we’ll quickly discuss the basic types at your disposal. The one you pick will depend on your fishing needs and personal preference.

Sit on Top:

As the name suggests with this kayak you’ll be sitting on top of the kayak as opposed to an enclosed space. Basically this type is known for its large and open cockpit design. Here you can look at some of the best selling sit on top fishing kayaks.

Sit in:

The cockpit for the sit in model is also quite large. The only difference is you’ll be seated in an enclosed cockpit. Check out our best sit in fishing kayaks.


If you find the above mentioned types too pricey, you can always opt for the inflatable kayak. Though it’s filled with air, they are deceivingly strong as most are made from tough materials. Also, the airtight systems ensure some degree of durability. View the best selling inflatable fishing kayaks here.


Tandem kayaks are the ultimate go to if you want to take your buddy with on your fishing adventure. They usually have two or even three seats so pick one based on your needs. These are our best selling tandem fishing kayaks.

Kayak Sizes and Capacity:

The size of the kayak will determine a number of factors including speed and maneuverability. We’ll discuss the importance of the size by answering the following questions. 

Short vs Long?

Generally the shorter kayaks are easier to maneuver for obvious reasons however the downside is they are slower. The opposite is quite true. Longer kayaks are much faster but difficult to navigate in the waters.

Wide vs Narrow?

Whether a kayak is wide or narrow will determine its stability. A wider fishing kayak is more stable than a narrow one. 

Capacity/ Weight limit:

The weight of the kayak isn’t really an issue when the kayak is floating. The real issue starts when you have to transport it to and from the fishing site. Things such as accessories and trolling motors will definitely contribute to the weight of the kayak. 

If you’re going to transport your kayak further from the shoreline then you can consider opting for a lighter model.

Best Kayak Brands:

Our research concluded that the following are the best kayaks because of the exceptional stability and performance they offer:

  • Hobie
  • Native watercraft
  • Ocean Kayak
  • Sun Dolphin
  • Brooklyn Kayak Company
  • Lifetime 

Preferences may differ but in our opinion the Sun dolphin kayaks are the best on the market. Because of their experience in the manufacturing of fishing kayaks, Sun Dolphin kayaks have different, effective types & sizes for every skill level.

What to Consider Before Picking a Kayak

Materials Used:

The material used in the construction of the kayak will determine its durability and weight. Most kayaks however have hard shells made of durable plastic. If you want a lighter one you can opt for those made of composite material such as fiberglass or Kevlar.

Pedal vs Paddle:

With the pedal kayak, your feet do most of the work to keep the boat moving. This means you can only move the kayak while sitting. In this case the foot pedal controls the propulsion but you use a rudder to track or turn it by hand.

A paddle is the more versatile option. You can use it either sitting or standing plus it’s lighter than a pedal kayak. 

However, note with a pedal kayak you can still paddle if you like. So the one you pick is simply a matter of preference.

Kayak Seats:

Chances are you’ll be sitting in your kayak for hours on end. Picking a kayak with comfortable seats is in your best interests. If it’s padded and has a back rest for extra support, the better to reduce back or shoulder fatigue. 


The kayak you buy must have enough room to accommodate both you and your fishing gear. But it must also be easily accessible. Crawling across the boat to access your gear defeats the whole point don’t you agree?

How to Transport a Kayak:

Believe it or not, the manner in which you transport your kayak will determine its longevity or lack thereof. You might want to avoid dragging it around. Rather find a trolley to wheel it.

How to Store a Kayak:

It’s advisable to store your kayak away from direct sunlight—preferably indoors to avoid premature damage. Also it’s best to store it upside down on crossbars. Either that or you can hang it on the wide strapping located around the cockpit area.

Fishing Kayak Maintenance:

If you expect your kayak to last long there are a few necessary precautions you must take including the following:

  • If you regularly use it in salty water you must spray it down after very use
  • Avoid placing heavy things on top of it when stored


What is the best type of kayak for a beginner?

If you’re a novice kayaker it means there are certain skills you still need to master such as how to handle a capsized boat. For this reason a stand up model will probably be your best bet rather than a sit in model. When a sit in model capsizes it fills up with water making the situation difficult to navigate. Besides, the stand up models are easier to enter and exit. 

Should I get Sit in or Sit on Top kayak?

Generally sit on tops are more user friendly. Firstly they’re easier to enter & exit than their sit in counterparts. Plus you don’t feel confined. However if you’re travelling into colder environments the sit in will keep you warmer. Ultimately the one you pick will depend on your needs and location. 

What color kayak is best for fishing?

Fish are generally color blind but tend to react to shadows. So in terms of the best color a kayak with a white bottom is better than one with a dark bottom. This drastically reduces the shadow effect. But whatever you do steer clear from the yellow color unless of course you want to attract sea lions. 

Do kayaks tip easily?

Not necessarily. In fact most kayaks are quite stable. You just need to paddle it in the appropriate conditions. No matter how wide it is, we can’t guarantee stability in windy conditions or rough waters.

Final Thoughts:

Hopefully the above information will help you select the fishing kayak for your budget and needs. Your adventure awaits!

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