Best Tandem Fishing Kayak

by Richard Dravick

March 14, 2019

Best Tandem Fishing Kayak

Kayaking gives us a sense of freedom when paddling away from civilization and enjoying a day on the water. But a tandem fishing kayak makes all kinds of new adventures possible. It takes two to paddle a tandem fishing kayak. You have to work together as a team to get a tandem fishing kayak going. There are going to be times when you hit your partner’s paddles, but it gives us a few lessons on teamwork and can be a wonderful experience with a friend or significant other.

What Is A Tandem Kayak?

A tandem kayak is a narrow watercraft designed with space for two passengers. The passengers sit in a fore and aft fashion. One or both kayakers can paddle the kayak using a double-bladed paddle. The person sitting in front directs the rowing while the person sitting at the rear has to follow the rhythm of the person in front. This way, you’ll not hit each other’s paddles which can be frustrating.

Another method of paddling a tandem kayak is where the front person sits and lets the back passenger paddle the kayak. This technique comes in handy when your partner is fishing or just wants to sit back and enjoy the ride.

What Makes A Tandem Kayak A Fishing Kayak?

Tandem fishing kayaks are generally longer and wider. They have sizeable dry storage areas together with being faster and more stable. They are significantly heavier than single kayaks, but they are cheaper than buying two single kayaks.

Tandem fishing kayaks allow simple outfitting of fishing rod holders, electronics like GPS, notches, and dry bags for putting all your gear like lures, baits, water, food, etc. Tandem fishing kayaks are also fitted with shelving for storing baskets and trays.

Fishing Tandem Kayak vs Recreational Kayak

Recreational kayaks and fishing tandem kayaks have different features and specifications to suit their purpose. Recreational kayaks tend to be short and with limited storage areas. They are not designed to go on long trips since you may feel cramped after spending hours in it. They are simple to enter, turn and more affordable.

Tandem Kayak Elements

While there are different forms of kayaking like recreational, fishing, white water and the like, there are a few features that should be commonplace for every kayaking enthusiast.

  • BOW: This is the front of the kayak. It is a universal term used to refer to the front of all watercraft like motorboats and canoes.
  • STERN: This is the rear of the kayak just like in the case of the bow. It refers to the back of a watercraft.
  • DECK: This is the top of the kayak. It is the place you attach everything from fishing nets, poles, to bungees, cleats, and hatches.
  • COCKPIT: This is the area where the kayaker will occupy. For a tandem kayak, it is at the front and back of the vessel.
  • STARBOARD AND AFT SIDE: The starboard side represents the right side of the kayak, while the aft is the left side.
  • COAMING: This is the rim of the large hole that looks like a tunnel towards the front of the kayak.
  • HULL: This refers to the entire body of the kayak.
  • FOOTPEGS, BRACES OR PADS: Regarding the choice of kayak you’ll be using, these are the foot support of the kayak. They can be foot pegs, braces, or pads.
  • THIGN HOOKS OR THIGH BRACES: These are essential features of a kayak. Thigh hooks are located on the underside of cockpit’s top. They offer support to the thighs as they press out and up when paddling. They help kayakers perform the various maneuvers and kayak strokes which keep the kayak in control.
  • OUTFITTING: Anything you install in the kayak to suit your specific kayak needs is called outfitting. It may be padding, foam, ratchet assemblies, pneumatic adjustments, etc.

Things to look for before buying a Tandem Fishing Kayak

Length And Width

For two people, a long kayak will give you more leg area so that you can always be comfortable; especially if you are a taller person. The width should also be substantial as it adds to the weight capacity of the kayak and the stability.

Paddling vs Pedaling

Do you want to paddle or pedal your tandem fishing kayak? If you wish to keep your hands free, a pedaling design can be a good option although many people stick to simply paddling their kayak.

Cockpit Design

Do you want to sit in the kayak or on top of the kayak? sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks have better balance especially for fishermen fishing in rough waters. The kayak can roll over the wave without filling with water unlike a sit-in kayak (SIK). The sit-on-top kayak also allows you to wade through the water with one foot when you need extra stability when struggling with a large fish.

But if you’ll be in slow water, a sit-in kayak is comfortable since the ride will be drier and more enjoyable.

The Weight Of The kayak

Tandem kayaks are heavier than single kayaks and if you will be transporting them often you will want to make sure you will be able to move the kayak to your car or shed preferably by yourself as you never know if there will always be another person around to help you. As such, you'll want to consider a kayak with reasonable weight. Instead of foregoing length to minimize weight, you can look for a tandem kayak with construction from a lightweight material like fiberglass, plastic or ultralight composite materials; however these lighter weight materials will increase the cost of your kayak.


1. BKC UH-TK181 Tandem Kayak - Best Seller

best selling tandem fishing kayak

Built to handle all the fishing adventures you and a friend can through at it, the BKC UH-TK181 is a sturdy, 12.5ft long tandem kayak. The brand behind this model has not been around for long, but the high-quality features catch the eye. It comes as the best selling tandem thanks to the many outstanding features.

Being a sit on top tandem kayak, it gives stability for two people to paddle the kayak comfortably. It has plenty of room for the feet along with a 34-inch beam to keep you balanced on rough waters. The kayak can hold up to 450 pounds easily transporting two fishermen or women through the waters.

The BKC UH-TK181 comes with seven fishing rod holders of which four are flush mounted for stability while three are adjustable. You’ll be happy with the multiple storage areas which means you can bring along everything you need for a fishing excursion. It also has paddle rests to keep the paddles from falling overboard. This way, you’ll never end up paddle-less.

You will have two luxurious kayak seats along with two durable aluminum handles, waterproof gear compartments, and four carry handles for easy transport.

Head out with this best selling model and start making memories of your fishing trips.

  • PROS
  • CONS
  • Covered by a comprehensive five-year warranty
  • Sit-on-top design provides greater stability
  • Includes paddle rest, waterproofed hatches, watertight compartments, and 7-rod holders
  • Secure cargo area
  • Comes with four carry handles to maneuver the 68lb kayak

2. Vibe Skipjack 120T Tandem Kayak - Best Large Space

best fishing kayak for 3 people

With a 500-pound weight capacity, the Vibe Skipjack tandem fishing kayak has capacity for two adults and a child. The kayak can also be paddled solo from the center allowing others to rest and have some fun fishing.

This is a 12.2ft model that weighs only 72 pounds. It is a perfect companion for those who want to fish in rivers, flat or surf waters. It is built to withstand waves since you’ll have that extra stability from the sit-on-top design. The Vibe kayak does not need any paddling experience, just grab your gear and head out for the fishing experience of your life.

Looking at the storage, you'll have two flush mount rod holders with four mounting points. It also comes with two sealed hatches which house cup holders and compartments where you can store the small items you bring on board this kayak. The rear cargo area will give you a nice place to bring large gear.

The Skipjack provides two paddle parks for securing the paddles when they are not in use. It also includes four carry handles making it easy to transport this kayak out of water.

  • PROS
  • CONS
  • It is equipped with three sitting positions
  • It has four points to mount rods
  • It has flexible paddling where two or one can paddle the kayak
  • Large storage area with bungee cords at the rear
  • Ample space for holding gear
  • Great on rivers, surf and flat water

3. Mirage Pro Angler 17T - Best Premium

Best Premium Tandem Fishing Kayak

The Mirage Pro Angler 17T is an advanced model of the award-winning Mirage pro Angler model. This tandem boasts comfort, stability, and enough room to bring every needed piece of gear along for your next fishing expedition.

It is a versatile design where you can adjust the vantage seating. It can be set as an in-line tandem, as a social, tandem, face-to-face, or in a single configuration at the middle. You can have the best seating set up so you’ll never get bored of using the same tandem kayak over and over again even if you are by yourself.

If you are looking forward to teaching your loved one or friend fishing techniques, you can count on some good time with the Mirage Pro Angler 17T. It is powered by MirageDrive with Glide Technology. The Hobie eVolve electric motor lets you skip hours of tiresome paddling by using your feet to pedal the MirageDrive pedal. It gives you a chance to fish with a friend as your feet do the paddling.

Not to mention, it can pedal in both directions thanks to the MirageDrive 180 propulsion system. It provides unprecedented control and maneuverability for a tandem fishing kayak.

With the help of Hobie’s new H-rail system, you can mount more gear and never worry about rusty platforms or lose your paddles overboard. It utilizes extruded aluminum dodecagon rail that provides a robust and abrasive/corrosion resistant mounting platform.

This tandem kayak also has more than enough storage for your fishing trip needs. First, it has a rectangular hatch situated in the front of the seats. The hatch conceals a mesh pouch next to a pivoting storage area, fit for the two medium-sized Plano tackle boxes included with the kayak. It also has another easily accessible storage area under the tackle boxes.

Mirage Pro Angler 17T is an excellent option for persons who need premium features on a high-end tandem fishing kayak. It provides enough stability for casting and fishing comfortably with a friend.

  • PROS
  • CONS
  • Uses MirageDrive Pedal for efficient propulsion
  • Large storage capacity aimed at fishers
  • It has 900lbs weight capacity
  • Multiple sitting positions through the vantage system
  • Inbuilt transducer mount
  • Sturdy aluminum mounting platform

4. Sevylor Colorado - Best Inflatable

Best Inflatable Tandem Fishing Kayak

Although it may seem like an inflatable canoe, this is probably one of the best inflatable tandem fishing kayaks. It is rigged to suit fishing excursions. The durable build satisfies anyone who is worried that this tandem kayak might be easily punctured. This model has a construction of 18-gauge PVC covered with 1000 denier bottom and 840 side/top denier nylon.

This tandem kayak is built for use in lakes replete with broken glass, rocks, and floating branches. It is has a durable exterior to protect it from all sorts of materials that could puncture the frame. It gives you the convenience of heading up to your favorite fishing spot without having to worry.

The inflating capability is a convenience for many people who want a portable kayak that can go in a bag during transport. It features airtight channels to ensure the kayak will never leak so that you can enjoy being out for an all-day fishing adventure. The air chambers will help you get back to the shore safe and dry. The adjustable seats allow for custom arrangement. You can adjust them as much as you’d like for a comfortable trip.

This model gives you the convenience of using a trolling motor if wanted. This addition gives you more speed and control without tiring yourself. You can go as far as you’d like while sparing some energy to get back to shore.

This tandem kayak has convenient storage for storing your paddles. The Berkley rod holders offer changing of the pole angle for an easy hands-free transport.

  • PROS
  • CONS
  • Double wall construction makes it tough
  • A trolling motor can be added for faster and efficient propulsion
  • It has 900lbs weight capacity
  • It has multiple airtight air chambers to prevent leakage
  • It has grab handles to transport it
  • Comes with mesh pockets to store gear

5. Lifetime 10ft Sport  Kayak - Best Budget

best budget fishing tandem kayak

This sit-on-top tandem kayak has enough room for two outdoor enthusiasts. It comes with the needed accessories such as the paddles at no extra cost. You will find two soft backrests that offer enough area to sit and cast as you’d like. Since you’ll be sitting on top, it makes it easy to put one foot in the water for that extra balance during navigation and fishing.

The Sport Fisher comes with four-rod holders with room to store the bait and line. It also comes with clips for the paddles ensuring they will never fall off from the vessel. The hull design offers the ultimate stability which allows people to stand or sit on the side without the kayak tipping over.

The kayak features a lightweight polyethylene construction. It is a durable model which is only 10ft long. It is light enough for one person to transport. It can easily go into a truck as it weighs only 65 pounds. This kayak also comes with an accessory mount where you can bring an optional electric power mortar or a rudder.

With the multiple foot wells, it gives you enough room for leverage when reeling in a large fish. The footrests also allow different kayakers to use the kayak no matter their height. You’ll have a rear storage hatch, ditty trays, shock cord straps for fastening extra fishing nets, and an interior storage hatch that secures loose items.

Although it is an entry-level tandem fishing kayak, this model is reliable and will provide you with years of use.

  • PROS
  • CONS
  • It is UV-protected so it will not fade, peel, or crack
  • Hull design provides extra stability
  • It has a 500lb capacity
  • Comes with padded backrests
  • It carries scupper holes to drain the cockpit area
  • Multiple storage areas including pole holders
  • Features a high and dry seating structure


When you want to share the fishing experience with a loved one, a tandem fishing kayak will bring you that joy. We hope we’ve enlightened you on choosing the best tandem fishing kayak for you. These brands offer the top performing models. From entry-level to premium, large-spaced, and inflatable models, all these kayaks are a great buy.

As the old saying goes bad day on the water fishing is better than a good day in the office. Why not enjoy it in one of these tandem fishing kayaks.

About the author 

Richard Dravick  -  I created this site to help people who like myself enjoy kayaking and fishing. Kayaking allows you enjoy all the great themes of nature that are around us everywhere and combining this with fishing can create some of the most memorable times in life.
Please let me know if you have enjoyed these reviews and if you have thoughts on what you would like to see for future reviews so that I can keep the content fresh.

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