Best Fishing Kayaks

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So you’re looking to invest in a kayak, but you want it specifically geared towards your love of fishing. No problem, our fishing expert has trawled through the marketplace to assist you in making an informed purchase. So let’s cut to the chase, here’s our list of the best kayaks for fishing:

Top 7 Fishing Kayaks Under Review

Judging by the large number of companies producing different models of fishing specific kayaks today, it would seem that kayak fishing has been wholeheartedly embraced by anglers worldwide.

In fact, with a shallow draft of only three to five inches, a fishing kayak can easily navigate shallow passages to deeper waters that motor boats with deeper drafts simply can’t reach and, with no motor to alert the fish to your presence, it is easy to see why some anglers consider a kayak to be the ultimate stealth fishing craft.

Also, a fishing kayak is significantly cheaper to purchase than a motor boat, requires much less room to store, and does not require a trailer to transport.

Table of Contents

Review

An excellent choice in an extremely short fishing kayak for those anglers who prize manoeuvrability over speed, the Perception Pescador Pro 10 is hard to beat. Featuring Perception’s removable Pro Seat with dual level height adjustment for a high degree of initial stability when paddling as well as accurate casting when fishing, it also doubles as a camp chair.

In addition, the Pescador Pro 10 also features a pair of adjustable foot braces to accommodate paddlers of different heights and self-draining scupper holes in the bilge for a dry ride.

Furthermore, it includes gear tracks on both gunwale for adding accessories such as rod holders without the need to drill holes along with a dedicated fish finder console and a battery zone in the cockpit along with drill-free transducer mounting.

Plus, it includes two molded-in rod racks for hands-free rod storage while paddling along with a 5 inch deck plate behind the seat for accessory mounting and a convenient drink holder in the cockpit.

Also, there is a wet storage compartment in the bow with a mesh cover and a large tank well in the stern for those anglers who like to bring a cooler along with them when fishing.

Last but not least, the Pescador Pro 10 features an easily replaceable skid plate that enables anglers to drag the kayak when necessary without fear of damaging the hull.

What makes it great:

  • Short & manoeuvrable
  • Versatile Seat
  • Dual gear tracks
  • Replaceable skid plate
  • Wet storage & large tank well

Specifications

Length 10ft 6in
Width 32in
No. of persons 1
Weight 57lbs
Max capacity 325lbs
Colours Sonic camo, Moss camo, Red tiger camo

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 Fishing Kayak

One of the best sit-on-top fishing kayak designs on the market, the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 was specifically designed with kayak anglers in mind.

Featuring a highly manoeuvrable 12 ft. length with a relatively wide beam for a high degree of initial stability. it also includes Wilderness Systems’ super comfortable Phase 3 adjustable kayak seat for all day comfort combined with a pair of SlideTrax adjustable foot braces, which enable it to accommodate a wide range of paddlers from small to large and, the bilge features self-bailing scupper holes for a dry ride.

In addition, it also includes a large Orbix hatch in the bow for access to the large dry storage space as well as a 6 inch day hatch in the cockpit for storing smaller items and, it has a large tank well in the stern for those anglers who like to bring a cooler along for the day.

Furthermore, it includes SlideTrax accessory rails for mounting fish finders and rod holders and, paddle park holders are moulded into the gunwale on either side to keep your paddle at bay while fishing.

Things we like:

  • Great initial stability
  • Comfortable seat
  • Self-bailing scupper holes
  • Good storage

Specifications

Length 12ft 3in
Width 30in
No. of persons 1
Weight 64lbs
Max capacity 350lbs
Colours red, midnight blue, galaxy blue, mango orange/yellow, borealis green

Ocean Kayak Prowler Big Game Angler II Fishing Kayak

As the name implies, The Ocean Kayak Prowler Big Game Angler II fishing kayak was specifically designed for those anglers who choose to target large game fish species and thus, its extra-wide beam provides a very high degree of initial stability.

Plus, it features a very efficient tri-hull design for increased paddling speed to offset its extra wide beam. In addition, it is also an excellent choice for large anglers due to its extremely high load capacity and, it features an ergonomic cockpit design with a very comfortable Element Seating System combined with a Glide Track adjustable foot brace system to accommodate paddlers of any height along with a flat foot well that is specifically designed for standing.

Furthermore, it has a center console with a Mod Pod Cover and six, strategically placed mounting brackets for mounting rod holders and electronics such as a fish finder and/or a GPS unit. Plus, it has a large bow hatch with a Click Seal cover for dry storage and a large tank well in the stern for carrying a cooler or live bait well as well as any other gear you might need.

Last, it also has a side-mounted paddle keeper system to keep your paddle out of the way while fishing. Thus, the Ocean Kayak Prowler Big Game II fishing kayak is a good choice for anglers who are in need of an extremely stable and highly manoeuvrable fishing platform.

Things we like:

  • Tri hull designed for speed
  • High load capacity
  • Comfortable seating
  • Adjustable foot brace system

Specifications

Length 12ft 9in
Width 34in
No. of persons 1
Weight 70lbs
Max capacity 550-600lbs
Colours lime, camo, orange camo, urban camo

Old Town Predator 13 Fishing Kayak

Specifically designed to handle larger bodies of water such as lakes, bays, and coastal estuaries, The Old Town Predator 13 fishing kayak is a sit-on-top kayak designed with anglers in mind.

It features Old Town’s highly ergonomic Element Seating System with three different positions for paddling, standing and, fishing and, the slip resistant Eco-Ridge Deck combined with a stand-assist strap make standing up to fish a simple mater.

In addition, it also features an adjustable Support Track foot brace system to accommodate paddlers of differing heights and self-draining scupper holes for a dry ride. In addition, it has a center console with a Mod Pod Cover and dual rod tip holders in the bow along with side mounted rod holders and retainer bungees in the cockpit to keep your rods handy but out of the way when not in use.

Plus, it has both a molded paddle rest and a side-mounted paddle storage system to park your paddle while fishing.

Last, it has a large bow hatch with a Click Seal Cover and an Eco Ridge Tank Well in the stern for carrying a cooler or live bait well as well as any other gear you might need.

Things we like:

  • Ergonomic seating system
  • Easy to stand up
  • Adjustable foot brace system

Specifications

Length 13ft 2in
Width 32.5in
No. of persons 1
Weight 86lbs
Max capacity 400-425lbs
Colours black cherry, camo, urban camo, lime camo

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 160 Fishing Kayak

One of the longest, slimmest, sit-on-top fishing kayaks on the market, what the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 160 fishing kayak lacks in initial stability, it more than makes up for in speed!

It is an excellent choice for kayak anglers who prefer a sit-on-top kayak design but, who also have a need for an extra-fast kayak for traveling over long distances to their favourite fishing hole.

Also, it features Wilderness Systems super comfortable Phase 3 adjustable kayak seat for all day comfort combined with a pair of SlideTrax adjustable foot braces which enable it to accommodate a wide range of paddlers from small to tall and, the bilge features self-bailing scupper holes for a dry ride.​

It also includes a large Orbix hatch in the bow for plenty of dry storage space as well as a 6 inch day hatch in the cockpit for storing smaller items and, it has a large tank well in the stern for those anglers who like to bring a cooler along for the day.

Furthermore, it includes SlideTrax accessory rails for mounting fish finders and rod holders and, paddle park holders are moulded into the gunwale on either side to keep your paddle out of the way when fishing.

Things we like:

  • Fast!
  • Self-bailing scupper holes
  • Comfortable seating
  • Adjustable foot brace
  • Good storage

Specifications

Length 16ft 3in
Width 28in
No. of persons 1
Weight 72lbs
Max capacity 375lbs
Colours red, mango, midnight blue

Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 Fishing Kayak

The Wilderness Systems Pungo line of kayaks is the industry’s highest rated sit-inside recreational kayak line and thus, the Pungo 120 makes an excellent fishing kayak for those anglers who are in need of a highly manoeuvrable fishing kayak.

Featuring a multi-chine hull design for a high degree of initial stability combined with an integral keel and skeg for superior tracking, the Pungo 120 does an excellent job of providing the initial stability needed for fishing while the 12 ft. length makes it highly manoeuvrable.


It also features Wilderness Systems’ Phase 3 kayak seat which is not only designed for all day paddling, both the back support and the leg support are height adjustable so that the paddler can adjust them to fit their stature.

Plus, it also features SlideLock XL adjustable foot braces which enable it to fit a wide range of paddlers from small to large.

Furthermore, although the Pungo 120 is a sit-inside kayak design, it features a very spacious open cockpit that it very easy to reenter in the event of a capsize and also provides plenty of room for standing.

It also features an easily removable cockpit console with a dry storage compartment for holding small items such as cell phones as well as drink holder and, a bulkhead in the stern combined with an Obix hatch provides easy access to the spacious stern hold for dry storage of large items.

Things we like:

  • Highly manoeuvrable
  • Very stable
  • Feature-rich seating system
  • Removable cockpit console
  • Good storage

Specifications

Length 12ft
Width 29in
No. of persons 1
Weight 49lbs
Max capacity 325lbs
Colours midnight, mango, galaxy, borealis green

Wilderness Systems Pungo 140 Fishing Kayak

The Wilderness Systems Pungo line of kayaks is the industry’s highest rated sit-inside recreational kayak line and thus, the Pungo 140 is also an excellent fishing kayak for those anglers who have a need of a faster kayak for paddling over longer distances to reach their favourite fishing holes.

Featuring a multi-chine hull design for a high degree of initial stability combined with an integral keel and skeg for superior tracking, the Pungo 140 does an excellent job of providing the initial stability needed for fishing while the 14 ft. length provides a good compromise between speed and manoeuvrability.

It also features Wilderness Systems’ Phase 3 kayak seat which is not only designed for all day paddling, both the back support and the leg support are height adjustable so that the paddler can adjust them to fit their stature.

Plus, it also features SlideLock XL adjustable foot braces which enable it to fit a wide range of paddlers from small to large.

Although the Pungo 140 is a sit-inside kayak design, it features a very spacious open cockpit that it very easy to reenter in the event of a capsize and also provides plenty of room for standing.

Plus, it also features an easily removable cockpit console with a dry storage compartment for holding small items such as cell phones as well as drink holder in addition to a bulkhead in the stern combined with an large Orbix hatch which provides access to the spacious stern hold for dry storage of large items.

Things we like:

  • Fast and manoeuvrable
  • Good back support
  • Adjustable foot brace
  • Removable cockpit console

Specifications

Length 14ft
Width 28in
No. of persons 1
Weight 58lbs
Max capacity 350lbs
Colours midnight, mango, galaxy, borealis green

What are the different types of fishing kayaks?

Fishing kayaks are available in two different types,

  • Sit-on-top designs
  • Sit-inside designs

Which kayak should I buy for fishing?

Sit-on-top kayaks are by far the most popular among kayak fishermen. Also, it should be noted that they are available in a wide range of prices with a wide range of fishing specific features such as rod holders, rod storage compartments, electronics consoles, and mounting rails. Thus, regardless of whether you are looking for a basic model to customize to your liking using readily available aftermarket fittings or, one already outfitted with all of the bells and whistles, there is a kayak manufacturer that makes the perfect fishing kayak for you!

What to look for when buying a fishing kayak?

When contemplating the purchase of a fishing kayak, there are several aspects and features that you should carefully consider:

Kayak Stability

The first thing you need to decide is whether you prefer a sit-on-top design or a sit-inside design. Of course, the reason that this is important is that with a sit-on-top design, you are positioned well above the water’s surface, whereas, with a sit-inside design you are positioned slightly below the water’s surface and this aspect of kayak design either positively or negatively affects the kayak’s initial stability.

This is defined as how stable a kayak is when the paddler is sitting upright in the kayak’s cockpit.

Consequently, provided that the width of the hull is equal, sit-on-top kayaks generally have less initial stability than sit-inside kayaks do but, this can be compensated for by increasing the width (aka “beam”) of the kayak.

Exposure

In addition, you should also be aware that sit-on-top kayaks have open cockpits which leave the paddler completely exposed to the elements whereas, sit-inside kayaks have enclosed cockpits that provide the paddler with at least some protection from the elements. Yet, even though sit-on-top kayaks do leave the paddler completely exposed to the elements, they are also significantly easier to reenter in the event of a capsize due to their open cockpits.

Furthermore, sit-on-top kayaks generally have scupper holes in their bilges which allows water to drain out of the kayak after a capsize whereas, sit-inside kayaks have to be either pumped or sponged to remove the water that is contained inside of them after a capsize. Consequently, the vast majority of kayak fishermen prefer sit-on-top kayak designs over sit-inside kayak designs.

Speed & Manoeuvrability

You should also be aware that the wider a kayak’s hull is, the greater its initial stability will be but, the slower it will be and thus, the more effort it will require to paddle it. On the other hand, the more narrow a kayak’s hull is, the less initial stability it will have but, the faster it will be and thus, the less effort it will require to paddle it.

However, due to their higher center of gravity, most sit-on-top kayaks feature relatively wide beams and thus, most sit-on-top kayaks are significantly slower than most sit-inside kayaks are. Therefore, as a general rule, sit-inside fishing kayaks are often a better choice for paddling over long distances than sit-on-top fishing kayaks are.

But, there again, it should also be noted that the wider a kayak’s hull is, the less secondary stability it will have which defined as the amount of stability a kayak has when the paddler leans the kayak on its side and this aspect of kayak design is important to paddlers who commonly fish on the open ocean where they have to deal with both swells and waves.

Therefore, even though most kayak fishermen prefer sit-on-top kayak designs even when fishing on the sea, the fact is that sit-inside kayak designs not only provide the paddler with better protection from the Sun, wind, and spray, they also have greater secondary stability in rough water due to their lower center of gravity and thus, they are less likely to capsize. But, due to their enclosed cockpits, they are more difficult to reenter in the event of a capsize.

Furthermore, the longer a kayak’s hull is, the faster it will be but, the less manoeuvrable it will be. Whereas, the shorter a kayak’s hull is, the slower it will be but, the more manoeuvrable it will be. Then, to muddy the waters even further, when a kayak is viewed from its side while resting on a hard, flat, surface, the amount of curvature the hull has is called its degree of rocker.

Thus, while a kayak hull with a high degree of rocker will be both very fast and very manoeuvrable, it will not track very well without a skeg or rudder. Thus, a kayak hull with a low degree of rocker will be both slower and less manoeuvrable but, it will also track much better and thus, it can be paddled without a skeg or rudder.

Features & Benefits

Then, there is the issue of features versus cost. For instance, if you plan on spending all day in your kayak, an extra comfortable seat and adjustable foot braces become necessary features and a hull design with a bilge that is specifically designed to enable the angler to stand up in the kayak as well as a stand-assist strap and an electronics console are also very handy features that are well worth investing in if you are a serious fisherman.

Plus, such features as rod holders, rod racks, rod storage compartments, compartments to hold tackle boxes, a cooler, a live bait well, and a place to park your paddle are all features to look for when choosing a fishing kayak.

Last, another feature that many kayak fishermen consider to be a must have item is a device called an “anchor trolley” which enables the fisherman to deploy an anchor on either side of the kayak and then use the trolley to position the anchor line at any point along the gunwale so that the kayak can be positioned either facing into or away from the direction of the current or the wind.

Last but not least, there is the issue of weight. Of course, the reason that this factor should be considered when choosing a fishing kayak is that fishing kayaks are commonly transported on a rack mounted on top of the paddler’s vehicle and thus, an excessively heavy kayak can make getting the kayak up onto the rack and then down again a serious issue.

In addition, it can also adversely affect the paddler’s ability to transport the kayak to and from the shoreline. Therefore, most kayak fishermen prefer to choose a kayak with as little weight as possible.

So, as you can see, there are many different design aspects to consider when contemplating the purchase of a fishing kayak. However, carefully considering each aspect will ensure that you choose the best possible model for your intended purpose which will, in turn, provide you with the greatest amount of pleasure for the amount of money you spend.

Conclusion

So, when choosing a fishing kayak, you need to keep in mind the various aspects of hull design such as speed versus manoeuvrability versus initial stability as well as the kayak’s overall weight since all of these aspects will either positively or negatively affect your satisfaction with your choice. In addition, the design of the cockpit will affect its ergonomics and the design of the seat will drastically affect your long term comfort.

It is extremely important that you choose a kayak that has a cockpit that is designed in such a way that you can add any accessories that you need as well as one with a seat that will provide you with all day comfort.

Last, because many anglers like to stand up in their kayaks when fishing, choosing a kayak with a large cockpit and plenty of foot room is also an aspect that should be considered along with the kayak’s overall weight. Consequently, the seven kayaks listed above were all carefully chosen with each of these aspects in mind and thus, you will likely find that any of them will nicely meet your needs as kayak fisherman.