best fishing kayaks

Best Fishing Kayaks: Buyers Guide Comparison Review in 2018

best fishing kayaks

There are tons of reasons why anglers prefer boat fishing over catching fish at the shore. Whether it’s because it’s an effective way to score big fish or whether they look at boat fishing as a way to explore other fishing spots, there is a large group of anglers who swear by boat fishing.

This preference brings into question what the best way to undertake fishing on the water is? When it comes down to canoes, kayaks, sailboats, and motorboats, my pick will always be the kayak, and it is not for naught. They come with features such as no maintenance costs, stealth, stability and lots of storage space.

With all these advantages, it is no wonder that so many anglers have been angling to get a great kayak to save on costs and delve deeper into the murky waters. However, in your quest to find a kayak, you must take great caution and know what to look for; else you will end up spending lots of money on an investment with minimal returns.

In this buyers guide, I will guide you on the different kayaks available in the market, what to look for in a kayak, as well as the best fishing kayaks available in 2018.

Types of fishing kayaks

Let’s look at the different types of kayaks in the market first so that you can get a feel of what you stand to gain. Over time, manufacturers have put in efforts to design kayaks for various fishing needs and have gone ahead to come up with kayaks that come with added accessories. It is quite standard to find a kayak with coolers, hatches, GPS receivers, rod holders and all sorts of modern necessities, thus making the kayak an ideal choice for fishing in deep waters.

The most significant improvement to kayaks in the years has been the use of wider beams which allow anglers to stand on the kayak, thanks to the increased stability. I will take you through the five most common types of fishing kayaks and what makes them stand out.

Sit on top fishing kayaks.

Rather than having a seat mounted inside the hull, these kinds of kayaks have their positions atop the shell, thus distinguishing them from other kayaks on the market. The top of the hull is made stable with adequate drain holes to allow water to flow from the top of the kayak.

Most people think that these kayaks are best suited for those anglers experienced in deep water fishing. However, this is not the case, and inexperienced anglers are better off starting with the sit on top kayaks. It helps you master the techniques needed to keep the kayak from rolling.

You can divide the deck into different compartments to allow you to carry a lot of fishing gear. When stationary, this kayak is very stable, allowing you to catch as much fish as you wish. You can read our review of the best sit on top kayak for fishing.

Tandem fishing kayaks

Anglers often refer to these boats as double kayaks as they come with both sit in and sit on features. They also come with overlapping foot wells which enable up to two anglers to use the boat at the same time. When compared to sit on kayaks, these are much heavier and much more stable.

The thing makes these kayaks ideal is that they allow you to fish alongside someone if you do not fancy the idea of going fishing on your own. You can also use these boats as a way to learn from an experienced angler by sitting at the back and watching them handle the kayak.

On days where you go fishing solo, you can sit on the back seat for stability. 

Bass fishing kayaks

These boats are your typical kayaks designed to give you an awesome bass fishing experience. They come in a narrow design as they are designed for fast moving water, allowing you to move fast across rapid waters.

You also get to move fast because of their long length which enables you to cut across waters efficiently. When shopping for a bass fishing kayak, be sure to select one that is narrow enough to fit through small spaces, yet one that offers you sufficient stability when standing.

Storage is of the essence when choosing a bass fishing kayak as you will need lots of it. In this case, a sit-on kayak gets preferred.

Fly fishing kayaks

When choosing a kayak of this type, you will have a selection of sit-in, tandem, and sit-on and they all come with an array of benefits. Make sure that the boat you choose is suitable for fly fishing.

Most anglers prefer sit-on kayaks for this kind of fishing because a lot of paddling is involved in the process. If you topple over during the process, it is much easier to get back in position when using a sit-on kayak as opposed to other kayaks.

Sit-on kayaks also drain water from the top, thus making them comfortable.

Inflatable fishing kayaks

Inflatable fishing kayaks are no longer looked at as pool toys, thanks to the many improvements made to them over the years. Nowadays, you can get inflatable for every activity on water ranging from specialized fishing boats all the way to family fun boats.

These boats come made of high-quality construction materials, and they rival their competitors when it comes to performance. Worry not about scratches as they are resistant to such impacts, and when well taken care of, they can last decades.

The sides come insulated to give you adequate comfort while out on the water. These boats are much more affordable and portable when compared to other kayaks. They are also easy to maintain. 

You can have your pick of open water fishing kayaks, moving water kayaks and versatile kayaks, depending on the waters in which you wish to fish. 

Another alternative to inflatable fishing kayaks is inflatable boats. Inflatable fishing boats provide more room and wider stability compared to inflatable kayaks. You can read our review of some of the best inflatable fishing boats in the market.

BEST FISHING KAYAKS

Having established that your choice of kayak depends on the waters, you fish in as well as capacity, let’s get down to the best fishing kayaks on the market today. 

Top picks

In this best five list, I will feature different kinds of kayaks suited for various needs. They excel in capabilities, pricing, and durability. Take a look.

Lifetime 10 Foot, Two Person Tandem Fishing Kayak with Paddles

best fishing kayaksThis kayak weighs sixty lbs and measures ten feet. You will love its balanced seating which allows the boat to accommodate as many as three people, making it ideal for family trips. Given that it is a sit-on kayak, you can look forward to a dry seating space set high to give you a good view of the water.

The stability of this kayak is so high that you can comfortably paddle side by side or even stand as the kayak moves across the water. Accessories that come with this boat include: carry handles, various footrest positions, two padded backrests, scupper holes, an optional accessory mount, pole holders and a paddle cradle.

Features that you will love about this boat include its ample space, the watertight compartment, and the range of accessories, high stability, and reasonable pricing. For anglers in the market for a durable fishing kayak with adequate space for gear, family, and friends, this is the best fishing kayak for you.  Read our reviews of the best tandem fishing kayaks

 

Sun Dolphin Excursion 10-Foot Sit-in Fishing Kayak

Best Excursion Fishing KayaksThis ten-foot fishing kayak is available in an extensive range of colors and is loved by anglers for its reliable stability.

It comes with advantages such as a durable high-density polyethylene hull, a padded and adjustable seat, adjustable foot braces, lots of storage space, carry handles and a drink holder.

Premium features include ease of tracking and maneuvering, portability and durability.

 

Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Vapor 10 Recreational Kayak

best kayak for fishingThough considerably new in the market, this fishing kayak has made a name for itself with its impressive capabilities, thus making it one of the best fishing kayaks in the industry. It can carry lots of gear while maintaining its stability and stealth, allowing you to catch as many fish as you wish.

It comes with a large cockpit with a padded adjustable seat; a flexible foot-brace system, carry holders for stability and rod holders. With a load capacity of up to 325 lbs, you are set to have a fantastic fishing adventure. If you are looking for the best fishing kayak for slow-moving water, this is it.

You can look forward to enjoying its impressive features such as portability, padded seating, high-quality polyethylene build, and ample storage capacity.

 

Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 9-foot Angler Sit On Top Fishing Kayak with Paddle and Deluxe Kayak Seat

fishing kayak review

This fantastic kayak comes in blue, hunter and sea breeze hues and is suitable for use by one angler. It measures nine feet and weighs a good forty-six pounds. It comes in a compact design, thus offering high stability and ease of portability.

Key features in this kayak include 4-rod holders, mounting points, two paddle parks, various storage spaces and four grip handles for transport.

Given that it comes to you fully rigged, you need not spend more money on it. It is no wonder that it gets rated amongst the best-rated fishing kayaks for 2018.

 

Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak

best fishing kayaks for the moneyIf you are looking for the best fishing kayaks for under 400 dollars, you will hit the jackpot with this one.  This kayak, designed for use on slow-moving water such as lakes, comes equipped with tons of features such as PVC construction, multiple air chambers, motor fittings, paddle holders, storage pockets, adjustable padded seats, D-rings and a pressure gauge.

It’s excellent for use in quiet waters as you can creep on fish. You can also explore waters as the kayak is very stable and comes with a double layer for protection. With this boat, you get assured of great value.  Here is our review of the best inflatable fishing kayaks in the market. 

 

 

Next five picks

These next fishing kayaks also have lots of features to offer you at reasonable prices. Have a look below:

 

BKC UH-RA220 11-Foot 6-inch Angler Sit On Top Fishing Kayak

  • Equipped with 3 Rod Holders, 2 Flush-Mount Rod Holders, and 1 Adjustable Rod Holder
  • Allow you stand up in the kayak for long casts without falling overboard because of its built-in stability
  • Features storage space, bungee paddle rest, and an elastic tie-down cargo area that allows for safe transport of large items
  • Built-in side handles for carrying the kayak over land

Driftsun Teton 90 Hard Shell Recreational Kayak 

best recreational fishing kayak

  • Perfect for fishing or other lakeside adventures
  • Hull is a rugged UV resistant polyethylene
  • Built-in 4 capped flush mount rod holders 
  • Contains 4 fixed carry handles for easy transportation overland
  • 2 paddle parks holders to hold paddles in place when not in use

BKC UH-TK181 12.5 foot Sit On Top Tandem Fishing Kayak 

best rated fishing kayaks

  • Features 3 fishing rod holders and 4 flush-mounted rod holders
  • Contains waterproof storage compartment for wallet, keys, food
  • Features two secure paddle rests that  free up your hands without losing your paddles in the water
  • Multiple handles for easy carry overland transport 

 

Sun Dolphin Journey 10-Foot Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak

best sun dolphin fishing kayak

  • Great for lakes and rivers 
  • Lightweight
  • Tracks well and paddles with ease
  • Built-in portable accessory carrier
  • Two flush mounts and one swivel fishing rod holders

 

Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak

Top fishing kayaks

  • Made of UV-protected high-density Polyethylene
  • Contains multiple footrest positions for varying rider size
  • Adjustable padded seat back and seat
  • 2 mounted fishing rod holders. 
  • Rear and center storage compartments.
  • Front and back t-handles for easy transport.
  • Deep hull tracking channels 

 

 

 

What you need to consider before buying your fishing kayak 

Some factors come into play to get the best fishing kayaks for the money. With all the options available to you, it is quite easy to get confused when it comes to selection, and I believe that the following guidelines will push you in the right direction.

Length

The length of a kayak determines its performance on the water. As such, short kayaks that measure less than eleven feet are suitable for shallow water bodies as they are easy to maneuver. Longboats of more than twelve feet are best suited for fast waters as they are speedy. You should also consider your weight and height such that if you are 6.5 ft and above or weigh more than 290 pounds, you should go for large models.

Stability

If you plan to stand on the boat or if you weigh a lot, go for a kayak with a wide model. However, if you are looking for a kayak that is easy to maneuver, go for a narrow one. Though the latter can easily topple if you stand, it’s best for cruising waters at a fast rate.

Storage

The bigger the storage space, the easier it will be for you to increase your catch and gear over time. If you opt for one with small storage space, you will be back in the shop in no time to get a bigger boat.

Portability

How far are you from the water and how often will you go fishing? If you fish frequently and live far away from the water body, get a kayak that is easy to carry and one that is light. However, if you are moving from truck to water, you can load up as much gear as you wish.

Having considered the various kayaks available to you as well as considerations to make in selecting one suitable for your fishing needs, you are set to go shopping for a boat. I hope that this fishing kayak review will enable you to get a kayak that will serve your needs for decades to come. Happy angling!

Listed below are additional videos to help you find the best fishing kayak:

SELECTING A FISHING KAYAK | FACTORS AND FEATURES TO CONSIDER | WATCH THIS FIRST

Top 3 Tips For Buying Your First Fishing Kayak

How to Choose a Fishing Kayak