Best Fishing Kayak
Are you interested in getting into the fishing hobby and are looking for ways you can start heading out on waters? Or are you a kayak fishing veteran looking to improve your gear? Perhaps you’re a shore-bound fisherman who is looking for an exciting way to head out in the water.
There’s always something in kayak fishing for anyone interested, be it fishing and relaxing in small ponds or out in the big open oceans or perhaps both. There are multiple options of fishing kayaks with features built specifically for every type of fisherman. For those budget-conscious fishermen, you can even find bang for the buck and best fishing kayak under $1000.
However, when it comes to fishing kayaks, there are no one-size-fits-all, but fortunately, with all the options around, you are bound to find the right fishing kayak that will suit your fishing needs on the water.
Product Reviews for the Best Fishing Kayak 2020
With all the fishing kayaks available in the market, it’s can be difficult to pinpoint which one is the best one or the one that’s worth the money. It is for this very reason that buyers will need all the help they can to know which one is the most suitable. At the same time, they should also know the details of the choices that they have so that they’ll be able to make a more intelligent decision. Here, we will narrow down your options and later on talk about how to choose the best fishing kayak for you.
|Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Kayak||Dark Green||1||56.5 lbs||120x31x14.1 in|
|Intex Explorer K2 Kayak||Yellow||2||35 lbs||123x36x20 in|
|SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Bali SS Kayak||Blue||1||44 lbs||120x30x11 in|
|Sea Eagle 330 Pro Inflatable Sport Kayak||White||2||47 lbs||34x19x10 in|
|Sun Dolphin Excursion Fishing Kayak||Olive Green||1||41 lbs||120×30 x13 in|
This is definitely one of the most robust fishing kayaks that you can find in the market. First of all, it is made out of materials that can stand the test of time. To be specific, it is made out of UV protected high-density polyethylene material, making it resistant to UV rays and punctures.
Aside from its robustness and durability, it also has a very wide built making it one of the most comfortable fishing kayaks on this list. It is so spacious that it comes with multiple footrests, so you can experience total comfort. Finally, it has adjustable padded seats for your back and the seating area along with two mounted fishing rod holders so that you don’t need to keep on holding the rod while you fish.
While the Lifetime Tamarack Kayak is known to be one of the most comfortable kayaks on this list, the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is one of the most comfortable ones for two people. Just like the one that we’ve mentioned above, this one also contains an adjustable backrest and very wide dimensions. It can also hold two people up to 200 pounds each. So in total, it can hold up to 400 pounds. So, if you weigh less than 200 pounds, then you can carry a lot of extra stuff like drinks or food.
You may also want to take note of its bright yellow color. There’s actually a reason as to why it has that kind of color. It ensures that other kayakers or boaters can see you at night in the event that you get lost or find yourself in an emergency situation. Finally, it’s really easy to steer because it comes with a removable skeg. So, if you want to switch directions, you won’t have any trouble at all.
If you happen to be looking for a kayak that has extra space to put in a lot of stuff, then you can try getting this one. The SUNDOLPHIN Bali SS Kayak comes with what we call a P.A.C. or a Portable Accessory Carrier which is an extra compartment where you can put your extra stuff in. It also comes with a dry storage compartment and an open cockpit making it easy for you to keep your stuff.
Of course, this kind of space means that the kayak is really spacious. It has a very large seating area that comes with thigh pads, foot braces, and a paddle holder. So aside from having a great storage space, it’s also really comfy to be in.
The robustness and strength of this sport kayak allows it to be able to carry a weight of 500 pounds in total. So, if you and a friend weigh up to 250 pounds or if you have a lot of stuff to carry, this one is perfect for you. It’s a great kayak for Class III whitewater and can even take riding on rough waves. We probably wouldn’t say that this is an ideal fishing kayak as it is more targeted toward those who want to do kayaking as a sport, but it’s very durable and good for duo fishing trips.
In fact, we’d probably say that it’s the ideal kayak you can buy if you intend to use it for two persons. It has 2 skegs so that both of you can skeg and track more comfortably. It also has 4 part paddles with a hard aluminum shaft and a balanced blade.
The cool thing about this fishing kayak is that it is lightweight and very easy to bring around. At the same, it is rugged and used for rougher terrain. It is also great for summer fishing trips because it is made out of UV stabilized Fortiflex high-density polyethylene, making it able to take harsh sun rays. The hard plastic material that it’s made out of also makes it have a pretty long shelf life and high durability. So, even if it is a very light fishing kayak, it’s not a weak one. It’s compact and strong at the same time.
Now, another cool thing about it is that it comes with two-rod holders– one swivel rod holder and two flush mount rod holders. This gives you more options on how you want your rod to be kept in place.
Buying Guide The Characteristics of a Fishing Kayak
Buying a fishing kayak is quite similar to buying a car or a boat, you will spend the most time weighing the pros of cons of different models, deciding what the must-have features are and what to compromise on. Although fishing kayaks can be used for various types of activities, no one kayak will be the best at every activity.
Kayaks have been long used for fishing and hunting by the Eskimos, the native people of the Arctic region, and Native Americans. Before you even think about buying your first or next brand new fishing kayak, it is crucial to know and understand the different essential characteristics of a fishing kayak and how they function. Here some information on fishing kayaks that you need to know:
Sit-on-top Kayaks (SOT)
Sit-on-top kayaks are the most popular and frequent among kayak fishers, especially during saltwater fishing trips. SOT fishing kayaks are very safe as they can be rolled over without water filling it. These type of kayaks also give the fisherman more room to move around and offers more stability when dealing with a stubborn fish.
Sit-inside Kayaks (SIK)
Sit-inside kayaks are the less common alternative type of fishing kayak. It offers a much drier-ride than the sit-on-top types and is more preferable in moving waters and more lightweight than its counterpart. This can be an advantage in situations that may need lightweight crafts. SIK kayaks are also most often cheaper than their SOT counterpart.
Inflatable kayaks are easy small, easy to pack and perfect for people who have small storage spaces available. Although they are very easy to transport, they are not the most stable in waters. Some high-end models are stable enough to stand up on but most are not.
Inflatable kayaks are not the most rigid so be aware where you are launching from and landing towards. If you’re looking for speed, inflatables may not be for you as they are generally slower than the traditional hard shell kayaks.
Advantages of Sit-on-top Kayaks
Sit-on-top Kayaks are preferred by kayak fishers for a good and simple reason. They are more fishing-friendly than the sit-inside kayaks are. Here are some of the pros SOT kayaks have compared to SIK and Inflatable types.
- Getting in and out of a sit-on-top kayak is a lot more convenient than the sit-inside kayak type. This can be advantageous in several instances, such as if you happen to fall out the kayak and when launching your kayak onto the water.
- Sit-on-top kayaks are flood-proof because they are self-bailing, this means that any water that happens to get in goes straight back out. Meanwhile, sit-inside kayaks don’t have ways for waters to get out once it gets in
- Highly customizable with different types of accessories and has a lot of seating options to ensure you’re as comfortable as possible.
- You sit higher and thus have a better view of the waters, and you can easily stand up without falling over.
Even though sit-on-top kayaks are a better choice for kayak fishing, the sit-inside kayaks also have its pluses. They are way cheaper than SOT kayaks and are still quite dependable out in the waters.
Another essential factor to consider when buying a fishing kayak is its propulsion method. Paddle power is what most of the basic kayaks use as its method. But new and upcoming kayaks lines have pedals as an option to power them now.
Leg-powered kayaks are becoming a standard among anglers as it frees up the hands for fishing and convenience. Electric-motor-powered fishing kayaks are also becoming increasingly more popular these days.
Pick what propulsion method you prefer based on your budget and needs. But new technology comes with advantages and disadvantages to consider, here are some for the pedal-drive kayaks.
Advantages of Pedal-Drive Kayaks
- Frees up the hands, except when using the rudder with one hand for turning.
- It is capable of going forward and reverses, which is very useful when fishing in moving current and especially when fighting a large fish.
- You can cover a lot more water and distance quickly and conveniently.
- It provides a more comfortable experience for people with arm or back issues compared to using paddles.
Selecting the Best Kayak Paddle for You
Even if you’re planning to get a pedal-driven fishing kayak it is always strongly encouraged to bring spare high-quality and durable paddles just in case the pedal-drive mechanism malfunctions. Having spare paddles can save you from being stranded out in the water. Choosing the right paddle can be quite difficult due to a tremendous amount of options available. Just remember that two of the biggest factors to consider when buying a kayak paddle is its length and weight.
- If the paddle is too heavy, you won’t be able to paddle as long as you want without getting tired and sore very easily.
- Using a heavy kayak will not only tire you out fast but can also cause bodily injury.
- If the paddle is too short, you will be trying to reach out further to put the paddle blade into the water and may hit your knuckles on the kayak very often thus making it an uncomfortable experience.
- If the paddle is too long you will find yourself going into a zig-zag motion as you paddle.
Lightweight fiberglass kayak paddles usually go for around $60 to $100. There are also paddles made with kayak paddles made with carbon fiber material and will carry a hefty price tag of around $200 to $500. You may not need to buy yourself a $500 paddle but going super cheap on your paddles is not the best idea.
Having a cheap kayak paddle can be a huge liability and is not worth the few bucks saved as it is your only way back home to shore in the emergency case of malfunction in the pedal mechanism of your kayak. We wouldn’t want both methods of going back to safety to malfunction on us.
Kayak paddle sizes are measured in centimeters. You will find that most of them measure around 210- 260 centimeters long. An important rule of thumb when buying a kayak paddle is that the wider the kayak, the longer the kayak paddle will need to be.
How tall you are will also go into how long a kayak paddle you should use, go for the longer paddle length if you’re on the taller side. Here is a simple chart that will show you which paddle length you should go for according to how wide your kayak is.
|Width of Kayak||Below 23 inches||23 – 28 inches||29 – 33 inches||34 inches and above|
|Length of Paddle||210 – 220 cm||220 cm – 230 cm||230 cm – 250 cm||240 cm – 260 cm|
The chart above will help you estimate the length of the paddle needed for the type of kayak you are planning to use. Here are some of the best kayak paddles of you can currently find on the market to help you choose out of the large selection.
1. The Bending Branches Angler Classic – $139
The paddle’s shaft is reinforced with durable fiberglass material. This paddle also features a hook on the right paddle to quickly grab any untangled line and a conveniently placed tape measure that runs in the middle of its paddle for quick and easy measurements for any catches. Manufactured with a sleek design in mind, this paddle will glide across the water with ease.
Length: 220 cm – 260 cm
Weight: 34 ounces
2. The Backwater Assassin Carbon Fiber Hybrid Paddle – $249
The Backwater Assassin sports a gnarly and aggressive design with its hook and serrated edge. This design decision isn’t for style points only but is also for functionality. It’s hook and teeth design allows it to wade through any water effortlessly.
Length: 230 cm – 240 cm & 250 cm – 260 cm
Weight: 38 ounces – 42 ounces
3. The Carlisle Predator Fiberglass Angler Paddle – $77 – $38
Highly durable and eye-catching in design, the Carlisle Predator is constructed with a fiberglass shaft. Its blades are made of glass-reinforced polypropylene, very lightweight and super durable. It comes with two variations of urban camo design to help it pop out among other paddles.
Length: 220 cm – 250 cm
Weight: 39.8 ounces
Accessories and Gear for Kayak Fishing
A good angler is not without his trusted gears and accessories to help him catch all the different types of fish. There are hundreds if not thousands of various accessories and gear you can outfit your fishing kayak with. Some anglers may have multiple rod holders around their kayaks, cool fancy lights, etc. but having too much can be a distraction and may detract from the tranquil experience of kayak fishing.
Simple and effective is the best way to go when it comes to acquiring the gear you need to have a productive day out on the waters. Here are some accessories that will help you fish effectively while not distracting you from the experience.
- Rod Holders – having rod holders mounted in front and at your back will help boost your productivity by a lot. You will have your rod in a very easy to access location when you have a rod holder mounted in front of you and will make it easier to de-hook fishes and tie knots when you have two hands-free. A lot of good quality fishing kayaks will have rod holders already mounted at the back if there aren’t any you can easily mount your own.
- Essential tools – Scissors, pliers, fish grips and a landing net; these tools are essential for any angler to have a less stressful and successful day fishing out on the waters.
- Anchor Trolley – an anchor trolley will help you conveniently change your position when anchored by simply pulling a rope. This can be super useful especially when fishing while experiencing high winds or on rapid currents.
- Anchor Pin – combine this with your anchor trolley and you’ll have a cool and effective anchoring system for your kayak. An anchor pin is one of the most effective ways you can anchor when fishing inshore on waters less than 5 feet deep.
Installing accessories on your kayak is quite easy to do by yourself. Just take note of the tips listed below to when installing them to avoid unwanted damage done to your kayak.
- Install rode holders on a flat surface – installing them on a flat even surface will reduce the risk of them leaning forward which can lead to cracks in your kayak’s hull. The holes made when screwing down the rod holders might also widen allowing water inside your kayak.
- Use Stainless Steel Hardware – spending entire days out on salty waters will decimate screws, bolts, and nuts that aren’t stainless steel. Using stainless steel will save you precious time and money from having to replace every rusted hardware due to saltwater corrosion.
- Use Marine Grade Silicone Sealants – you will inevitably be punching holes in your kayak to fit in screws and bolts when installing additional accessories. Using marine grade silicone sealants will give extra needed adhesion to your equipment and greatly reduce the risks of excess water entering the hull of your kayak.
Other Important Factors
Alongside the ones listed above, these important factors need to be considered when purchasing a fishing kayak.
- Length– the longer the kayak is, the faster it will move and cover more distances in a straight direction. However, you will lose maneuverability in tight spots and may have difficulty transporting the kayak on land.
- Width– Wider kayak will offer a lot more stability and can carry more capacity but can also affect speed negatively.
- Weight– consider the capacity of what you can carry when choosing your kayak. Heavier kayaks may need a cart to transport from your land vehicle to the water.
- Storage– consider how much stuff you will take on you aboard the kayak—spare clothes, extra live-bait, fishing gear, etc.
- Seat – you don’t need an expensive kayak to have a comfortable seat. Kayaks on the mid to cheap price range have basic removable seats or are molded-in. Most of the kayaks today feature adjustable seats with great back support for maximum comfort.
Below is a list of some of the best fishing kayaks out in the market today.
The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 360 Series 12/14
One of the high-end kayaks available out there, the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler is packed with different great features such as pre-installed rod holders for convenience. True to its name, the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler will let you move and spin in any direction effortlessly. It features Hobie’s Kick-Up fins that immediately retract when it impacts surfaces, a great feature to have when navigating shallow waters.
- Length: 12’/13’8’’
- Width: 36’’/38’’
- Weight: 132.5 lbs./148.5 lbs.
- Capacity: 500 / 600 lbs.
The Old Town Sportsman PDL 106/120
The Old Town sportsman offers stability and maneuverability like no other. It features hands-free fishing for maximum convenience and an easy to use, a reliable pedal drive that can instantly go forward and reverse. Easily one of if not the best pedal-driven kayak out on the market today.
- Length: 10’6”/12’
- Width: 36”/36”
- Weight: 94 lbs./106 lbs.
- Capacity: 450 lbs./500 lbs.
The Bonafide EX123
A great and dependable kayak, the Bonafide EX123 is nicknamed the “SUV of kayaks”. It features a sit-inside design. Lightweight, durable, and comfortable the Bonafide is great for quick fishing trips or a whole weekend expedition.
- Length: 12’3”
- Width: 29.5”
- Weight: 67 lbs.
- Capacity: 375 lbs.
Kayak fishing is definitely becoming more and more popular amongst the saltwater and freshwater fishing community. This is due to its numerous advantages compared to traditional boat fishing. Here are some of those advantages.
Compared to a boat fishing kayaks are:
- Much more affordable and friendly to your wallets
- Easier to transport
- Can be launched pretty much anywhere near a body of water
- Can go to shallow waters with ease
- No gas needed only muscle and energy
- Little to no maintenance
- Can sneak up on fish due to being very quiet
Kayak fishing is becoming more and more popular among anglers across the world. They are generally better than boats, as they’re more affordable and easier to transport. Always try the kayak before finalizing your purchase to see if it’s the best fishing kayak for you. Most kayak retailers will let you rent or borrow the kayaks to test them out.
And now that you know the 5 best fishing kayaks in the market are, all you need to do is just study their advantages and disadvantages as well as features and then decide based on that. As a kayaker and as an angler, you need to make sure that you are comfortable with the fishing kayak that you buy; otherwise, you won’t have enough confidence to fully utilize its features. You will also need a good one that allows you to balance yourself while you look for fish and ride on the water. That is why you need to take a look at both the pros and cons and tailor fit them to what you’re looking for in a fishing kayak. This ultimate guide will help you do just that.
With all that said, we hope that you enjoyed this little guide and that you’ll find the best fishing kayak for your own needs and preferences.
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