Best Fishing Kayaks

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Boat and fishing have come a long way together. We still can’t find out whether people created boats for fishing or for transport first. So naturally as an angler, the idea of being able to kayak out further from shore to fish is very appealing. 

Or you’ve probably seen someone fishing from their kayak. Hence, you’re looking to get a kayak for yourself too. 

There are many different types of kayaks indeed. While you can use any kayak to paddle out and start fishing from it, the subpar experience might deter you from kayak fishing forever. 

So to ensure a great kayak fishing experience, we put together a simple guide to get the best kayak for fishing. Let’s start by looking at the important aspects of a fishing kayak. 

Table of Contents

5 Best Fishing Kayak

Let’s look at some of the popular choices for fishing kayaks. We’ve gone through a lot of kayaks, and ultimately narrowed down to 5 of our favourites to review. 

How To Choose The Best Fishing Kayak

 

Like many other kayaks, it’s built for a specific purpose. A fishing kayak is no different. Here are a few pointers to look out for when looking for a suitable fishing kayak for yourself. 

Sufficiently stable so it doesn’t tip over easily

Fishing kayaks are designed to be very stable. You can probably go as far as standing on the edge of the kayak without feeling wobbly. 

The kayak makers know that you need that perfect cast. And sometimes you may get a tough battle with a big fish. That’s why stability is the number 1 priority in a fishing kayak. 

There are 2 main factors that contribute to stability, which are the boat’s width and the boat’s hull design:

A kayak’s width

A wider boat is more stable than a narrow one. This is because the wider you can spread your feet, the more stable you’ll feel. Plus, there is more surface area on the water to resist tipping too. 

The hull design 

There are 2 different hull designs to look out for. A pontoon and a flat hull offer more stability than a round-shaped hull. Both of these designs can resist rocking from side to side. So, those are the 2 designs that you should be looking for.  

Rigged for fishing

If a boat is meant for fishing, ideally you’d want it to be as geared as possible for fishing. 

If it’s not well rigged for fishing, you may end up spending a lot more on after-market accessories to tune up the kayak for your fishing needs. That’s why specially made fishing kayaks tend to be rigged for fishing. 

Always ensure the critical features that you need are built in already. So that you don’t have to spend more on after-market accessories. 

Comfort for long hours of fishing

Do you normally fish for long hours? If so, then you’ll understand how important comfort is. 

Comfort comes in many forms. From something as significant as an ergonomic seat, to something simple like a paddle holder or a rod holder. Sometimes, even a clean deck design could be a great source of comfort for some people. 

That’s why fishing kayaks have a lot of features for comfort. Again, ensure the features that you need are built in already. 

Paddle, pedal or a motor

Pedal drive or a trolling motor. These are somewhat of a luxury for beginners, but seasoned kayak anglers would definitely appreciate these. 

Pedal comes in handy when you feel a pair of hands isn’t enough to juggle between paddling and fishing. And if you want to level up your game further, a trolling motor can be an amazing add-on. 

Furthermore, since fishing kayaks are designed to be stable, they tend to be slower. So, having a pedal or a trolling motor will overcome this common drawback. 

Do note that regardless of whether you intend to get a pedal or a motor, you’d still need a paddle on your boat. At least 1 for emergency, in case your pedal or motor somehow failed you while on water. 

Trust us, it’s not fun paddling with nothing but your palms to the shore.  

Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler Sit-on-Top Kayak Specs

Length: 9’6″

Width: 30″

Max Capacity: 275 lbs

Weight: 44 lbs

The Sentinel 100x Angler from Pelican is a very popular choice for fishing kayak due to its low price tag. So, it’s very appealing to those who just picked up kayak fishing. 

It fulfils a lot of checklists for a good fishing kayak. Stability, basic fishing features, ample storage on deck and plenty of options to accessorize to fit individual needs. Sadly, it doesn’t come with an accessory rail. But there is a dedicated recess for it. So you just need to buy after-market rail. 

It has adjustable footrests to cater to people of various heights. Plus, a center console with 2 cup holders and a phone holder too. The center console acts as a cover for a few molded in compartments below. You can place some items that you’d want to keep dry. But note that it’s not entirely waterproof.  

From one of our buddies who owns this kayak, he mentioned that the pilot seat is rather thinly padded. Being a large-sized dude, the padding flattens pretty quick under his weight. He did feel a little uncomfortable after fishing for 4 to 5 hours.  

Furthermore, the seat is placed on an elevated part of the deck and it’s slightly curved at the bottom. If water somehow splashes onto the seat, it’ll be trapped in the seating area. You’ll end up sitting on a puddle of water for the rest of your trip. 

Therefore, do not go on rough waters with this kayak during the cold season. You don’t want your bum to be frozen.    

Pro

  • Lightweight kayak, can be handled by 1 person
  • Has all the basic needs for fishing

Con

  • The seat’s padding is rather thin. 
  • The design of the seating area traps water easily

 

PROS

CONS

  • Lightweight kayak, can be handled by 1 person
  • Has all the basic needs for fishing

 

  • The seat’s padding is rather thin. 
  • The design of the seating area traps water easily

 

Perception Outlaw 11.5 Specs

Length: 11’6″

Width: 35″

Max Capacity: 425 lbs

Weight: 77 lbs

Named Outlaw by Perception Kayaks because it’s so good, it should be illegal. As the newest model in the Outlaw series, this Outlaw 11.5 does live up to its reputation with some new improvements on top of all the winning features from the previous model. 

Undoubtedly, this kayak is very well rigged for fishing. It has transducer scupper, solo mount recess and a pair of accessories rail that doubles as a side handle.

There really A LOT to cover if we are to highlight every feature on this highly tuned kayak. So, we will just highlight the unique part of this boat. 

What we really like about the Outlaw 11.5 is the revolutionary suspended seat design. Firstly, it’s absolutely comfortable seat. Secondly, it can be folded and stowed away anytime.  

By stowing away the seat, it gives way for a flat and wide deck that you can stand and even walk on a bit. So, the whole boat can transform into a stand-up paddle board even while on the water. 

Sitting for long hours can get uncomfortable. So, you’ll definitely appreciate being able to alternate between standing and sitting while fishing. It’s great to stretch your legs after sitting for long hours.    

There is one slight downside of this kayak and oddly, it’s also due to the seat. 

The backrest of this kayak’s seat is very wide as well. Naturally, it’s to match the wide design of the boat. But because of that, paddlers with smaller body frames tend to hit their elbow on the edge of the seat’s metal frame.  

Pro

  • Highly geared for fishing
  • The seat can be folded & stowed away while on the water
  • Can double up as a stand-up paddleboard 

Con

 

  • The seat’s backrest is too wide for comfort

PROS

CONS

  • Highly geared for fishing
  • The seat can be folded & stowed away while on the water
  • Can double up as a stand-up paddleboard

 

  • The seat’s backrest is too wide for comfort

Perception Pescador Pilot 12 Specs

Length: 12’5″

Width: 33.75″

Max Capacity: 475 lbs

Weight: 85 lbs

Perception makes truly amazing kayaks. That’s why another model from Perception Kayak made its way into our list. 

The Pescador Pilot 12 is another specialized fishing kayak. Personally, we felt that this boat is an upgrade from the Outlaw 11.5 we reviewed above. It’s truly the creme de la creme of a fishing kayak on our list today.

It’s very similar to the Outlaw 11.5 except for a truly amazing feature; the pedal drive. Pedals are heaven-sent, especially for moments when a pair of hands just ain’t enough to juggle between fishing, paddling, reeling and netting your catch.   

Perception Kayak’s pedal drive system allows you to propel your boat with minimal effort, even in reverse too. So that leaves both of your hands-free to focus on just fishing matters. 

If you’re concerned about hitting rocks in shallow waters, fret not. The pedal drive can be easily lifted and stowed in the hull anytime to avoid crashing into rocks.  

So, if you are looking for the highest level of fishing experience, the Pescador Pilot 12 will surely not disappoint you. Just note that this kayak is mighty heavy too. With so many features, that massive weight is quite expected.  

Pro

  • Highly geared for fishing
  • The seat can be folded & stowed away while on the water
  • Has a pedal drive

Con

 

  • Very heavy, may need 2 people to transport it

PROS

CONS

  • Highly geared for fishing
  • The seat can be folded & stowed away while on the water
  • Has a pedal drive

 

  • Very heavy, may need 2 people to transport it

Sevylor Coleman Colorado Specs

Length: 10’9″

Width: 39″

Max Capacity: 470 lbs

Weight: 41 lbs

Sevylor’s Coleman Colorado is an inflatable kayak. Being inflatable, its features are slightly different from the hardshell kayaks. But let’s look at the benefits of inflatable fishing kayaks first. 

It’s super easy & convenient to transport this boat. Weighing at only 41 pounds, you can easily lift it up by yourself and tuck it into your car. And unlike hardshell kayaks, you don’t need a kayak rack installed onto your car or truck too. 

In terms of features, it’s rather basic since it’s inflated. There are no accessory rails, only D-rings on each side for you to hook on some equipment. Fortunately, there are rod holders. But storage compartments for small items come in the form of mesh pockets instead. 

The biggest unique selling point of this kayak is that you can equip it with Sevylor’s trolling motor. And this kayak can fit up to 2 person too. But if you don’t have a fishing buddy, then you’ll get to enjoy ample of storage space on deck. 

From our research on this kayak, we found a common problem reported by many other users. While paddling, they often hit the rod holders. There are 2 design flaws that cause this. Firstly, the seat is too low. Secondly, the position is the rod holder is in the way of the paddler. 

Pro

  • Very convenient to transport
  • Versatile use & can be equipped with a motor
  • Fits up to 2 person

Con

  • The rod holder gets in the way when paddling
  • No accessory rails; limited options to accessorize

 

PROS

CONS

  • Very convenient to transport
  • Versatile use & can be equipped with a motor
  • Fits up to 2 person

 

  • The rod holder gets in the way when paddling
  • No accessory rails; limited options to accessorize

 

Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Specs

Length: 10′

Width: 31″

Max Capacity: 275 lbs

Weight: 51 lbs

Lifetime’s Tamarack Angler 100 is another popular choice for fishing kayak since it’s rather affordable. 

It has all the basic features such as rod holders, ample storage and cup holders. So, it’s definitely fishing-friendly. 

There are 2 main highlights of this boat. First is its dry hatches for storage. You can keep your sensitive items inside like phone, cameras, wallet, keys etc. No need to buy extra waterproof bags to store those items. 

Secondly, is its amazing multi-chine hull design. Not only does it give superior stability, but also gives amazing tracking capability. All in all, it performs very well on the water.   

The downside of this kayak is that there are no accessory rails. Hence, there aren’t many after-market accessories that you can add on unless you’re willing to drill into your kayak. 

Pro

  • Has dry hatches for storage
  • Great hull design that tracks very well on the water

Con

 

  • No accessory rails; limited options to accessorize

PROS

CONS

  • Has dry hatches for storage
  • Great hull design that tracks very well on the water

 

  • No accessory rails; limited options to accessorize

Our Verdict

All 5 kayaks we reviewed above are great choices. We shortlisted them from many other kayaks after all. So you can’t go wrong with any of them. 

But to summarize our findings, the Sevylor Colorado is an amazing choice if this is your first ever kayak. Especially when you are still unsure how much kayaking you will be doing. So, you can hold off buying a kayak rack first for transporting hardshell kayaks.

Our personal favourite is definitely the Perception Pescador Pilot 12. Definitely should get if it’s within your budget. It’ll last you a very long time, as you won’t need to upgrade to anything better for many years to come. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

 

Q: Are kayaks good for fishing?

A: Definitely, but you need to ensure the kayak you get a fishing kayak. Fishing kayaks are well designed for a pleasant fishing experience.

Q: Are fishing kayaks worth it?

A: Absolutely! There are a lot of preparations needed before you go fishing. So, you’d want to ensure that your kayak supports fishing so that you won’t struggle in the middle of the water.

Q: Do fishing kayaks flip easily?

A: No, because fishing kayaks are specially designed with stability in mind. It sacrifices speed to achieve superior stability.

Q: Can I use a fishing kayak for touring?

A: Practically possible, especially if it’s just a short distance. The main reason is because fishing kayaks are efficient in terms of speed and performance. So, you’ll end up wasting a lot of time and energy struggling with a fishing kayak if you’re trying to tour with it.  

Closing Thoughts

 

Fishing is twice as fun if you fish with a buddy. So, if you like a kayak like the Sevylor Colorado that fits 2 person, you definitely need to check out our guide on best 2-person fishing kayak

Jules and Ken

Jules and Ken

Hi! We are Jules and Ken. We are outdoor lovers, travellers, and writers all rolled into one. You have seen our posts here reviewing lots of different types of outdoor gear, camping equipment, RV equipment, kayaking, to cycling. Our reviews are guided by our years of experience being outdoors. We are happy to share our knowledge with you to make a better choice when you are outdoors.

We hope you enjoyed this article and if you have questions about Best Fishing Kayak or want to leave your own personal comments, feel free to leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!

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