Ultimate 2020 Guide to Choosing the Best Fishing Kayak 

As we enter 2020, it’s the perfect time to check out the best fishing kayaks. While “best” is a relative term, depending on your needs and preferences, fishing kayaks have multiple designs and configurations. There are plenty of accessories to choose from, too!

What’s your ideal way of fishing from a kayak? Alone? With a partner? A tandem kayak allows you to fish with a partner from the same boat. Do you have a pickup truck or trailer, or will you need to haul your kayak with your car?

An inflatable kayak may be worth considering if you don’t have the means to transport a hard-shell kayak. We’ll discuss some of the options available to fulfill your kayak fishing dreams.

We review five of the top fishing kayaks with a focus on kayaks for beginners, as well as tandem fishing kayaks and those best suited for navigating lakes and rivers. Next, we’ll talk about some of the essential features we think you should consider when shopping for the best fishing kayak, and give you answers to some frequently asked kayak questions.

Ready, anglers? Let’s get started!

Sea Eagle 350fx Fishing Explorer Kayak

The Sea Eagle 350fx Fishing Explorer is an inflatable fishing kayak that allows standup use for casting and angling. 

Feature Overview

Among other things, the beauty of having an inflatable kayak is the cost savings. You don’t have to pay for boat fees, fuel, the use of a boat ramp, or any of the other things that no longer apply to you and your kayak, like a trailer. This way, you can reduce your carbon footprint and avoid crowded boat ramps. 

 

You can stow an inflatable kayak in the trunk of your car, minimizing setup time, and reach previously inaccessible shorelines. That’s the beauty of an inflatable kayak—it’s efficient without compromising on fun or time on the water.

Designed by fishermen, some of the main features of the 350fx include:

 

  • Sturdy, 1000 denier hull cloth
  • 2000 denier reinforced material on tops and sides of hull tubing
  • An adjustable foot brace called the FlexBraceTM
  • Six built-in rod holders
  • Spray skirts fore and aft
  • Self-bailing
  • FastTracks inflatable keel
  • Non-slip protective floor padding
  • Various holders for tools, hooks, and lures
  • Anchor trolley D-rings
  • Motor mount attachment receivers

Key Specifications

  • Hull Weight: 48 lbs.
  • Inflated dimensions: 11’ 6” x 3’ 3”
  • Interior dimensions: 10′ x 17″
  • Weight capacity: 1 person or 575 lbs.
  • Deflated dimensions: 31″ x 19″ x 10″
  • Interior chambers: 3 – port, starboard, under the floor
  • Hull tube diameter: 11.5″
  • Air valves: 3 one-way, recessed
  • Approximate inflation time: 7 minutes
  • Glued, quadruple overlapped seams
  • Engine Capacity: 34 lbs. thrust electric (max engine weight 15 lbs)
  • Hull material: 1000 denier with 2000 denier Reinforced Sections
  • Removable flooring with non-slip EVA foam padding
  • Whitewater rating: up to Class IV
  • Inflation pressure: 3.2 psi
  • Warranty: 3-year

Key Features In-Depth

Let’s take a closer look at some of the key features of the Sea Eagle 350fx. Many of these features protect your craft from hazards like a stray cast or submerged objects, giving anglers like you hours of safe, comfortable fishing.

 

Durable Hull Tubing and Non-Slip Flooring

The tops and sides of the 350fx’s hull tubing consist of reinforced 2000 denier fabric. The interior inflatable floor has an additional 1000 denier layer of material. Both layers repel hooks, abrasions, sharp fins, and general wear and tear. 

 

The flooring also comes equipped with a strip of non-slip EVA gray foam padding for more secure footing. The rigid, modular flooring insert provides a stable foundation while casting, too. Anglers will appreciate the remarkable stability of the 350fx. 

 

Front and Rear Spray Skirts

The front and rear spray skirts come equipped with built-in holders for rods, tooling, hooks, and lures with additional storage below. You don’t have to worry about getting splashed and spending the rest of your trip soaked with these features, and you get plenty of room to keep all the equipment you need.

 

Sea Eagle FlexBrace

The FlexBrace is an adjustable foot brace designed to hold up to hours of use. The FlexBrace can help provide secure bracing for those longer voyages, or if you need extra power is needed to push through strong wind or surf.

 

Side Anchor Trolley Attachment D-rings

The anchor attachment D-rings allow anglers to hold position using an anchor or anchor stake. It keeps you in place so you can better control your kayak’s location relative to your catch.

 

Rigid Modular Flooring Panel and Reinforced Outer Flooring

The modular flooring panel sits inside the interior hull floor and has a rigid, slip-resistant surface. The outer hull floor is 2000 denier reinforced material for additional protection against rocks or other submerged objects. You can even remove the floor panel for easy and efficient cleaning.

 

Comfortable, Adjustable Seat

The seat in the 350fx has plenty of padding and a rigid, adjustable seatback. A zippered pouch on the back allows ready access to storage, where you can keep things like snacks or personal items.

 

Self-Bailing Drain Valves

The 350fx has 16 easy open and shut self-bailing drain valves that allow for rapid drainage if you take on water. The valves should remain closed when paddling on lakes, bays, or other flat bodies of water.

 

Removable Rear Skeg

We like the Sea Eagle’s large, removable rear skeg. Paddlers can remove the skeg, whether the kayak is inflated or deflated. Remove it when navigating conditions like whitewater or narrow streams, and replace it for paddling in flat water to reduce the yaw of your craft.

 

Handling on the Water

The Sea Eagle 350fx is a versatile fishing kayak that’s ideal for cruising on flat water but has ample durability to handle some rapids, too.

 

40″ Fish Ruler on Hull

The 350fx has a convenient 40″ fish ruler incorporated into the hull, allowing anglers to measure their catch, confirm it’s of legal size, and quickly release the fish as needed.

 

The Sea Eagle 350fx Fishing Explorer inflatable kayak is an accessory- and feature-rich, reasonably-priced personal fishing vessel available in multiple configurations, including a battery-powered motorized option. The manufacturer also sells used fishing kayaks at a discount. 

Sea Eagle 380fx Fishing Explorer Kayak

The Sea Eagle 380x Explorer inflatable kayak’s design accommodates solo or tandem paddlers and wet or dry boating. The 380x Explorer has a sturdy, versatile design capable of handling whitewater while proving itself to be a capable vessel for cruising in open water.

Feature Overview

The Sea Eagle 380x Explorer comes in several configurations. Standard features include:

 

  • Sixteen self-bailing drain valves
  • A large, removable skeg
  • Front and rear spray skirts
  • Carrying handles
  • Bungee cords for gear
  • Separate drop stitch floor for rigidity
  • 24 D-rings for securing seats and gear
  • One-way air valves
  • Motor mount receivers (for the optional motor mount)
  • NMMA certification

 

The 380x can convert from whitewater to open flat water use in minutes. The self-bailing drain valves easily open and close, allowing water to drain as soon as it enters the boat in whitewater conditions. The removable skeg provides excellent tracking in flat water conditions that anglers can quickly remove for whitewater navigation. 

Key Specifications

  • Hull Weight: 40 lbs.
  • Inflated dimensions: 12’ 6” x 3’ 3”
  • Interior dimensions: 11′ 9″ x 15″
  • Weight capacity: 3 people or 750 lbs.
  • Deflated dimensions: 31″ x 20″x 9″
  • Interior chambers: 3 – port, starboard, floor
  • Hull tube diameter: 11.5″
  • Air valves: 3 one-way, recessed
  • Approximate inflation time: 8 minutes
  • Glued, quadruple overlapped seams
  • Hull material: 1000 denier reinforced
  • Engine Capacity: 34 lbs. thrust electric (max engine weight 15 lbs)
  • Removable flooring
  • Whitewater rating: suitable up to Class IV
  • Inflation Pressure: 3.2 psi
  • Warranty: 3-year

Key Features In-Depth

Let’s take a deeper look at some of the Sea Eagle 380x Explorer’s most impressive features.

 

Self-bailing, Easy-open and Shut Drain Valves

Sixteen self-bailing drain valves quickly drain water as soon as it enters the craft. Cruising with valves closed on lakes, bays, and other flat bodies of water will keep the kayak interior dry.

 

Modular Flooring Panel and Reinforced Outer Hull Provide Extra Protection

The modular, drop-stitch floor panel sits on top of the outer hull flooring, providing a rigid, supportive, bracing surface for responsive paddling. The 1000 denier reinforced outer hull flooring offers additional protection from logs, rocks, or other objects below the water’s surface. You can easily clean the interior flooring by removing the modular floor panel.

 

Removable Rear Center Skeg

We like the removable rear center skeg because you can remove it with the kayak inflated or deflated. You can take the skeg off for whitewater excursions and replace it later for flat water to reduce the boat’s yaw. 

Sea Eagle 380x Explorer Packages

Sea Eagle sells the 380x Explorer in six different configurations or packages. Take a look at each of them and see which one may work for you!

 

Deluxe

The Deluxe package includes the following:

 

  • The 380x Explorer hull
  • Two 7’10” paddles
  • Two inflatable kayak seats
  • A kayak carrying bag
  • Foot pump
  • Removable skeg
  • A hull repair kit

 

Pro Kayak

The Pro Kayak package includes:

 

  • The 380x Explorer hull
  • Two 8′ paddles
  • Two tall back kayak seats
  • A kayak carrying bag
  • Two attachable stow bags
  • Foot pump
  • Removable skeg
  • A hull repair kit

 

Pro Carbon

The Pro Carbon package includes everything in the Pro Kayak package as well as carbon fiber paddles:

 

  • The 380x Explorer hull
  • Two 8′ carbon fiber paddles
  • Two tall back kayak seats
  • A kayak carrying bag
  • Two attachable stow bags
  • Foot pump
  • Removable skeg
  • A hull repair kit

 

QuikSail

The QuikSail package has plenty in store, including:

 

  • The 380x Explorer hull
  • Two 8′ carbon fiber paddles
  • Two tall back kayak seats
  • The QuikSail forward-mounted sail
  • A kayak carrying bag
  • Two attachable stow bags
  • Foot pump
  • Removable skeg
  • A hull repair kit

 

Pro Motor

With the Pro Motor package, you get:

 

  • The 380x Explorer hull
  • Two 8′ carbon fiber paddles
  • Two tall back kayak seats
  • The Watersnake Asp T24 electric kayak trolling motor
  • A kayak carrying bag
  • Two attachable stow bags
  • Foot pump
  • Removable skeg
  • A hull repair kit

 

Each of these configurations offers comfortable seating for two to enjoy fishing, camping, lake cruising, river rafting, and whitewater adventures. Sea Eagle has produced inflatable fishing kayaks since 1968, which is proof that their designs have stood the test of time under all sorts of conditions.

 

The Sea Eagle 380x is an affordable, versatile inflatable kayak that accommodates up to three people (two comfortably in their own seats) in all types of water. The small deflated dimensions of the 380x allow you to load it in the trunk of your car and head out for new adventures in no time. 

 

As a fishing kayak, it lacks some of the same angler elements as the Sea Eagle 350fx. However, this robust kayak will let two people enjoy the water at a reasonable price.

 

Compare it to the hard-shell tandem kayak, the Old Town Predator.

Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak

The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 is a 10-foot, sit-on-top (SOT) fishing kayak designed for safety and stability. The Angler 100 is a hard-shell, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) vessel with a flat bottom, tracking channels, and cockpit built for utility and comfort.

Feature Overview

The Angler 100 comes equipped with the following:

 

  • An adjustable, padded seat back and seat pad
  • Two cargo hatches for storage below deck
  • Two flush-mounted fishing rod holders
  • An adjustable fishing rod holder
  • Deep hull channels for tracking performance
  • Chine rails for added stability
  • Front and rear bungee cords for ready access to gear
  • Multiple footrest positions to accommodate different sized paddlers
  • Front and rear T-handles for easy portage
  • Unibody construction composed of UV-protected high-density polyethylene
  • Flat bottom for stability
  • A “paddle keeper” to secure your paddle to the kayak when not in use

Key Specifications

  • Hull Weight: 52 lbs.
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 120” x 31” x 14” 
  • Weight capacity: 1 person or 275 lbs.
  • Interior storage: 2 chambers – fore and aft, each with a hatch
  • Hull material: high-density polyethylene (HDPE)
  • Warranty: 5-year limited

Key Features In-Depth

Let’s take a closer look at some of the essential features of the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100.

 

Designed for Comfort

The Angler 100’s unibody construction includes multiple footrest positions for anglers of different sizes, or if you want to adjust your position. The padded seat and adjustable, padded seat back are also designed for your comfort on the water.

 

Stable on the Water

The Angler 100 kayak is made of sturdy, high-density polyethylene, with a channeled, flat-bottomed hull and chine stability rails designed for smooth, stable cruising and casting.

 

Convenient and Accessible Storage

We like the two six-inch hatch-covered storage compartments in the front and rear. This kayak even has bungee cord webbing fore and aft for securing light gear like jackets.

 

Convenient and Useful Accessories

The Angler 100 comes equipped with three fishing rod holders, one top-mounted and two flush-mounted. The front and rear carry handles make it more manageable for two people to transport.

 

The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 is a reasonably-priced, sit-on-top fishing kayak with loads of unique features. Its angler-oriented accessories make it a strong contender among the fishing kayaks we reviewed. However, you still need a vehicle capable of hauling a 10′ hard-shell kayak.

 

Compare to the Perception Pescador and Wilderness Systems kayaks.

Sundolphin Boss 12 SS Angler Kayak

The Sundolphin Boss 12 SS fishing kayak is a 12-foot, unibody vessel with a catamaran-style, flat-bottom hull. Sundolphin designed the Boss 12 SS for stable and versatile sit-on-top and standup use.

Feature Overview

The Sundolphin Boss12 SS fishing kayak comes equipped with:

 

  • Catamaran-style hull design with a flat casting platform
  • Large front and rear gear storage wells with shock cord webbing will accommodate a crate or bucket
  • Non-slip floor pads and stand up assist strap for stand up anglers
  • One swivel and four flush mount fishing rod holders included
  • Generous storage space below deck
  • Three-position fold-down seat
  • Scupper holes for drainage
  • Universal mounting plates secure items to the boat deck
  • Adjustable foot braces help improve paddling power
  • Carry handles and paddle holders for convenient two-person portability
  • A beverage holder

Key Specifications

  • Hull Weight: 78 lbs.
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 147.5” x 33.25” x 13” 
  • Weight capacity: 1 person or 500 lbs.
  • Interior storage: 2 chambers – fore and aft, each with a hatch
  • Hull material: Fortiflex high-density polyethylene (HDPE)
  • Warranty: limited lifetime

Key Features In-Depth

Let’s review some of the most outstanding features of the Sunboss 12 SS fishing kayak.

 

Multiposition Angling

Anglers can use the Sunboss 12 SS from a standing position with the anti-slip decking material and stand assist strap. Paddlers also have the option of using the sit-on-top kayak’s dual-position seating system with adjustable foot braces for more paddling or casting leverage and stability.

 

Plenty of Storage Space

The Sunboss 12 SS has internal storage compartments fore and aft with quick locking waterproof hatches and large fore and aft gear wells equipped with shock cord webbing large enough to accommodate a crate, box, or bucket.

 

Stable Catamaran Hull

The flat-bottomed catamaran hull of the Sunboss 12 SS offers smooth cruising in flat water and the option to stand securely on the non-slip deck.

 

The Sundolphin Boss 12 SS angler kayak is a reasonably priced hard-shell fishing kayak with plenty of features you’ll love, like its storage and gear stowage options, stable catamaran-style hull, non-slip deck, and comfortable standing or sitting options.

Intex Excursion Pro Fishing Kayak

The Intex Excursion Pro is an inflatable, feature-laden fishing kayak that accommodates two people. The Excursion Pro has several features and accessories that anglers will enjoy for years.

Feature Overview

The Intex Excursion Pro kayak comes equipped with these features:

 

  • A sturdy PVC laminate hull material with a polyester core for high strength and durability
  • Two removable skegs for navigating deep and shallow waters
  • Two floor-mounted footrests for stability and comfort
  • Two recessed fishing rod holders
  • An adjustable, removable mounting bracket for accessories including GPS navigation systems, fish finders, or pivoting fishing rod holders
  • Grab handles fore and aft for easy two-person portage
  • Two adjustable bucket seats with inflatable booster pads for raised seating
  • Cargo storage space in bow and stern
  • Stainless steel tie-down D-rings for dry bags and other gear
  • Carrying bag and repair patch included
  • Two 86″ oars and high-output air pump included

Key Specifications

  • Hull weight: 43.6 lbs.
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 151” x 13” x 18”
  • Weight capacity: 2 people or 400 lbs.
  • Hull material: triple-ply, high molecular PVC is UV resistant and non-reactive with gasoline, oil, and saltwater. Resists damage from abrasion and impact and allows higher air pressure for rigidity.
  • Warranty: 90-day limited

Key Features In-Depth

The Intex Excursion Pro fishing kayak has a few stand-out features we think you’ll like as much as we do.

 

Sturdy, Three-ply PVC Hull Material

The hull material is triple-ply PVC capable of withstanding high-pressure inflation for a sturdy watercraft.

 

Removable Booster Pad Seating

The Intex Excursion Pro includes a removable booster pad for adjustable seating height, ideal for smaller anglers who want to sit up high.

 

Interchangeable Directional Skegs

The Excursion Pro includes both standard-sized and shallow water skegs that paddlers can switch out as needed.

 

Adjustable Footrests and Accessory Bracket

Paddlers can enjoy the comfort of the adjustable footrests for optimal leverage while paddling or casting. The included accessory bracket allows you to attach items such as swivel fishing rod holders, fish finders, or a GPS.

 

The Intex Excursion Pro is an economically-priced inflatable tandem kayak with endless features designed for comfort and ease of use.

Stable Hull Designs for Fishing from Kayaks

Kayak hull designs vary, and for a good reason. The four common types of kayak hulls are:

 

  • Rounded
  • V-shaped
  • Flat
  • Pontoon

 

Rounded hulls are built for speed and maneuverability, and they’re better suited for whitewater and sport kayaking. However, they lack in primary stability compared to flatter-bottomed designs. V-shaped hulls cut through the water even better than rounded hulls, but are considered more prone to tipping. V-shaped hulls perform better in choppy water and may be better suited for ocean fishing.

 

Where stability is concerned, especially for fishing, tandem kayaks, or choppy conditions, flat hulls and pontoon hulls offer a more stable, less tip-prone alternative to their counterparts. Flat-hulled boats are easy to maneuver and provide excellent primary stability.

 

Pontoon-hulled vessels are a hybrid design combining the primary stability of a flat-hulled design with the secondary stability of a rounded-hull design. Fishing kayaks with a pontoon hull will track well but are not exceptionally fast.

 

Generally, a flat-bottomed kayak offers adequate stability for seated or standing angling, depending on the vessel’s design. We consider the flat-bottomed hulls to be the most stable kayak for fishing – especially from a standing position.

Primary and Secondary Stability

Primary stability is the stability of a kayak on flat water. Secondary stability is how well the kayak maintains that stability when tipped on its side in more challenging water conditions. Kayaks for fishing that feel stable in rough water often don’t feel stable in flat water, and vice-versa. 

 

The best fishing kayak designs for fishing, especially when it comes to tandem vessels, have excellent primary stability for casting and hauling in your catch as well as sufficient secondary stability for maneuvering in choppy water.

Kayak Chine

A boat’s chine is the point where the bottom of the kayak meets the sides. A hard chine is an angular union of bottom and sides, while a soft chine is more rounded.

 

Hard chine hulls provide superior primary stability over soft chine hulls but are more prone to tipping in choppy water. Soft chine hulls are known for delivering secondary stability and are usually faster.

Pedal Drive Kayaks

Pedal drive kayaks like Native Watercraft, the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler, or the Pelican Catch have a pedal-driven system allowing anglers to use their legs to cross the water instead of a hand-held paddle. A pedal kayak requires less skill to use than a regular kayak, and fewer things to juggle with your hands when fishing.

On-Board Storage

How much on-board storage you need for your kayak depends on several factors:

 

  • How far will you be from shore and your camp or vehicle?
  • How much time are you planning to spend on the water in a day?
  • What kind of gear do you need for the expected weather conditions during your outing?
  • How much water do you need to carry (1 gallon per person per day is the minimum recommended intake)?
  • How will you store your catch while you continue fishing?

 

The kayaks we reviewed all have interior storage in the kayak hull, usually with a water-tight hatch to keep your gear secure and dry. Equipment stored in drybags can be stowed using cockpit internal storage compartments when equipped. 

 

Items you need quick access to can be stowed in seat back compartments, secured with webbing on the bow and stern, or mounted to accessory bars or gear tracks.

Accessorizing Your Fishing Kayak

Many of the kayaks we reviewed, especially the Sea Eagle 380x Explorer, have upgrades or packages from which anglers can accessorize their fishing kayaks. Accessory bars or brackets allow fisherfolk to attach pivoting fishing rod holders, a GPS, or fishfinder. 

 

You could get creative and add a standard, 3/8″ screw-type or quick release tripod mount for your digital camera, binoculars, or sighting scope, too. 

 

Alternative means of powering your kayak include sails and electric motors. A bow-mounted sail can save paddling energy and move your kayak faster across the water. An electric trolling motor makes open water or shoreline navigation effortless.

Choosing the better fishing kayak: inflatable or solid?

There are several factors to consider when deciding to choose an inflatable or hard-shell kayak.

 

Inflatable Kayaks

  • Lighter and easier to carry than hard-shell kayaks
  • Pack down to duffel bag or backpack size
  • Easier to transport or take traveling
  • Made of highly durable materials
  • Stable on the water
  • Economy does not always equal quality
  • Optimal inflation required for optimal performance
  • Thorough cleaning after use required before deflating and storing
  • An inflatable vessel might be more challenging to control than hard-shell kayaks

 

Hard-shell Kayaks

  • Made from wood, plastic, fiberglass, or composite materials
  • Ready to go: transport to shore and start paddling – no inflation or other preparation
  • Greater control than some inflatable kayaks
  • Heavier than inflatable models
  • Transport and storage not as easy as inflatable vessels
  • Require more maintenance than inflatables, but generally more durable

What are scupper plugs, and why do I need them?

Many SOT kayaks have scupper holes that allow water splashed on deck to drain back out of the boat. Scupper plugs will enable you to plug these drain holes and prevent small amounts of water from beneath the kayak to splash up into the cockpit deck. However, plugging the holes prevents them from draining accumulated water on deck.

The Best Fishing Kayak Safety Gear

When out on open water, there are certain essential items you should have with you for safety.

 

  • Personal flotation devices (PFDs)
  • First aid kit
  • Paddle floats or leashes
  • Bilge pumps or drain holes
  • Tow lines
  • Radios
  • Signaling devices (flashlight, mirror, whistles or horns)

 

Before heading out on your kayak, ensure that you and everyone in your party are familiar with basic kayak fishing safety rules and other safe kayak fishing techniques. Make sure everyone in your party has some basic understanding of safe kayak fishing rules. No one wants to call in help for urgent situations that could be prevented with safety knowledge and paying attention.

 

With so many considerations, you may have even more questions than answers at this point in your fishing kayak research. Our next section answers some frequently asked questions about selecting a fishing kayak that best suits your needs.

FAQ

Which fishing kayak is the most stable?

The most stable fishing kayaks are those with flat-bottom or pontoon-style hull designs. The hybrid pontoon-style hulls combine the primary stability of a flat hull with the secondary stability of a rounded hull. 

 

Generally, the flat-bottomed kayaks like those reviewed in this guide offer sufficient stability to fish from a seated or standing position. We think the flat-bottomed hulls like the ones in this guide are the most stable fishing kayaks if you’re going to fish standing up.

Is a sit on top kayak better for fishing?

SOT kayaks have an open cockpit enabling the paddler to move more freely and have greater access to fishing gear and other essentials.

 

What are some of the advantages of a SOT kayak?

 

  • Greater freedom of movement – especially while paddling
  • Easier entry and exit from the vessel
  • Better suited for warmer weather
  • Typically more stable than sit-in kayaks (SIKs)
  • Easier access to stowed gear throughout the craft without exiting the cockpit

 

What about the disadvantages?

 

  • More exposure to water and the elements
  • Typically slower than a sit-in kayak

 

All of the kayaks reviewed in this guide are SOT kayaks. The advantages of using a SOT fishing kayak outweigh the disadvantages. Given the versatility and options available with the SOT-style fishing kayaks, we think they’re the best suited for anglers.

What is the best beginner fishing kayak?

The best beginner fishing kayak is an inflatable fishing kayak. Inflatable kayaks are lighter and easier to carry than hard-shell kayaks. They pack down small, are made of highly durable materials, and are more stable on the water.

 

Inflatable kayaks also have a lower entry cost making them a more affordable option than their hard-shell counterparts. Inflatable vessels come with tandem seating, allowing you fish with a partner.

 

Given their ease of use, durability, and reasonable prices, we think the inflatable fishing kayaks reviewed here are the best choices for a beginner’s fishing kayak if you want to explore kayak fishing for the first time.

Which is the best fishing kayak to buy?

Deciding which is the best fishing kayak to buy will be an individual decision based on several factors:

 

  • Stability
  • Intended use (lakes, streams, rivers, coastal waters)
  • Storage
  • Accessories
  • Weight
  • Performance
  • Tandem seating
  • Inflatable or hard-shell hull
  • Alternate propulsion options (sail or electric motor)
  • SOT or SIK design
  • Cost

 

You’ll need to decide whether you have the kind of vehicle required to haul a hard-shell vessel or whether an inflatable hulled craft is better suited to the vehicle and storage space you already have. Your choice of hull material will make a difference in weight, portability, and performance on the water.

 

Your local boat shop, a preferred online review resource, and consumer commentary can provide additional information to help you decide which is the best fishing kayak that suits your particular needs.

Making Your Decision

We reviewed five of the top-rated fishing kayaks and discussed the key features that make each of them an attractive option for anglers.

 

The watercraft reviewed in this guide are all from established manufacturers who offer variable warranties for their products, the shortest of which is 90 days. Beginners and experienced anglers alike will appreciate the freedom that a fishing kayak provides.

 

All of the models reviewed have a design with the angler in mind. They are generously outfitted with the features and accessories that make kayak angling an affordable, highly attractive way to enjoy the fishing experience, either solo or with friends.

 

Making your decision comes down to your personal preferences and how you like to fish. The fishing kayak adventure is a great way to experience the wilderness and the sport of fishing. Having so many options and features from which to choose can be a good thing. Start by making a list of your priorities and match them with the fishing kayak that has most of those features in common.