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7 Best Fishing Kayaks On The Market

Written by James Schulz

The weather is finally getting better, and it is time that you get your shorts on and enjoy the warm sunlight with your friends and family.

If you are interested in sports, spring is the perfect time to get your kayaks out and enjoy a relaxing day catching fish at the lake with your loved ones.

Although to have an amazing experience, you need to make sure that you have the right kind of equipment and the first of these is a good quality fishing kayak.

Whether you are looking to replace your old kayak or buy a new one, you have come to the right place.

In this article, we not only list down the seven best Fishing Kayaks of 2022, but we will also talk in detail about all the important things you need to keep in mind to make sure you end up purchasing a kayak that keeps you happy and satisfied.

So, keep on reading!

At a Glance

 Top Fishing Kayak Buyer’s Guide

1) Best Pedal: Old Town’s Sportsman BigWater Fishing Kayak

Old Town Sportsman BigWater Fishing Kayak

The Old Town Sportsman BigWater pedal kayak has an easy-to-use forward/reverse pedal drive, which allows effortless, hands-free navigating and fishing for open water fishermen and tournament fishing pros.

The pedal drive is detachable for convenient travel.

Bespoke accessory tracks, cushioned floor cushions for enhanced comfort and grip, a custom tackle box, and lots of rod storage come standard on all Old Town’s fishing kayaks.

Another notable feature is the side-mounted hull paddle clip.

It keeps your backup paddle safe and out of the way while you fish.

Also, you can simply attach your favorite fish finder easily (available separately) due to the universal kayak’s transducer mounting system.

Furthermore, the premium mesh seat keeps you cool by providing a superior seat design and excellent lumbar support.

The kayak offers greater lumbar support to all fishermen with a comfortable seating design.

The kayak is 13 feet long and 2 inches in width and has a weight capacity of 383 pounds.

Overall, the kayak weighs 96 pounds, whereas the pedal console weighs 21 pounds.

Though it is superior in all aspects, the kayak is ideal for calmer waters compared to violent and wavy waterways.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use detachable pedal drive
  • Superior quality mesh seat
  • Lightweight
  • Durable construction

Cons

  • Low weight capacity
  • Ideal for calmer waters only

2) Best Stable: Old Town’s Topwater 106 PDL

Old Town Topwater 106 PDL

Old Town’s Topwater 106 PDL Angler fishing kayak delivers a stable, easy-to-maneuver, comfortable, and pedal-powered fishing platform that is perfect for beginners as well as professionals.

For hands-free performance fishing, the Topwater PDL Angler features a forward/reverse pedal motor and a patent-pending easy-docking mechanism so that you have better control over your boat.

Furthermore, the kayak is loaded with amenities, including an adjustable Air seat, a large stern tank for gear storage, three rod holders, tackle and rod storage, and EVA foam deck pads for ease when standing.

The unit honestly has unrivaled stability and precise handling, and the best thing is that it is small and portable.

Besides this, double hull construction enhances the stability of the unit and ensures you remain steady above water while you catch fish!

The kayak’s transducer mounting mechanism enables attaching your preferred fish finder easier than ever.

It is 10 feet long and 6 inches in width, whereas it has a surprising weight capacity of 450 pounds.

While most people loved everything about it, a few users doubted the durability and sturdiness of the kayak.

One mentioned the unit having a dent on its surface when it arrived.

Pros

  • Easy maneuverability
  • Easy-docking system
  • Supreme stability and precise handling
  • Ideal weight capacity for a single person

Cons

  • The surface is prone to scratches and damage

3) Best Solo Paddling: BKC FK184

BKC FK184

The BKC FK184 Kayak offers all of the characteristics that a solo paddler might require in a fishing kayak.

This single kayak is ready to go anywhere you want – whether you’re going out for lake fishing or a multi-day escapade at your favorite resort, this kayak is ideal for everywhere.

The Kayak is fully loaded with all the equipment and gear you might need to make your trip a spectacular experience.

It is equipped with a luxury memory foam seat, adjustable paddle made from aluminum, two watertight hatches, two paddle parks, five-rod holders, and a bungee cargo tie-down.

The unit is made from high-density polyethylene material that is much more suitable for fishing as compared to inflatable kayaks.

It also makes for a competent vessel on the ocean, lake, or any waterways.

The unit has a weight capacity of 330 pounds.

It is 9 feet in length and 32 inches in width and weighs 44 pounds.

Lastly, the built-in fishing rod holders make adventuring in the kayak much more fun and convenient.

The waterproof storage is also a nice addition which is ideal if you are thinking of going to windy shores and wavy waters.

The only negative about this kayak is that it drifts a bit while out in the ocean, so you might need to purchase a small anchor to keep it steady.

Pros

  • Ideal for one person
  • Fully loaded with fishing gear
  • Comfortable memory foam seat
  • Sports built-in fishing rod holders

Cons

  • Might need an anchor to stabilize the kayak

4) Best Sit-Inside: Perception’s Pescador Pro 12

Perception Pescador Pro 12

Made in the USA, the Perception’s Fishing Kayak is the ideal unit to buy for kayak fishing.

It sports a mesh seat that is in the manner of a lawn chair so that you can easily sit on top of it and have a better view of your surroundings.

Moreover, the unit features breathable mesh and two-level seat adjustment and provides all-day comfort and no back pains.

The seat may be adjusted to allow for more comfortable paddling or elevated for better casting.

For enhanced safety, the one-piece structure is leak-proof and has built-in buoyancy.

For cooler tackle and other stuff, there’s plenty of open storage in the front and back. On each gunwale, there are integrated accessory rails for fish finders.

The boat is 12 feet in length and 32 ½ inches in weight, whereas it weighs only 64 pounds, making it ideal to take it with you while you travel.

Furthermore, it has a maximum weight capacity of 375 pounds which is more than enough for you as well as all your gear.

While the unit offers high-end performance, there are a few complaints about durability.

Some people have received kayaks with scratches, which suggests that it might get scrapes if you take this one out on narrow, rocky waterways.

Pros

  • Comfortable mesh seat with 2-level adjustment
  • Made from leakproof material
  • Spacious interior
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Prone to scratches
  • Not ideal for rocky and shallow waterways

5) Best Angling: AquaGlide’s Blackfoot Angler 130

AquaGlide Blackfoot Angler 130

Are you an angler?

If so, then we have the perfect fishing kayak in store for you.

The AquaGlide’s Blackfoot Angler 130 is ideal for solo angling kayak.

It offers plenty of space to store your gear.

Furthermore, the best thing about this kayak is its space! It also has an extra seat that you can put up if you are going with someone.

It is loaded with some of the most impressive features you can expect.

It has Duratex construction which is basically reinforced PVC that is not only lightweight but sturdy and resilient as well.

Hence you can definitely take this unit into rocky and narrow pathways.

Furthermore, the drop-stitch floor further enhances its durability and improves the unit’s performance.

The MOLLE Plates, universal accessory mounts, lightweight and compact design, and cocking splashguard are some of the most attractive features in the kayak.

The unit is 13 feet in length and is 38 inches wide.

It weighs 41 pounds only and has an impressive weight capacity of 650 pounds.

Unfortunately, it does not come with a pump or a paddle. So, you would have to buy these separately.

Pros

  • Ideal for anglers
  • Plenty space to store gear
  • Durable construction

Cons

  • Need to purchase paddle and pump separately

6) Best 360-Degree Seating: Paddleva’s Nucanoe Frontier 12

Paddleva Nucanoe Frontier 12

The NuCanoe Frontier 12 is the finest hybrid kayak which is built for professional fishermen and anglers.

The kayak will enhance your experience, whether you’re fly fishing in seawater, bass fishing in a riverbed, or scavenging in the swamps.

The Frontier 12 is extremely stable, allowing you to stand and fish with confidence without any fear of losing your balance.

With 360-degree maneuverability, you can effortlessly access your gear.

You have complete control over the kayak because of its adaptable and configurable design.

Go solo in elegance or as a tandem with plenty of room for everyone!

You may place seats wherever you wish and customize the Frontier 12 to your liking. The unit is a surprising amount of fun to paddle and is comfortable.

It is 12 feet in length and 41 inches in width, making it one of the most stable kayaks out there.

Furthermore, it weighs 77 pounds which is a bit more than other competitor models.

However, considering that it can be used as a tandem kayak as well, we can let this flaw pass. Lastly, it has a weight capacity of 650 pounds.

Pros

  • Extremely stable
  • You can easily stand on the kayak without fear of falling off
  • Control over kayak’s movements completely
  • Can be used for tandem kayaking

Cons

  • Heavy as compared to competitor models

7) Best Maneuverability: Hobie’s Mirage Pro Angler 12

Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12

Hobie’s Mirage Pro Angler 12 consists of some of the most ground-breaking features that we have ever seen in the market.

It has kick-up fins, which help accelerate the kayak and help provide maximum stability.

The MirageDrive 360 gives you a full-power circle and further helps in providing maneuverability.

So, if you are someone who wants high speed, then this is the one to buy.

The best thing about the kick-up fins is that they instantly retract the moment they bump into something; hence they will remain safe and undamaged for a long time.

Also, the fins help you navigate through shallow areas without any problem.

Six-rod holders, elevated Vantage ST seat, guardian retractable transducer shield, BOA lumbar support, and H-rail are some of the most noticeable features that the unit provides.

Apart from this, it also has EVA grip pads that are stain-resistant.

It is 12 feet in length, whereas it is 36 inches wide.

The unit weighs 132.5 pounds, making it difficult to transport the unit from one place to another. You might need help to move it.

The weight capacity is 500 pounds which is more than enough for a single person with fishing equipment.

Pros

  • Kick-up fins give stability
  • Durable kayak
  • Sports six rod holders

Cons

  • Not really portable

Types of Kayaks

Kayaks come in several shapes and sizes.

So, if you are thinking of buying one, you need to know the difference between the variations to buy one that suits your needs the best.

1) Sit-On Kayaks

As the name indicates, Sit-on kayaks are the ones that have a sealed hull.

The best thing about these is that they are pretty simple; all you have to do is get on top of it, and that is it.

Although, since you will be sitting on top of the hull, you will be accustomed to splashes. So be ready for that!

Apart from this, Sit-On kayaks are actually fun and convenient.

As mentioned above, they give you easy access to all your gear without getting up from your place.

Furthermore, these are the perfect ones to buy if you are going fishing!

2) Sit-In Kayaks

One of the reasons most people opt for sit-in kayaks is that it keeps your legs warm and dry while you are out in the open sea.

The hull isn’t sealed, and you sit inside it when you are boarding.

It keeps the splashes away and is typically used for colder waters.

3) Fishing Kayaks

Kayak fishing is one of the most sought-after recreational activities in the world.

Hence, there is a whole category of kayaks that are specifically for this escapade.

Fishing Kayaks are available in both sit-in and sit-on designs, and they have many features that help you easily access your gear and store your catch.

They typically sport features like pole rests, pontoon stabilizers, pedal-powered water wheels, and a flatter hull.

The best thing is that they can easily be carried on the car rack, and you can easily steer them in and out of water even if you are a beginner.

However, these are slower, and you will probably need to paddle them more rigorously than other types of kayaks.

Furthermore, they are only ideal for short fishing trips rather than longer excursions where you will need additional space and comfort.

4) Recreational Kayak

These are designed to be stable and easy to maneuver.

Recreational Kayaks are characterized by a wide hull that is approximately 12 feet or less in length.

Furthermore, they are ideal if you are going to areas with saltwater, flatwater streams, or lakes.

These are also used for recreational purposes because the wide hull provides more stability; hence there are fewer chances of you or your loved ones falling off it.

However, while these have a smaller area to stash all of your necessities, it does have a large cockpit for convenience.

Also, due to its easy maneuverability, there is an inability to keep track and straight line while kayaking.

So, you will need to keep paddling to use it. Lastly, these are only to be used in calmer waters since they struggle in waves.

5) Whitewater Kayaks

Another common type of kayak that you will find in the market will be; the Whitewater Kayaks.

They usually range in length from four to ten feet and are particularly designed for fast-flowing water bodies with rocky courses.

They are made from durable, rotomolded plastic.

Whitewater kayaks are further divided into two types; playboats and creek boats. The former are highly agile and are extremely durable.

They are typically used for steep, rocky waters since they have excellent maneuverability. Although, they are unstable and not for beginners.

On the other hand, the latter are longer and typically used for narrow waterways.

They have unbelievable stability and buoyancy however, they are not comfortable with long journeys. Also, they do not have storage space.

6) Crossover Kayaks

As the name suggests, Cross-over kayaks is a mix between whitewater and recreational kayak.

It is designed in such a way that you do not have to change your kayak due to different environments.

These have a sit-inside design with features like pole holders to use them for fishing.

These are ideal for those people who want to kayak all year round.

These would keep you dry and let you enjoy fishing or other types of adventures without switching your kayak.

Contrarily, these kayaks lack good performance if we compare these to specialized kayaking hulls.

So, if you are looking for a specific type of kayaking, it is better to invest in specialized ones rather than this one.

7) Inflatable Kayaks

Are you looking for a kayak that can be stored easily?

Then, purchase an inflatable kayak. Most of these are designed for recreational use, but some are also for whitewater.

They have a sturdy hull with a wide base perfect for calm waters. The best part is that these kayaks come in both styles; sit-in and sit-on designs.

These are typically made from rubberized and durable nylon that can bear impact with rocks and sharp materials.

Hence, they can be used for all and any type of weather. However, while they are rugged, they are not immune to damage.

These are the most vulnerable among all types of kayaks. They can become inflatable and might not be able to patch easily.

Furthermore, it is difficult to maneuver them in high and rough water bodies.

8) Foldable Kayaks

Foldable Kayaks have a skin-on-frame construct that has become popular in recent years.

The new material allows you to pack an entire kayak in your suitcase without any probable.

Furthermore, they are lightweight, which makes transporting them even easier.

So, if you are looking for a kayak that you can take with you while you go for a trip down to the beach, this is the one to use.

On the other hand, they are not as durable as compared to other standard kayaks.

Moreover, since they have no internal structures or bulkheads, there is not much space to store your gear or catch it if you take it out in the waters.

Moreover, due to their construction, they can also crack if used for an extended time; hence they are only ideal for short-term use.

What to Consider While Buying A Fishing Kayak?

Now that you know all the different types of kayaks that exist there, it will be easier to figure out what makes a fishing kayak unique among all the others and its key takeaways that you need to keep in mind when searching for it.

1) Purpose of Purchasing A Kayak

Why do you need to think about why you want a fishing kayak when the name already suggests the reason?

Let me explain.

Fishing kayaks come in many different styles and features.

So, to get the best assortment of everything that makes fishing easier for you, you need to think about the environment you will be fishing in.

  • So, ask yourself if you want to purchase a kayak that is specially designed for fishing, or do you want an all-rounder that you can use for recreational activities as well?
  • Furthermore, think about where you will be fishing; in an open ocean or river or rough, windy waterways?

Some kayaks are constructed to only survive in calmer waters, while others can easily maneuver through rough waters and strong currents.

2) Sit-Inside or Sit-On-the-Top Design

Let’s talk about both in terms of fishing kayaks.

While Sit-Inside will keep you warm and waterproof, it is difficult to store all your gear.

However, apart from this one flaw, these are perfect for fishing.

They are much faster than the other design, and you have greater control over the speed as well as maneuverability of the boat.

Sit-On-The-Top designs are ideal if your main focus is on storage.

They are mostly used for fishing since they have more storage space.

Moreover, they cannot get flooded, and all you need to do in case it topples is turn it back upright.

In addition to this, you can rest your foot on either side of the hull to get more balance while fishing.

In the end, while both have their own advantages and disadvantages, the latter offers more convenience and storage than the former.

3) Pedal or Paddle

The next factor to keep in mind is how you want to power your kayak. You have two options; either get a kayak with paddles or pedals.

So, which one is better?

A pedal-powered kayak will keep your legs engaged at all times.

Most people opt for this, especially when they go fishing, because it keeps your hands free and you can easily enjoy fishing.

Some kayakers also suggest that these are much easier to move than one with a paddle. Although, these can quickly tire your legs.

Paddle-powered kayak keeps your hands engaged most time.

With paddling, you have a better chance to catch fish since paddling is much quieter as compared to pedal propulsion.

However, these require greater upper body strength and are ideal for professionals.

Beginners will find paddling hard and difficult to get used to.

4) Size

Now you need to ponder on the construct of the kayak.

A long kayak is faster and can easily streamline through narrow passageways.

On the other hand, a wider kayak is much more stable and gives you easy maneuverability.

While finalizing the size of your kayak, you also need to keep in mind the environment you will be kayaking in.

If you are thinking of going into the open oceans or rivers, then it is better to invest in a kayak that is at least 12 feet long so that it can cover more ground area in lesser time.

On the contrary, a smaller kayak that is at most 11 feet in size is perfect for small lakes and streams.

5) Weight Capacity

This is one of the most important factors that you need to consider.

For this, calculate your own weight and the weight of your gear.

Also, you need to keep in mind the additional weight of the catch in case of fishing. So, all these combined weight of all these should be below the kayak’s weight capacity.

If only one person will be fishing, then the kayak needs to have at least 350 pounds weight capacity so that it can hold you, your gear, and your catch without any risk of flooding.

However, this figure might vary depending on your weight.

6) Weight of the Kayak

You will need to transport the fishing kayak to and fro. So, it is important to take the kayak’s weight into account as well.

If you are putting the kayak on the roof of your vehicle, then you need to ensure that the weight is under the weight capacity of your vehicle.

Also, if you are a beginner, consider purchasing a heavier kayak, so there are fewer chances of the kayak flipping over or you losing stability.

How to Maintain and Care for A Kayak?

No matter which type of kayak you end up buying, it is important that you take good care of it so that it can perform well and it is durable when you take it out for kayaking in the seasons to come as well.

We can divide the care of kayak into three different categories:

1) After-Use Care

Clean your kayak with a mixture of light soap and water to remove all the dirt from the kayak after using it.

Clean the insides as well as outsides of the boat and ensure that it is completely dry before you store it.

Also, oil any metal parts that the kayak might have to keep it from rusting.

2) Indoor Storage

You can store the kayak in your garage or any spare room that you might have at your place.

However, while storing indoors, make sure to keep the unit away from windows as well as heat sources.

Sunlight, moisture, and excessive heat can cause irreparable damage to your kayak.

3) Outdoor Storage

If you are storing your kayak outdoors, the first thing that you need to make sure of is that it is completely dry.

If not, the water can cause the kayak to contract or expand. Furthermore, shield your kayak from UV rays and direct sunlight.

If you are storing it in a shady place, keep a weather-resistant cover over the unit to protect it from moisture, dust, and other contaminants.

Conclusion

Kayaking is a great recreational excursion to try with your friends and family. It is fun and low-budget. All you need to have a good time is a good fishing kayak and the right equipment, and you are good to go.

We researched for days and finally came up with the above seven products as the best in the market.

No matter what you are looking for in a kayak, we are sure the above options will have exactly what you require.

Just make sure that you check the weight capacity of the unit and measure its size accurately before you purchase your dream fishing kayak.

Also Read: The 10 Best Ocean Fishing Kayaks On The Market

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is kayak fishing worth it?

Yes, kayak fishing is definitely worth it. It is versatile, budget-friendly, and gives you much more convenience and accessibility than a mundane boat. Furthermore, you can also customize your kayak according to your requirements.

One of the major reasons people prefer kayak fishing is because the kayak only weighs a few pounds, and you can easily take it with you anywhere you are going.

What should I bring kayak fishing?

The essentials that you need to bring on your fishing kayak when you are going for a day out are as follows:

  • An Emergency Paddle
  • A small personal flotation device
  • Compass
  • Anchor
  • Waterproof first-aid kit
  • Paddle Leash

Can you fish in a normal kayak?

Yes, you can go out in the ocean in a normal kayak to fish. Regular kayaks are a perfect starting point, and they will allow you to explore the activity and see if you actually like it. Once you’re sure that you like the activity, you can switch to specialized kayaks like a fishing kayak to enhance your fishing experience.

How do I make my fishing kayak better?

You can make your entire experience much more fun with these simple tricks:

  • Use easy-to-fish lures
  • Use search baits to locate fishes in the water
  • You cannot use the same tactics for all species, so make sure to research the area you are going to fish in and find the best ways to catch the particular fishes
  • Customize your kayak according to the area you are going to; equip it with tackle, landing net, pliers, and any other important gear that you might need
  • Use mount rod holders on your kayak for carrying spare combos and trolling

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