It’s easy to see why kayak fishing is a fast growing sport. It’s the perfect way to unwind and spend a lazy Sunday on the water with friends and family, or just to have some chill time by yourself. It’s also exciting; you get to cruise around in your own little boat, and there’s always the chance you’ll get to wrestle with a monster catch.
In short, it has combined two much-loved hobbies, and like cheese on burgers, it’s a winning combination.
So, if you’re looking to get started with kayak fishing or to upgrade your boat, we’ve put together a guide to selecting a fishing kayak and rounded up the best fishing kayaks on the market. Our list has a little something for everybody: stability, comfort, and reasonable pricing.
It’s time to sit back, chill, and let us do the hard work for you.
Our Top Rated Fishing Kayaks
13' 8" x 38" x 20"
10' x 36"
10' 9" x 3' 3"
13' 2" x 33.5 "
13' 4" x 28"
Scroll down to see full reviews!
Benefits of Kayak Fishing
- Relaxing – Kayak fishing makes you more in sync with nature. On the water, you unplug from the chaos of day-to-day life and have time to relax and gather your thoughts.
- Stealth – Although you can mount a motor, eliminating the engine and the associated vibration will cause fewer disturbances to fish. This is key to catching certain species, but it will improve your success overall.
- Environmentally friendly - Opting to paddle instead of using a motor eliminates carbon emissions and noise pollution. But it’s not only good for the environment, as you’ll also reap the health benefits of paddling and you’ll save a pretty penny by not buying fuel.
- Access to better locations – Fishing from a large boat or off the dock severely limits where you can cast your line. Using a kayak will allow you to access nooks and crannies that other anglers are missing out on.
- Exciting – The thrill of a catch is always enough to get you pumped, but when you’re in a kayak, it’s multiplied tenfold.
- High initial outlay - The elephant in the room is without a doubt the cost of getting started. Kayak fishing is not a cheap hobby. You’ll need a kayak, paddle, life vest, possibly a rod holder and fish finder, plus all your usual fishing gear and accessories. That being said, once you have the equipment, it will last for years and provide countless hours of fun.
Fishing Kayak Buying Guide
Sit-on-top Vs Sit-in
So, here’s the big question; do you go sit inside, or sit-on-top (SOT)? If you’ve had experience with both styles, you may have a favourite. But if you’re a beginner, you may not know which you prefer.
Here’s the lowdown…
SOT kayaks are more popular amongst anglers as they let you fish from a variety of positions - including standing up. They also offer heaps of storage space so you can bring along tackle boxes, spare rods, and any other gear you’ll need.
The other appeal is that SOT kayaks will not fill if you capsize, and it’s fairly easy to flip the boat and hop back on.
But what about sit-in kayaks? Well, sit inside kayaks have the major advantage of keeping you much drier (great if you’re fishing in cold water).
Their downside is that they’ll swamp if you flip or if enough water finds its way inside.
If you’re paddling on choppy water, a sit-on-top kayak is recommended.
Personally, I think the versatility and ease of sit-on-top kayaks make them better for fishing. If you’re sitting on the fence, this article will give you the run down on SOT kayaks.
What Else to Look Out For
- Stability – Generally, the longer and narrower your kayak, the faster it will be. However, speed isn’t critical for kayak fishing, and it’s better to have a wider kayak that is more stable. Width isn’t a big concern as most fishing kayaks are made wide nowadays. But if you plan on stand up fishing, it’s worth doing your research to check which ones offer better balance.
- Rudder – Although rudder help to turn a kayak, their main function is to keep a kayak tracking straight. A rudder won’t make or break your kayaking experience, but they can be a nice little extra feature.
- Adjustable Seat – Comfort is a big thing when you’re parked on your arse for several hours. Look for seats that offer good support and with backrests and that can be adjusted to give your legs space, and so your feet can fit into the rests properly.
- Rod Holders – At the very least, a fishing kayak should come with a couple of built-in flush-mounted rod holders. Premium models will also come with an adjustable rod holder or a mountable bolt plate.
- Foot Rests – Foot rests will keep you comfortable but will also provide that much-needed leverage so you can haul your catch on board.
- Storage Capacity – Make sure your kayak has enough space for your fishing gear and any other supplies you want to take on your outings. Look for added storage that will make life easy, such as dry compartments for your phone and wallet, clips for holding paddles when not in use, and trays for spinners and bait you’ll frequently be using.
- Optional Motor Mount – If you would like to attach a small motor, look for a kayak with a squared off back end.
- Other Accessories – What else would make the perfect fishing vessel? How about attachments for fish finders and scupper holes for their transducers, eyelets for attaching your anchor, or a larger table for baiting and gutting? Make a list of all the fishing accessories that are essential as opposed to those that are just nice to have. It’s easy to get carried away with what you think you need.
Fishing Kayak Reviews – An In-depth Look At Our Top 5
By now, you’ll probably know what kind of fishing kayak you want. But with so many makes and models to choose from, the choice can still be a difficult one.
Lucky for you, we’ve reviewed all the top fishing kayaks in one handy place. These kayaks are a mixture of the latest 2016 models and timeless classics. We’ve also included a price range that covers all budgets.
So without further ado, here are the best kayaks for fishing on the market today.
Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14
Hobie is a trusted and well-known brand in the fishing community, and the Pro Angler 14 is without a doubt the best fishing kayak out there.
It’s sturdy, stable, comfortable, and has tons of storage.
And when we say “tons of storage”, we really mean it. The Pro Angler 14 can store four rods horizontally, two vertically, and has three storage hatches at the front, centre, and rear. And with 600 pounds of capacity, you can safely take everything you’re ever going to need on a fishing trip.
Efficient design and strategic storage trays ensure everything is on hand when you need it.
The boat is extremely well-balanced and encourages all styles of fishing, including stand up casting. The kayak is suitable for all waterways including lakes, rivers, coastal regions, and anywhere else that’s deep enough for the pedals.
Speaking of pedals, the Turbo Fins are a stand-out feature that free up your hands for fishing and save your from exhaustion by using the larger, more powerful leg muscles for paddling.
The adjustable vantage seat provides maximum comfort and support all day long.
Additional features to the 2015 model include a tracking skeg, H-rails for easy mounting, and a built-in set up for a Lowrance fish finder.
However, for a best-in-class kayak, you’re gonna have to part with some SERIOUS CASH (around $3,000!!!). At a cost on par with buying a budget car, the Mirage Pro Angler 14 is only for the serious angler.
And while it is expensive, if kayak fishing is your passion, it is worth every penny. The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 is hands down the best kayak for fishing. Period.
If your budget won’t stretch that far, the Hobie Mirage Outback model is a similarly impressive kayak but almost $1000 cheaper.
Lifetime Sport Fisher
This is a popular sit-on-top fishing kayak due to its huge versatility and fine balance.
It’s a great option if you plan on fishing with mates as this ten-foot kayak can accommodate up to three passengers! However, it most comfortably sits two people, and if you just want to get out on the water yourself, it can be easily maneuvered by one person.
Its tunnel hull design offers superb balance and gives you the option of stand-up fishing or side-saddling without tipping over.
Its durable plastic construction means that the Lifetime Sport Fisher will actually last a lifetime, while also having the benefit of being lightweight and easy to store and transport.
The kayak also comes complete with plenty of functional accessories including three contoured seats, three fishing rod holders, a cup stand, two high-grade paddles, and lots of foot rests for leveraging that big catch.
There’re also plenty of areas to store loose items with a dry storage compartment and ditty trays that come supported by a shock cord for convenient and neat containment.
The Lifetime Sport Fisher is very reasonably priced and for everything on offer, we reckon it’s the best value kayak on out list.
Looking to get out on the lake but don’t have the space to store a boat? No problem. Sevylor’s inflatable Coleman Colorado is the fisherman’s friend being a stable, sturdy and easily maneuverable kayak that comfortably seats two people.
The Coleman Colorado is the ideal fishing kayak for those with limited storage and transport space and who don’t want to be restricted to the shore. The kayak fits in a carry bag that is a compact 2’ x 2’ x 10” high when deflated, but pumps up to an impressive 10’ 9” x 3’ 3” once inflated.
It’s an extremely durable kayak being constructed from 18 gauge PVC, with a 1000D tarpaulin bottom, and a 840D nylon cover. Sevylor guarantees that their “Airtight System” will remain leak-free as the Colman Colorado boasts a redundant air chamber to ensure it stays inflated even in the event of a puncture.
The kayak comes complete with all the trimmings including paddle holders, quick set rod holders for hands-free fishing, plenty of mesh pockets for storage, adjustable seats, and a carry bag for storage/transport.
Old Town Predator 13 Fishing Kayak 2016
Old Town frequently makes our top-rated lists, and you would think we had an affiliation with them. But that’s not the case. They just make high-quality kayaks that deserve recognition.
The Predator 13 is another exceptional kayak from the leading outdoors manufacturer. It has plenty of fans over on the Reddit kayak fishing community who say the Predator 13 is the Cadillac of fishing kayaks. Take from that what you will.
But what we can report is that this is a top-of-the-line kayak packed with a ton of features for anglers. It is sturdy, comfortable, and a highly functional fishing kayak.
The tri-hull design is incredibly stable, and it would take a tsunami to tip you out this kayak. The stable hull allows plenty of versatility when it comes to fishing positions, and it also does a cracking job of keeping the boat on a straight path.
Constructed from durable polyethylene, this kayak is a onetime purchase that you’ll have for the rest of your days - which is good considering the kayak is a little pricey. But if you’re serious about kayak fishing, then the Predator 13 is worth every penny.
With a dry compartment at the bow and a large bungee cord storage at the stern, there is plenty of space to store all your fishing and camping gear.
There’s also additional storage under the mod pod in the centre which can easily fit a spare paddle. The lid of the storage has seven flush-mounted rod holders and six different mount locations for all your accessories. You can completely customise your set up and have your rod holder, fish finder, and GPS anyway you want.
The Predator comes with a camouflage finish available in four colours; all of them equally cool.
Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler
Classic fishing kayaks do not come any better equipped than the Prowler 13 Angler from Ocean Kayak. Adept in both calm and turbulent waters, this kayak glides across the water quickly and quietly while remaining stable.
Designed with anglers needs in mind, it has ample storage space for rods and tackle boxes, plenty of foot rests for leverage, and has built-in scupper holes for transducers if you like to use a fish finder.
The large front hatch offers safe and dry under deck storage from bow to stern and is the perfect place for keeping that catch fresh. There’s also an oversized rear tank that can easily store coolers, crates, tackle boxes, and even SCUBA tanks.
Some of the other perks of the Prowler 13 include the Comfort Plus seat and multiple holders for cups, rods, and paddles.
The only drawback with this kayak is the potential to take on a little more water than is comfortable if you’re heavily loaded. While the Prowler 13 is rated for 400-450 pounds of equipment, if you’re approaching near that limit you will have a fair amount of water inside the kayak.
Also, Ocean Kayak has recently released the Prowler Big Game Angler II and it’s tipped to be big hit in 2016. However, with the Prowler 13 being around $400 cheaper than the new model, we think the incredible value beats going after the “latest and greatest”.
Wrapping It Up
When it comes to fishing kayaks, there’s plenty of variety. In fact, there are so many options to choose from, what should be an enjoyable process soon becomes overwhelming and stressful.
We hope that our fishing kayak reviews have been helpful and pointed you in the right direction.
Our goal is for you to spend less time shopping and more time fishing. Fish on!