It Takes Two: What is the Best Tandem Fishing Kayak?

best tandem fishing kayak

What is the only thing better than a one-person fishing kayak? A two-person fishing kayak!

Alright, we know that’s not always the case. But fishing can be a lonely, and at times, boring activity (especially when there are no bites).

You may want to take the boy out and teach him how to fish, or challenge a mate to a fishing competition and be able to keep a close eye on how big those trouts really are.

Kayak fishing trips with a buddy are a helluva lot of fun - if you have the right kayak for it!

So, if you’re looking for the best tandem fishing kayak, our guide shows you what to look out for and has a range of options to suit every budget.

Best Tandem Fishing Kayak Comparison Table

Product

Weight

Capacity

Dimensions

Price

Our Rating

Malibu Kayaks Pro 2

60 lbs

550 lbs

13' x 33" x 11"

$$$

Vibe Skipjack 120T

72 lbs

500 lbs

12' x 35" x 2"

$$

Useful UH-TK181

68 lbs

450 lbs

12.5' x 31.5" x 20"

$$

​Coleman Colorado

41 lbs

470 lbs

10' x 3' x 9"

$

Lifetime Sport Fisher

65 lbs

500 lbs

10' x 36" x 19"

$

Scroll down to see full reviews!

Who Can Benefit from a Tandem Fishing Kayak?

Let’s get something clear; tandem kayaks are certainly not the most efficient way to paddle. They require teamwork, coordination, and patience.

That being said, they’re still a lot of fun and are a great way to bond.

They are fantastic for father and son duos. In fact, they’re great for anyone who wants to go fishing with friends and family.

The benefit of tandem kayaks is that you can take turns rowing and fishing. Tandems are also larger and you can generally store more items in them. And if you choose to go out on trips alone, you can use the extra seat for more storage.

Another great thing about tandem fishing kayaks is that you don’t have to be a master kayaker to paddle one. The broad base of fishing kayaks mean they’re incredibly stable and easy to manoeuvre.

You can hop in with little to no kayaking experience and just have fun.

Advantages

  • Cheap fishing day trips with mates - You don’t need to buy a boat or pay for expensive fishing charters.
  • Better for the environment - Fishing kayaks are propelled by paddling or small electric motors.
  • Good for the mind and body - A little bit of paddling exercise and being in nature is a winning combination.
  • More exciting - Kayak fishing has more of a buzz to it than just fishing off the bank.

Disadvantages

Why Tandem Sit On Top Kayaks Are Best

Most tandem fishing kayaks are sit on top. The open design gives anglers a lot of flexibility when they’re fishing.

A sit on top kayak will allow you to hop in and out easily, fish standing up, or even hang your legs over the sides and dip your feet in (heaven on earth on a hot day).

The Lifetime Sport Fisher is the best tandem fishing kayak

The trade-off is that without high sides or a spray skirt to keep the water out, it’s inevitable that you’ll get a little wet. However, this may not be an issue (and might even be desired) depending on where you’re fishing and the time of year.

I, like man anglers, like to have the option of casting while standing up. So for me, it’s a no-brainer, and a little more water on board is a small price to pay for flexible fishing options.

What Else to Look Out For

Tandem fishing kayaks come with features that enhance your fishing experience.

If you’re buying a tandem kayak mainly to get to the best fishing holes, then choose a tandem kayak that is specifically built for fishing and not just a tandem recreational kayak.

Here’s what to look out for:

  • Good Tracking and Stability – Ideally you want a tandem kayak that glides through the water easily even with just one person paddling. However, fishing kayaks tend to be wider for stability and tracking is something you may have to compromise on. Stability is the main factor, especially if you want the option of standing up while you cast.
  • Comfortable Seat – You’re going to be spending hours parked on your backside, so make sure your lower back and hips are properly supported.
  • Adequate Storage Space – Fishing trips require you to take more gear than usual. Ensure that you have enough room for tackle boxes, packed lunches, and somewhere to store your catch.
  • Multiple Rod Holders – Having more than one rod holder will allow you to fish comfortably with a buddy, or set up a couple of rods at the same time - more lines in the water equal more bites. Look for a mixture of flush mounted and adjustable mounts so you can get your angle just right.
  • Multiple Foot Rests – Having a few different foot rests will allow you to really dig in and get the leverage required for the big catches.
  • Fish Finder Attachment – Plan on using a fish finder? Look for built-in scupper holes to allow transducers to easily pass
  • Motor Mount – If you’re looking for that added oomph, look for rectangular rear ends that will allow an electric motor to be mounted.

Tandem Fishing Kayak Reviews

So now you know what makes a good fishing kayak, here’s our round-up of the best tandem fishing kayaks. To produce this list, we reviewed lots of fishing kayaks and handpicked the ones that accommodate two or more people and have been designed with fishing in mind.

If you know of a tandem fishing kayak that deserves to be on this list but isn’t, then let us know in the comments below.

Malibu Kayaks Pro 2 Tandem Fish and Dive Kayak

The Malibu Pro 2 tandem kayak is a versatile recreational kayak that’s capable of being used on lakes, rivers, and the open ocean. It’s multi-functional and well-adapt for general paddling, kayak fishing, and even a spot of kayak diving.

Malibu Kayaks Pro 2 Review

It can be easily paddled with one person or it can comfortably sit two people. And at 62 pounds, it can be carried quite easily by a couple of people.

It’s stable and almost impossible to tip, and with a maximum capacity of 550 pounds, it even has enough buoyancy to store dive tanks.

Some of the other features we like about the Pro 2 are the large central storage hatch, the eight-inch front and rear bucket hatches, the abundance of foot rests, the six flush mounted rod holders, and the option of installing a motor unit.

There is also open storage at the front and back complete with bungee cords for securing your load. Divers will be pleased to know that the front compartment is designed to hold a dive tank.

However, there are a couple of drawbacks to the Malibu Pro 2…

For starters, the standard seats are shallow and moulded into the kayak. They’re comfortable enough for short trips, but aren’t ideal for long days on the water. Padded seats are available that can be attached to the moulds or fitted over the central storage compartment.

The other downside is the price. The Malibu Pro 2 is more expensive than other kayaks on the market and you’ll also have to pay extra for upgraded features (padded seats, adjustable rod holders, and paddles are not included).

However, the kayak does come with all the essentials and its solid construction guarantees paddling adventures in the Malibu Pro 2 for years to come.

I also like the freedom of expression you get from Malibu, with the Pro 2 available in seven different colours.

Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T Tandem Kayak

Featuring a sleek design and eye-grabbing colour scheme, the Skipjack 120T Tandem Kayak is sure to turn heads whether it’s in the water, or strapped to the roof rack.

Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T Review

Besides aesthetics, this kayak comes with all the features you would expect from a top-of-the-line fishing kayak.

Multiple foot rests make landing your catch easy. And if you’ve not got anything on your line, you can trust a couple of flush mounted rod holders to keep your rod steady while you kick back.

At 12 foot, this kayak is a good size and can easily fit two adults and a child. When it’s out of the water, four carrying handles make transporting the kayak super easy.

Planning a long fishing trip? No problem. The Skipjack 120T has plenty of storage with two large sealed hatches, a tray with bungee tie down at the rear, and storage at the back of the seats (deluxe seats only).

My only gripe is that the kayak doesn’t come with adjustable rod holders. However, there are mounting plates to suit Scotty, RAM, or Railblaza models.

The kayak has decent tracking and will remain stable while fishing in a variety of conditions.

The Skipjack 120T also comes with two seats and two paddles as standard.

Useful UH-TK181 12.5 foot Sit On Top Tandem Fishing Kayak

Useful UH-TK181 12.5 Review

This kayak doesn’t come from a well-known manufacturer, but it makes our list due to its high-quality build and host of features.

Featuring a camo design, the craft blends into the surrounding environment and will not spook fish.

The UH-TK181 has good tracking, can be manoeuvred easily, and has a well-balanced hull that keeps the kayak stable even in choppy water.

With a maximum capacity of 450 pounds, this kayak can comfortably hold two people and still have plenty of capacity for cargo.

Speaking of storage, there’s a large rear compartment with a bungee tie-down system as well as additional storage at the back of the seats.

The kayak weighs 68 pounds, but four carrying handles make it easily transportable by a couple of people.

Your comfort is assured with two deluxe seats and a host of features including; two bungee paddle rests, four flush mount rod holders, three adjustable mount rod holders, and multiple foot rests.

The package also comes with two lightweight aluminium paddles.

Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak

Coleman Colorado Review

So many friends swear by this kayak that it had to be included in our reviews. Why? Well, the Coleman Colorado allows you to get out on the water even if you don’t have space for a hardshell tandem fishing kayak.

It’s exceptionally well-made, stable on the water, and comfortable to ride.

This inflatable fishing kayak can be compacted to fit into an easily handled storage bag, and when inflated, it can hold up to 470 pounds!

You’ll never have to worry about leaks or sinking in the middle of the lake, as Coleman’s Airtight System is guaranteed leak proof. The tarpaulin base and 840D nylon cover are extremely durable, but in the event of a puncture, multiple air compartments mean you’ll stay afloat and make it back to shore safely.

The Coleman Colorado will fit two adults, but you may be hard-pressed to fit much else in besides some tackle in the side mesh compartments and a cooler box in the rear.

It’s a snug fit inside and those with long legs will have to move the adjustable seats right back to remain comfortable.

The Berkley adjustable rod holders will keep your rod at whatever angle you set, allowing easy hands-free fishing.

The only thing not going for the Coleman Colorado, is that you’ll also have to purchase a set of paddles and a foot or electric pump.

Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak

Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher Review

The Lifetime Sport Fisher is one of the best sellers on the market. The great thing about this kayak is that it is designed for both single and tandem use and can even handle three people comfortably.

So many people gravitate to this kayak because it is packed with features, yet remains incredibly affordable.

At ten foot in length, this kayak is quite short, and as such, it tracks okay but is not the fastest. However, this is a kayak built for fishing, not touring.

What it lacks in length, it makes up for in width, and a wider than usual hull offers superb stability - even when you’re fishing standing up. A wide hull also means the kayak is highly manoeuvrable and can turn on the spot easily, allowing you to get to those hard to reach fishing spots that other anglers are passing up.

It can also hold up to 500lbs! So it will have no problem holding you, a friend, and your gear.

Made from durable high-density polyethylene, this kayak is tough as nails. And if you’ve still got doubts, the five year warranty will put your mind at rest.

Now, let’s get into those all important features…

The Lifetime Sport Fisher comes equipped with two lightweight paddles, three built-in rod holders, cup holders, two padded seats, one moulded seat, multiple foot rests, and clips for stowing away paddles.

I like that the seats are high and that the scupper plugs quickly drain any water in the cockpit. The scupper holes will also allow a transducer to pass through if you use a fish finder.

There’s adequate storage onboard with a large front compartment with elasticated cords, and a smaller six-inch storage hatch at the rear.

If you want something to help with propulsion, there is a hole at the back of the kayak to easily allow a motor unit to attach.

All in all, this is a great kayak that offers phenomenal value. If you want to get started in kayak fishing but you don’t know where to begin, the Lifetime Sport Fisher is an excellent choice.

6 COMMENTS

  1. I’m trying to decide between the Vibes Skipjack 120T and the UH-TK181. If you’re to buy one, which one would you buy.

    I’m buying a tandem because of my wife so she can come with me whenever she likes, However, she is not an outdoor person, hate the sun and most likely she won’t be with me most of the time.

    • Hi Eugene,

      I would go with the Skipjack 120T in your case. It is slightly wider and has a flatter bottom than the UH-TK181, making it more stable and easier to use for two people. If you’re wife hasn’t been out on kayaks much, she’ll appreciate the extra stability.

      The UH-TK181 is more of a fishing kayak, whereas the Vibes model is a recreational kayak (but still a damn good fishing yak). Both are suitable for solo paddling. Hope that helps.

      • Hi Jamie,

        Thank you for your reply. That helps a lot. By the way, I love to fish and will fish on this kayak. Also plan to take it to Florida for some saltwater fishing maybe once or twice a year. Would you still recommend the Vibe?

        One more thing, What do you think about the Feelfree Gemini and the Feelfree Corona tandem yaks? Would you still recommend the Vibes over these two?

        Eugene

      • I’m also a keen angler myself, and I can tell you that there is no better way to fish than out of a kayak.

        It depends on the conditions of the saltwater. If there are waves, then something with a little more rocker would make for a smoother ride. But if you’re sticking to estuaries or only heading out on calm days, then the vibe would still be fine. If you’re only planning on saltwater fishing a couple of days a year, then a flat bottomed kayak is till the best option.

        Sorry I’m not familiar with the Feelfree models, so can’t really comment. However, reading through their specs online, they seem quality kayaks.

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