Best Fishing Kayaks in 2019

Modern fishing kayaks are specifically designed for superior stability. In fact, some of the up-to-date models even allow anglers to catch fish while standing up.. They are not only cheaper than motorized boats but also more dependable and environment-friendly. Choosing the best fishing kayak might be a daunting task for newbies as it is not a one-size-fits-all kind of product.

We have surveyed the market with a team of 10 members which included 3 experienced fishermen. From easy to paddle thin and longer models to wider kayaks for added stability, we have explored them all. After spending 4 weeks testing over a dozen of kayaks in Lake Erie, we have finally narrowed down to top 10 products.

Reviews of the Best Fishing Kayaks of 2019

Best fishing kayak over dozens of competitive models from different brands listed below:

1. Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 9-foot Angler Sit On Top Fishing Kayak - (Highly Rated, Well-Priced Product - Best of the Best)

Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 9-foot Angler Sit On Top Fishing Kayak

This is one of the most compact yet sturdily built kayaks on our list and we liked it so much that we decided to put it right at the top. The 9” kayak weighs merely 50 pounds and fits snugly at the back of an RV, truck or SUV. If you are a solo angler who likes to keep things simple and want a kayak for coastal fishing, this could be an excellent choice. You won’t need a partner or break your bone to pull this bad boy into the water either.

Thanks to its keel design, the vessel is suitable for different water conditions such as coastal oceans, surf, lakes and bays. The very same razor-like keel design gives this model an impeccable tracking ability for a 9” kayak. Another key feature of this model is its stability. The pronounced edges allow you to catch fishes even while standing up with the risk of tipping over.

We were also left quite impressed by the amount of storage space this particular model offers. It features a seat with a built-in backpack, two dry bag storage compartments and a bungee storage located behind the seat along with 4 rod holders. For a solo angler, the kayak allows ample room to store all the fishing gears and other essentials.

The only downside of the vessel is that the speed is compromised due to the short length and width. However, on the other hand, the same features make the kayak easily maneuverable in windy rivers. We liked how the kayak is designed for comfortable paddling. Even for tall adults, adjusting the positioning of the vessel will be a breeze, thanks to the roomy foothold. With proper maintenance, there’s no reason why this one shouldn’t last for years to come.

What we liked

  • Rear cargo storage.
  • Plenty of room for other gears.
  • Easy to maneuver.
  • Great tracking ability.
  • Portable.
What we didn't like
  • The seat lacks adequate padding.
  • Less speed due to short length and width.

2. Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak - (Another Top Pick)

Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

While tandem kayaks like this are not as maneuverable as the solo ones, it is certainly worth your money and effort if you want to tag along a partner to your inland ventures. The 12-feet vessel has adequate space to comfortably accommodate two riders. We absolutely loved the overlapping foot wells in the vessel that lets the center paddler to adjust his positioning with minimal effort.

Unlike our top pick whose seating arrangement didn’t really meet our expectation, the Ocean Kayak features 2 Comfort Plus seats with ample cushioning to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable day of kayaking. The kayak is 34 inches at its widest and weighs about 58 lbs. Therefore, neither maneuvering nor carrying the vessel is going to be an issue for you.

With a capacity of 425 lbs, it can easily carry two full-grown adults. You can also convert it to a solo kayak in a snap, thanks to the 3 sets of footwells. All you have to do is put the seat in the center foot well and paddle solo. Solo paddling will also considerably boost the kayak’s speed. We also liked the addition of a skid plate which protects the keel from damage. However, the skid plate isn’t imperishable, so you might want to keep a spare one handy.

What we liked

  • The water hardly seeps through the scupper holes.
  • Can accommodate up to 3 persons.
  • Can be easily converted to a solo kayak.
  • Highly portable.
  • Well-padded seats.

What we didn't like

  • Lacks storage space when two riders are on board.

3. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak - (Runners-up)

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak

This convertible, inflatable gear lets you raft in the river to go for fishing in the coastal ocean, bay or surf solo or tandem. The two seats in the kayaks can be placed in multiple positions. You can simply remove one sit and place another one right at the center if you want to go on a solo outing. There’s even an option of adding an extra decking if you want a more close-in feel. The backrest of the seats is high which our two testers personally loved.

This really takes some fatigue off the body after hours of paddling and angling. One of the biggest strengths of Advanced Elements has to be its rugged construction. The kayak features a U-shaped aluminum rib in the bow and stern which results in incredible tracking ability. This aluminum shaping also helps the model remain steady and stable in water bodies with higher currents.

Though we don’t recommend it for whitewater rapids, you can certainly go for an outing in water bodies that carry mild current with your buddy on this kayak. In fact, we have observed that the speed of the vessel is considerably higher when you ride tandem instead of solo. If you have previously used hard-shell kayaks, you will love how low this model sits in the water, making it a breeze to maneuver.

The kayak has a loading capacity of 550 lbs. Although while riding tandem, it doesn’t provide much storage space, you can easily fit in a bag or two, tie your gears with a clip on top of the decking with ease. Last but not the least, the striking contrast of orange and grey makes the kayak easy to spot by the coast guard, should any danger occur.

What we liked

  • Great tracking ability.
  • Easy to turn.
  • Lets you add additional decking.
  • Sits low in the water.
  • Sturdy construction.

What we didn't like

  • Heavier than most other inflatable tandem kayaks.

4. Perception Kayak Pescador Pro - (Budget Pick)

Perception Kayak Pescador Pro

The Pescador Pro 10 is branded as a performance-driven fishing kayak specifically designed for seasoned anglers. The first thing that caught our attention while evaluating this model is its deep hull. It single-handedly improves the tracking ability and adds tremendous stability to the vessel. You can go to inland lakes or fish in rivers that carry a little current and high waves without the fear of toppling over.

Even adults with a fairly good height and stout build can stand up while fighting or casting fish without tipping over, such is the stability of the kayak. The second thing that impressed us is the stadium-style seating arrangement that ensures high comfort after hours of constant paddling. The fully adjustable seat also lets you tweak its size, position (upright or recline). You will also like the footbrace system that allows you to maintain proper positioning while paddling.

As for the storage, the scupper drained storage area at the rear, a 5” dry well and the room above the deck are sufficient. You can also remove the bungees to make room for a cooler if needed. You will have YakAttack Gear Trac system allows you to carry your fishing gears and dual molded-in rod holders to keep your fishing poles ready all the time.

What we liked

  • Easy to maneuver.
  • Plenty of storage space.
  • Unique, comfortable seating.
  • YakAttack Gear Trac system.
  • Dual molded-in rod holders.

What we didn't like

  • Not the best option for beginners.

5. Driftsun Voyager 2 Person Inflatable Kayak - (Editor’s Choice)

Driftsun Voyager 2 Person Inflatable Kayak

If you are specifically in search of a lightweight model that lets you go for angling with a co-passenger, this model this definitely worth a look. It weighs only 27 pounds which means even a minor can pump it, drag it in the water, deflate and fold it back in the SUV like it’s a cakewalk. Using the fast and efficient hand pump, you can inflate the model in less than 5 minutes and start kayaking in full swing.

By looking at the pointed nose entry and rocker profile, we are certain that the kayak is designed for harsh water and rough weather conditions. The vessel is made of PVC and provides a decent amount of puncture protection. However, it won’t hold up long at high temperature.

Due to the compact tandem design, do not expect it to have a lot of room for storing your essentials. However, it does feature some webbing at the back and front for storing the gears. You can also fully utilize the bungee storage and oar holders at the sides secured by Velcro.

What we liked

  • One of the most lightweight kayaks in the list.
  • Made to tackle harsh water and weather conditions.
  • Puncture-proof design.
  • Bungee storage and oar holders at the sides.
  • Comes with a repair kit, hand pump, and other accessories.

What we didn't like

  • Storage space is compromised due to the compact design.

6. Ocean Kayak Frenzy Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak - (Best Buy)

Ocean Kayak Frenzy Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

For those who are searching for the best fishing kayak for casual fishing, light paddling, and river exploring, this could be a solid bang for the buck. This lightweight, 9” fishing kayak comes with adequate storage space and features an ergonomic design. This makes it fun to ride for beginners including children. The molded-in foot wells provide you with a proper sitting posture and let you conveniently adjust the positioning, irrespective of your height.

The seats are adjustable in 4 ways which make sitting for long hours a relaxing and full-filled experience for your friends and family. The kayak is mainly suited for calm water bodies. If you want to go exploring water bodies carrying high current, look for something for advanced.

What we liked

  • Highly portable.
  • Best suited for recreation and casual fishing.
  • Fuss-free setup.
  • PVC-hull design makes it easy to store.
  • Lots of storage space.

What we didn't like

  • Not suitable for fish fighting and casting in harsh water condition.

7. Lifetime 10 Foot, Two Person Tandem Sit-on Kayak with Padded Backrests - (Best Overall)

Lifetime 10 Foot, Two Person Tandem Sit-on Kayak with Padded Backrests

You will love this sturdily built yet super lightweight kayak if you want to enjoy a fun-filled ride in the lake or ocean with your kids. The kayak can comfortably accommodate 3 full-grown adults or one adult and 3 small children. The multiple foot positions and seat backs allow optimal comfort for individuals of different heights and body types.

The kayak rides like a charm on the surf. The built is pretty solid and the makers have paid extra attention to the stability. So there’s no reason why you can’t take it out in the ocean and enjoy 1 to 3 foot long waves from the vicinity.

What we liked

  • Easily maneuverable.
  • Best for recreation.
  • Lets you cast while standing up.
  • Rugged build.
  • Decent amount of storage space to secure your gears.

What we didn't like

  • Not the best kayak if you are emphasizing on speed.

8. Perception Kayak Tribe (9.5 Foot) - (Best Overall, Runners-up)

Perception Kayak Tribe

The eye candy design is not the only thing that left us gushing over this yak. It is lightweight, easy to maneuver yet built sturdily enough to withstand different water conditions. The speed and agility of the kayak are commendable at this price point. The seatback helps you stay relaxed while paddling and a solo angler of simply any height and body weight can hop on it.

You can go out for fishing in the surf, bay and calm lakes without any issue. However, we would recommend buying 8 scupper plugs with the product as it will help you keep the seating area dry without any hassle.

What we liked

  • Ultra-compact design.
  • Although it’s meant for a solo rider, you can tag along a child or your pet in it.
  • Incredibly steady.
  • Comes with hatch bags.
  • Charming design.

What we didn't like

  • Dry storage not available.

9. Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak - (Also Great)

Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak

The Coleman Colorado tandem kayak is essentially a canoe-kayak hybrid designed for both low and high anglers. We know many are reluctant to use inflatable kayaks for fishing fearing puncture. You will be glad to know that the bottom of the yak is made from 1000D nylon tarpaulin to prevent punctures. An 840D nylon covers the rest of the vessel to prevent damage from fish hooks, tree branches, and sharp rocks. So much for safety, isn’t it?

Well, that’s not all. It also features multiple air chambers so that even if your kayak gets accidentally punctured, you can safely make it to the shore. The Coleman Colorado comes with all the necessary accessories you will need for fishing including rod holders, paddle holders, mesh pockets and D-rings.

What we liked

  • Durable design.
  • 470 lbs. capacity.
  • Stable.
  • Convenient storage options.
  • Comes with a bunch of accessories.

What we didn't like

  • Can’t be used in windy rivers.
  • Bulkier compared to many inflatable kayaks in the market.

10. Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak - (Also Good)

Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak

The model at #10 has more or less the same features as the previously reviewed product. The glaring difference is that the Big Basin-3 allows you to enjoy deep sea outing with a group of 3. With the capacity of around 490 pounds, it can easily accommodate 3 average built adults and even a kid alongside. The tarpaulin covered bottom and PVC sides ensures optimal protection against puncturing from sharp objects in the lake, river, bay or ocean.

The proprietary Airtight System of Coleman further adds to its durability, so much so that you can safely take it out on white water. It lets you safely ride the vessel to the shore even if there’s a hole in it. The adjustable seats make the riders feel cozy and comfy. As far as the setup is concerned, we didn’t face any issue while inflating and deflating the kayak.

What we liked

  • Designed for 3 people.
  • Comfortable seating.
  • Durable, puncture-proof.
  • Airtight system for enhanced safety.
  • Easy setup.

What we didn't like

  • Pumps and paddles need to be purchased separately.

The Bottom Line

Whether you are on a limited budget and looking for something compact or can afford a more feature-packed, spacious model for both fishing and recreation, we have something in store for everyone. Buying the best fishing kayak is all about understanding your fishing needs, how much space you need for storing your gears, ease of paddling and more. Hope our effort pays off and you end up finding the model that serves you the best. That’s all for today.

In the recent years, fishing kayak has enjoyed massive popularity due to its extensive appeal, posing as an environmentally friendly and safe mode of transportation. Most popular models are made from polythene due to higher durability and minimal costs. Due to inflatable kayaks being susceptible to punctures, anglers prefer the hard shell models.

Having the best and reliable vessel can offer an impeccable advantage to anglers out in the deep waters. However, even for the most seasoned anglers, picking the best fishing kayak can be a daunting and an uphill task. To make the decision easier for you, we scoured the market, carefully analyzed over 2000 reviews. We sought the help of a small group of fishermen to individually test over 15 models in order to best fishing kayaks money can buy.

Reasons to Buy a Fishing Kayak

Ability to stand

Its stand-ability ensures a better and effective sight of the catch. This technology provided a solution to the fatigue caused by sitting for extremely long hours.

Live well

This is one of the major perks that enable the selling of the stealth machine. It allows keeping the bait alive and sometimes can be converted into a cooler or fish storage.

Family matters

The best fishing kayaks are cozy enough with enough space to serve as a family machine. It is an extremely sweet rig for serious fishermen and family guys.

Impeccable stability

The sturdy structure of kayaks ensures that it is impossible to flip over. This ensures safety and boosts rider confidence while gliding in the waters.

Durability

This is the ability of a product to last for the expected period of time. The hull of this vessel is solid and its hatches are held up perfectly to suit lots of standing activity.

Rod holders

The presence of strong and standard two fronts and two rear rods ensures that it’s the perfect machine for guys who love fishing with multiple rods.

Tracking

It perfectly glides in the water, making it efficient in both speed and agility. As a result, you have to put less effort to ride.

Rear storage and side storage hatches

The side storage hatches ensure accessories stashed are safe and secure. The rear storage is huge, allowing for storage of maximum luggage.

Things to Consider Before Buying a

Fishing Kayaks

Best Fishing Kayak

For you to identify the best model, you need to figure out where your fishing activity will be taking place- e.g. salty or fresh waters, large lakes or farm ponds, deep sea or rivers, warm or cold waters. This is essential since different fishing kayaks have variable suitability to different weather conditions and fishing areas.

Basically, these fishing machines are quieter and almost unnoticeable by fish, hence ensuring effective fishing is achieved by anglers. When deciding on the best of the best, there’s no one-size vessel that is efficient for all anglers. Your kayak highly depends on your physical ability, your ideal fishing ground, distance to cover and the amount of gear to carry with you. Its durability, stability and storage space are the major factors that make it an effective monster in the water.

Materials

Special materials have been used in the making of modern kayaks. These include nitrite on, neoprene, polyvinyl chloride, aluminum, carbon fiber, fiberglass, and wood just to mention a few. The use of these modern materials has made it possible to use the modern kayaks for a variety of purposes.

Some of the common uses include racing, touring on placid water, fishing, and moving in fast-moving white water. The various types of kayaks include; racing kayaks, surf kayaks, touring kayaks, recreational and fishing kayaks. In most cases, today kayaks are made for commercialization rather than for personal use.

Structure and Design

Each kayak comes with its unique specifications suitable for different anglers and uses. The shape of the hull, width, and length vary. There are thin and longer models, and wider shorter models. The thin and longer models were built for purpose of long journeys, due to their requirement of less effort for paddling. The slim shape ensures better speed and versatility.

The broader models have high stability and require a lot of energy and effort to paddle. However, the wider model tends to be slower and less versatile. Some vessels are made to sit-on-top while others have a cock-pit like the model.

Sit-on-top models provide greater flexibility for anglers to comfortably wade, while traditional cock-pit models, also known as sit-in models are not flexible to wade. However, sit-in models are effective for fishing in regions with cold water. They also have a good stability.

Budget

When choosing the best powerful tool, ensure that you take into consideration your pocket pinch. For anglers who are comfortable being handy, a rigged angler model can be fine but very expensive. Find an efficient and appealing model that fits within your budget. Companies are coming up with better designs made from light materials and hence a variety of models that are cheap.

Durability

Consider for how long are you willing to use the vessel. You can choose between an inflatable and hard shell models. Inflatable models are suitable for cool waters wheras the hard shell is suitable for rough waters.

Purpose

Are you buying a kayak only for fishing activities? Or for sometimes paddling through rough waters? Or just spending time off shore with family or friends? The purpose of your vessel will very much affect the type of boat you should purchase.

Fishing grounds

Different machines are suitable for different regions. Make sure you consider whether your fishing will take place in streams, ponds, rivers, salty or fresh waters, estuaries and flat waters.

After a comprehensive study and research, some of the boats seem to be standing out among the rest. Their appeal, speed, agility, designs and effectiveness is impeccable.

Some of the add-on features you will find in higher-end models include foot-powered propulsion unit, battery to power the system and accessory rails etc.

Final Verdict

Buying the best fishing kayak is no easy feat since every angler has a different perspective. However, taking into consideration all the features portrayed by the different kayaks, we can possibly deduce the best vessel among the rest. These machines usually cost lesser than motor boats and deliver as much. In determining the fishing kayak, identifying your personal preferences comes in handy. The best fishing kayak should provide an intimate and accessible approach to fishing.