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Kayak fishing is a relaxing and enjoyable way to spend time out on the water without all the headaches that come with owning a powerboat. Fishing kayaks are easier to store, require very little maintenance, and can be easily transported. Plus, it’s a lot more affordable than fishing on a motorized vessel. Fishing kayaks range from basic designs to more complex (and pricier) options. These best fishing kayaks are ideal for beginner anglers or experts alike, so read to see which one is right for your needs.
Best Beginner: Vibe Yellowfin
If you’re new to kayak fishing, the ten-foot Vibe Yellowfin is a great way to get started and is a top choice overall for craftsmanship and price. At 57 pounds, the sit-on-top kayak is one of the lighter options on the market, making it easy for one person to load and unload. It includes four mounted rod holders, paddle holders to prevent loss, plus four carry handles. There are also two sealed storage compartments with bag inserts, a rear well with bungees for larger items, as well as a comfortable seat and a paddle. Amazon buyers note that the kayak is extremely durable and of an excellent quality considering the low price tag. It's available in four different colors — blue lagoon, jam berry, moss camo, and wildfire.
Best Budget: Sun Dolphin Excursion Fishing Kayak
If you’d like to give kayak fishing a try but don’t want to invest too much into it, the Sun Dolphin Excursion Fishing Kayak is a great way to get started. The 10-foot, sit-in kayak is made of high-density polyethylene and features handles on the front and back that make it easy to carry. Fishing holders are located in the back and swivel fishing holders in front, while bungee cords secure the storage area and water bottle holder. The seat has padding on the back, as well as thigh-padding along the sides. The kayak handles well in the water, but it does not withstand the test of time as well as more expensive options.
Best Sit-on-Top Tandem: Brooklyn Kayak Company UH-TK219
For a tandem kayak that’s not too long and handles well, look to the Brooklyn Kayak Company which offers a 12-foot, sit-on-top kayak that can accommodate two (or three) anglers — and at a moderate price to boot. Fishing highlights include four built-in rod holders and two adjustable holders, dual watertight storage compartments, as well as a rear storage with bungee tie downs. There are also built-in paddle rests, so you won’t have to worry about it floating away while you’re laser-focused on fishing. Two kayak seats with rear pouches are included and the kayak comes in three different color varieties — sand, olive, and gray swirl. Amazon buyers note that it is extremely stable, but at 70 pounds it’s a tad heavy to carry.
Best Versatile Tandem: Old Town Twin Heron Angler
For a kayak that works well paddling with one person or two (it can support up to 500 pounds), the Old Town Twin Heron Angler is a fantastic choice. The sit-in kayak has a removable front seat, so a single paddler can easily maneuver the 13.5-foot craft. In fact, several Amazon buyers stated they take the kayak out with their dog in the front, however, it can comfortably accommodate a second person as well. The hull of the kayak is designed with a bow that points downward — another design feature that allows one person to control it with ease. The 60-pound kayak has two rod holders, six mount receivers, and foot braces, however, it does not have as much storage as some of the other choices.
Best for Storage: Malibu Kayaks Trio-11 Fish and Dive Sit-on-Top Kayak
Those who plan on hauling a lot of gear — or people — around on their fishing trip should consider the Malibu Kayaks Trio-11 Fish and Dive Sit-on-Top Kayak. The versatile three-person kayak (it can support 500 pounds) is just over 11 feet long, weighs 64 pounds, and has two hatches and a bungee-corded space designed for storing items such as tackle gear, a cooler, and more. There are two rear rod holders, adjustable footrests, a drain hole, and side carry handles. The “Trio-11” also has a gator hatch designed to hold kid-sized seats if little ones want to tag along. Be aware that this kayak does not include a padded seat — just molded ones — so you’ll have to purchase that separately. It's currently available in mango and lime colors.
Best Sit-In: Vapor 10 Angler Kayak
If you’re looking for a well-made, sit-in kayak at a reasonable price, the Old Town company’s Vapor 10 Angler Kayak is a safe bet. The inside cockpit is extremely roomy and wide, with a padded seat cushion and adjustable foot braces to stabilize you when paddling. The Vapor comes with an anchor and trolley system, so once you find a good spot where the fish are biting you can stay there, and two rod holders behind the seat. The kayak is extremely stable and comes in a blue and white cloud pattern. There’s also a drain plug, so you can easily get any water out that splashes in without having to struggle to shake the kayak around.
Best Sit-on-Top: Perception Pescador Pro
If you plan on doing some fishing in the ocean or another area that sees some waves, you may want to consider a sit-on-top kayak. These kayaks are designed to allow the water to run out of the kayak through scupper holes (through holes), so if a wave splashes some water in, you won’t have to bail it out. The Perception Pescador Pro is a solid choice for this and has a removable, stadium-style seat, tackle box storage. Plus, it's specially designed to allow you to attach additional gear. There’s also a molded cup holder and fishing rod holders, a skid plate on the hull for added durability, as well as a center console for storage.
Best Splurge: Hobie Mirage Revolution 11
If you’re searching for a high-performance, well-constructed kayak, Hobie is a trusted name for anglers and adventurers. The Hobie Mirage Revolution 11 features specially-designed pedals for hands-free propulsion (forward and reverse), so you can glide along with the fishing pole in hand. Storage compartments are located in the front and rear of the kayak, there are two rod holders and the seat is adjustable to two different heights. With the ability to handle tight turns, the kayak can easily slip into smaller areas where the fish are hiding. When not in use, the rudder can be tucked away for easy storage. The kayak measures 11.6 feet and weighs a hefty 81 pounds.
Best for Ocean Fishing: Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90
Vibe kayaks are known for being among the best in the industry, and their Skipjack line is particularly friendly for fishing. We love the Skipjack 90, which is a nine-foot sit-on-top style. It’s great to handle in the ocean, thanks to its responsiveness and, most importantly when fishing, stability. Six rod holders let you tote along a variety of poles, which is great for hardcore fishermen who are looking to catch a few different kinds on their sea outing — plus two spots to keep not-in-use paddles eliminate the risk of them going overboard. At 46 pounds and decked out with six carry handles, it’s light enough and has smart features for comfortable portage, too. There are also two sealed hatches — each with bag inserts — and a bungee well on the back for storage, so you have plenty of room for your gear and provisions during a day out on the water.
Best Inflatable: Hobie Mirage i9s
There are inflatable fishing kayaks — and then there are those that really go all out to deliver a superior performance experience in the water. This Rolls-Royce of the inflatable fishing kayak world falls under the latter category, thanks to its incredible performance in the waves, comfort, and stability — and while the $2,300 price tag is certainly on the high end, you’re definitely getting what you pay for with this vessel — especially if you’ll be taking it out every day.
The Hobie Mirage i9s extremely well made and easy to maneuver in the waves, with a responsive rudder and steering capabilities for both right- and left-handed navigators. The amount of cargo space leaves plenty of room for gear, equipment, and bait — enough for a day or weekend excursion — and all can be easily secured with the kayak’s bungee tie-downs. We also love that it comes with its own rolling storage and travel bag, making it ultra portable.