Top 10 Best Fishing Kayaks

man kayaking

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Wading a perfect mountain stream is great. So is cruising top speed across a lake on a high-powered bass boat. But, if you want the ultimate in stealth, solitude, and easy handling, then there isn’t much that compares to fishing in a kayak. Whether you’re drifting a slow-moving river trolling for pike or settling in for a full day on a secluded pond for brook trout, the best fishing kayaks offer a unique combination of simplicity and access that you just won’t find with other watercraft.

Sure, canoes have been a popular choice for anglers since colonial times. But, kayaks are designed specifically for ease of use that canoes simply can’t touch. If you’re a solo paddler, it’s a no-brainer. The double-bladed paddling style and low center of gravity in a kayak drastically improve stability and makes it easy to get from point A to point B without spending years to master your strokes. This stability is especially helpful for anglers who may need a little extra latitude to shake and shimmy when a trophy fish is on the line.

Kayaks are a beloved tool for anglers of all stripes, but there are a ton of them out there. With so many makes and models available, it can be hard to know which boats are worth consideration and which to pass up. In this article, we’ll take a look at ten of the best fishing kayaks on the market and help you understand what to look for when it’s time to hit the water. From trophy bass hunting to a relaxed trip out for perch with the kids, the best fishing kayaks can give you safe, fun, and productive access to your favorite fishing spots like never before.

​Comparison Table

Product FAQ

​1. What Is a Fishing Kayak?

​2. Who Makes the Best Fishing Kayaks?

​3. What Should You Look for in a Fishing Kayak?

​4. Are Fishing Kayaks Actually Different from Regular Kayaks?

​5. Are Fishing Kayaks Safe and Easy for Beginners?

How We Reviewed

man fishing

​Image source: pixabay

​For this review, we selected a range of the best fishing kayaks at various price points and performance levels. We broke down the features for each, as well as their price, availability, warranty info, and even a few pros and cons to serve as a quick reference while you shop. In the end, we also chose one overall top pick from the list. We’d never say that there’s one perfect fishing kayak for every paddler, but our top choice represents an excellent combination of features, price, performance, and overall value.

Overall Price Range

​​There’s a wide range of prices for the best fishing kayaks. For this review, we focused specifically on kayaks ranging between around $​ and $​$$. The lower-cost kayaks on this list are usually heavier and have fewer performance features like rudders and spray skirt attachments. The higher-end kayaks are often made of lighter materials, will move faster, and may offer added safety accessories like bilge pumps and throw line ropes.

What We Reviewed

  • Hobie Pro Angler 14
  • Ocean Kayak Prowler
  • Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak
  • Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak
  • BKC UH-FK184 9′ Sit on Top Single Fishing Kayak
  • BKC UH-TK181 12-Foot 5-inch Sit On Top Tandem 2 Person Fishing Kayak
  • Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 Angler Kayak
  • SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Bali SS
  • Feelfree Moken 10 Lite Kayak
  • Old Town Topwater PDL Angler Fishing Kayak

1. Hobie Pro Angler 14

Features

​Hobie’s Pro Angler 14 is amongst the best fishing kayaks on the market. It offers a mix of powerful features including Hobie’s Mirage Drive 180 Turbo, which allows the users to propel the boat without using a traditional hand paddle. The boat measures 13 feet and eight inches in length and boasts an impressive 600-pound weight capacity. Whether you’re planning to hit tidal waters or bass ponds, this boat will offer plenty of stability to fish for hours, either sitting or standing. Hand-accessed steering controls on this boat can be changed for either left or righthanded users, and a built-in transducer mount below the boat is fully compatible with Lowrance transducers.

Pros

  • Mirage Drive 180 Turbo foot propulsion
  • 600-pound weight capacity
  • Hand steering with swappable sides
  • Stable enough to fish standing

Cons

  • High-end price
  • Heavy for solo transport
  • ​PRICE $$$
  • ​WHERE TO BUY
  • ​WARRANTY

​This can bought for $$ in Amazon.

​2. Ocean Kayak Prowler

Features

​Ocean Kayak’s Prowler 13 offers exceptional stability and comfort for full days out on the open water. This boat has an open hull design, so you can move freely and avoid getting stiff legs or feeling claustrophobic. They’ve also added a Comfort Plus seat to ensure ample cushion for paddlers of all sizes and weight. Storage is where the Prowler 13 really stands apart from the other best fishing kayaks. With Click Seal ports, anglers can access storage compartments than run from the bow to the stern of the boat with ease. Built-in cup holders and rod mounts sweeten the deal that much further.

Pros

  • Excellent storage
  • Comfort Plus seat
  • Click seal ports
  • Fishing-specific add-ons

Cons

  • The open-top design may be less appealing to cold water paddlers
  • ​PRICE $$$
  • ​WHERE TO BUY
  • ​WARRANTY

​This can be found in Amazon for $$.

​3. Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak

Features

​Sevylor Colorado 2-Person fishing kayak is a great option for anglers who are short on storage space but also want to share the fishing experience with a friend. The Colorado is an inflatable kayak made of 18-gauge PVC plastic and offers multiple air chambers to prevent a complete sinking should any individual air chamber get compromised. This boat comes with fully adjustable seats for all-day comfort and is also compatible with Sevylor’s compact trolling motor. If you do choose to troll, then the included Berkley Quickset rod holders are sure to come in handy. You can also easily lock down added gear with the built-in storage D-rings across the boat.

Pros

  • Inflatable for easy packing and storage
  • High-grade PVC plastics
  • High-grade PVC plastics
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Not as easy to paddle as non-inflatable boats
  • Less durable
  • ​PRICE $$$
  • ​WHERE TO BUY
  • ​WARRANTY

​This is one of the affordable that is you can find in Amazon.

​​4. Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak

Features

​The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 is one of the best fishing kayaks available if you’re looking for a simple boat at a good price. The boat is a total of 31 inches long, so it should fit on most roof racks or in the bed of a pickup truck with ease. It also sits about 14 inches up off of the water surface. This is an ample amount of freeboard to give stability while paddling without losing direct access to the first. The kayak weighs in at just above 50 pounds, which is lighter than some competitors. It does, however, only carry around 275 pounds, which is on the low side for the best fishing kayaks. Despite its comparatively light footprint, this boat is made of ultra-tough polyethylene, so you can feel confident pulling right up onto a rocky bank to get lots of pictures without your trophy catch.

Pros

  • Super tough construction
  • Low cost
  • Light compared with some other kayaks

Cons

  • Less carrying capacity
  • Plain aesthetic
  • ​PRICE $$$
  • ​WHERE TO BUY
  • ​WARRANTY

​This is available in Amazon for $.

​5. BKC UH-FK184 9′ Sit ​On Top Single Fishing Kayak

Features

​Brooklyn Kayak Company’s BKC UH-FK184 is a single-person, open-top kayak that is both stable and comfortable for all-day fishing safaris. This boat is nine feet long but offers superb carrying capacity and balance, so it’s ideal for a family to share during long weekends at the lake. With its open-top design, the boat is ideal for a mix of different paddling environments including choppy open water, glassy lakes, and swift running streams. The BKC UH-FK184 fishing kayak also boasts impressive storage capacity for its size. This boat has more than enough space for a mix of tackle boxes, rods, snacks, and extras like raincoats and sunblock.

Pros

  • Solid carrying capacity for the size
  • Solid carrying capacity for the size
  • Fully adjustable seat for added comfort

Cons

  • Fewer fishing-specific features than other boats
  • ​PRICE $$$
  • ​WHERE TO BUY
  • ​WARRANTY

The boat is ​available in Amazon for $$.

​6. BKC UH-TK181 12-Foot 5-inch Sit On Top Tandem 2 Person Fishing Kayak

Features

​Like their nine-foot offering, Brooklyn Kayak Company’s BKC UH-TK181 offers excellent stability and carrying capacity. This tandem kayak is a 12-foot 5-inch, 68-pound, open-top boat that is truly tailored to all-day fishing adventures. This boat has a 34-inch main beam, so it has an added degree of stability in choppy water and when facing stiff headwinds. While the BKC UH-TK181 is a tandem boat capable of handling 440 total pounds, it’s also agile enough for a solo paddler to manage with ease. It boasts tons of rod storage space with two adjustable holders and three stationery holders across the hull. BKC also added plenty of storage space to this boat with two oversized compartments that are fully sealed from any external splashing.

Pros

  • Excellent fishing rod storage
  • Oversized waterproof bays to keep gear dry
  • High carrying capacity
  • Nimble enough to one paddler

Cons

  • Heavier than one paddler may want to carry
  • ​PRICE $$$
  • ​WHERE TO BUY
  • ​WARRANTY

This boat is ​available for $$.

​7. Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 Angler Kayak

Features

​The Wilderness Systems’ Tarpon 120 Kayak is a great choice for anglers who plan to hit everything from the calm water the flat water and back. The Tarpon line are Wilderness Systems’ premier fishing boats, and the 120 is their most popular offering, This boat is loaded with their Phase 3 AirPro Seat and the proprietary Keepers Foot Brace System to keep you not only comfortable but secure on the water all day long.

Pros

  • Proven quality from an industry leader
  • Proven quality from an industry leader
  • A range of color options to meet your style

Cons

  • Could use more rod holders and fishing accessories
  • More expensive than some comparable kayaks
  • ​PRICE $$$
  • ​WHERE TO BUY
  • ​WARRANTY

This kayak is available in Amazon for $$.

​​8. SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Bali SS

Features

​Sun Dolphin’s Bali 10 SS Sit-On-Top kayak is a perfect choice for new paddlers seeking an affordable boat to get into the action. This is a tough, affordable, and easy-to-use boat that will stand up to years of abuse without much maintenance. Despite the low price point, this boat offers some solid performance perks, including a Portable Accessory Carrier.

Pros

  • Low price
  • Very durable
  • Excellent storage space
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Lower performance paddling than the higher-end boats
  • ​PRICE $$$
  • ​WHERE TO BUY
  • ​WARRANTY

​This is available in Amazon for $$.

​​​9. Feelfree Moken 10 Lite Kayak

Features

​Feelfree’s Moken 10 Lite is an ideal boat for kayakers who don’t want to carry too much extra weight. This boat weighs in at just 55 pounds and features Feelfree’s built-in caster at the keel for easy rolling across parking lots and on trails. Though not designed specifically for fishing, the UniRack accessory system on the boat offers plenty of storage for anglers of all levels.

Pros

  • Very light
  • Proprietary Wheel in the Keel system
  • UniRack storage

Cons

  • Lower performance than some kayaks at the same price point
  • ​PRICE $$$
  • ​WHERE TO BUY
  • ​WARRANTY

This boat is found in Amazon.

​10. Old Town Topwater PDL Angler Fishing Kayak

Features

​Old Town’s Topwater PDL kayak is 10.5 feet long and weighs in at around 100 pounds fully geared up. This is no small feat, considering that it’s one of the top pedal-powered kayaks on the market. This boat has tons of rod and gear storage as well as Old Town’s classic DoubleU hull design for super stability.

Pros

  • Pedal-powered
  • Lower weight than some boats in its class
  • Excellent stability with DoubleU hull system

Cons

  • Heavier than non-pedal kayaks
  • Expensive
  • ​PRICE $$$
  • ​WHERE TO BUY
  • ​WARRANTY

This boat is​ available in Amazon for $$.

The Verdict

Every angler has their own unique style and gear preferences. That’s why there will never be one kayak that is perfect for everyone with a rod. With that said, our top overall pick from this list of the best fishing kayaks out there is the Brooklyn Kayak Company’s BKC UH-TK181. This boat offers a superb combination of performance, durability, versatility, and an affordable price.What we really love about this boat is that it stacks up with the best fishing kayaks around in terms of performance, but it’s also made for two paddlers. With a little experience, one person could easily handle this boat and have plenty of extra space to move around and even stand up for a dramatic retrieve. The added fishing-specific features make this boat a true winner for anglers of all levels.

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