Whether you are a new angler who is just discovering their love for close water interaction via kayaks or a shore-bound angler trying to reach new areas, you will realize that there is something about kayak fishing that excites and makes the whole fishing experience better.
You can fish in ponds, open seas, oceans, or anywhere you want in a kayak. So the perception that kayaks are not safe for fishing or don’t provide you with the proper capacity to fish is inaccurate because many types of kayaks out there have varying specifications that an angler can choose according to their requirements.
You can choose a kayak with pedal or paddle or one with enough space to stand up or the one in which you can sit and fish; there are countless options. With so many best kayaks for fishing options available, you can easily find the kayak of your choice.
Best Fishing Kayaks At A Glance:
Best Fishing Kayaks
If you are just getting into kayak fishing and are unsure which the best kayak for fishing is, I am here to help. I have collected and created a list of the best kayaks available today, which are affordable and have excellent features.
This guide is not just about the best kayaks, but it also contains some of its essential aspects like kayak’s material, weight, storage space, accessories, an ideal place to use it, and some questions that anglers ask about it.
#1 – Intex Excursion Pro Kayak – Inflatable Professional Series
– Key Features
- Item weight: 43.64 pounds
- Kayak material: plastic
- Kayak color: red and grey
- Seating capacity: for two persons
- Kayak laminated with PVC, having a polyester core.
- Resistant to sun damage, abrasion, and rough weather
- Quick inflation and deflation
- Kayak includes two removable skews for shallow and deep water fishing, two footrests, two recessed fishing rod holders, and two bucket seats.
- Mounting brackets for installing additional accessories
- 3-ply construction, which makes the kayak unaffected by oil, salt water, abrasion, sunlight, etc.
- Includes 86 inch aluminum oars and a high output pump.
- It can bear upto180 kg weight.
- Anglers can quickly inflate or deflate it.
- Removable backrest.
- It includes two types of skegs.
- It is coated with PVC and has a Polyester core.
- It comes with a 90-day manufacturer’s warranty.
- The package with the kayak includes all the kayaks basics.
- The kayak can be quickly set up.
- Spacious and comfortable.
- It can deflate while the kayak is in use.
- The oars are not durable.
- The pump nozzle is not durable and can break easily, and there is also no replacement nozzle.
- The repairing kit doesn’t include adhesive to patch up the punctures.
Intex Excursion Pro Kayak is one of the best options to fish in shallow waters. Having this kayak means you can enjoy your fishing trip with your best friend or partner in a relaxing environment.
Intex Excursion kayak is built from the best and the strongest kind of PVC, having a polyester coating. With it, you won’t be compromising on your kayak’s durability.
The best thing about this kayak is its inflatability, but it is still built smartly and weighs almost nothing. All the boat’s fittings are removable and adjustable, as well as the drain plugs integrated into the kayak. It also includes a carrying bag, a hi-output pump, a pressure gauge, and a directional skeg (separately for shallow waters).
However, there are also a few problems with this kayak: It can’t accommodate the pump nozzle of any other type, and its own nozzle breaks after one or two uses.
The repairing kit that comes with the kayak is not very useful because it doesn’t have any adhesive to patch up the punctures in the kayak. Sometimes the kayak starts to deflate mid fishing trip, which can be very dangerous and hurt the angler.
Overall it is a good kayak because it has many features which an angler needs while fishing. Intex Excursion Pro Kayak can be used in deep waters and shallow waters because it is designed in such a way. You can catch big fish with this kayak, put it at the bottom, and you will still have enough space to rest your feet quickly.
However, it is also very risky to use, especially when fishing in deep waters, because it can start to deflate anytime, anywhere without even getting punctured. So, it would be best if you considered all factors before buying it.
#2 – Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 – The Best Kayak In A Budget
– Key Features
- Kayak weight: 54 pounds
- Item material: plastic
- Kayak color: brownish tan
- Kayak style: Tamarack Angler
- Kayak add-ons: paddle
- Kayak Dimensions: 120 in L x 31 in. W x 14 in
- Kayak weight capacity: 275 lbs.
- Kayak coated with UV protected polyethylene
- Flat bottom with deep hull tracking
- Multiple footrest positions
- Adjustable seat back and seat pad
- Kayak equipped with rear and front shocks with cord straps
- Two fishing rod holders (flushed)
- Two storage compartments in center and rear almost 6.”
- Space to keep paddle with shock cords
- The kayak comes with a five-year warranty
- A lot of space for storage
- A lot of leg space
- Kayak made with durable material which makes it long-lasting and enduring of the rough waters
- Extremely lightweight
- Very stable because of flat bottom and deep hull tracking.
- Five-year manufacturer’s warranty
- Ideal for beginners and expert anglers
- Great money value and affordable
- Ideal for fishing in calm waters as well as in rough waves
- It comes with a paddle, rod, and bottle holders
- Seats can get ripped easily
- It comes damaged when shipped to customers
- Seats are not easy to adjust, and they get stuck whenever tried to move.
- There is no tracking on rails.
Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 is a great kayak option if you want to buy a kayak under a budget. The kayak has all the trophy characteristics. And it is a durable companion for almost all fishing trips. The kayak comes with two options; one with a paddle and the other without a paddle.
The best thing about this kayak is that it is super comfortable for longer rides and has good storage space. It is also very stable, speedy, and lightweight.
However, customers have faced a few drawbacks while using this kayak: it comes damaged when they receive it. And that the seats get torn only after a few uses, which means that the seats of the kayak are not of the same quality as the kayak. The seat is also hard to adjust and gets stuck whenever someone tries to move it.
Tamarack is 10 ft. long, which means that it has the ideal size for a peaceful fishing trip. It is spacious and yet easy to steer. It is also lightweight, which makes it one of the best river fishing kayaks.
But, I think the best part is that lifetime Tamarack provides all these unique features at such affordable and under-the-budget price.
This way, you can have a great kayak in your collection without spending extra dollars on the fishing gear, and you will come home satisfied with your buy at the end of the fishing trip
#3 – Pelican Sit-On-Top Kayak – Sentinel 100X – The Best Lightweight Kayak
– Key Features
- Kayak colors: Neptune white and fade black green
- Kayak length: 9.5 ft.
- Easy to store kayak and extremely lightweight
- Kayak includes ExoShell 13L removable storage
- Kayak is made with RAM-X material which makes it convenient to move but also incredibly strong.
- It comes with a limited lifetime warranty of the hull and deck
- Kayak weight: 42 lbs.
- Extremely floatable because of the foam blocks inside the kayak
- Ideal for beginners
- Kayak material: plastic
- Kayak Dimensions: 113 x 32 x 13 inches
- Includes footrest, carrying handles, seating system, and other add-ons.
- Extremely lightweight because of the foam layers inside it.
- The kayak comes with removable compartments, which are ideal for storage.
- Easily transportable and storable
- Ideal for beginners
- Kayak is equipped with footrests, anti-slip carpet, seating area, storage platform, rear tang, bottle holder, paddle lie-downs, bungee cord, quick-access flap, and carrying handles.
- Limited warranty
- Package comes damaged
- The customer service is not great of the manufacture
- Kayak doesn’t have much storage space
- Kayak can only house one person
Pelican Sentinel 100X is one of the most lightweight kayaks out there. With this kayak, you can enjoy your fishing trip with this sit-on-top kayak and quickly catch your favorite fish.
This kayak is designed by keeping in mind the calm and slow-flowing waters. Moreover, it provides fantastic tracking features and stability even for long-distance padding because it has a multi-chine flat bottom.
This compact recreational kayak is ideal for anyone who is looking for an easy and stable fishing fix. The best thing about this kayak is that it is made from twin sheet thermoforming technology, which allows it to be super-efficient yet lightweight. Therefore, it is ideal for newbie anglers who are exploring this branch of fishing.
However, the issue that arises is not about the kayak, instead of about the packaging. The packaging is not done correctly, leading the kayak to reach the eager anglers in a damaged and broken form with holes slashes. Other than that, this kayak doesn’t have any drawbacks which affect its efficiency.
Pelican sit-on-top kayak is just 10 ft. long and weighs only 44 pounds. This means that you can pick your kayak up easily and store it anywhere because of its convenient size. It is a fantastic kayak option for those who like to fish alone or in solitude.
Even though it is a small kayak compared to other big ones, you can still store all your essential things in the storage area without any issue of space and spend a productive day out in the waters catching your fish.
#4 – BKC TK122U – Perfect Kayak For Fishing
– Key Features
- Kayak type: sit-on-top
- Sitting capacity: two and a half people
- Kayak made with aluminum frame and plastic.
- The kayak has adjustable seats, two paddles, waterproof hatches, bungee cargo tie-down, and four fishing rod holders.
- Stable because of the Roto molded single high Polyethylene material.
- Ideal for sailing in ocean, lake or river
- Water-resistant storage boxes
- Kayak length and width: 12’8” 34”
- Comfortable, stable, and durable
- The kayak has a lot of color options: army green, desert camo, desert sand, green camo, and purple camo.
- The kayak has adjustable seats, waterproof hatches, bungee cargo tie-down, two paddles, and four fishing rod holders.
- Ideal for a small family trip to catch fish
- Water-resistant storage boxes
- Comfortable, stable, and durable
- It comes with a lot of storage space.
- Extremely stable even after being heavy
- Ideal for all kinds of water bodies
- The seats are not very comfortable and can be improved
- The kayak is expensive compared to similar kayak options
- Heavy and difficult to carry around/launch in the water
- The storage box latches are made of poor quality plastic and can break easily
The BKC TK122U is a tandem kayak that is ideal for two adults and one child. This means that it can carry around 800 pounds of weight on it and stay stable all the time.
The kayak also has a lot of space for storage, comfortable sitting, and leg space. The whole kayak is built by keeping the portability and ease of anglers in mind.
The amazing thing about this kayak is that it is a stable kayak that stays stable in all situations, whether the waters are rough or whether you try to stand up on it while fishing. It is also sleek and stylish, making it the perfect kayak choice for new and experienced anglers.
But, the backslash this kayak faced was because the manufacturer’s customer service is not as good as it should be, and its paddles are smaller than the size of the kayak.
As a result, you will need to bend over to the side for the paddle to work properly. Apart from this, the seats are also not very comfortable, considering that you have to sit for the better half of the trip.
This kayak is an exciting and useful option for anglers who want to spend quality time with their families or partners. The BKC TK122 Tandem works smoothly in all types of water (calm and rough) and weather conditions. The ideal length and width of this kayak are what make a simple fishing trip so unique.
If you want to spend hours on the water and catch great fish peacefully, BKC TK122 should be your go-to option.
#5 – Driftsun Rover 120/220 Inflatable Kayak – Best Durable & Lightweight Kayak
– Key Features
- Kayak material: PVC
- Kayak colors: Rover 129 orange and Rover 220 blue
- Kayak type: sit-in
- Seats covered with EVA padded seat covers
- Aluminum coated adjustable paddles with ergonomic grip
- Kayak includes high-pressure floor, rear tracking fin, travel bag, and hand pumps
- Durable and lightweight
- Kayak inflating time: 9 minutes
- Kayak weight: 22lbs.
- Puncture-proof because of 1000D reinforced layered PVC with heavy-duty PVC Tarpaulin
- Kayak Dimensions: 8.5’ (L) x 36” (W) x 13” (H)
- Front action camera mount
- Kayak capacity: 2 and a half people
- Lightweight, sturdy and durable
- All the equipment that comes with the kayak easily fits in the travel bag
- Adjustable seats
- Quick to set it up (inflating and deflating)
- Robust side-tube with a heavy-duty floor
- Good quality hardware including valves, and air chambers
- The streamlined shape of the kayak is ideal for excellent performance in the water.
- The self-bailing ports are suitable for whitewater rafting
- Splash guard keeps you dry
- Ideal for a small family fishing trip
- Less storage space
- Expensive compared to other inflatable kayak options
- The kayak has limited storage, which is not sufficient for fishing trips.
- It doesn’t come with a repairing kit considering its high price.
Driftsun rover tandem is one of the best inflatable kayaks for fishing. It is an amazing lightweight option that takes only 9 minutes to inflate and 8-9 minutes to deflate. The fisher can easily transport it anywhere and set it up in a matter of minutes.
Even though this kayak is inflatable, it doesn’t mean that it is not durable. Instead, its construction is done with heavy-duty material, allowing this kayak to endure even the roughest waters.
It has a 600 pound or 272 KG capacity and a lot of room for one child and two adults to sit peacefully. The kayak is carefully crafted by keeping in mind the comfort and durability required for kayak fishing.
The best thing about this kayak is that it is stable, has a lot of sitting and leg space, has a storage bag which you can use to store the kayak after using, and has a camera mount to capture all the fun happenings of your fishing trip.
However, this kayak’s only drawback is that it doesn’t have enough storage space to put the essentials into, which can be a problem when storing baits, reels, and other fishing gear.
Another drawback is that it is expensive compared to other kayak options that are discussed in this listicle and other inflatable kayaks in the market.
This kayak is ideal for adventurous souls. It has so many unique features which can easily make it the best kayak option out there.
With this kayak, you will have to spend money only once to buy the rover, and after that, you will get good money value because it won’t cost you anything extra.
Going on adventures was never this much fun, but now you can catch even the biggest fish with a Driftsun kayak. After you are done, you can pack it up and put it in a bag which comes with it.
Many kayaks will merely get the job done, but there is no kayak like Driftsun which can provide you with this much fun and stability.
#6 – BKC UH-RA220 – The Best Kayak With Standup Stability
– Key Features
- Kayak weight: 20 pounds
- Kayak color: GreenCamo
- Seating capacity: 1 person
- Kayak includes 3-rod holders, one adjustable rod holder, waterproof storage, and good sitting capacity.
- Paddle parks for securing your paddles
- Cargo area for storing 2-3 days’ worth of supplies
- Kayak Dimensions: 148 x 32 x 12 inches
- Kayak size: 11ft 6 inches
- Seats are not moveable
- Stable for standing up and durable even for the roughest waters
- Comfortable for long fishing trips
- Good money value
- The kayak has lots of storage
- The seats are comfortable for long journeys
- The company’s customer service is amazing
- The kayak includes a foot control rudder which helps the kayak to stay in place while fishing
- Many attachments point to help you customize your kayak for a fishing trip
- Stable and durable
- Ideal for beginners as well as expert anglers
- Perfect for a solo trip
- A lot of foot space and seating space
- Great storage
- Standing is almost impossible in this kayak, even though it is famous for standing stability because the standing area is on a slope.
- There are only two fishing rod holders which are actually functional. Others are in such a position where you can’t put the rod in it.
- Expensive compared to similar kayak options
- Compartment clasps are made of cheap plastic, which can easily break.
BKC UH- RA220 kayak is made just for serious anglers who know that fishing requires excellent and stable kayaks. It is an amazing kayak that is a shorter version of UH-RA220. It is only 11’5 ft. long and so stable that you can stand in it.
The best thing about this kayak is that it is made of great quality polyethylene and is lightweight. It is also very durable, has a lot of storage space, and is easy to use.
However, this sit-on-top kayak’s only drawback is that the compartment clasps are made of cheap material and break after one or two uses. Apart from this, there are no evident disadvantages of this kayak except that the customer service is not as good as it should be.
BKC UH –RA220 is an amazing kayak overall with a few minor disadvantages, but those disadvantages don’t mean that the kayak is not worth buying.
It has some amazing features which can make your fishing trip great. It has enough space to house two people quickly so that you can enjoy a trip with your fishing partner.
If you are looking for good quality and stable kayak, then I recommend you check the specifications for this kayak and buy it.
Choosing The Right Fishing Kayak – How To Pick Yours
Kayak fishing is rapidly becoming popular, especially now that the season is almost here. But, before you decide to jump into this famous sport, you should be well aware of everything about kayaks and how to choose the best fishing kayaks in 2023.
Fishing in a kayak will give you a new perspective on fishing. In a kayak, you will be closer to the marine life, and you will realize that you can fish easier in a kayak than in a motorboat because fish get scared and run away from big, noisy boats.
You can quietly and stealthily glide over to your favorite spots in a kayak and catch your favorite fish.
But, before you can do all this, you need to consider a few things and buy the best kayaks for fishing.
What Are Your Kayak Fishing Goals?
The goal of any type of fishing should be to enjoy your time and to catch your favorite fish. But, when it comes to kayak fishing, these should be your goals, but there are other things to include in your goals list.
Your goal should be to stay safe. Keep a life jacket, cell phone (with waterproof cover), proper clothes, and flares with you on a kayak because you never know what can happen in the waters.
Your goal should be to be comfortable. So, keep some snacks, drinks, a hat, sunglasses, a shirt, a neck pillow, pants, and maybe a magazine so that you can comfortably wait for your fish to get hooked.
You should also bring all your fishing essentials. Ensure that you keep your most versatile rods, tackle bag, fishing tools, flashlight, and storage box on your kayak so that you don’t face any issues while catching fish.
But, your most important goal should be to have fun, no matter what.
Types of Kayaks: Which One Is Better For Fishing?
There are so many types of kayaks fishing that it now depends on the fisher to choose the type of kayak best for them because everyone has their preferences. But, before you choose one, you should be well aware of all types of fishing kayaks.
When you paddle a sit-in kayak, your legs are bound in a cockpit and have a spray skirt attached. It also has a sealed hull. This stops the water from coming over the top. So if you want to keep your legs dry and warm in cold waters, these kayaks are the best option.
Choosing a sit-on kayak means that you will get wet. There is no exception. You will be sprayed by waves, splashed from the paddles and riffles.
So, you will be most of the time. Because of this, I think that sit-on kayaks are better for a warm season when you won’t mind getting cold.
Mostly the inflatable kayaks are recreational. You can inflate them according to your convenience with an electrical or food pump. They are ideal for calm waters because of their sturdy and wide hulls.
When deflated, they can be folded in a convenient size, and you can easily carry them in your bag. They come in both sit-in and sit-on options.
Sea kayaks have a high rocker: the curve from stem to the bow that crowns the coming waves. It is a type of touring kayak which also has a narrow V-shape in its front.
These kayaks can easily fight rough waters, but they are not very stable, and the angler can fall off them, especially if they are sit-on. However, overall these kayaks are easier to control even on the roughest waters.
White Water Kayaks:
These kayaks are only 4-10 feet long and are specially designed to quickly move down the rocky and fast-flowing courses. They are usually made up of hard rot molded plastic.
These are the shortest kayaks, having a blunt stem and a scooped bow to make them super robust and maneuverable.
These were some of the best fishing kayaks in 2023 that you can choose from, but in my opinion, the sit-in kayaks are the best for fishing.
Weight, Storage, And Extras
Consider the siting capacity, the cartop capacity, and the storage capacity to keep everything while choosing the kayak. If your kayak is lightweight, then it will be easier to steer and launch. However, a heavy kayak might need a cart to launch and move it.
Storage spaces are the second most important thing to consider after the kayak’s weight because you will have something to carry with you and the fish you will catch.
So, ask yourself if bait storage is essential for you? Do you want to go kayak camping? And do you want to keep extra rods and other essentials in the kayak?
Therefore, choose the kayak accordingly. If you are minimalistic, you won’t need much space because you will make do in less space. But, if you are one of the anglers who want to carry everything on your trips, then buy a kayak with more space and storage space.
Seat, Material, & Design
Find a kayak with the most comfortable seats because you will have to sit during the journey if you opt for sit-in or sit-on kayaks. Before buying any kayak, you should sit and check the kayak seats for the seat cushions, backrest, and adjustability.
Apart from this, the seat should also be moveable if you like to stand in your kayak. The seat should be placed in such a way that it also gives room to your legs.
The material with which a kayak is made is very important because it defines its durability. Mostly, a good-quality kayak is made from wooden frames and coated with plastic or fiberglass.
This is considered a classic design for the perfect kayak. But, if you buy an inflatable kayak, it will be made of plastic and high-elastic rubber. Glass, carbon, polyethylene, and Aramid are considered the best materials for a kayak’s composition.
Kayaks are designed as v-shaped, flat, rounded, and pontoon hulls. They are designed in such a way because they provide maximum efficiency, stability, and increased speed to the kayak.
The best kayak design is Pontoon hulls because they provide excellent stability. They are ideal for fishing because fishing requires excellent stability as fish might get aggressive.
Speed Vs Turning Vs Stability
An average kayaker with kayaking experience can kayak for 5km per hour. But, the speed of a kayak depends on the endurance, paddling technique, wind speed, swell, length and material of kayak, weight, etc.
All these factors affect the speed of a kayak. However, the experienced kayakers can even go up to 7-8 miles per hour.
It is very easy to turn a kayak over. However, it can turn easily without tipping it over. You can do opposite-side paddling to steer the kayak in the opposite direction. This helps the kayak redirect the water around the surface with strokes.
Basically, there are two different types of stabilities in a kayak. One is primary, and the second is secondary. The primary stability is when a kayak is at rest in stable and calm waters.
The secondary stability is when the kayak is moving and is fighting against rough waters. If the kayak is stable in both conditions, that is one of the best kayaks to buy. Such kayaks are ideal because they can withstand rough waters as well as uneven steering.
Length Vs Width
The best length for a fishing kayak is 8ft to 13ft long. This length is ideal for rivers, lakes, calm waters, and creeks. But, for rough waters, large rivers, and huge waves, the perfect size is 14ft to 18ft.
The kayak’s length is upon the fisher’s reference. But, I suggest that you buy your kayak according to the sizes mentioned above. The length of a kayak is measured from its stern to bow. It dramatically affects a kayak’s stability. Longer kayaks are faster, but short kayaks are more agile.
The width or beam is also a massive contributor to the kayak’s stability. The wider the beam, the more stable your kayak will be. But, this doesn’t mean that you buy the widest kayak out there.
Because if the width is too much, then the kayak can become bulky and unmanageable. The beam shouldn’t be too wide or too narrow.
If you want to have a perfectly ratio-ed kayak, you should divide your kayak’s length by its beam. If they are perfectly in proportion, you will get an insight into how well the kayak will work on water.
My Final Verdict:
In my opinion, a fishing kayak should have a set of features to consider it a good kayak. It should be stable, have good storage space, enough foot space to put your legs in comfortably, comfortable seating because you will be spending most of your time sitting, lightweight, and of good quality.
Any kayak that has these features is good. But, a kayak can’t be 100% perfect. Even the best kayak will have a few bad features. So, it depends on the angler to determine whether or not he is willing to take that risk if the pros overlap the cons.
Keeping this in mind, I think that the best fishing kayaks 2023 is BKC TK122U. This kayak has the least number of cons and is almost perfect in every aspect, be it stability, quality, durability, or dimensions. With this kayak, your fishing trip will become a lot better in all regards.
Frequently Asked Questions
#1 – What are the best kayaks for fishing?
In my opinion, the best kayak for fishing is Intex Excursion Pro Kayak and BKU TK122U. Both these kayaks are ideal for any angler because they have the best features at reasonable prices.
If you are looking for a durable, stable, lightweight, and overall perfect kayak, then these two kayaks should be on top of your list.
However, the best kayaks are a subjective term which means that everyone has a different definition of what best is. So, the best kayak is the one that fits your requirements perfectly.
#2 – What are the most stable fishing kayaks?
The most stable fishing kayak is the one that sails smoothly in calm waters as well as in rough waves. A stable kayak won’t tip over or make their angler fall in the water.
The stability of a kayak comes from the material they are made from. Mostly stable kayaks are made from a wooden frame with carbon or polyethylene.
#3 – Is it worth buying a kayak for fishing?
Yes! Kayaks are definitely worth buying. There are many benefits of fishing on a kayak. The first is that they are more affordable than big boats, and they are also ideal for one person fishing trip.
Once you buy an excellent kayak, then you won’t have to spend money on insurance, fuel cost, launch fees, or even maintenance, and you can properly enjoy your fishing.
#4 – What is the best type of kayak for fishing?
As I have mentioned earlier, there is no one type of kayak that is best for fishing. All the kayaks that I have reviewed above are the best options.
However, before you choose any kayak for buying, you should go through all the kayaks carefully. The best kayak is the one that suits your requirements perfectly.
#5 – What length kayak is best for fishing?
The ideal length for the best river fishing kayaks lies in the place where you want to fish. So, for example, if you’re going to fish in huge rivers with waves, then you should buy a kayak which is longer than 12 ft. but, if you are going to fish in calm waters, then you should go for kayaks that are under 12 ft. Because, shorter kayaks are more agile and maneuverable. But the longer kayaks are speedier.