You want a kayak so bad, you can practically feel the oar in your hands! You have dreamed about this purchase for a long time, but are bewildered by the wide variety of kayaks on the market. You see inflatables and kayaks that are designed for more general use, but which can also be used for fishing. How do you decide with so many options available? Here at Best Fishing Kayak Hub, we’ve reviewed the market so you don’t have to! We’ve meticulously searched for the best kayaks on the market. Our in-depth product reviews for the best fishing kayak will provide you with a firm foundation for your important decision. Read on to see our reviews for all varieties of kayaks including fishing, recreational, and tandem kayaks.
Taking some time to think about what you want to use the kayak for ill make the selection process much easier. Let’s work together to comb through your options. We will examine various fishing kayak styles, including sit-on-top kayaks, inflatable kayaks and most importantly fishing kayaks.
Advantages of Using a Fishing Kayak
Why would anyone pick a kayak over other fishing vessels such as a boat or canoe? There are some notable advantages with a kayak versus another fishing vessel type.
Economical – Fishing boats are convenient, but outboard engines need gas to operate. Canoes eliminate the expense of gas but can be difficult to maneuver. With a kayak, the avid fisherman gains the durability of a boat, without recurring fuel costs.
Silent Approach– The “Big One” rarely bites near the edge of the water. Getting close requires no shortage of stealth. The best fishing kayaks will get you out on the water without the noise of an outboard motor.
Mobility– When you want to maneuver in close, you need a kayak. Kayaks do not have propellers that can snag in the weeds or be grounded. A kayak rides very high in the water and will allow you to get as close as you want to be without getting stuck in the mud.
Fishing Posture – Kayaks allow you to fish comfortably. Sit on Top kayaks let you stand up and cast your line as well as sit down and gently troll the waters. Sit-In Kayaks do not let you stand up to cast but do allow you to cast sitting down. With a kayak, you can fish the way you want in the comfort of a cozy cockpit or standing up with the stability approaching dry land.
Go Green – While a fishing kayak can have a mounted motor, generally you paddle where you want to go. This means you are not spilling gasoline and oil into the water. You are not increasing your carbon footprint. Not only can you catch fish, but you can also be confident that you are not poisoning the waters while doing so.
Types of Fishing Kayaks
Fishing kayaks break down into several sub-categories based upon material and capacity.
Sit on Top vs Sit-in – Do you like to fish sitting down or standing up? A Sit on Top (SOT) kayak is designed to let you get up and stand on the kayak to cast your line or walk around. A Sit-in Kayak (SIK) has the seat inside of a cockpit. A SIK is not intended for the pilot to stand-in.
Inflatable vs Rigid – Inflatable kayaks are easier to store and carry, but you do have to either use a hand/foot pump to get on the water and then deflate the kayak before going home. Rigid kayaks can be dropped into the water much quicker but must be carried on top of your vehicle, a truck bed or on a hauling trailer. Rigid kayaks are heavier but will not as easily spring a leak when out on the water.
Solo vs Tandem – Want to ride in your own kayak or do you prefer company? Tandem kayaks allow for multiple riders but often require multiple people to carry it.
Pedal vs Paddle – How do you want to move in the water? Do you want to paddle the kayak or do you want to use your legs, as you would in a bicycle? Many pedal kayaks do allow you to take out the pedal mechanism and switch to a paddle kayak. Find our list of the best kayak paddles and find the perfect one for you.
Steps to Choose the Best Fishing Kayak
There are some key criteria that you need to weigh in order to make a sound decision.
- The Number of Seats – Kayaks most often come in the single seat or two-seat (“Tandem”) configurations. There are some two-seaters that can be taken out solo, but for the most part, if there is more than one seat, you are looking at a kayak you will need a company to handle. If the person you most often kayak with is not comfortable alone in a kayak, then you are looking at a tandem sit on top kayak.
- How You Prefer to Sit in the Kayak – An SOT kayak means you will be kneeling on or straddling the kayak. A SOT kayak typically has an area on which you can stand up, should you choose. A SIK puts you into a cockpit where you will be sitting with your legs forward. SIK kayaks can include leg rests which are helpful for the long trips. Read our article and find the best sit on top kayak.
- Inflatable or Rigid Frame – Inflatable kayaks often come with a hand or foot pump, which is conveniently stored in a duffel bag. Rigid kayaks are less prone to leaks and can be customized by drilling holes in the above-water parts of the kayak and attaching accessories. Rigid kayaks have to be transported either on the top of the car or truck and may require the use of a kayak cart upon arrival.
- Capacity – Kayaks vary in the total weight that can be loaded into the kayak. If you or your kayaking partner is on the taller or heavier side, then it would be wise to purchase a kayak that can carry more weight. If you plan to go camping or stay out overnight, you need a kayak that can carry all your gear. For the adventurous family, the Intex Excursion 5 is a solid option.
- Color – Color is partially aesthetic, but can be functional as well. If you are going fishing in the kayak, you want to have a kayak that will not scare off the fish. If you are taking the kayak out in the water that is frequented by jet skis and motorboats, then consider a kayak that is brightly colored so it can be easily spotted. Remember, a kayak sits low in the water and you need to be seen to be avoided by other watercraft.