Last Updated on February 21, 2021 by KayakPro
Whether you are a beginner or advanced, choosing the perfect fishing kayak is never easy. Fishing kayaks are usually just for one person, but they can be for 2 depending on what kind of kayak you’re in. For example, if you like competitive kayaking then it’s probably better if you stick to models that are made just for competition.
However, if you want to spend the afternoon chilling on the lake catching that beautiful bass you’re in the perfect place. The kayaks below are perfect for going out on the lake away from all the craziness that life can bring on and they give you an edge over other people fishing on the lake because of how they are designed.
Fish tend to stay away from noisy situations which is why fishing kayaks are perfect. Space they are eloquent in the water there quiet and they allow you to fish and move around with ease.
However, a lot of fishing kayaks are starting to get extremely pricey these days. While we have nothing against going all out and splurging thousands of dollars on a fishing kayak, in this article we aim to show you some of the best fishing kayaks you can buy for the money. Budget friendly doesn’t always mean poor quality and in this post we’ll show some of the top rated yaks you can get in 2019 for your fishing excursions.
Despite the growing popularity over recent years, you don’t have to go for the most expensive kayak for you to have some great fun during your fishing expeditions. That’s because there’s a plethora of absolutely great fishing kayaks that won’t require you to take out a second mortgage. In fact, it doesn’t matter whether or not you can’t afford the top of the line fishing kayaks, every kayak that we’re going to review in this article are of low cost, but will offer good value.
While they’re devoid of expensive packages and features, these fishing kayaks will come equipped exactly with what you’d need to enjoy your fishing excursions. Better still, they are of high quality and will undoubtedly stand the test of time and the elements. However, there are so many kayak options in the market that it’s almost impossible to know what the differences are, let alone the best models to go for. In this guide, we’ll help you learn what to look for in the top fishing kayaks and how they stack up against each other.
Fishing Kayak Buyer’s Guide
To make sure that you don’t spend your money on something you don’t want, here’s an ultimate guide to buying a fishing kayak and the things to look for.
Length is an essential aspect when looking for an appropriate fishing kayak. This is because length will always play a major role in the performance of the kayak on water. It is therefore important for every angler to know beforehand where he/she will be using the kayak before buying it.
Generally, the longer the kayak, the harder it is to maneuver. With that in mind, shorter kayaks are generally preferable and easy to maneuver even in tight water spaces in the sense that they offer better maneuverability. On the other hand, you may want to go for longer kayaks if you are looking for speed.
In that regard, longer kayaks will work better if you want to fish in an ocean or inshore areas with heavy currents. Again, you may go for a shorter kayak if you are planning to use it in ponds, small lakes and tight rivers or water spaces. Lastly, keep in mind that the bigger you are the bigger your kayak should be.
Stability is definitely one of the most important features to consider before buying a kayak. That’s because safety should be your main priority and you wouldn’t want something that might just tip you over in the water. Today’s kayak manufacturers have mastered the concept of stability to enable you to even stand on the kayaks and fish!.
However, you should keep in mind that more stability will somehow affect maneuverability. Therefore, you can go for a wider kayak if you want more stability and can consider a narrower kayak if you’re looking for something that is easier to paddle and maneuver.
Given that you wouldn’t want to leave any essential fishing gear behind just because it doesn’t fit in the kayak, it is important to have somewhere to store all your fishing gear within the kayak.
Most kayaks have storage spaces to meet the needs of anglers, and so it is important to go for something that offers enough storage space for all the things that you may want to bring with you during your fishing excursion.
Going for something that is portable is important for anglers. Avoid going for something that would be too big for one person to pick up because it would mean that you’ll never be able to use it appropriately if you are alone.
It is therefore important to consider the size and weight of the kayak before investing on it. Remember, the weight will also play a critical role when moving your kayak from point A to point B.
If you’re on a budget, you’d want to go for something that offers great value and still within your budget. There are high-end kayaks on the market that may be costly, as well as others that can offer great value and still remain affordable.
Kayaks should generally be comfortable meaning that they should have comfy seats and adjustable footrests to ensure that you remain comfortable even after long periods of fishing or paddling.
What type of fishing kayak should I get?
The type of fishing kayak that you buy will largely depend on your goals. Space in an ideal world you’re going to purchase one that fits your needs perfectly. Space is going to be a couple different types and I’ve broken all of them down for you below, so that you are able to determine which model suits you best.
- Sit in kayak: a sit in kayak is perfect for longer fishing trips, such as spending the entire day bass fishing on the lake. You shouldn’t get one like this if you think you might be standing a decent amount, because these kayaks can become unstable which will make it very hard to keep your balance. Space with these kayaks is going to be limited, however they’re a lot more enjoyable when fishing for extended periods of time. On top of that, you get more storage and they typically stay a lot more dry versus a sit on-top kayak.
- Sit on top kayak: the sit on top kayak is perfect for anglers who prefer to stand. With these, you’ll get a good amount of mobility, but will be giving up a good amount of space as well. These do better for those of you that might actually live on the lake, or for those of you that might spend a couple hours out fishing compared to the entire day. But, the bonus is obviously that you get to stand which in turn gives you a big advantage if you’re going after larger fish.
- Tandem kayaks: tandem kayaks are perfect for two-somes. If you think you’re going to head out and fish on the pond with a buddy or girlfriend, this is a great option. A lot of tandem models out there tend to be sit-on-tops, and they give one angler the ability to stand, and the other person sits. It’s possible to have both of you in the kayak standing but that is not ideal because you’ll be more unstable due to the uneven weight distribution.
Inflatable vs. molded – which one to choose when fishing?
An inflatable kayak is excellent if you’re looking to save money. Ultimately though you’re the only one who will know whether a molded or inflatable kayak is the right fit for you.
From my personal experience I tend to choose molded kayaks over inflatable for my fishing adventures because they are more durable than inflatable kayaks and are better if you go kayaking frequently.
On top of that they also add a little bit more versatility versus the inflatable’s. You won’t be nearly as limited when you’re using the plastic frame on the molded kayaks although it could slightly limit your possibilities as far as where you’re able to take it.
Best Fishing Kayaks in 2021
1. Hobie Mirage Outback – Premium Pick
- 1-person kayak
- capacity 475lbs
- 12’1” x 33”
- Fully rigged weight: 99lbs
- Hull weight: 81lbs.
- Hull Construction: Rotomolded polyethylene
There’s a reason why Hobie’s Mirage Outback is one of the best-selling kayaks in the world. In addition to having some of the best features in the market, the 2019 Mirage Outback has a thoughtful design, offers unmatched versatility and ultimately continues to push the limits in terms of what a fishing pedal kayak can offer.
With a maximum weight capacity of nearly 400 lbs, the Mirage Outback affords you the chance to take a good amount of gear with you if need be. Ideally, its hull design is sleeker at the bow to allow the kayak to slice through water and reduce noisy water slap, which may scare away the fish. In essence, this reduced noise is essential for anglers who want to approach spooked fish and go about their casting activities in a more stealthy way.
Again, the fact that the kayak can slice water is essential in reducing resistance, thereby making the kayak much faster. This feature works in tandem with the upgraded MirageDrive 180 Turbo Fins, which helps in providing more propulsion with less effort.
Measuring 34 inches wide, this kayak has enhanced stability and comes with a deck that’s designed more as a standing platform. The fact that it is a little bit longer helps in enhancing its tracking capabilities.
While this kayak is versatile and can slice through water, it also has a couple new features that make it stand out. One great addition is the retractable transducer shield, which makes fishfinding a breeze.
It also comes equipped with a kick-up rudder and two tackle boxes that can easily pop out of the cockpit hatch. Weighing 99 lbs, it goes without saying that the Mirage Outback is one of the heaviest kayaks and will probably require you to have a trailer to transport it.
Another drawback is that it might be a bit long for some kayakers or less experienced riders (who are used to smaller kayaks), making it tough to navigate.
If you’re really serious about trying your hands on kayak fishing, the Hobie Mirage Outback should be one of your first choices. While it’s rare to have a truly perfect fishing session, the Hobie Mirage Outback will certainly increase your chances of having more good fishing days.
2. Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130 – Best Storage Capacity
- 33” in width
- 13” in length
- 550lb capacity
- 74lb in weight
- Rotomolded single piece high density polyethylene
- Single-person ride
Many anglers are going for the Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130 not only for its affordability and sleek design but also for its loads of accessories that makes kayak fishing a much enhanced experience.
With a hull wider than most kayaks, the Sea Ghost 130 offers high stability levels regardless of the water conditions. With a maximum capacity of 550 pounds, this kayak provides extra storage that’s useful to anglers in storing large fish quantities.
This kayak comes with a pre-installed rudder system that you can control with your toes. This is essential in freeing your hands for casting and obviously ensures that you save lots of energy especially on windy days, strong currents and long fishing excursions.
And because poor seating conditions is widespread in most kayaks, the Sea Ghost 130 comes with a hero seat that’s made to enhance your comfort and ensure that you remain at ease during your long fishing expeditions. Additionally, this kayak comes with a superb transducer port that has a protective lid and mounting points. This accessory not only acts as a fish finder but will also help you in navigating and locating dense fish areas.
A noticeable drawback of the Sea Ghost 130 has to do with its weight. Weighing about 74 pounds, smaller people will find it quite heavy. The center console storage can also get in the way of standing while its front and rear hatches lack aeration, thereby cannot keep drinks cold for long periods.
The Sea Ghost 130 is designed with an extra wide hull that offers unmatched stability for anglers. It doesn’t matter whether you have it in flat water surfaces or in choppy ocean waves, the Sea Ghost 130 has extra rod holders, large rear tank, foot controlled rudder system, easy-to-reach front and rear hatches and extremely stable tracks that will not only help you save energy on long paddles, strong currents or windy days but will also ensure that you go home with loads of catches.
3. Pelican Sport Strike 120X Angler Kayak- Best Fishing Kayak on a Budget
- 30” width
- 12” length
- 59 lbs in weight
- RAM-X Premium Multi-Layer Polyethylene
- Carry handles at each end and on the sides
- Drain plug
- Lay-down bottle holder
- 350lbs capacity
You’ll agree that the primary aim of kayaks is to keep you out of water when on your fishing expedition. While this should be the starting point of budget kayaks, the Pelican Sport goes a bit further.
This kayak glides fairly easy on the water, is quite stable and will make you feel comfortable when casting while seated. Structured with a single standard mount rod holder, two flush mounted holders and a front hatch, this kayak is designed to offer high-end quality at an extremely reasonable price.
You’ll agree with us that this sit-on-top kayak offers plenty of storage space, speed and is designed with thoughtful features such as additional floating features for increased buoyancy and safety.
As much as the Pelican Sport does its best to ensure your comfort, it’s crucial to note that the seat isn’t quite comfortable, especially if you are prone to a little back problem. That said, this kayak would be better if designed with a much better seat. This kayak also comes with a thinner plastic hull, which makes it unstable in rough water.
Even though the Pelican Sport may not be the most comfortable fishing kayak out there, it is a worthy kayak to look at if you are on a budget and needs something capable of taking you out on your fishing excursions.
4. Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100
- 31” width
- 120” length
- 1” height
- 275lb weight capacity
- 55lb weight
- Hull material: High-Density Polyethylene
If you want to enjoy exploring and fishing in the deeper parts of a lake or a river and just don’t like the idea of having to deal with a bulky kayak from the roof rack of your car to the water, you might want to go for the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100.
Weighing 55 lbs. and measuring 120 x 31 x 14.1 inches, the Lifetime Tamarack comes with a robust construction and appealing design that makes it a perfect choice for both novice and experienced kayakers.
The adjustable padded seat offer great comfort and makes it an excellent choice for those planning for long fishing excursions. Additionally, this kayak is fitted with multiple footrest positions that are perfect for different size riders.
Designed with slots for paddles and fishing rods, this kayak is designed with ample storage compartment. Furthermore, it is lightweight and designed with front and rear T-handles that makes it easy to transport. In terms of stability and tracking, its deep hull tracking channels makes it absolutely stable even in rough water surfaces.
As a sit-on-top kayak, the Lifetime Tamarack may not be suitable for standing on while casting. Another noticeable drawback is that the seat can get uncomfortable after sometime, especially if you’re a bit taller.
With features such as the UV resistant exterior material, flip resistant design, and multiple footrest positions, the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 has the right features to make your fishing expedition safe, enjoyable and ultimately rewarding.
5. Sun Dolphin Journey 10-Foot Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak – The best Lightweight Fishing Kayak
- Length: 10 feet
- Width: 30 inches
- Weight: 44lbs
- Depth: 11 inches
- Weight capacity: 250lbs.
- Hull Material: Rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex high-density polyethylene
Sun Dolphin has been in the kayaking game for so long to know exactly what works and what doesn’t. If anything, they’re well-aware that a fishing trip can be a struggle and full of stress if you are on your own and have a heavy vessel. That’s basically why the Sun Dolphin Journey 10 SS is one of the most lightweight and compact fishing kayaks out there.
Measuring 10 feet in length and 30 inches in width, this kayak is easy to maneuver and will pick up speed on the whim while still maintain an absolute stability. This kayak is made of materials such as UV-stabilized Fortiflex and high-density polyethylene to ensure that it can resist Alamos any weather condition and still remain durable and functional.
Its steady base offers not just a stellar performance but also immense versatility and is great for both fishing and paddling adventures. This kayak is designed with a portable accessory carrier that can be place in the back of the kayak to act as a storage space for your essentials. It also has a bungee cord storage area in front to enable you to easily access all the things that you may want during your fishing excursion.
As far as your comfort is concerned, this kayak comes with a nicely padded seat and protective thigh pads, as well as adjustable foot braces to ensure that you are comfortable for long periods. In terms of fishing perks, this kayak comes with paddle holders on its sides, two flush mount rod holders and a swivel fishing rod holder, all meant to enhance your fishing adventure.
On the contrary though, its tracking capability can be a concern as it keeps spinning when braking. You’ll also notice that its 250lbs weight capacity is quite limiting if you have big catches.
It is a no-brainer that you should consider this kayak that gives you a lot for its value. In addition to stellar performance and comfort, you’ll get plenty of fishing accessories to satisfy you fishing expedition, but that’s only if its tracking shortcomings are not a major concern to you.
6. Riot Kayak Mako 12 Angler Impulse Drive Deluxe Sit-on-top (Sot) Fishing Kayak
- Length: 12’4”
- Width: 34”
- Weight: 67.7 lbs
- Weight capacity: 470 lbs
- Sit-on-top construction
- Hull material: Molded polyethylene
The Riot Kayak Mako 12 precisely demonstrates what a fishing kayak should really be: easy to maneuver and handle, structured with ample storage capacity and designed with amazing features to enhance your fishing expeditions.
Measuring 12.4 feet long and weighing not more than 67 lbs, this sit-on-top kayak is designed to move a little faster. At 34 inched wide, this kayak has a somewhat a rounded design that makes the kayak easy to paddle. This kayak is structured with shock cord webbing placed on the bow and stern sections to help you in holding any gear that cannot be placed inside the kayak.
To enhance your comfort, this kayak is designed with a padded seat and integrated thigh braces to ensure that you are utterly comfortable for long fishing periods.
While this kayak is superb for flat water surfaces, it performs fairly well on rough water surfaces such as fast-running rivers. Its versatility and stability is on another level and will perfectly enhance your fishing excursions given that it is designed with four fishing rod holders and loads of other fishing accessories.
While the Mako 12 is built of superior materials and comes with an excellent design, one its major drawbacks is that the hatch covers and bulkhead do not fit tight enough and may let in some water into your essentials. You may have to apply some silicone on the edges to ensure that it’s perfectly sealed.
The Riot Kayak Mako 12 is an excellent kayak that is known for its versatility. In addition to your fishing expeditions, you can use this kayak for long day trips and water sports. It works perfect on flat water surfaces, but make sure that you keep the storage compartments watertight.
Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 – Best for fly fishing
This kayak is great if you like fly fishing. There is a lot of storage, plus it’s an extremely popular kayak because it’s built with the fisherman in mind. The performance hull in this kayak does great in both rough and calm waters. It’s a little bit longer, so that allows it to be more stable, however, it also means it will be harder to steer in choppy waters.
The Ocean Prowler 13 comes with a hatch that is quite large, allowing for ample room when storing things. So, if you’re thinking about doing both regular fishing along with fly fishing in the same trip, this would be a smart choice.
Similar to the others, there is a cup holder, paddle keeps, and two rod holders. In back of the seat, there is a tank large enough for a cooler which means you’re able to eat a packed lunch as well as toss your catch for the day in back.
Overall, the Prowler 13 is a bit steep when it comes to price, but definitely worth the money if your budget allows it. It’s extremely durable, lasting for years on end, and you’ll be able to use it for multiple styles of fishing.
SunDolphin Excursion Sit-In
Very budget friendly, Sun Dolphin kayak is what I like to call, “the best kayak for your money”. Typically you can find this kayak for less than $500 which is a massive bargain considering it’s made by Sun Dolphin. Similar to the old town 10, you get two rod holders, plus it also comes with a swivel mount as well.
The cockpit has good size, so for you bigger guys this might be a good fit for you, and there is also stored space that comes with a handy latch along with a cover that will protect any contents you have inside.
There are adjustable braces for your feet, plus the design allows for easy maneuvering. One thing that it is missing is thigh support when going on longer trips which the old town 10 comes with. As for the seat, there is a good amount of support for the upper back, and to be honest, for price, this kayak is definitely a top pick.
Old Town 10ft Vapor 10 angler Recreational kayak
This kayak made the list due to all of the positive reviews it’s received over the years along with the not too high cost. The one disadvantage of this model is that it isn’t a twin kayak, and so that does limit you somewhat.
However, it is very stable and it does have a good amount of space in and around the cockpit that is perfect for single fishermen. Also, there’s a lot of storage, it has a seat which is very comfortable, which comes with built-in pads for your thighs along with adjustable braces that help you to balance.
This is very important for when you are learning how to control your kayak if you’re a beginner. There is a molded cup holder and paddle park which is perfect for breaking open a midafternoon beer while out on the river.
Also, there’s two rod holders directly in back behind your seat and there is also one small anchor which does the job for the most part. If you like angling alone out on the pond, this is a perfect model to check out.