Kayak fishing is a sport which goes back four thousand years. Yes, you read that correctly. This sport originated among the native anglers that lived along the coastal waters of the Arctic. These early fishermen would stitch together animals skins and stretch them tight over wooden frames. This would allow them to go out on the icy waters and catch fish, seals and other marine animals to eat through the cold winter months. It’s a style of fishing that continues to be popular in parts of the Arctic Circle.
However, while kayak fishing is still rather new to modern civilization, it’s beginning to gain in popularity. Why is that the case? That’s because kayaks are easier to move out to remote bodies of water, they are cheaper than motorized boats and they are less expensive than them as well. Which makes them a very attractive option for the adventurous fisherman looking to take their angling to the next level.
Finding the best kayak for fishing can seem like a daunting task to some people, however. That’s because it seems like there are dozens of different styles of kayaks out there offered by an equally large number of manufacturers. How are anglers new to the sport supposed to find the kayak for fishing that they need? And the answer to that question is by checking out our top kayak recommendations and then reading the tips we’ve provided for you that will help you find the best fishing kayak. One that will have the features that you need it to have and will provide you years of enjoyments.
Best Fishing Kayaks Of 2018
10Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 With Deluxe Seat & Paddle
The Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 is a kayak that’s designed to accommodate one person and has four easy-to-grip handles that make it easy to transport to your favorite body of water. This model is approximately 9-feet long and about 32-inches wide and weighs about 46-pounds. This makes it the appropriate size to transport using a trailer or even in the back of some of the larger SUVs. It’s also a model that comes in a number of different colors from Hunter Green Camo to Blue Camo to Sea Breeze. One of the great things about the Skip Jack 90 is that it also comes with a paddle and with four flush mount rod holders for adding some of the optional accessories that the company sells separately.
9BKC UH-TK181 Fishing Kayak
Manufactured by the Brooklyn Kayak Company, the BKC UH-TK181 is a tandem model that is often considered by many to be the best 2-person kayak for catching fishing. It’s a little over 12-feet long and weighs about 68-pounds, which makes it easy to transport. While being quite lightweight for a kayak of its size, however, it’s capable of holding approximately 450-pounds in total. This paddled vessel has four flush mounted rod holders and three adjustable rod holders that allow the fishermen in it to get as many lines in the water as possible. After all, the more lines that can be put out, the more bits that are possible. Other features of this kayak include two secure paddle rests, a bungee tie-down system, a rear cargo area and two watertight storage areas—one for each paddler.
8Sun Dolphin Excursion Fishing Kayak
The Sun Dolphin Excursion Fishing Kayak is a 10-foot long, 30-inch wide fishing model that weighs approximately 40-pounds and has a maximum weight capacity of 40-pounds. It’s a model that seems like it was custom made for rivers and lakes and accommodates one fisherman perfectly. It also comes with a variety of features which make it a vessel that’s perfect for fishing. Some of these features include a rear storage hatch, a front-mounted water bottle holder, adjustable foot braces, a swivel fishing rod holder and a flush mount holder and a large open cockpit. All of these features combine to make it the best beginner fishing kayak in its price range.
7Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Vapor 10 Angler
Made from a single-layer polyethylene that makes it strong yet lightweight, the Vapor 10 Angler is a kayak that’s perfect for just about anybody. It’s about 10-feet long, 28.5-inches wide and weighs just 49-pounds and is pretty stable on the water. It features a comfort flex seat that’s adjustable, thigh pads, built-in carry handles and a molded-in paddle rest. It also features a stern well for storage. While it’s not the fanciest kayak or the one with the most features, it is a dependable model that can be taken out on your favorite lake or river with confidence. It seems to just do what it’s designed to do.
6Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 110
The Sea Ghost 110 is not only a kayak with a cool name that comes in a number of different colors such as blue, hunter, smoke and orange camo, but is also a fairly fast kayak that gives the paddler speed yet remains stable at the same time. It’s also a vessel that comes with a number of great features that make this 11-foot one-person kayak invaluable to just about any angler. Some of the features that can be found on this model include four integrated gear tracks, two flush-mounted rod holders, a toe-controlled rudder system and several different storage areas located at the center console, rear hatch, and the front oval hatch. All which give the paddler options when they’re deciding what to take with them.
5Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Inflatable Kayak
This inflatable kayak is composed of 18-gauge PVC and multiple air chambers that stay inflated if one just so happens to be punctured. These features, along with its Airtight System®, makes this kayak safe and suitable for lake fishing. It also has a number of other features which make it convenient to use—whether you want to use it for only a few hours or for an entire afternoon of fishing. Some of the features you’ll find include rod holders, paddle holders, convenient D-rings, a carry bag, pressure gauge and a tarpaulin puncture resistant bottom. Designed to carry up to 470-pounds of weight, this kayak is a durable and strong 2-seat that’s sure to provide many fishing trips of enjoyment.
4Lifetime Sit-on-Top Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak
This 10-foot kayak provides comfortable seating for three people and has a 500-pound weight capacity. It’s molded from a high-density polyethylene that makes it light and durable at the same time. It can be mounted with a motor mount (sold separately) or can be padded with its enclosed double-sided paddles. It also has a number of features that make it a great kayak to take out on your favorite lake. Some of the features that can be found on this particular model include rear and front carry handles, a rear storage hatch, fishing pole holders and adjustable footrests. It also is equipped with a hull design that provides stability in numerous water conditions.
3Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak
After looking at the Prowler 13 Kayak, it’s easy to see why it’s so popular among fishing enthusiasts. And that’s because it has a number of features that make it not only easy to transport but also easy to fish. This 13-foot kayak features a molded-in seat well with comfort plus seat backs, two flush mounted rod holders, paddle keeps, deck bungee, a cam lock hatch and a skid plate. With a width of only 28-inches and an empty weight of only 56-pounds, this model is designed to handle rough waters as easily as it handles calm ones. It also has a weight capacity of 325-pounds, so the angler can be sure that it will carry him and his fishing gear as well.
2BKC UH-RA220 Rip Tide Angler
The UH-RA220 by Brooklyn Kayak Co. is a sit-on-top model that comes in a variety of colors from army green and camo to sky blue and gray camo. This one-seater is approximately 11-feet and 5-inches long, weighs about 70-pounds empty and has a maximum weight capacity of 440-pounds. It’s designed to carry plenty of gear and still remain stable and is a nice kayak for an afternoon of fishing. Some of its features include four flush-mount rod holder and one adjustable rod holder, a built-in cargo area that has elastic tie-downs and paddle parks. And taking it out to your favorite lake is a breeze thanks to its side handles that can be used to carry it and secure it to a trailer.
1Lifetime Muskie Angler Kayak
This Lifetime Kayak with Paddle is a one person kayak with a weight capacity of about 275-pounds. This model is great to take out on your favorite river or lake and has a flat bottom to increase stability. It also comes with a number of features to make it more useful to the sports fisherman and to increase its comfort level. These features include an adjustable footrest, a top mounted fishing rod holder, two flush-mounted fishing rod holders and an adjustable seat. It also features two storage compartments and is manufactured from high-density, UV-protected polyethylene that is durable and is designed to look good for longer without becoming sun-faded.
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What To Look For Fishing Kayak
Before running out and buying fishing kayaks cheap, you should take a few things into consideration. Sure, the price will ultimately factor into whatever decision you make but it isn’t the most feature of any kayak. In fact, there are several kayaks out there that might be inexpensive but I wouldn’t trust them to keep my dog afloat on my local river. It’s important that you take a few other things into consideration—some of which, I’ve decided to list below. Consider these points to make sure that you’re purchasing the best fishing model that you can buy.
Stability or Speed
One thing you really want to consider is whether you need a fast kayak or a stable one. While some models have gotten better in coming closer to combining these two features into one model, they still aren’t perfect. Oftentimes, you’ll have to decide whether you want a model that can really tear through the water or one that can’t be dumped over easily. Usually, longer kayaks are faster and wider ones are more stable. The size of the hull matters as well. Up-swept bows seem to handle better in wavy conditions that they do in flat water conditions.
Sit-On-Top or Inside Models
This is a basically a personal choice that each fisherman needs to make for himself. Sit-on-top models are certainly more convenient and not only allow the angler to wade as needed but also to handle a number of extra accessories such as fishing poles. However, riding on top can result in the fisherman being soaked by the end of the fishing trip. Models with cockpits are better suited as a kayak for ice fishing and will keep the angler dry during cold, wet conditions. Of course, like everything else with a kayak, stability is also a factor. Cockpit models tend to be more stable than sit-on-top models.
Fishing models come with an assortment of added features which make them more convenient to the angler. All you have to do is to choose a model that has the features that match your needs. Some fisherman plan to put a lot of hooks into the water at one time, so they need a lot of rod holders. Another fisherman, on the other hand, may not need so many of them or need them at all. It all depends on your personal needs and fishing style. Below are some of the more common features usually found on fishing models.
- Mounting Tracks
- Rod Holders
- Skid Plates
- UV Protection
- Adjustable Seating
- Adjust Foot Rests
It’s important to consider the weight capacity of your kayak. You want to make sure that you buy a model that will not only support your weight but also the added weight of your gear. This is one part where you’ll want to pay close attention. If you’re 350-pounds, then you certainly don’t want to buy a kayak with a weight capacity of only 250-pounds.
After you’ve weighed the above features and come up with a list of what to look for in an angling kayak, then you can turn your attention to other less critical features such as color or whether it has a cup holder or not. Once you’ve done that, then you can rest assured that you’re buying the best angling kayak possible and won’t be hit with buyer’s remorse after you’ve made the purchase.