The idea that there is one single best fishing kayak that fits every situation is, of course wrong; every person has their own preferences when it comes to a hobby sport like kayak fishing.
You might be an experienced shore fisherman looking to give the off-shore variety a try. Or you might be a casual kayaker looking to spice things up a bit (and land dinner!) by adding a new dimension to your hobby. Kayak fishing a great way to relax and spend time out on the water and experience a little peace and tranquility while your there.
Modern fishing kayaks are specially made for there intended purpose, so for the most part there is no need to be scared when it comes to the kayaks comfort and stability. Fishing kayaks also come with useful attachments like rod holders, anchors and a variety of other accessories. However, before you take the plunge and choose your fishing kayak, you may want to consider some factors.
What type of fishing do you enjoy
While there is no one best fishing kayak, there is a fishing kayak that is best for you. It depends on what your goals are for kayak fishing. Do you intend to fish in still waters for bass, or would you rather navigate rivers for trout?
Or are you more likely to brave the surf and spray and launch into the open ocean? Maybe you are just looking to have some nice relaxation and time for yourself? Answering these questions will help you pick a great kayak that will bring you hours of joy and satisfaction.
Techinical requirements of the best fishing kayak
Beyond these initial thoughts, there are a few technical considerations to keep in mind as well. Most fishermen prefer a sit on top design as the greater space allows for more freedom to keep and arrange equipment; you can also straddle the kayak for additional stability.
These designs are also inherently safer; the flat design means the kayak can never sink as there is nowhere for the water to collect. However, they do not keep you as dry as a sit inside kayak. Sit inside designs are also lighter than sit on designs and are better suited to moving waters like streams or rivers.
Also consider the physical dimensions of the kayak. The longer it is, the faster it rows. However, it also gets less maneuverable. Generally, longer kayaks also are less spacious. A wider kayak, on the other hand, gives you more stability and can carry more weight. It also gives you more room to sit comfortably and store all your stuff.
Keep in mind that a comfortable, adjustable seat with backrests will do far more to keep your comfortable than a wider kayak. However, some wider kayaks allow you to stand up straight, which might be preferable at times when you want to cast your line accurately.
With all of these considerations, a fishing kayak is like a regular kayak and you should choose one in the same process. Look at the material it is built with; solid plastic is inexpensive and sturdy. Properly taken care of, a solid plastic kayak will last you a very long time. However, they can also weigh quite a bit.
Kayaks can also be built from polymer fibers (like fiberglass or Kevlar) and resin (like polyester or epoxy) but they trade weight for rigidity. The added flex in the body makes these kayaks difficult for beginners to operate properly. Also keep in mind that while plastic kayaks can be used in every kind of water, fiberglass kayaks are not really suited to saline backwaters or estuaries.
Best fishing kayak accessories
Finally, make sure that you also have the proper gear with you before you head out into the water. A pair of kayaking gloves is absolutely essential if you want to have an enjoyable experience on the water. A good pair of gloves will not only protect you from UV rays and friction burns, but they also increase your grip on the paddle. This makes you a more efficient paddler and also prevents your arms and hands from tiring out prematurely.
You should also have life vests which will keep you afloat if your kayak capsizes or if you lose your perch on top of it. They also provide your skin with protection against the UV rays. Sunshades also keep out the glare of the sun that is reflected off the surface of the water as well as harmful UV radiation.
What are my options?
So now that you are armed with all the knowledge of what to look for and why, checkout a few choices from the best fishing kayaks available:
- The Vibe Sea Ghost 130 Angler Kayak
- The Nixie Sports 2 Person Fishing Kayak
- The Useful UH-TK181 Tandem Fishing Kayak.
Lets take a look:
Vibe Sea Ghost 130 Angler Kayak
The Vibe Sea Ghost is one of the most widely regarded of angling kayaks. The sit on top design is extremely favorable for serious fishing enthusiasts and the seat itself is adjustable.
There is a toe controlled rudder system for easy navigation preinstalled with the Sea Ghost. This accessory is usually worth an additional USD 100 to USD 200 with other brands.
There is ample option for storage with 2 sealable hatches with bag inserts. The center console is also sealable and has multiple mounting ports for accessories and fishing rods. There is also a Fishfinder transducer port with additional mounting points and a lid that protects from moisture.
Finally, the 13 ft. length and custom designed shaped makes this kayak extremely stable while retaining the ability to paddle without restrictions. The Sea Ghost typically retails for around the USD 800 mark on Amazon, and currently has a 5 / 5 rating from 12 customer reviews. People really praise the value this product brings, with features and functionality comparable to kayaks in the USD 1500 to USD 2000 range.
- Great value for money
- Comfortable seat
- Plenty of space for storage and comfort
- Pre-installed rudder system
- Stable design
- Weight capacity is a little low
Nixie Sports 2 Person Fishing Kayak
This extremely lightweight kayak surpasses expectations on what is possible in a budget fishing kayak. The Nixie Sports 2 Person fishing kayak is a sit on top design and comes with some extremely attractive features.
The kayak weighs 70 lbs and is 13 ft. long, seating two people in tandem. Along with adjustable footrests, the deluxe backrests and ample legroom for both passengers ensure that long durations on the water are extremely comfortable.
There are plenty of storage options with multiple watertight hatches with bag inserts moulded right into the hull. It even comes with cup holders and bungee cords for strapping large loads. There are 4 flush mounted rod holders on the hull edge.
The kayak comes with two included paddles and paddle clips. The 5-year warranty on the hull guarantees peace of mind for the life of your purchase.
The product is currently listed at USD 622.49 on Amazon. Customer feedback has been thoroughly positive with the Nixie Sports 2 Person fishing kayak. While the tandem design might not be to everyone’s liking, it is still a pretty good 2 person kayak irrespective of whether you are into fishing or not.
- Affordable price
- Adequate storage space
- Well designed and sturdy
- Paddles included
- Extremely lightweight
- 70 lbs weight impacts stability
- Length maneuverability
Useful UH-TK181 Tandem Fishing Kayak
Another 2-person tandem kayak in the competition is the Useful UH-TK181. Weighting in at 68 lbs, it is the lightest of all the kayaks we have reviewed here. It has a total weight capacity of 450 lbs, which might be a concern considering that it is a 2-person kayak.
The deluxe seats ensure a comfortable kayaking experience while the light weight makes it extremely easy to paddle and maneuver. The design is extremely stable and can sustain a ton of rocking before coming even close to capsizing.
2 aluminum paddles are included with the kayak, which are sturdier than typical plastic or polycarbonate paddles. There are 4 flush mounted fishing rod holders and 3 adjustable rod holders. Storage pouches in the rear and a bungee tie down system ensures that there is plenty of storage space on the kayak. Two watertight compartments allow you to store electronics and other items like phones, wallets, or keys.
The Useful UH-TK181 is currently selling on Amazon for USD 1097, making it a pretty good value. It might not be as feature packed as some of the more expensive options, but being a tandem kayak, it ticks just the right number of boxes to snag our recommendation. The product is currently rated at 4.1 / 5 out of 29 reviews, which ranks it high on customer satisfaction. Useful customer service could do with some improvement though.
- Stable and lightweight design
- Plenty of storage
- Included aluminum paddles
- Comfortable seat
- Lackluster customer service
- Sold exclusively on Amazon
So there you have it. A comprehensive look at some of the best fishing kayaks available in the market today. Its worth repeating that while there is no perfect kayak, there is a kayak that is perfect for you. All you need to do is figure out which features are must haves and which features you are willing to compromise on. The rest is easy.