Best fishing kayak

Fishing

Pole and paddle leashes guarantee you won’t lose your pole or your paddle if you happen to drop them, making them perfect fishing accessories.

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Which fishing kayak is best?

If you love fishing, being limited to the shoreline can be frustrating and disappointing, but not everyone can afford or find space for a fishing boat. A fishing kayak is the perfect solution, as it allows you to go farther out into the water while still feeling close to the shore. With a fishing kayak, you can float right over to the best casting spots, experience the peaceful world around you, then just throw it on top of your car when you’re ready to head home. 

Though they are significantly cheaper than fishing boats, fishing kayaks are a significant investment, so it is important to find the right one for your needs. If you are searching for the perfect kayak for your next fishing adventure, the all-around Perception Pescador 12 Kayak is a top choice. 

What to know before you buy a fishing kayak 

What makes fishing kayaks different from regular kayaks?

The short answer to what makes fishing kayaks different from regular kayaks is that they are designed with fishing in mind, but there are numerous details that demonstrate this distinction. Fishing kayaks have built-in features like storage and fishing pole holders that are clearly designed for fishing, but they are also built to be more stable than regular kayaks. Traditional kayaks are lighter, so they can be pulled away more easily by waves. Fishing kayaks are sturdier and deeper, allowing you to freely move your arms to reel in the catch of the day without fear of tipping over or falling out. Regular kayaks can be a bit easier to maneuver than fishing kayaks, because they are designed for sport activities. Fishing on a regular kayak is possible, but once you cast on a fishing kayak, the choice is pretty obvious. 

What to look for in a quality fishing kayak

Sit-on vs. sit-in

  • Sit-in: Often considered the traditional style, sit-in kayaks are designed for sport kayaking. Since the kayaker’s legs are inside the hull, you can press your knees against the kayak, giving you more torque for more efficient and stronger paddling. Sit-in kayaks will keep you drier more consistently than sit-on-top kayaks, making them convenient in cold weather or rough waters.
  • Sit-on-top: The majority of fishing kayaks are sit-on-top models, which are generally more comfortable and easier to move around in than sit-in kayaks. Sit-on-top kayaks also allow for storage space that is taken up by the rider of a sit-in kayak. Sit-on-top kayaks are also easier to get on and off of, especially from the water. 

Stability

Stability is always important in a kayak, but even more so when your kayak is loaded with fish, bait and gear. There are two types of stability to consider: primary and secondary. 

  • Primary stability is the overall stability of your kayak. When you’re out on the water, you should feel like your kayak isn’t going to tip at all. Kayaks with sharper edges tend to have better primary stability and worse secondary stability. 
  • Secondary stability is about how much the kayak can tilt to one side or the other before it will flip. Secondary stability isn’t concerned with rocking back and forth, but with the literal tipping point of the kayak. Kayaks with rounded edges will have better secondary stability, but not as much primary stability. 

Length

Longer kayaks are easier to steer in the water, but more tedious to maneuver on land. The average length is 10-12 feet, with longer kayaks ranging up to 16 feet. Kayaks less than 10 feet long are easy to transport and store, but harder to control on the water. 

How much you can expect to spend on a fishing kayak

There is a fairly large range when it comes to fishing kayak prices, as you can find some options for less than $200 and some that cost over $4,000. Most users should feel comfortable purchasing a kayak between $500-$1,500, as these typically have a good balance of weight and durability, and should offer some good features. If you’re paying less than $500, you’re likely getting an inflatable kayak or a cheaper model that won’t last more than a couple of years. Over $1,500, you’re looking at kayaks made with quality materials, top brands and professional-grade fishing kayaks packed with gear. 

Fishing kayak FAQ

How should you clean a kayak?

A. Deep cleaning kayaks is not often necessary if you maintain good maintenance practices. The best way to keep your kayak clean is to wash it down with fresh water after each fishing trip. More than just removing gunk, you want to get the salt water off of the kayak to prevent corrosion. 

Where should you store your kayak?

A. It is always best to store a kayak indoors if possible, such as in a shed or garage. If you have to keep your kayak outside, try to put it somewhere that is protected from sunlight and weather, such as under a deck. If nothing else, you can always cover your kayak with a tarp, but make sure the tarp doesn’t fill with rain and sag into the hull of your kayak. 

What’s the best fishing kayak to buy?

Top fishing kayak

Perception Pescador 12 Kayak

Perception Pescador 12 Kayak

What you need to know: This customer favorite has it all, making it perfect for those who want the best fishing experience. 

What you’ll love: This sit-on-top kayak is equipped with the functionality, storage and comfort an angler needs. It features two fishing rod holders so you can go hands free, two secure storage units—one at the front and one at the back—and padded seating for a comfortable ride. It is well worth the price for a dedicated angler. 

What you should consider: More petite anglers may struggle to reach the storage compartments while on the kayak. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top fishing kayak for the money

Lifetime Tamarack 10-Foot Angler

Lifetime Tamarack 10-Foot Angler

What you need to know: This fun and reasonably-priced kayak is lightweight but still stable, making it a great choice for fishing in mostly calm water. 

What you’ll love: Made to fit easily on top of most vehicles, this kayak is surprisingly stable and maneuverable even in choppy water. Equipped with plenty of storage, rod holders and an adjustable seat back, this kayak is a great long-term pick for anglers on the go.

What you should consider: Some customers felt the paddles were lower quality than the kayak. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Worth checking out

Intex Excursion Pro Kayak

Intex Excursion Pro Kayak

What you need to know: If you’re on the market for an inflatable kayak for fishing, this two-seater is a top choice. 

What you’ll love: Constructed from heavy-duty laminate pvc and a polyester core, this spacious two-seater kayak holds up well to extensive use. It is equipped with two fishing pole holders and has attachment locations to easily connect other accessories. 

What you should consider: Some users found the seats uncomfortable. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Collette Bliss writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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