After 50+ hours of research and testing, we have chosen the BKC 220 as the best fishing kayak available. This model will stand the test of time and continue to be a great kayak long after next year's models come out.
Our pick has an excellent seat that’s better than most models, increased speed that adds an extra appeal and the best design we have seen.
Our seasoned editors have picked and rated these products for each specific category and area of expertise to recommend you the best models and products we can. We receive commission from some of these affiliate links.
Best Overall Price/Performance: 1. BKC UH-220
"11 Foot model with paddle and seat at an unbeatable price"
Runner up: 2. Perception Pescador 12 Pro
"12 foot model with a great amount of storage space for gear"
Best Pedal Drive: 3. Hobie Mirage Outback
"No holds bar build quality, pedal drive and storage. Great if price is not an issue"
Also Great:10. Native Watercraft Slayer 13 Propel
"One of the more popular Slayer models, great price to performance"
- If your looking for just pedal fishing kayaks, please see guide here.
The BKC 220 offers the best overall fishing features with solid design, integrated extra storage its light weight, and comfortable.
The UH-220 is a kayak that meets expectations at a great price. It is equipped with excellent tracking capabilities and is quite maneuverable. It can easily accommodate extra gear as it has a good weight capacity and tons of extra compartments and storage for rod holders and the like. The seat is a advanced adjustable model and the dry storage is phenomenal.
Brooklyn Kayak Company is a new name in the fishing kayak industry, but it has proved its mettle in a short time. Its UH-UH is a sit-on-top kayak and has a unique design. This design makes it the trendy best kayak to have, and the camo design colors easily blend into the environment, thus making fishing easier.
Moreover, it is equipped with excellent tracking capabilities and is quite maneuverable. It can easily accommodate lots of gear as it has a good weight capacity.
The Brooklyn Kayak is not very lightweight but isn’t on the heavier side either. It has two seats that are comfortable and ergonomic, and the paddle rests are high-quality bungee ones. There are three mount rod holders, four mount rod holders, and footrests too. There is extra storage as well at the back of the seats where you can put your valuables. The kayak is overall very secure and comfortable and is good for long-distance voyages.
Full Review Here.
The Pescador pro offers the best overall fishing features with solid design, integrated extra storage, light weight, and extra comfort.
The Pescador Pro has been a staple of high-end paddling kayaks for years. It has continually been reviewed as one of the best kayaks out there and continues to impress. Its speed is incredible in comparison to similar sized boats. You can toss the Pescador over your head and lug it 30 or 40 yards from the parking lot to the water, a big convenience if you don't want to trolly it.
These features and a low price (below some of its costlier high-end competition) put it over the top to be one of our top picks this year.
The kayak even includes places to mount electronic items and other accessories so that you can use them without any issues.
As fishing kayaks are heavier than recreational kayaks because they have extra rigging, the Perception Kayak Pescador Pro is heavier than most other kayaks.
The amount of dry storage offered by this kayak is small, but because of the fixings, you can store a lot of accessories on it. You can keep your valuables such as phones and watches in the storage, and the cargo deck is spacious enough to keep other items.
Seating is also very comfortable with a mesh seatback that keeps the user cool and well-ventilated. It offers good options for organization with its many mounting options.
Best Pedal Drive
Legendary pedal drive and features make this one of the most renowned kayak models
The Hobie Mirage Outback is our top pick as it is equipped with lots of handy features according to every kayaker and fisherman’s needs and is comfortable to use as well. It is equipped with the MirageDrive system that allows you to propel smoothly through the waters. The concept behind the MirageDrive system is that your leg muscles are stronger than the arm muscles and thus, you can use them to propel your kayak more effectively.
The Hobie Mirage Outback consists of a mega drive pedal as well, which allows you to maneuver smoothly in the water. As you’ll be using your leg muscles, kayaking will require less effort and thus, you’ll have more energy for fishing.
This kayak has an excellent ergonomic design overall and is ideal for you if you want to be able to go kayaking for longer periods. The MirageDrive system also consists of blue fins that pivot 180 degrees and offer a hands-free kayaking and fishing experience to users.
See full review here.
Runner Up Pedal Drive
Great build quality with Propel Pedal Drive
The Native Watercraft Slayer has a minimalistic design and has great options for recreational paddlers and anglers. It has a clean deck, and the seating system is very comfortable with the option to adjust the height.
This kayak is good for going offshore for hunting kingfish or going in flat waters for fishing redfish. It even has built-in rod stagers, self-bailing hull, and tackle storage, which makes it one of the best fishing kayaks available on the market.
The Native Watercraft Slayer has been designed especially for fishermen and has a sit-on-top design, which offers comfort to the paddler while entering or leaving the cockpit. It also offers excellent tracking as it features a hard-chinned rudder-ready hull.
The most unique feature is its Tag Along Wheel made up of hard plastic that allows easy transportation. There is a dry storage area as well that can be a good place for storing batteries and electronics like phones while you are out fishing.
Larger than the outback with the same great features and more
The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler is a high-end fishing kayak and is equipped with features such as the MirageDrive 180 which makes paddling easier. The kayak is equipped with a bluefins pedal drive that offers a good propulsion system to the user. Again, the main idea behind this yak is to allow users to use their legs for propelling because, then, they can use more force and save some energy for fishing too. Since the legs are used to propel the kayak, your hands are free to do anything. The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler offers a stable and comfortable fishing platform.
It has a wide hull and allows the user to sit above the deck. The good thing is that there is a standing platform for those who love to fish while standing. Hence, this kayak will suit all types of fishermen.
There are tackle boxes present in a pivoting rack, and the hatch holds it in front of the seat. This feature is very handy as it allows the user to reach the space underneath easily.
See full review here.
Great pedal drive and unbeatable amount of storage and bungees for all gear
The Old Town Topwater PDL Angler is designed especially for kayak anglers. It is perfect for paddling in large water bodies such as bays, lakes, and coastal areas. It is equipped with lots of handy features such as a Mod Pod center cover, 3-position element seating system, and removable mounting plates.
The three-position element seating system is very beneficial for the user as it can change the position according to the condition required. The user can improve stability for travelling fast, improve visibility for fishing purposes, and enhance maneuverability for standing up on the kayak while fishing.
It has a rigid seat frame which is more comfortable than the sit-on-top kayaks. There is a molded paddle rest as well that allows you to park your paddle when you aren’t using it. The Mod Pod cover allows you to customize the kayak and allows you to place the cover without drilling holes in it.
Best 11 Foot Budget
Everything necessary to have a great fishing experience at a great price.
Wilderness Systems Pungo 140 is a lightweight yak and has a very ergonomic design, which makes it convenient to use. It allows easy loading and unloading of the kayak from the transport vehicle, which is a very useful feature and makes it easy to take it anywhere. Thus, if you don’t have direct vehicle access, you shouldn’t be worried as it is very easy to transport.
The Pungo 105 is also extremely fast and has a sit-in deck that offers a comfortable riding experience and keeps the people inside the cockpit dry.
It is equipped with a Phase 3 AirPro seating system that is both adjustable and comfortable. The seats are contoured, and the backrest has been designed to improve the comfort level of the user. There is dry storage space as well for keeping smartphones, watches, wallets, sunglasses, and tackle boxes.
Wilderness Systems is a well-known brand when it comes to kayaks, especially best fishing kayaks. The Tarpon 120 is another well-designed kayak offered by the company that is known for recreational purposes as well as fishing. It is very comfortable and equipped with incredible features such as a paddle holder, a cup holder, self-billing scupper holes, keepers XL foot brace system, gear storage pockets, and a storage hitch.
It is a fast kayak, but it is not suitable for you if you are fond of fishing while standing. Though it is not too stable, it performs great while you’re sitting on it and fishing. This is because the Phase 3 AirPro seating system is very comfortable.
The sit-on-top design is good for those who need a clear picture of the water and want an easy way to enter and exit the kayak. The seating system is very comfortable and is slightly raised from the bottom of the boat to give a comfortable fishing experience.
See our full kayak review here.
The Ocean Kayaks Trident 11 is a fast kayak and is perfect for large bodies of water as it can reach distant locations effortlessly. However, if you are not an experienced kayaker, it will be a bit difficult to handle it isnt the best kayak in rough waters.
It is equipped with a Comfort Hybrid seat back that offers lumbar support and a tall backrest to provide comfortable seating to the user. The frame is rigid, and the seat is a standard molded one.
It has an adjustable foot brace system that allows you to adjust the position of the knees according to the level of comfort. There is a sonar shield storage compartment and a modular fishing pod center console as well that provides easy access to the fishing gear rods while you’re fishing. The ocean kayak is transducer compatible to maximize the use of fish finders, and there is no need to modify the scupper holes to install the transducer.
One of the more popular Slayer models, great price to performance
The Native Watercraft Slayer 13 is very popular and is equipped with lots of handy features for fishermen. It has a sit-on-top design and, thus, allows comfortable and easy entry and exit options. It offers amazing tracking capabilities because of its hard-chinned rudder-ready hull. The hull also features a prominent keel which improves the tracking capabilities of the kayak.
The seating system of the kayak is comfortable and rigid and is made up of an aluminum frame with a suspension mesh that is adjustable. The seat can also be reclined and set according to the preference of the user.
Furthermore, it has a Tag Along wheel similar to the Native Watercraft Slayer Propel and has a dry storage compartment for storing anything you wish. You can also easily add rod holders or other tools for your assistance and make the kayak as convenient as you want.
To learn how to choose the best fishing kayaks that are suitable for you, you will have to study the market carefully and find the yak that applies to your distinct tastes and needs. Firstly let's go through some of the materials and models so you can get familiar with what exactly you will be buying.
Looking for the best fishing kayaks under 1000? See the guide here.
After a lot of research we have put together a list encompassing reviews found all across the web and averaged them across all the reliable fishing products. This list is not a 100% accurate ranking of the brands. Please take this list with a grain of salt and use it more as a rough guide. One brand can have a kayak which is great and better then another even though it has a lower average rating then another brand so please keep this in mind.
|BRAND||Avg Rating %||Fishing K Reviews||Fishing Products||Popular (3+ Reviews)||Notes|
|1. Wilderness Systems||96%||442||11||9||-|
|2. Ocean Kayak||96%||282||10||8||-|
|3. Hobie Cat||93%||103||15||12||-|
|5. Jackson Kayak||96%||60||10||6||-|
|6. Heritage Kayaks||90%||70||4||1||-|
|7. Native Watercraft||89%||78||15||8||-|
|8. Old Town||88%||52||5||3||-|
Many different materials go into the design of the best fishing kayaks, but there are four very common ones, these include the single layer linear polyethylene, three layer polyethylene, fiberglass, and Kevlar-carbon, here we will evaluate their pros and cons:
1. Single Layer Linear polyethylene
Kayaks made of single piece manufacturing, are hard, resistant to abrasion and the weather. It is a very common material used for the creation of kayaks and is highly recommended since they are often more durable than the three - layer polyethylene option.
2. Three-layer Polyethylene
As its name indicates it has three layers, the tough, glossy exterior provides a good glide on water. Within Three-layer Polyethylene the material is thicker making the buoyancy of the kayak better, providing thermal insulation “in this case for closed kayaks” and the inside layer is non-slip.
In our opinion, the Single Layer Polyethylene kayaks are much more robust, much heavier and perhaps a bit more durable due to their rough finish. Polyethylene is the main material for the construction of the majority of kayaks on the market.
Fiberglass is a very light material, it weighs less than a kayak made from polyethylene and has excellent sliding abilities on the water. Its weaknesses include: Fragile against impacts and rods, more expensive pricing than polyethylene. This material is used for the sit in models or cruise models of kayaks.
|SIT On TOP or “Open”||Sit-In Closed||Pedal and Sailing||Inflatable|
|Properties||-Properties are polyethylene, fiberglass||– Polyethylene properties, fiberglass, kevlar carbon, fiberglass||– Polyethylene properties, fiberglass, kevlar carbon, fiberglass||- Rubberized fabric|
|Price||-Affordable price.||- Higher price point than an Open kayak||- Usually a higher price point than all others||- Low to high, usually cheaper then other kayaks|
|Speed||- Slower than sit in kayaks||– Faster than open kayaks||– Fast pedaling||- Slower then the average kayak|
|Weight||- Weight less then sit in kayaks unless you have many accessories||– Generally lighter than the open kayaks.||– Heavy, difficult handling, use of a truck for transport to embark and disembark.||- Usually weigh less than the average kayak|
|Notes||-They are the most popular type of kayak. -Ease of attaching accessories. -Technical expertise not necessary in its management -Safe and stable||– Less space, to attach accessories. – Need prior training: technique of paddling, buoyancy and – – Eskimo roll – Protect better from the cold||– Ease of attaching lots of accessories, as well as those that already come with them thanks to large onboard space – Usually come with a strong kayak seat – Less stress on arms since movement is done by pedaling||– Most are not suitable for fishing in the sea, however not to be too pessimistic there are some brands that were tested and said to be very comfortable and usable for fishing. These can be found in our inflatable kayaks section. Best inflatable kayak page here.|
Your next question requires you to consider exactly where and what you will be using your kayak for.
- What are your goals for your yak?
- Will you be using it on an open ocean/sea or will you be using it on a placid lake, or will you be using it on rivers and rapids?
- Will the water be warm water, will it be cold water?
- Will you be launching through the surf?
- Are you going to be okay with storage space or will you need enough to camp out?
Think about your endgame, what exactly are you going to need and be honest with yourself - foresee the future. You don't want to buy a kayak you will be upgrading from a couple of months later. Once you start thinking about your needs and writing them down slowly, you'll start seeing that particular kayaks pertain more to you and your goals than others.
Getting a Long Fast Fishing Kayak Vs a Wide Stable Fishing Kayak is a big consideration. Usually, when you're looking for a kayak, a good rule of thumb is - the longer and thinner a kayak is the faster it will be and vice versa. This has to do with physics and the effect of cutting through the water at a lower surface area.
Conversely, The wider kayaks, though they are slower are much more stable which is what you should be looking for as a beginner.
A lot of kayakers will find out that kayaks that seemed stable and fun to use become more mundane and slow for them after time but this is not due to the kayak itself it's because of a kayaker's improved abilities over time. Some people recommend finding a kayak then getting the next best model of what you thought you would need since as the kayaker gets better at stability, balance, and fishing, they'll want more from their kayak, and the old version may no longer cut it.
Most fishing kayaks are geared to the sit on top kayak since they allow you to hold much more accessories and are much easier for bringing in fish and moving around. However there is a drawback, and that is how wet it can get within the boat can often fill up with water. However, with a sit-in boat, your maneuverability is more limited since you can't completely reel fish in and bring them within your kayak also the sit in models are a bit less stable in comparison.
An alternative is a more closed sit on top kayak which essentially has some enclosure but is not fully enclosed, so you have the ability to store things within it without the issue of too much water getting in. However, we recommend a sit on top kayak for the purpose of fishing.
I had a Big Game kayak that felt as if you were going to tip over every time you moved. However, you would need to drop out of it to actually tip it over.
The reason behind this is the hull's design. It was a small v-shape at the bottom. Also, it got up and spread-out extensively and smoothly just above the water line.
Due to the buoyancy of it, the slim design at the bottom made it feel unstable. Now if you filled it right up to its weight capacity it'd remain lower while in the water and feel much less shaky.
When you're ready to purchase a fishing kayak, you'll have many different options for storing it. Whether you want to put it in your garage or you have a shed out back to hold it, you need to take into consideration its size before you take it home. For transportation, there are a lot of different options available to you. There are kayak trailers that are specially built only to hold kayaks, and these provide an excellent means of loading your boat if you don't want to deal with the hassle of a roof rack. For More detailed guide an excellent resource: www.kayaktrailersale.com
However, if you rather be more economical, a roof rack would hold a kayak well. You would need to find your exact measurements and install it on top of your car.
There are also many options for making homemade kayak trailers with a simple base these can be as cheap as $400.
A kayak bike trailer, this allows you to load your kayak onto a mini bike trailer and drive it around short distances.
Getting To The Launch Point
Getting your kayak to the launch point from a close location can present many gear options as well. The most popular option is a kayak cart which allows you to transport your kayak on a vehicle like a dolly to your location.
The only difference between a kayak built for fishing and a kayak built for fishing are the rigging capabilities it has. Some fishing kayaks will come with nets at the front for holding items and fish, they will carry areas for your rod holders, for your tackle boxes and much more. Of course, if your a do it yourself person and want to save some money you can rig it yourself with a few power tools, and you can be on your way. For beginners, we recommend getting a kayak made for fishing, after all, custom work could cause holes and issues you would want to avoid.
Some people tend to be obsessed with having as many rod holders as they can get on a kayak and go crazy turning a kayak into something that resembles a hoarder's attic. Avoid the urge to turn your fishing kayak into a monster! Two or three fishing rod holders are usually plenty, and if you want more, well there's nothing I can tell you, your addicted!
Many of the fishing kayak models will come with these already mounted but if not make sure you have the tools handy to be up to the task. The location of the mounts is going to be the most important consideration here. You may have a general idea of where your fishing rod holder will go. Don't start making holes in a great kayak before you're sure what you want. You can make marks on your kayak with a pen and try to sit in the kayak and pretend you're casting and putting down the rod; this will help you determine what exactly feels comfortable for you.
You can go crazy trying to organize and sort your gear into the perfect sections, colors, and areas, you can get obsessive compulsive with this. With your kayak, there is a limit to how much you can take with you, and that's why its best to optimize to the essentials, selecting your perfect lures and favorite accessories to take out. Battle with your inner beast telling you to pack the bait holders with everything you own, use your favorite lures and the ones you have confidence in, and you can concentrate more on the fishing rather than the accessories.
The Seat is something that is overlooked by a lot of people, but after personally going through hundreds of kayak reviews I see a large pattern, the seat. The seat can make or break a kayak and is usually the most complained about accessory on a kayak. Make sure you're comfortable in your seat and if your stock seat feels more like a second-hand yoga-mat I highly recommend you go out and choose a more expensive and usable one, your butt will thank you after an hour or so.
Whichever yak you choose we are sure youll have a great time out there on the water. Kayak fishing is a incredible sport and is growing every year with more and more exiting innovations, keep checking our lists for exciting new developments and well continue to help you find the best fishing kayak out there!
The boat itself, nevertheless, weighs just 32 pounds and you can pack it in a storage hatch case for comfort. Because you don’t need to be worried about your fishing equipment being all around the place when you’re in the water, the cargo room increases the flexibility. Great spacing for a water bottle. This design has a self-bailing drain device that might end up being useful on the sea or when in white-water streams. Pace and monitoring are covered from the set of shaped skegs, that'll ensure that the canoe slides easily over the water. If your looking to stay on the cheap side and like the portability of inflatables you can see our full list of inflatable kayaks here.
Andrew is a seasoned kayaker with 15 years of experience under his belt. He began kayaking as a way to reduce work stress but quickly became an avid kayak fisher and lure expert. He currently enjoys both lake and ocean kayaking and loves to write and share his experiences.