Fishing offers a great escape from everyday life.
But what if you want to escape a little further than the shoreline will take you?
A fishing kayak affords anglers unparalleled access to small waters and unlike angling from the bank, kayaking anglers can access the water outside of the casting range.
While some anglers swear by boat fishing, my unwavering opinion is fishing by kayak is by far the best angling watercraft for any water body as it’s stealthy, stable, and has no maintenance costs.
Fishing yaks are particularly a fantastic option when exploring the uncharted waters and the more secluded fishing spots inaccessible from the shore and difficult to get on a larger boat. Sure, you can opt for a small pontoon boat, but a fishing kayak offers a practical way of traversing challenging waterways.
Plus, without a noisy engine in tow, you’ve a better shot of scoping out wildlife or landing a prized catch with greater ease.
But reap these benefits; you need to use a kayak well-suited for your purposes. If you are looking to buy a fishing kayak but still need to do some research, I’ve created this page, reviewing the best option and comparing the features and performance of the different models available in the market.
Table of Contents
The Best Fishing Kayaks For The Money
#1 Sea Eagle 330 Pro 2 Kayak - All-Around Option
The Sea Eagle 330 Pro is a surprisingly powerful, durable, and all-purpose inflatable kayak.
This tandem kayak, part of the Sea Eagle’s Sport Kayak Series, is a fan favorite for both beginners and seasoned kayakers and is quickly making waves in the angling community.
But is it the right fishing yak for you?
Features and Benefits
We don’t expect much toughness from an inflatable kayak, but not on the Sea Eagle 330.
This kayak is rated for class lll whitewater, and while I prefer calmer water, it’s nice to know I’ve a reliable watercraft in case I ever go to white water kayaking.
Plus, with the 33 mil Polykrylar (K80 PVC) material construction, this kayak is tougher than a pool float and won’t pop when scraped against rocks or even pinned against sharp sticks.
It’s also sturdy enough to slide over rock and bounce around tree-trunks without compromising on its integrity.
Portability is Sea Eagle’s strongest asset. True to its description, it packs to a fraction of its inflatable size.
It easily fits into a large size duffel bag that checks at airports as a large suitcase.
The ability to compact also means you can quickly set it up and transport the yak in your car’s trunk without having to worry about the roof rack.
Besides portability, the Sea Eagle 330 is also 330 ultra-light, and at 26 pounds, it’s easy to haul it for long distances to your destination without feeling fatigued.
However, don’t let the lightweight design fool you because the kayak has an impressive weight capacity of 500 pounds, so you can always bring your kid, friend, or better half on your angling adventures.
With over 10 feet in length, the Sea Eagle is truly spacious, and though it might be a bit too tight for two adults, it can comfortably accommodate you and your kid or pet.
It also gives you the option to remove one of the seats and use extra space to bring along more fishing gear.
Stability and Performance
Stability depends on the water conditions, but generally, Sea Eagle feels stable, even in the open ocean with five-plus feet of waves. It handles the choppy waters well and will keep you pretty dry all through.
Not at once will you feel like you can tip, and rarely will you feel remotely unbalanced, which is a good thing for beginners.
The width isn’t the highest, but it’ll inspire confidence even when reeling in the big fish and keep you steady during the struggle.
However, even with two skegs, it doesn’t track well and is easily pushed by wind. Still, tracking is manageable, though, but will take some elbow grease, especially if you’re a beginner working your way through choppy waters.
Overall, the performance is impressive. The hull design makes it easier for the kayak to handle various water conditions ranging from calm to choppy ocean waters, making it the perfect choice for fishing.
#2 SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 - Best Under $300
Coming in on the lower end of the pricing scale is the Sun Dolphin Aruba 10.
This little gem is suitable for budget-minded anglers who don’t need many features or space for gear.
While it may sound limiting, it’s important to remember Aruba 10 is tailored for beginners and casual riders.
Features and Benefits
For a budget kayak, compromises on quality are common, but the folks at Sun Dolphin don’t cut corners with the quality.
The Fortiflex® High-Density Polyethylene hull construction is tough as it gets and can withstand the underwater obstacles as well as the occasional run-ins with rocks.
While you might experience some dents in the shell, overall, any breach is rare.
The construction is also UV resistant, so you shouldn’t worry about exposing the shell and paint to direct sunlight.
For such a large kayak, the Sundolphin is lightweight, coming in a manageable 42 pounds.
It doesn’t present too much trouble lugging it to your favorite put-in point, and you can even pick and throw it on the roof of your SUV all by yourself.
For the lightness, however, the Sundolphin Aruba also has a weight capacity of 250 pounds. I know, it’s not the highest, but sufficient to hold the average size adults comfortably.
Space and Comfort
For a budget kayak, especially a sit-on-top, the cockpit is pretty large, the perfect feature for beginners as it gives less of an enclosed feeling.
More importantly, though, it offers a little more freedom while paddling, which is great for the anglers who need to shift around more often when reeling in their catch.
Aruba doesn’t also disappoint with comfort options, and the large and tall paddlers will appreciate the wider, more inviting cockpit.
It’s effortless to get into the kayak, and once inside, you won’t feel any restraint.
Plus, the kayak features adjustable footpegs and a bonus for tall guys looking to stretch their lanky legs.
On a different note, the seat could be better. They lack padding; instead, you sit on a plastic molded seat, which can get a bit uncomfortable after a while. The backrest is padded and adjustable, though.
Of course, you can always invest in a new kayak seat if you need to improve your comfort.
Budget fishing yaks aren’t known for their performance, but the Sundolphin isn’t bad for a fun, cheap kayak.
The first thing you’ll notice with this watercraft is the unmatched stability and tip-resistance, making it a great option for use in the choppy water, lakes, and rivers.
It’s not fast, but perfect for beginners working on their wobbly balance. And thanks to its sleek, lightweight hull design, we love how it maneuvers the tight spots and inaccessible hotspots like the undercut banks, bushes, and grass beds where normal kayaks or boats can’t access.
Unfortunately, like the Sea Eagle 330, Sundolphin throws a curveball when it comes to tracking as it doesn’t feature a skeg. But then again, the yak isn’t tailored for marathon day trips, and or as long as you stick to the casual and recreational angling water, it more than gets the job done.
#3 Perception Pescador Pro 10 - Best for Maneuverability
Some anglers often get excited by the prospects of piloting their yaks through the surf to reach the deep, off-shore hunting ground.
Like me, others would rather spend time fishing in out-of-the-way ponds and in quiet waters where competition for fishing is minimal.
However, if you are to hunt on the small waters, you need a kayak offering maneuverability, and this is exactly what the Perception Pescador offers.
It presents the perfect option for those who need to take their fishing on small, low-pressure waters.
Features and Benefits
The Perception Pescador utilizes a one-piece rotomolded polyethylene construction, which is sturdy and resistant enough to not only UV rays but also scrapes and impacts.
It also includes a skid plate on the bottom, giving you a chance to drag the kayak even on the rocky beaches or even paddle on the shallow grounds without fear of rupturing the yak.
Portability isn’t a selling point for this kayak.
While it’s by no means heavy, it is relatively weighty, especially compared to other kayas within its class.
The only upside with Pescador’s portability is the compact size. You won’t have any problem strapping it down the roof rack or even fitting it in the back of your truck.
But for the weight, you get a decent weight capacity of 325 pounds, enough to hold even the large and tall anglers.
Space and Comfort
Pescador Pro 10 features a spacious deck with enough space to cast your line and reel your catch.
We also love that the cockpit is free from bungee tie-down, notch, or edges that can snag your hook and threads, making every moment of your fishing experience delightful.
Kayakers are also satisfied with the plenty of storage options, so you don’t have limitations to what you can bring about with you when angling.
Pescador is comfortable, too, and feels nice to be in. The seats with an adjustable backrest and padded bottom are a joy to use, while the adjustable footrests make it possible even for the long legs to find a comfortable paddling position.
The kayak also comes complete with a paddle holder for securing your kayak, saving you from the hassle of having to fish it from the water in case it slips. Additionally, it leaves your hands free for grabbing the fishing rod when reeling.
With a width of 32 inches, we expected nothing short of stability. While it will not allow you to stand, it lets you scoot around calm and choppy waters without feeling tippy.
It is also compact, and for the 10 feet length and 32-inch beam, it’s easy to pilot the kayak through the tight passages. It also turns on a dime, performing much more like a high-end kayak, only that it’s quite affordable.
It’s rudderless and short, but still, it tracks well even on the choppy waters.
#4 Ocean Kayak Prowler Big Game II - Value Purchase
The Ocean Kayak Prowler is a fantastic purchase, especially for anglers in the hunt for a top-of-the-line kayak without catering to a fin or propeller system’s added expenses.
Like the Sundolphin, it’s a frills-free model, lacking the high-end models’ bells and whistles, but it comes with everything you would need for your angling needs.
Features and Benefits
Ocean Kayak doesn’t cut corners when it comes to building quality and material selection.
Sporting an LT9000 Polyethylene construction, there’s little if any that can get into the way of this monster.
The kayak will survive water kayaking abuses, including accidental scratches, dragging on a rocky beach or even contact with stumped trees and other obstacles on the waterway.
Overall, it’s a sturdy yak that will survive for several seasons without requiring any replacement or repairs anytime soon.
The greatest draw against this kayak is the bulky nature.
Coming with a hefty 70 pounds, it’s not easy to haul or even carry this kayak.
While the dimensions allow easy hauling on your car’s roof rack, taking it up there takes blood and sweat.
The only upside to the kayak’s portability is carrying handles located at the front and back of the vessel, making it possible to use a helping hand to move the yak.
Prowler Big Game is built around 12 feet in length and 34 inches wide, the biggest dimensions we’ve come across. The kayak is suited for anglers who value stability above anything else.
It’s so stable that it allows you to stand up when fishing and even lets you reel the biggest fish without feeling tippy. And once you drag the monster, you can simply bring him abroad, thanks to the craft’s 600-pound capacity.
Like many other fishing kayaks, the Prowler Big Game isn’t the fastest watercraft, especially considering it lacks a propulsion system.
However, it’s easy to navigate and handles itself well. Tracking is fantastic, while paddling is a cinch. If anything, using this kayak feels like you’re on the rail, and you shouldn’t have any problem putting it exactly where you need it to be.
Space and Comfort
Storage space isn’t an issue with the Prowler Big Game as it comes with a host of built-in storage options.
Whether you need space for your tool, cooler, fishing accessories, and more, this kayak has plenty to offer.
And if you still need more storage space for your electronics, you’ll appreciate the six accessory mounting plates on the cockpit.
#5 Advanced Elements Straitedge Angler Pro AE1055 - Best for Portability
Last on our list of the best kayaks for fishing is the Advanced Elements Angler Pro.
It’s an inflatable type, coming with a host of desirable features.
But is it the right fishing kayak for you?
Features and Benefits
Inflatable kayaks aren’t the most durable watercraft, but this isn’t the case with the Angler Pro.
The five-chambered hull, including built-in aluminum ribs in the bow and stern and a drop-stitch floor, promote maximum rigidity and durability. The construction allows you to fish without worry of developing a leak and leaving you stranded.
Plus, you can even drag the inflatable on a rocky beach or even paddle in waters full of sharp obstacles without compromising on the kayak’s integrity.
Inflatables are generally lightweight & portable, and it’s not any different for the Angler Pro.
With a weight of 45 pounds, it’s easy to haul the kayak offshore solo, even carry it on your back without feeling fatigued.
More importantly, however, it easily deflates, compacting even further into a gear that can be stashed easily into a duffel bag.
Part of the reason why this kayak performs so well is the chined hull with aluminum ribs for greater stability.
The hull along the 38-inch widths makes it even possible to stand on the kayak without feeling tippy. It’s particularly a great option for beginners who are still working on their wobbliness.
Angler Pro is comfortable, and part of the comfort is enhanced by the air-filled walls, which don’t dig into your legs as the hard shells do.
The kayak also features a proprietary seat, the luxurious AirFrame Pro, which offers more comfort and support than the air-filled seats common in other inflatables.
Most inflatables suffer from poor tracking and maneuverability.
While the Angler Pro is by no means perfect, it outperforms much comparable watercraft by miles.
Part of this is due to the drop-stitch hull with chine and a detachable deep fin.
Of course, for its size, expect some compromises in the maneuverability, but it’s a tradeoff you should be willing to take for a stable watercraft.
Space isn’t a major selling point for the Angler Pro, but it still provides a reasonable amount.
At the very least, it will offer the space needed to store all your needed accessories and gear, including rods, electronics, cooler and more.
Best Fishing Kayaks Buying Guide
Selecting the best fishing kayak can be a hassle, especially with plenty of options to pick from.
Fortunately, we’ve prepared a comprehensive guide outlining everything you should know about selecting the best fishing kayak for your needs.
Factors to Consider when Selecting the Best Fishing Kayak
Stability is by far the most important thing to look for in any kayak purchase, especially if you plan to take your angling activities on open waters.
This is because remaining stable while reeling a giant fish is even more challenging when you’re also battling turbulent waves and windy weather. A large fish can even pull your miles and change direction. This is not to mention the fish can also attract other large predators like sharks, definitely causing some movements in your yak.
Generally, though, the wider and longer fishing yaks are stable. Longer kayaks are also faster.
Away from dimension, consider the hull shape. The rounded or V-shaped hulls are more stable in rough waters than the flat bottom kayaks.
Anchoring is a standard method of stabilizing a floating kayak when you want it to remain put.
When choosing an anchor, remember weight isn’t the only factor to consider, but the size is.
Otherwise, replacing your fishing kayak anchor with a heavy object will only leave your yak scooting the bottom when the water conditions change.
This not only damages your kayak, but it undermines your safety, too.
The length of a fishing kayak determines the speed and the overall maneuverability.
As a rule, the shorter kayaks are more maneuverable, while the longer kayaks are stable and faster.
If your fishing ground consists of mainly small ponds, creeks, and backwater, it would be best if you opt for maneuverability rather than speed.
On the other hand, if you normally take your angling to rivers, lakes, or the ocean, go for a longer model.
When fishing, you want a hands-free approach, especially if you’ve to battle the rougher waters.
The good news is you can choose a hands-free pedal-drive kayak, which allows you to use your lower body for propulsion and frees up your arms for rod casting and reel in fish.
You can also choose a motor-powered kayak to increase propulsion’s overall efficiency, letting you focus more and energy on catching fish.
Regardless of where you’re fishing from, having plenty of storage is crucial for a fishing kayak.
Storage is necessary for holding your catch and the bait, tackle box, and even your food & drink.
In addition to the fishing necessities, it’s also necessary that you’ve some safety equipment with you like a life vest, VHF radio, first aid kit, and a whistle.
I can’t overemphasize the importance of having a comfortable seat, regardless of the type of fishing you’re doing.
While the cheaper fishing yaks come with plastic seats, which are less ideal, the premium options provide lawn chair type seating.
The latter is comfortable, and their adjustability means you can tailor them to meet your height needs. Raised seating will also add to your overall comfort, allowing you to bend your legs and relieve your lower back pressure.
Important Features to Consider When Selecting a Fishing Kayak
Now that you’ve learned the vital factors to consider when selecting a fishing kayak let’s look at the important features to consider in your next fishing kayak purchase.
Fishing Rod Holders
A distinguishing feature of a fishing kayak from a regular kayak is the addition of fishing rod holders.
Rod holders promote a hands-free fishing experience, freeing your hands for the crucial fish reeling task.
Comfort on a kayak means a range of things.
And since fishing is a game of patience, you must be comfortable while you’re doing it.
First, choose a kayak with an adjustable seat with a tall backrest and support in the right places.
While steering a kayak with a paddle is a cinch, the ability to use a pedal-operated rudder system makes your life much easier.
That said, choosing the wrong rudder can be a headache, which is why we recommend investing in a kayak with a flip-up rudder fin, which can contract when it comes across an obstacle.
Last but not least, it crucial you consider the portability element.
Consider how you’re going to move the kayak when it’s not on the water. In particular, factor in the weight and dimensions of the kayak as they influence the overall portability.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
We’ve some pretty amazing options on our list of the best fishing kayaks, but if you’re still torn on what kayak to pick, we would recommend the Sea Eagle 330 Pro 2 Kayak.
It excels on many different fronts, but we love its all-around approach. It’s a versatile option, suitable not only for fishing but also for other recreational and casual activities.
While it’s not the fastest option, it’s super stable, which is a plus, especially for the beginners working on their wobbly balance. It’s also a handy feature for anglers reeling the big and rowdy fish.
Being an inflatable option is also a plus for this kayak as it enhances the overall portability. It’s easy to stash the kayak in your duffel bag, and it will easily fit even into the smallest of your car’s trunk.
Though the tracking abilities aren’t the best, they’re decent, especially considering its size and purpose.