Fishing kayaks are among the best ways to set out into the water and spend an entire afternoon in solitude. Understandably, this surge in the use of kayaks for fishing is due to a variety of factors. It has better stability compared to canoes, more affordable compared to traditional motorized fishing boats, more portable (easy to maneuver), and they come with a ton of storage space. Kayaks give fishers in urban areas more places to explore given their size and shape.

With its increased popularity among fishing enthusiasts, a lot of manufacturers have expanded their products – offering specialized quality kayaks designed to fit specific fishing needs.

Best Fishing Kayaks on the Market

With a large number of kayaking outfitters and manufacturers available, there will be a fishing kayak that’s perfect for you. Finding the best fishing kayak is made easier if you know what you want.

1. Intex Excursion Pro Fishing Kayak – Best Value

This inflatable fishing kayak from Intex offers the best experience for just a little more than two hundred dollars. It is built using super tough laminate PVC surrounding a polyester core, keeping it both light and durable. The Excursion Pro Kayak is one of the toughest inflatables out there, highly resistant to damage from impact, sunlight, and scratches.

You can easily unfold and pack the Intex Excursion Pro, with pressure spring-loaded valves making inflation and deflation easier. These specialized valves also help retain the high pressure you will need to keep you afloat. You can go pedaling in both deep and shallow water by simply adjusting the removable skews. Both anglers can enjoy a comfortable session with its spacious cockpit equipped with floor-mounted footrests, adjustable bucket seats, huge storage compartments, and fishing rod holders. You won’t even have to worry about your electronics and guides, the Intex Excursion Pro also comes with an adjustable and removable mounting bracket – perfect for GPS systems, additional swivel holders, and the like.

All these features coming from an inflatable fishing kayak might seem improbable but Intex went all out on this one. Their Excursion Pro is perfect for long hours of two-man fishing sessions.

Product Details

  • Product Dimensions: 12’7” X 3’1” X 1’6”
  • Weight: 39.01 lbs
  • Material: Polyester core inside laminate PVC
  • Additional Accessories: Two paddles, one high output pump, pressure gauge, carry bag


  • Mounting bracket for fishing accessories
  • Adjustable footrests
  • Directional skeg included
  • Adjustable and removable seat with backrest
  • Removable skews allow you to easily navigate both deep and shallow water.


  • Heavier than most inflatable fishing kayaks available
  • Rod holders point inward, using both ports will cause them to cross.

2. Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak – Safest and Most Durable

One of the main concerns in using an inflatable fishing kayak is the risk of deflation since some waters have branches or rocks with sharpened edges. Sevylor Coleman fixes this problem with a combination of solutions, the chief of which is the use of multiple air chambers to keep you afloat in the event you experience a puncture.

The bottom has 1000D tarpaulin supplemented with 840D nylon cover to provide additional protection from puncture. The rest of the kayak is entirely made from 18-gauge PVC for rugged use, which is certified by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). Its airtight system keeps your high-pressure air from leaking. Industry-standard Boston valves make inflation and deflation easier.

Sevylor Coleman Colorado also keeps your gadgets and snacks safe and dry with its built-in storage while paddle holders keep your paddles safe and secure. Even the risks of pain and stiffness from holding your rod for extended periods is a thing of the past with its Berkley Quick Set Rod Holder, allowing you to go fishing hands-free.

Product Details

  • Product Dimensions: 30.1 X 11.6 X 19.2 inches
  • Weight: 40.5 lbs
  • Material: 18-gauge PVC, 1000D tarpaulin, 840D nylon cover
  • Additional Accessories: carry bag and pressure gauge


  • Mounting bracket for fishing accessories
  • Adjustable footrests
  • Directional skeg included
  • Adjustable and removable seat with backrest
  • Removable skews allow you to easily navigate both deep and shallow water.


  • Paddles and Sevylor inflation pump purchased separately

3. Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130 – Fastest and Most Mobile

This is a single person sit-on-top fishing kayak that gives you maximum speed and mobility, all while remaining stable in either open or narrow waters. Vibe boasts a nifty rudder system you can easily control with your toe, allowing you to save energy by riding the wave or the current instead of manually pedaling.

Vibe’s Sea Ghost is also packed with accessories, including two pieces of flush-mount rod holders and four integrated gear tracks so you can customize your rigging as you see fit. You can also enjoy personalized storage configurations with its multiple options. A large center console is the main compartment, but you can also use the rear hatch, a 20-inch front oval hatch, and it even has its own large rear tank with bungee.

You can even cast your line and pull it back, either sitting or standing, with its slip-resistant deck platform. Comfort is also an advantage with the Sea Ghost with its two-position breathable Hero seat with adjustable foot braces.

Product Details

  • Product Dimensions: 13 feet long by 33 inches wide.
  • Weight: 75 lbs
  • Material: Rotomolded Polyethylene
  • Additional Accessories: 10-piece scupper holes with plugs, paddle


  • The durable and configurable deck makes it ideal for either sitting or standing
  • Toe-controlled rudder system helps conserve energy
  • It comes with ten scupper holes and plugs
  • Adjustable seat.


  • Center console tends to open very easily
  • Water gets in easily

4. Vibe Kayaks Skipjack – Best for Recreational Use

Vibe kayaks return with a recreational kayak perfect for throw and go fishers in its Skipjack 90 fishing kayak. It is also a sit-on-top fishing kayak for a single person, with a built-in ergonomic seat complete with a cushion and backrest. It is also easy to carry from your car to the water with molded comfort grip handles.

Built for comfort and stability, the Skipjack is perfect for lounging in the water or chasing that catch limit. Made from a single piece of engineering plastic keeping you and your items leak-proof and durable. It has 6” sealed deck plate with waterproof cargo bag keeps your food and gadgets safe and dry. The Skipjack also boasts four integrated mounted fishing rod holders, offering you flexibility and security regardless of your fishing position.

While slightly shorter than the Sea Ghost, the Skipjack 90 still keeps you safe and secure whether you want to fish standing or sitting, with its slip-resistant deck.

Product Details

  • Product Dimensions: 9 feet by 32 inches
  • Weight: 46 lbs
  • Material: Rotomolded Polyethylene
  • Additional Accessories: 6-piece scupper holes with plugs, paddle


  • The durable and configurable deck makes it ideal for either sitting or standing
  • Toe-controlled rudder system helps conserve energy
  • It comes with ten scupper holes and plugs
  • Adjustable seat.


  • While it is also adjustable, larger paddlers might have difficulties slipping on and off this kayak.

8 Things to Consider Before Finding Your Next Fishing Kayak

1. Your Body Type

Before you go ahead and choose your kayak, try attending a convention or a demo day first. Here, you can try out multiple units and even try paddling or pedaling to find out if you are comfortable with a particular fishing kayak model.

Check if you have enough legroom and if the seat adjusts for you to paddle or pedal with a slight bend in your knee. While there is no direct correlation between the kayaker’s dimensions and the kayak’s measurements, it is important that you feel comfortable sitting and moving around in it.

You can also try resting your back to the seat and imagine sitting on it for hours. The seat should also be slightly raised to keep your buttocks dry above the water that will splash over into the boat.

2. Kayak Type

While kayaks are generally cheaper than motorized fishing boats, the more advanced models can still go higher than 3000USD. While there are other kinds of fishing kayaks such as the motorized and inflatable fishing kayak, the most basic are sit on top and sit inside kayaks.

Sit on Top

Sit on Top (SOT) kayaks are often considered more user-friendly, making it popular among both professionals and beginners. These kayaks are stable and are easy to slip in and out of. Also compared to sitting inside your kayak, sitting on top gives you more freedom of movement and it does not feel cramped or confined.

Another advantage of using SOT kayaks is that they are self-bailing – meaning that it can drain the water out of it through small openings called scupper holes. Since water gets in and out of your kayak, expect a wetter experience.

All these features make the sit on top kayak advisable for first-time paddlers, in warmer environments, and for those looking for an open space to move.

Sit Inside

Sit inside kayaks offers protection from the elements such as wind and water, making it perfect for cooler environments. Most manufacturers now design these kayaks with larger cockpits, to allow better legroom and movement. If you wish to stay in the middle of the water without getting wet while paddling, this is the kayak for you.

Even with a larger interior, sit inside kayaks still won’t offer the same mobility and freedom as sit on tops. Also, the biggest disadvantage for a sit-inside kayak is that if it flips in the middle of the water, it is quite difficult to recover since the insides flood and water is not bailed out by the kayak.

3. Kayak Stability

If you want to use your kayak for extended periods without getting wet or tipped over, stability is a very important factor to keep in mind. The boat should not be tippy since you will be moving and turning a lot to cast your line and fish.

For anglers who plan to sit the entire time, a kayak with a V-shaped hull works just fine. However, if you expect to be on your feet while fishing, find a flat bottom or tunneled hull. The standard with kayaks is about 30 inches or approximately 76 centimeters. Still, while a wider kayak offers more stability, it is important to remember that going too wide will slow you down.

Make sure to consider the trade-off in your kayak’s dimensions. Longer kayaks cut smoothly through the water, making it easier to cruise through. This is why touring kayaks are intentionally long and thin. On the other hand, shorter kayaks are easily tossed by waves, such as when motorized boats create a huge wave.

4. Portability/ Transportability

After finding the size and type of kayak you need, you have to think about how you are going to carry it. Can it sit on the roof of your car? Will it fit securely in the bed of your truck? Will you need to buy a trailer?

It goes without saying that as kayaks increase in size and features, they become bulkier and heavier. If your destination is quite far from where you will be coming from, lighter kayaks are at an advantage. If you are unsure of these factors, maybe you might want to start considering inflatable kayaks.

5. Used or New Kayak

For first-timers, the science behind kayaking is better understood through experience. While you might have tried paddling or pedaling at your friendly outfitter, all this will still feel different once you’re in the water and when you add fishing to your kayaking experience.

If you have hours of experience kayaking and fishing, then a new one might be a good option for you. If you’ve already tried several kayaks, know the specific type of kayak you need, and plan to use it for a long time, a new one is still worth an investment.

On the other hand, a second-hand kayak is still an excellent option whether you are a beginner or an expert fishing kayaker. Using a second-hand kayak will allow you to experience firsthand the common issues and problems as well as the things you might like or dislike about it. More importantly, you get to experience all these for less spending. Once you are familiar with the reins of kayaking, you can still buy a new one eventually.

6. Drift or Anchor

It might appear counter-intuitive to stop a kayak, which was designed for mobility and drifting in the water, but when you include fishing in your kayaking experience, you’d want to stop and be steady at your chosen fishing spots. The anchorage is your kayaking equivalent for parking.

There are different types of anchors for kayaks. For beginners, it is highly recommended to stick to using the traditional or electronic anchoring system. If you ever go fishing in open waters, traditional anchors keep you steady.

Grapnel Anchor

It is the most popular type among kayakers because of its flexibility in terms of application. It has four tines that splay open as the anchor descends and can be folded for easy storage when not in use. Usually, it works by rolling on its side and at least two of the tines will take hold once it reaches the bottom. It is great for use on soft, sandy, and muddy water bottoms but it might get a bit difficult on rocky and hard bottoms.

Bruce Claw Anchor

The Bruce Claw works by using a plow or “claw” to get a hold on the water floor. Like the grapnel anchor, it also works perfectly in soft bottoms but not in rocky bottoms. While less versatile than the grapnel, the Bruce Claw is perfect for waters with strong winds, strong currents or for coastal and sea fishing. Its claw offers a stronger, more stable grip compared to the grapnel.

Mushroom Anchor

While the first two anchors rely on a hooking or gripping mechanism to keep your kayak steady, the mushroom anchor simply works using its weight. It is named so since it looks like an inverted mushroom or small umbrella whose weight acts as a ballast to anchor you in place. It is simpler than the first two and significantly heavier. Its advantage, though, is that it rarely gets entangled in obstacles and virtually causes no damage to the environment. You can use mushroom anchors in places where there is no strong current or wind.

7. Rigging

Rigging is one of the few things that differentiate a fishing kayak from the regular kayak. Most manufactured fishing kayaks come with an angular configuration of rigging designs, which makes it easier to attach accessories to their kayaks. Some kayaks use the stock version, where you have to add your own rigging. In rigging, make sure you have ample preparation for rod holders, seat options, and gear.

Angular rigging configs are usually more expensive than those that use the stock version. Angular rigging is better suited for professional anglers who are after convenience and have a lot of accessories to put on.

It is usually recommended for beginners to use kayaks with stock versions. This way, they can easily configure and reconfigure their rigging to meet the changing number of accessories they need.

8. Color

After choosing the shape of the hull and the rigging settings you need, last is the color. It is important to point out that it is more than just an aesthetic choice, it relates to visibility and even safety. In the fishing kayak community, they usually ask questions such as which colors are perfectly visible in the sunrise or sunset or which colors fish can’t see.

In terms of safety, bright colors stand out and are good choices for your kayak. Specifically, colors along the lines of yellow and orange stand out during the hours with low light, like dawn and dusk. Also, some kayakers and fishermen will recommend sandy colors for your kayak. Others simply choose a kayak that looks great and is pleasant to onlookers.

Fishing Kayak Maintenance Tips

As everyone in the kayaking community will tell you, your kayak is a valuable investment. Even the cheapest ones still rack up a couple of hundred dollars, with the top-of-the-line kayaks easily reaching a few thousand dollars. Of course, if it’s something you put your money into, it is only necessary to want to make it last as long as possible.

1. Keep your kayak out of the sun

Paddling under the sun is okay – after all, kayak fishing is a fun way to go outdoors in the sun and enjoy the day. Still, leaving your kayak exposed to the sun for extended periods may harm your kayak. Although most manufacturers now include UV inhibitors or line their bodies with UV-resistant materials, prolonged exposure to the sun can still cause the paint to go dull and even weaken and make your hatch covers brittle.

During off-season or if you’re not using your kayak for extended lengths of time, it’s better to keep it covered and stored in a good place. If you are looking for a long kayaking session under the sun, you can make sure that the sun wouldn’t hurt your kayak by using protectant sprays.

2. Keep it clean

While the afternoon angling coupled with paddling or pedaling might leave you tired, make sure to give your kayak a good washdown before calling it a day. A rinse with clean water mixed with a bit of vinegar or bleach will wash away any remaining saltwater or sand off your kayak. Saltwater causes chemical reactions that will chip away at the paint of your fishing kayak. The same thing with sand, which is small granules of glass and even metal, that can scratch the linings of your kayak. Even worse, freshwater species like Milfoil and Rock Snot can do some serious damage if left unattended.

Also, if you’re not using your kayak anytime soon, dry it before storing it away to make sure mold and mildew do not grow on it.

3. Cover it!

Not everyone has a spacious garage or shed to store their kayaks in. The next best thing is keeping your kayak covered in storage. A cockpit cover is the perfect storage solution against the elements – from UV rays to moisture, to invasive insects like bugs and spiders.

Of course, even in the absence of a cockpit cover, you can use a tarp to protect your kayak from most of the elements.

4. Rinse your skegs and rudders

For kayakers on a tour or crossover, it might put a toll on your skeg or rudder. After your day out in the open, make sure to pay additional attention to rinsing these parts of the kayak. Aside from the risk of scratching or bleaching your rudder, sand and saltwater can rust the hinges and jam the skeg or rudder on your next trip out.

5. Support the kayak while in storage

Polyethylene kayaks can handle a lot of abuse and use in inhospitable terrain. However, polyethylene used in fishing kayaks are still plastic – it will buckle and bend under heat. If you plan to leave it hanging in your house or garage, try your best not to hang it by the ends. This will put the entire weight of the kayak against the end at which you hang the kayak and will deform it over time. This deformation will have the most profound effect on your hatch and the covers might come loose.

To keep your kayak safe even in off-season storage, it’s wise to invest in additional equipment such as kayak wall hooks, wall slings, or even a kayak hammock. If you plan on putting it up, position the support for the forward and aft of the seat. If you plan to store it lying on the ground, you can get yourself some kayak rack stands or rack pads to at least keep it from touching the ground.

Fishing Kayak Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Best Fishing Kayak on the Market?

The best option on the market depends on the individual. You’ll want to look at several factors such as the paddler’s weight and height and the expected activities and waters to visit. These are basic questions of functionalities and more options are included when you consider style and color. We highly recommend the Intex Excursion Pro, which we’ve reviewed in detail above.

What is the Best Beginner Fishing Kayak?

For beginners, the best choice should offer enough space for you and your fishing gear. Most of them have a large cockpit but differ in the particular dimensions which can either allow you to stretch your leg or might force you to share space with your luggage.

Another critical factor for beginners is the shape of the kayak, defined by its hull. Start with fishing kayaks that have a wide, flat hull. While U or V-shaped hulls offer more speed and mobility, you can move into it later when you are used to putting your weight on the deck for stability.

Beginners should also stick to fishing kayaks that can be easily loaded onto the roof of your car. Some models might come across as bulkier and heavier and might require additional rigging, if not an additional trailer.

Is a Sit on Top Kayak Better for Fishing?

Yes, because most sit on top kayaks allow you to go fishing while standing or sitting. Also, compared to sit-inside kayaks, SOT kayaks make it easier to get in and out of the boat. Since you are positioned on top of the kayak instead of in it, you can position yourself comfortably and enjoy more freedom and mobility. Lastly, SOT kayaks are self-bailing and can drain itself of water, preventing accumulation and capping.

What is the Appropriate Clothing for Kayak Fishing?

While what to wear during kayak fishing largely depends on personal preferences, it is more than just a fashion statement. The main thing to remember is to provide maximum comfort and the best protection from the elements. It pays to be prepared for the sun or rain, water sprays, and even capsizing on your trip. The best clothing for kayak fishing largely depends on the weather you expect to come across.

During winter, capsizing can become a serious safety risk due to hypothermia. Aside from protecting yourself from the winter sun and getting wet, you need to make sure that you dress up in warmer clothes. Ditch cotton and stay with wool, fleece, or polyester-based clothing. It is even better if you can go out with a full drysuit. It is both waterproof and thermally comfortable. If a drysuit feels constricting, you can opt to wear a separate set of dry pants together with a dry top. In the event one gets wet, you don’t have to take everything off.

In the summertime, people tend to go with bathing suits, shorts, and shirts with short sleeves. While it is comfortable in the heat, you risk sunburn by staying under the sun for extended hours. Others combat excessive exposure by wearing quick-dry fishing shirts with long sleeves and long pants. A necessary addition includes hats and sunglasses to protect your eyes from the blinding light and glare from staring at the water.

Can a Kayak be Prevented from Capsizing?

No. While kayaks are generally designed to stay upright in most conditions, some more so than others, no single kayak is perfectly immune to capsizing. For fishing kayaks, the added weight of your fishing gear is often considered in the design process, thus, most fishing kayak models have a prescribed weight capacity. While there is no sure way to prevent or avoid tipping over, there are things you can practice to make sure you lessen the risk of capsizing while on the water.

  • Plan your fishing sessions on days predicted to be calm and tranquil. Naturally, strong currents and large waves contribute to capsizing kayaks.
  • Make sure that your kayak is designed to handle the kayaker standing up. V-shaped hulls are generally unadvisable for standing up while fishing. Otherwise, remain seated in your kayak.
  • Check the distribution of weight before going into the deep. Make sure that you and your gear are not focused on one side or one end of the kayak. If the kayak is unbalanced, the slightest movement can cause it to tip over.
  • Learn the high support stroke in kayaking. It requires you to hold the paddle at level with your shoulders with your elbows placed directly underneath it. You have to arrange the paddle so that the front of the paddle blade stays parallel to the surface of the water.
  • Avoid unsafe practices like over-reaching or leaning to one side. Usually, beginners in kayak fishing get overwhelmed and enjoy the ambiance that they over-reach or lean, to look a little closer.
  • If you are paddling along the water and find obstacles or tree limbs coming at you, try not to attempt to push them with your paddle and do not try to push yourself off of these obstacles. Pushing might give you leverage, which in excess, will push you toward one side and with other factors, tip you over.
  • When paddling downstream and you come across a huge rock, lean downstream at once. It will allow you to counter the force of the water that will force it to capsize otherwise.

Professional kayakers know how to paddle and adjust their fishing line by using only one hand. This is the challenge to new kayakers, adjusting casts single-handedly. Your fishing buddy can make the learning process easier.

Lastly, it is important to learn how to rescue yourself and others in the event of a capsize. For beginners, make sure you go with a trained and knowledgeable individual who can guide you through the process and rescue you in the event something untoward happens.