Kayak fishing is growing in popularity at a pace of knots. With so many newcomers to this exciting sport, it’s obvious that many of you need some guidance in finding the best fishing kayak. A fishing or angler kayak has been adapted for this purpose, so it will be designed to accommodate your fishing poles and other gear. Some will be better than others and, like with all things, what you get will depend a lot on what you’re prepared to pay. There are expensive brands that offer you the ultimate in quality and convenience.
Understandably, not everyone has the same budget. So we’ll not only be looking at the most expensive elite brands, but will also be reviewing a number of cheap options. When I say cheap, we’re not talking about scraping the barrel of the bargain basement here. Whilst affordability may be high on your list of priorities, you need to consider value for money. So we’re never going to suggest that you go out and spend your hard-earned cash on a pile of junk. We’re looking at affordability with a good deal of quality and usability thrown into the mix.
People looking to buy a fishing kayak have different needs, I fully understand this. There are so many options, from ocean kayaks to models more suited to a lake or a river. Are you looking for a sit in, sit on, or standup angler kayak? Yes, there is quite a bit to consider. What I can assure is that you’re going to find the best fishing kayaks for your needs and budget in this review. So whether you’re into saltwater fishing, bass fishing, or fly fishing, you’ve come to the right place.
Fishing Kayak Reviews
We’ve done our homework, as always. This means there’s a great selection to choose from. Grab a cup of coffee and prepare yourself for an informative read. This is certainly going to be the best guide to buying a fishing kayak that you’ll find on the web. At least, I hope it is. We’ve taken the trouble to research the best and most popular angler kayaks on the market today and I’m going to do my best to give you the complete lowdown on all these amazing products. So here’s our list of the best fishing kayaks fully reviewed.
1. Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 110 | 11ft Angler
While the Vibe Sea Ghost is in the higher price bracket, it’s not the most expensive either. As one of the top rated fishing kayaks, it’s certainly worth the price tag. This is an incredibly well-made product with some of the most amazing storage ideas that one can get on a sit on top fishing kayak.
The single piece polyethylene rotomolded design is both tough and incredibly stable with a very well balanced hull. While this is not a brick on the water, it is heavier than some of the cheaper angler kayaks (62-pounds), which is not entirely a bad thing. This kayak is unbelievably stable. I’ve read loads of customer reviews claiming that the Vibe 110 is great for maneuvering in rivers and equally impressive in the waves. It’s a fishing kayak for all conditions and it’s easy enough to fit a small motor if you want to putter around a lake.
It’s easy enough to handle thanks to a toe-controlled rudder system. This allows you to conserve energy, especially on those windy days and in strong currents. It can handle a total weight of 425-pounds, it measures 11-feet in length and is 33-inches wide. So you can lug all your gear and a large enough cooler without any hassles – even if you’re a hefty guy. There’s certainly every type of storage that you could want. This includes a large center console, large bungeed rear tank well, rear hatch and a large 20-inch front oval hatch. It also has great mounting positions: 2 X flush mount rod holders and four integrated gear tracks, allowing you to install customized rigging.
The removable seat is remarkably comfortable and is removable. You can mount the seat in two positions – facing the front or the rear. Some folks have said they’re able to fish whilst standing quite easily in this kayak. This may take some skill, but it definitely has the weight, rigidity, and balance to make this possible. I guess you can call this a stand on kayak too.
As you can tell by this review, I’m quite a fan of the Vibe Sea Ghost 110. My research has clearly indicated that I’m not alone in this opinion – it comes highly recommended. It is, without a doubt, one of the top contenders for the best fishing kayak.
2. Sun Dolphin Aruba SS 12-Foot Sit-in Kayak
Whilst not the cheapest, the Sun Dolphin Aruba SS is a very affordable sit in fishing kayak. For a molded polyethylene kayak, it is not only one of the more affordable options but is also quite lightweight. It’s easy to use and tracks well, though some people have mentioned that it doesn’t maneuver as well as they’d like. Once all is said and done, it’s a good vessel, especially for its price.
Measuring 144” X 29.6” X 14”, the Aruba SS is big enough for tall guys and weighs a refreshingly low 47-pounds. It’s easy enough to carry around. It has a comfortable, well-padded seat and plenty of storage including a really handy, albeit small, sealed compartment directly in front of the seat. This makes for great place to keep your cell phone safe and dry when out on a fishing trip. It has bungees at the front and rear with additional sealed storage beneath them. Two flush mount fishing rod holders are positioned just you’d want them.
There are all sorts of foam padding to protect you from bumps and scrapes, though some taller people have made adjustments to accommodate their longer legs. I’ve seen s few complaints about shoddy workmanship, but none of these seem to be too serious. A lot of people have said that their Kayak arrived with plastic shavings left on the inside. This means giving the thing a good vacuum and won’t really affect you. Something that may be a little more concerning is the rough edges in some places. Whilst this doesn’t seem to be a common complaint, it could take a little sanding in some areas to get a smooth edge.
Despite a few imperfections, this is, on the whole, a very well made and wonderfully designed fishing kayak. The price makes it’s a perfect fit for newbies and occasional fisherman who aren't up to spending too much. In that sense, I’d rate it as excellent value for money.
3. Perception Kayak Pescador Pro - Sit on top
The Perception Pescador Pro certainly has the wow factor. This is an improved version of the older model and it has the goods to justify the higher than average price. It’s no average sit on kayak, offering excellent stability and great tracking for just about all conditions.
While this 12-foot fishing kayak is not rated as the best in saltwater, it’s perfectly stable in calm seas and, if you know what you’re doing, it will cope with a fair amount of waves. Going by the numerous customer reviews that I looked at, this is a remarkably stable angler kayak – up there with the best of them. It has a very comfortable seat that’s fully adjustable for the perfect position, regardless of your height.
The Pescador Pro is 12-feet long and 32.5-inches wide, weighing 64-pounds. It can handle a total weight of 375-pounds, making it a versatile fishing kayak with plenty of storage. So you have the convenience of a center console for those items that you want quick access to, a rear tank well, a recessed tackle box compartment and plenty of bungee strap down positions. Of course, there’s flush molded fishing rod holders and tracks for customization.
The Perception Pescador Pro offers the full package. This is one of the best fishing kayaks for rivers and lakes, and can handle ocean conditions with a fair deal of stability and control. The overall quality is of the highest standard. It’s handmade in the US. The attention to detail and craftsmanship is evident throughout.
4. Vibe Yellowfin 100 10 foot Angler Sit On Top Kayak
This is probably the best rated 10 Ft sit on top fishing kayak I’ve seen. A 4.9-star ranking on Amazon is a testament to its excellence. I really tried to find some sort of negative review about the Vibe Yellowfin. Though, try as I may, I really couldn’t find a legitimate complaint. Apart from some items arriving damaged, which would be covered under the warranty (and is more likely a transportation issue), all the customer reviews use words like excellent, the best kayak, great quality, and so forth. By my observation, and the views of so many customers, this angler kayak can easily be described as one of the best in its class.
When I say in this class, it is, like most of the others in this review, a kayak for calmer waters – lakes and slow-moving rivers. With that said, many of the more experienced ocean-going fishermen have said they have taken it on some choppy waters without incident. It is a very stable kayak thanks to a great hull design. At a weight of 57-pounds, it is reasonably easy to transport with enough mass to give it good stability. However, the unique hull design that makes the Yellowfin so exceptional, does mean that it can’t fit just any j-rack carrier. Something that doesn’t concern me too much when you consider that the 90-degree edge along the hull makes it a superior craft in the water. It can take a total weight of 375-pounds, is 10-feet long and 32-inches wide.
As far as comfort and convenience go, a big thumbs up to the guys at Vibe. The yellowfin has four flush rod holders complete with caps. An additional mounting allows for plenty of customization options which include RAM, Scotty, and Vibe accessories. Storage solutions are diverse and plentiful. There 2 X 9-inch sealed hatches with bag inserts; 2 X tackle tray holders (accommodating the Plano 6000) and a huge bungeed rear tank well. The seat is amongst the most comfortable you’ll get on this type of kayak and it has adjustable footrests.
Compared to many of the 10-foot kayaks available, the Vibe Yellowfin is on the expensive side. Then again, you’re getting what you paying for. This being an excellent sit on kayak, both in its design and manufacture. I can see why so many rate this as the best fishing kayak. It is quite magnificent.
5. Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak
Which is better: an inflatable or a hard shell kayak? This is a debate that even the kayak gurus can’t always agree on. On one hand, an inflatable kayak has the advantage of being easier to transport and store. When deflated, it’s very compact and not at all heavy. Though you have the issue of inflating it when you arrive at your destination. Because an inflatable fishing kayak isn’t as rigid as a hard shell equivalent, there’s little chance of it becoming damaged when you encounter rocks and other obstacles in the water. Many prefer inflatable kayaks for rapids and rough waters. Though this depends very much on which type you buy, a cheap inflatable kayak isn’t recommended for rough seas.
The Sevylor Coleman Colorado is of the cheaper variety. If you consider that this is a large 2-person fishing kayak, it’s very affordable. However, whilst this is a very durable angler kayak, it’s not recommended for rough waters. So it’s ideal for lakes and calm rivers but is not recommended for the ocean or fast-moving rivers.
With that said, the Colorado is no weakling. With 18-gauge PVC material, it’s tough enough for any lake. Multiple air chambers that mean if one area is damaged, the rest of the kayak will remain inflated, so you’ll always make it back to shore – no matter what you encounter. The 1000D tarpaulin floor and 800D cover mean there is very little chance of a puncture.
Two comfortable padded seats and plenty of mesh pockets along the side walls take care of your comfort and convenience. It’s fitted with Berkley Quick Set rod holders, allowing for hands-free fishing and there are D-rings which make it super easy to attach additional gear. You can easily attach an outboard motor for effortless cruising across a lake.
Some may look at the price tag on the Sevylor Coleman and think this is too cheap for a 2-person kayak. So it where’s the catch? It depends what you’re looking for. If you have no intention of taking it on rough seas or rapid rivers, this fishing kayak is a perfect, cost-effective solution. For its intended use, this a tough and reliable 2-person fishing kayak with a good deal of comfort and convenience.
6. Sea Eagle SE370 Inflatable Sport Kayak Deluxe Package
Affordability is the name of the game with the Sea Eagle SE370 inflatable Sport Kayak. As a rugged inflatable kayak, capable of negotiation class III rapids, the Sea Eagle Sport is excellent. Especially when you look at the fantastically cheap price and its enormous size. As a fishing kayak, however, it’s not quite the best. You don’t have the convenient fishing rod holders or any real designated storage places. So why have we included this model in our list of the best fishing kayaks? The simple answer is: the price and rugged design. If you don’t have much to spend on an angler kayak, it’s worth considering. This is a lightweight, extremely portable vessel that can handle rough waters, you’re not going to find a better deal anywhere. So, for the great savings that the Sea Eagle offers, you’ll need to make a few compromises and come up with some innovative ideas for fishing needs. A small effort for this kind of savings and rugged design.
The 10-foot Sea Eagle has three seats and can carry an astounding 650-pounds. Though it works best with two people on board, especially if you intend loading additional gear. The tough 38 MM, PolyKrylor (K80 PVC) material can handle a lot. In addition to this, the I-beam floor construction and 9” diameter tubes give the kayak a rigid structure, allowing you to go through some rough water with confidence. With high-frequency welded seams, you have the assurance of a perfectly watertight kayak under extreme conditions. The three-chamber design is also great for rough conditions.
Despite the large size and great weight-carrying capacity, this is a lightweight kayak – weighing a mere 32-pounds. It packs into a carrying bag that will fit into the trunk of a small car. This includes a foot pump that’s supplied with the package. Once you get to the water, it isn’t a hassle to get the kayak inflated and ready to go, thanks to the five deluxe 1-way valves. Though pumping air into this vessel using a manual foot pump can be a drag. You may want to invest in a 12V mini-compressor that plugs into your car’s lighter socket. This will save a great deal of time and effort. Though most people claim they’re able to inflate the Sea Eagle in under ten minutes, using the foot pump that’s supplied – that’s really good.
For a price that just about anyone can afford, the Sea Eagle Sport is great for whitewater rafting conditions and you can take it out into the ocean without any worries. The downside is that you don’t any of the attachments that make for the best fishing kayak. For that, you’d have to go for something more expensive. As one of the best budget inflatable kayaks with the ability to handle rough water, the Sea Eagle Sport comes up tops. Is there is anything to complain about? The seats are not the most comfortable, particularly the center seat when you’re using all three seats. Though it’s possible to buy more comfortable seats to fit the Sea Eagle. This would mean spending the extra cash and that kind of takes away from the amazing value that this kayak offers.
7. Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 Angler Kayak - Sit on Top
For a 12-foot angler kayak (actually, it’s 12’ & 3”), it’s relatively lightweight at 63-pounds. It tracks well and is very easy to maneuver. There is a certain air of quality to this product. It’s incredibly well-made and the materials look about as tough as it gets. I’m surprised to see that it has no built-in rod holder. It does have an excellent rack system that allows you to mount any custom attachments to meet your needs. There’s excellent storage with two great dry storage hatches – one midship and a much larger one at the bow. There’s a really large tank well with bungees and two small bungeed storage bays, as well as a cup holder conveniently close to the seating position.
When comparing the Wilderness Tarpon 120 to the other higher priced hard shell angler kayaks, they all seem to be fairly similar in terms of general build quality. This being excellent. I suppose the Wilderness Tarpon stands out from the rest because of the remarkably comfortable seat. I don’t see the omission of molded rod holders as a big deal, it’s easy enough to install these and the customizable rails mean no drilling, so there’s no chance of damaging the kayak.
This is another top-grade fishing kayak at the higher end of the price spectrum. If you’re going to spend a lot of time in the water, you’ll certainly appreciate the level of comfort. Many consider the Phase III AirPro seat to be the most comfortable kayak seat ever made. You just have to look at it to see that the Wilderness Tarpon 120 is streaks ahead of the others in this regard.
8. Brooklyn Kayak Company BKC UH-TK181 12-foot 5-inch Sit on Top Tandem 2 Person Fishing Kayak
It’s nice to see a high-quality 2-person fishing kayak that’s reasonably affordable. I say reasonably affordable because the Brooklyn BKC UH-TK181 isn’t exactly cheap. But with two very comfortable seats and two double paddles, this 12’ 5” fishing kayak is certainly worth every dime. With excellent use of the available space and a very stable design, it’s a highly competent two-person angler kayak, yet still easy enough for one person to handle with ease.
The BKC UH-TK181 is only a few inches longer than a lot of one-person fishing kayaks. But, because they’ve done such a great job of organizing the sit on top configuration, you have comfortable seating for two and all the storage that you want. So you still get two waterproof storage hatches, placed within perfect reach between each of the paddlers’ legs. There are a total of seven rod holders, three of which are articulated for multi-directional casting and 4 regular flush-mounted rod holders. It also has dual paddle holders.
At the rear, the BKC UH-TK181 has a good storage well with bungees. Though, because of the dual seating arrangement, this isn’t quite as large as those you find on a single person fishing kayak of the same size. You should be able to fit a reasonably large cooler in this space, so it’s quite adequate. For a 2-person fishing kayak, the weight is perfectly acceptable at 68-pounds and it can carry a weight of 440-pounds. That’s enough for two fairly large adults and your gear. It also has threaded bolt holes, positioned perfectly for mounting a motor.
With absolutely no compromises, this is the ideal kayak for those father and son fishing trips. Without spending too much, you’re getting a great product. Quality is up there with the best of them. It’s comfortable and the storage is great. What more could you ask for?
9. Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak - Sit on Top
If we’re going to be talking about the best cheap fishing kayak, then the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 certainly deserves a mention. It’s way cheaper than any of the top brands and, while it does display some cheap aspects, it’s a real bargain. You can’t compare this kayak with the really expensive options. That simply wouldn’t be fair. As a very affordable angler kayak for the beginner, this is probably your best choice.
Like any of the best hard shell kayaks, this one is constructed using UV protected high-density polyethylene. But maybe not quite as tough as the top-rated brands. The cost-cutting measures are also quite apparent when you look at the seat. It’s reasonably comfortable, but far from being the best. You may want to use a cushion. There are multiple footrest positions which work well for people of any height. These aren’t the same as adjustable footrests. Instead, there are several raised sections molded into the floor, which seems to work quite well.
In terms of usable features and storage, the Tamarack Angler 100 can compete with the best. It has two 6” sealed storage compartments. One is placed, very conveniently, in the center and one at the rear. It also has bungees at the front and rear that allow for secure open storage. There’s a single top mount fishing rod holder and two flush mount rod holders.
This is a lightweight kayak for its size, weighing only 56.5-pounds. While this does make it very easy to carry, it kind of indicates a lower level of durability. It is, none the less, a pretty tough kayak and tracks quite well.
If value for money is high on your list of priorities, this is an opportunity not to be missed. Sure it may be a little less comfortable and maybe not as maneuverable as the high-end angler kayaks. But, for its price, it would be a great challenge to find anything better.
10. Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 9-foot Angler Sit On Top Fishing Kayak
The Vibe Skipjack 90 has the advantage of being wonderfully compact and lightweight. For many this will be a great fishing kayak and, being quite small, you’re not paying as much for one of the top brands. In terms of quality and features, it’s a true winner. Though some may find the 9-foot length a bit limiting, especially for bass fishing.
While it lacks in length, the Skipjack 90 has the width to match any of the others – 32-inches. I would think that the ratio of width to length should give it greater stability and a lot of people have said that this little angler kayak performs well in the ocean. It’s also a little easier to stand on, making a pretty good stand on fishing kayak. It weighs only 46-pounds, so there’s really no hassle lifting the Skipjack 90.
Like the other Vibe angler kayaks, there’s a high spec level on this model. You get two sealed storage hatches with bag inserts. These are positioned for great ease of use – one at the front and one in the center. The rear tank well is bigger than would expect to see on a 9-foot fishing kayak and this has bungees. There are 4 capped flush rod holders and a mounting position for Scotty, Vibe, or RAM accessories. They’ve also provided two paddle parks to secure the paddle. The seat is absolutely great – very comfortable.
Without spending too much, you can own a Vibe kayak. Which is great news considering the brand’s exceptional reputation. Yes, it’s quite a bit shorter than the others in this review. But in every other respect, it can be regarded as one of the best.
11. NRS Pike Angler IK Inflatable Fishing Kayak
Very likely the ultimate inflatable fishing kayak, the NRS Pike Angler IK has it all – durability, comfort, excellent stability, and plenty of user-friendly features for the angler. I suppose, when you look at the price, you’d expect it to be one of the best. Though you just need to take a look at the customer reviews and you’ll realize that this is a truly remarkable fishing kayak. It’s rare to see such praise for any product.
I can see why people absolutely love the Pike Angler IK. It’s manufactured to the highest standards with PVC drop-stitch floor fabric, Leafield C7 fill, and A7 pressure relief valves. The length is truly impressive (12’ 8”) and a good width 39” gives you the stability you want in all conditions. Though the really sturdy 11” tube diameter leaves an interior width of 17”. With 3 air chambers, you have a good deal of reassurance.
The removable seat is one of the best you’ll find in an inflatable kayak. I really like the waterproof, backpack style storage solution mounted to the back of the seat and there’s another similar, but smaller, storage bag on the tube. It has 3 Scotty Mount attachments and 32 stainless steel D-rings. All this gives you a diverse range of options.
I really can’t fault this inflatable fishing kayak in any way and, from what I can see, neither can any of the existing customers. I guess it comes down to that old saying: you get what you pay for. In this case, paying a fair bit extra means you’re getting the best of the best. Well, at least, that’s my opinion.