Best Fishing Kayak Reviews 2016: 5 things to look for when buying
For fishing enthusiasts, finding the right fishing kayak is important. Unlike normal boats, a kayak for fishing is easier to use and it even makes it possible to catch rare species of fish.
Make sure to check out our handy best fishing kayak comparison table, before you consider these five tips when looking to buy the best fishing kayak.
Best Fishing Kayak Comparison Table
If you are anything like me, budget plays a huge role in any decision. During my research, I looked at all aspects of these kayaks for fishing to find the best models. Included in the table below, is an indicator of the angling kayak price. I didn’t include the actual price, as this fluctuates too often to make updates every week. Keep in mind that these are the top fishing kayaks of 2016, but these will also be among the highest rated of 2017.
Make sure to check the live price, quite often these kayaks are offered on a deep discount. I have determined the prices according to this scale:
- $ – Low (under $250)
- $$ – Med ($250-$500)
- $$$ – High ($500+)
|Malibu Kayaks Stealth 14||5||14.4ft||64lbs||$$$
Check live price
|Perception Sport Pescador 12||4.8||12ft||60lbs||$$$
Check live price
|Lifetime Sport Fisher||4.4||10ft||60lbs||$$$
Check live price
|Intex Explorer K2||4.1||10ft||36lbs||$
Check live price
|Sun Dolphin Excursion||4.2||10ft||40lbs||$$$
Check live price
Who makes the best fishing kayak?
There are a number of best fishing kayak brands, and to pick just one would be doing you an injustice. My favourite brands of angling kayaks are, in no particular order:
- Old Town
- Feel Free
- Wilderness Systems
While these manufacturers can easily be named as the top brands, there are a number of other companies that make great products for kayak fishing. Emotion, Heritage, Perception, Ocean Kayak, Lifetime, Intex and Sun Dolphin all make reliable products, and their product offerings differ slightly from the manufacturers above.
At the end of the day, only you know how you will be using your fishing kayak. You might be looking for a fishing kayak with livewell, outriggers, electric motor or motor mount, pontoons, fish finder, rudder or foot paddles. That is why it is so important to understand exactly what it is you are looking for.
What is the best fishing kayak…
For the Money
I am a big fan of Old Town’s kayaks, and the Predator 13 is my favourite yak to go fishing in.
This 13 ft 2 in yak has a very impressive maximum load of 425 lbs and comes with plenty of storage space, so you know you can bring some big catches to shore so your friends believe your fishing stories.
The Predator 13 is 33.5 in wide, and is very stable. I never felt in danger of tipping this bad boy over. I do recommend that you buy a top-rated kayak dolly (see my dolley reviews here) when you go for the Predator 13, because this bad body is heavy when loaded with gear.
Pair this bad boy with a good paddle and you will be leaving others in your wake.
This top-rated fishing yak comes in 4 colour options, namely black cherry, brown camo, lime camo and urban camo (I am partial to the black cherry, it looks really nice).
There is no doubt in my mind that the Malibu Kayaks Stealth 12 is the best yak for fishing under the $1000 mark. This 12 footer has an impressive capacity of 450 lbs making this a great option for any angler looking for a mid-sized fishing yak.
It tracks well, is stable when standing and the bait well is a nice touch to keep things organized when you are out on the water. I also found it to work really well when sitting side-saddle.
I do feel that you need to be creative to find space for all your accessories, but the storage space makes up for this.
The Ocean Kayak Caper Classic is a highly rated sit-on-top kayak that is ideal for recreational fishing. I like the Comfort Plus seat that comes standard on this yak, it is definitely one of the most comfortable seats right out of the box.
This compact 11-footer is stable for its size, is very easy to manuevre and tracks really well. The weight capacity is limited to 325 lbs, which is OK for this size of yak.
I do like that kayak is self-bailing, and who doesn’t appreciate a cup holder, right!
Keep in mind that manuevrability comes at a price, and you sacrifice storage space.
The Ocean Kayak 12-Feet Malibu is the best fishing kayak under 700 dollars, and best of all is you can bring a friend along as this is a tandem fishing kayak.
Even though this kayak is a two seater, it has three seating positions, stern, bow and middle for when you are out on the water by yourself.
This yak comes with 2 Comfort Plus seats included which means you will be very comfortable while fishing. This 57 pounder can take a load of up to 425lbs, but it does lack in storage especially with two anglers on board.
I really like the Sun Dolphin Excursion SS at the sub-$500 price range. This sit-in kayak provides decent storage space for a 10-footer and is surprisingly manuevrable.
I was impressed with how stable this yak is, and in calm conditions I was able to stand and fish which is awesome for a yak in this price range. Important to note that the Excursion SS can only hold a cargo of 280lbs.
As I already mentioned, I am a big fan of the Old Town range of yaks, and I think the Vapor 10 Angler is an excellent cheap fishing kayak for those just starting out.
This 10-footer is so stable that I was able to take my german shepherd along for a cruise on the lake. This sit-in kayak weighs 49lbs and can handle a load of 325 lbs (pretty standard for a 10ft yak).
I like the large cockpit, and it pretty easy to get in and out of. Although the Vapor 10 is quite compact, it offers plenty of space to store accessories below deck
5 Things to look for when buying a top-rated fishing kayak
Types of Kayaks for Fishing
There are different types of fishing kayak. The most common ones are sit on top kayaks (SOTs) and sit in kayaks (SIKs). As the name implies, a sit on top kayak for fishing has a seat on the top of the kayak itself. It is more comfortable and it allows you to move around and get in and out easily. However, it is more unstable because it has a higher center of gravity.
On the other hand, sit in kayaks for fishing have a hollow portion where you can climb in and sit within the kayak. They are lighter and they paddle faster than SOTs. Although they are more stable, it is more difficult to move in and out SIKs and it becomes uncomfortable after long hours of paddling.
Make sure you have a comfortable seat because kayak fishing can last for longer hours. It is better to choose a kayak with padded canoe seats and with enough space to move or stretch.
Your fishing location is important in buying your kayak. If the water has choppy waves, avoid buying a light kayak. A small kayak is suitable in swamps, small rivers and streams.
Your fishing location will also determine how you will transport your kayak. If it is far, you need a vehicle to move the kayak. The size of the fishing kayak will therefore be affected by your transportation means.
You can choose from pedal, paddle and motorized fishing kayak. Paddle kayak is the most common and least expensive type of fishing kayak. It does not need any fuel or batteries to run but it becomes tiring to paddle especially if your fishing location is too far.
A pedal kayak on the other hand gives you the option to paddle or pedal and they have flippers which you can move by pedaling. If you are too tired to pedal, you can choose to paddle to reach your location.
The last propulsion system for fishing kayaks is the motor. You do not have to paddle or pedal to move the kayak. Although a motor kayak is more expensive, it will allow you to focus on fishing because you will not be exhausted moving from one fishing spot to another.
Unlike normal kayaking, fish kayaking needs more space in the kayak. This allows you to put the things you need for your fishing such as baits, fishing rods and containers where you will place you catch. Make sure that there is enough space so there is a place to store your belongings.
When you choose your fishing kayak, remember these tips so you can choose the best option for your fishing escapades.