Comprehensive Guide to Fishing Kayaks

If you’re anything like me, you are passionate about fishing, you know pretty much everything there is to know about fishing, but when it comes to a fishing kayak, you are clueless! Lucky enough, I have created the ultimate guide to fishing kayaks.

Hopefully this kayak guide will help you understand and pick the best fishing kayak for your next fishing expedition. But before I share with you my thoughts on the best fishing kayak options, let us understand the concept of a fishing kayak.

What is a fishing kayak?

A fishing kayak is a kayak that has been specifically designed to be used for fishing. Although many fishermen have never contemplated using a fishing kayak – myself included – in recent years, fishing kayaks have gained interest from anglers all over the world, who want more flexibility on the water. If you’re in the market for a kayak of your own, the following information should help you understand what to look for, and what to steer clear of.

Types of fishing kayak

There are a number of different types of kayak, so it’s worth doing some research before pulling the trigger. It is important that you know and understand the differences, so that you can choose a kayak that suits your fishing style. Let’s explore the different options.

Sit-in kayaks

These are probably the most common and conventional kayaks, used all over the world. They are designed in such a way that the lower body of the fisherman sits in the kayak, as the name suggests. Sit-in kayaks are popular for their stability and ease of operation. The kayaks are perfectly designed to give a high degree of lateral stability making them quite safe to move around in. Due to their small size, they are also portable. They can be tugged on top of the car and moved to the desired destination relatively easily.

Read our page on the best sit-in kayaks for fishing.

Sit-on-top kayaks

These are modern vessels popularly known for surfing, fishing and touring. They are perfectly designed to enable the participant to swiftly change their sitting position, access storage wells and comfortably enter and exit the water. The shapes are similar to the sit-in with the main difference being the sitting posture.

Sit-on-top kayaks have moulded-in depressions on the top that ensure the fisherman is secure and comfortable. With the paddler sitting on top of the kayak, the centre of gravity is above water-level. This makes them less stable that conventional sit-ins, which is usually compensated for with more width.

Read our page on the best sit-on-top kayaks for fishing.

Inflatable kayaks

These are air-filled kayaks that are made of tough, thick material that seals in air, thus maintaining the vessel’s shape. Most are made from durable PVC fabrics, and can be inflated with a variety of hand, foot and electric pumps. Inflatable kayaks have improved a lot in recent years. They are now widely regarded as one of the most versatile kayak types available, not least due to ease of transportation, weight and the sturdiness of modern designs.

Read our page on the best inflatable kayaks for fishing.

Tandem fishing kayaks

Some kayaks sacrifice speed and a sleek design for size. This is definitely the case with tandem or ‘two-person kayaks’. Depending on which model you go for, these enable you to carry a passenger or to go fishing with a friend.

You can read about tandem fishing kayaks here.

Motorised and pedal fishing kayaks

If you like the idea of kayaking but don’t see yourself as the paddling type, maybe there’s still an option. While paddle-power is by far the most popular, it’s also possible to propel yourself with either motor or pedal-power.

You can read about motorised and pedal fishing kayaks here.

How do you decide which kayak is right for you?

We’ve created this guide to help you navigate the wide range of choices available. We’ve also written about your options for kayak paddles and other accessories. Hopefully this will provide you with some useful research and insight before pulling the trigger. We hope you end up with the fishing kayak of your dreams. Maybe it’s even one of the following…

Best-rated and best value fishing kayaks

Kayak Image Kayak Name Ratings Price Review
sun dolphin aruba sit-in fishing kayaks Sun Dolphin Aruba Fishing Kayak ***** $$ Read Review
old town vapor fishing kayaks Old Town Vapor Fishing Kayak ***** $$$ Read Review
perception sport pescador fishing kayaks Perception Pescador Kayak ***** $$$ Read Review

intex explorer k2 fishing kayaks Intex Explorer K2 Kayak **** $ Read Review
sea eagle inflatable fishing kayaks Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Fishing Kayak **** $$ Read Review
lifetime adult sit inside fishing kayaks Lifetime Payette Sit-Inside Kayak **** $$ Read Review
sun dolphin journey fishing kayaks Sun Dolphin Journey Fishing Kayak **** $$ Read Review
sevylor inflatable fishing kayaks Sevylor Inflatable Fishing Kayak **** $$$$ Read Review
riot kayaks enduro 12 angler flatwater fishing kayaks Riot Kayaks Enduro Fishing Kayak **** $$$$ Read Review
ocean kayak banzai fishing kayaks Ocean Kayak Banzai Kayak *** $$$ Read Review


Buying a fishing kayak

If you’re thinking about buying a fishing kayak, there are all sorts of factors to consider. These include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Type
  • Size
  • Weight
  • Load-carrying capacity
  • Speed
  • Price
  • Seating arrangement

You can read our guide to buying a fishing kayak here.

Top 4 fishing kayaks

Selecting the best fishing kayak can be a daunting task – there are so many on the market. If you’re looking for some quick pointers towards the best options, read on…

My top 4 fishing kayaks

In no particular order:

Old Town 10-Feet Vapor 10 Angler Recreational Fishing Kayak

Old Town Vapor 10 Angler Recreational Fishing Kayak

This is a professionally designed fibreglass kayak that has, for a long period of time, remained many people’s favourite. A sit-in kayak, it comes with comfortable flex seats, which can be adjusted to suit the angler’s desires. This provides great comfort, which is further boosted by the modifiable cockpit tray. To top it all, the kayak has an anchor trolley system that goes a long way in enabling easy, quick manoeuvring.

Read the review >>

Perception Sport Pescador 12 Kayak

Perception Pescador Fishing Kayak 120

Perception Pescador 120 Fishing Kayak is another great kayak choice. The 12’ long kayak weighs just 60lbs, making it easy to transport. This is a sit-on-top model that gives a great combination of comfort and speed. The hull design gives it a solid, steady track in lakes and in rivers. And its well-padded seat allows even the fussiest angler to spend long hours fishing in relative comfort.

Read the review >>

Riot Kayaks Enduro 12 Angler Flatwater Fishing Kayak

Riot Kayaks Enduro 12 Angler Flatwater Fishing Kayak

This durable, user-friendly fishing kayak is another popular favourite. It has a wide load capacity, giving plenty of room for anglers and their copious amounts of tackle and supplementary kit. It also handles weights of up to 350kg, which means your gear can be heavy as well as voluminous! It’s no wonder this model is considered the work horse of the kayak world.

Read the review >>

Sevylor Inflatable Fishing Kayak

Sevylor Inflatable Fishing Kayak

Our last top four kayak is the Sevylor Inflatable Fishing Kayak. This kayak is not fibreglass, but made of thick, durable PVC. It is light and easy-to-operate, and surprisingly stable. Just unroll it and pump! We like this kayak, not least because it is purpose-built for fishing.

Read the review >>

Fishing kayak accessories

Most modern fishing kayaks, regardless of the materials used, are now designed for efficient paddling and ease of use. Most incorporate a sleek design for easy propulsion. Others are bulkier, but come with other advantages, like extra storage space. Whatever base model you go for, most kayaks now come with plenty of capacity for customisation and accessories. From integrated electric fish finders to fish tanks, GPS, electric bait buckets, solar panels and rod holders, the modern fishing kayak would make even MacGyver blush with feelings of inadequacy. And the best part of customisation? You don’t need to buy everything at once. Just choose your preferred base vessel, and add accessories over time.

You can read all about fishing kayak accessories here.

Fishing kayak set-up and maintenance

The popularity of fishing kayaks is increasing. People are beginning to realise the benefits of fishing kayaks over a motorised boat: they’re cheaper, more versatile, low maintenance, easy to transport, silent, manoeuvrable, and kinder on the environment. These factors have caused the increase in demand for such kayaks, which in turn has led to more choice and better value for anglers. Good news indeed! Of course, once you’ve bought your dream kayak, you’ll want to know how to set it up and maintain it.

You can read about kayak set-up and maintenance here.

Kayak and kayak fishing tips

From safety tips and handling skills to different ways of customising a kayak, this section should give you all the information you need, and more, to get the most out of your vessel. Our tips include how to transport your kayak, when and how to use a spray skirt, rudders and skegs, maintenance, user guides and more.

To get to our section on kayak fishing tips, click here.

Advantages of fishing kayaks

Low maintenance

There are no additional costs of maintaining a fishing kayak other than a storage space when not in use. You don’t have to worry about mooring fees, and cleaning a fishing kayak takes minimal effort. The only maintenance is the occasional wash and rinse after use. Unlike a motorised boat, you also don’t have to worry about fuel or servicing costs.


Fishing kayaks don’t cause the water disturbance of a motorboat. They also take up very little draft, enabling anglers to navigate even the shallowest waters, and access the places other boats cannot reach. They’re also relatively quiet, reducing the disturbance on the environment, and on the fish!


Perhaps the most compelling reason for choosing a fishing kayak is the impact on the environment. As it is manually operated with a paddle, it does not produce smoke or pollution, and there’s no danger of a fuel spill.


Fishing kayaks can be used in several areas such as lakes, rivers, ponds and canals. They are often welcome in areas where larger boats are forbidden, and they can be easily transported from venue to venue.


Kayak prices start at around $100 – far less than the average boat motor, let alone the boat to go with it. And that’s before maintenance costs. Fishing can be expensive enough – what with rods, reels, baits, etc. Knowing that you can get on the water, without forking out thousands of dollars on a motorised boat, might come as a pleasant surprise to many of you.

Happy kayaking and tight lines!!

For more kayak information and resources, have a look here.