Best Fishing Kayaks
Summertime is finally here! Enjoy the cool summer breeze as you wrestle the rapids and cataracts of our cool rivers. In my opinion, fishing is and always has been one of the most elating outdoor activities ever. Most people fancy this sport as it has no age restriction. It’s a great getaway that will help you release your work pressures, bond with family and friends, and is proven to have many health benefits. It is a really thrilling activity, especially as it seems to have way of relieving an age-old human need for pursuing and catching. However, this is however an activity that can go horribly wrong if you don’t have the right tools.
Here is a list of the Best Fishing Kayaks
Most people fancy this sport as it has no age restriction. It’s a great getaway that will help you release your work pressures, bond with family and friends, and is proven to have many health benefits. It is a really thrilling activity, especially as it seems to have way of relieving an age-old human need for pursuing and catching. However, this is however an activity that can go horribly wrong if you don’t have the right tools.
Take fishing kayaks, for example; your pick greatly determines if you have a terrific experience or a terrible one. You need a great fishing kayak to suit your personal taste and simultaneously give you an easy time as you are out in the water.
You need not worry, though. My team and I set out to do some research and tests on the fishing kayaks currently in the market to ensure that you find what’s best for you. After nearly a year of hard work, here is what we have for you.
Table of Contents
- Here is a list of the Best Fishing Kayaks
- Which Fishing Kayaks Are the Best?
- Our Pick
- First Option
- Second Option
- Why You Should Trust Us
- How We Tested and Selected Our Picks
- Our Pick
- First Option
- Second Option
- Why the Tarpon 120 is a Popular Option
- Sit-on-Top versus Sit-Inside
- Paddling versus Pedaling
- How to Choose the Best Fishing Kayak
- How to Select the Best Kayak for Your Fishing Experience
- Fishing Location and Conditions
- Other Brands
- Other Suggestions
Which Fishing Kayaks Are the Best?
My team and I didn’t have an easy time answering this FAQ. As expected, there are many great fishing kayaks currently available. We put much of our research and expertise in coming up with the list below. We are very confident that our research will greatly assist you in finding the right pick.
Vibe Skipjack 90
This is the fishing kayak that did it for us. It has outstanding stability, is light and easily portable, and it comes at an affordable price. Its smaller size makes it far more flexible and portable as it can easily fit in your vehicle. Despite its small size, it’s got 2 sealed hatches and a rear cargo storage area, providing a nice, large storage space. The Vibe Skipjack 90 also offers great maneuverability in tight spaces and is easy to carry to and from the launch site
The Vibe Skipjack 90 is modeled in a beautiful design not only to enhance its appearance but to ensure the rider’s comfort. It offers easy control for all ages and experience levels and performs well in flat water, surfs, and rivers. Its stability is impressive and it especially excels in turning in-current and maneuvering in tight spaces.
It has a large storage area so you don’t have to worry about leaving your gear or clothes behind. The two sealed storage hatches offer plenty of space and ensure that your cargo stays completely dry.
As much as this kayak has a lot to offer, its downside is its compact size. It can only hold one rider and no more. Additionally, it’s slower in comparison to other kayaks and has a slight drag.
In case our pick runs out of stock or you’d prefer something else, we found another kayak that you won’t regret considering as an alternative.
Aquaglide Columbia XP
The Aquaglide Columbia XP tracks decently with very minimal drag, making it very easy to paddle in the water. It’s inflatable, so it’s extremely portable. It’s not as compact as our first pick, so with this kayak, you can paddle with a friend or carry extra gear. It has a 600D Duratex heavy duty polyester fabric-reinforced hull, making it very durable.
In Comparison to Our Pick
The Aquaglide Columbia XP was, however, not our top pick since it’s hard to dry due to its fabric coating. It also comes with extra costs. It’s an inflatable kayak, so you’re expected to purchase an air pump. Regardless, it’s a great choice if our first option is out of stock, or if you don’t mind the few highlighted flaws.
Some people simply don’t like getting wet when out on the water but still want to get the thrill of kayaking. Luckily, we also found a piece to suit their taste.
Emotion Envy Sit-Inside Kayak
This kayak has got a great hull design that gives it high stability and ensures decent tracking. Its design also ensures maximum comfort for the rider. It’s also light and therefore flexible and portable. It comes with a spray skirt that ensures you stay dry throughout your adventure.
In Comparison to Our Pick
The Emotion Envy Sit-Inside Kayak is a sit-inside kayak, so the rider feels surrounded and protected. However, it is not as stable as The Vibe Skipjack 90. It has low maneuverability, and in the case that you capsize, it will be harder to recover.
Why You Should Trust Us
We have been in the business of reviewing fishing equipment for over four years now. Our reviews always fit market tastes and have proven to be helpful to our clients. We have received no complaints and always work to impress and assist our clients. Our reviews are always up-to-date and we always aim to find solutions to your needs.
The fact that we are a team helps us to competently test the identified potential cream of the crop. As a group, we are capable of testing numerous pieces within the period of time set aside for experimenting in the field in order to critically analyze the performance of each kayak.
We deal with legitimate products from trusted manufacturers. This protects our audience from misleading information and exposure to brands that are not adequately available in the market. This means the products we recommend to you are those that you can easily find and afford. They also have a standard level of durability, meaning they are not products that will stress you out with replacements or repair issues.
All my team members have gathered more than the experience required for the task, making them fully acquainted with the tricks and tips that are important for safe and successful fishing even as a sport. This means we are aware of the basics we are looking for in every kayak for it to be labeled a standard kayak.
Therefore, with our tips and guidance, you are safe and dry.
How We Tested and Selected Our Picks
There are a lot of great fishing kayaks out there and narrowing down to just three was honestly not an easy task. We identified many kayaks and those that customers seemed to love most using our experience in the field. Through the help of renowned reviewers in the market, we were able to come up with a list of brands that offer products of good quality. This landed us to a list of many brands, leading us to begin testing and researching in order to establish an elimination process.
The kayaks’ performance and durability was put to test in still waters, rough waters, and surfs to ensure that the quality of all aspects had been thoroughly evaluated. We also questioned some of the different users’ opinions on distinguished brands and their experience with them. This took us approximately nine months of rigorous fishing activities through rivers and lakes. We subjected ourselves to intense rapids and cataracts to test the strength of each kayak. Such fieldwork experiments helped us to come up with a measure of safety, accomplished by focusing on aspects such as stability, maneuverability, and speed. We also prioritized factors such as capacity and durability in order to separate the elite from the average.
Vibe Skipjack 90
The Vibe Skipjack 90 turned out to be the best fishing kayak currently available that comes at an affordable price. It offers all of the standard fishing kayak features, plus a great design. It also came up as a customer favorite as we did our research. It passed all the tests we did during the selection of the best fishing kayak and we found it to be an amazing product. Below are some of the features that we really liked.
What We Liked
Transportation and Storage
The Vibe Skipjack 90 is very light and only weighs 46lbs. It just 9’ in length therefore can easily fit in the back of most SUVs and the roofs of small trucks. Its small size and light weight make it easy for its user to transport and store. You don’t need a cart to pull it to the launch site; you can simply carry it yourself. Additionally, its portability is enhanced by the four carrying handles available in different positions.
Contrary to what most people believe, the Vibe Skipjack 90 has great stability despite it not being the widest kayak. It’s not too wide, so it’s still stable and offers great maneuverability. Also, it’s a model that we found difficult to capsize, and it has high stand and fish capability.
Speed and Tracking
This kayak slices through the water unlike how you would expect a wide one to. It has got very minimal drag and the rider can paddle almost effortlessly.
The Vibe Skipjack 90 is a sit-on-top fishing kayak. This means that it has advantages over the sit-insides. It’s comfortable, and suits people with long legs and large body types. The main advantage, however, is the fact there is no risk of being trapped in the kayak if it happens to capsize.
On top of all these appealing features, we are not yet done listing the advantages you will enjoy after purchasing this product. It’s exciting to realize that this set of features is available in one package that’s actually affordable. If you choose to make your purchase online, you can possess it at for as low as $578. In addition, its low cost is the reason we found it worthy of being our pick. It outperforms many other products in its price range, but it’s not the most affordable fishing kayak available. However, with its package of beneficial features, the price is more than fair.
The storage of your kayak is one of the most important aspects every fisher has to put into account while selecting the right product to invest in. In case you want to incorporate extra gear while fishing, this kayak has two hatches to accommodate your additional luggage, including a spacious rear cargo storage area and with a bungee tie-down system. This means your cargo is safe regardless of the waves you encounter while on water. My team and I found this highly important for successful fishing, as every fisher out there wants constant fishing progress without unnecessary hindrance. The spacious rear storage will comfortably accommodate your equipment, allowing you to fish to your heart’s content.
I can’t fail to mention about how easy it is to fish with this kayak bearing in mind that it has four flush-mount fishing rod holders with caps to increase the strength with which your fishing rod is mounted, increasing your chances for massive fishing without excess frustration.
The Rare Feature
Different from other pieces, this kayak is capable of accommodating a variety of mount accessories. It has a mounting point for Scotty®, Railblaza®, Vibe, and RAM®. This standout feature makes it unmatched while compared to any other brand.
Just like any other product, this kayak has its downside. One of the most noticeable flaws that we detected during our testing process is the fact that it can only accommodate one rider. In case your mission is to carry out an extreme fishing trip as a sport or economic activity, you might think of inviting company. This isn’t possible since this is a one-man kayak. This limits you to the option of having multiple kayaks to make accommodations for your friends, which can get rather costly.
Aquaglide Columbia XP
Maybe kayaking alone is just not your thing.. If you’re the kind of person who wants to share a kayak with a friend, he Aquaglide Columbia XP would then be a great choice. It is a two-person kayak with just about the same features as our pick. It of course beats the Vibe Skipjack 90 in some of the specifications but we felt that its limitations outweighed its advantages.
What We Liked
Storage and Transportation
The Aquaglide Columbia XP especially excelled in this area. It is an inflatable kayak which gives you a bit of relief during its transportation and storage. All you need to do is deflate it and it will occupy much less space that its solid counterparts. The same will of course apply during transportation and you can inflate it at the launch site. You can fold and carry it to the launch site in its specially designed roomy backpack that makes a lot easier to transport. It’s a great choice if you don’t have a large enough storage area or if you feel that a kayak might not nicely fit in your vehicle.
This kayak has great stability. In addition, it has high stand and fish capability.
Speed and Tracking
This fishing kayak has great speed. In the case you are looking for a transport vessel, it will serve you well. It tracks straight and paddles really well. Straight tracking especially impressed my team as you really don’t need to paddle to keep it straight when all you want to do is follow the flow of current.
It is also a sit-on-top kayak which means that it offers quick and easy entry and exit. It will also well suit you if you are the kind that will want to take a quick dip in the cool waters on a hot summer day. It also makes it comfortable as you don’t feel confined.
The Aquaglide Columbia XP is a great choice, especially as it is comes at an affordable price. It has a lot of great features to offer that many other fishing kayaks in its price range wouldn’t offer and it is available in the majority of shopping sites for $599.95. It comes with free shipping if you make your purchase at amazon.com.
It has got extensive capacity and storage space that are worth your money. You can paddle single, tandem with a friend, family member, child, or pet dog. With adjustable seats you can adjust how far apart or close to your companion/helper you want to sit. Each of its seats comes with a deep mesh storage pocket for storing your gear. It also has two spray decks, in the front and the back, with a bungee lace system that holds you gear. It has a high weight limitation of 600lbs for paddlers and gear.
Its hull is designed and made using commercial grade Duratex hull material blended with rugged 600 denier polyester. This makes it indeed puncture-resistant and highly durable. Its floor uses an inflatable chamber with a proprietary X-beam technology to make it even more durable and able to even carry your pet dog without suffering damage from claws.
An inflatable kayak comes with extra costs such as an air pump to inflate it. You also need to replace the valves regularly and in the case that they suffer damage. This is not only an extra cost, but also a time-consuming activity that some people would rather not suffer through. The Aquaglide Columbia XP is also fabric-coated, making the process of drying a not such an easy task. It is however a great choice if the Vibe Skipjack 90 happens to be out of stock or if you don’t mind the few highlighted flaws.
Emotion Envy Sit-Inside Kayak
This was an option for those that don’t like the water or those fishing in extremely cold water. It’s also affordable and we found it as a great option with really amazing features.
What We Liked
Transportation and Storage
It has an impressive design and weighs just 49 lbs, which makes it relatively easy to carry. It’s got two carrying handles for convenient carrying to and from the launch site. It is 11 feet long and 30” wide, making it a fairly small kayak that can fit on top of most vehicles.
Its hull has a concave shape to make it an agile and stable kayak. This is a sit-in kayak, and since the center of gravity is lowered due to the riders’ weight, it offers great stability. It’s hard to capsize in light waters and offers great maneuverability.
Speed and Tracking
With the hull’s styling, it tracks well with almost no drag. It is narrow and streamlined, making it easy to paddle. It covers great distance within a short period of time and with nearly effortless paddling.
This feature increases the kayak’s stability and also keeps the paddler dry and warm. For more protection, you can cover your lower body with a spray skirt to ensure no water leaks through to your feet.
It is one of the most affordable sit-inside kayaks available. It is also readily available at most online shopping sites for a low price of only $499.00. This kayak in particular offers plenty of great features at a pocket-friendly cost.
With a clear solace hatch, it offers ample storage. The solace hatch is also completely waterproof to ensure that your gear and extra cargo stay dry. It also has shock cord straps that ensure that your loose gear is well-secured. Its carried weight limit is high; this kayak can carry up to 350lb.
No one would want to be frequently replacing a kayak, so durability is an important feature. The Emotion Envy Sit-Inside Kayak surely doesn’t fail at providing this. The hull is made of high-density polyethylene to enhance its durability.
This kayak was made for flat water surfaces and will easily capsize in rough waters. In the case it capsizes, it will be hard to recover, unlike the above reviewed kayaks.
It is a one-person kayak, so if you are in need of company, you’ll have to purchase another one.
It is comfortable, but one can’t help but feel a little confined and restricted. The kayak makes it difficult to get out and wade in the water.
We also noticed that this kayak has very low stand and fish capability. The fact that it has lower stability and is hard to move in and out of makes it hard to stand and properly fish.
However, this kayak is still a great option if you are looking for a something low-budget with many advantages and impressive features.
Why the Tarpon 120 is a Popular Option
The Tarpon 120 has always been a customer favorite and this is evident from the lots of positive customer and website reviews, so we just had to test it out.We started by trying it out in calm waters, rough rivers, and surfs, and we received nothing but positive service from this well-designed kayak.
What We Liked
It’s a fact that the comfort level of a kayak is one of the most important features, and the Tarpon 120 is a great pick if you intend to be out in the water for long periods of time. Its adjustable comfort cushioned seat ensures that you can fish for hours on end without tiring out or having back pains. This kayak in particular leaves a lot of free space to ensure you don’t feel confined, with a fair cockpit width of 20” and length of 52”. It sits high and doesn’t disrupt the rider even in rough waters. It’s great, especially as a luxury or recreation kayak that allows you to comfortably paddle through the water to your delight.
Its styling gives it excellent stability. The Tarpon 120 was made to cruise in most water conditions as it diligently maintains stability in rough rapids and surfs. It’s got great stand and fish capability, since with it maintains balance and sways only minimally when you stand.
Speed and Tracking
Tracking with this kayak included minimal drag, almost like there wasn’t any at all. This means that you can easily pedal or paddle. Paddling can be done for long periods of time without tiring and some find it more fun and enjoyable. It also tracks straight when flowing with the current and does so with a smooth glide. It has got great maneuverability, even in tight bends, and it’s easy to maneuver regardless of experience level. It is fast-responding, making it easy to make turns or regain control in rough waters.
Transportation and Storage
The Tarpon 120 weighs 63 lbs. It can be easily carried by two people and fits at the top of most vehicles. Its 12’ long and 30” wide, making it capable of fitting in most garages without taking up excessive space. It has got 2 comfort carry handles and side carry handles with paddle holders for you to efficiently carry the kayak to and from the site without hurting your arms.
It comes at a great price that definitely matches the service given. If it’s in your price range, it’s surely going to be worth your money. The Tarpon 120 is readily available in most online shopping sites and goes for $939.00.
The Tarpon 120 has a very high capacity and has a lot of options for gear storage, making it surpass other mid-length kayaks. It can carry up to 350 lbs of passenger and cargo weight. There are two fairly large Orbix bow and Midship hatches for dry below-the-deck storage. You can also store gear needed for long hauls in the large rear tank well. The rear storage area also secures your gear with the bungee tie-down system, and the storage pockets also offer ample space for a few extra items.
Like every other kayak, the Tarpon 120 has its downside. It might be a great product, but at 63 pounds, it’s quite heavy. It requires at least two average-sized people to load it off of a car or on to one. This can highly disadvantage the user, especially if the launch site is far away.
Additionally, its nose is slightly low, and therefore a lot of water sprays in when riding, especially in rough waters.
Sit-on-Top versus Sit-Inside
There are two types of fishing kayaks: the sit-on-top and the sit-inside variety. Each category has its own wide range of kayaks and your choice can be influenced by a lot of factors. The decision you make will be mostly influenced by your personal taste, as each type has its advantages and disadvantages, but we have listed these in order for you to easily determine your favorite.
The sit-on-top fishing kayak is a more popular style than the sit-in kayak. However, that doesn’t mean you should immediately pick a sit-on-top as your choice.
Sit-on-tops tend to cost lower than sit-insides. You also don’t have to make certain extra purchases, such as spray skirts. A few advantages of sit-inside kayaks are higher initial stability and user-friendliness. They also make it easy to jump in to the water and to climb back on the kayak. It particularly favors paddlers that are kayaking in warm waters or warm temperatures. Some have their seats raised more than others, putting the paddler in a position to better feel the wind and stay cool. They tend to offer better stand and fish capabilities since they are mostly very stable. I consider them to be safer, as they are less confining, making it easy to recover in the case that your kayak capsizes.
They are unfriendly in cool temperatures. You are bound to get wet once in a while and sitting on top exposes the rider to cool breezes.
This variety of kayaks has sunken cockpits, enclosing the rider’s lower body in a shell, reducing the riders’ surface area exposed to outside conditions. It’s got ample advantages to suit the paddler, and we’ve listed some below.
Sit-inside kayaks ensure that only a small surface area of your body is exposed to outside conditions, such as water sprays and cold breezes, so they keep you warmer and dryer than a sit-on-top kayak. They also have great stability, as the cargo and riders’ weight lowers its center of gravity. They are great if a travel vehicle is what you are looking for. They also have large cockpit to ensure that the paddler doesn’t feel confined.
Sit-inside kayaks have their disadvantages as well, including lower initial stability than the sit-on-tops. It is also very difficult to move in and out of the kayak as you are somewhat surrounded. Additionally, they don’t assure easy recovery if you happen to capsize.
Here's a video about the differences between sit-on-top and sit-inside fishing kayaks.
Paddling versus Pedaling
Paddling simply involves propulsion of a fishing kayak by use of your arm muscles with the assistance of paddles, and this was the only method of kayak propulsion before the invention of the pedaling system.
Pedaling involves propulsion of a fishing kayak by using your leg muscles with the assistance of built-in pedals. At the time of its invention, it was an efficient system that really improved kayak fishing. It was proven that pedaling was more efficient, as leg muscles are much bigger and stronger that arm muscles.
- Pedaling mostly suits children that would like to try and sport and inexperienced kayakers. It is easier to pedal, and this is why most people typically prefer pedaling. Your leg muscles are most likely to withstand pedaling over long distance, whereas you may have less endurance when using your arms to paddle. It’s easier to gain control of the kayak when pedaling rather than when paddling, making pedaling preferable for inexperienced kayakers.
- With pedaling came the possibility of reversing a kayak. It is virtually impossible to reverse a kayak when paddling, but pedals make reversing as easy as backing up a car.
- Pedals also increase the stability of your kayak, as they increase the centre of gravity due to lowered weight. Stability makes it easy for a kayak to track even in rough waters without capsizing, which is a great added advantage.
- With pedals, you can track against strong wind current of up to 20 mph without giving the rider a big hassle, which is a great advantage over the paddle-propelled kayaks.
- Additionally, the pedals allow for a hands-free option. You can enjoy a snack or cast out your fishing line as you glide through the water.
- The pedals increase the kayak’s overall weight, making the craft harder to transport. Most anglers prefer a lighter weight kayak that won’t give them a hard time getting to the launch site.
- Another drawback is that kayaks with pedals are more expensive. You also have to maintain the pedals and to ensure that they are in good shape before going out on the water.
- It is advisable to carry paddles in your kayak in case anything unexpected happens while you are out in the water. No one would like to be stuck out in the open water without means to propel themselves back to dry land.
- Paddle-propelled kayaks are lighter and consequently more portable, as they don’t have the extra weight from the pedals. Additionally, the lack of a pedaling system gives them a greater storage capacity.
- The concept behind this advantage is the theory that each kayak has a maximum weight capacity. Bearing in mind that the pedals increase the kayak’s overall weight, you’re limited in regards to the weight you can subject your kayak to. This is contrary to the paddling kayaks, making it an added advantage over pedaling.
- Another advantage is that paddling kayaks are cheaper than pedaling kayaks. This is because the cost of pedals is higher in comparison to that of paddles.
- Paddles require more experienced kayakers. Usage of paddles requires adult supervision and experience, especially when keeping the kayak’s track straight.
- straight.It’s also difficult to move against wind direction when paddling, and it will require a lot of effort to actually succeed through this.
Here's a video about the pros and cons of choosing a paddle kayak or a pedal kayak.
How to Choose the Best Fishing Kayak
Before we even get to the ways of finding the most appropriate fishing kayak for you, let us have a look at the importance and significance of these products.
Why Do I Need the Best Fishing Kayak?
During our operation, my team and I also decided to focus on the good and bad side of preferring a fishing kayak to the usual motorboats.
It is evident that the price tags for the fishing kayaks are much friendlier than the tags on motorboats. Furthermore, the best kayaks in the market bring along great features that will give you certain fishing advantages. If you fish for recreational purposes, a kayak will multiply your fun, and if you do it as an economic activity, the kayak will boost the quality and quantity of your catch. Isn’t it amazing to realize that all this comes along at a fair price?
With the help of opinions from the old-school reviewers who have been studying products for long enough to gather substantial experience, we were able to realize that kayaks have an extra level of stealth than normal motorboats. With the best kayak, you are capable of enjoying the most comfortable fishing encounter possible.
We can both agree that the challenge of fishing is translated differently according to different people. Individuals that fish for a living especially appreciate features that make the task easier.
On the contrary, those that fish as a sport activity may enjoy it more if the activity is more challenging. This means that the experience of fishing with a kayak will be interpreted differently by different people.
However, this has currently been tackled through the manufacture of different kayaks to suit different people. Finding the best kayak for your needs will offer you a flawless fishing experience.
How to Select the Best Kayak for Your Fishing Experience
Realize the Type of Fishing You Want to Engage In
In the process of selecting the best fishing kayak for you, this is an important factor. You must determine your preferences, as fishing is a broad activity. Some of the things you should put into consideration include whether your activity is based on freshwater fishing or saltwater fishing. The two categories are subdivided into other classifications, which we will expand on.
If you are fishing in freshwater, then you will face more subdivisions which include still-water and moving-water fishing.
In still water bodies, you will need different types of kayaks in contrast to moving water bodies. If you are on still waters of small water bodies, your kayak ought to be short, lightweight and with a high degree of stability. Sit-on-top is the best for this fishing condition as compared to a sit-inside, because on these small bodies, not much movement is required. However, if you’re on the same still waters but of large water bodies, it means you will have to move from one point to another to accomplish large-scale fishing. In this case, speed is of higher priority than maneuverability and stability. For this reason, the most preferable fishing kayak in this case is one that is long, fast, slim, and a sit-in type of kayak. A low degree of initial stability will also suit this type of fishing best.
There are different types of movements that take place in water. Regardless of how intense the movement is, there is one common aspect you will have to consider while choosing the best fishing kayak: maneuverability. This helps you to deal with the forces of moving water and any obstacles that you may encounter. To meet this requirement, make sure you kayak is a sit-inside type of kayak with a good level of secondary stability. Make sure it’s wide and short. However, you might find some sit-on-top kayaks that are suitable for this type of fishing.
Saltwater Fishing Kayak
Just like in the case of the freshwater fishing, there are several subdivisions in the saltwater type of fishing. They include the onshore fishing and the offshore fishing.
Inshore waters are waters which are adjacent to the shoreline with a depth of about 70 feet. In these fishing areas, you are most likely to experience intense winds and waves. You will also be required to cover long distances as you hunt for the fish. Considering these factors, you will want a long and slim kayak. When it comes to the issue of sit-inside and sit-on-top types of kayaks, we found contradicting information. Our research indicated that most anglers prefer to use the sit-on-top kayaks rather than sit-in kayaks, the reason being that sit-on-top kayaks are more comfortable to pedal. However, when we focused on the theory regarding the sit-inside and the sit-on-top types of kayaks, we realized that a long, slim sit-inside kayak outperforms the sit-on-top kayak in such conditions. Therefore, to avoid capsizing and to enjoy the required speed, we would strongly recommend that you go for a long, slim sit-inside kayak instead of the long, slim sit-on-top kayak.
Offshore waters are defined as all waters whose depth is beyond 70 feet. Usually, such sites are at large bodies of water. If you undertake offshore fishing, you will experience stiff winds and waves, and you may need to pedal over very long distances. Hence, you will want a long and slim kayak for effective fishing in these conditions. Long kayaks are also the best for this type of fishing in large bodies of water because they help to provide the rider with a better sense of security. It will help to boost your confidence while fishing, making the experience a lot more fun. Do yourself a favor and grab one of this caliber.
Pedal Kayaks vs. Paddle Kayaks
The options of whether your kayak will be the pedal type or the paddle type will also help you with determining the right fishing kayak for you. There are advantages of paddle over pedal and pedal over paddle. It is up to you to find out where your interests lie.
Advantages of Pedal Kayaks
There are several advantages that we found coming along with the pedal type of kayak.
Firstly, while pedaling, it is easier to move against the wind as compared to when you are paddling, making it easier to fish at any location and in any direction you want. As a result, with this type of kayak, there is no stress of wind interruptions.
Secondly, with the pedaling kayak, accelerating is much easier than when using the paddling type because pedals exert more force more easily than paddles. This also makes your fishing more effective, as you can cover long distances in the shortest time possible.
Thirdly, most reviewers shared their opinion with us concerning the advantages of pedaling kayaks over the paddling kayaks, and many highlighted that they find them less tiring. This means you will use less energy and effort when pedaling as compared to when paddling. My team and I also found this concept true in our experience.
Apart from these advantages, we also found pedaling advantageous in the sense that it is much easier to undertake a reverse movement when compared to reversing using paddles. The fact that your legs are more muscular than your arms makes moving around in a pedal-propelled kayak easier and less tiring.
In addition, with the pedaling kayak, you have an extra option of combining it with paddles. This helps to keep you prepared in case the pedaling system develops some complications in the middle of your fishing trip.
Advantages of Paddle Kayaks
As much as pedals have many advantages, there a few points that we were able to count in favor paddles over pedals.
Firstly, paddles help to boost your stability while in the water. While paddling, you are able to balance in a better manner when compared to when you are pedaling. This makes your fishing activity safer on a paddle kayak than a pedal kayak.
Apart from boosting your stability, paddles also boost you maneuverability on tight and narrow spaces. This again makes fishing safer and more effective as compared to when you are using a pedal kayak.
Let’s talk about the cost. The pedal appears to be more expensive as compared to the paddle kayaks. This makes it an advantage for the paddle users as they do not spend as much in purchasing their kayaks.
Generally, pedal kayaks are heavier than paddle kayaks due to the pedal system. This means in a pedal kayak, the weight of cargo you carry is limited since the kayak itself is already heavy. Hence, another advantage of purchasing paddle kayak is that you will be allowed to accommodate a wide range of weight and cargo.
If I would offer my humble opinion, I would advise you to go for the pedal kayak because it has substantial advantages over the paddling kayak. You might be tempted to go for the cheap paddling kayak, but you will not enjoy the pedal kayak’s added safety and accuracy, which, I think, should be of first priority. In addition, if you are really attached to the paddles, you can always buy some and bring them with you on your pedaling boat.
Consider the Design of Your Kayak
Everyone has their own level of design considerations. By this, I mean some are more sensitive in terms of the display features of products than others. This brought us to the requirement of design research.
You’re lucky this time, as the products exist in a variety of colors. Choosing a color and design you like boosts your confidence and pride while out on the water. This makes you want to go out more frequently, which boosts your motivation.
Apart from that, great coloring and design upgrades the level of your experience while competing with friends and colleagues, and this increases your pride and confidence in the eyes of your mates. Let’s be honest with each other; we all want this kind of social situation. You now know what to look out for in order to achieve it.
Aside from the social aspects, we also found that the design of a kayak is related to its durability and stability. Therefore, be keen to select the right kayak with durable material and designed in a way to offer you sustained stability.
With this guide, you can be sure of getting yourself a perfect match worth your money.
Rigging describes both the activity and equipment used during kayaking. The rigging used is the second most important thing that will influence how your experience went at the end of the day. Having poor rigging will make fishing tiring and difficult, but great rigging will make the experience fun and memorable.
You can choose to purchase a kayak that is already fully rigged, but that will increase the cost of the kayak. Otherwise, you can choose to customize the kayak with your own rigging to suit your own personal needs and taste.
The rigging you choose will also depend on a lot of factors. You firstly have to ask yourself the questions below:
1. What is your budget?
Rigging is an extra cost and if you are working on a tight budget, it is best to acquire the rigging as the highest priority. As the saying goes, “safety first,” so I’d prefer purchasing safety equipment first.
2. What is your intended purpose of acquiring a kayak?
If you intend to use it as just a vehicle, then you need not purchase fishing equipment. Kayaks intended for fishing, however, require you to buy fishing equipment as well, depending on the area you’ll be fishing in and species you intend to catch. The bigger the catch, the more advanced equipment you need.
3. Where do you intend to go fishing?
Salty waters increase the rate of rusting of metallic materials. You’ll need to choose rigging that does not rust quickly or rigging that doesn’t rust at all.
4. How much space do you have on your kayak?
The smaller the kayak, the less equipment you can buy. You will need to buy only the equipment you really need in order to buy the high-priority rigging.
The most important rigging will include:
- Paddle Leash
- Rod Holders
- Dry Bag
- Milk Crate
- Personal Floatation Device (PFD)
- Safety Whistle
The angler usually spends most of the time seated, so a comfortable seat is definitely something to invest in. You want to get one with a good back rest in particular to prevent back pains. A good, comfortable seat will give you an enjoyable time, while an uncomfortable seat may leave you wanting to cut your trip short.
You are the angler, and the kayak won’t move unless you propel it. You should find a great paddle that is light, yet firm. You don’t want a heavy one as it will just tire you out. The length of the paddle is also an important factor; a long paddle means you’ll easily propel your kayak. However, don’t purchase an excessively long one, as it will just add to its weight.
It would be extremely stressful if you were to drop your paddles in the water without being able to recover them. You’d potentially get stranded in the open waters, and this can be dangerous. Thankfully, a paddle leash will ensure that you don’t lose your paddles.
Most fishing kayaks today come with pre-installed rod holders; if not, you’ll find spots for aftermarket installation. Rod holders are mostly placed at the front, sides, and back of the kayak. I’d suggest having three rod holders: one at the front and two at the back or sides. I prefer placing mine at the back since I especially love trolling. This is where you cast out your line behind your kayak then move forward slowly. You’ll also need longer rod holders in salty water to safeguard your rods from getting wet.
Most kayaks come with dry bags in their hatches, but if they don’t, you’ll need to purchase this important commodity. They ensure that your gear and luggage stay dry, so it’s a great place to carry your wallet, licenses, cell phone, camera, keys, flashlight and other personal effects that you simply can’t allow to get wet. I personally can’t see how you can go kayaking without this important rigging.
This offers great additional storage space. It is a great option if your kayak has little space and will serve you well.
Personal Floatation Device
This is safety equipment that will help you stay afloat in the case an accident occurs. I don’t recommend leaving this behind, as safety is most important.
Here's a video about to how to rig a fishing kayak.
Materials Used for Rigging
Again, it is important to identify if you’ll be kayaking in fresh or salty waters. If in salty waters, you’ll need to find materials that do not rust at a high rate, otherwise they’ll quickly become corroded and you’ll have to keep replacing them. Some of the materials you’ll need for rigging include:
- Stainless steel washers, bolts, and lock nuts
- Load-spreading rivets or tri-grip rivets
- Sealant, preferably Lexel sealant for firmer and better bonding
Organizing Your Gear
Organizing your gear will save you lots of time. Time you would have otherwise spent trying to find something when out in the water will instead be spent fishing. Attach your milk crate to the tank well and simply arrange your gear. It isn’t advisable to stuff everything inside your hatch, as cramping all your gear will make unpacking a tedious and annoying process.
Common Mistakes Made When Rigging
- Overloading your kayak is a pretty bad idea, and you are simply risking capsizing or losing your gear. Overloaded kayaks usually have less stability than they should and it will be hard to avoid capsizing. Try and carry just enough gear and leave out unnecessary items.
- Failing to secure your items is another mistake that kayakers frequently seem to make. Ensure you have paddle leashes and rod leashes and that you properly secure your other cargo. Otherwise, things will float away from your possession or sink down deep, especially if you happen to capsize.
- Cramping up your paddling space is a common rookie mistake. Don’t rig your kayak and leave very little room for paddling. This will only make paddling a lot harder and put a huge damper on your experience.
Fishing Location and Conditions
When going out to fish, it is always great to consider the location and conditions of the area you want to fish in. Failing to choose a good location will negatively impact your whole fishing experience.
Kayaks are versatile, and with the new designs becoming available, there is no limit to where you can go fishing. Researching on fishing location and conditions will ensure that you don’t end up having a hard time. You will end up saving lots of time and ensuring your safety.
How to Pick a Great Fishing Location
1. Identify the type of kayak you own
Fishing location will greatly be influenced by the kayak you have. A great kayak doesn’t greatly limit your fishing location, but it would be very dangerous to go fishing in rough waters with a kayak designed for still waters. You first have to identify the type of kayak you own and the water conditions it was designed to track.
2. Angler’s experience
It is advisable to ride out with an experienced angler to ensure your safety if it’s your first time, regardless of the conditions and location. Experienced anglers can teach you a lot, such as drifting techniques, sighting fish, paddling and pedaling techniques, and a lot more. If you are a beginner, it is recommended that you find a location with still or gently flowing water. Try to avoid very deep areas.
3. Location conditions
Different locations face different climatic and weather conditions. It’s very easy to research a location’s climate nowadays, and it is recommended that you do so. Fishing in the sun is definitely the experience an angler hopes for, but showers will make it annoying and difficult. Keep yourself updated on the current and upcoming weather conditions by following the forecasts. Always check the weather before moving out despite the forecasts shown, just in case the weather suddenly changes or if the forecasts failed to be accurate.
4. Fish species
Develop knowledge on different fish species. Learn their behavior and preferred breeding sites. This will help you identify the kind of fish you expect to catch in different locations and also how to catch them. After all, who wants to go fishing and come home without a catch?
In case the above picked kayaks are out of your price range, we also identified a few great low-budget options out there.
Sea Eagle SE370K_P Inflatable Kayak
This is a great inflatable kayak with great styling. It’s got that classy sailboat-inspired look and is very spacious.
It weighs just 32 lbs! This makes it very easy to carry and transport. As an added bonus, storage is also a breeze; just deflate it and put it in your backpack. It is a two-person kayak that leaves a lot of extra space for a child or a pet. It has a 38 mil PolyKrylar constructed hull which is resistant to both the sun and saltwater for added durability. We found it easy to set up, with an average of 10 minutes to fully inflate and assemble.
It’s a great low-budget kayak that’s great for a small family outing or weekend getaway. It has got ample storage space for plenty of gear, plus a fairly large carrying capacity of about 350 lbs. It’s a great choice for beginners or experienced anglers alike and is totally worth checking out.
It is readily available in most online sites at a fair price of just $349.14, and it comes with a pro package.
Coleman Quikpak(TM) K1
This is great and really affordable sit-on-top kayak that has great functionality. This kayak was designed for still waters and was styled to ensure the angler’s comfort.
It’s really fast and easy to set up, as it takes only 5 minutes to fully inflate and assemble. The creators styled this kayak to be highly portable with the easy-to-carry backpack system which turns to a seat when inflated. It’s durable and safe to use, and it features multiple air chambers that ensure that the kayak stays afloat if one of the chambers gets punctured.
However, this kayak has a low overall weight limit and low storage space. Additionally, it has very low stability and is designed to track in still waters or lightly rugged lakes.
Ocean Kayak Frenzy
This is a stylish kayak that has impressive stability. With a renowned Tri-Form hull, this kayak has excellent durability, extra stability, smooth tracking, and high maneuverability.
This kayak is styled to be comfortable with a durable padded comfort plus seat with four way adjustability. Its small size means it doesn’t occupy much space during storage. It is light; it only weighs 43 lbs and therefore is quite easy to carry. It is just 9 feet in length and can fit in the back of most pickups. It has adequate storage room at the stern and deck for just enough gear and has removable bungees to ensure your gear is firmly secured.
However, it only has room for the essential gear or a milk crate and can’t carry much luggage. It only allows for one angler and has low maximum overall weight limit.
It’s a great choice though and goes for only $429.00 on most online shopping sites.
Lifetime Muskie Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak
Another great choice would be the Lifetime Muskie Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak. It is an affordable pick with great features that would be worth every dollar. It’s a really comfortable choice and has multiple footrests to fit anglers of different heights. This kayak has a flat base to give it extra stability and great stand and fish capability.
Additionally, it has a large storage space for your gear and equipment. It is designed with two hatches for below-deck storage with dry bags to ensure your gear doesn’t get wet. The speed of this kayak is great as it has minimal drag and ensures that you use little effort when paddling.
You can own this great kayak for just $399.00. This is a very affordable price, especially since it comes with rod holders pre-installed.