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The 3 Best Fishing Kayaks [2020 Buying Guide]

Introduction

Fishing is all about having an enjoyable experience with yourself in a beautiful place. Whether you are a seasoned player in this game or a new rookie, kayak fishing has always been full of fun and adventure. If you want to have a great experience, then you have to choose from the best fishing kayaks. With the vest kayak and perfect set of gears, you would be all set to enjoy the relaxing and serene experience of kayak fishing.

History

The original kayak dates back the early indigenous people who lived in the Arctic regions. Given the difficulty of their geography, these people heavily relied on the kayak as their means of transportation to go fishing. The first kayaks were built and crafted from the skins of local animals. Seals skin was a desired skin because of its stretching ability. The wood was sourced from nearby trees or driftwood. Driftwood is any piece of wood that arrives on shore as debris from a tide-wrack.

As modern day society has had substantial strides in the technology of fishing, many people still choose a kayak as their preferred method for fishing. Actually, over the past 15 years, kayak fishing has sustainability increased in popularity around the world. Tourists prefer fishing on a kayak when vacationing to remote fishing destinations. The kayak allows the tourist to view the coastline around many destinations. As the world changes, our opinion of the kayak remains constant, the kayak continues to be a terrific means of transportation and vehicle to access difficult fishing grounds. It allows fishermen to reach areas that may consist of low, unpredictable tides or large rocks that could be destructive to a bigger boat.

Benefits of Kayak Fishing

For fishing, many fishermen are turning towards kayaks over boats. Boats will surely require more waters – kayaks come with their unique set of advantages. From taking you to the exact fishing spots, to helping you experience tranquility – they are the best budget option for anglers and fishermen.

  • Kayaks are affordable – Boats come along with fuel costs, maintenance, and repairs, insurance, and registration. The only expense for kayaks is the cost of purchase, that’s all. After that, you will hardly spend a dollar on its repair or maintenance. Kayaks are not only economical but also are better for the environment
  • Increased Access – Kayaks can be launched from anywhere, anytime. You can access the shallow ponds, rivers, remote areas, and the narrow streaks with a kayak. Boats need deeper waters and a proper boat ramp to launch it into the water
  • Gives you peace and serenity – Kayaks eliminate the noise of the motor. You can enjoy fishing in a calm and serene environment. The fishes will not be scared or alerted by the sound of a boat, giving you a better chance of catching them
  • Gives you the ultimate convenience – You can easily carry a kayak anywhere you go. If you have those inflatable ones, then you can quickly fold and pack them behind your vehicle. For the plastic shell ones, you can tie it to the top of your car and transport it immediately to the water body. Unlike boats, you do not need any particular garage to store your kayak

Advances in the fishing kayak has provided new experiences to the modern day consumer. While the original manufacturing of kayaks focused on comfort and transportation, the modern day creation of the fishing kayak focuses on adding features to accommodate the angler that sits in it. Each year, new developments in the fish finder device and GPS make boaters and kayakers more and more dependent on these devices.


Our Top 3 Best Fishing Kayaks

Our top three picks on the best fishing kayaks along with the buying guide will give you all the information you need.

Intex Excursion Pro Kayak, Professional Series Inflatable Fishing Kayak – The Best Fishing Kayak Under $250

This beautiful red and grey inflatable fishing kayak has the space for two (up to 400 pounds) with great storage. It has a super tough laminate PVC with a polyester core. The kayak is light in weight (39 pounds) and very easy to transport. The kayak was built to avoid damage from impact, abrasion and sunlight. The storage space is located at the bow of the kayak, with stainless steel rings in the rear for dry bags and gear. It is been strongly recommended for use in both deep and shallow waters. The Index Excursion Pro Fishing Kayak also has plenty of space to add other devices such as fish finders, GPS systems and rod holders.

Product Features

  • You can quickly inflate and deflate the kayak with the high-pressure spring valves. They also bring in extra rigidity and strength to the kayak
  • The fully inflated kayak has space for two people (weighing up to 400 pounds). The kaya weights around 39 pounds and measures 12 ft 7 inches in length and 37 inches in width
  • The kayak comes with adjustable seats with backrest, floor-mounted footrest, two skews, and two fish rod holders
  • The presence of the removable mounting bracket gives you scope to add a GPS mechanism, fishfinder systems, and extra fishing rod holders
  • Oars are made of aluminum, making them light. They have paddles on both ends so that you can swiftly maneuver through the waters. The oars have extra-long handles and excellent grips, which gives you super control over them
  • The kayak has plenty of storage space for all your catch and additional gears. The inside is lined with enough D rings to provide attachment points for fastening the gears
  • The kayak is well protected from shocks, wearing, and sunlight

Pros

  • Super tough PVC material
  • Lightweight and can be conveniently carried along
  • Adjustable seats with back and footrests
  • Removable brackets for all the additional equipment and gears
  • The I-beam floor gives super rigidity
  • Well suited for both tandem and single-person usage

Cons

  • Paddles are short
  • Valves are not compatible with electric pumps; you have to use the hand pump provided

The product is well-suited if you are looking for inflated kayaks. The durability may not be as high as advertised. We recommend that you can go for this product, but use it carefully and avoid rocks or sharp objects. Considering the price (below $250), this is a beautiful kayak which is all set to surprise you with its performance.


Perception Pescador Pilot 12 – The Best Fishing Kayak on the Internet

As absolute gem created by Perception Kayaks, features the slick Sonic Camo color and adjustable lawn chair seat. This is the best kayak for the most extreme ocean fishing trip at a fair price. Made in the United States, this pedal-driven performance fishing kayak provides comfort and ease for an entire day on the water. Honestly, you may never sit as comfortable in any other kayak after trying the Perception Pescador Pilot 12. The kayak also has integrated rails for accessories such as fish finders, rod holders and navigation devices. 

Product Features

  • The pedal drive system allows you to move forward and backward without engaging your hands. You can comfortably fish or take photos with your hands. This new pedal system eliminates unwanted noise and disturbances. You can switch to the old paddles in the shallow waters
  • Combining the pedal drive mechanism with an adequately positioned rudder will give you speed and direction
  • The comfortable seat gives you two levels of adjustment and a beautiful, breathable mesh to ensure comfort and convenience all day long
  • There is enough storage enough at the bow and stern. The one behind the seat has bungee wires to keep the containers or boxes in place
  • The kayak is made high-density single piece plastic (polyethylene). It is durable and long-lasting. The plastic makes it resistant to shock, abrasion, and saltwater corrosion. You need not worry about leakage because it is a one-piece plastic without any joints
  • The kayak gives you 4-rod holders, drink holder, room for navigation controls, and fish-finding consoles. The kayak is highly stable, and you can easily stand and fish from it. The ergonomic design makes onboarding, exiting, and accessing the gears very convenient
  • The measures 12ft 5inches in length and 33.5inches in width. It can take a total weight of 470 pounds and comes with room for a single sit-on-top angler

Pros

  • Excellent maneuverability with the pedal-driven system
  • Comfortable chair with mesh fabric for the back
  • Provides a lot of storage space at the rear and front
  • Very low on maintenance
  • Single-piece construction without any joints

Cons

  • The rudder system might be difficult to control
  • May not be the best choice for a windy weather
  • Rod holders can become loose after a while

The only significant drawback of this model is the rudder system. It might be challenging to handle or use. Keeping that apart, this is a fantastic combination of comfort, control, and convenience. The kayak has excellent design, an impressive pedal system, ample storage space, and incredible stability and durability. Undoubtedly, this model from Perception is one of the best fishing kayaks present in the market.


Brooklyn Kayak Company (BKC) FK184 9’ Single Fishing Kayak – The Best Fishing Kayak Under $1000

One of the guys that I go fishing with introduced me to the BKC FK184 as the Swiss Army Knife of fishing kayaks and I couldn’t agree more. You can use this kayak is almost any condition and feel very safe. The angler always seems to be in control with a foot pedal-operated rudder without paddle steering required. The kayak comes with two mounted fishing rod holders. All in all, this kayak is durable, stable, safe, loaded with accessories and has an impressive load capacity of 450 pounds. The perfect kayak to bring in that large 80-pound Yellowfin Tuna!

Product Features

  • The BKC UH-FK184 is built from high-density polyethylene and has a weight of 45 pounds. It is light, and you can quickly load and unload it from the waters. It has well-suited for two people and can support up to 450 pounds
  • You can fish comfortably as your hands are always free. The stable paddle parks are secured by the bungee cords. Get your hands free and live your aquatic adventure
  • The kayak has 4 handles to carry it from one place to another. You can single-handedly haul it from one place to another
  • The BKC FK184 comes with 4 mounted and 1 articulating rod holders. Thus, you can deploy multiple poles simultaneously. It also ensures that you can easily transport the fishing rods from one place to another
  • The kayak has adjustable seats. They are comfortable and comes with extra legroom. It gives you the freedom to fish for hours without cramping yourself up
  • The waterproof storage helps you store your keys, wallet, documents, snacks, or books. The kayak has two such waterproof storage
  • The BKC FK184 has plenty of room for storage. The rear side has a hallow area supported by bungee cords. It will keep your boxes, accessories, coolers, and containers safe and secured. You need not worry about them coming overboard

Pros

  • It is light, stable and convenient to carry around
  • Come with two waterproof storage
  • One articulating holder allowing many poles to be deployed together
  • The kayak is stable and durable
  • Can easily be modified and customized 

Cons

  • The polyethylene may not be suited against severe abrasions
  • The paddles need to be adjusted from time to time

This is an impressive innovation from the BKC. It lets you comfortably cruise in the waters so that you can always focus on the fish. Though you won’t get many high-end features like electronic pods or new pedal driving systems, considering the price, this is a fantastic choice for kayak fishing. The kayak can load up to 450 pounds. That’s impressive! Get ready to bring that big sized tuna back with the BKC FK184!


Best Fishing Kayaks – Buying Guide

By now, you are all excited about getting your new kayak and set sail on your next fishing adventure. Before you go ahead and make a decision, you would like to know more about the types and parts of a kayak and the things that you must consider before purchase. This is where our buying guide will help you to maneuver comfortably.

There are three critical factors when evaluating your purchase for a brand new fishing kayak:

Fishing Kayak Length:

First off, the length of your kayak should depend on the traveling you expect to do. A longer kayak has a greater top speed and can allow for quicker trips to and from your fishing spots. However, as you increase the length, your mobility decreases. In other words, a shorter kayak is easier to maneuver. Any kayak that is 10 feet or shorter is usually considered a short fishing kayak. 

Ponds, canals, creeks or any other small body of water would usually be better suited for a short fishing kayak. Most of the time, these destinations require a shorter trip to and from. Longer kayaks are much more popular for rivers or oceans, as the faster speeds of the long fishing kayak helps compete with the power of the tide and current. 

Fishing Kayak Stability:

Stability continues to be a important factor when evaluating the best fishing kayaks. The newer models of fishing kayaks have put more of an emphasis of stability, allowing the angler to stand on the kayak and absorb large swells.

Another factor to consider is the size of the individual who will be using the kayak. The larger the individual, the wider the kayak needs to be in order to maintain the balance. The wider the kayak, the slower the speed and lack of agility, but the last thing that you would want to happen is to be flipped over while you are fishing on your kayak. 

Fishing Kayak Storage:

Personally, this is one of the important factors to me when I purchase a fishing kayak. You could have all the success in the world while fishing but if you don’t have areas to store what you need, a lot can go wrong. I would advise that you understand ahead of the time the essentials that you need while you are out on the water fishing. I recommend preparing a few rods or lines ahead of time. Try to avoid the need to bring extra tackle. In most circumstances, you do not need 30 hooks for your four-hour fishing trip.

I always try to figure out the storage situation for my cooler and bait prior to purchasing or renting a fishing kayak. A lot of that can depend of how long your fishing trip will be as well as the size of your expected catch. If you are kayak fishing for 80-pound Yellowfin Tunas, it may be a challenge to store one in your cooler. 

I want to quickly address a keel and its importance for fishing kayaks. The keel is usually the dark colored fin-shaped piece of plastic in the hull of the kayak. Most fishing kayaks should come with a keel, if it doesn’t, make sure you ask for it. It allows for better turning and faster speeds when in open waters. Avoid using in rocky areas so that you don’t break the plastic. While they aren’t super expensive, they can be painful to replace. 

What are the different kinds of Fishing Kayaks?

You need to have an overview of the different types of kayaks available in the market before selecting one.

  • Sit-In – In these kayaks, the seats are inside the body of the kayak. The rower is closer to the water, and these kayaks are suited for fast maneuvering. The seats may not be well padded since it has the risk of getting wet.
  • Sit-On-Top – Here, the seats are above the deck of the kayak. These seats are very comfortable and even comes with mesh lining at the back. These kayaks are more suited for relaxing and touring.
  • Tandem kayaks – As the word suggest, it is suited for two rowers. These kayaks are long and heavy, giving it more stability. This is an excellent option for novice anglers. They can sit in the front and maneuver while you have an experienced angler at the back, giving necessary directions.
  • Inflatable Kayaks – For those who wish to travel and carry their kayaks along, this is the best option. You can conveniently store it in one corner and inflate it quickly within minutes. They are mostly used for recreational purposes.
  • Pedal System Kayaks – These kayaks have a new pedal driving system, replacing the old paddling ones. You can give rest to your arms and use them for fishing or taking photographs.
  • White Water Kayaks – These are meant for the adventure freaks out there. You can take them to the river rafting and surfing. These models are very lightweight and sturdy. They are easy to control and come with or without paddles.
  • Canadian Kayaks – These are best suited for recreational purposes. Made from a single piece of material, you need not worry about leakages. They are safe, sturdy, and stable, but do not offer any additional fishing features.
  • Sea Kayaks – These are longer kayaks suited for fishing in the sea. These kayaks are reliable, have multiple hatches and enough storage space for all your equipment, containers, and fishing gears.

Kayak Lingo

Whether you are experienced fishermen or a rookie angler, you need to get accustomed to the anatomy of the kayak. You need to understand the functions of the different parts of the kayak.

  • Bow & Stern – Bow is the front part of the kayak; it gives you the direction in which you are moving. The stern is the rear part of the kayak.
  • Port & Starboard – The left side of the boat is called port, while the right side is known as the starboard.
  • Hull – The bottom of any vessel is known as the hull. It is that part of the boat which stays inside water. There are two types of the hull – Displacement and Planning. Displacement hulls are straight and rounded, well-suited for fast kayaking. Planning hulls are flat and slightly curved, giving your kayak the stability, it needs.
  • Deck – The top part above the hull is called the deck. These are made of PVC or fiberglass and stays outside the water.
  • Cockpit – This is the part where you stay. The hollow part of the kayak is called a cockpit. You have your seats and paddles in this area. The number of seats can range from one to four. Some kayaks have a special waterproof lining on the inside of the cockpit to keep it dry.
  • Handles – These handles are used to pull the kayak out of water. You can also use them for support at all times. They can be made of PVC, metal, or topes.
  • Bulkheads – At either end of the kayak, you have two hollow compartments known as the bulkhead. These are used to give buoyancy to the kayak as well as give you room for watertight storage.
  • Rudder – You can control and maneuver your kayak with the help of the rudder. It will help you manage the kayak and give it direction. Rudders can be motor driven or manually operated.
  • Hatches – Some kayaks come with additional space on the deck for storage. They are known as hatches. These generally come with bungee ropes to support your container or boxes.

Things to Consider before Buying a Kayak

You do not buy a kayak frequently. Thus, you must research thoroughly and select from amongst the best fishing kayaks. For that, we will help you understand the things that you must consider before making the purchase.

  • Sit-in/Sit-on-Top – If you are new to the world of kayaking, then sit-on-top should be your choice. These would be ideal for recreational purposes. Sit-in models are for the professional and substantial paddlers. Use them for sporting or fast kayaking adventures.
  • Length and Width – Long and narrow ones give you speed and direction while short and narrow ones provide you with stability and comfort. For recreational purposes, you can choose between 8 – 13ft while for touring purposes, it can extend up to 18ft as well.
  • Weight Capacity – The weight capacity of kayaks can range from 200 to over 500 pounds. For sporting events, opt for lower capacity ones, while for catching the big tuna, go for the 500-pound capacity kayak.
  • Seats – The number of seats varies from one to four seats. If you engage in a sporting event or want to go for fast kayaking, then opt for the single-seat ones.
  • Hatches – Hatches are the storage areas. If you plan to go for recreational purposes or store a lot of fishing equipment, then go for the ones with multiple hatches. Remember, the more thing you store, the heavier your kayak becomes.
  • Material – Three types of materials can be used for constructing the kayak – PVC, ABS Plastic, Composites. Composites are the costliest ones but are incredibly lightweight and even comes with UV protection. PVC ones are affordable but not that light.
  • Price – For the first-timers, it is advised to go for the lower end ones. Once you get experienced, you can always go for the ones with more advanced features and better technology.

Now that you have complete knowledge of the best fishing kayaks, you are all set to experience the adventure. Kayaking is going to give you a completely new experience. So, enjoy your aquatic adventures, catch a bounty, and always ensure your safety!


I will continue to update this list throughout the fishing season to make sure we continue to share the best fishing kayaks that you can buy!