Best Fishing Kayaks
Fishing kayaks allow fishermen to reach otherwise unreachable fishing spots and give them increased
mobility on the water. Move spot to spot with ease, and follow the fish. Kayak manufacturers are
listening, and many top companies are coming out with angling specific editions, models, and series.
Some specific features found in fishing kayaks:
- Standing room and standing pads, boat wider and less rounded bottom with a strong keel
- for tracking.
- Fish finders and Transducers
- Adjustable seating- raise you out of the seat for ease standing or sitting, faster paddling
- position for longer distances, and of course comfort and customization through
- Rod holders
- Drive Systems- pedal, paddle, rudder, optional motors
- Specialized gear storage
- Track systems for additional gear mounting
Some things to think about when deciding what type of fishing kayak to purchase: What style of
a kayak? Where will you be fishing? What kind of fishing, standing or sitting? What drive
system suits you, pedal, or paddle?
The two main fishing kayak styles are Sit-on- Top (SOT) or Sit-in. SOT doesn’t flood or take on as
much water, and can drain through scuppers. Although scuppers can be noisy because of drag or
catch on things underwater. More flexible storage options are available. Sit-In gear can’t fall off
the boat, it’s more stable to stand in because it is in the water not on top of it. The Gear will also
be more protected inside the boat.
Ocean, rivers, and lakes all are very different fishing environments and require different
kayak features and design. Oceans will need longer boats for paddling longer distances and be
able to handle the waves and the wind. Rivers typically see shorter kayaks with great agility for
changing currents. Lakes may need a mixture of speed and agility.
If you choose to sit and fish, snag-ables on the deck of the kayak may become an issue,
and chair comfort will be more important. For standing, stability is the biggest factor with room
to stand, a wider kayak with flatter bottom will reduce tipping. Also useful are a good standing
pad for traction and comfort, and a hi/lo seat to stand and sit with ease.
Paddles: They are typically more versatile, types of paddles can be double or single, and
can be used sitting or standing. However, distances and time on the water may be limited by arm strength. These paddlers tend to be lighter than pedal kayaks.
Pedals: Foot pedals control propulsion (fins or propeller etc.), but a rudder is used to track
and turn by hand. They resemble recumbent bicycles and allow your legs to do the brunt of the
work, but limits you to only sitting and pedaling. You will not need to put down your rod and
pick up a paddle to adjust the position. With a pedal kayak, you do still have the option to paddle
if you would like to.
Rudders: These are helpful if you are paddling large open water exposed to wind and
waves. The length of the kayak is important, longer kayaks utilize a rudder for tracking and
being less susceptible to wind.
Let’s get into it. These are the 10 top fishing kayaks:
1. Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12
Weight: 105 lbs.
Capacity: 500 lbs., 350 lbs. on the seat
Material: Rotomolded Polyethylene
Options: dual steering, Lowrance, sail,
Other sizes: available in the 12, 14, and 17T
MirageDrive 180, bluefins pedal drive with the forward-reverse propulsion system,
fins pivot 180 degrees instantly with shift cables for hands-free fishing and kayaking. Retractable
skeg for tracking, H-Rail for mounting with cup holder. Four standard horizontal and two
molded-in rod holders. Elevated Vantage ST seat with Boa system lumbar support, and under
seat tackle storage. A center console hatch conceals a mesh storage pocket with pivoting storage
for two included Plano Tackle boxes, with storage underneath. Front hatch has a removable liner,
Livewell-ready cargo area. Also, set up with a retractable rudder system. It is very stable for
standing paddling and fishing, making it more versatile for different fishermen or fishing spots.
The ProAngler is the dream fishing kayak, and the price reflects that. The features are
seemingly endless, what doesn’t this kayak have. The MirageDrive 180 has changed the game on
pedal kayaks. It is apparent that they had the angler in mind when designing it, it is not just a
recreational kayak with rod holders.
2. Jackson Kayaks Cuda HD
Weight: 85 lbs. without the seat
Capacity: 425 lbs.
Options: SeaLect rudder, Raymarine, and
Other sizes: many Cuda relatives- 12, 14,
LT, and an LT Real Tree Hardwoods HD
New elite seating system hi/lo options and Therm-a- rest lumbar support, adjustable and
removable. SealLine seat pouch water-resistant pouch on the back of the seat and is removable.
LineCutterz adjustable ring attached to chair for convenience. Built in platypus hydration system
in the seat in a protected BPA-free pouch, the tube runs to the side of the seat for easy access.
Comes with Orion Cooler tumbler 27oz brushed stainless steel double-wall insulation great for
temperature management. Ramrod holders including 1.5" tough ball, ram 2006 rod holder, and
two ram tough tubes with a base, molded-in rod tubes sealed to protect more of your rods.
Features a Standing pad and a hinged center hatch with removable insert, for storage and
mounting electronics. Also includes a Plano tackle box, Hypalon paddle blade keeper storage,
YakAttack track systems, and safety flag.
Jackson Kayak unveiled the new Cuda HD at iCast 2016, and was set to hit the
markets Jan. 2017. The Cuda HD is the new and improved member of the Cuda family. Jackson
has taken all of the best features from the series and nailed it with this kayak, they go above and
beyond with features and bonuses. They don’t just give you a cup holder, they give you the
Orion Tumbler AND the Platypus to go with it. This package is a steal with all that is included,
for much less than the Hobie.
3. FeelFree Moken 12.5
Weight: 72 lbs.
Capacity: 419 lbs.
Options: Optional Rudder system
Other sizes: 10, 10 lite, 12.5 and the 14
Features: S Convenient wheel in the keel for transport, a molded-in paddle park, rod holders,
and center console. Set up with a kingfisher seat, quick release modular Uni-track rails, stand up
leash, and standing pad to accommodate fishermen and their gadgets.
Analysis: The Moken is very highly reviewed, people simply love these kayaks. While it doesn’t
come completely outfitted with every bell and whistle, the price allows you to customize your
4. Ocean Kayak Prowler Big Game II
Weight: 56 lbs.
Material: High-Density Polyethylene
Options: Optional Rudder system,
transducer compatible scupper
Comfort back seat with molded in the seat well, hi/lo options, mesh seat for
breathability, it is super wide for stability and a standing assistance strap. Awesome battery
case in the bow raised off the floor to keep it dry in case of water inside in bow hatch. Lock
hatch with removable storage bucket, skid plate, paddle keepers, molded cup holder and 2
flush rod holders, glide track foot brace system, mod pod center hatch. Safe for bigger
waters and can carry bigger fish.
The Prowler is an all-around solid fishing kayak. Sturdy and stable enough for the
ocean, and agile enough for lakes, this boat will let you fish, standing or sitting, to your
heart's content. With enough storage and capacity, the big game is no problem at all.
5. Hobie Mirage Outback
Weight: 81 lbs.
Capacity: 400 lbs.
Material: Rotomolded Polyethylene
Options: Lowrance ready system, Livewell
option, Cart, eVolve electric motor kit, sail
Mirage Drive 180- bluefins pedal drive with a forward-reverse propulsion system, fins
pivot 180 degrees instantly with shift cables for hands-free fishing and kayaking. Vantage seat-
maximizes stand-up space and storage seat back, bottom, height, and lumbar support all
adjustable. Two piece paddle with on-hull storage in addition to MirageDrive. The twist and
stow rudder is retractable and engaged or disengaged by the pull of a handle. Also, includes four
molded-in rod holders.
Hobie knows fishing and comfort. The combination of the Vantage seat and the
MirageDrive 180 lets you stay on the water longer and more comfortably at that. With the hands-
free option of the MirageDrive, you don't have to put down your rod to paddle. Spend less time
getting around in the water, and more time fishing it with the Outback.
6. FeelFree Lure 11.5
Weight: 74 lbs.
Capacity: 425 lbs.
Options: fish finder and transducer ready,
Uni-bar deluxe system, and Smart track
rudder system with foot control.
Other sizes: 10, 11.5 and 13.5
Convenient wheel in keel for transportation, and gravity seat that is adjustable in
height and has pockets. The center console has a removable sonar and electronics pod, for easy
install of a fish finder and transducer. The padded standing platform combined with the 36” wide
hull is well suited for standing. Uses Uni-Track rails for mounting, fishing rod holders, molded-
in paddle park, and a stand-up leash.
The Lure has been a popular choice among kayak fishermen. This kayak is especially
great for a longer time on the water. If you prefer to sit and fish, the Gravity seat will have you
sitting pretty. On the other hand, if you are a standing fisherman than the padded standing
platform will feel so good on your feet even after hours being on the water.
7. Malibu Kayaks Stealth 12
Weight: 55 lbs.
Capacity: 450 lbs.
Material: Rotomolded polyethylene
Options: Rudder system, trolling motor
Other sizes: 9 and 13 feet
3-hatch center bait tank system with water tight latching cap and removable bucket.
Gator hatch V3 with removable tray and child’s seat. X-seat with full adjustability and many
positions, hi/lo seat. Seat features UV resistant, moisture wicking, and breathable 3D mesh
fabric. For fishermen, it includes four fishing rod holders, a side bungee handle with paddle
holder, and cup holder, giant Livewell with scupper hole. The center console is covered by a
material for traction when standing and is boarded by side compartments for storage.
The Stealth 12 is a steal for the money. With all of the specific fishing features, at the
cost of a recreational kayak. The reviews have been mixed which could be because of awkwardly
placed rod holders at your feet without leashes for security, or simply preference. At a lower
price than the fully outfitted kayaks, the Malibu has all of the right parts and storage, and the
deep V of the boat allows for great tracking and handling rougher waters.
8. Wilderness Systems Tarpon Angler 120
Weight: 67 lbs.
Capacity: 350 lbs.
Material: High-density polyethylene
Options: Optional rudder system
Other sizes: The tarpon family of kayaks includes: Tarpon 130X, 100, 100 Angler, Tarpon 120,
120 Ultralight, 140, 160, 135T
Slide traxTM accessory system, new Phase 3 AirPro sit-on- top seating system
comfortable with full adjustability, keepers XL foot brace system. Paddle holder, self-billing
scupper holes, gear storage pockets, cup holder. Paddle holding bungee, storage hatch right in
front of the seat. Seat not hi/lo but slightly raised off the bottom of the boat. The YAK ATTACK
angler package includes two mighty mounts, two 1.5" screwball, a 1" screwball, Zooka tube, and
VisiCarbon pro Cuts water well, is very fast and agile with quick turning. A versatile kayak for
fishing and recreation, it is not super stable so it is not a great option if you prefer to stand for
fishing or paddling.
The Tarpon tends to lean towards a recreational kayak gone fishing. The boat does cut
through water fast, with turning on a dime. However, fishing styles may be limited by stability. If
you are the standing type, this boat is not the best option for you. While it may not be a fishing
machine, the Tarpon is versatile for fishing or recreation, and at the end of the day, it is still a
9. Old Town Loon Angler 126
Weight: 57 lbs.
Capacity: 450 lbs.
Material: Three Layer Polyethylene
Other sizes: 106
Redesigned hull for effortless glide and straight tracking. Removable work deck acts as
customizable space for dry storage and a USB charge port to keep gadgets charged even after
hours on the water. A battery is plugged in and stored in the hatch of the work deck. The Active
comfort system 2.0 super plush ACS2 seat has full adjustability and under leg support and thigh
pads, with premium padding and ventilation. Includes a support track foot brace system, click
seal hatch with bulkhead, paddle clip, two flush mounted rod holders, an anchor trolley system,
and a water bottle holder on work deck. The work deck fully removable for safe keeping.
Old Town has reached into the kayangling market with the Loon Angler series. They
have even ventured into a new area of technology within kayaking with their added USB charger
in the Electronics pod. Many already have a battery on board for fish finders, why not charge the
gear and gadget you use too. The added angling features build off of a strong boat with great
tracking and agility. I look forward to what they come out with in the future in regards to fishing
10. NuCanoe Pursuit 13.5
Weight: 82 lbs.
Capacity: 500 lbs.
Material: Rotomolded Polyethylene
Options: Max Auxiliary power 2.5 HP,
transom motor, essential angler, pro angler,
and stand-up angler kits, customize your
own on the manufacturer website.
Custom Height 360 seating, moves on tracks and has hi/lo in every position. Lumbar
support in seat controlled by cords in the back of the seat, anchor cleats on either side of the seat.
An XL gear vault with a hard shell liner can be turned into a Livewell with a little work. Includes
a paddle holster, two cup holders, internal rod tubes store four horizontally, and two upright rod
holders. High sharp bow cuts wind and water well for easy maneuvering, fast with a great
The Pursuit has a bit larger price tag for having a few less fishing specific features.
Additional add-on packages turn the basics into a custom fishing experience. What options are
on the kayak, are done well. The boat itself has a higher sharp bow that allows you to cut through
wind and water, with fast carrying speeds and maneuverability. The seat is so important for
extended periods of time on the water. The custom height 360 seating makes those longer days
or trips so much more enjoyable.