Best Fishing Kayaks for 2022

Many anglers swear by boat fishing as the most effective way of catching bigger fish, while others prefer it for enabling them to explore hotspots and more secluded fishing spots. Either way, boat fishing has some definite advantages over trying to catch fish from the shore.

But what is the perfect watercraft for spending a day fishing on the water? Is it a motor boat, canoe, sailboat, or a kayak? My unwavering opinion is that a fishing kayak is by far the best angling watercraft for any water body, as it is stealthy, stable, has no maintenance costs, and still offers enough space to accommodate your fishing gear.

However, selecting the perfect fishing kayak can be a hassle as you need to consider dozens of factors before finding the one that will best suit your needs. If you are looking to buy a kayak for yourself, but still need to do some research, I have created this page to help you compare the features and performance of the different models available on the market.

Best Fishing Kayaks - Comparison

 12 Best Fishing Kayaks 

Best fishing kayaks over dozens of competitive models from different brands are listed below:

The Escape 12 Angler Kayak is a 41.4 lbs thermoformed fishing beauty, which can easily support 300 lbs of load without breaking a sweat. If you purchase the Escape 12, you will benefit greatly from its comfortable high back seat, the adjustable foot braces, and pilot rudder system.

This kayak also comes with four flush-mount rod holders, a drain plug, scupper holes, a paddle hook, rear deck shock cord storage, a front hatch with cover, and an integrated console. The versatile features of this vessel will ensure that you have a smooth and customized fishing experience every time.

What we liked

  • Sit-on-top design that is loved by many anglers
  • Rubber handles that make the kayak easy to carry 
  • Sliding foot braces
  • Stand assist straps that make it easy to stand up
  • A pilot rudder system and an effective anchoring system
  • Five rod holders including an adjustable one
  • Ample storage for your fishing gear 
  • Cup holders

What we didn't like

  • Doesn’t track well
  • Has an uneven bottom
  • Limited load capacity
  • No center storage 
Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak

The AE1007-R is a hybrid day touring kayak that is composed of a folding frame. Its unique design provides you with three seat positions for solo and tandem paddling, while the adjustable padded seats and high back support ensure that you are comfortable for extended periods on the water.

This 10’5” kayak is made from long-lasting components and materials which will resist punctures and scratches while maintaining the structural integrity of the vessel. Additionally, the bow and stern are reinforced by inbuilt aluminum ribs, which makes this kayak track as well as hard-shell ones, while also capable of swift speeds.

It is also quick to inflate and comes in a handy duffel bag so that you can quickly toss it in the back of your truck and head out for a fish-filled weekend.

What we liked

  • Designed with three layers of quality material to resist puncture
  • Rigid aluminum frame
  • Has a low seat position that allows both solo and tandem paddling 
  • The seats are removable and replaceable
  • Has plenty of storage
  • Comes pre-assembled so you just need to inflate it and attach the seats
  • Very stable even in white water and rapids
  • It is suitably-priced to match its top features

What we didn't like

  • It is heavier to carry
  • Doesn’t have sun coverage for legs 
  • Doesn’t have spray skirts

Advanced Elements has excelled once again, this time with a 9’8”, 41 lbs crossover angling kayak that will blow your mind. The Strait Edge angling kayak boasts of optimal stability, magnificent haulage, amazing durability and customizable kayaking options.

One definite advantage of this kayak is that it has self-bailing features, ensuring great performance even in bigger waves. And if you prefer open waters, then the aluminum ribs on the bow and stern will make your tracking as easy as ever.

This kayak is also fitted with customizable features such as rod holders and a fish finder, making sure that all those hard-to-catch fish will be within your reach. But the features do not end here; you will also enjoy the benefits of a padded and breathable seat, stainless D-rings, bungee deck lacing, paddle holders, and a spring valve.

What we liked

  • Made from a heavy-duty and puncture resistant material
  • Superior tracking
  • High support adjustable padded seat for maximum comfort
  • Has a removable mounting rail so you can add additional rails for a fish finder and rod holders
  • Ample storage space to accommodate all your fishing gear and accessories
  • Comes pre-assembled so you will not have much assembly work
  • It feels very stable

What we didn't like

  • The kayak is a little expensive
  • Some customers complained of molding defects around the inflation plugs
  • The self-draining plugs are difficult to access when the kayak is inflated 

The Lifetime Sport Fisher is a 60 lbs, 10-foot fishing monster with top-of-the-line design and intricate details. The most impressive feature of this spacious kayak is its balanced seating, as it can accommodate up to 3 individuals, making it suitable for even a family trip.

The high and dry seating is enhanced by the extremely stable tunnel hull design, which allows you to comfortably sit side-saddle as you fish, or even stand up for a better vantage point. The design of this kayak offers two padded backrests, multiple footrest positions, molded carry handles, a molded paddle cradle, and fishing pole holders. It also comes with convenient scupper holes, a 6-inch rear storage hatch, and an optional accessory mount.

If you are looking for a durable recreational kayak which can comfortably fit you, your family, and your gear, then the Lifetime Sport Fisher kayak is definitely for you.

What we liked

  • Made from high-density polyethylene to provide strength and durability
  • Ample space to accommodate up to 3 people
  • It has two ergonomic seats with a comfortable backrest
  • Has a watertight compartment to keep your gear safe
  • The kayak comes with all the accessories you need to get started
  • Very steady to withstand tipping or falling into the water
  • Reasonably priced

What we didn't like

  • The seats are not cushioned
  • Difficult to maneuver in windy conditions due to its length and lightweight design 
  • The kayak has olive green color that is similar to water vegetation, making it difficult to be seen

When it comes to sit-in kayaks, Sun Dolphin’s Aruba series offers 4 options; including its 8SS, 10, 10SS, and 12SS models. The length of these kayaks vary from 8 feet to 12 feet, with their maximum load capacity ranging from 260 lbs to 395 lbs. Despite the aforementioned differences, these kayaks all share the great features that have made Sun Dolphin so popular among kayak fishermen.

The advantages include a rugged high-density polyethylene hull, an adjustable and padded seat back, molded-in paddle holder, shock cord deck rigging, various storage compartments, a spray collar, recessed drink holder, and convenient carry handles.

These easy to track and paddle Aruba sit-in kayaks are also notable for their stability, which ensures that you can fish without the fear of tipping into the water. Can you ask for more?

What we liked

  • Comfortable and lightweight
  • Very easy to maneuver
  • Tracks well
  • Padded and adjustable seat with a high back support
  • Adjustable foot braces
  • Carrying handles that make it easy to transport
  • Convenient gear storage
  • Designed with a water bottle holder
  • It comes in different color options like red, tangerine, lime green, and ocean blue

What we didn't like

  • Its material is buoyant
  • It doesn’t come with other accessories

As we proceed with our list of best fishing kayaks for 2019, we stumble upon the Mirage Outback kayak from, you guessed it, Hobie.

Besides the color, this kayak has a lot going for it. For one, it is massive and spacious. It boasts a weight capacity of 350 lbs, which translates as pretty large catches in terms of fish. And the benefits don’t stop there. In fact, this kayak is equipped with “Thru-Hull Wire Plugs” that allow you to paddle backwards. The foam seat grants you comfort, while the molded rod holders at the back provide safe storage options for your fishing equipment.

With this kayak, you will also have the option of sailing in extreme conditions as it has a twist and stow sail mount that helps you in windy weather. Thanks to this, you won’t need to paddle for long if the wind is right.

This amazing vessel will also allow you to store fishes on the hull as it has a bow hatch with a “Twist n’ Lock” system for your convenience. Plus, you’ve also got a storage pocket covered with durable mesh that won’t let water spoil your catch. The ST fins and the rotomolded polyethylene hull are rust-resistant and last a long time before needing any maintenance. All in all, it’s a perfect package for saltwater fishing.

What we liked

  • You have the option to either go for a 12-foot or a 14-foot model
  • The Mirage Outback is robust. It can withstand impacts from rocks, broken branches, and sharp objects submerged in water
  • Spacious storage compartment 
  • The little parts and extra features of this kayak work great
  • A winner in my book in terms of both price and performance

What we didn't like

  • Only thing is, it is a bit too wide for me, which makes paddling awkward

If you have ever seen the price tag of the 420x Explorer, you must be wondering why this inflatable kayak is so expensive! The answer lies in its unrivaled design and craftsmanship, which make this 54 lbs, 2-person inflatable kayak a worthwhile investment.

This tough as nails kayak is composed of a rugged and durable polyester fabric, and its spacious interior can hold up to 855 lbs in adults and gear. It has four convertible/self-bailing drains that keep you dry, powerful AB40 paddles, roomy stow bags, as well as a large and removable rear center skeg.

These are just a few of the features that make the Sea Eagle 420x explorer perfect for Class IV rapids, open water, trout streams, and wilderness rivers—check it out yourself!

What we liked

  • It has a very durable construction
  • The seat is comfortable for longer paddling
  • Best for all types of paddling
  • It inflates within a short time
  • Can support 2-3 adults 
  • Very stable

What we didn't like

  • Doesn’t come with clear assembly instructions

If you are seeking a kayak for two to go on a trip together, this 16-foot water beast will be perfect. Ocean Kayak has a reputation of bringing out top-notch products that deliver the goods when necessary. This one is no different from the rest. And then, it adds more to its repertoire of perks.

The Ocean Zest Two is perfect for a summer adventure that involves fishing. Firstly, as I said, you have the capacity for two full-grown adults on board. If you have a kid, bring him along too. Oh, and the pet dog can also ride this beast on water.

You have the standard comfort plus seats with a twist. These guys provide you “molded-in” foot braises that will allow you to keep your feet in place without any shaking.

I would choose this one as my Top Fishing Kayak because it is one of the most versatile kayaks out there. It has cup holders for a coffeeholic, a paddle keeper, a skid plate to guard you against rushing water, and carry handles so you can take this thing along wherever I go. Then there is the comfort, but you should experience it firsthand when you take this baby to the water.

What we liked

  • A good option for saltwater fishing and paddling
  • Handles the “Bow-in” waves better than most peddling kayaks
  • Riders and fishermen reported this kayak to be faster than most alternatives
  • Reasonably priced when you compare the features and performance level

What we didn't like

  • The carrying handles too far from each other
  • The Bow Carrying Handle comes apart from time to time but is fixable

For over 117 years, Old Town has kept its tradition of delivering the highest quality canoes and kayaks. The beloved Dirigo series is no different, offering innovative design, advanced technology, and convenient features that will make your paddling easy and fun.

The Dirigo 106, in particular, aims to bring avid anglers in close contact with the fish below to provide a seamless fishing experience. This 10’6”, 42 lbs kayak is equipped with several features; such as an Active Comfort System Seat, OT cushioned seat, thigh pads; a Glide Track foot brace system, multiple sealed hatches, a cup holder, a drain plug, a paddle keeper, and a Stabil-form hull design, to name a few.

All of these features work to provide you with maximum comfort as well as generous room and stability as you navigate previously hard-to-reach fishing spots.

What we liked

  • Features a lightweight design
  • Very easy to maneuver
  • Glide track foot brace system for comfortable and stable paddling
  • Comfortable contoured poly cushioned seat
  • It has a thigh pad to enhance your comfort 
  • Ample space to keep your fishing gear
  • You can keep your keys, phone, or other small items in the glove box hatch

What we didn't like

  • No cons for this kayak so far

KL Industries and Sun Dolphin Journey SS kayak have come together once again to give us a high-quality kayak with versatile features. The Journey SS kayak comes in two sizes, with one being 10 feet in length and the other being 12 feet in length. Despite the varying sizes and capacities, both models are packed with amazing features that will make you smile.

The lightweight and portable kayak has a Fortiflex high-density polyethylene hull, which makes paddling and tracking easier than ever. This vessel is also outfitted with two flush mount holders, one swivel fishing holder, a Portable Accessory Carrier (PAC), protective thigh pads, adjustable foot braces, a paddle holder, retractable carrying handles, a storage compartment, and shock cord deck rigging.

When you combine wide-ranging and convenient and features, it is no wonder this kayak is in such high demand from anglers who love fishing on secluded lakes and rivers. If this sounds like you, then the Journey SS is just the fishing kayak you’ve been looking for.

What we liked

  • Made from high density UV-stabilized polyethylene for durability
  • Easy to maneuver in shallow waters or streams
  • Adjustable foot braces 
  • It has a large and comfortable seating area
  • Provides ample storage space
  • Comes with a shock cord rigging
  • Lightweight so it is easy to carry
  • Easy to store
  • Affordable 

What we didn't like

  • Doesn’t have scupper holes
  • Its tracking is not great in rough conditions
  • It has a less glide technology as compared to other expensive kayaks

If you are an angler enthusiast looking for a compact kayak that can bear a huge load while still maintaining maximum stability and efficiency, then the Vapor 10 Angler is the right kayak for you.

This entry-level kayak has a large and comfortable cockpit, adjustable seating with a padded “Comfort Flex” seat, an adjustable foot brace system for maximum control, as well as flush mounted rod holders.

Other advantages of this great kayak include easy portability with built in carry handles, convenient paddling with an anchor trolley system, and simple storage with a stern day well. This lightweight (49 lbs) kayak has a maximum load capacity of 325 lbs, ensuring that you and all your belongings can set out on a fishing adventure like no other.

What we liked

  • It is made from highly durable single layer linear polyethylene
  • The kayak provides quiet paddling on lakes, ponds, and other slow-moving rivers
  • Lightweight, weighs only 49 lbs
  • The seat is padded to provide comfort for all day paddling
  • Designed with comfortable thigh and knee pads
  • Gives you ample storage to carry your gear
  • Designed with molded carry handles to make it easy to transport

What we didn't like

  • The kayak easily scratches on its exterior

The Bali SS kayak from Sun Dolphin is a recreational sit-on-top kayak, which comes in 3 length sizes; 8 feet, 10 feet, and 12 feet.

This large-capacity entry-level kayak is not only affordable, it provides superior and easy to use features that novice kayak fishermen will love. The durable kayak tracks well on lakes and rivers due to its high density, UV-stabilized hull design, and fantastic paddling system.

To guarantee your comfort, this kayak is also equipped with an adjustable and padded seat, molded foot wells, and a spacious open cockpit. The lightweight, and easy to transport a model also provides self-bailing features and multiple storage compartments that will keep your gear and belongings secure as you paddle and fish in the water.

What we liked

  • Made from high quality UV stabilized fortiflex polyethylene for durability
  • Perfect for beginners as it tracks and paddles with ease
  • Designed with an adjustable padded seat back
  • Lightweight hence very easy to carry
  • Works well in rivers and lakes
  • Has multiple storage compartments
  • Has carrying handles for easy transportation
  • Comes at an affordable price

What we didn't like

  • Very small
  • The seat doesn’t have a bottom cushion
  • The foot rests of the kayak are not comfortable

Things to Consider Before Buying a
Fishing Kayak

There are a few things you should consider before setting your mind on a fishing kayak.

fishing kayak

Fisherman on a misty morning, Missouri lake.

1. Loading Capacity

When you head out onto the water, you will need space for your gear as well as, food, water, and extra clothes to name a few things.

 It is therefore necessary to ensure that the angler kayak you select has a respectable maximum load capacity, which can easily carry you as well as your fishing gear and any accessories.

Different kayaks have different loading capacities starting from 200 lbs and rising to 1000 lbs. If you want to take your kid or spouse with you, go for a tandem kayak with proper loading capacity.

However, remember that kayaks with greater loading capacity are also heavier in weight. If you are looking for easy maneuverability select a moderate loading capacity, e.g. 250-400lbs. 

2. Number of Seats

Seating is extremely important in a kayak, as it determines how many people can be accommodated on the water. Angler kayaks range from 1-person to 3-person models, allowing solo paddlers and families alike to have a blast out on the water.

If you enjoy switching between paddling solo, in tandem, and with your friends or family, then a 3-person kayak will be perfect for you. If you prefer quiet and solitary time on the water, the best option is going for a 1-person kayak.

In addition, make sure you select a breathable and padded seat for maximum comfort during extended periods on the water. 

3. Water Safety

Any kayaker knows the importance of safety while out on the water, and that is why it is necessary for you to choose a kayak that is known for its stability.

In general, wider kayaks will provide you with greater stability, however, they are also slower and heavier than their narrow counterparts.

4. Features and Extras

Last but not least, you need to find a kayak which has features that match the type of fishing you are doing.

The features you can choose from include kayaks with multiple rod holders, various storage options, carry handles, molded-in bottle holders, a skeg for tracking, a narrower width (better for more experienced anglers), foot pegs, thigh braces, spray skirt allowances, shock deck rigging, and an overall ergonomic design.

Once you’ve made up your mind, stop sitting around and buy your fishing vessel so you can get out on the water as soon as possible. And don’t forget to let me know how big a fish you hauled in!