Fishing on a kayak is a special kind of fun. We aren’t saying that angling from the shore can’t be exciting, but there is something much more to fishing while at the middle of a lake. And besides, there are some fish species that are better to be caught far from the shore. If that sounds exciting to you, then you most likely would want to find the very best kayak for fishing.

Kayaks aren’t cheap, so the cost of making a mistake could be high. To save you some time, we have done the research and picked 10 high-rated fishing kayaks for your consideration. Who knows, maybe one of them turns out to be the right kayak for you!


Fishing kayak comparison


Kayak Size (L x W) Weight Weight capacity Rod holders Price
Boss SS 12.3’ x 33” 78 lbs. 500 lbs. 5 CHECK
Sea Ghost 110 11’ x 33” 62 lbs. 425 lbs. 2 CHECK
Tamarack Angler 100 10’ x 31” 52 lbs. 275 lbs. 3 CHECK
Sea Eagle SE370 12’6” x 34” 32 lbs. 650 lbs. 2 CHECK
A.T.A.K. 120 12’3” x 35” 86 lbs. 400 lbs. None CHECK
Bali SS 12’ x 29.5” 48 lbs. 395 lbs. 2 CHECK
Skipjack 90 9’ x 32” 46 lbs. 300 lbs. 4 CHECK
UH-TK219 12’3” x 34” 70 lbs. 440 lbs. 5 CHECK
Excursion 10’ x 30” 44 lbs. 250 lbs. 3 CHECK
UH-TK181 12’5” x 34” 68 lbs. 440 lbs. 7 CHECK

Our pick of the best kayak for fishing


Wilderness Systems A.T.A.K. 120 Fishing Kayak

Wilderness Systems A.T.A.K. 120 - best kayak for fishing

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In our opinion, Wilderness Systems A.T.A.K. 120 Fishing Kayak is the best kayak for fishing among the models we reviewed.

Yes, it is very expensive, but it could be an excellent choice for those who require comfort and stability. And you will also probably highly appreciate its customizability!

We know that not many people can afford such a fishing kayak, so we also picked much more affordable kayaks. Let’s now move on to their reviews!


Fishing kayak reviews


Sun Dolphin Boss SS Sit-On/Stand On Top Angler Kayak

Sun Dolphin Boss SS - best kayak for fishing

Key features:

  • Stand-on deck.
  • 5 fishing rod holders.
  • 2 large storage wells.

Sun Dolphin Boss SS is a fairly solid choice of a fishing kayak. A not so expensive model, the Boss SS has a number of features to boast nonetheless.

First of all, this fishing kayak allows standing angling. This certainly nice feature should allow you to fairly comfortably move around the kayak when fishing or when trying to reach your backpack.

The second thing to catch the eye is the 5 included rod holders, one of which is a rotatable holder installed on the side. This should allow you to more comfortably carry around all the rods you may need.

Thirdly, the Boss SS kayak has quite a good weight capacity – 500 pounds – so you should be able to have more items on you and also take more fish home.

This fishing kayak also has two fairly big storage wells – one in the front and one in the back – but neither of them can be accessed while sitting. They also aren’t watertight, unfortunately.

Speaking of sitting, this kayak comes with a foldable, dual-position seat out of the box. Besides, it comes with adjustable footrests.

Keep in mind that the Boss SS kayak is pretty heavy for its size, so it may not be very easy-to-transport. Still, it is a great kayak to fish from!

Pros:

  • Allows standing fishing.
  • Includes 5 rod holders.
  • Good weight capacity.
  • Dual-position foldable padded seat.

Cons:

  • Heavy.
  • The storage wells aren’t watertight.

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Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 110 11-Foot Angler Sit On Top Fishing Kayak

Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 110 - best kayak for fishing

Key features:

  • Stand-on deck.
  • 4 accessory gear tracks.
  • Rudder system.
  • Paddle included.

In terms of features, Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 110 is pretty similar to the Sun Dolphin Boss SS fishing kayak, though there are some minor differences.

The Sea Ghost 110 kayak is shorter and at the same time has the same width as the Boss SS. This means that you should be able to get a comparable level of stability. This kayak is also lighter, though we can’t say that it is a very light model.

Probably the biggest advantage of the Sea Ghost 110 kayak is its storage space. It has a large rear bungeed well, as well as several watertight storage compartments, which would allow you to take water-sensitive items with you.

The Sea Ghost 110 only comes with 2 flush-mount rod holders. However, it comes with 4 integrated accessory gear tracks to allow for the installation of additional rods and other equipment.

Another thing that this fishing kayak can boast is the included rudder system, meaning that this kayak will be pretty responsive to you changing directions.

Pros:

  • Stand-up deck.
  • Lots of storage space.
  • Wide accessory installation capabilities.
  • Included rudder system.

Cons:

  • The included paddle is too short.
  • Pricey.

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Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak

Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 - best kayak for fishing

Key features:

  • Several footrest positions.
  • Included paddle.
  • Integrated skeg.

If the best fishing kayak for you is the one that is fairly lightweight and not so big, then Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 kayak may be the right choice for you.

This fishing kayak is a more suitable choice for lighter anglers who aren’t aiming at a big catch.  Aside from the relative compactness and lightweight of this kayak, this is due to the lower 275-pound weight limit of this kayak.

If you are a big guy, this kayak may not have enough strength to support your weight, not to mention that you could also be  limited in the amount of gear you carry with you.

The Tamarack Angler 100 fishing kayak is quite good in terms of storage space actually. It has two watertight storage compartments, as well as two small bungeed wells in the rear and front.

When it comes to stability, this fishing kayak appears to be rather stable when paddling, partly thanks to the integrated skeg designed to aid you in maintaining the swimming direction.

On the other hand, this thing probably won’t be stable enough for standing since it doesn’t have enough room for it.

The Tamarack Angler 100 has several footrest positions though built into the deck. Instead of adjusting the footrests, you could just reposition your feet for the required level of support, which could somewhat compensate for the lack of standing capabilities in this kayak.

Pros:

  • Attractive price.
  • Fairly stable when surfing.
  • Convenient footrests.
  • Quite lightweight.
  • Good amount of storage capacity.

Cons:

  • Not so much weight capacity.

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Sea Eagle SE370 Inflatable Sport Kayak Fishing Package

Sea Eagle SE370 - best kayak for fishing

Key features:

  • Inflatable design.
  • High weight capacity.
  • Two integrated skegs.
  • Included paddle.

When it comes to portability and easiness of transport, probably no kayak will be better than an inflatable one. Sea Eagle SE370 inflatable kayak could thereby be an excellent choice for those who are concerned with their storage space.

In spite of its funny looks and inflatable design, this kayak could offer you a couple of interesting features.

The first thing that should be noted in this fishing kayak is its serious weight capacity of 650 pounds. This, on one hand, could allow you to carry more items on you and also catch more fish. And on the other, this kayak can be equipped with 2 additional seats.

Remarkably, this kayak is equipped with two plastic skegs to aid its stability in water. Aside from that, it comes with a small storage box with two rod holders.

Speaking of storage, the SE370 fishing kayak doesn’t come with any watertight compartments, albeit it has a lot of free space in it. We can’t say for sure, but this kayak could also allow fishing while standing.

Pros:

  • Fairly inexpensive.
  • Excellent weight capacity.
  • Can be expanded to 3 seats.
  • Lightweight and portable.

Cons:

  • Requires inflation.
  • Not so much storage space.

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Wilderness Systems A.T.A.K. 120 Fishing Kayak

Wilderness Systems A.T.A.K. 120 - best kayak for fishing

Key features:

  • Front, mid, and rear accessory tracks.
  • Stand-on deck.
  • Scuppers for electronic devices.

Well, if you are ready to spend as much money as necessary to get that best kayak for fishing, then Wilderness Systems A.T.A.K. 120 kayak – our top pick – could be a perfect choice for you. This kayak is very expensive, but it has features that aren’t there in the rest of the reviewed fishing kayaks.

The very first advantage of this fishing kayak is its wide customization options. This kayak features accessory mounting tracks in the rear, middle, and front for accessories.

Aside from that, A.T.A.K. 120 has scuppers to allow the installation of electronic devices like fish finders and transducers. If you have the need and the money, you could even install a motor drive kit on this kayak for faster propulsion.

A.T.A.K. 120 also seems to be a great kayak in terms of convenience. It has a suspension-aided adjustable seat, first of all. Secondly, it comes with a stand-up assist strap. Lastly, it comes with plenty of foot area and good enough stability to allow you to fish while standing.

All those great benefits aside, this fishing kayak doesn’t come with any accessories except for the comfy seat. You would have to get fishing rod holders and bungee nets for the storage wells yourself, which would inflate the price of this thing even more.

And besides, this fishing kayak is quite heavy and bulky, which could somewhat complicate its storage and transport.

Pros:

  • Can be widely customized.
  • Allows convenient standing.
  • Comfortable seat.

Cons:

  • No accessories included.
  • Expensive.
  • Heavy.

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Sun Dolphin Bali SS 12-Foot Sit-on-top Kayak

Sun Dolphin Bali SS - best kayak for fishing

Key features:

  • Maneuverable.
  • Lightweight.
  • Compact.

To be fair, Sun Dolphin Bali SS sit-on-top kayak has been designed for recreational kayaking. At least, Sun Dolphin themselves put this kayak in their list of recreational kayaks on their website.

However, since it has two rod holders and a respectable amount of storage space, it can be used for fishing as well.

The eye-catching narrow body of this kayak should make it maneuverable and speedy, albeit probably not as stable as the rest of the reviewed fishing kayaks. This is what actually appears to make this kayak good for recreation.

One could say that this kayak is a two-in-one fishing and recreational kayak.

This kayak features quite a good amount of storage capacity, as we mentioned. It has a rather roomy rear watertight storage area, as well as two bungeed wells.

Aside from that, the Bali SS kayak also has quite good weight capacity for its size.

The Bali SS is compact and fairly lightweight as well. That’s certainly good, but it also means that there is not so much free room inside the kayak for moving. Because of that, we think that this kayak would be more suitable for shorter fishing trips.

Pros:

  • Good weight capacity.
  • Lightweight.
  • Fairly compact.
  • Nice storage capacity.

Cons:

  • Lacks stability.

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Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 Fishing Kayak

Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 - best kayak for fishing

Key features:

  • Multiple footrest positions.
  • 4 rod holders.
  • Compact.
  • Lightweight.
  • Paddle included.

Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 is the shortest fishing kayak on the list, so it would probably be of most interest to those who are concerned with storage space. Apart from that, the Skipjack 90 is also quite lightweight.

In terms of convenience for fishing, the Skipjack appears to be better than Bali SS, mainly because it is wider. This probably still won’t allow convenient standing, but you should have more room for movement in this kayak.

Besides, this fishing kayak comes with 4 fishing rod holders. You could also install a fishing rod holder on the center console. The Skipjack 90 has several inbuilt footrests instead of adjustable ones, which could allow you to switch the feet positions more quickly.

When it comes to storage space, the Skipjack 90 fishing kayak is fairly good thanks to its 2 sealed compartments, as well as rear the bungee well.

The weight capacity of this kayak isn’t that high though, so there will be certain limits on how much items it will be able to carry.

Possibly the biggest downside of this kayak is its seat. It is foldable and adjustable, but it seems not to be of so high quality, so you might need to replace it with something better.

Pros:

  • Compact.
  • Lightweight.
  • Multiple footrest positions.

Cons:

  • Poor-quality seat.
  • Not so much weight capacity.

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BKC UH-TK219 12-foot Tandem Sit On Top Kayak

BKC UH-TK219 - best kayak for fishing

Key features:

  • 2 – 3-person.
  • 5 rod holders.
  • 2 paddles included.

If you were looking for a tandem fishing kayak, then Brooklyn Kayak Company UH-TK219 could be the right choice for you.

A 2-person fishing kayak could allow you to have more enjoyable fishing trips with your friends or relatives. In fact, the UH-TK219 also allows the installation of the third seat for even more fun.

BKC equipped this fishing kayak with five rod holders, two of which are swiveling. This should allow two anglers to have all the equipment they deem necessary for fishing.

For storage, this fishing kayak has 2 sealed compartments, as well as one bungee well in the rear. We can’t say that this kayak is the best on the list in terms of storage – especially given its not so high 440-pound weight capacity – but it should be enough for the majority of anglers.

The UH-TK219 fishing kayak appears to be a pretty stable vessel thanks to its width. However, this kayak probably won’t have enough room for standing, unless there is only one angler in it. And with the third seat installed, there will be even less room left.

Speaking of the seats, the included seats seem not to be very supportive or comfortable, so you may need to replace them with something better.

Pros:

  • Great choice for family fun.
  • 2-person.
  • Allows for 3-person fishing.
  • Includes 5 rod holders.
  • Inbuilt footrests.

Cons:

  • The seats aren’t very supportive.
  • Heavy.
  • Expensive.

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Sun Dolphin Excursion 10-Foot Sit-in Fishing Kayak

Sun Dolphin Excursion - best kayak for fishing

Key features:

  • Good water protection.
  • Maneuverable.
  • Lightweight.
  • Compact.

The Excursion fishing kayak is compact and lightweight and thereby easy-to-transport and -store.

Aside from that, the size could make the Excursion a very suitable choice for fishing in confined areas or in small water bodies like rivers. However, you would need to make sure that the current is weak since fighting it in this kayak won’t be very easy.

The main feature of this fishing kayak is the compact sit-in design. In the Excursion, your legs are positioned inside the kayak, which allows for increased water protection. You could additionally buy a skirt and put it on top of the cockpit for even more water protection.

The sit-in design and also the narrow body of this kayak should make it considerably easier-to-control. That’s because you can lean onto the sides of the kayak with your legs to use your whole body for maneuvering.

On the other hand, you will most likely feel much more restricted in such a fishing kayak.

In terms of storage space, this kayak comes with a rear sealed compartment, as well as 3 rod holders, one of which is swiveling. The rear compartment can’t be really accessed from the cockpit, so it should only be used for items that won’t be used during fishing.

Probably the main downside of this kayak is its low weight capacity of only 250 pounds, meaning that this kayak won’t be suitable for bigger anglers.

Pros:

  • Fairly inexpensive.
  • Maneuverable.
  • Good choice for fishing in confined areas.
  • Lightweight.
  • Provides good protection from water.

Cons:

  • Restrictive cockpit.
  • Only up to 250 pounds of weight supported.

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BKC UH-TK181 12-foot Tandem Fishing Kayak

BKC UH-TK181 - best kayak for fishing

Key features:

  • 2-person.
  • 7 fishing rod holders.
  • 2 paddles included.

Brooklyn Kayak Company UH-TK181 is very similar to the UH-TK219 we examined a little bit earlier. However, there are some minor differences that could become decisive for you.

First of all, this fishing kayak comes with 7 fishing rod holders – 3 swiveling and 4 flush-mount. Secondly, the UH-TK181 is designed to fit 2 persons at most.

It is also a bit longer but slightly lighter, though it still is a heavy kayak. If you are sure that you don’t need the 3-person capacity of the UH-TK219, then this fishing kayak could be a better choice for you.

As for the rest of the features, there aren’t any noticeable differences between the two kayaks. This fishing kayak has the same 2 sealed storage compartments, plus a rear bungeed well.

It also has the inbuilt footrests for both anglers. The seats should also be the same, so be prepared to replace them.

Pros:

  • 2-person.
  • 7 fishing rod holders.
  • Comes with 2 paddles.
  • Built-in footrests.

Cons:

  • Heavy.
  • Expensive.

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How to pick an angling kayak


Now that we have those 10 best fishing kayaks reviewed, you might want to know what features to look for to choose the absolute best kayak for fishing.

In this particular guide, we will examine the features that could contribute specifically to the fishing performance of a kayak. For more general guidelines, feel free to read our kayak buying guide.

Fishing rod holders

While you don’t necessarily need to have fishing rod holders on your fishing kayak, they would noticeably add to the convenience of the kayak. Instead of putting your rods in the kayak – where they could restrict your movement – why not have dedicated rod holders to keep the rods safe and out of your way?

There are two main types of fishing rod holders: flush-mount and swiveling.

Flush-mount holders are installed in the hull, and their purpose is to basically store your rods while not in use.

Swiveling rod holders are designed to keep your hands free and the rod steady when you are already jigging. Some fishing kayaks have gear tracks that could take additional swiveling rod holders should you need them.

Storage space

The storage space is extremely important in fishing kayaks. You would need to not only account for your gear but also for the catch you are going to have during your fishing trips.

Unfortunately, manufacturers don’t typically indicate the storage volume of their fishing kayaks, so you won’t really be able to compare the storage area of different kayaks directly.

However, the longer and wider the kayak, the more storage it tends to have, so that could be a good guideline to follow when looking for the right storage space.

If you will be having water-sensitive items and equipment with you, make sure that the fishing boat has watertight storage compartments to store those items in. Aside from that, ensure that it has a bungee storage well to keep your backpack safe and within your reach.

Standing space

The decks of some kayaks allow standing while others don’t. The choice of one or the other will be a matter of preference. Your budget will also play an important role since kayaks with stand-on decks tend to be more expensive.

If you really want to be able to fish standing or to move around the kayak safely, then you might want to get a fishing kayak with a stand-on deck.

Stability

Stability is another key characteristic of a fishing kayak.

First of all, it determines whether or not you can stand on the deck.

Secondly, you might want to have a stable kayak when fishing for large fish, though you probably won’t encounter fish large enough to tip your kayak over.

Mainly, it is the width of the kayak that impacts its stability: wider kayaks tend to be more stable.

Customizability

Not everyone may need to customize their fishing kayaks with motors, transducers, fishfinders, and whatnot. If you do need that, however, make sure to get a kayak with accessory mounts.

Typically, expensive kayaks have customization options, which could be evident from Wilderness Systems A.T.A.K. 120 Fishing Kayak.

This kayak has many, many customization options though, and not everyone needs them, so you don’t really have to go that high up the price.

Weight capacity

When it comes to importance, weight capacity stands on par with the fishing kayak’s storage capacity. They typically positively correlate with each other, i.e. a kayak with high capacity will have more storage space, but that isn’t a rule necessarily.

When looking for the right weight capacity, you will have to take into account your body weight, the weight of your equipment, and the approximate weight of the catch you are going to have.

Besides, the weight capacity of kayaks typically don’t include the weight of the kayak itself, so you should take the kayak’s weight as well.

After you know how many pounds you are going to have on the kayak, just look for a fishing kayak that will have a higher weight capacity. If you go lower than necessary, the kayak could just go underwater.

Seats

Whether you need a one- or a two-paddle fishing kayak, you should probably make sure that it has got comfortable seats.

With more expensive kayaks, you will typically get comfortable padded seats that don’t really need to be replaced. But cheaper kayaks usually come with not so great seats, so you may need to replace them.

If the fishing kayak of your choice doesn’t come with a good seat, then you should think about replacing it. Fishing can last for a very long time, and you certainly wouldn’t want to have a seat that isn’t comfortable or supportive.

Size

The right size of the kayak will depend on the area where you will be fishing. For small water bodies or confined areas, you would probably need to go for a more compact fishing kayak. If you will be fishing in larger water bodies, then size won’t be that important for you.

Included accessories

You might also want to get a kayak that comes with accessories like paddles, skegs, or rudders. It will allow you not to worry about spending additional money on those accessories, at least initially.

But because the included accessories tend to be of not so high quality, you may need to replace them sooner or later.


The bottom line


Have you found the best kayak for fishing? If so, then you probably should go and get it. If not, then just continue to look for it!

Keep in mind the features that we pinpointed. If you find that that isn’t enough for you, feel free to do more research. Don’t rush it, and you should be able to find the best kayak for fishing pretty soon!

Looking for a kayak paddle as well? Then our review of 6 cheap paddles may be interesting for you.

And, if you need it, also check out our review of best kayak racks or kayak seat pads.