13 Best Fishing Kayaks: Reviewed, Rated & Compared

Kayak fishing is a great way to get out away from the bank or shoreline without having to spend tons of money on a motorboat or rely on rentals all the time.

While it can be overwhelming to try and break into the kayak market, you can easily find exactly the right model for your particular fishing style with a little research.

Fortunately, we’ve done all that research for you and prepared this comprehensive guide to the best fishing kayaks.

Preview

Product

Type

Max Capacity

Check Price

Lifetime Tamarack Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak,...

Lifetime

Tamarack Angler

Sit on top, hardshell

275 Lbs.

Perception Pescador Pro 12 | Sit on Top...

Perception

Pescador Pro

Sit on top, hardshell

325 lbs.

Old Town Topwater PDL Angler Fishing Kayak...

Old Town

Topwater 106

Sit on top, hardshell, pedal

500 Lbs.

Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 9 Foot Angler and...

Vibe Kayaks

Skipjack 90

Sit on top, hardshell

300 Lbs.

BKC RA220 11' 6' Solo Sit-On-Top Kayak...

BKC RA220

Sit on top, hardshell, pedal

450 Lbs.

Hobie 2019 Mirage Passport 10.5 - Pedal...

Hobie 2019 Mirage Passport Pedal

Sit on top, hardshell, pedal

325 Lbs.

Sea Eagle 370 Pro 3 Person Inflatable...

Sea Eagle

370 Pro

Sit Inside, inflatable, tandem

650 Lbs.

ADVANCED ELEMENTS AE1007-R AdvancedFrame...

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible

Sit Inside, inflatable

550 Lbs.

SUNDOLPHIN Aruba Sit-in Kayak (Citrus,...

SunDolphin Aruba

Sit Inside, hardshell

250 Lbs.

BKC TK219K 12' 6' Tandem 2 or 3 Person SIt On...

BKC TK219

Sit on top, hardshell

440 Lbs.

Feel Free Lure 10 Kayak - Lime Camo

Feelfree

Lure 10

Sit on top, hardshell, stand-up

375 Lbs.

SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Aruba SS Sit-in Kayak...

SunDolphin

Aruba SS

Sit Inside, hard shell

260 Lbs.

Malibu Kayaks X-13 Fish and Dive Package Sit...

Malibu Kayaks

X-13

Sit on top, Sit Inside + inflatable, hard shell, pedal

450 Lbs.


3 Questions to Consider Before Buying a Fishing Kayak

Before you invest in a fishing kayak, you should consider the particulars of your usual fishing trips and what your expectations are in terms of features and the price tag. The kind of fish, the body of water, number of anglers, and the equipment you use all help determine what style yak is best suited to you.

What’s the main purpose of your yak?

For the seasonal or occasional fisherman, a simpler kayak with all the basics will usually suffice. Pro anglers will want a yak decked out with every possible feature and room for scanning electronics. Anglers who go out in pairs or threes will want a tandem kayak with room for everyone and multiple fishing rods.

Which water system will you be fishing in?

If you regularly have the opportunity to fish in both saltwater and freshwater, you should get a yak capable of doing so. Longer yaks are faster on open water but harder to navigate through tighter bodies such as rivers. You'll want a wide boat for balance, and you may want a sit-in kayak if you expect to experience choppy water or waves. Hull design and skegs for proper tracking will help your yak cut through waves.  

How much do you want to spend on a yak?

This is often the most critical factor for anglers. All the other determiners have a direct effect on the price. More features usually mean a higher price, while solid construction and high durability also tend to cost more. If you just need a kayak once in a while, you’re more likely to be able to look at the less expensive end of the market.


Fishing Kayak Buyer’s Guide

Kayak Type

Kayaks are generally either built for anglers to sit inside, sit on top, or stand. Sit-in kayaks are great for blocking wind and cold. Sit-on-top kayaks are better for casting out and are usually more comfortable for anglers since there is no wall around the cockpit. They are also easier to turn right-side-up if you accidentally flip over. Stand-on kayaks offer the widest range of motion to access gear and also give anglers a better field of view for casting.

Build Quality

Many anglers are a bit wary of inflatable kayaks because it seems at first glance that they are easily pierced and sunk. However, with double- and triple-layered materials and constantly-improved polymer materials, inflatable kayaks offer superior portability.

Solid kayaks are constructed out of a variety of materials such as fiberglass, carbon fiber, composite plastics like polyethylene, kevlar, and wood. Non-plastic materials aren’t the norm since plastic ones are cheaper, but they do offer a more graceful ride for yakkers who know how to handle them.

Kayak Size

In addition to the number of seats, the length and width of a kayak affect how it handles on the water. Wider kayaks are more stable, but narrower ones are more agile. Similarly, longer kayaks are faster, but shorter ones are easier to handle.

Hull & Seat Design

The hull of a kayak can be one of several shapes, such as round, v-shaped, flat, or shaped like the bottom of a pontoon boat. Rounded hulls have more speed, v-shaped ones cut through waves better, flats have better stability, and pontoon-style hulls mix the balance of flat hulls with excellent tracking ability. Kayak seats are often adjustable, although this is often not the case. Higher seats are better for casting and lower ones better for rowing. Some seats are completely removable, and the yak can then be used as a stand-up model.

Speed & Propulsion

Though the most common method is the trusty oar, some yaks are propelled by foot-operated pedals. Either model can also have a rudder to help direct the craft. Max speed will be greater in a longer kayak, but this usually won’t make a difference to the amateur kayaker. Pedals can help keep the angler’s hands-free, which is certainly helpful when fishing.

Stability & Mobility

As we’ve mentioned, width has a significant impact on the stability of a kayak. However, the maximum weight capacity can also affect larger and taller anglers. Tandem kayak's weight capacity should especially be considered to make sure they can accommodate multiple people on board.

Safety Features

The reason people talk so much about stability when they discuss kayaks is because rolling one over can be a disaster. Not just for gear and electronics, though. Unprepared anglers can suddenly find themselves in a dangerous situation if they flip their yak when they aren’t wearing a personal flotation device (PFD). For this reason, many yaks are built to be super-buoyant and designed not to flip in all except the most extreme scenarios.

Storage & Extra Features

Storage is crucial to make sure you can bring all the gear you need and keep it safe from the ill effects of water. Electronics like fishfinders can often be attached and occasionally will have their own waterproof space in the kayak. Watertight storage for cell phones, wallets, and car keys is also frequently offered. Storage for lures, bait, and extra rods are almost standard across the market, as are cup holders for water to stay hydrated while you’re out on the water.

Price & Warranty

It’s not generally wise to go for the absolute cheapest kayak you can find, but there are some great models for under $400 or under $1000 that make a great introduction to fishing kayaks for those just starting out. A warranty is sometimes offered to put anglers at ease when purchasing, but bear in mind that these are most commonly only protections against defects in the manufacturing of the materials and not for damage incurred during the use of the kayak.


Best Fishing Kayaks Reviewed

1. Lifetime Tamarack Angler

Best Value for the Money

Type

Sit on top, hardshell

Length

10 Ft

Width

31 inches

Max Capacity

275 Lbs.

Warranty

5-year warranty

Dollar for dollar, this kayak is undoubtedly one of the best; in fact, you might call it the deal of a Lifetime. Beyond the design features like a prominent tracking skeg, the Tamarack Angler has many conveniences that keep gear out of the way and let anglers stick to fishing instead of having to fuss around with logistical concerns. It has all the advantages SOKs offer and is widely considered by many anglers to be the best affordable kayak at the vast majority of retailers.

Features of the Lifetime Tamarack Angler include three fishing rod holders, self-bailing scupper holes, a paddle holder, bungees in the front and rear as well as two storage hatches for gear, multiple footrest positions to accommodate any angler, and two t-hooks at either end for easy carrying. Two water bottle holders will keep hydration close at hand throughout your fishing trip.

In terms of performance, this yak tracks very well thanks to the skeg and the sharp bow. The hull is flat-bottomed, which gives it some additional stability. It's not necessarily light enough for any angler to be able to lift it off a car rack, but stronger folks should be able to drag it easily.

Pros
  • Self-bailing scupper holes
  • Plenty of storage
  • Adjustable padded seat
  • Excellent tracking
  • Multiple footrest positions
Cons
  • Limited standing options
  • Fairly heavy

2. Perception Pescador Pro

Runner Up

Type

Sit on top, hardshell

Length

12 Ft

Width

32.5 inches

Max Capacity

325 lbs.

Warranty

None

The weight capacity on the Pescador Pro is higher than some other yaks, but the weight of the yak itself is too. The accessory track system fixes things like add-on pole holders on a long track that allows them to slide to adjust to anglers’ particular wants. The footrests also adjust so anglers of just about any height will have plenty of legroom.

Storage abounds on this model, which has space for tackle, gear, and drinks in two storage areas and a cupholder near the seat. Mesh and bungees hold down equipment that's not in use and keep it out of the casting zone, so there won't be any inadvertent tangling. The seat raises for better casting and lowers for more pull power to row and fight fish.

A skid plate on the bottom of the yak enables anglers to drag it to the water without fear of causing any scratching damage to the surface. The balance of the boat is fine, but it does lack any of the features that help the Lifetime Tamarack Angler track so well, and some of the buckles and straps are of a less-than-ideal quality. Despite these slight drawbacks, this is still an excellent yak for fishing and the best fishing kayak under $1,000.

Pros
  •  Accessory track
  • Ample storage
  • Adjustable chair
  • Variety of color schemes
  • Skid plate
Cons
  • Few tracking features
  • Lackluster buckle & strap quality

3. Old Town Topwater 106

Top of the Range

Type

Sit on top, hardshell, pedal

Length

12 Ft

Width

33.5 inches

Max Capacity

500 Lbs.

Warranty

None

While it’s best for serious anglers, there’s a lot on this yak that newcomers aren’t likely to recognize or know how to use right off the bat. One of the biggest standout features of the Old Town Topwater 106 is the pedal operation, which enables anglers to power this yak by spinning two bicycle-like pedals that propel the boat forward. It’s quieter than a motor and can come in handy if you’re trying to drag swimbait or another kind of lure with motion-driven action.

This top of the range yak also has inlaid handles as opposed to t-handles or other grips that hang off the body of the yak. Since seasoned anglers are more likely to have niche electronics like fish finders or depth finders, they’ll love the universal mount that allows any model to attach to this yak. You can also carry four or more fishing rods comfortably without any interference in the actual fishing. The pedals and the hull are designed to give anglers precise control over the handling of this yak.

The pedal propulsion system and the body of this yak are saltwater-safe, giving anglers the option to hit the ocean to fish without having to invest in a separate vehicle. This yak is stable enough to stand, but there's a comfortable chair to sit as well. The length of this model makes it faster than most of the competition, even if it sacrifices some maneuverability to do so. Best of all, Old Town makes tons of accessories like paddles and PFDs that match up great with this dependable kayak.

Pros
  • Longer
  • Fantastic stability
  • Pedal-operated
  • Saltwater-safe
  • Universal electronics mount
Cons
  • Slightly less handling
  • Overkill for amateurs

4. Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90

Best Fishing Kayak Under 500

Type

Sit on top, hardshell

Length

9 Ft

Width

32 inches

Max Capacity

300 Lbs.

Warranty

None

For a kayak on the shorter end of the spectrum, this model from Vibe is comparatively lightweight and makes for a great run-and-gun yak for last-minute, unplanned fishing excursions. It's a smooth enough ride and tracks reasonably well in calm water.

All the necessary features are there: a comfortable seat, gear mounting, four rod holders, storage space, bungees, a cup holder, and four molded-in grips for transporting are built-in to this model. In addition, the cargo holds are waterproof, which is a great comfort to anglers who take electronics like their cell phone or essential personal property like a wallet or car keys out on the water with them.

If you want to stand, you should be able to on this sturdy design, although doing so may elicit a few wobbles, so anglers should take care not to panic and cause a rollover in the process. As an added bonus, the deck surface is made to be slip-resistant. The usual price tag on this yak makes the few drawbacks it has negligible, as it is the best fishing kayak under 500.

Pros
  • Waterproof storage
  • Great for last-minute trips
  • Slip-resistant deck
  • Lure tray
  • Solid tracking
Cons
  • May wobble when standing
  • Subpar seat

5. BKC RA220

Best Fly Fishing Kayak

Type

Sit on top, hardshell, pedal

Length

11 Ft, 6 inches

Width

34 inches

Max Capacity

450 Lbs.

Warranty

None

Brooklyn Kayak Company, one of the oldest names in the industry, may seem to have created an overly simplistic kayak with their RA220. But the lack of ornaments and complicated features make this yak an excellent fit for fly fishing when there is much more fishing line and a greater potential for tangles and catching your hook on bungees, rod holders, or other gear. Storage containers keep equipment out of the way and safe from water damage. 

The rudder on the RA220 is pedal-operated for hands-free propulsion, enabling anglers to alter their direction without having to put their rod down. There's also a fish finder cutout in the hull, so anglers can still use their electronics without sacrificing much-needed space on this comparatively small yak. The carrying handles make overland transport really easy with this model.

The drain ports on the RA220 are good enough to complete the task, but they don’t keep out water as well as the ones on some competing models. One other slight annoyance with this boat is that the seat is not adjustable like it is on some other models, but since this yak is stable enough to stand, you may find that there's no need to adjust the seat.

Pros
  • Foot-operated rudder
  • Waterproof storage
  • In-hull fish finder cutout
  • Four carrying handles
  • Stability for standing & casting
Cons
  • Less effective drain ports
  • Non-adjustable seat

6. Hobie 2019 Mirage Passport Pedal

Best Pedal Fishing Kayak

Type

Sit on top, hardshell, pedal

Length

10 Ft, 6 inches

Width

34 inches

Max Capacity

325 Lbs.

Warranty

None

This yak from Hobie is definitely one of the best pedal fishing kayaks. Its design is based on the Hobie Mirage Drive, the pedal propulsion system they put out in 1997 to huge effect in the fishing kayak realm. Unfortunately, the pedal steering system doesn't have a reverse mode. The seat is made of suspended mesh, which affords great comfort for long days out on the water, and waterproof storage in the hatch is essential for protecting electronics and other valuables during a fishing trip.

The whole steering system is retractable, so when you need to store the yak at home, you won't have to worry about awkward bulk on the exterior. A Hobie plug comes with this kayak, so you can also plug the hole where the steering system would be if you prefer not to use it. Two rod holders are melded into the frame, and the oar comprises two pieces for easy stowing. The oar holders are also on a track, so anglers can place them exactly where they are most comfortable on the kayak.

Like the BKC RA220, the seat is not adjustable up-and-down on this model. However, you can adjust the position back, and it is comfortable enough to sit on for long periods. The yak is stable enough to stand up for casting without worrying about finding yourself landing in the water. The steering system also adds about 10 pounds to the weight of the kayak.

Pros
  • Suspended mesh seat
  • Retractable steering system
  • Two-piece oar
  • Waterproof storage
  • Molded-in rod holders
Cons
  • Non-reversing pedal steering
  • Seat does not adjust

7. Sea Eagle 370 Pro

Best Inflatable Fishing Kayak for 2-3 People

Type

Sit Inside, inflatable, tandem

Length

12 Ft, 6 inches

Width

2 Ft, 10 inches

Max Capacity

650 Lbs.

Warranty

None

While many folks are sometimes apprehensive about inflatable fishing kayaks, this model from Sea Eagle puts all the common worries to rest and fits two people with room to spare for a third. Both seats are removable and have back support to make sure you can ride out a whole fishing day without any painful consequences. This model inflates through five valves with the help of a foot pump so anglers won’t have to spend a long time and lung power blowing it up when they get to their fishing destination.

Two skegs on this yak's underside give it excellent tracking and handling. The oars are sturdy and great for skimming across the surface of a large lake or river with ease. This yak is made of super-strong material that's welded into a single piece, and it comes with a pressure gauge so you can keep an eye on its inflation. There's also a repair kit if there should be any kind of small puncture in the body of the yak. The most significant advantage of this inflatable kayak is that it packs down to a small fraction of the inflated size.

Bear in mind that inflatable kayaks do have some drawbacks, such as occasionally sitting low on the water and increased difficulty in paddling. If you plan to have three people in this yak, make sure you aren’t sinking too deep or taking on water over the sides of the craft. There are also no drains for getting rid of water that does make it on board, so it might be wise to bring something to bail out water just in case.

Pros
  • Movable seats
  • Packs down small
  • Welded seams
  • Two-skeg tracking
  • Foot pump included
Cons
  • Harder to steer
  • No water drains

8. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible

Best Inflatable Fishing Kayak for 1-2 People

Type

Sit Inside, inflatable

Length

15 Ft

Width

32 inches

Max Capacity

550 Lbs.

Warranty

None

All the portability of an inflatable kayak and the versatility of a convertible one come together in this super-tough Advanced Elements fishing kayak. With its unique hull design and rip-stop material construction, the AdvancedFrame Convertible is a great comfort to anglers who fear hook rips or tears from dog paws sinking their vessel in the middle of a fishing trip.

This yak sets up and collapses in just a few minutes and packs up into a convenient duffel bag that makes it easy for a single angler to transport it and get it out on the water with no outside help. Its interior frame is constructed of aluminum ribs, giving this yak tracking to rival most hard-bodied competitors. 

Everything is already put together, so anglers only need to unfold this yak and inflate it. To make this yak viable for solo or tandem rowing, the seats detach, and it comes with a double-deck and single-deck conversion piece that attaches with d-rings to create defined spaces for either one seat or two. The single deck has a rear cargo hatch for extra gear, and the double-deck has a mesh pocket. Neither is waterproof, but the kayak itself is surprisingly roomy.

Three layers of material make this yak challenging to puncture. Rocky landings and rough water won't beat this AdvancedFrame model up too much for anglers to continue getting good use out of it. It’s missing some nice features like rod holders, but it’s perfect for one or two anglers who want to get out on the water without having to deal with the hassle of a car rack. The only significant annoyance is getting it clean after a fishing trip, which might require a second inflation to get to those hard-to-reach places.

Pros
  • Portable
  • Rip-stop material
  • Convertible one- or two-seater
  • Bungee cables
  • Skeg tracking design
Cons
  • Difficult to clean
  • Not much storage

9. SunDolphin Aruba

Best Sit-In Fishing Kayak

Type

Sit Inside, hardshell

Length

10 Ft

Width

29 inches

Max Capacity

250 Lbs.

Warranty

None

Just about as straightforward a kayak as you’re liable to find on the market, this SunDolphin Aruba is much roomier than competing sit-in fishing kayaks. The polyethylene used in its construction is lightweight enough to make taking it down off a car rack or a yak trailer a breeze.

The pole holders are little more than bungees, and the storage compartment is right behind the cockpit for quick access. There are knee pads to protect the angler’s knees from banging against the polyethylene body in rough water.

There is a water bottle holder just in front of the angler’s chair, and while it does have a bungee cord to keep the bottle in place, it’s not the most reliable you can find on a yak. The storage is not watertight, so dry bags will be necessary if you like to bring your cell phone or other electronics out on the water with you.

This model is a bit shorter than the competition, which means it won't sail as fast, and while the cockpit is relatively roomy, there isn't a ton of space for equipment. For simple anglers who just need to bring a tackle box and a few rods along, it sure does the trick. But more involved sport fishers will likely want a more robust kayak for their fishing trips.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Knee pads built-in
  • Storage space
  • Water bottle & rod holders
  •  Adjustable foot braces
Cons
  • Storage space not watertight
  • Slower than longer yaks

10. BKC TK219

Best Tandem Fishing Kayak

Type

Sit on top, hardshell

Length

12.2 Ft

Width

34 inches

Max Capacity

440 Lbs.

Warranty

None

The TK219 from the Brooklyn Kayak Company is a capable tandem fishing kayak. Anglers who hit the water in twos or threes are often impressed with the whopping six rod holders, padded seats, and waterproof storage containers that are located in both the front and the back of the craft. There are four t-handles on affixed to the body, so everyone who comes along can help carry this yak to the water and pull it back out again.

BKC sells this kayak in multiple colors and designs from the military-inspired to the bright greens and reds. While this yak is not suitable for standing, the seats are raised to make casting out easier. It will work just fine in both freshwater and saltwater. Many anglers outfit it with an after-market rudder system if they plan to use it in the ocean, but BKC doesn't sell one built explicitly for the TK219.

There's space next to each seat to screw in a fish finder or any other kind of angling electronics you might want to have along with you. Overall, this yak is excellent for both solo and tandem kayaking. Most of the features are customizable to suit the way you like to fish. For all but the most severe sport anglers, the BKC TK219 is the best tandem fishing kayak available on the market.

Pros
  • 2 waterproof storage containers
  • Padded seats
  • Ample rod holders
  • Saltwater-friendly
  • Space for installing electronics
Cons
  • Not suitable for standing

11. Feelfree Lure 10

Best Stand-Up Fishing Kayak

Type

Sit on top, hardshell, stand-up

Length

10 Ft

Width

36 inches

Max Capacity

375 Lbs.

Warranty

None

Fresh off a 2020 redesign, the Feelfree Lure 10 boasts a few new features that make it stand out in the stand-up kayak market. For one thing, they've added a place to add a rudder on the rear handle so anglers can give themselves a hand directing the craft across the water.

Even more impressive, what was previously nothing more than a small storage container just in front of the cockpit is now a hardshell plastic box with waterproof gaskets for electric wires, making it ideal for installing a fishfinder. There is also a hole underneath the box, so the fish finder or depth finder has uninterrupted access to the surface of the water.

The best thing about the Feelfree Lure 10 is that anglers will have the freedom to stand up on it without worrying about toppling over. Its width makes it extraordinarily stable, but Feelfree didn’t stop there. This kayak features one of the most adjustable seats on the market, easily (re)moveable to ten different heights for anglers who need some lift for casting but don’t want to spend the whole fishing trip standing up. However, there is a padded standing platform for those who do.

Unique features of this kayak include the equipment tracking system on either side that makes it easy to move the location of pole holders, molded handles for transporting it over land, and a storage bin that gives you full access to the interior of the boat. You will need to use a dry bag in the storage bin since it isn’t waterproof. At the end of the day, the new improvements paired with the original design make this the best stand-up fishing kayak and one of the best all-around.

Pros
  • Rudder pairable
  • Waterproof fishfinder box
  • Tracking system
  • Adjustable, removable seat
  • Padded standing platform
Cons
  • Storage is not waterproof

12. SunDolphin Aruba SS

Best Beginner Fishing Kayak for Kids

Type

Sit Inside, hard shell

Length

8 Ft

Width

28 inches

Max Capacity

260 Lbs

Warranty

None

SunDolphin is back on our list again with a modified version of their Aruba kayak that's stripped of superfluous features that pro anglers and experienced fishers may love to see but which may distract or overwhelm kids who are just getting into kayaking. They kept the adjustable padded seat and foot braces, the storage container, and left the hardshell body light enough for easy transport. There are also bungees at one end and t-handles for transporting the yak. But there’s not much to this yak beyond that.

Starting with a sit-in kayak is wise to prevent accidentally falling into the water and getting discouraged. There’s a paddle holder so kids can stow it away when they want to start using that fishing rod. The Aruba SS tracks well enough that anglers trying to pass on knowledge of the sport need not worry too much about kids accidentally flipping the yak. It’s the right size for kids and more durable than competing models, which makes it great for starting out.

Pros
  • Great fit for kids
  • Tracks well
  • Storage space
  • Durable
  • Adjustable seat and foot braces
Cons
  • Few additional features
  • May be too light for small yakkers

13. Malibu Kayaks X-13

Best Ocean Fishing Kayak

Type

Sit on top, Sit Inside + inflatable, hard shell, pedal

Length

13 Ft, 10 inches

Width

29 inches

Max Capacity

450 Lbs.

Warranty

None

With plenty of storage space for larger fish and a longer length to help cut through the waves, the X-13 from Malibu Kayaks is a great ocean fishing kayak with all the features needed to tackle the larger, more active water.

There are four total rod holders to anglers who can keep multiple lines out at once, as well as a live well and a gator hatch for keeping caught fish fresh while you get more or head out to the shore. There are also eyelets for securing gear, an adjustable foot track system, and a cup holder. The only significant drawback is that the seat is not included and must be purchased separately.

Unlike many of the competing models on the market, this one comes with a limited lifetime warranty that protects against manufacturing, workmanship, and material deficiencies for the original purchaser for the lifetime of the product provided an original proof of purchase from an authorized dealer is kept.

Pros
  • Storage space
  • Live well
  • Four rod holders
  • Adjustable foot track system
  • Limited Lifetime warranty
Cons
  • Seat sold separately

Top Fishing Kayak Brands

  • Lifetime
    One of the most common polymers on earth, polyethylene, can come in either linear or 2-layer construction on the majority of kayaks. Linear polyethylene can be either high-, medium-, or low-density, with high-density being the longest-lasting and most expensive and low-density being the cheapest and least durable. 2-layer polyethylene is a construction meant to double the shock-resistance and durability you can find in polyethylene products.
  • Sun Dolphin
    Sun Dolphin has been building dependable plastic kayaks and other watercraft from its hometown of Muskegon, Michigan, since the early eighties, and there is probably not a better brand to get your feet wet when you first start out kayaking. 
  • Perception
    The handmade kayaks Perception has been building from its home base in Greenville, South Carolina, have made significant improvements and added handy features, such as the skid plate on the Perception Pescador Pro since the company started rolling out kayaks 40 years ago. 

Common Kayak Materials

  • Polyethylene
    One of the most common polymers on earth, polyethylene, can come in either linear or 2-layer construction on the majority of kayaks. Linear polyethylene can be either high-, medium-, or low-density, with high-density being the longest-lasting and most expensive and low-density being the cheapest and least durable. 2-layer polyethylene is a construction meant to double the shock-resistance and durability you can find in polyethylene products.
  • Composites
    More abrasion-resistant a reparable than plastic yaks, models made out of fiberglass or a glass polymer do much better performance-wise and usually make for better ocean fishing kayaks. Graphite and carbon make for lighter yaks, and Aramid or Kevlar are even lighter than fiberglass and tougher than carbon.

Inflatable vs. Hardshell for Anglers

New developments in inflatable kayak technology such as welded-seam crafts that are ready to inflate right out of the box have brought the performance and safety of inflatable kayaks pretty close to what you can expect from any mid-level hardshell model.

Kayak Care & Maintenance

Always make sure you rinse your kayak once you come in off of saltwater and take care not to let deep scratches go long without being cleaned out and repaired when possible. Stow them either upside-down or hung vertically and up off the ground in either case. If you don’t have an inflatable kayak that packs down, make sure to transport your yak with a trailer or a car rack and get help from someone else to load and unload it.

Safety Concerns when Fishing from a Kayak

Long-term exposure to the sun can cause sunburns, heat exhaustion, and dehydration, so make sure to bring plenty of lotion and some headgear to keep the direct sun off your head and face. Drink plenty of water and try to fish in the shady shallows for a bit, if possible.

In choppy weather or in the event you turn over, be prepared to stave off the extreme cold and possibly cold shock with a shock blanket stowed away in watertight storage.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best kayak fishing accessories to buy?

Sure, you’re going to need the right rod and reel, but also make sure you grab a good fish finder and a proper oar and chair, both of which can be bought after-market if you don’t like the models that come standard on your yak.

Are there any kayaking tips for first-time kayakers?

The best way to learn is to go out there and do it, but for your first time out on the water make sure you bring plenty of food and water, sun protection, waterproof storage for your cell phone, wallet, and keys, and the right gear to catch the fish you want.

Are fishing kayaks prone to tipping over?

This is probably the one thing kayak manufacturers spend the most time trying to prevent in their designs. Just remember that while many kayaks are as close as you can get to the mark, there isn’t one that is 100% unsinkable or that won’t tip over in some extreme conditions. Always be prepared for an accidental tip-over.

How much weight can most fishing kayaks hold?

On the lower end, most yaks hold between 250-300 lbs. Tandem yaks hold up to 500 or 600 lbs. Those in the middle generally range between 350-400lbs.

Can I use my fishing kayak in both freshwater and saltwater?

Not every model is built for both kinds of water, but many are. Double-check before you buy and always remember to wash that saltwater off when you take your kayak out of the water.

Where is the best place to find a fishing kayak for sale?

Nothing beats Amazon in the digital age, but for peace of mind, you should also try to find places like Cabela’s or your local outdoor store to get a feel for a particular model and make sure it’s the right size and meets all of your desires before you buy it.


Conclusion

Trying to find that happy medium between long and short, narrow and wide, decked-out, or minimalist kayaks for your fishing excursions can be difficult, but it's far from impossible. The Lifetime Tamarack Angler has all the features that are absolutely essential and many that are simply more convenient than what you’ll find with the competition. 

The Angler has everything you need for just about any basic kayak fishing trip and boasts a great 5-year warranty on top of that. To get out on the water without making a considerable investment in a whole fishing boat, this is just the yak you're looking for.