Top 10 Fishing Kayaks (Aug. 2018): Reviews & Buyers Guide

Top 10 Fishing Kayaks (Aug. 2018): Reviews & Buyers Guide

Feeling like a fish out of water and don’t know where to start when looking for a fishing kayak? Well, you have come to the right place. Here at Stuffoholics, we are hooked on giving you all the latest information and the best fishing kayak reviews on the Top 10 fishing kayaks available today. In recent years, fishing kayaks have become even more popular with many outdoor and sporting goods stores adding an increasing number of fishing kayaks to their lines. There are lots of different types of fishing kayak available and it can be difficult to know which one is best for you that is within your budget. With us, you’re off the hook! With our expert knowledge, you will feel extremely confident in making your decision when choosing the ideal kayak for you.

Once you have decided to choose a kayak over a canoe for fishing, you will start hunting for the best one. These days, fishing kayaks are really very affordable but you do need to know what to look for. Manufacturers have listened to the market at last building boats that are specifically designed with fishing in mind with extras like rod holders. Our comprehensive guide will be with you every step of the way, whether you are a beginner just testing the water with a first fishing kayak or whether you are a more advanced and looking to reel in the big fry.

Why Should You Trust Us?

Here at Stuffoholics, we have been researching fishing kayaks for years. We analyze all the facts and look at first-hand experience data too. To date, we have tested over 60 kayaks, which we have narrowed down to our Top Ten Best Fishing Kayaks based on usage data and personal testing, providing you with the best fishing kayak reviews. Maintaining an effective testing protocol is the key to discovering the best quality kayaks at a reasonable price for our readers. We can assure you that we have provided the utmost accurate picture of the kayak market without focusing on any particular brand. As a result, we have come up with our best 10 fishing kayaks that are available for you to buy today, taking the pressure off you and enabling you to decide without the need for trawling over web pages about kayaks for yourself. To look at our research in more detail, please read the attached report, which is accessible through liking one of our social media pages.

What Is a Fishing Kayak?

Essentially, fishing kayaks are small boats that are designed especially for one or more people to sail on the water in order to fish and explore the shores. They can come motorized, ocean-ready, inflatable or simply for hobbyists looking for something new to try. However, when all is said and done, fishing kayaks are essentially just like regular kayaks with a few added bonus features specifically for fishers! Some of the fishing kayaks are made by the companies that have successfully made the usual sort of kayaks successfully for years. It doesn’t really matter if the kayak you choose is purposefully designed with fishing in mind, first and foremost you should consider its features and whether they are suited to your fishing needs. Look at the design features such as the quality of the materials, the beam width, the type of storage and seating, the type of the hull and how stable the boat is. Also, consider the kayak fishing accessories that feature on the kayak. Does it have rod holders, motor mounting rails, paddle holders, straps and fasteners, foot pegs, place for your cooler or thigh hooks? Usually speaking, the more features your boat has, the more expensive it is. Your fishing kayak should support quick movements but should be stable enough when carrying out particular fishing tasks such as casting, baiting and, of course, reeling in that big catch! This is why size matters. Smaller kayaks may be more maneuverable but they are less stable than their larger contemporaries. You don’t want to be getting unnecessarily wet or lose your gear if your boat tips while casting!

Different Types of Kayaks

As described above, fishing kayaks are essentially just like regular ones, of which there are many types.

Inflatable Kayaks:

Inflatable kayaks are a great option for transporting your kayak to different places. They tend to be larger and are easier to repair (and have less risk of damage with impacts) than other types of kayak. However, they are slower to maneuver than other kinds of kayak and are very much more susceptible to sun damage and inevitably punctures from your equipment. They tend to be more expensive that hard-body kayaks, although there are some cheaper ones available (those they often have poorer reviews on Amazon). Inflatable boats also make much less noise than hard-body kayaks, ensuring that you don’t scare the fish away. With hard-bodied kayaks, any dropping of the paddle on the edge or inside can result in an audible ‘clunk’ that is transmitted easily to the water, potentially scaring off the fish and alerting them to your presence. Many of our top 10 best fishing kayaks fall into this category.

Hard-body Kayaks:

These kayaks obviously resist puncturing and tearing by knives and hooks a great deal more than inflatable kayaks. They are also much easier to maneuver. They are an extremely popular design of kayak but they are harder to transport and are much more susceptible to damage from collisions and impact. Hard-body kayaks tend to be recommended for beginners or those who are looking for something on a smaller budget as they tend to be cheaper than the inflatable varieties. Once you know your budget, it should be easy to decide between these two options.

Motorized Kayaks:

Kayaks that are on the more expensive side often have rails to mount trolling motors or motors for smaller boats. These features obviously add to the cost of the kayak and for those on a tight budget you may be better off if you opt for using oars or paddles to maneuver. A few of our best 10 fishing kayaks have rails or mounts to attach motors.

Single Person vs. Multiple Person Kayaks:

Most Kayaks are equipped to manage one person but there are some kayaks that have additional seating for two or more people to join you on your fishing trip. These larger kayaks are obviously heavier and more cumbersome to maneuver due to the additional weight but they are ideal for a family or parent and child combination when introducing someone to kayak fishing. In our best 10 fishing kayaks list, there are many different options to choose from, from single seaters to kayaks that seat three people.

Some Key Points to Know About Kayaks

So, after looking at the different types of fishing kayak available, what else should you know about them in order to make the most informed purchase? You should think about the design of your potential kayak, its hull type, volume, capacity and its stability, among other features. These aspects are important to consider when you think about the sorts of movements that you will be doing, what equipment you need to carry and how comfortable the kayak will be for you.

Volume:

In terms of volume, this is how the inner space of your kayak is measured. Kayaks which are high volume are markedly rounder and are rather standard for kayaks specific to fishing. They typically have large inner storage capabilities and also increased stability due to wider beams. Most inflatable kayaks tend to be high in volume. Those with lower volumes tend to be non-specific kayaks that are not necessarily ideal for fishing purposes. Generally, fishing kayaks use recesses as a way of providing storage for rods or have large wells. The fact that they use these spaces often means that fishing kayaks often have more storage (despite having lower volumes) than high-volume non-fishing kayaks.

Hull type:

The hull, or the bottom of the boat beneath the water, can be differentiated into two types: planing types or displacement types. Displacement hulls perform well for speed as the hull separates the water as it moves. They are narrower and generally pointy towards the bottom. Flat-bottomed hulls, called planning hulls, are generally wider which increases the boat’s stability and turning ability. They can be a little slow in terms of picking up speed as there is a lot more resistance in the water. Planing hull kayaks are ideal for fishing at they ensure greater stability and usually a larger platform area, reducing your risk of tipping the boat when carrying out your fishing tasks.

Stability:

We have mentioned stability when discussing the hull type and for most fishermen or women, they are willing to go for stability over speed. When using a fishing kayak, the majority of the time is spent actually fishing, waiting for your bait to lure, rather than speeding around lakes and rivers. So, stability is perhaps the most important feature to consider when selecting your kayak. Greater stability is not only provided by planing hulls and larger volumes, kick rockers and hard chines also add to the overall stability of the vessel.

The chine of a boat refers to its shape when looking at it from one end. Planing kayaks have hard chines, where the design takes a sharp line upwards, whereas soft chines are better for increased speed. The vast majority of fishers would try to aim somewhere in between the two to balance out maneuverability and speed. However, harder chines are thought to be a better option for fishing as they allow quicker turning in the water.

The Rocker of the boar is literally the shape of the bottom, how it would rock if placed on a hard surface. Kick rockers are flatter designs that are found mostly on planing kayaks and those with larger volumes. A design that curves all the way around the kayak is called a continuous rocker and these are most often found on non-fishing kayaks, especially kayaks that are to be used in rocky areas where there is the potential to get stuck!

Of course, you also need to consider the length, width and materials that your kayak is made from.

How We Picked and Tested

To select which finish kayaks to test, we used practical testing data which was produced by a number of volunteers associated with us. We also consulted experts in fishing kayaks and what their personal choices would be. From the 60 kayaks that we found, we have tested approximately 50 of them. It would not be right to state that any one of the kayaks that we tested was without flaws. Nevertheless, we have come up with our shortlist of our top ten fishing kayaks based on our selection process, giving you our 10 best fishing kayak reviews.
Our volunteers focused on certain features, including the build material, design, air chambers, deflation and inflation time, maximum weight capacity, inflatable l-beam floor, certification, any included accessories, how fast they were to set up, their capacity for sitting onboard, footrests, any secure storage areas and, of course, the warranty. Based on these important focus points, we have decided on the best 10 fishing kayaks that are for sale today.

Our Top Ten Product List

We analyzed 44 of the most important features for all of the kayaks that we tested. Our research report is open for you to read with a view to helping you choose the best product for you. Before you can view this report, please like any of our social media pages. Our best fishing kayak reviews are presented here for you in various options including beginner’s, advanced, professional as well as Our Top Pick and budget options too. Read on to find out more!

Our Pick: Intex Explorer K2 Kayak, 2, Person Inflatable Kayak

Before I tell you about this fantastic kayak, first let’s look at the reasons why it is our number one pick.

Why is this product our Pick?

Best Pick

Superbly designed kayak

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

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Superbly designed kayak

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

There is no doubt that this is our favorite kayak on the market. It has so many brilliant features, for under $100, which is astonishing!

  1. Within the 44 important features that we looked into as part of our research, this fishing kayak has the 2nd most positive features. To choose the best product, we focused on the three most important points: the number of good features, the durability of the kayak and the price.
  2. This product surpasses all others, meeting all three of these characteristics superbly.  It is fitted with puncture-resistant, heavy-duty vinyl with two separate air chambers for increased safety.  It has quick inflation and deflation capacity, making it incredibly easy to use and it features an inflatable l-beam floor for extra rigidity. Most importantly, it has a 400lb capacity weight. These amazing features come in at only $95 or less, making it our overall top choice.
  3. We compared the frequency of ratings of each of our tested products for the 30 most recent ratings on Amazon. We found that this kayak is receiving ratings at a very good rate. It received its 1st ten ratings in 11 days, its 2nd ten ratings in 7 days and its 3rd ten ratings in 12 days.
  4. It also has a unique feature: a removable skeg capacity.

Detailed Review

best fishing kayak reviews: Our top rated fishing kayak really is an excellent buy

Specification:

The Intex Explorer is a bright and sporty model of fishing kayak, streamlined for making paddling easier. Its inflated size measures 10’3″ X 3′ X 1’8″ and its weight is 31.13lb, making it lightweight and rather compact. It is made from yellow heavy-duty puncture resistant vinyl, making it highly visible when out in the water for safety. Indeed, this 1200 denier nylon shell covered with SUPER-TOUGH braided 30-gauge vinyl is what makes it an immensely durable model. There is also an inflatable I-beam floor designed for rigidity as well as comfort. It is a sit-in kayak with two inflatable and adjustable seats with comfortable backrests, which are suitable for almost anyone. Boston valves on each side ensure quick inflation and deflation. There are also grab handles and grab lines at each end to aid transportation. It really does tick a lot of boxes in what you should be looking for in a finishing kayak.

Skill Level and Holding Capacity:

This kayak is made ideally for smaller bodies of water, such as lakes and mild rivers. As such it would be an ideal beginner kayak. Indeed, its price is its major appeal for beginner and intermediate kayakers. Having said that, the features that it packs in ensure that it is the most perfect choice for those who are more advanced in terms of kayak fishing! In addition, some advanced users report that they have used this kayak successfully on rapids and stronger rivers due to its high-quality build.

It seats two passengers and has a holding capacity maximum weight of 400lbs. It is pleasingly spacious considering it is an inflatable, able to hold double the kit needed for two people. Its focus isn’t simply on the seating, like with many inflatables. Here, you have plenty of space for extras, such as water, food and equipment, making it an ideal fishing kayak.

Speed and Stability:

As mentioned in our reasons for it being our top pick, it has a removable skeg that aids directional stability. Stability is also tackled by the presence of the aforementioned inflatable I-Beam floors. Two separate air compartments make up the body of the vessel. If a puncture occurs, it continues to remain buoyant for your safety. These compartments are placed in the hull and the floor. There is also a reinforced base which protects the floor chamber and increases the weight capacity of the kayak.

Ease of Use:

It is designed with many uses in mind. But, each aspect of this design is created for ease of use. It can be used straight from the box and is a highly convenient piece of kit. The Boston valves ensure quick inflation and deflation. Because of its lightweight, it can be used easily by one person, meaning that if your passenger needs a break or you’re sailing with a child, there are no difficulties in maneuvering the boat. However, the paddles are unfortunately not adjustable.

Attachment and Warranty:

It comes with accessories such as a repair kit and a US Coast Guard ID, ensuring that its users are as safe as possible. As well as the repair kit, it comes with robust aluminum oars (86”) and Intext’s high-output pump. Its safety is ensured by its certification from the National Marine Manufacturers Association complying with ABYC standards. However, the warranty is on the short side, at only 90 days. Despite this, you can buy additional warranty cover extremely cheaply.

Pros:

  • Lightweight, easy to use
  • Very affordable
  • Comes with all the necessary equipment to get started
  • Great frequency ratings and star reviews on Amazon

Cons:

  • Paddles that are not adjustable
  • The warranty is only 90 days and the pump is not included in the warranty.

Verdict:

Our top rated fishing kayak really is an excellent buy. It comes with pretty much everything you could ever need when starting out with kayak fishing but would also make a fantastic kayak for those who already have kayaking experience. It is lightweight and compact, easy to transport and has added features for extra stability. It has a large capacity and is suitable for two people and double kit should you need it. You can use this kayak straight from the box!

Budget Pick: Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, 1 Person Inflatable Kayak

Our budget pick is another Intex product: the little sister to the K2, The Challenger K1. Let’s have a look at why it’s an ideal budget buy.

Why is this product our Budget Pick?

Bargain Choice

Cheapest of All!

Intex Challenger K1 Kayak

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Cheapest of All!

Intex Challenger K1 Kayak

This kayak from Intex is still a superb kayak for this price. It is the perfect choice for a beginner or a less serious kayaker. It comes with most of the basic features you need, at an affordable price.

Firstly, from our top ten list, the Challenger K1 has the lowest price among all our top 10 kayaks. Despite its low price, this fishing kayak has eight of the most important positive features that we have identified from our research. Like our top pick, it also has heavy-duty puncture-resistant vinyl with the two separate air chambers and the inflatable l-beam floor to enhance its rigidity. It also has Boston valves for quick inflation . It has the same certificate from the National Marine Manufacturers Association complying with ABYC standards. These features are often thought to be premium features yet this kayak is very much within the budget price range, making it our chosen budget pick.

Secondly, in comparing the frequency of the ratings of each of our top ten products for the last 30 ratings, we found that this kayak is receiving ratings at a very good rate. Its first ten ratings were within 19 days, the second ten were within 11 days and the third ten ratings within 33 days.

Lastly, like its bigger relation, the Intex Challenger K1 comes with 86” aluminum oars and a high-output air pump included.

Detailed Review

best fishing kayak reviews: A perfect choice for still or slow moving water

Specification:

Intex has created a really great budget kayak here, incorporating popular new constructions methods and diversifying the use of materials. It is purpose built to be economical and accessible for everyone. It’s perfect for still or slow-moving water, setting the bar high for cheap, inflatable kayaks.

It is made from a durable and eye-catching material, exactly like our Top Pick: a 1200 denier nylon shell covered with SUPER-TOUGH braided 30-gauge vinyl. It’s, therefore, immensely robust for an inflatable and comes with a puncture repair kit too. If you did have a puncture, its two separate air chambers ensure that you would still stay buoyant. The vinyl is even UV-proof.

The cockpit is designed with comfort and space in mind. Whilst it may not have the most onboard space, it certainly maximizes the space that it does have. It has a cargo net for storage and the seat also comes with a comfortable inflatable backrest. It measures 9ft in length by 2ft 6in in width.

Skill Level and Holding Capacity:

It seats one angler and has a maximum capacity weight of 220lbs meaning that although it’s lightweight, it is by no means feeble in the kayak stakes. It is ideal for still or slow moving water. Getting enough traction when fighting currents is difficult in the kayak, therefore, it would not be suitable for the professional angler and not suitable for fishing on the open seas or in whitewater. Having said that, it would be suitable for beginners or those testing out the fishing kayak waters, or even those who are more advanced but looking for an inflatable kayak due to its portability and ease of use.

Speed and Stability:

The inflatable I-beam floors on this enhance its stability drastically. It really is a far cry from floating on an inflatable lilo in a pool! This special floor means that you can even stand while using the kayak and can sit in whatever position you find the most comfortable without any worries of taking an unexpected dive in the water.

Ease of Use:

Coming with its own oar and pump, this kayak is pretty much ready to go as soon as you get it out of the box! Grab lines on the ends of the kayak add to its ease of use too. However, the oar is not of the best quality and is not adjustable. That said, we have to remember that this is a budget kayak and there has to be a compromise somewhere!

Attachment and Warranty:

As mentioned, this kayak comes with an 86-inch aluminum oar and a high-output hand pump, giving you everything you need to get going straight away. The kayak does come with a warranty of 90 days, which is relatively short. However, you can purchase an additional warranty very cheaply if you wish to have additional peace of mind.

Pros:

  • The price! The cheapest of all our reviewed kayaks.
  • Inflatable I-beam floor for enhanced stability
  • Storage space
  • Comes with an oar and pump

Cons:

  • Oar is of low quality
  • Warranty is only 90 days

Verdict:

This top-rated fishing kayak really is a superb buy for a budget model. Yes, it doesn’t have some of the features needed for open water sea fishing or whitewater rapids, but it’s ideal for a beginner or someone who is not sure if they quite want to take the plunge into serious kayak fishing. For the price, you really get everything you need to get started straight from the box. It is an extremely durable and lightweight kayak that can be transported anywhere! The fact that it comes with storage space is fantastic – not many kayaks of this size and price range come with this feature. On a budget? Then this kayak is most certainly for you!

Advanced Pick: Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak

Why is this product our Advanced Pick?

Superior Choice

Packed full of Technology

Sevylor Quikpak K1

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Packed full of Technology

Sevylor Quikpak K1

If you are looking for an advanced kayak, that is paving the way with new features, then this is the pick for you. It is cutting edge and great for really keen kayakers.

Our advanced pick is the superb Sevylor Quikpak K1. In choosing our advanced pick, we have focused on the technology and the number of positive features of our shortlisted fishing kayaks. Our report shows that this kayak has the highest number of positive features and therefore there is no doubt that this 1-person kayak is the epitome of cutting-edge technology in the kayaking field. For example, this kayak is built with 21-gauge PVC Vinyl with a tarpaulin bottom, protecting from punctures. It also has multiple air chambers with an Airtight® System for extra protection from leaks. Its Double Lock™ valves make inflation extra easy. It also flaunts NMMA® certification for 400lbs weight capacity which is fantastic of a kayak that only seats one person. With all of these great features, it comes within the $120 price range! As with all our reviewed products, we compared the rating frequency for the most recent 30 ratings and found that this kayak is receiving ratings at a very good rate. Finally, none of our other tested products has such ultra-durability and is built for long-lasting performance to provide long-term use as this Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak.

Detailed Review

best fishing kayak reviews: For an advanced pick, this kayak certainly ticks a lot of boxes.

Specification:

The Sevylor Quikpak K1 is a fantastic sit-on recreational kayak. It is lightweight, weighing in at only 19lbs, and compact. Its dimensions when inflated are 8’7” x 3’. The tarpaulin bottom ensures that it can take a bit of a battering if needed. Tarpaulin is one of the most water-proof, strongest materials out there. It’s also fire retardant. It has an adjustable seat which can be used with additional support if needed, making it a very comfortable place to sit when cruising. It also has adjustable footrests.

Skill Level and Holding Capacity:

This kayak has an impressive holding capacity of 400lb, which is a lot for a single person kayak! With only one seat, you could load quite a bit onto it without having to compromise on the speed, stability and directionality of the boat. It comes with a cargo holder where you can store all your fishing bits and pieces. However, it cannot be used on rougher waters; so stay away from the ocean with it!

Speed and Stability:

With inflatable kayaks mostly being aimed towards beginners, the safety aspects and boat stability are more often put ahead of speed in terms of features. However, this kayak is a great performer on still water and can also manage strong currents. It has a flat bottom which adds to its stability and ability to maneuver through the water. However, the flat bottom also means that it might not be as nimble as other models when trying to maintain a straight line.

The weight limit is quite impressive at 400lbs! However, should you get nearer the top of the limit this will obviously reduce the kayak’s performance.

Ease of Use:

This kayak has Double Lock valves ensuring that inflating and deflating is a piece of cake. You can be out in the water in less than five minutes. Furthermore, when it is deflated, it can fit into a backpack, making it even easier to transport and carry around with you as well as making it easier to store if you are tight on space. Due to its simple design and sit-on-top seat, it couldn’t be easier to get in and out of this kayak. Additionally, it has carry handles to help you move it once it is inflated. It really is one of the easiest kayaks out there to transport and use.

Attachment and Warranty:

Like our other top choice kayaks, this one also has a 90-day limited warranty. The kayak does come with all the accessories that you could possibly need, including the all essential high-pressure hand pump. The backpack for its storage when not in use also turns into the seat support. It even boasts a cup holder. Furthermore, its paddle is collapsible (unlike our first two picks). It is extremely light and durable, making this an excellent purchase all round without the ‘advanced’ price tag to go with it!

Pros:

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Multiple air chambers
  • Built from heavy-duty materials
  • Added extras such as convertible storage bag/seat support.

Cons:

  • Not much room for cargo
  • Cannot be used in rougher waters

Verdict:

For an advanced pick, this kayak certainly ticks a lot of boxes. It comes with everything you need to get started, including the pump and paddle and is lighter than most other inflatable kayaks available on sale today. It is easier to set up and is capable of holding a lot of weight! However, if you’re looking for something for the ocean then this is not the model to choose as its performance is not quite up to the standard needed for the roughest waters.

Best Professional Choice: Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak

Why is this product Best Professional Choice?

Leading Choice

A state-of-the-art kayak

Sevylor Coleman Colorado

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A state-of-the-art kayak

Sevylor Coleman Colorado

Choose this kayak if you are looking for a kayak for a professional. It is well-built and sturdy with loads of features you will be really pleased to see!

Our best professional choice is the Sevylor Coleman Colorado, a fishing kayak built for two passengers. It’s our professional choice because it is built very well for heavy-duty loads and has lots of high-tech features. Professionals need robust kayaks with multiple people seating capacity and convenient technology. This fishing kayak certainly has that! For durability, it has 18-gauge PVC construction with a 1000 denier tarpaulin bottom and 840 denier nylon cover, as well as the Airtight® System. It also has trolling motor fittings, unlike any of our other kayaks, and is also fitted with D-rings. It features Berkley® Quick Set rod holders and mesh storage that is very secure. It can house up to 470lbs, making it our best professional choice. All of this and it is under $400. Furthermore, its rating frequency is fantastic and it is receiving ratings at an amazingly fast rate. This top rated fishing kayak really is a great professional choice.

Detailed Review

best fishing kayak reviews: An advanced choice for professionals

Specification:

This kayak will meet all your professional requirements in terms of fishing and will get you back to shore safely. It is made from high-quality and durable materials (18 gauge PVC, a strong nylon cover and a dense tarpaulin base), allowing you to get to your favorite fishing spots with ease, withstanding any bumps and scrapes along the way. For extra security, it has multiple air chambers, ensuring you will always have buoyancy even in the event of a puncture. The Airtight system also guarantees that it will not leak! It also has adjustable seats for your comfort. It is rigged especially for fishing, unlike some of our other reviewed products and top picks.

Skill Level and Holding Capacity:

This kayak is designed especially for lake use, ensuring that its robustness described above can withstand any sharp rocks or broken branches often found in lakes or near the shore. It is a professional quality kayak that works best on a calm water surface, which is pretty typical for recreational kayaks. Still, it does not mean that it can’t be used on different surfaces but you should always avoid taking the kayak on whitewater.

Speed and Stability:

It is a very stable kayak and can even be used in coastline conditions. However, it is a little bulky and therefore not great for speed. Nevertheless, this could be counteracted with the addition of a trolling motor. Users do report that it isn’t great in windy conditions, however, as it can be blown a bit off course due to its bulkiness.

Ease of Use:

For your convenience and ease of use, you can even attach a trolling motor (Sevylor make one to attach) to make your trip even simple, storing the oars in the holders provided. The Berkley Quick Set fishing rod holders allow you to adjust the angle of your pole to allow easy fishing hands-free. You can easily take care of your kit that you can store attached to the D-rings or in the mesh pockets, especially when hands-free!

Attachment and Warranty:

We have mentioned quite a few added extras already: the D-rings, the rod holders, the paddle holders and the trolling motor fittings. Additionally, it comes with a 1-year limited warranty (longer than our first three picks above). It has multiple mesh storage pockets, a carry bag and a pressure gauge too! The carry handles also make it very easy to get it in and out of the water. However, this kayak does not come with a paddle or pump, something that’s worth considering if you don’t already have these at home.

Pros:

  • Extremely durable
  • Hands-free fishing with built-in rod holders and paddle holders
  • Large storage capacity
  • Trolling motor fittings
  • 1-year limited warranty

Cons:

  • Bulky sidewalls
  • Slow
  • Does not come with a pump or paddles

Verdict

Built especially for fishing, this is the first of our picks that has special attachments showing off its fishing capabilities. It is, therefore, a great choice for the professional and will stand the test of time with its robust, rugged construction and special features. It is large with great storage capacity and ensures that its users can fish hands-free. It might not come with a pump or paddles, but what it lacks in added extras it makes up for in functionality and design. Of course, being a professional standard vessel, it is on the pricier side but with this model, you certainly get what you pay for.

Best for Beginners: Intex Challenger K2 Kayak, 2 Person Inflatable Kayak

Why is this product Best for Beginners?

First-timers Pick

The beginner’s model

Intex Challenger K2 Kayak

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The beginner’s model

Intex Challenger K2 Kayak

This kayak is a brilliant choice for anyone who is new to kayaking. Again from Intex, it is reliable and robust, with all the basic features you need when you’re starting out.

On to our best pick for beginners and we have chosen another model from the Intex range. Despite it being a fairly cheap fishing kayak with some basic useful features, it would make a great entry-level kayak. Firstly, it comes with robust puncture-resistant, UV damage-resistant, Super Tough vinyl and two separate air chambers. The inflatable I-beam floor adds extra safety and rigidity too. Secondly, it can have two passengers and still comes in at a very budget-friendly price point. Its bright green color ensures great visibility too – a great addition providing enhanced visibility for any entry-level amateur should any unexpected emergency occur.

As far as the rating frequency is concerned, we found that this product also receives ratings at an incredible rate and, like our best choice, also enjoys National Marine Manufacturers Association certification complying with ABYC standards.

Detailed Review

best fishing kayak reviews: The perfect choice for beginners

Specification:

The Intex Challenger K2 is a 2 person inflatable kayak that measures 11ft 6in x 2ft 6in when fully inflated. It has a 400lb maximum weight and is made from Intex’s rugged vinyl: Super Tough, puncture resistant and UV-resistant ensuring longevity and durability. It is bright green with sporty graphics, safeguarding visibility in case of emergencies on the water. Furthermore, its dual air chambers protect against deflation in the unlikely event of a puncture. It is streamlined for easy paddling.

Skill Level and Holding Capacity:

The K2 is best used on lakes and slow flowing rivers and has a 400lb capacity. The fact it has a two-person capacity does increase the strength and ability to cope with stronger currents but this is still not advised, ruling out oceans and rapid white waters. However, since this is our ideal choice for beginners, this may be not what you are looking to do with your new kayak in the first instance.

If you are a more advanced kayaker, this boat is not an indispensable addition to your fleet. However, for beginners, you will struggle to find any other kayak better suited in a similar price bracket. Its approximate cost is just over $100, so you can’t really argue that it isn’t good value for money either!

Speed and Stability:

The K2 is a sturdy and robust kayak with an I-Beam floor to add extra stability meaning that the angler can even stand up when fishing. However, you must remember that with two of you on board it would be easier to accidentally rock the boat. The Challenger range from Intex is also renowned for their durability and easy maneuverability as well as their effortless tracking.

Ease of Use:

The Intex Challenger K2 is perfect for any age and can even be made into a single- seated version should you desire. It is ideal for exploring still water, lakes or mild, slow-moving rivers. It is very easy to control with a respectable turning circle. It has an easily accessible cargo storage net and grabs lines on each end to aid transportation and carrying.

Attachment and Warranty:

This kayak comes with two 86” aluminum paddles, a repair patch kit and a high-output pump. What’s more, the oars separate into two parts for easy carrying and storage. The hand pump is simple to use and very compact and to inflate the boat fully it does take a little bit of effort. It also comes with a 90-day warranty and additional warrant time can be purchased very cheaply.

Pros:

  • Great Value
  • Robust, durable and easy to set up
  • Easy to store
  • Comes with 2 paddles that can be made smaller to store

Cons:

  • The hand pump is not the best but gets the job done

Verdict

Overall, this the Intex Challenger K2 is a wonderful kayak, ideal for beginners and those wanting to explore slow moving rivers and lakes. Made from the same durable materials as the other Intex boats, it is sure to be a robust and strong kayak with years of life in it. It comes with everything a beginner angler should need to get started on the water – all you need now is your sea legs!

A List of 5 Other Products We Reviewed

No 6: Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-on top Kayak Review

Beginner’s Boat

Value for money

Sun Dolphin Bali SS

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Value for money

Sun Dolphin Bali SS

This is another affordable option for kayaking beginners. It is a lightweight hard bodied kayak, that comes in loads of different colors to suit your style.

Specification:

Our sixth top choice kayak is the Sun Dolphin Bali SS, a sit-on-top hard bodied kayak. It is made from high-density Fortiflex polyethylene, which gives it durability and safeguards against the effects of salt and fresh water. To meet customers’ demands, this kayak is made in many colors including green, blue, pink and orange, as well as many others! It measures 10ft in length and 30in in width with a weight of 40lb. Despite the weight, it actually weighs less than other similar models made from polyethylene.

Skill level and Holding capacity:

The Sun Dolphin Bali 10 SS kayak’s weight capacity is 250lb at its maximum. It is made with solo use in mind but it could actually carry a young child too. Or even a pet! Due to its length and width, it is ideal for paddling on still lakes and calm rivers but probably not best suited to the sea or whitewater rapids.

Speed and Stability:

The hull design of this boat is fantastic in terms of stability. It is designed to move easily but slowly, giving you maximum control. It paddles and tracks effortlessly, offering maximum stability.

Ease of Use:

Its open cockpit ensures easy entry and exit. The seating area is comfortable and large, even having protective thigh pads and foot braces that are adjustable. It also has holders for your paddles! It comes with a deck rigging which means that you can easily use it as a fishing kayak, although you will need to buy rod holders!

Attachment and Warranty:

The Sun Dolphin Bali SS comes with a PAC, a Portable Accessory Carrier, which is a bit like a tow or backpack extra supplies can be stored! It also has a handy dry storage compartment for any items that you don’t want to get wet.

Pros:

  • This kayak comes in many colors
  • Good value for money
  • Easy and smooth to paddle
  • Great for beginners
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Strong Polyethylene frame but is also prone to scratching and flexing
  • The hull design ensures stability but lacks in speed
  • The seat has no base cushion and therefore could be a little uncomfortable after long-term use
  • Harder to transport and to store than inflatable models.

Verdict

Overall, the Sun Dolphin Bali SS is a good, solid kayak which is excellent value for money. It’s the hard-bodied kayak that occupies the highest position in our top ten best kayaks, so if you’re certain you want a hard kayak then this one would make an excellent choice. Not only that, it comes in many colors too, allowing you to choose the one that is perfect for you! It’s lightweight, ideal for beginners and smooth and easy to paddle with some fantastic storage additions. Of course, being a hard kayak it is harder to transport than an inflatable so you should bear this in mind when purchasing.

Check Customer Reviews on Amazon

No 7: Lifetime Tamarack Sit-On-Top Kayak Review

Excellent Pick

A long-lasting choice

Lifetime Tamarack Sit-On-Top Kayak

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A long-lasting choice

Lifetime Tamarack

There is no doubt that this kayak will last you a while. It comes with a five-year warranty, and is super stable. It is one of the top-rated kayaks we’ve tested, but maybe a little on the small side for some.

Specification:

The Tamarak Angler hard bodied sit-on-top kayak is constructed from High-Density UV-resistant Polyethylene. It weighs 52lb and measures 10ft by 31in, making it suitable for single anglers who measure 6ft comfortably.

What makes this kayak stand out from the others is the 5-year limited warranty. A company that stands behind its products for such an extended period of time ensures that they are of top quality and the Tamarak Angler is no different. It is packed with high-quality features that mean you really get a great deal for your money too.

Skill level and Holding capacity:

The Tamarak Angler is suited to pretty much any kayaker. It is great for both new and experienced anglers looking to visit different parts of a lake. Due to its stability, it is ideal for the first-timers who are perhaps a bit less confident on the water.

It is ideal for fishing in rivers, calm lakes and even ocean bays due to its sturdy base. It is not most suited to rougher waters and open sea fishing, however, as that would need additional speed which the Tamarak is just not quite cut out for. It holds up to 275lb in its weight capacity, meaning it can comfortably house a tall angler as well as all the equipment that he or she may need.

Speed and Stability:

This vessel is designed with stability at the fore, unfortunately sacrificing the need for speed along the way. It does not cut through the ocean waves as well as specific sea kayaks and, as such, it is recommended that you don’t attempt to ride the sea waves in it. It is, however, ideal for ocean bays and calmer waters as its stability is fantastic.

The hull of the boat is fantastic having a stable, flip resistant design with deep tracking channels. It has an integrated skeg which enhances the tracking of the boat. Its multi-chine hull means that smaller anglers can even stand up comfortably and fish!

Ease of Use:

This kayak is extremely easy to use. It has multi-position footrests and an adjustable seat back with padded pads for your comfort. However, it isn’t the most comfortable if you were wanting to sit in it for extended periods of time.

It has two flush-mounted rod holder and also an additional top mounted holder, meaning that you can easily fish hands-free with multiple rods, increasing your chances of getting that all-important catch of the day. It is fitted with two paddle cradles too. The T-handles on the front and rear also ensure it’s easy to transport, despite not being a compact inflatable model.

Attachment and Warranty:

As mentioned above, the bonus of this kayak is its impressive 5-year warranty! As mentioned above, it is fitted with three holders for rods (the one on top is also a swivel holder) and cradles for paddles making your trip really easy. It also has plenty of on-board storage which is a real plus. It has two 6 inch hatches in the middle and bow of the kayak where you can store your bait and other smaller accessories too. It also comes with a paddle, which isn’t always a given when buying a kayak believe it or not!

Pros:

  • Ample storage for all your gear
  • 5-year warranty included
  • Extremely stable
  • Tracks well due to the integrated skeg
  • One of the top rated fishing boats in our top ten best fishing kayaks

Cons:

  • Lacks in speed
  • If you’re over 6ft tall it may be too small
  • Seat can be comfortable on extended fishing trips

Verdict:

This kayak is filled with positives: if you’re wanting a long-lasting robust kayak that comes with an extended warranty then this one is most definitely a contender. Also, you can’t fault it for its storage capacity – you even have room for extra bits and pieces that many kayaks wouldn’t have space for. Furthermore, with three fitted rod holders in different positions, you are sure to be able to lure in that much-desired catch! For a hard-bodied kayak, it is still fairly light in weight and can be carried easily by its sole occupant.

Check Customer Reviews on Amazon

No 8: BKC UH-TK181 12.5 foot Sit On Top Tandem Fishing Kayak Review

All-rounder

Good for all abilities

BKC UH-TK181 Fishing Kayak

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Good for all abilities

BKC UH-TK181

With its great storage and big capacity, this is a good kayak if you’ve got beginners as well as pros in your family. It is well rated on Amazon, so you won’t be disappointed with this purchase.

Specification:

This fishing kayak is a hard bodied sit-on-top 2-person kayak that the manufacturers state is ‘adventure ready.’ Head for the lazy rivers, the choppy lakes and even the oceans solo or with a pal! The kayak is on the longer side measuring 12ft 5in and has plenty of capacity to support weight and hold all your gear. It has a 34-inch beam providing great stability and tracking. It is made from high quality extruded polyethylene and is available in five colors, including camouflage versions as well as brighter colors such as yellow for extra safety and ease visibility should you wish.

The fact that it is a sit on top kayak might mean that you get a little wetter but it is perfect for casting, giving you that all important space.

Skill level and Holding capacity:

This kayak is a perfect one for entry-level fishing enthusiasts but also ideal for advanced anglers too! It has everything included to get you started, including paddles and seats, without any additional purchases. It can be used in all kinds of still waters such as large ponds, slow-moving rivers, dams, lakes, and ocean bays. However, you should stay away from the big ocean waves as this kayak simply isn’t built to withstand deep sea fishing. So even if you know all aspects of deep sea kayak fishing, never try to take unnecessary risks. Whitewater of any kind is not in the remit of this kayak’s capabilities.

It has a large 450lb capacity meaning that it can more-than-adequately fit two passengers and double the gear too!

Speed and Stability:

The width of this tandem kayak is slightly less than the average 36-inch width, measuring 34 inches. With its length of 12.5 feet, it is a little longer than average which means that it glides firmly over the water. It does mean that it’s a little harder to maneuver, however. The width provides good initial stability, ensuring that it is easier to board the kayak and get all of your equipment loaded without the risk of it flipping.

The kayak is even stable enough for anglers to cast while standing, ensuring greater convenience and options for you. Its hull is carefully balanced and has high-level stability.

Ease of Use:

Operating this kayak is pretty easy. It glides smoothly and easily over the water and also tracks really well. Despite its length, it is not too difficult to maneuver for a 2 person kayak.

There are a lot of other additions to the kayak that make it easy to use. It has multiple carrying handles for when you are transporting it, although at 68lbs it isn’t the lightest of kayaks if you are taking it out solo! With seven different rod holders, you can fish conveniently and easily and place your paddles in the paddle rests provided.

Attachment and Warranty:

This kayak, unlike some of our other models in our top ten, comes with everything that you will need for your fishing trip (rods and bait etc. aside, of course!). It is supplied with the aforementioned rod holders in multiple positions, many storage compartments, paddle rests and two paddles – so there are no additional purchases of paddles to push up the cost. Furthermore, the paddles are made specifically to go with this kayak and are not just your general paddle. Of the seven rod holders, four of them are adjustable and the other four a flush mounted for stability.

Pros:

  • Ample storage and accessories
  • Comprehensive five-year warranty
  • Large 450lb capacity
  • Perfect for beginners as well as advanced kayak anglers
  • This is the Top rated fishing kayak in our top ten, with 4.4 stars out of 5 on Amazon

Cons:

  • A little on the heavy side if not being carried by two people
  • Not as well known a manufacturer as some other brands

Verdict:

This kayak has a lot to offer the beginner as well as the more experienced paddler. Its multiple storage compartments, some of which are waterproof, and ample rod holders ensure that it has got enough space for two adult anglers as well as all the gear that two people need! Despite being a touch heavy, it has four carrying handles and is well made and constructed with excellent stability for some slightly choppy waters. It remains nimble enough for one passenger but is plenty stable with ample weight capacity for two anglers as well. What is more, it is backed by a comprehensive 5-year warranty! It really is a great buy if you’re looking for a well-built 2-person kayak.

Check Customer Reviews on Amazon

No 9: Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak Review

Large Kayak

Three-man big

Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak

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Three-man big

Lifetime Tandem Kayak

This kayak is perfect for a family who are looking for a bigger kayak to fit everyone on board. The only downside is that its size makes it quite big and trick to move.

Specification:

The Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak is blow molded and made from High-Density Polyethylene, ensuring greater strength and stability. It is also UV-protected meaning that its color will not fade, nor will it peel or crack in strong sunlight. This sturdy material is also extremely strong, preventing punctures and holes if you accidentally scrape over any sharp or protruding rocks.

Skill level and Holding capacity:

This kayak is unique in that it can comfortably sit two people but can also fit a third passenger should you wish! It has an extra-large loading capacity of up to 500lb, which is double that of some of our other reviewed kayaks! This means that it really is a family-friendly kayak, easily taking three of you and your equipment into the water.
Because it has the possibility of adding a motor, you could use it in rougher waters but ideally, the recommendation is that it is suitable mainly for calmer waters, such as rivers, lakes, reservoirs and ocean bays.

Speed and Stability:

This kayak is very stable, meaning that you can stand on it without the worry of it tipping and you taking an unexpected swim in the water. The design of the hull means that it is extra stable and is great at tracking. Its speed is not the best due to its weight and design but stability is the key here when, let’s face it, fishing is done when you are not moving!

Ease of Use:

This is a dedicated fishing kayak meaning that it is already kitted out with added extras to make your fishing trip as easy and enjoyable as possible. The four fishing rod holders mean that you can be hands-free while you fish. It also has scupper holes for easy drainage and an accessory mount so that you can attach a motor should you wish to have an even easier kayaking experience.

The two main seats are ergonomic and with comfortable backrests as well as being in the high-and-dry style. There is also a molded side-saddle seat in the center which is ideal for casting. There are also multi-position footrests for the users’ comfort, no matter their height.

Attachment and Warranty:

This kayak comes with a rear storage hatch as well as ditty trays. It also has shock-cord straps for extra storage and security meaning that you can easily take all of your fishing gear with you and still have ample storage for any extras – or for the fish that you catch! It comes with two paddles that are double-sided.

Pros:

  • Large 500lb/3 person capacity
  • Dedicated fishing kayak with all the extra fittings a fishing kayak needs
  • A mount for a motor
  • Versatile

Cons:

  • Its large size makes it a little cumbersome to carry
  • Speed and tracking are not the best due to its width
  • Difficult to fit three people on well and have space to cast

Verdict:

This kayak has some superb features and is ideal if you are a family looking to kayak together due to its large capacity and capability of fitting three people on board! It is made from high-quality durable materials and comes with a mount for a motor should you need it. It has a 5-year limited warranty which is fantastic. It’s a comfortable and smooth ride and is fitted with everything an angler needs. It really is a fantastic buy if seating and storage is your priority.

Check Customer Reviews on Amazon

No 10: Sun Dolphin Journey 10-Foot Sit-on-top Fishing Review

Reliable Pick

Entry-level option

Sun Dolphin Journey Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak

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Entry-level option

Sun Dolphin Journey

This is another beginner’s choice. It doesn’t come with a huge amount of extra features, but it is light and small, so a reliable choice for a kayaking beginner.

Specification:

The Journey 10 is Sun Dolphin’s smallest sit-on-top kayaks measuring 10ft x 30in x 11 in and weighing just 44 pounds. It is therefore light to carry for its occupant and, despite its small size, it holds a decent 250lbs in capacity. Made from rugged Fortiflex High-Density Polyethylene, which is also UV-stabilized to prevent color damage and cracking in high sunlight conditions. It has an adjustable seat, which is padded for the comfort of its occupant, and also has a large open cockpit.

Skill level and Holding capacity:

This kayak is ideal for lakes and calm rivers, so making the most of it would be easy if you know the kayak fishing tips. Its capacity is 250lb, which is a little on the small side but let’s not forget that this is one of the smallest fishing kayaks on sale today. It’s an ideal beginner’s kayak due to its compact size and being lightweight too.

Speed and Stability:

This kayak paddles and tracks ease while providing maximum stability. It is a stable kayak for what you pay but unfortunately is not stable enough to cast while standing, so there are some limitations.

Ease of Use:

For your ease of use, this kayak possesses a storage compartment and a PAC (a portable accessory carrier) meaning that all your storage needs should be well and truly met with this model. It also has some shock cord rigging on the deck and even a water bottle holder. The seat is padded and comfortable and there are also protective pads for your thighs and adjustable footrests too. It is most definitely designed with comfort in mind.

Attachment and Warranty:

As well as the PAC, there are other specific fishing accessories that come with this kayak. It has 3-rod holders, two that are flush mounted and one that is a swivel pole holder.

Pros:

  • Ideal for beginners
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Fishing accessories attached

Cons:

  • If you’re over 6ft tall then you will probably need a larger model
  • Not stable enough to fish whilst in a standing position
  • Doesn’t come with a paddle

Verdict:

Overall, this is a lovely hard-bodied fishing kayak at the entry level for those on a budget. If you’re not sure if kayak fishing is for you then this product doesn’t set you back a lot but comes with a lot of fishing extras such as paddle holders and rod holders to help you get the most out of your fishing experience, despite coming without a paddle. It doesn’t have a lot of the fancy features or speed as the high-level fishing kayaks and it also has the lowest amazon ratings from our top ten, hence its position. Despite this, it is a great buy for a beginner who is after a specific fishing kayak rather than a plain recreational kayak. Storing and moving options.

Check Customer Reviews on Amazon

A List of Some Other Products We Tested for Our Best Fishing Kayak Reviews

Storing and Moving Options

When you’ve decided to get a kayak for living better, you will need to think about how you are going to store it, whether you are going to put it in a garage or a shed, if you have one. Of course, this is where the kayak type and its size come into consideration and is hopefully something you have thought about before you click “buy now” online. Transportation is also another aspect to consider. If you live right by a lake and intend to use your kayak there most of the time, then you are not going to need to consider transporting it as far as someone who intends to take their kayak on many fishing trips at greater distances.

Of course, if you have decided to buy an inflatable kayak then this is not going to take up much storage space and will be much easier to transport. However, for those hard-bodied kayaks, you can buy specialized kayak trailers and these offer an easy and great way of transporting your fishing kayak if roof racks seem too much hassle for you. Of course, these come at a price and a roof rack would come in cheaper, though you would need to choose a roof rack that would perfectly fit the model of your car. There are even kits to make your own kayak trailer or ones to attach to bicycles. Primarily, it’s important that you do your research as to how you will transport your kayak before you make that all-important purchase.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve read through our handy guide to the best 10 fishing kayaks and read our best fishing kayak reviews, you will hopefully not only have a better understanding of the fishing kayak market but also what it is that you want personally from your fishing kayak experience. You can hopefully narrow down your choices: hard-bodied or inflatable, compact or larger, specific fishing kayak or general recreational kayak? There are lots to consider and we have shown you many of the top rated fishing kayaks available. On many sites, you will find many customer reviews but they are not always as well informed as review sites like ours. As you can see from our factual data and research report, we really have looked at all aspects of these kayaks and can recommend these top ten to you, depending on what it is you’re looking for or how experienced you are. We have endeavored to provide you with the best fishing kayak reviews. If you’re still undecided then our Top Pick will serve you well as the best one that we have found on sale today. Happy fishing!

I still remember the days I went hiking with my father and brother – Strolling through the forest, foraging for firewood and roasting marshmallows by the campfire. Eventually, my brother started shying away from these activities, focusing more on his studies; but my interests in these outdoor activities kept growing. Read More