Finding the Best Fishing Kayak & Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide 2018
The Most Complete Guide To Choosing The Best Fishing Kayak
First of all – why not just fish off of a regular kayak?
This question alone is probably something you’ve asked yourself when deciding whether or not you actually need to spend the money towards a fishing kayak, or just bootstrap your current john boat, or your recreational kayak.
You can always just take what you currently have and make it better.
But we have some great information below to make sure you’re choosing the best fishing kayak.
We made sure to cover every aspect that we could possibly think of to make sure that when you are done reading this post you are as informed as possible.
WHY exactly are you looking into fishing kayaks?
Some of them come equipped with some REALLY cool and useful features like..
- Rod Holders
- Live Wells
- ‘Stay Dry’ Compartments
- Tackle Box Hatches
- Comfort Seating
- Electric Motors
- Stand Up Bars
But you may not need all of the above features in a fishing kayak.
So setting aside features for a minute there are 2 real questions that you need to ask yourself.
Are you more of a fisherman when someone else asks you to go on the next fishing trip, or are you the one pulling the group together to actually go? Even if you fish alone do you go often? Maybe a few times a month? Maybe less?
Consider how often you go as this will tie back in to how much value you are really adding to your experience. If cost is no problem to you then you just made the search a LOT easier on yourself, but if it is maybe make your OWN pros and cons list here.
And what may be the best fishing kayak for one person, may not be the best fishing kayak for another.
We’re positive this fishing kayak guide will be one of the most informative guides online to help you find the best fishing kayak.
You can absolutely make your OWN pros and cons list, but we also pointed out pros and cons to help you weigh options, and hopefully bring something up that you otherwise wouldn’t have thought of before this post.
The entire goal here is to find the best fishing kayak for YOU.
This is the 2nd question you need to ask yourself. This can be unrelated to the first depending on the situation you’re in, but is more focused on just what type of time you like to have when you go fishing? Are you looking for a fishing Kayak that can do just about everything you can think of?
When you go fishing are you the type that says “I really wish I had _______”, or are you the type to say, “Eh – that will work I’ll just toss a line in and grab me a cool beer”.
This can obviously vary depending on what type of person you are, but what it boils down to is HOW you ENJOY yourself when you fish.
You really can’t find the best fishing kayak for yourself below until you ask yourself those 2 questions.
Because although we recommend all of these (in some form or fashion) it’s really most important to consider your own situation.
Every single fishing kayak in this post is of the utmost quality that we could possibly find.
We evaluated 10 of the absolute best we could possibly the web.
To determine which one was the best fishing kayak we weighed..
- SIK or SOK (Including Seating)
- Dimensions (Length, Width & Weight)
- Rod Holders & Other Features
Let’s look at WHY we compared these certain features in all of the fishing kayaks, and what the heck is SOK & SIK??!
- The Most Complete Guide To Choosing The Best Fishing Kayak
SIK stands for Sit In Kayak, and SOK stands for Sit On Kayak.
That’s the same right? You’re technically sitting ON both of them right? Not exactly. We’ll show you.
This is a Sit IN Kayak…
You can see that you’re meant to sit on the inside of the vessel and you are surrounded by the walls of the kayak on either side of you. You’re also lower to the water and this can be good for stability purposes.
Another thing you should consider is what type of water you are fishing in. If it’s really clear and you want to be able to see down into it from a higher angle you may want to get a Sit ON Kayak so you can see better.
And this is a Sit ON Kayak
You can see here that you have more of an elevated type feel to it which not only allows you to see into the water better (if it’s clear enough to see in to), but it can also give you more of that “on a boat” type feel. If you want a close match to fishing on your boat minus the gas and loading it at the boat ramp and hassle some of these fishing kayaks are plenty elevated so you can get the same feel.
We should note that the best fishing kayak in this list is a sit on top, rather than a sit in…but there is one from this list that’s a sit IN.
Every fishing kayak below will fall within these 2 categories, but it’s also important to mention that some of these you can actually stand UP in because they are wide enough to ensure the stability to do so.
It won’t be like your average recreational kayak where as soon as you stand up you are playing teeter totter with yourself and eventually fall in. Some of these fishing kayaks are wide enough for you to stand up in a hurry and not even worry. More on that below.
The seating alone on a fishing kayak can make or break your enjoyment.
If there isn’t enough padding it’s almost like you don’t have a seat at all.
The angle at which your backrest is positioned is probably equally important.
Sit on top fishing kayaks at times will actually have swivel chairs. This way you can always turn towards the fish when reeling it in, and can also cast different directions when you want to.
For the most part Sit In Fishing Kayaks will have stationary seating as your seat will be part of the fishing kayak itself rather than a separate piece.
We made sure to cover the aspects of the fishing kayak seat. The last thing we want for you to do is choose one, and then once you get on the water you are fidgeting trying to get comfortable the whole time.
How exactly is the fishing kayak propelled?
You’ll see two main types within this post.
- Foot Pedals
Foot pedals in a fishing kayak are a HUGE time saver.
How do you paddle around to land your lure in the perfect spot when you are to busy holding your paddles?
Exactly. Having foot pedals are an absolute game changer in a fishing kayak and are quite common now.
Being able to simultaneously pedal while you cast and reel is a no brainer. Although it can take some practice to master we think you’d probably agree that it beats picking up and setting down your rod 5 times within 5 minutes.
Now….although foot pedals are a great option the most important thing to look at here is how still is the water that you’re going to be on? Are you going to be out in the bay fishing?
Or are you going to be on a lake that might be more still?
If you are going to be on moving water (a BUSY lake, the ocean, a river) then you may want to look at the foot pedal fishing kayaks.
But if you are going to be on still water then a paddle kayak could work just fine.
The best fishing kayak from this list is paddle powered. If that’s a no-no for you then choose what works for you.
And…what kind of SPACE do you need? Although it may be nice to have the foot pedal fishing kayak it does take up room so if you need to maximize every square inch of space within the kayak for your gear then consider how much room pedals take up.
There are 4 main types of material that are common in fishing kayaks, and this is where variance in price comes in to play.
If you are looking at a fishing kayak that costs $500, and then another fishing kayak that costs $2000 the likeliest cause in price variation would be the method of production, and the quality of the materials used in the production of the fishing kayak.
There are 4 main types of material / methods of production for fishing kayaks today.
- Single Layer Linear Polyethylene
Polyethylene (whether it be the single layer here, or the 3 layer below) will be the more durable options out of all 4 options for fishing kayaks. Single layer poly isn’t quite as stiff as 3 layer, and is definitely heavier. Being a little more flexible this would be the best choice for you in a fishing kayak if you are most likely to drag it over rocks or if you’re going to be fishing in shallow water where you could easily run this across the bottom.
- 3 Layer Linear Polyethylene
The 3 layer poly in a fishing kayak will most likely be the most durable. Much like Rtic & Yeti Coolers these fishing kayaks are made from a rotomolding process which allows it to be a strong piece of plastic like the single layer, but instead of being poly all the way through it is filled with foam so that the fishing kayak is in fact stiffer, and also lighter in weight.
Fiberglass fishing kayaks look slick, but they also typically come at a higher price due to the labor intensive work that comes with making them, and they also will not be as durable as a single layer, or triple layer polyethylene. Although they won’t be as durable they are easier to track in more choppy conditions – for bay fishing or for a lake with a lot of boat waves to handle.
If you think you won’t have any trouble running your fishing kayak over rocks and you are going to primarily be navigating through choppy waters then a fiberglass or Kevlar kayak would be a good choice for you.
- Kevlar Carbon Fiber
Kevlar fishing kayaks will be the most expensive option here. It’s stronger than fiberglass, and because of this less Kevlar has to be used when creating the actual fishing kayak resulting in lighter weight on the water, and is much easier to transport. If you’re going to be carrying your fishing kayak a LOT then a Kevlar fishing kayak definitely won’t be a bad option here.
We’ll also be covering steering and maneuverability. Although length and width play a big role here we’ll also look at.
- Does the hull provide a good shape to allow for easy steering?
- Does it come with any rudders or skegs?
- How exactly do you steer it?
Rudders are fins that drop from the stern (back) of the fishing kayak to help out with guidance, and skegs are more towards the bow (front) and are retractable.
These both can help with steering the fishing kayak, but they also can stick down too low if you are in extremely shallow water. This is up to you, and something that you should be consider when thinking of the type of water that you will be using the fishing kayak in.
We decided to choose certain fishing kayaks based on their functionality and their quality, but we also wanted to keep one thing pretty consistent here.
All of the fishing kayaks mentioned within this post are above 12 feet for a reason.
Well anything beneath that length can be a little difficult to stand on if you are more the stand up fisherman.
Yes – stability can relate to the width, but for the most part these fishing kayaks weren’t narrow and had a broad enough beam where this was irrelevant anyways.
The length of your fishing kayak all comes back to your style of fishing and what types of waters you will be in. If you will be in tighter coves and areas where you need to be able to turn tightly a shorter fishing kayak will suit you well.
But if you’re hitting the bay and fishing out on open water then a longer fishing kayak will be a better fit for you.
We can’t really put a label on what is considered a lengthy or short fishing kayak so make sure you have a look at all of these within the review to set your own gauge.
The width of your fishing kayak you choose to go with will also correlate (typically) with the length of it.
Meaning – typically lengthier fishing kayaks are more narrow while shorter kayaks are wider. This isn’t always the case as you will find narrow and short fishing kayaks, but you’ll typically find the former correlation to be true.
Cockpits are important here too.
You can have a lengthy and wide kayak that would seem to be roomy, but if the cockpit (the area that you sit in and the ‘inset mold’ part of the kayak) isn’t big enough and the fishing kayak is poorly constructed then you may not have room at all.
The more chiseled out the cockpit is the more room you will have to put your gear, stretch out your legs, and
As mentioned above you will find that fiberglass and Kevlar fishing kayaks both are lighter than the Polyethylene ones, but setting that aside and just looking at your own use case is just as important to consider.
- How much weight is too much for the top of your car?
- How many pounds can you carry down to the launching pad?
- Will your kids ever be using it? Do they need to be able to transport it themselves without your help?
- If the kayak is heavy it may come with a rolling cart to wheel it down to the launch pad. Can your car also fit the car on the inside / strapped to the top?
And if you think you want to err towards the heavier side for your fishing kayak choice, but don’t want to carry it to the launching pad here is a good kayak carrier.
We’ll be sure to mention how much these fishing kayaks actually weigh so that you can gauge whether or not it will be a good fit.
- How much stuff will you be transporting?
- WHAT will you be transporting? Beer?
- Do you need to hold caught fish and keep them fresh in a live well?
- What about water and food?
- Do you have a smartphone?
- Would you like a place to be able to keep that stuff in a waterproof dry box?
We’ll make sure we cover storage compartments, as well as capacity to see if you can fit your belongings.
Rod Holders & Other Features
To some avid fisherman the rod holders on any given vessel could be one of the most important aspects.
There are typically 2 types.
- Flush Rod Holders
On a fishing kayak – flush mount rod holders are great because they don’t stick up and they aren’t in the way. Making them less obtrusive. One thing you will find here is because they are flush they don’t have that rod holder ‘angle’ that some people like. Unless the rod holder was installed on some extreme curve or literally the side of the kayak then your rod will stick fairly straight up. All of the kayaks within this list do not have extreme curves at all so you should expect that.
- Deck Mount Rod Holders
Although these would stick up from the fishing kayak they may be more desirable for some. They have adjustable angles and it may be easier to snatch your fishing rod if you have a fish on from a deck mounted rod holder.
If you are using a lightweight fishing pole and using a deck mount rod holder you could actually save your rod from breaking too. Because of the angle the rod is in when a fish bites the tip of the fishing rod is already closer to the water creating less bend, but if you are using a flush mount rod holder the tip could go from straight up at virtually 90 degrees, to down to the water causing it to snap.
Also depends on what kind of fish you have on.
Rod placement is huge here. Now that we know the options you have we also looked at where exactly the rods are in relation to where you are sitting.
We know being able to comfortably reach something in a timely manner is important. Especially when it means showing off that legendary fish that you almost had.
The Top 7 Fishing Kayaks Of 2018
Eddyline C-135 YakAttack Edition
The Eddyline YakAttack Edition is our best fishing kayak for 2018.
It takes the cake for their entire Eddyline lineup (there’s a tongue twister), as well as this entire list.
Check out how slick this fishing kayak is. Not only is it great to look at, but it has everything you would need when out on the water.
The YakAttack Edition (along with the other models that Eddyline offers) are all Sit On Top.
The seats are all Cloud 10 Gear’s weatherproof, heatproof, easy to clean kayak seats.
The foam within Cloud 10’s gear is made to conform to your body, but also comes with external support features so you can find the perfect spot to reel in that largemouth.
The seat is adjustable to 4 different positions…
- High Forward
- High Back
So not only is the seat comfortable, but the height is completely adjustable and allows you to find what works best for you.
You won’t have any trouble getting this seat soaking wet, and another really cool feature is you can use the seating outside of your fishing kayak.
You can pop it right out, and then take it to a game, or an event. All day you will have the ergonomic support of the seat.
The YakAttack by Eddyline is paddle powered.
Eddyline made sure to think of EVERYTHING for this kayak so storing the paddle away while you’re fishing is no problem. YakAttack fishing kayak comes with easy tracs that you can use to install various accessories like a fish finder, or if you want to install some of YakAttacks’s roto grip handles to hold your paddle in place.
It comes with 2 of them upon purchase, but you may want to grab a 3rd one. This way if you want the paddle to be stored away along the length of the fishing kayak you can do so, but if you want to store it across the width (picture it elevated above your lap and secured on both sides you can do that as well.
You can grab one here.
YakAttack was the best fishing kayak from this list partly because of this reason alone.
You’ll be impressed here.
Above we mentioned how most fishing kayaks typically fall within 1 of 3 (technically 4) categories..
- Single Layer Polyethylene
- 3 Layer Polyethylene
- Kevlar Carbon
Eddyline doesn’t fall within any of these categories.
Back in the 1980’s it seemed like every kayak manufacturer was jumping on the polyethylene bandwagon, but Eddyline decided to go their own route.
Polyethylene is great for your budget, but the reason Eddyline went a different direction rather than pursue it is because in their view it lacked the ability to be easily worked with, repairability, and the weight that it made their kayaks.
They chose to develop their own plastic composite and they call it Carbonlite 2000.
This allowed them to still manufacture a plastic kayak that was lighter, much stronger, UV resistant, and allowed them to never sacrifice the quality of their fishing kayaks – making them one of the best fishing kayaks on the market to this day.
With a beam of 34” you can be assured you’re not going to topple the YakAttack over if you stand up on it.
Eddyline actually included a ‘pull up strap’ because they agree with that statement.
If you want to make sure you have a support bar to go with it too check out YakAttack’s command stand.
It’s perfect for leaning and relying on when you’re pulling in that trophy fish!
As far as the rest of the kayak here are the dimensions:
- Length: 13’ 5”
- Width: 34”
- Cockpit: 26” X 55”
- Weight: 69 lbs.
- Capacity: 450 lbs.
Storage is bar none here.
The Bow Hatch Liner on the YakAttack is great for bait, keeping your caught fish in, or just extra storage for anything else you may have brought on your adventure.
It’s not as reachable from the cockpit as the power hatch liner, which sits just behind it (closer to the seat).
Both of these offer ample room to stow away gear, and the power hatch liner will hold a 24V battery if you need to hook it up to a trolling motor or power any other equipment you’re using.
The YakAttack fishing kayak doesn’t come standard with a rod holder, but you can grab one here:
It does however come with a 4 inch DogBone, and you can grab an extra one here if you want to be able to put the fishing rod on the left or right side.
Eddyline DogBones are essentially “extenders” so you can easily reach trac installed items when you are standing up and you don’t have to reach down as far.
It may be nice to have them installed on both the left and right hand side of the YakAttack on the tracs.
Keep in mind the YakAttack is the best fishing kayak in its class for Eddyline’s fishing kayaks. Some of the others listed below are just as great as actually getting around in the water, but may lack a few features compared to the YakAttack, and making them more attractive to your wallet.
The Hobie Mirage made our list for best fishing kayak for one reason. It’s Rugged.
All around phenomenal fishing kayak with all of the bells and whistles.
Hobie Mirage is a Sit On Top fishing kayak, and much like the Cloud 10 seat from Eddyline you can remove the one Hobie supplies you as well.
The Vantage CT seat that comes with the Hobie Mirage is made of injection molded plastic, and the seating area where your butt and back will be all day is made of 3d mesh that is firm, but gives enough to your body type so you feel supported and comfortable, and will support up to 27 pounds.
There are 4 ways to adjust the seat:
- The Back (tilts forwards and backwards)
- The Bottom (tilts up and down)
- Lumbar Support (allows the lumbar area to stick out more so you won’t slouch)
- Vantage or High Position (allows you to sit up high)
Hobie made this seat so comfortable they constructed it so you could easily use this as a beach chair as well.
All you have to do is unfold the legs that fold all 4 directions (sort of like portable card tables), and align the leg grooves with the inserts and you’re all set.
If you want to look at getting an extra one just to have another badass beach chair for friends or family you can find it here:
You can also use this on any existing Hobie Mirage kayak if you currently have one.
Hobie made our list for best fishing kayak mainly because of this reason, and it’s absolutely amazing.
MirageDrive is the technology that Hobie uses to power their pedal fishing Kayaks and we have to admit it’s freakin’ awesome for a lack of better words.
Rather than pull out your paddle every time you need to move to a new area you just push back and forth with your feet (in a kicking motion not a rotational bicycle motion).
On the bottom of the fishing kayak are the two fins that propel the kayak.
You would think that they would move in a forward to back motion, but they move in a side to side motion and come up to lightly touch the bottom side with every stroke.
Hands down the coolest part here is the ability to pedal in REVERSE.
Yeah, how cool is that?
We’ll let this video speak for itself and give you a better idea of what that looks like in action.
Compared to the other pedal kayaks in this list. The hobie mirage is THE best fishing kayak for going in reverse.
Unlike the other systems where you have to pedal backwards (like you would cruising on a mountain bike for fun) – it’s slightly different.
It’s quite simple to head in reverse.
The pedal system has a green cord and a red cord.
If you need to head in reverse you simply pull on that cord. Once you do that the fins switch around so when you pedal you’ll head backwards instead of forwards.
Once you’re backed out of the cove, or away from the dock you may be launching from just yank on the green cord and pedal your way out!
Although it’s easy to pedal around on the Outback – if one of your fins ever broke, or you had any mechanical issues out on the water it’s always nice to have a backup plan with some paddles that you can keep stored away on the fishing kayak:
The Hobie Outback is made of single layer polyethylene plastic that is rotomolded in a huge oven just like some of the coolers we mentioned earlier.
Nothing proprietary about it, but it is flexible if you are going to be dragging this thing over rocks at all. Hobie fishing kayaks are extremely durable.
The beam on the hobie outback is more than enough for you to be able to stand on.
And much like Eddyline’s CommandStand – Hobie offers their height adjustable H-Bar that we recommend if you are going to be doing a lot of standing.
For the kayak itself here are some other details:
- Length: 12’ 1”
- Width: 33”
- Weight: 99 lbs. (fully rigged)
- Capacity: 400 lbs.
~100 pounds fully rigged doesn’t seem that heavy, but when you’re dealing with the bulky size of the Outback or any fishing kayak for that matter it’s nice to have a set of wheels.
Hobie actually makes a set that plugs directly into the holes pointed out here..
And you can keep the wheel set in there permanently so you can simply turn the fishing kayak upside down and push it!
You can grab this accessory here for easy transport:
Plenty of storage to go around here.
Within this picture you can see there is a bow storage compartment up front.
And right in front of you is an 8 inch twist and seal hatch. It’s a completely waterproof compartment, and there is one at the back of the fishing kayak too.
The Outback comes fitted with plenty of flush rod holders that come WITH the kayak.
They stay covered with tops, and when you want to use them simply remove them and stick your pole in.
You can see in this picture they come at 4 different spots. 2 in front of you on other side, and 2 behind you.
The rod holders behind your seat are perfect if you need to hold multiple rods or if you have a fishing net with a rod size handle.
Another really cool feature that the Hobie Outback has is the Lowrance ready system.
If you want the best fishing kayak for rigging all of your electrical equipment, and it’s easy to install look no further.
Hobie installs a small and shallow cavity on the underneath side to their fishing kayaks so you can put the transducer inside of it, and run your wires through the waterproof holes that they have predrilled for you.
Although the setup will work with many other fish finders you won’t have to ask whether or not yours will fit if you get a Lowrance fish finder.
Although the Outback made our top 7 list for Best Fishing Kayak 2018 we want you to know some of Hobie’s other fishing kayaks could have easily been on this list too.
Their entire line of Pro Angler Fishing Kayaks could have been interchanged here.
Old Town Predator PDL
This fishing kayak HAULS BUTT.
Old Town’s Predator PDL Fishing Kayak won the 2016 ICAST Award for Best Boat.
If you didn’t already know – ICAST is the world’s largest sport fishing trade show so to win an award for best fishing kayak is quite an accomplishment. Eddyline’s YakAttack we mentioned above won the award in 2015 as well.
We’ll show you why.
The Predator PDL is a sit on top fishing kayak.
It comes equipped with padded seating with a metal frame to ensure stability.
Although we didn’t find as many adjustability options in terms of reclining the back, and the bottom part of the seat we did find it nice that you could easily move the seat forward and backwards with the notch holes on the left and right side of the seat.
Power is right. That’s exactly what this thing has.
This is the best fishing kayak in this list for scootin’ across the water in a HURRY.
The PDL system that Old Town implemented here is so smooth, and so FAST. Unlike Hobie’s Outback Mirage 180 system – Old Town’s PDL system is cranked like a bicycle for a more natural feel.
On the hull side of the PDL system is a rotary blade which propels the fishing kayak when you’re pedaling.
But it doesn’t stop there. The blade turns ~10 times for every crank of the pedal so you’re not working hard to get where you need to go.
Same ratio applies when heading in reverse. You can easily pedal this fishing kayak 5-7mph on any given day, and any given water condition. It basically does the work for you.
The fishing kayak itself is made of rotomolded single layer polyethylene plastic just like the Hobie Outback.
As far as the material on the rest of the fishing kayak it’s rugged and is ready for anything you throw at it.
The Predator fishing kayak is a breeze to stand on as it’s super wide. Even wider than the two fishing kayaks mentioned above already.
Here are some of the dimensions that we grabbed directly from their site:
- Length: 13’ 2”
- Width: 36”
- Weight: 117 lbs.
- Capacity: 500 lbs.
Keep in mind the fishing kayak fully loaded and rigged will be 117 pounds which is pretty heavy.
For the most part that comes from the PDL drive system that weighs roughly 25 pounds. A small sacrifice to have a heavier kayak that literally flies on the water for you hands free.
We would have liked a stern hatch that we could store stuff in, but Old Town made up for that with their storage included in the PDL drive.
You can see the storage outlined here:
The Predator PDL comes with 2 flush mounts located here:
If you want to install different pieces on this fishing kayak as well you can do that on the 6 mounting plates. They are removable for more space if you need it, and they are located here:
And it also comes with scupper hole plugs.
What the heck is a scupper hole?
It’s common to see these holes in the bottom of every fishing kayak. They won’t sink you though as they are self bailing – meaning they allow water to slightly come in (just over the hole), but because the fishing kayak is so buoyant the water will never accumulate enough to actually sink you.
The Predator PDL fishing kayak comes with some scupper hole plugs, but if you want to make sure you are completely covered you may want to grab some extras if you’re looking more for a completely dry fishing experience, or if you’re fishing on a cold day and the last thing you need is cold water touching your feet.
The Predator PDL fishing kayak comes from a family full of beastly brothers and sisters. Old Town makes a kayak for just about every type of fisherman.
Here are some others we liked quite a bit, but had some different features than the Predator PDL.
Native Ultimate FX Propel 13
Native fishing kayaks are nothing new. They’ve been around since 2006 from a team of people from different areas of expertise that set out to do one thing:
Fill the gap in the market they saw with well thought out products that would provide the utmost value for their customers (mostly avid fisherman).
They’ve accomplished that many times over between all of their models, but the Ultimate FX Propel 13 made our list for the best fishing kayak of 2018 for some definite standout features.
The Propel FX 13 is actually a sit in fishing kayak. Unlike some of the others this definitely gives native a clear advantage in the department of storage space.
Yes, the seat is actually seated up high to give it that Sit ON look, but unlike most sit IN fishing kayaks where your seat is part of the kayak that’s not the case here.
The seat is fully adjustable from a high to low position, and you have a LOT of room to be able to find your preference?
Because this fishing kayak is just so DEEP. It’s the best fishing kayak for storage because of that depth.
So if you’re sitting in a high position you have a ton of under seat space, and if you want to adjust low you can get lower than the other sit on fishing kayaks previously mentioned.
Another great advantage here you have with the sit in style kayak is standing up. You feel more surrounded by the walls of the kayak if you flip the seat up because you’re more sunk down because of the depth of the cavity itself.
This fishing kayak is pedal powered, and does it really well.
Native fishing kayaks have implemented pedals in their kayaks for roughly 10 years now and they continue to create one of the best (if not THE best fishing kayak) on the market today. You can easily tilt the Propel Pedal Drive into the ‘up’ position at launch or if you’re headed into shallow water.
The Propel FX 13 also comes with a paddle (just in case) that is virtually invisible because of the storage space.
You can store the paddle away at these points to make sure they are completely out of the way:
The Propel fishing kayak is made of rotomolded polyethylene plastic, but their combination of resin actually makes this fishing kayak extremely light in weight!
This does have its advantages if you are looking to book it on the water, but also has disadvantages if you fish in rocky areas etc.
An average size person can easily carry this kayak.
For its size it’s surprising at just how light it is.
The 13 within the name of course implies its 13 feet in length, but 2 of the other dimensions worth mentioning are the depth of the cavity, and the weight itself.
The depth of the cavity at the beam (or widest part of the kayak) is 12.5”!
This is what I referred to above about having more of a comfortable feel when you stand up because the Propel fishing kayak almost has a ‘canoe’ type feel on the cavity depth.
Fully rigged with the propel system in place this fishing kayak weighs in at 79 pounds!
Hands down the lightest in this list.
Here are the official dimensions:
- Length: 13’ 6”
- Width: 32.5”
- Depth @ Beam: 12.5”
- Weight: 79 lbs.
- Capacity: 400 lbs.
Like we mentioned above the Native Propel is the best fishing kayak in our list in terms of overall storage capacity because of the depth of the cavity.
Just look at how much you can store here.
The Propel FX 13 doesn’t come with flush mount rod holders, but does come with 2 rod holders attached to the thwart box behind your seat. If you’re looking to attach one to one of the included rails you can get one here:
The tight line anchor trolley on the Propel 13 is also very handy too.
A common problems that people have on a fishing kayak is the direction they are sitting when anchoring down. Native implemented a 2 pulley and bungee system that you can use to shift the anchor around different parts of the kayak.
That way you’re always facing where you need to be.
The Propel 13 just so happened to be our top pick from Native Watercraft, but here are some others that could have easily made this list:
Feelfree Lure 13.5
The Feelfree Lure 13.5 made our list for quite a few reasons. The most notable being Feelfree’s attention to detail, and the quality of their kayaks.
Details as in this fishing kayak has a cutting board built in to the center console. Why haven’t others done that?? Great feature if you ask us.
The Lure 13.5 fishing kayak is a sit on top fishing kayak, and features a gravity seat that is stupidly easy to adjust the height.
You can raise the height from the lowest setting which is flush with the fishing kayak, all the way to 10 inches off the bottom. 10 inches may not seem like a lot, but you can absolutely tell the difference in viewing angles and comfort if you plan to fish all day.
The most notable difference in the Lure 13.5 and the others within this post is the standing platform.
Some of the other fishing kayaks don’t have completely level areas in front of the seat, or they aren’t the best fishing kayak for standing on because of the size of the area.
Here’s what we’re referring to:
The tri-hull of this fishing kayak makes it effortless to glide through the water, and also keeps you very stable when standing up on rough water or incoming waves.
This is a paddle powered fishing kayak, but given the length it won’t be difficult to travel for long distances in.
3 layer linear polyethylene is used to create the Lure 13.5, and their combination of HDPE or High Density Polyethylene polymers are second to none. Feelfree puts out a stiff, lightweight, and rugged fishing kayak so you can drag it over rocks, bump it into docks at the launch pad (accidentally), and not worry one bit.
As mentioned above under the Power section – the standing platform is plenty wide for you to stand on so it’s not a balancing act when you’re trying to real in the biggest one of the day.
When you’re standing it’s always nice to have something to lean on though. Rather than fall in the water.
Here are the official dimensions of the Lure 13.5:
- Length: 13’ 5”
- Width: 36”
- Weight: 95 lbs.
- Capacity: 500 lbs.
For some it may be difficult to just lug around 95 pounds at the launch pad or if you’re coming back in from the bay to the beach.
One of the coolest features of The Lure 13.5 is the ‘Heel In The Keel’.
Rather than purchasing wheels to transport your fishing kayak Feelfree installed one permanently in the ‘keel’ of the boat so you can pick it up from the front and start walking!
The storage department features some big value adds here compared to the other fishing kayaks within this post.
The bow hatch features 3 separate closures on the lid itself so if the fishing kayak was to ever capsize your stuff is going to be just fine. Not only that, but the front console (closest to you and in front of the standing platform) acts as a cooler with heavy insulation, and features an integrated cutting board on top.
It’s like having your own cooler, but it’s part of the fishing kayak itself! You can use the cutting board for bait prep or cleaning your caught fish.
The sonar pod just behind that makes integrating your fish finder simpler than other fishing kayaks.
Because the transducer is just beneath the sonar pod you don’t have to worry about wiring your fish finder from one end of the kayak to the other.
There isn’t any sealed storage in the stern of the fishing kayak, but there’s plenty of space for a tackle box or a bag. Feelfree’s crate bag was created to fit perfectly in that spot.
There are 2 flush mount rod holders behind the gravity seat on the lure 13.5, but there aren’t any in front.
If you want a rod holder to your left or right in front of you we’d suggest you grab a Feelfree Uni-Track plate.
This way you can easily insert one into the included track rails. Quick and easy adjustment, and if you’re looking for more than just 1 mount they make a more deluxe version you can use for multiple accessories:
Feelfree makes awesome fishing kayaks in itself so if the Lure 13.5 doesn’t look to be your type there are some others we liked here too:
Wilderness Systems Thresher 155
The Thresher 155 made our list for the features it has to withstand rough and choppy waters. Wilderness systems designed the Thresher 155 for that reason.
In addition to that we’re sure you’ll find some other cool features as we left a LOT of fishing kayaks off this list if they didn’t have enough ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’
Wilderness Systems Thresher 155 is a Sit IN fishing kayak.
Part of the reason is this kayak is geared up for rough waters, and the true bay angler in mind. It’s more stable for you to sit down low in the fishing kayak rather than sit up high and risk falling out if you have swells coming at you.
You can raise and lower the backrest to your comfort spot, and you can also raise and lower the seat itself for extra hip support for the long days on the bay.
This is primarily a paddle powered fishing kayak, but it’s always nice to have a 2nd option.
This is the only fishing kayak within this list that features compatibility with an electric motor – taking the stress off you, and allowing you to fish more.
The Helix MD can reach about 6mph, and will last up to 8 hours.
The coolest part is the battery is solar powered so if you’re fishing on a sunny day it will charge while it’s in use as well.
It’s a quiet motor that allows you to also head in reverse. Just set the throttle to whatever is desired and you can control your direction with your foot pedals.
The Thresher fishing kayak is made of high-density linear polyethylene.
It’s best to get a rigid roof rack that will hold your fishing kayak and also evenly distribute the weight.
You can grab one on amazon here for fairly cheap.
If you choose to go a different direction and you don’t evenly distribute the weight the sun could easily deform your kayak at the points where weight is being acted on it.
The Thresher 155 has a body made for the roughest of waters.
The flared bow provides uplift on the front of your fishing kayak in surf and incoming swells, and also beveled side walls for the best stability possible in rough waters.
Here are the official dimensions of the Thresher 155 fishing kayak:
- Length: 13’ 5”
- Width: 36”
- Weight: 95 lbs.
- Capacity: 500 lbs.
There is plenty of storage on this fishing kayak, and you most likely won’t run out. Unless you start hitting the fish pretty hard and you can’t hold them all J
Wilderness systems holds true to their name. They think of the tiniest details. Even the straps on the bow hatch (which is plenty big) are sunken underneath part of the lid so they aren’t sticking out. So you don’t get your fishing line caught on something that would keep you from reeling in.
The flex pod just behind it is meant for your fish finder, and is removable if you’re done using the kayak or it’s rigged up on top of your car on the way to the water.
Here is a look at all of the storage components:
One of the great features that is nice to have on the ocean is the foot pedals. You can steer the rear rudder from left to right with a simple toe press of either foot.
And hands down the coolest feature is the Rod Pod. It’s the Thresher’s way of saying “we don’t want you worrying about your rods when those swells are beating you up”.
The center console simply flips up, and you can slide your fishing rods in there. It’s about 8 feet in length, and you can also store other items you may need to easily grab.
Like we mentioned above these are fantastic fishing kayaks for rough waters, but they also have exceptional recreational kayaks, as well as other ones geared towards angling similar to the 155.
Ocean Kayak Prowler Big Game II
If you ever drove a tank on the water that’s what it would feel like to drive the Big Game II. It’s made to hold a LOT of weight, and leave you worry free about toppling over. If you have plenty of gear and you’re heavier set then we highly recommend this fishing kayak.
The Prowler Big Game II is a sit on top kayak with height adjustable seating much like the others in this list. It’s very comfortable to sit in for long periods of time, and can be flipped up if you need to stand and fish.
This is a paddle powered fishing kayak with no conversion for pedals, and no conversion for an electric motor so we recommend considering what type of water you’ll be using the fishing kayak in. All in all this fishing kayak is the beast in this list.
Just like the Feel Free Lure 13.5, the Big Game II fishing kayak is made of HDPE, or high density polyethylene to make sure that it’s flexible enough to not crack, but also stiff enough to be efficient on the water which is why it made our list for best fishing kayak.
If you’re looking for not only storage space, but just space for yourself this is the best fishing kayak for you.
The Big Game II fishing kayak is one of the wider choices in this list. It’s 34” wide, and is built to hold an EXTREME amount of weight.
If you’re a heavier set person this will be the best fishing kayak for you from this whole list.
Carrying a ton of gear to go along with you can worrisome so we recommend this one above the others if stability is something you’re worried about the most.
- Length: 12’ 9”
- Width: 34”
- Weight: 70 lbs.
- Capacity: 600 lbs.
Within the very center of the fishing kayak you’ll notice an oval type hatch. It’s called a mod pod, and you can easily store rods within it just like Wilderness Systems Thresher above, and anything else you need to keep easily accessible.
And at the bow of the fishing kayak there is a round click seal hatch that you can make use of.
Here’s a good view of what the storage looks like:
The Big Game II comes with 6 built in plates you can see here:
These are great for installing accessories that you may need like fish finders, rod holders, GPS, GoPro mounts etc.
The only downside about the Big Game II is there aren’t any rod holders. Unless you were to use a scupper hole as one of your rod holders, but we don’t recommend that at all.
You can grab some here that you can install on the built in plates we showed you above.
The Big Game II is the best fishing kayak if you’re heavier set, and need that added stability that others can’t offer.
Overall, Ocean Kayaks are great in themselves so here are some others to checkout.