Kayaking is a great, exhilarating way to enjoy the outdoors, as it combines some serious upper body strength moves with the primal excitement of catching your own meal. It is also a surprisingly versatile sport, as it allows you to adapt to both deep salty seawaters and local streams alike – wherever your favorite fishing spots happen to be.
Kayak fishing has been experiencing a bit of a revival over the last few years. It’s been practiced for centuries in certain regions, to be sure, but it seems that a lot of us have recently realized the advantages it holds over simply choosing a spot by the pier or renting a full boat and then sticking to that same lake for the foreseeable future.
Whether you are only now dipping your toes into the world of kayak fishing, or have been fishing for years, chances are you are ready to invest in your own specialized fishing kayak. And nothing beats a good deal like buying quality from the get-go. It will save you a lot of trouble later down the road (or stream!) if you don’t have to patch up or repair your new purchase after every trip.
The Best Fishing Kayaks
Feelfree is a well-known brand for adventure sports fans, but they have really scored a hit this time with their Lure. It is consistently described as having one of the comfiest seats available, which can withstand long rides without producing any cramps or requiring frequent adjustments.
The Hobie Outback is a great choice for those who can’t choose between speed and stability – so, instead, they go big. Despite its carbon hull and paddles, this is not a light vessel, but it packs anything you may need to stay comfortable while waiting for your catch.
However, the most eye-catching feature of this kayak is its seat, which is large and comfy enough to keep your energy and concentration for hours – until everything’s ready to battle the big catch of the day.
What Makes a Great Fishing Kayak?
We have always been big fans of quality over quantity, and when it comes to kayaking, the quality of what you buy tends to come at a price. We have strived to test and review a few fishing kayaks under a $1,000, but for the most part, most of our options here are in the high-tier market.
In addition to durability and the sturdiness of materials, we have also looked at their weight, their safety standards, and their rigging capabilities. We have also looked at reviews by both experts and verified buyers, and chosen reliable specialized brands to feature here.
Types of Fishing Kayaks
Despite the variety of models, appliances, and perks available out there, fishing kayaks can be divided into two main categories: self-bailing “sit on top” kayaks (or SOKs) and sit in kayaks (also known as SIKs.)
Sit on top kayaks provide extra stability and are a bit safer, especially for beginners. They tend to have a slightly bigger chair and allow you to roll over a bit more without getting full of water, sinking, and losing your catch. If you are going after big prey, that can make a huge difference.
Sit in kayaks are, on the other hand, the ideal choice for those who are usually trying out new streams and rivers. They have greater maneuverability in moving waters and they tend to be significantly lighter as well. If you’ll be on the move, these are an excellent choice.
Inflatable kayaks are often seen as a budget-friendly option, ideal for those who are only getting started. However, because they are so easy to pack up and even board on a plane, many serious kayakers (the kind who want to try their luck all over the world) are now seeking high-quality professional-grade inflatable kayaks. The market has responded, and some amazing new models have appeared over the past two years.