Sure, some of your fishing buddies prefer using a motorized boat to patrol a river or lake, but you like paddling in a kayak. You enjoy the physical effort; plus, without a motor, you don’t have to worry about scaring the fish away (although kayaks can be motorized). You’re browsing around for your next boat, so what is the best fishing kayak?
Here are 9 of the best kayaks for fishing:
- Bonafide EX123
- Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100
- Perception Crank 10
- Sun Dolphin Journey
- Old Town Sportsman 106
- BKC TK181
- Perception Pescador 10
- Sevylor Coleman Colorado
- Intex Excursion Pro Kayak
In this guide to the best fishing kayaks, we’ll provide all the details and specs you need to make an educated purchasing decision. Keep reading for features, pricing, and more on each of these 9 great kayaks!
The Top 9 Fishing Kayaks
Starting our list is the ultra-impressive Bonafide EX123 fishing kayak.
Bonafide calls the EX123 “the SUV of kayaks.” It measures 12 feet, three inches long by 29.5 inches wide with a deck height of 15.5 inches. The hull weight is 50 pounds, but with a seat, the EX123 weighs 67 pounds. Its weight capacity is 375 pounds.
The Bonafide HyCat hull is lightweight yet sturdy where you need it. A QuickClick Stadium Seat is positioned high on the kayak so you can see easily over the water. Support straps let you set the tension while lower back support is a great ergonomic feature.
Dual flush-mount rod holders are ideal for fishing alone or with a buddy. The EX123 also boasts plenty of storage space, such as the HatchWell rear hatch with a molded-in tub and a shock cord with tie-downs for holding dry gear.
The integrated MiniTub is for keeping your keys, wallet, smartphone, and other small essentials. There’s even an included selfie stand built into the MiniTub for snapping shots of yourself with that big catch on your solo fishing expeditions.
Built into the main console of the EX123 are dual cup holders, hold-down knobs, and pockets. You can add your fish finder and extra rod holders to the main console, as there’s room for these devices.
The rest of the features of the EX123 are deck traction pads, skid plates, stern sealing, and Fat Grip handles for easy transport.
The Bonafide EX123 retails for over $1,000. It comes in two colors, Top Gun Grey (camo greenish-gray) and Venom (neon green).
Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100
If you’d prefer a much lower-priced fishing kayak, then the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 could be what you’re looking for.
This hard-shelled fishing kayak is built from high-density polyethylene with included UV protection. For stability, the kayak has chine rails. The bottom of the Angler 100 is also flat to increase durability.
Dual flush-mounted fishing rod holders along with a top-mount fishing rod holder accommodate your fishing setup.
T-handles in the rear and front of the kayak make for easy handling. When you’re on the water and searching for fish, the deep tracking channels of the Angler 100’s hull will allow for optimal control and handling.
Shock cord straps in the rear and front keep everything secure, especially in the six-inch storage compartments. One of these compartments is in the center of the boat and the other is in the rear. A paddle keeper is also included with your purchase.
The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 comes in one color, tan.
Perception Crank 10
Do you need a lot of space on your fishing kayak? The Perception Crank 10, one of two Perception kayaks on this list, is 10 feet long!
The Crank 10 is 35 feet wide and has a deck height of 12.5 inches. The kayak weighs 87 pounds and can hold up to 350 pounds.
Its rigid, streamlined body makes the Crank 10 well-suited for pond and lake kayaking as well as calm coastal water boating. It’s good at riding in slow-moving streams and rivers and even open ocean.
The rear tank well is especially sizable for keeping your cooler, tacklebox, or other fishing equipment. The hull has a transducer scupper to hold your fish finder.
There’s yet more storage towards the front of the Crank 10. Bungee lashing keeps all your storage secure so you don’t have to worry about it shifting on your boat.
The captain’s chair, which is your place of honor, folds down and is removable when not in use. Feel free to adjust the seating the way you like it. A built-in cupholder beside your seat makes it easy to stay hydrated.
The Crank 10 operates using a pedal drive system. Rather than rely on your kayaking paddle to move about, you can pedal. It’s a great means of exercise that keeps your hands and arms free for fishing!
Other features included in this Perception kayak are hard carrying handles, side storage trays, a retractable rudder, and a skid plate.
The Perception Crank 10 is available in two colors, Grasshopper (neon green) or Dapper (grayish-blue).
Sun Dolphin Journey
For under $1,000, the Sun Dolphin Journey is a great fishing kayak to consider.
Recommended for river and lake boating, the Journey is a hard-shelled kayak made of Fortiflex high-density polyethylene with UV stabilization. Its open cockpit allows for quick entry and exit.
For the anglers out there, the inclusion of a swivel rod holder and two flush-mounted rod holders are a treat. The padded seat encourages your comfort so you can sit and fish for hours in the Journey kayak.
The seat is adjustable, as are the included foot braces so you can customize the fit of the Journey.
The storage compartments included with this Sun Dolphin kayak utilize a P.A.C. or Portable Accessory Carrier to maximize your storage potential.
Plus, with carrying handles, thigh pads, and self-bailing, this kayak for one has more of what you need.
The Sun Dolphin Journey is available in one color, olive green.
Old Town Sportsman 106
Recommended for beginner anglers and more seasoned professionals alike, the Old Town Sportsman 106 is an impressive fishing kayak through and through.
The Sportsman 106 is 10 feet, six inches long by 34.5 inches wide and weighs 73 pounds. Its weight capacity is 440 pounds.
Its DoubleU hull is reminiscent of a pontoon but without the bulk. The DoubleU hull promises better handling, more precision, and stability with every ride.
You have three fishing rod holder options, two that are rear-facing and flush-mounted and one that’s forward-facing.
The stern tank well is designed bigger in the Sportsman 106 so you have all the room to bring a tackle crate, a bait bucket, or a cooler. The kayak comes with a custom tacklebox, of which the stern tank well has the space for as well. Bungee cords keep everything in place.
The bow hatch is sealed for a dry storage option, and you have access to side pockets and under-seat storage as well. You won’t be wanting for storage on this fishing kayak, that’s for certain.
The seat included with the boat features Textilene mesh, which is double-layered for breathability. Lumbar support is built into the seat to reduce your back pain. Snap-lock foot braces allow you to paddle for hours without feeling uncomfortable.
How about more features? The Sportsman 106 also includes cushioned floor pads and custom accessory tracks.
You can select from two colors for the Old Town Sportsman 106, Ember Camo (black and orange) or Photic Camo (teal blue and black).
One of the biggest fishing kayaks on this list is undoubtedly the BKC TK181, which is a 12.5-foot fishing sit-on-top kayak for two.
The TK181 is 34 inches wide and weighs 68 pounds. Its weight capacity is a very generous 595 pounds.
Its hard shell is built from a single piece of roto-molded HDPE with UV protection, abrasion resistance, and impact dampening. The hull is flat and wide to reduce your risk of capsizing. You’ll go kayaking with confidence even in the ocean, rivers, and lakes.
The seat of the TK181 includes a backrest that adjusts to several positions so you can sit up straight when fishing or lean back a little in between.
Speaking of fishing, the TK181 has seven rod holders so you and your fishing buddy can each have three. Three of the fishing rod holders are articulating and the other four are flush-mounted.
Cargo space towards the rear includes bungee cords for keeping your gear nice and secure. Two watertight storage hatches also prevent your gear from getting soaked.
The rest of the features of this fishing kayak are dual paddle parks for your kayak paddles, two waterproof hatches, and two aluminum paddles with adjustments.
The BKC TK181 is available for under $1,100. The available colors are Blue Camo, Green Camo, Grey Camo, and red with yellow.
Perception Pescador 10
A budget kayak for under $1,000, the Perception Pescador 10 is also the second Perception kayak we recommend for fishing.
Measuring 10 feet, six inches long by 32 inches wide, the Pescador 10 weighs 57 pounds. Its max weight capacity is 325 pounds.
The Pescador 10 has a polyethylene shell that Perception says is leak-proof. The rigid single-piece shell is designed to be more buoyant than other kayaks, which also makes it beginner-friendly.
Gear tracks built into the kayak allow you to easily outfit the Pescador 10 with a fish finder and other fishing accessories. Dual rod holders are molded right into the kayak so you don’t have to worry about mounting them into place.
The Comfort Seating System features a flexible seatback with adjustments as well as padding and ventilation throughout. A drink holder to the side of your seat is a feature of convenience.
The Pescador 10 has plenty of storage throughout. In the rear is an open storage compartment that uses bungee lashing. A hatch around the front features a latching lid so you can keep your phone dry.
The Perception Pescador 10 comes in one color scheme called Funkadelic that incorporates shades of white, neon pink, purple, and teal blue.
Sevylor Coleman Colorado
How about an inflatable fishing kayak? The Sevylor Coleman Colorado is a mid-priced inflatable kayak (that’s under $500) for two.
Its durable 18-gauge PVC body with a tarpaulin-style thickened bottom and 840-denier nylon exterior make the Coleman Colorado as tough as some hard-shelled fishing kayaks. Air chambers throughout prevent the whole kayak from deflating if one of the chambers goes out.
Berkley Quick-Set rod holders adjust so you can angle your fishing rods just the way you like them. Paddle holders are included as well.
To inflate or deflate the Coleman Colorado kayak, double-threaded Boston valves are included. Toting around this kayak is about as easy as can be considering it weighs 37 pounds.
The Sevylor Coleman Colorado inflatable kayak comes in one color scheme, dark and light green.
Intex Excursion Pro Kayak
The last fishing kayak we recommend is the Intex Excursion Pro, which is also an Amazon’s Choice product.
This is yet another inflatable fishing kayak that’s part of Intex’s Professional Series. Weighing 43.64 pounds, the two-seater can hold up to 400 pounds at once.
Built from three-ply inflatable material with abrasion and impact resistance, the Excursion features an I-beam floor and three air chambers for durability. Its integrated drain plug and spring-loaded high-pressure valves make filling and emptying this kayak fast and efficient.
For fishing, the Excursion has two fishing rod holders. A mounting bracket lets you keep your fishing accessories secure.
When you want to sit, you can add the two inflatable seats, which come complete with a backrest. One seat has a removable booster so you can get some height in your kayak. Under your feet, the footrests are adjustable too.
The directional skeg will keep you on the right path even in shallow water.
You also get plenty of great accessories with your purchase, including a pressure gauge, a carrying bag, a high-output pump, and two paddles. That’s not bad for under $500!
The Intex Excursion Pro comes in one color scheme, gray and bright red.
Fishing in a kayak is a wonderful experience, especially if you select from one of the 9 awesome kayaks on this list. The kayaks we reviewed today boast plenty of space, plush seating, and fishing rod holders galore. For any budget, there’s a fishing kayak for you!