Best Fishing Kayak in 2022: The Most Popular Angler Kayaks
Kayaking is one of the most popular outdoor activities that has become more and more accessible to people all over the world. Whether you need to protect yourself from the sun, relax your muscles after a long day at work or get in touch with nature, kayaking has something to offer for everyone.
However, there are some who prefer kayaks on water rather than on land or even on snow. People who like fishing often enjoy spending time out on lakes, rivers, and oceans in order to catch either fresh water fish or saltwater fish.
If you’re looking for the best fishing kayak then you’re in the right place. In this guide, we’ll be going over some of the most important features to consider when choosing a fishing kayak as well as maintaining and transporting it from one place to another.
In order to make sure that our suggestions are as objective as possible, all of our picks were chosen based on research done by ourselves as well as user reviews online. We also kept track of what makes these fishing kayaks rank among users so you can decide for yourself if they’re worth purchasing one for your next outdoor adventure.
We’ve picked 10 of the highest-rated kayaks, however, we believe that the Intex Excursion Pro is the best overall. There were some main features that stood out such as it being made with a three-layer vinyl. This is important as it’s strong enough to support up to 400 lbs so if you’re looking for something that’s stable on the water, this would be it. The high backrest can also be adjusted into 6 different positions based on your needs which makes it suitable for users of all shapes and sizes.
There are other options out there as well so be sure to check out the rest of the reviews so you can find one that suits your specific needs.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get into some more details on what factors to consider when it comes to picking the best fishing kayak for yourself.
Intex Excursion Pro
Best For Beginners
Intex Explorer K2
Best by Budget
1. Intex Excursion Pro
The Intex Excursion Pro is the best overall fishing kayak. It comes with a paddle which is essential for you to have. The kayak also has a very nice storage area at the front of it which allows you to store many things such as your rod, tackle, and other items that you might need on the water.
Another great thing about this paddle kayak is the fact that it has a swivel seat with back rest and foot rests. You won’t need to buy any extra pieces for this kayak because you will already have everything you need to get on the water and start fishing.
The Intex Excursion Pro also comes equipped with rod holders which is another great thing about this kayak. This kayak also has two very nice handles on the front and the back of it which allow you to carry it easily. However, the rod holders point inward therefore if you use both holders, the rods will cross. We found that to be a little bit of an inconvenience.
The Intex Excursion Pro is made out of durable heavy duty PVC tarpaulin material which makes this kayak great for fishing in all types of weather conditions. When you are done with your day on the water, the best thing about this kayak is that it will deflate within 20 minutes. You can then easily carry or drag this kayak up to shore where you left your vehicle parked.
We liked that this inflatable kayak can hold up to 400 pounds as well. That made it easier for us to bring additional items with us on the water, such as a cooler full of drinks and ice.
One thing that we didn’t like about the Intex Excursion Pro is that the packaging could be packed a little too tight. And because of that this can cause major creases and cuts out of the box. Now if you’re not into using a paddle kayak for fishing, then we have other options to consider below.
2. Intex Explorer K2
The Intex Explorer K2 is the perfect option for anyone that is looking for a good quality inflatable kayak. With 1-2 person design, the Intex Explorer K2 is one of its kind. This kayak can carry up to 400 lbs of weight, so it’s suitable for both small people and larger ones. The intex inflatable boat comes with three different air chambers which are guaranteed to increase safety while you’re out on the water.
The high-volume pump makes inflation easier than ever before while two oar locks provide great stability while navigating through calm waters or rivers.
Other features include an inflatable seat bottom which provides superior comfort when sitting in the kayak, plus scupper plugs that let water drain off your vessel when it begins to get a bit too wet.
As with all the products from Intex, this inflatable is incredibly durable and can be used in all types of weather conditions.
What We Like:
Comes with 3 separate air chambers for increased safety; The high-volume deluxe pump makes it easy to inflate/deflate even when you’re on the water; Comes with an adjustable inflatable seat bottom which provides superior comfort while you’re out on the boat; Scupper plugs let water drain off your kayak when it becomes uncomfortable; Durable design allows the product to be used in different weather conditions.
What We Don’t Like:
Not quite suited for children under 10 years old because of its stability (other words, kids might feel unsafe); Difficult to move around because of its size and weight.
3. Intex Challenger
The Intex Challenger is one of the more affordable inflatable kayaks that we recommend. At just under $100, this inflatable kayak is great for beginners who are interested in entering the sport.
The Intex Challenger comes with a 220 pound capacity that makes it ideal for users of any size, including children and small adults. The entire fishing kayak weighs just 25 pounds, making it super-portable and easy to transport. Everything about this inflatable kayak is a cinch – from inflation to paddling and even emptying the kayak after use.
We like that the Intex Challenger can be inflated in as little as ten minutes. A high-pressure hand pump is included with your purchase of this inflatable kayak, allowing you to easily inflate both chambers simultaneously with minimal effort. The valves on the kayak feature push-button connectors that make inflation quick and painless. You don’t need any extra hardware or parts for inflation!
The Intex Challenger comes equipped with a single, adjustable kayak paddle and a high-pressure hand pump. The fishing kayak itself is not difficult to maneuver while you’re out on the water, and we like that it can easily be steered with one hand while paddling with the other.
The Challenger inflatable kayak also has multiple air chambers for extra safety. Each chamber is inflatable and features two separate valves that allow users to quickly add more air to either side of the kayak in less than 30 seconds should an emergency arise.
Each Intex Challenger can fit up to three average sized adults or two large adults and a child comfortably inside the fishing kayak shell at once. When inflated, this inflatable fishing kayak measures approximately 10 x 3 x 36 inches, making it small enough to easily transport, store, and fit in any vehicle.
When deflated for storage, the fishing kayak takes up approximately two-thirds of its inflated size (about 7 x 3 inches), making it one of the more compact kayaks on our list. The handy carrying bag that comes with this inflatable kayak makes transportation even easier by allowing you to roll up your inflatable kayak or boat into a neat little package that fits anywhere.
One drawback of the Intex Challenger is its weight capacity. We would recommend using this inflatable river vessel with individuals who weigh less than 220 pounds for safety purposes. Heavyweight paddlers may overload this unit and cause structural damage or endanger themselves while on the water.
Another drawback is that the Intex Challenger does not offer a spray cover or storage compartment. The fishing kayak is designed to stay afloat with any contents inside, but it isn’t equipped with the same kind of storage compartments you’ll find on other inflatable kayaks. All of its storage components are forward-facing which means you won’t have anywhere to put your items while paddling.
4. Classic Accessories Colorado Pontoon Boat
The Classic Accessories Colorado Pontoon Boat is great for those who enjoy spending time out on the water. It is a 10’8″ long, 71.5-pound boat with a full center console and two bench seats. With a maximum load capacity of 400 pounds, it can support almost any paddler. The Colorado Pontoon Boat is constructed of sturdy polyethylene, which ensures durability and resists dents and scratches.
Some other features include a water bottle holder, two paddle holders, two cup holders, rod holders on the back of each bench seat, storage space under both seats, and an aerated baitwell that allows for fresh fish to breathe while keeping the odor contained.
There are some major pros to this fishing kayak. First of all, it comes with everything you need to set off on your next adventure including oars/paddles/poles/sticks. It glides pretty easily through the water so traveling is extremely easy. It is very spacious, giving you a lot of room to perform whatever activity you may want. This boat can be used by a number of different people for a number of different things which makes it very versatile. The Classic Accessories Colorado Pontoon Boat is also extremely durable and will last you for years on end with minimum maintenance needed.
One downside is that the seats are not as comfy as many other boats. This does not mean that it is completely uncomfortable, just a little more stiff than most people would prefer. The price may also be a con to some people, depending on what your budget is and how much you plan on using the boat. There has also been some issues with leaking when in use (if too much water gets in). If you are looking for less of an investment, the Intex Mariner 4 is another option that can be used with minimal paddling skill set, but lacks in outfitting options.
5. Perception Pescador 12
This sit-on-top kayak is easy to work with in nearly all waters. It features an easy-to-open front hatch with a lid and a large rear tank for storage.
This one is quite comfortable to use for hours at a time. It has thick padding that’s well-ventilated and supportive. Plus, it also has a drink holder to prevent your favorite drink from spilling.
It weighs 64 pounds, which might be a bit too heavy for some people to carry on their own. Its optimized design and quality construction make it somewhat easier to carry around.
Its one-piece construction is leak-proof and has buoyancy for some added safety. We should mention that it’s made entirely in the USA if that’s something you care about.
This one works in slow-moving rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams. It can also work in calm coastal waters.
6. Lifetime Tamarack Angler
Lifetime Tamarack Angler is made from high-density polyethylene called HDPE. It’s UV-resistant and has a stable flat bottom. It also has stability chine rails along with deep hull tracking channels.
This one has adjustable footrests which is great for a kayak angler because you’ll be able to find the best and most comfortable position for you. It also has an adjustable and padded seat for maximum comfort.
It comes with two flush-mounted rod holders and a top-mount rod holder. On top of that, it features two 6’’ storage compartments in the back and center.
Tamarack Angler has front and rear T-handles and a paddle keeper with shock cords. Although it weighs a bit over 50 pounds, it’s relatively easy to carry due to its convenient construction.
It measures 120x31x14 inches and has a maximum capacity of 275 pounds.
7. Lifetime Hydros Angler
Hydros Angler is another great fishing kayak from Lifetime. It features the well-known combination of tunnel hull design for stability and tracking, which is especially important for beginners.
Keep in mind that this one is designed for calm waters only. It measures 101×29.5×10.5 inches and weighs 38 pounds. Its maximum weight capacity is 225 pounds.
Its weight and design make it pretty easy to carry around. Plus, the front T-handle makes the entire process even simpler.
It has a molded-in swim-up deck along with bungee lacing, allowing you to store a few items you like carrying with you. Its quick-release set back is comfortable and easy to adjust to different positions.
It’s made of high-density polyethylene and is impact and UV resistant, so it’s unlikely to show any signs of wear and tear as quickly.
8. Lifetime Triton Angler
Lifetime Triton Angler is among the most stable and comfortable sit-on-top kayaks. Its hull design and integrated skeg offer stability and great tracking performance.
It has multiple footrest positions to accommodate different size paddlers. However, keep in mind that its maximum weight capacity is 275 pounds.
It also comes with a quick-release seat back and pads for maximum comfort, especially if you’re looking to spend hours in the kayak.
Triton Angler has self-bailing scupper holes to help with draining water from the tankwell and cockpit. It also includes tankwell storage with bungee lacing so that you can carry a few loose items aboard.
This one has two flush mount rod holders and a single adjustable holder. It also has a built-in water bottle holder for water or another favorite beverage.
9. Classic Accessories Colorado XT
This inflatable pontoon boat is sturdy, stable, and easy to work with in steady waters. It features a powder-coated steel tube frame along with two-piece 7’ aluminum oars.
The first thing we should mention is that the manufacturer recommends using a manual pump to inflate it. Still, the pontoon doesn’t come with a pump, which means you’ll have to buy one separately.
It has removable gear bags, 20 pockets, and two insulated drink holders. This makes it easy to carry different items and beverages on your fishing trip.
It has an adjustable seat mount and footrests, making it rather simple to find the best position that works for you. This is especially useful if you’re going to share the kayak.
Another thing worth noting is that a kayak angler can mount the rod holder in six different positions.
10. Lifetime Tamarack Angler, Sit on Top
This Sit-on-Top Tamarack is made from UV-protected high-density polyethylene. It’s durable, resistant, and able to withstand frequent fishing trips.
It’s a rather comfortable piece, featuring multiple footrest positions and an adjustable padded seat pad and back. Its bottom is flat and stable, while it also has front and back shock cord straps.
The kayak includes two flush-mounted rod holders and one top-mount rod holder for versatility and ease of use. It’s similar to other Tamarack models.
Another thing worth noting is the storage space it offers. It has two 6’’ storage compartments in the center and back, allowing you to carry different items.
It also has two paddle cradles, T-handles, and deep hull tracking channels. It comes with stability chine rails and has a maximum capacity of 275 pounds.
Buying Guide for Fishing Kayaks
Stability of Fishing Kayak
Stability is an important factor when buying a fishing kayak. Because fishing kayaks are often used offshore, the boat needs to be able to handle choppy waters. These fishing kayaks should be able to handle windy days and other conditions that would make for a difficult fishing trip.
Fishing kayaks come in two types of stability: primary and secondary. Primary stability is the amount of time it takes for the boat’s body to stop rocking after being tilted either side-to-side or front-to-back. Secondary stability is how much the boat continues to rock while it is still tipping around its center axis.
Tippiness refers to whether or not your fishing kayak tips easily from side to side or front-to-back with little effort when you lean on one side or the other. It is important to make sure your fishing kayak has secondary stability when fishing, so it will not tip easily while fishing around obstacles like rocks and bridges. This secondary stability can make fishing much easier since you won’t have to worry about tipping over every time you take your hands off the fishing rod for a few minutes.
Fishing Kayak Length
The length of fishing kayaks varies greatly depending on what type of water conditions you want to encounter. Longer fishing kayaks are faster but less maneuverable; shorter ones are slower but more maneuverable in tight spaces. Some fishing kayaks come with flat bottoms that allow them to be used in shallow waters, while others come with V-shaped bottoms for traveling in deeper waters.
The width of fishing kayaks also varies. Narrow fishing kayaks are more efficient for speed, but wider fishing kayaks provide greater stability in the water. Fishing kayaks that are less than 12 inches wide may require additional flotation inside the boat to support their weight and prevent them from sinking when upright.
Length also depends on how tall you are, since shorter people will not fit well in longer fishing kayaks. Make sure your fishing kayak has enough leg room so you can extend your legs straight out or bend at your knees while seated. You should be able to comfortably rest your feet flat against the foot pegs without feeling cramped.
Storage is another important factor to consider when shopping for a fishing kayak. You may have fishing gear, fishing rods, or other accessories you want to bring along with your fishing kayak. Fishing kayaks come with a variety of storage options and different types of fishing gears you can mount on them.
The best fishing kayak usually comes with dry compartments that protect the gear from getting wet while paddling through water or fishing in wet conditions. Large fishing kayaks typically provide more storage space for fishing rods, fishing reels, bait, camping equipment, and food supplies when on an extended fishing trip away from civilization. You also need to check if the fishing poles are stable enough when mounted on the fishing kayak you’re considering buying.
Weight Limit for Fishing Kayak
Weight is an important factor to consider when buying fishing kayak. You want one which is light enough for you to carry but sturdy enough to support your weight while fishing in it. In addition to weight, a fishing kayak needs to have enough space for fishing gears and fishing equipment.
It’s also important for you to be aware of weight capacity because fishing kayaks come in different weight capacities. This means fishing kayaks vary instability, depending on how much weight they can be able to support. Some fishing kayaks can accommodate up to 500lb while others are limited at only 250lb capacity.
Fishing Kayak Types for Weight Considerations
Racing Type Fishing Kayak – These fishing kayaks are not meant for fishing because they’re designed for speed and efficiency when paddling from one location to another. The fact that these fishing kayaks have been designed for racing, naturally implies that you need a lot of strength just to move it forward by paddling against water current or wind direction changes. In addition, you will need a lot of upper arm strength just so the fishing kayak can go faster.
Recreational fishing kayak – These fishing kayaks are the most common fishing kayaks available today. Since they’re designed for fishing, it’s not surprising that these fishing kayaks have enough space for fishing gears and fishing equipment. Because of their design purpose, you can be sure that fishing gear will not touch or hit your legs when paddling on water or moving from one location to another. One thing about recreational fishing kayaks is they’re only limited at a weight capacity of 250lb which might be an issue if you’re planning to use it with other people on board such as your family especially if there are kids who weigh less than 50lb each.
Fishing Kayak With Sit On Top Design – In fishing, you need to move from one fishing spot to another fishing spot. In fishing kayaks with sit on top design, you don’t have to worry about shifting from one side of the fishing kayak into a paddle sitting position because there’s no cockpit area where you need to get in first before sitting down.
Weight Capacity for Recreational Fishing Kayak
If your fishing gears and fishing equipment weigh more than four hundred pounds, then it might be worth considering going for a recreational fishing kayak that has 500lb weight capacity. For beginners or for people who are fishing alone, I recommend going for 250lb weight capacity because this will mean less struggle when paddling in water currents or in windy conditions.
Most kayaks can be upgraded with a few accessories, depending on your skills and the tools you have at hand.
Some kayaks have rail storage where you can attach GPS, extra rods, your fish finder, and pretty much anything else. You can even attach a GoPro to document your trip.
You can add a trolling motor to the stern, which will help you get from one side to another without pedaling as much. If not, consider adding a sail to help you with moving around.
A sail is a useful addition that’s easy to use, allowing you to take advantage of the wind.
Types of Fishing Kayaks
Kayak fishing is a fun experience, but it’s only enjoyable with the right type of kayak. As you’ve probably noticed, the market offers plenty of different types to use for fishing.
Some are more suitable for fishing than others, but it’s usually just a matter of your preference. Take some time to read the guide below as we discuss each type, explaining what makes it a good choice for your fishing adventures.
Sit On Top Fishing Kayak
A sit-on-top kayak is typically stable, user-friendly, and easy to work with. It’s easy to get in and out of one, so it’s suitable for beginners.
These are suitable for different bodies of water, including lakes, rivers, canals, and saltwater. You’re supposed to sit on top of it, as the name suggests.
These are usually wide and stable, which is always important to consider even more so if you’re a beginner. However, the wider hull means that they’re slower than most.
One thing to keep in mind is that these are a lot of fun but will not keep you dry. There is no spray skirt, which means you’re not protected against splashing water or wind.
The market offers plenty of different sit-on-top kayaks from various brands. Some models are quite basic, while others are more advanced. Also, most of them come with rod holders, strap storage, handles, and other features.
Sit-In Fishing Kayak
Sit-in kayaks come with a few features you can also find in sit-on-top models. However, there’s one major difference, and that is the design.
A sit-in kayak is partially enclosed, featuring what is called the cockpit and cockpit rim. These usually have a spray skirt that prevents splashing regardless of the water you’re in.
Another advantage is the protection against the wind. This type gives you a warmer ride since you’re sitting lower and are protected against the breeze.
Still, it’s rather tricky to work with if you flip it. Recovering it is much more difficult because the kayak fills with water. This is something you’ll learn how to avoid and work around in time.
Much like in the case of sit-on-top kayaks, sit-in models are similar to one another, although a few of them stand out. They come with rod and drink holders, paddles, different storage options, and adjustable seats.
Inflatable Fishing Kayak
Inflatable kayaks are probably the most popular. They’re ideal if you don’t have as much storage space to put your kayak away when not in use.
It usually takes only a few minutes to inflate one and equally as long to deflate. It’s a good choice for calm waters because they’re not as sturdy as other types.
Still, these are pretty stable, given that they’re inflatable. They’re made of different materials, some of which are more durable than others. For this reason, make sure that you choose only the best quality inflatable kayak.
These are inexpensive and a good choice for beginners who are only now getting interested in fishing kayaks. However, consider both the price and other features and specifications to find the best one.
Many people consider these to be inflatable boats. And while there’s an obvious similarity, kayaks are still something else. An inflatable kayak should have accessories like rod holders and paddles.
Tandem Kayaks are a type of kayak with two seats. They are most often used by couples or families, but they can be used for a variety of purposes, such as recreational use and competitive sports. There is an increased risk of capsizing a tandem kayak, which does make it necessary to learn how to be safe on the water before using one.
There are many benefits to using a Tandem Kayak when it comes to fishing. With two people in the kayak, there is more weight inside to keep it stable. Also, with two people working together at the same time, it may be easier to catch fish if one person paddles while another person casts their fishing line or retrieves it after a cast.
Final Thoughts on the Best Fishing Kayaks
As you see, finding the best fishing kayak isn’t that complicated when you have all the right information. Hopefully, our buyer’s guide helped you find one out of as many we reviewed.
If you can’t make up your mind, we suggest you check Intex Excursion Pro as it’s one of the most durable kayaks. It’s inflatable, featuring a laminate PVC polyester core and spring-loaded valves.
This one is highly durable and resistant to impact and abrasion. It’s resistant to UV rays as well, which means it can last a long time, even with prolonged sun exposure.
On top of that, it has everything you need on your fishing trip. As we mentioned in the review above, this one has removable skews, adjustable bucket seats, and footrests, as well as rod holders.
There’s also a lot of space for upgrading if you want to carry around GPS or fishfinder.
Although this is one of the most popular fishing kayaks, you should still consider your needs and preferences before making a decision.
Think about the buying factors we discussed, and we’re sure you won’t have any problems picking one. These are the best and most reliable, so it’s just a matter of finding what suits your needs.