Best Fishing Kayak & Canoe Buyer’s Guide


Fishing using Kayaks is one of the most effective ways to do on open water as opposed to fishing from the shores. You get the freedom to pick any fishing spot you want for the best experience. The whole experience is however determined by the kind of fishing kayak you have. Buying a kayak may not be sensible if you are seeking a one-time experience. People looking to get into kayak fishing both as a recreational and sporting activity will need to take time before they decide on the fishing kayak of choice. I have spent time fishing with Kayaks over some years now, and I can tell you that the choice determines the results. This is one of the reasons that we put 50+ hours with some of my friends to pick the best fishing kayak on the market. Kayaks, just like any other equipment are prone to failure and disappointment. The fact that there are hundreds of choices in the market today does not make it any easier for a beginner especially, experienced kayak users may have an idea or two buys some may also be stuck on a bad choice they made some years back. Here is a list we picked for you bordering on both fishing and recreation.

Why Trust Me?

I have been in the kayaking business for as long as I can remember thanks to the fact that my father had made it a family business. My weekends were all about rapid and open waters. I have seen many struggle fishermen go through whenever they decide to take to kayaking to enhance their fishing experience. You need to understand that fishing while kayaking and while seated on a shoreline are two different things. Kayak fishing not only involves professionally knowing how to navigate and use a kayak but also knowing how to fish using one whether sited or standing. Navigating a kayak on calm waters is easy for most people since it does not come with any resistance from the waters. People that fish on rivers often experience rough waters before finding the best fishing spot. This sort of kayaking takes experience and practice that can only be derived with time. I have also had the pleasure of helping most beginners pick their first kayak as well as that hiring pick what works best. I also work with a community of kayaks that live by the same code. It is wise that one defines the reason why they need a kayak before buying one as they are used for different reasons. Those used solely for fishing will have different properties from those used for sport. Those used for touring may also come with different properties. Some hybrids are a compromise of all the available options. These will not perform best in one field but relatively well on all.

For Whom This Article is?

This is a great read for all beginners and professionals that are seeking to invest in a kayak. Those seeking to hire one for fishing will also find this useful. Buying a kayak should be a definitive exercise since you may have to stick with your mistake for a long time depending on the funds available. Beginners especially need all the help they can get when it comes to picking the best kayak for fishing. People that live on water bodies with fish may find themselves using kayaks more often compared to those that have to travel to do so. The dynamics of the buying experience remain the same. It is important to know and understand all the aspects of a kayak and what is best for your needs. The first thing one needs to define is the reason for buying a kayak. You also need to know the kind of waters you will be using your kayak on. It is wise that you pick a short easy to maneuver kayak if you comes from an area with unpredictable rapids and waters. Long slim ones are perfect for open water bodies that are huge and require you to travel long distances before picking a spot. This kind of knowledge combined with the accessories each comes with will ensure that you pick a design that is worthwhile. The kind of build will range from polyethylene to Kevlar and nylon. The type of material used to build the kayak will determine longevity and the ability to make repairs. Some will not do well in rapid waters that come with rocks and tree stumps while others will be ideal for open waters where there are no obstacles.

Our Picks of 5 Best Fishing Kayaks

How I Picked the Best

Picking the best kayaks in the market took 50+ hour of research and testing. The fact that we have access to most of the kayaks out there made the whole ordeal easier for me and my counterparts. We also took the time to review most of the pieces online and what most users said about them. Un-bunking myths surrounding kayak fishing was also part of the whole quest which was both useful and fun. Picking the best also involved exposing the kayaks to real time situations on both calm and rough water to see how the held together. We also tabulated the different strengths and weakness of the different kayaks and eventually came up with those that performed best across the board. Most kayaks will be a compromise of the other and get one with all the ended qualities can be daunting. Some come with great accessories yet poor builds while others that come with great builds offer so little in accessories and extras. The purpose of the extras is always to make the work of the rider easier while on the open waters. Those without these extras will require the user to spend a little extra for the same.

Factors determined by picking a kayak

1Type of exercise: It is wise that you take the time to determine exactly what you will be doing with the kayak. Those that are all about sports will prefer white water kayaks. Those that prefer fishing in rapid waters may want to work with hybrids while those on open water will take longer kayaks. The type of fishing you do will also determine the kind of kayak right from the size of the hull and the length of the kayak. Bigger fish will require more space and maybe more gear along the way.
2Type of waters: Rapid and calm waters well require different kayaks. Shorter kayaks are easier to handle on unpredictable waters as opposed to longer ones. Rapid waters also need kayaks that will not easily accumulate water in the hull. Open hull is for rapid water are sealed using scuba wear material to keep water from getting into the hull. Calm waters are often ion large water bodies, and so speed is a requirement.
3Number of people using it: Kayaks will hold different amounts of weight besides people. Ensure that you pick the right kayak for the number of people that will be using it. Most will work for one or two people. It is wise that you take the time to inquire about the number of people that can fit in the hull as well as the weight requirements before trying it out on the water.
4Amount of cargo: The amount of cargo is determined by the number of fish that you intend to catch and the weight of the same. Your gear will also be part of this equation. Ensure that you go for a kayak that will easily handle your capacity when it comes to fishing and recreational sport. The storage compartments come in different sizes also depending on the length and width of the kayak.

Features of the Best Fishing Kayaks

The Build/ properties
The type of material used to design the kayak determines its longevity and versatility. Most kayaks are made of polyethylene material which is hardy and suitable for both rapid and calm waters. The material is also made of layers with more hardy kayaks using extra layers to make them tougher. This however also makes them heavier. Other materials include Kevlar, fiberglass, and wood. Kevlar is a tough material that is more of fabric and handles well on water. It is easy to break but also very easy to repair which is a good thing. It is commonly used for army boats but in a reinforced manner. Fiberglass is lightweight and very durable as long as you do not subject it to impact while on the water. It will shatter easily on heavy impact, unlike polyethylene which can withstand hard hits. The final material being wood is more of a DIY deal where kayak builder makes their kayaks. Wood is light and easy to make and repair due to its nature. The longevity of wood purely depends on the type of wood and finish you do on it. The kind of kayak you pick will be heavily reliant on where you intend to venture.

Hull size
The hull size accommodates the rider and needs to be ample enough to allow movement. It also needs to be solid enough to withstand impact. Kayaks will come with different forms of hulls. Some are deep while some are shallow. The shallow ones are ideal for kayaks that venture into rapid waters since they allow water in and out easily without accumulating into the hull. Those with deep hulls are preferred on calm waters that don’t present rough situations. It is important that you also take the time to fit in the hull before making your purchase. White water kayaks have deep hulls that are also water protected but are tricky to maneuver. Some kayaks need professional riders to manage them. Some hulls will accommodate more than one person some taking up to three people. The hull also holds the footrests and the seat. The best footrests are not only adjustable but comfortable to work with. Most kayaks with more than one person fit will not have adjustable seats in them.

The pricing is one of the most crucial aspects of any kayak buys. Most will range in price from $300 to $1000. How deep you will need to go into your pockets will be determined by the brand and type of kayak you are going for. Fishing kayaks asunder $800 are reasonable. Cheap kayaks will often be made using cheap material and will have very little to offer when it comes to extras. The extras make the rider more convenient and so are important. The cheap material will break easily also depending on here you are fishing. The valuable material does not need to be expensive either way. Kayaks made of Polyethylene are reasonably priced, and this has proven to be one of the best materials out there. Fiberglass is light and common but can prove to be a problem on rapid waters. It is also slightly more expensive when compared to polyethylene. Kevlar is costly but also break easily

Storage Space
The storage space is determined by some factors including the size of the kayak. Ample storage space is crucial for dry and wet items. Dry items are best stored in the hatches. Ensure that the hatches seal well and if possible are protected from under the kayak. This means that after entering the hull will not reach the hatch. Some kayaks will have one while others will have two. The size of each will matter. Some hatches will even accommodate fishing roads which are more than sufficient. The hull in some kayaks will also double up as storage or hold space during fishing. Boats with a canoe like hulls will use the whole area as storage and the hatch for dry storage which is more than sufficient. Some kayaks come with side pockets and holding places that act as extra storage space for snacks and gear during the ride.
The width of the canoe will determine its length and stability. Most wide canoes are short. These are designed to stand on and will normally have lesser speed as compared to narrow ones. A wider base allows the user to stand comfortably when catching fish. Slimmer boats are used in calm water when one needs less balance when standing and more speed when paddling. Narrower boats are faster but are a problem when maneuvering. Shorter boats are easy to handle, and that’s why they work best for rapid waters.

The length of the boat is also important. Most narrow boats are designed to be long for increased speed. Kayaking as a sport presents these options as a priority. Longer boats that are narrower will cut through water easily as long as you do not need to change the speed of the boat often. These boats are often harder to maneuver and will not work in rapid waters. Longer boats will only work on calm seas. The shorter ones allow one to maneuver the kayak easily which is why they are ideal in unpredictable waters. The choice you make will be purely determined by the kind of waters you venture into at the end of the day. Rivers are not calm, and so it is wise that you take a shorter kayak during this experience.

Seat adjustment
Seat adjustment works well for footrest placement. The adjustment of the seat beside the type of seat you have will determine how long you will stay on your boat. Boats that have padded seats are more comfortable, and the rider will spend more time on them. Adjustment allows the user to place the seat at a comfortable length to stretch the feet. The seats also need to have a backrest especially if you know that you will spend long hours on the boat. People with back problems will also find this very useful.

Kayak extras include the holders, mountings, and pockets among many others. As reiterated before, the extras will make the trip better for you. Ensure that you pick a kayak that has ample extras regarding flush paddle holders and mounts for fishing rods. The mounts make it easy when fishing on the seat. These are not sued while standing since they rest on the boat.

5 best kayak review

Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak

Sevylor Coleman Colorado - Best Fishing KayakThe Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2 Person Fishing Kayak topped our list for more than one reasons besides the amazingly rugged look. The Kayak is made of 18 gauge PVC which is great for unpredictable shallow waters and an 840D nylon cover for durable protection against punctures. The kayak also comes with a 1000D Tarpaulin bottom for extra protection and multiple air chambers allowing others to stay inflated in case of a puncture. The whole system is airtight to keep off leaks even when one part of the chamber is hit. The Berkley rod holders are also easy to set for an enhanced experience when it comes to hands-free fishing. The kayak comes with trolling motor fittings if you are up for an expanded fishing capability. The paddles also safely secure your paddles safely out of the way to make fishing easier and less obstructed. Deflation and inflation are easy thanks to the double threaded Boston valve. The boat is fitted with mesh storage pockets enabling you to keep important gear at hand. This includes snack bars during the ride. The D-rings are also fitted so as to allow easy attachment of any other equipment you may need during fishing. The carry handles also allow you to lift the kayak in and out of the water easily. The seat is adjustable allowing a range of fits depending on the height of an individual. Unlike most kayaks in the market, this one fits two people for extra manpower and a better experience on open water that can be a bit boring when waiting for fish to take the bait. It can comfortably hold up to 470 lbs. which are more than sufficient for two people. You also get a carry bag and pressure gauge at the point of purchase. The boat is 10ft and 9 inches in length, 3 feet and 3 inches wide which make it a perfect fishing hybrid.


Price: This is a reasonably priced kayak if you take the time to think about the properties it brings to the table.

The Build/ properties: The kayak is made up of PVC with a 1000D Tarpaulin bottom and an 840D cover to protect it against punctures. The Boston valve is also double layered for ease of use. There is also a setup of multiple air chambers where one remains inflated even after the other is punctured for safety.

Hull size: You get a huge hull size that can fit tow people. It comes with a canoe like design that also maximize luggage and gear space during fishing. It can also accommodate 470 lbs. This is more than sufficient when you combine weight from two people and gear.

Storage Space: The canoe like designs allows for ample storage space as long as you are within the weight limits of 470 lbs.

Width: The canoe is 3ft, 3inches wide which is sufficient for stability and standing during fishing.

Length: This is perfect canoe for calm water due to its length but will also do well in relatively rough waters.

Seat adjustment: The seats also allow you to adjust them and sit comfortably.

Extras: The kayak comes with very many extras including paddle holders, carry handles for lifting the kayak in and out of the water, a carry bag, pressure gauge, mesh pockets on the side for keeping gear and snacks during fishing as well as D-rings to attach equipment to the kayak.

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Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak, Brown Camo

Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak - 2nd Best Fishing KayakThe Ocean Kayak Prowler had to be on this list because it remains one of the most formidable fishing kayaks out there. This is one of the best kayaks when it comes to angler fishing, and its popularity comes with its reasons. The kayak is designed to handle both rough and calm water since it is a sit on top kayak. This means that it does not collect water into the hull whenever you are wading through rapids making it very effective. The hull is stable and quiet making it compact enough for a rough ordeal. The hull is also really large for the purpose of accommodating as much gear as possible. This also makes it a very good companion for people handing huge fish that take up a lot of space. The internal storage can handle multiple fishing rods as well as cargo that are supposed to stay dry. Other extras include a comfort plus seat, a 6-inch hatch with storage space, two paddle keeps, 2 cup holders, a skid plate, and transducer compatible. The rear tank is over-sized enough to hold scuba tanks, bait wells, coolers, tackle boxes and crates. The truth is that this is not a cheap kayak but for a reason. It has stood the test of time and has remained one of the most versatile companions when it comes to fishing over a variety of waters. This is perfect if you are looking for a single kayak that will handle all your fishing needs in one go.


Price: This is one of the most expensive kayaks we have in this list but still within a reasonable domain.

The Build/ properties: The kayak is made of polyethylene material which is not only lightweight but hardy.

Hull size: The hull is stable, quiet and stable enough for calm and rough waters alike.

Storage Space: You get a front and rear hatch for simple storage both for your gear and catch. Space also allows you to store multiple fishing rods safely. The oversized tank allows one to store scuba tanks, crates, and coolers, tackle boxes and bait wells.

Width: The boat is a great hybrid with a width that allows stability and standing while fishing.

Length: The boat is easy to maneuver and is a good compromise for both rapid and calm waters.

Seat adjustment: The set can be easily adjusted for the perfect fit while fishing.

Extras: The extras include a storage bucket, 2-rod holders, two paddle keeps, transducer compatible and skid plate.

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Lifetime Sport Fisher Single or Tandem Kayak, 10 Feet, Olive Green
Lifetime Sport Fisher Single or Tandem Kayak - 3rd Best Fishing KayakThe fact that the manufacturer of this kayak gives a five-year warranty says a lot about the build of this product. The Lifetime fisher Paddles Kayak is one of the bets kayaks for people that do not require speed but comfort during fishing. The kayak is short allowing ease of maneuvering through the water as well as wide enough to allow a comfortable standing stance. This is even made betters by a blow molding made of high-density Polyethylene for extra durability and unmatched strength. It also has a sitting capacity of three people allowing up to 500lbs in its hull. The design of the hull is one of the reasons why it is so capable allowing ultra-stability and reliable tracking. The kayak also comes with multiple footrest positions depending on the rider that is onboard. The extras include two double-sided paddles; well-padded backrests for comfort during long hours of fishing and paddle clips. You also get three fishing pole holders and a huge storage hatch for keeping dry items. Despite the amazing qualities this kayak brings, the pricing is just right. It is a perfect kayak for beginners that are easing up to the sport.


Price: This is a well proceed kayak if you are looking for something that can be used by more than one person.

The Build/properties: The kayak is made of high-density polyethylene for extra strength and durability. The Manufacturer offers a five-year warranty as a vote of confidence for this structure.

Hull size: The kayak can sit up to 3 people who are more than convenient. It is designed to handle up to 500lbs including gear. You also get multiple footrest positions allowing you to sit comfortably.

Storage Space: The fact that it can bear 500lbs comfortably makes it very convenient for storage. The storage hatch is 6 inches wide which is more than sufficient.

Width: The boat is ideal for standing on while fishing due to stability and space in the hull.

Length: It is not as long as you would expect for a boat accommodating three people and so does well on both calm and rapid river waters.

Seat adjustment: The seats are fixed.

Extras: You get paddle clips for two double-sided paddles, two padded, backrests, a storage hatch and three fishing pole holders.

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Lifetime Muskie Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak with Paddle
Lifetime Muskie Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak with Paddle - 4th Best Fishing KayakThis is a sit on top kayak that is ideal for rapid waters and lake fishing. It is also okay for calm waters which then make it a perfect hybrid. The kayak comes with a UV layered high-density Polyethylene for extra strength and durability as well as a flat bottom. The flat bottom allows the user to stand on the boat for long hours during fishing without toppling over or using extra strength for balance. The kayak also comes with a deep hull despite it being a sit on top option with tracking channels. You also get extra stability with chine rails. The kayak can also be used by riders of different heights due to the multiple footrest positions and adjustable padded seat for extra comfort. There are shock cord straps both in the front, and the rear with two flushes mounted rod holders. You also get one top mounted rod holder for versatility and extra options. There are two 6 inch compartments in the front and center, and two paddle cradles combined to set up with shock cords. T-handles on them front and rear make transport bliss all through the ride. To top it all, the manufacturer also offers a five-year warranty for this kayak. It is evidently one of the best choices both in properties and the price tag it comes with.


Price: This is a great bargain for a kayak its make and kind.

The Build/properties: The kayak is made up of a high-density UV protected polyethylene material that can withstand impact and last long.

Hull size: The hull is huge with multiple footrest positions for comfort.

Storage Space: You get two 6 inch storage containers at the rear and the center.

Width: The canoe like kayak allows you to stand when fishing thanks to a wide base for stability.

Length: It is short in length as so perfect for both rapid and calm waters.

Seat adjustment: You can easily adjust the seat and also enjoy a padded backseat.

Extras: The extras include two paddle holders with shock cords and front and rear T-handles for ease of transport. You get three mountings for fishing roads that are all flush and a five-year warranty after a sale.

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Sun Dolphin Excursion Sit-in Fishing Kayak (Olive, 10-Feet)
Sun Dolphin Excursion Sit-in Fishing Kayak - 5th Best Fishing KayakAre you looking for a deep hull kayak that is ideal for calm waters? The Sun Dolphin Excursion Kayak is known for its large open cockpit with easily adjustable foot braces and an adjustable seat. The seat also comes with a high back support for comfort during long hours of paddling while sited. The hull design is both for tracking and turning with two flush holders as well as a swivel rod holder. The kayak has a holding capacity of 250 lbs. and is wide enough for the user to stand and sit at will during fishing. The storage hatch comes with a shock deck rigging cord for extra support. It is a minimalist kayak for people that have nothing but fishing in mind.


Price: One of the most reasonably priced kayaks on this list with a great list of properties.

The Build/properties: It is made of resilient polyethylene material that can withstand rapid waters as well as impact.

Hull size: You get a good hull size that allows comfortable sitting. The rider also gets adjustable footrests, an adjustable seat, and back support.

Storage Space: There is a storage hatch for storage alongside the wide open hull for the same.

Width: It is a stable boat that allows standing comfortably while fishing.

Length: Works well in both calm and rapid waters with great maneuverability.

Seat adjustment: The design allows seat adjustment for maximum comfort when paddling.

Extras: The extras include two flush mount fish rod holders and a swivel holder.

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Final Recommendations

These kayaks are highly recommended for ardent kayakers or those that want to take up serious fishing. This is the kind of investment that you want to use over and over. It is important that you take into consideration all the different qualities and factors given before making the purchase. Pricing is not always the indicator since cheap kayaks may not end up being a problem. Expensive ones may also not necessarily be reasonable which is why we have put together a list that is within a reasonable range. The fact that this may be your initial kayak investment altogether makes it one of the most important ones yet. It is also recommended that you take time and see a specialist before making a final decision so as to get a perfect fit. Testing out the kayak at the shop on the ground before hitting the water in it is advisable. It is obvious that the store owner will not allow you to go into the water before buying the kayak. This is of course unless you are buying a second hand one. Having a specialist also thoroughly check the hull and body before a second-hand buy will save you a lot of pain in the end.

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