With the summer coming up and our desire for adventure increasing day by day, we thought it would be great to look into some fishing kayaks for you. There are plenty of great places for fishing in America and most of them require some sort of a boat. Having a small but reliable kayak for fishing it’s ideal for anyone who has no boat or wants more freedom. The fishing kayaks we review today are portable, some of them inflatable, other made of plastic but easy to attach to your car roof racks. The whole point of a fishing kayak is to help you go a bit further from the shores to catch better fish but to be also able to install or pack your stuff easily and effortlessly. Due to their extreme portability (you can fold them in a backpack), the inflatable fishing kayaks might be your best choice if you don’t mind using sharp hooks around inflatable things.
In our pursue to find the best top ten fishing kayaks we looked for the following:
– portability: easy to carry in a backpack or easy to attach to the roof of a car
– the inflatable kayaks need to have additional protection from punctures
– guaranteed not to leak air
– easy and fast to inflate and deflate
– adjustable seats, foot braces
– high weight capacity
– number of seats (2-3 better than 1 if you enjoy having company)
– paddles included
– fishing poles and drinks holders
– safe and stable on the water
– made for both, small bodies of water or larger
– UV-stabilized materials for increased protection
This mono hull fishing kayak will accommodate just fine someone who’s below 6 foot tall but if you are taller you may want to go with the 12-foot fishing kayak which is just as good but longer. Also if you have a heavy build it’s good to know that the 10-foot version supports 250 lbs while the 12-foot can carry up to 375 lbs.
This kayak features an open cockpit so it’s easy to get on board or leave. We like it that way but if you want your legs protected from rain, wind or sun you may want to choose one that is covered like the Sun Dolphin Aruba Fishing Kayak or the Advanced Elements Advanceframe fishing kayak. All great options.
So what’s so great about Sun Dolphin Journey 10-Foot Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak? This strong Rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex® High Density molded Polyethylene fishing kayak can be towed behind and act as an extra storage. It’s light enough to be portable attaching easy to a roof top rack, easy to drag from your car to the water and easy to put back. You don’t have to be worried about loosing air since is not inflatable but it’s as portable to give you the freedom to fish anywhere you like.
It has a large seat and 3 Atwood rod holders plus a large bottle holder in the middle with some additional lateral pocket holders. There is a sealed storage where you can put some extra clothes just in case it’s becoming windy or rainy on the water or if you need a dry set of clothes after the rain stops. The foot braces are adjustable, move them up and down until you find your sweet spot.
What we didn’t like about this kayak is that is not coming with the paddles so you will need to purchase separate, except if you are lucky enough and the seller includes them in the same package for you. However, the stock paddles, if you are lucky enough and receive them aren’t that great so you may end up buying anyway.
While the chances for this kayak to tip are pretty slim, we wouldn’t take it on open sea except if you added stabilizers to it. Our advice is to keep it on steady calm waters as much as possible. It’s a small frame and any strong wave will shake you pretty hard. Despite of it’s size, it won’t sink with you even when covered with water due to the air injected in the frame. Should be good enough for small lakes or rivers edges. However it may hold a strong rocks beating on a rough white water river though we believe it’s not necessarily built for that.
Is 120 inches long, 13 inches high and 30 inches wide. Weights 44 lbs and comes in 2 colors, drab green (olive) and sand.
All in one, this is a great little fishing kayak that will help you catch as much fish as from a big boat without breaking the bank and sacrificing your movement freedom. Like all small kayaks, or all kayaks for that matter, it’s clearly not as stable as a big boat but a little bit of water or waves killed no one. If the stability makes it or breaks it for you, adding some stabilizers will make the kayak more stable at a very low cost. If you love to pack and leave for fishing in less than 10 min, then Sun Dolphin Journey 10-Foot Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak is a great option. The price tag at the moment of this review is $383 making this kayak one of the best options for the money.
Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is a 2 seats fishing kayak with aluminum oars and high output air pump that will help you inflate or deflate in 5-10 minutes. Sells in multiple packs, 2, 3 and 4. We review today the 2 pack budget one.
It has a comfortable size, 36 x 20 x 123 inches. The inflatable seats are adjustable and have back rest attaching easily yo the floor with Velcro. It’s build with a removable skeg for directional stability. It’s sporty and fun to take on calm waters, visible enough from far away because of the colors, it’s very easy to carry it around, made of rugged durable vinyl with a sturdy inflatable l-beam floor. Comes with 2 Boston valves which helps inflating and deflating in a timely manner.
It’s delivered with two 86 inches aluminum oars and an Intex high-output pump. It’s gonna hold two adults or up to 250 lbs (it’s confirmed it will hold easily at least 350 lbs but the specs say only 250 lbs, take everything with a gram of salt) and it’s built for adventure but not on rocky rivers or open sea.
While it comes with a bag, after you unfold it will be hard to fold it and put it back despite the fact that if folded properly is only 22 x 11 x 15 inches. If you are sloppy like us you will have better chances if you get a separate bag only for the kayak.
To start your water adventures, grab firmly the kayak and pull it out of the bag. Unfold it on a flat surface making sure before there is nothing pointy or spikes. Connect the manual pump one by one to each of the four chambers in order and inflate until the kayak is firm but with a little wiggle to spare. Inflate and adjust the seats with velcros living enough room for legs. If you are alone you can use the back seat and have more room for yourself.
Depending on the ground, you can drag it to the water alone but we recommend two people to carry it in hands and less dragging just to avoid unpleasant surprises. You should be all set for kayak fishing in 15-20 minutes top.
It weighs around 40 to 50 lbs so if you plan hiking and carrying it with you to remote place, it may get too heavy. The shape makes it also difficult.
All in one, Intex Explorer K2 Kayak makes a great fishing kayak if all you want is to fish on steady waters. It might not be the perfect kayak for more adventurous people though it can be carried easily when you are young and strong to remote locations. It looks more like a toy than a real thing and the fact that is made out of vinyl will make you think twice if it’s good for fishing but fear not, it’s strong enough unless you are too careless.
This fishing kayak looks similar to Sun Dolphin Journey with some differences, the major one being the price. Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak is wide and robust, weights almost 70 lbs, yet small and portable fishing kayak. Made of High Density Polyethylene which gives it durability and strength, can carry up to 500 lbs. It’s stable due to the tunnel hull design and it comes with multiple footrest positions to accommodate from small to tall fishers.
It’s shipped with 2 paddles, backseats with backrests (half back support only and no cushion), a 6 inch storage hatch (smaller inside but enough for small stuff) and a three molded fishing poles holders. Small, yet comfortable, sporty, reliable, we loved it! What can we say, Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak is made for fishing!
It’s high enough to keep you dry. Add a rudder and a trolling motor (it has a molded hole in the rear) and you can cover a lot of water to find that perfect fishing spot. But wait, this kayak is not great only for fishing but amazing for leisure time as well. Despite the fact that this is a fishing kayak and not a touring one, after all, the engine is not necessarily a must, you can use the stock paddles the kayak comes with and while you won’t any speed record it will still help you move up and down calm waters.
If you feel more adventurous, it’s nothing to break with Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak, so you can take it up the rivers or open seas. It’s even stable enough for you to stand up and fish if you feel so.
Sevylor Quikpak K1 one person fishing kayak is one of the most easier inflatable kayaks to install (takes 5-10 min to pump it with the manual pump that comes with) and it’s very easy to carry around due to the carry handles and the light weight. It’s small but stays well on the water and will hold great even on not so calm waters. It’s built with a multi air chamber system so it will bring you safely to the shore if it get’s punctured. The bottom of the boat is made out of rugged tarpaulin and features an Airtight® System guaranteed not to leak.
Has an interesting backpack system that turns into a seat. When it’s fully inflated is 8 ft. long 7 in. high x 3 ft wide. Is NMMA® certified so it will handle up to 400 lbs. Comes with a manual pump and a pair of paddles, though they might not be the sturdiest you ever used. However, you can return it in 90 days if not satisfied.
Easy to get in and out, the fact that is inflatable fives this kayak an edge over stormy waters. It will always keep you on top of the lake waves. One interesting particularity is that you can pre-inflate the wholes 1, 2 and 3 and carry the kayak in your car if you have enough space to save time at your destination though again, inflating and deflating is quite fast with this fishing kayak.
One thing with all inflatable kayaks is the direction which is a bit hard to keep as they don’t track that well. It’s expected from an inflatable boat but it’s something to keep in mind when purchasing. Being inflatable makes also impossible to stand up. However Sevylor Quikpak K1 is comfy enough and the seat is pretty decent. The biggest advantage of inflatable kayaks like this one is the storage part. You don’t need a garage or a storage room like when you have a hard shell one. You will just pack this after deflating it and store it in a corner of your apartment. Easy like that.
The price at the moment of this review is a bit over 100 dollars so even if you are not the biggest fan of inflatable boats, the easiness to store it, the price and portability may make you buy. All in one, a great fishing kayak, for a decent price and performance, designed especially for city people with less storage room but big hearts for fishing and outdoors. It’s a fun one!
We review today two Sun Dolphin fishing kayaks. They are all one-person, sturdy little kayaks and we love them for the little space they take, agility in the water and easiness to carry around. Sun Dolphin Aruba is no different. In fact the only major differences in between the two is that Journey features an open cockpit, while Aruba is covered. The price also varies from one to another.
Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 Sit-in Kayak comes in multiple color choices: Lime, Blue, Ocean, Pink and Red. Like with all boats on the water we recommend vivid colors because they are easy to spot on open waters. Just because of that reason, our favorite colors would be: lime, pink and red.
It features a reasonable large cabin and storage room and has adjustable foot braces. It’s made of UV-stabilized Fortiflex High Density Polyethylene hull and it’s rugged enough to handle rocky rivers and stormy waters though, like with all small boats, we don’t recommend anything else beside calm waters. Has a water bottle holder and the seat has a high back support. Despite the rugged construction it’s relatively easy to carry around because it weights only 42 lbs. Can handle up to 240 lbs. Ships with one paddle.
Call it a recreational kayak or a fishing kayak, Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 it just does the job. As long as you don’t plan fishing trips on the Atlantic ocean, you should be fine. To always be on the safe side, don’t forget your life jacket on the shore. It’s the right size so it can fit easily in a truck or on a roof rack. Like all molded Polyethylene fishing kayaks, this one won’t sink even when filled completely with water. All kayaks are designed to float even when upside down or filled with water so there are no really safety concerns. Sun Dolphin Aruba 10 Sit-in Kayak is as safe as it gets.
We review today 2 convertible kayaks from Advanced Elements, this one being a one seater and the another model with 2 seats. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame™ comes preassembled from the factory so all you have to do is unfold, inflate and go fishing. It has built-in aluminum frame, a dura-floor insert and it’s made of 3 layers of high resistance puncture material. It truly looks like a molded kayak when fully inflated and it even has pretty much the same level the sturdiness and track on the water as a hard shell kayak would do.
The seat has a high back rest and it’s comfortable along with the cockpit frame making hours of using it pass like a breeze. Comes in 2 colors, red and grey and in one size. Can we moved around easily due to it’s light weight and it is stable on the water. Stores in a nice big bag which can be put into any kind of car trunk. It won’t occupy a huge space. Looks modern and nice and has a dry storage with bungee deck lacing.
Due to it’s shape, this pop-up kayak will cut through the water like a fiberglass one. It inflates and deflates in around 10 minutes. If the storage space and portability are your concerns, this fishing kayak is made for you. It truly easy a piece of engineering, that’s how easy it is to setup and use. The instructions read it’s designed to be taken out in seas and oceans but we wouldn’t risk it to far from the shores though it looks solid enough to handle open waters or white waters. If you are experienced enough and more adventurous then we are, you might go for it.
The best part of inflatable kayaks is that you can even take them on plane trips, over seas, which is truly a perk. Imagine you can go fishing one day in the white rapids of Gauley River, West Virginia and then put it on a plane and go fishing the next day in the Key West ocean waters. It’s every fisherman dream.
Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame™ is made out of an expensive skin material, puncture proofed so you can finally take your dog with you. There is some space behind the seat you can use to take some food and water with you just in case you get a good spot for fishing and don’t wanna leave.
The best way to pack it is by deflating and sitting on it to get rid of all the air on a flat surface, preferably grass so it won’t get muddy and will dry nice and easy. This is actually one of the downsides of inflatable kayaks, the drying part. It may take long depending on the weather. If you catch a rain, forget about it packaging it dry. Comparing with a hard shell kayak which you only need to attach to the roof of your car or throw in the truck bed, waiting for an inflatable one to dry can be a bit of a hustle. Having a nylon skin makes it also a magnet for all sorts of dirt like motor oil and such.
Another thing it may happen with an inflatable kayak like this is that the crisp air on the water may cause the air inside the chambers to contract therefore it may sag in some areas so it won’t look that well inflated anymore. Being not so solid the drive may not be that easy and you might end up rowing more than you want. It’s always something good and bad about everything so don’t expect an inflatable kayak to be perfect.
One thing we recommend with this kayak, and all those using a pump, for that reason, is purchasing an electric pump. This will make the setup process faster. Still, pay attention to the psi and never over do it, unless you want to end up in the middle of the lake with a sinking kayak.
The aluminum reinforcement backbone helps a lot giving it a better drive on the water and a more solid maneuver which is usually hard to get with inflatable boats. All in one, this might not be the most affordable “budget” kayak but the aluminum frame combined with the easiness and portability of the inflatable nylon, makes it a great companion for the summer if being on a lake is your thing. Tight lines!
Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak with Pro Package is another promising inflatable kayak. It’s a 2 seater built to hold up to 500 lbs, comes with a 33 mm polykrylar hull for improved resistance to punctures with an l-beam frame and it looks pretty great in our opinion. It’s designed for different activities and water sports like fishing and sailing or even rafting. The best part is that you can take your friend or partner on the water if you don’t enjoy being alone. And if you ask us, fishing and chatting go pretty well together 😉
Measures 24″ x 16″ x 7″ and weights 26 lbs (the deflated kayak plus the seats and the paddles weight close to 50 lbs.) so it might not make it the biggest boy in town but it’s guaranteed stable enough for water adventures. It features high frequency welded seams, 3 deluxe one-way air valves to the 3 chambers located in the port, starboard and in the l-beam floor with 5 interconnected air tubes. Comes with two DKS (Deluxe Kayak) seats. There is a bag that delivers with everything else, a sturdy bag that would be really useful to carry all your camping gear. If you need to upgrade your old Seveylor Tahiti kayak, this might be a better version to go with. We don’t know about you but the 3-year warranty is quite impressive as well.
The Boston valves are really coming in handy making the deflation very fast so you should be able to setup everything in 15-20 minutes and pack everything back in pretty much the same time. The paddles are long and sturdy enough so there is no need to purchase others except when you are a very picky person. Comparing with other inflatable kayaks we review today this one is a bit higher and a bit narrower so there is a slightly bigger change to tip off. To prevent that under inflate it.
Like with the other inflatable kayaks, Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak has comfortable seats and is pleasant to use. There might be other more sportier and with bigger space than this one but Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak performs really well in rapid waters so if you ever wanted a inflatable kayak for white waters this might be for you. Talking about the cockpit you might feel a bit cramped when kayaking with someone else especially long distances. The space is not its strength but it’s still a fun kayak to ride. But after all, you can remove the second seat if you ride alone.
If the foot pump, which by the way does a great job, is not enough for you, you can always get a 12v electric one. The instructions are easy to follow but they may appear as incomplete leaving you wondering what the best way to tackle it sometimes. It’s not that there is anything that complicated with this kayak so you might be just fine without the manual if you are a handy person. One thing we kind of found confusing is the bellow hose air adapters, which can be a bit tricky indeed at the first installation. Before we forget, there was actually another thing a bit hard to figure it out, the psi is not clear enough so you might need to ask around what are the safe limits. We couldn’t find anything on their website. Anyway, as a general rule of thumb, never over inflate an inflatable boat.
Overall, a great fishing kayak to ride in the summer days. Looks a bit like a toy but performs well and it keeps you dry and comfy. It’s not the most expensive nor the cheapest around but is designed for fun and you will surely love after the first ride.
I guess it comes to no surprise that we love Lifetime kayaks after reviewing two today. They are so practical, sturdy and portable that is hard to miss them.
Lifetime 10 Foot Manta Tandem Kayak is a 2 seats fishing kayak that will be a great companion for any kind of water activities like fishing, sailing or surfing, casual or not. Either if you feel like rowing a bit on calm lake or on a raging river (probably not Colorado River), this kayak is made for you. It will hold up to 500 lbs., lightweight 60 lbs molded construction and like the Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak it features a tunnel hull for improved stability. It has a high-and-dry profile to keep you free of moisture and it’s designed for single and tandem use. Comes with 2 sport paddles.
Lifetime 10 Foot Manta Tandem Kayak has a simple design, nothing really to break, efficient and reliable. One color only – yellow. We found a nice carrier trolley here, if you don’t like carrying it in hands. Comes with a handful of features like paddle cradles and a mast receiver receptacle for sailing plus fishing poles holders and a cup holder. The cargo area is great to have and we made sure all kayaks we reviewed today have one.
What we liked about this fishing kayak is that it accommodates 1 or 2 people and its hollow, high and aerodynamic design makes it stable while fast. It might be in fact the sportier kayak we review today along with its brother Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak.
Like any boats or kayaks out there, this will collect rain water and the drain might look like is not working though it will help you get rid of some of the water.
It’s a pleasant surprise to see how easy is to carry it from and to the water. Lightweight but sturdy. A perfect combination. Small, easy to maneuver and stable, a great buy for sure for anyone looking for a bit of adventure. The paddles may appear a bit short but if you don’t like them you can always get new ones. We found it easier to use smaller ones on a kayak but it depends how high your body is above the water. It shouldn’t really be an issue for small or average people.
You will stick out like a soar thumb with this banana yellow kayak and it only comes in one color but like we said before that is actually a great thing. It’s better to be easily found than not found in case of an emergency. So, thumbs up for the yellow color, great one! Sport Fisher comes in the olive green color and that might be not easy to see especially in open waters. Beside the color, the Sport Fisher kayak has rod holders on the back as well.
All in one, if you a recreational user this kayak is built for you. It doesn’t require any kind of maintenance but you will need either a truck or a roof rack installed on your car to be able to take it with you at the water. You will have fun using it, that is a promise.
Advanced Elements AE1007-R AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak is the bigger brother of AdvancedFrame™ covertible kayak is a 15-ft kayak. On our (not so secret anymore) list, Advanced Elements has a high place in our hearts. The shape, the design, the functionality, all of them make Advanced Elements a great and fun kayak to ride. But let’s dive into details. The big difference in between this model and the other one we reviewed is that this can be converted to one seater. So if you like the brand you might as well go with this one and convert it to one or two seats depending on the situation. The disadvantage is that this model is longer so you will need a bigger car.
Ships in the one color – red, is 15 foot long, 32 inches wide and weights 52 lbs. Since is convertible can be ridden by 1 or 2 people. What we mentioned when reviewing the other Advanced Elements is the aluminum backbone and the rigid high pressure floor with Drop-stitch technology and integrated pressure relief valve that make the boat act like a molded plastic one. It is an interesting combination that really works to your advantage, sturdiness at no price of space – it folds like any other inflatable boat.
Holds up to 550 lbs and it has 6 air chambers all equipped with Boston air valves. Folded is 35 x 21 x 12 inches. Small yet robust and really good looking. The fabric is durable and extreme resistant to punctures. It has D-ring tie downs, a plastic molded profile for handles and comes with reinforced bow and stern seams which makes it reliable for long use. The bag is well done and makes it easy to carry the kayak and the accessories including the repair kit.
Advanced Elements AE1007-R AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak can take a beating up to class 1+ rapids. Depending on your height and arms length you might find the paddle a bit short. Also the kayak is a bit wider than it looks in the pictures. Great adjustable foot-pegs. Talking about the primary and secondary stability, it felt like there was a great deal of a pillar to stabilize the kayak even in the most stormy waters. Great stability for such a light kayak.
This kayak is easy to lunch and easy to land, quite stable and sturdy. The setup and packaging are great too and carrying it around doesn’t require much effort. It can be pretty fast with too people that know what to do with the paddles. Tracks well but not as easy to maneuver as a true rapids kayak. However it performs great for a all-in-one kayak, hands down.
The key word for everything we reviewed today is portability and Advanced Elements AE1007-R AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak does just fine in any aspect. As a conclusion, the idea of a convertible kayak is a really great one, giving you portability and a high level of customization which you might not find with other kayaks in this price range. We truly enjoyed it so we definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a bit of great times this summer.
BKC UH-TK181 12.5 foot Sit On Top Tandem Fishing Kayak is a completely different animal than what we review today. It’s the most expensive but the most “real” kayak we review in this top 10 fishing kayaks. Looks professional and it is performing very well. However everything comes with a price, this kayak is not that portable at 68 lbs. It will require more strength and a sturdy roof rack and probably a bigger car or even a truck.
Can hold up to 450 lbs., comes with 2 aluminum paddles and has 2 generous padded seats. It features 2 paddle rests, 4 flush mounts and 3 adjustable rod holders. Has handles for easy transportation. It’s shipped in 4 colors: Green Cammo, Grey Cammo, Blue and one more color, Red and Yellow. The camouflage ones are clearly our favorites.
This tandem kayak is one of the most stable kayaks we reviewed, it will take hurricane waves to tip it over! The seats are not just large and great but there are rear storage pouches where you can put your fishing gear or whatever you plan to take with you on the water. Lots of leg room even with 2 adults in. No problems with capsizing either. It’s designed for lakes and rivers but it would definitely take a whitewater beating with no issues. The fiberglass shell is sturdy and built to last.
Because is a hard shell fully size kayak, you can get prime trolling speed easily even if you are a beginner. Brooklyn Kayak Company UH-TK181 Sit On Top Tandem Fishing Kayak is very well balanced and it will cut the water like a knife. The paddles are great as well. All in one a great kayak to ride on the water. The price is a bit on the expensive side but hey, just look at it! It is so far the most beautiful we reviewed in our article. Recommended.