2017 Fishing Kayak & Canoe Buyer’s Guide
Check out our 2017 Fishing Kayak & Canoe Buyer’s Guide to help you find a kayak suited to your fishing needs.
Choosing a Fishing Kayak
If you haven’t tried kayak fishing yet, or if you are looking to upgrade to a kayak better suited for your fishing needs, what are you waiting for?
Kayak Fishing is one of the hottest trends in outdoor sports. Whether you’re a shore-bound fisherman getting into a kayak to reach new waters and distant fish, a recreational kayaker looking to bring your passion for fishing aboard your plastic vessel, or a boat fisherman who recognizes fishing kayaks as an exciting and relatively inexpensive way to get out on the water, there’s something in kayak fishing for just about anyone.
If you’re intimidated by the thought of fishing from a kayak, you should know that kayak fishing is a lot easier, and safer, than it looks. For the past decade, manufacturers have been constructing kayaks specifically for fishermen, and most of these craft are remarkably stable and comfortable. They are available with features like rod holders, tackle hatches, anchor systems, and even livewells. With all of the options out there, there’s a better chance than ever that you can find a kayak that will fit your needs and work for you.
Which Fishing Kayak is Right for You?
The bottom line in choosing the best fishing kayak for your needs is that there is no one-size-fits all. Before you make a decision on purchasing a kayak for fishing, the most important thing you can do is to take stock of where and how you plan to do most of your paddling and fishing. Identify your needs: Will you be fishing in freshwater ponds for largemouth bass? Navigating streams and rivers to catch smallmouth bass and trout? Poking around saltwater harbors, estuaries and flats for striped bass and bluefish? Or do you plan to venture out into the open ocean and launch through surf? Also, will this kayak be strictly a fishing vessel, or do you plan to use it for relaxation and recreation with your family?
Once you’ve thought about what you want from a fishing kayak, it’s time to select a handful that appear to match your desired criteria. At that point, try them all! Always demo a kayak before you buy it!
Before you can evaluate the fishing kayaks at your local paddlesport shop or marina, it’s helpful to understand some of the important characteristics of kayaks. Most fishing kayaks can be used for a variety of activities, but understand that no one kayak excels at every activity. Choosing a kayak, like choosing a boat or a car, means mulling over a long list of specifications and deciding what features are “must-haves” and which ones are compromises. Once you understand your options, you can start down the path of choosing the right kayak for your intended purposes. These are some of the basics to consider before you buy your first, or next, fishing kayak.
SIK or SOK: Most fishermen prefer self-bailing sit-on-top kayaks (SOK), especially for saltwater fishing. They are inherently safer, since they can roll over without filling with water, and they give the angler more room to move around or even throw a leg over the side for stability when dealing with a fish. Sit-inside kayaks (SIK) are preferable for moving waters and in situations where a lighter-weight craft is desirable. They also provide a drier ride than a sit-on-top kayak.
Propulsion: Most kayaks are propelled with paddle power, but pedals are an option in the Hobie Kayak Mirage Drive line. These leg-powered kayaks are popular with anglers because they free up the hands for fishing. Electric-motor-powered kayaks by manufacturers such as Old Town are also growing in popularity.
Length: In general, the longer the kayak, the faster it will be and the more easily it will cover distances. The trade-off is a loss of maneuverability in tight spaces and difficulty in transporting the kayak to launch sites.
Width: In general, wider kayaks are more stable and can support more capacity. However, width is far from the only factor that affects stability.
Weight: Consider your cartop capacity and what you can carry when choosing a kayak. A heavy kayak might require a wheeled cart to move it down to the launch site.
Storage and Extras: Consider how much storage you’ll need on board your kayak. Will you be keeping fish or a change of clothing? Is live-bait storage important to you? Will you be doing any kayak-camping?
Seat: Less expensive kayaks have molded-in seats or basic removable seating pads. More fishing kayaks are now offering adjustable “lawn chair” style seats with excellent back support.
Stand-and-Fish Capability: Extra-wide and stable kayaks allow an angler to stand and sight-cast to fish in the shallows.
Eddyline C-135 Yakattack
eddyline.com – $2,599
The C-135 offers the serious kayak fisherman a lightweight alternative to the heavier polyethylene kayaks. Acceleration is quick, and just a few strokes will bring you up to speed. The Cloud 10 seat offers four seating positions, and the hull has been designed to accept a variety of trolling motors, stakeout poles and various aftermarket accessories including a casting bar.
Length: 13’ 5” | Width: 34” | Weight: 69 lbs. | Capacity: 450 lbs.
Elie Coast 120XE Angler
Eliesport.com – $699
The Coast 120SE Angler is a sit-on-top kayak engineered for ergonomic comfort, high speed and stability. Unique features include an easy-access angled front hatch, two flush-mount rod holders, Scotty swivel rod holder, and stern storage platform with bungee. Made of multi-layer Poly-XR, an exceptionally durable ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene.
Length: 12’ | Width: 30″ | Weight: 59 lbs. | Capacity: 350 lbs.
Feelfree Lure 11.5
feelfreekayak.com – $1,199
Feelfree has re-launched the Lure 11.5 kayak with the new removable Feelfree Sonar and Electronic Pod, designed to offer anglers the option to install fishfinders without having to drill holes. The entire pod can be removed as an all-in-one unit for convenient portability and security. All Lure models come standard with Feelfree’s Uni-Track system, which allows for quick, easy mounting and adjustments of accessories, Wheel in the Keel for easy transport, and an adjustable Gravity Seat.
Length: 11’6” | Width: 36” | Weight: 74 lbs. | Capacity: 425 lbs.
Feelfree Move Angler
feelfreekayak.com – $499
The Move Angler is the perfect kayak for kids and smaller paddlers getting into the sport of kayak fishing. The Move Angler comes equipped with molded-in handles, recessed fittings, and the Wheel in the Keel. Its “tri-hull” design offers great stability and efficient tracking while paddling. Its hull weighs only 42 pounds, making it very easy for any solo paddler to maneuver the kayak on or off the water — even a younger paddler.
Length: 9’ | Width: 29.75” | Weight : 42 lbs. | Capacity: 195 lbs.
Hobie MIRAGE OUTBACK
hobiecat.com – $2,299
The beamy Hobie Mirage Outback offers anglers loads of stability while casting, re-rigging, or landing the big one. The Outback is quicker than ever, thanks to efficient Glide Technology. The deck has been redesigned around the Vantage CT seat to maximize stand-up space and storage.
Length: 12’1” | Width: 33” | Weight: 95 lbs. rigged | Capacity: 400 lbs.
Hobie MIRAGE REVOLUTION 13
hobiecat.com – $2,299
The lightweight hull of the Mirage Revolution makes this kayak perfect for making quick moves to schools of fish, and the Vantage CT seat allows anglers to fish all day in comfort. Ample storage space, an offshore-capable hull, and the hands-free MirageDrive make this kayak a popular choice for anglers.
Length: 13’5” | Width: 28.5” | Weight: 91 lbs. rigged | Capacity: 350 lbs.
Hobie MIRAGE PRO ANGLER 12/14
hobiecat.com – $3,149 / $3,299
With stand-up stability and ample storage, the Mirage Pro Angler was designed to take fishermen from fresh water to the open ocean. The easily adjustable Vantage ST seat makes sitting in the Pro Angler a joy, whether casting or pedaling.
Length: 12’/13’8” | Width: 36”/38” | Weight: 129 lbs. 151 lbs. (fully rigged) | Capacity: 500 lbs./600 lbs.
Hobie MIRAGE PRO 17T
hobiecat.com – $5,399
The all-new Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 17T can be paddled in-line tandem, social tandem (face to face), or solo, thanks to the fully adjustable Vantage XT Seating. Like the original Pro Angler, the 17T is powered by Hobie’s MirageDrive pedal system. The PA17T is the perfect platform to teach a young one how to fish, take a family member out, or simply fish hard with a buddy.
Length: 17’ | Width: 43.5” | Weight: 244 lbs. | Capacity: 900 lbs.
Jackson Kayak Skipper
jacksonkayak.com – $999
Designed from the ground up with the youth fisherman in mind, the Jackson Kayak Skipper is narrow enough so that a young paddler can keep up with the adults without getting worn out or frustrated. The Skipper offers a stable enough platform for standing while casting, and mirrors larger Jackson Kayak models with the comfortable, smaller, hi/lo Elite seat with tackle storage.
Length: 9’10” | Width: 28” | Capacity: 200 lbs.
nucanoe.com – $1,599
The Pursuit’s platform-style design is packed with integrated features that are there when you need them and out of your way when you don’t. The Pursuit Seating System is modeled after high-end ergonomic seats, and provides ideal lumbar support for maximum comfort without impeding the natural range of motion for paddling and fishing.
Length: 13’6” | Width: 35” | Weight: 82 lbs. | Capacity: 500 lbs.
Jackson Kayak KRAKEN 13.5
jacksonkayak.com – $1,799
Based on the Kraken 15.5 platform, the 13.5 sheds some length for more maneuverability while still handling the offshore and big lake environments of the larger model. It’s designed for punching through surf, handling rough offshore currents, swells, beach landings and those who desire performance and maneuverability while chasing big fish in big water.
Length: 13’3” | Width: 30.5” | Weight: 76 lbs. Capacity: 350 lbs.
nucanoe.com – $1,449
Anglers can fish solo or tandem in the Frontier, positioning seats, rod holders, and accessories anywhere along the 70-inch Freedom Track. Stand, walk, and fish with confidence on the 20-inch-wide “cast and blast” deck. A rotating seat allows anglers to always face the action.
Length: 12’ | Width: 41” | Weight: 77 lbs. | Capacity: 650 lbs.
Ocean Kayak TETRA ANGLER 10
oceankayak.com – $849
For a smaller kayak, the Tetra Angler has big storage with two flush-mount rod holders and a Mod Pod II center hatch that allows easy access to the rods from a seated position. The Comfort Hybrid Seat Back provides excellent back support.
Length: 10’8 | Width: 29.5” | Weight: 47 lbs. | Capacity: 275 lbs.
Ocean Kayak TRIDENT 13 ANGLER
oceankayak.com – $1,099
With a balance of speed, maneuverability and stability, the Ocean Kayak Trident performs beautifully when breaking through the surf or in rough seas. The transducer-compatible scupper and Sonar Shield compartment makes it easy to rig.
Length: 13’6” | Width: 29.5” | Weight: 67 lbs. | Capacity: 475 lbs.
Ocean Kayak PROWLER II BIG GAME
oceankayak.com – $1,299
The Prowler II Big Game was designed for anglers looking for a high-capacity fishing kayak with ample storage, a stable, dry ride, and a comfortable seating system. This kayak appeals to both expert fishermen looking for more capacity and beginners looking for stability and a dry ride.
Length: 12’9” | Width: 34” | Weight: 70 lbs. | Capacity: 600 lbs.
Old Town PREDATOR XL MINN KOTA
oldtowncanoe.com – $2,699
The Predator XL Minn Kota bridges the gap between fishing kayaks, bass boats and shallow-water skiffs. The combination of a Minn Kota motor and a foot-controlled rudder system allows truly hands-free fishing. Work your local shoreline without taking your hands off the rod to reposition your boat.
Length: 13’2” | Width: 36” | Weight: 92 lbs. | Capacity: 600 lbs.
Old Town PREDATOR 13 & MX
oldtowncanoe.com – $1,399 / $1,299
Engineered above and below the waterline to be the perfect fishing platform, the Predator Family from Old Town has what it takes to target everything from small-pond largemouths to rough-seas stripers. The Predator comes loaded with features including a slip-resistant deck and the Element Seating System. The Predator MX, or Mixed Water, features a slightly more rounded hull, designed for moving water conditions without sacrificing stability and performance.
Length: 13’2” / 12’ | Width: 33.5” / 34” | Weight: 86 lbs. / 82 lbs. | Capacity: 425 lbs. / 400 lbs.
Pelican Premium Strike 120X Angler
pelicansport.com – $499
Clean lines and a sleek design define the agile and sporty Strike series of kayaks. Maneuverable and stable, the Strike 120X offers plenty of speed, capacity, and storage space. The angler version is loaded with fishing features including flush-mount rod holders and flat mounting surfaces.
Length: 12’ | Width: 30” | Weight: 59 lbs. | Capacity: 350 lbs.
Pelican Premium Catch 120
pelicansport.com – $749
The Catch 120 is an all-new fishing kayak featuring a wide and flat platform, a newly developed Ergocast dual-position seating system, and a large storage well. It comes in vibrant olive camo and lava colors, has a stable tunnel hull, and offers great value.
Length: 11’8” | Width: 34” | Weight: 69 lbs. | Capacity: 400 lbs.
Perception Pescador Pro 10
perceptionkayaks.com – $729
Featuring a new removable stadium-style seat with two positions that can be adjusted on the fly, the Pescador Pro 10 provides comfort and stability in a serious fishing kayak. Storage and rigging opportunities include a bow tankwell with mesh cover, a rear tankwell, molded-in rod holders, an accessory track system, a recessed storage area for tackle, and a center console for electronics.
Length: 10’6” | Width: 32” | Weight: 57 lbs. | Capacity: 325 lbs.
Wilderness Systems Tarpon 130x
wildernesssystems.com – $1,300
Maintaining the sleek and speedy performance attributes of the original Tarpon, the new 130X is updated with feature upgrades such as the versatile FlexPod OS, allowing for storage, electronic and propulsion opportunities. It also has the new AirPro MAX Lite seat that boasts a new slide-on-track system for increased fore/aft trimming.
Length: 13’ | Width: 32” | Weight: 72 lbs. | Capacity: 375 lbs.
Wilderness Systems THRESHER 140
wildernesssystems.com – $1,405
Built with both the serious and the aspiring offshore angler in mind, the Thresher is efficient and quick, yet stable and predictable to handle ever-changing open water conditions. The deck is laid out for maximum gear storage, capacity, and accessibility.
Length: 14’3” | Width: 29” | Weight: 75 lbs. | Capacity: 400 lbs.
Jackson Kayak Kilroy DT: Delta Tango
jacksonkayak.com – $1,899
The new Kilroy Delta Tango is slightly wider and longer than the original Kilroy. Designed to excel as a tandem, it also paddles well as a solo kayak. Removable seats make the transition from tandem to solo even smoother, and a unique molded floor system makes the kayak comfortable.
Length: 14’ 8” | Width: 33” | Weight: 108 lbs. (with seats) | Capacity: 550 lbs.
Pelican Premium Bounty 100X Angler
pelicansport.com – $349
The Bounty 100 Angler is a stable fishing kayak featuring a bow quick-lock hatch and a large storage platform with bungee in the stern. Made of incredibly rigid yet light RAM-X material, this sit-in kayak weighs only 39 pounds and includes rod holders, cockpit knee pads, and an adjustable padded backrest with seat cushion and adjustable footrests.
Length: 10’ | Width: 28” | Weight: 36 lbs. | Capacity: 275 lbs.
Old Town HERON 9 ANGLER
oldtowncanoe.com – $459
A sporty design, the Heron 9 Angler is an easy-to-paddle kayak that can maneuver perfectly into your favorite fishing spot. It’s an affordable choice for casual anglers who are seeking a lightweight, compact kayak outfitted for fishing and cruising in calm waters.
Length: 9’ 6” | Width: 28.5” | Weight: 39 lbs. | Capacity: 300 lbs.
Pelican Premium Intrepid 100X Angler
pelicansport.com – $499
Designed with first-time kayak anglers in mind, the Intrepid’s multi-chine hull puts a premium on stability and tracking, yet offers impressive acceleration and speed for its size. It’s equipped with three rod holders and a smartphone holder on the dash.
Length: 10’ | Width: 29” | Weight 39 lbs. | Capacity 300 lbs.
Aquaglide Blackfoot Angler ISUP
aquaglidepaddle.com – $999
This rugged inflatable SUP can help you reach your secret fishing spot on your favorite river or in a remote lake nestled in the woods. With six Scotty mounts, the Blackfoot can be outfitted to tackle any angling mission, and D-rings make strapping down a cooler or milk crate loaded with your tackle boxes a cinch. Its 36-inch width can handle up to 450 pounds, and it can be deflated, rolled up, and tossed in your trunk for the ride home.
Length: 11’ | Width: 36” | Weight: 34 lbs. | Capacity: 450 lbs.
Starboard Sportsman SUP
star-board-sup.com – $1,599
The Sportsman’s 12-foot length covers distance and maintains good ground speed for trolling and paddling quickly in open ocean conditions, and the ultra-wide tail increases overall stability to move and rotate freely when reeling in a big fish. There’s plenty of space on the deck to hold a cooler box and still have room move around. Bungee tie-downs help carry gear and Scotty mounts in front of the standing area are ideal for accessories.
Length: 12’ | Width: 34” | Weight: 39 lbs. | Capacity: 265 lbs.
Old Town NEXT
oldtowncanoe.com – $999
The NEXT is a totally fresh and uniquely fun solo experience that brings a century of expertise into one truly amazing personal watercraft. Built for one, but designed for all, the NEXT represents a new generation of boating for today’s paddle, outdoors and fitness enthusiasts.
Length: 13’ | Width: 29” | Weight: 59 lbs. | Capacity: 450 lbs.
Old Town SARANAC 146
oldtowncanoe.com – $649
Old Town started from scratch with the new Saranac series of canoes and, by narrowing the shape and slightly lowering the seats, developed a model that paddles better than most recreational canoes.
Length: 14’6” | Width: 36” | Weight: 79 lbs. | Capacity: 750 lbs.