For fishermen who lack the storage space or don’t have the roof rack to transport a fishing kayak or the trailer to launch a small boat, inflatables are intriguing. But fishing involves sharp hooks and, potentially, fin spikes and pointy teeth. Can an inflatable kayak or boat stand up to the rigors of fishing?
Not all inflatable kayaks or boats are suitable for fishing. Cheaper models made of single-layer vinyl are fine for fun recreation but are not built to withstand active activities like fishing. If you want to fish from an inflatable kayak or boat, choose a model that is constructed from durable material built to withstand bumps and abrasions that come along with a day of fishing.
For more information on inflatables designed for fishing, we reached out to Long Island, New York-based Sea Eagle. They’ve been designing and selling inflatable boats since 1968 and today specialize in quality, rugged inflatables that can handle serious adventure and fishing. Their line-up includes 10 different inflatable kayaks, 4 different inflatable SUPs, 2 inflatable pontoon fishing boats, an inflatable canoe and 11 different inflatable fishing motormount and transom boats. They directed us to three categories of fishing inflatables that offer options for anglers looking for the perfect combination of portability and durability.
Inflatable Fishing Kayaks
Inflatable kayaks offer the peak of packability and portability—making them ideal for exploring remote backwaters or making quick suburban jaunts.
For example, take a look at Sea Eagle’s Explorer series of kayaks, which are built to be tough enough for class-four whitewater but stable, dry, and comfortable on flat water as well. The 380x Explorer can be ridden as a solo or tandem kayak and has 16 self-bailing floor drains. The 350fx Explorer is a beefed-up version of the rugged Explorer Series designed by and for avid fishermen. It features double-layered, nearly indestructible 2000 Denier reinforced construction—so it can handle rough conditions and rough treatment.
Inflatable Fishing Boats
If you want portability and capacity—along with the capability to explore bigger water—look into Sea Eagle’s line of frameless fishing boats. They can be stowed in small spaces because they have no frames and don’t require a trailer. Large air chambers allow them to support an incredible amount of weight yet draft in shallow water that other boats can’t access.
If your goal is to go remote, the PackFish7 is your boat. It’s a solo pack boat that weighs only 22 pounds and packs in an oversized backpack. It’s completely dry and can be used while sitting on the inflatable deluxe fishing seat or standing on the optional wooden floorboard, which provides stable and ample standing area for both sight fishing and casting.
The 285fpb is a one-man inflatable pontoon boat equipped with universal Scotty™ Mounts so you can customize it with fishing accessories. It can take up to a 3hp motor, and its large air chambers support up to 450 pounds. You can even stand in this boat for easy sight fishing and fly casting.
For big adventures from shallow flats to deep water, the FishSkiff 16 inflatable fishing boat can zip around at up to 21.5 mph with a Honda 9.9hp outboard. Imagine where you could go with a 16-foot skiff that holds up to three people yet can roll up and stow in the back of a car. No trailer, no ramps, no expensive fuel cost, no maintenance, no storage fees! The hull design maximizes speed, handling, performance, stability, fuel efficiency, and safety – it’s nearly unsinkable and completely self-bailing with three separate independent large air-filled chambers. Drop-stitch technology like that of inflatable stand-up paddleboards gives you all the benefits of a rigid hull minus the excessive burdens and added cost.
Inflatable Fishing SUP (Stand-Up Paddleboard)
Stand-up paddleboards have exploded in popularity for touring, exercise, and even fishing. And yes, there are inflatable options–Sea Eagle makes an inflatable fishing SUP that is extremely portable and affordable.
The FS126 fits in a car trunk and sets up in under 10 minutes. It features protective, non-slip EVA foam deck pads, 360° swivel seats, multiple D-ring attachment points for accessories and gear, and a removable rear motor mount—it can take a 55-pound-thrust electric motor!