2023 Fishing Kayak Buyer’s Guide

Whether you’re a shore-bound angler looking to reach new waters or a boat fisherman who recognizes a fishing kayak as an exciting way to get out on the water, there’s something in kayak fishing for just about anyone.

OTW 2023 Kayak Buyer's Guide

Whether you’re a shore-bound fisherman getting into a kayak to reach new waters or a boat fisherman who recognizes a fishing kayak as an exciting way to get out on the water, there’s something in kayak fishing for just about anyone. Will you be fishing small ponds, open ocean, or both? Do you want to paddle or pedal? Do you value the stability of a stand-up platform or is a light and nimble hull more important to you? There are dozens of kayaks built specifically for fishermen, and each one offers a unique combination of stability, size, speed, and fishing features. While there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to fishing kayaks, with all the different models available today, there’s a better chance than ever that you can find one to fit your fishing needs.

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 decide 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 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.

baitcaster largemouth bass

What Kind of Kayak is Best for Fishing?

Pedal kayaks have become very popular for fishing because they free up your arms for holding a fishing rod. There are several options in pedal-powered kayaks by Hobie, Old Town, Native, Ocean Kayak, Pelican and others. Check out our guide on picking the best pedal-powered fishing kayak. Electric-motor-powered kayaks are also becoming a popular option. Paddle kayaks tend to be less expensive than pedal kayaks, and some anglers prefer the simplicity and lightweight of paddle kayaks.

What’s the most stable fishing kayak?

Fishing kayaks are remarkably stable. In general, wider kayaks are more stable and can support more capacity, which is often advantageous when fishing. However, width is far from the only factor that affects stability. Hull design can have a big effect, so test a fishing kayak before buying.

Is a longer kayak better for fishing?

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.

Can I stand up and fish from a kayak?

Extra-wide and stable fishing kayaks allow an angler to stand and fish. If you are a fly-fishermen, or if you enjoy sight-casting to fish in the shallows, stand-up capability might be very important to you in choosing a fishing kayak.

Do I need a fish finder on a kayak?

A fish finder can be very helpful when fishing from a kayak, but it isn’t necessary. It depends on what types of fishing you will be doing, and if knowing the depth and detecting fish under your kayak would be helpful.

What else should I consider when buying a fishing kayak?

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? Is live-bait storage important to you? Will you be doing any kayak-camping? Many kayak fishermen use milk crate systems to store tackle and extra rods.
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. Test them out to see what you find comfortable.

Best Fishing Kayaks of 2023

Bonafide EX123

Bonafide EX123

Length: 12’3″ | Width: 29.5″ | Weight: 67 lbs. w/seat | Capacity: 375 lbs. | Retail: $1,099

The “SUV of kayaks,” the Bonafide EX123 is a grab-and-go fishing kayak with a unique sit-inside design perfect for backwater honey holes. Whether it’s a quick after-work trip or a multi-day expedition, the EX123 is a stable, comfortable, and lightweight option. Check out a Bonafide Kayak in person.

Bonafide RS117

Bonafide RS117

Length: 11’7” | Width: 33.5” | Weight: 77 lbs. w/ seat | Capacity: 425 lbs. | Retail: $1,099

The Bonafide RS117 gives budget-conscious kayak anglers an authentically designed fishing kayak that’s made in the USA. With a hybrid catamaran hull, the RS117 is a very standable platform that offers an excellent combination of stability and paddling performance. Check out a Bonafide Kayak in person.

Bonafide SS107

Bonafide SS107

Length: 10’7″ | Width: 34.5″ | Weight: 84 lbs. rigged | Capacity: 425 lbs. | Retail: $1,399

The compact Bonafide SS107 is a portable beast that boasts premium fishing features with a small footprint. It was designed for maximum stability without sacrificing paddling performance, and it comes loaded with angler-friendly features. Check out a Bonafide Kayak in person.

Bonafide SS127

Bonafide SS127

Length: 12’7” | Width: 33.75” | Weight: 94 lbs. rigged | Capacity: 475 lbs. | Retail: $1,749

The Bonafide SS127 “sit/stand” fishing kayak is designed for stability without sacrificing performance. The ultra-high-back seat allows anglers to sit with knees bent, taking pressure off the lower back. Whether lake, inshore, or offshore fishing, the SS127 is ready. Check out a Bonafide Kayak in person.

Bonafide P127

Bonafide P127

Length: 12’7” | Width: 34” | Weight: 120 lbs. rigged | Capacity: 475 lbs. | Retail: $3,099

With its roots in the best-selling SS127, the new Bonafide P127 achieves ultimate fishability with a Propel pedal-drive system on a proven sit/stand fishing platform. Check out a Bonafide Kayak in person.

Bonafide RVR 119

Bonafide RVR 119

Length: 11’9” | Width: 35” | Weight: 85 lbs. | Capacity: 425 lbs. | Retail: $1,649

The all-new Bonafide RVR 119 is a river-specific kayak designed to access and fish hundreds of miles of overlooked rivers and creeks. The hull’s unique upturned bow and stern give it a rocker profile for moving upriver and a drop-down skeg aids in tracking. Check out a Bonafide Kayak in person.


Feelfree Moken 10 V2

Feelfree Moken 10 V2

Length: 10’ | Width: 33” | Weight: 69 lbs. (hull only) | 440 lbs. | Retail: $799

Updated with an adjustable seat, the Feelfree Moken 10 V2 is designed for paddlers who want the comfort, stability, and features of a larger fishing kayak in a smaller, yet fully capable package. It’s ideal for smaller waters or for anyone with limited storage space.

Feelfree Lure 11.5 V2

Feelfree Lure 11.5 V2

Length: 11’6” | Width: 34” | Weight: 87 lbs. (hull only) | 425 lbs. | Retail: $1,299

The Feelfree Lure 11.5 V2 offers the perfect balance of comfort, deck space, mobility, and stability. It’s not too long or too short, but still fully capable for those longer distances and days on rivers, lakes, oceans, and small waters alike.


Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 360 Series

Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 360 Series (12/14)

Length: 12’/13’8” | Width: 36”/38” | Weight: 109.5 lbs./124.5 lbs. (rigged) | Capacity: 500 lbs./600 lbs. | Retail: $5,599/$5,799

With the MirageDrive 360, you can effortlessly spin and move the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 360 in every direction. Hobie’s Kick-Up Fins immediately retract on impact, so even shallow areas are now entirely navigable. It’s packed full of features, including rod holders and stain-resistant EVA padding.

Hobie Mirage Lynx

Hobie Mirage Lynx

Length: 11’ | Width: 36” | Weight: 47 lbs. fitted | Capacity: 350 lbs. | Retail: $3,299

The Hobie Mirage Lynx’s flat-bottom design provides confidence-inducing stability and ultimate maneuverability. Weighing in at only 47 lbs. and equipped with rear-loading skid pads, you can easily throw it on the roof of your car for uncomplicated transport.

Hobie Mirage Passport 12 R

Hobie Mirage Passport 12 R

Length: 12” | Width: 34” | Weight: 83 lbs. rigged | Capacity: 400 lbs. | Retail: $1,999

With an all-new rotomolded hull construction, the Hobie Mirage Passport 12 R has a sleek aesthetic, delivering ultimate stability while still maintaining performance and speed on the water. It comes loaded with fish features including two rod holders, two accessory tracks, and gunnel tackle storage.

Hobie Mirage Compass

Hobie Mirage Compass

Length: 12’ | Width: 34” | Weight: 87 lbs. (rigged) | Capacity: 400 lbs. | Retail: $2,749

The Hobie Mirage Compass combines a blissfully simple hull with Hobie’s new MirageDrive 180 pedal system and Kick-Up fins. Outfitted with a breathable mesh seat, the Compass offers maximum stability, an oversized cockpit, and a flat deck for standing. Fishing features include molded-in rod holders, H-Track accessory mounts, and a transducer cavity.

Hobie Mirage iTrek

Hobie Mirage iTrek (9/11)

Length: 9’5”/10’8” | Width: 40”/40” | Weight: 20 lbs./28 lbs. fitted | Capacity: 350 lbs./400 lbs. | Retail: $2,599/$2,979

High-performance lightweight construction boosts the speed, stability, and tracking of this rigid kayak without the extra weight. The Hobie Mirage iTrek features a rugged inflatable dropstitch hull with triple-chamber construction and it packs away in a roller duffle bag. Powered by the MirageDrive GT with Kick-Up fins and integrated rudder for dual steering, the iTrek 11 is fun, nimble, and lightning-fast.

Hobie Mirage Outback

Hobie Mirage Outback

Length: 12’9” | Width: 34” | Weight: 85 lbs. (fitted) | Capacity: 425 lbs. | Retail: $3,649

The Hobie Outback is a fully-loaded fishing machine built for every conceivable fishing expedition. The extra-wide standing deck offers an improved casting platform and convenient vantage point for sight- fishing, while the new seat design provides extra width for unmatched comfort. It’s powered by MirageDrive 180 with Kick-Up turbo fins.

Hobie Mirage Pro Angler Revolution

Hobie Mirage Revolution (11/13)

Length: 11’6”/13’5” | Width: 29”/28.5” | Weight: 64/70 lbs. fitted | Capacity: 275/350 lbs. | Retail: $3,149/$3,399

This offshore-capable hull is designed for quick moves and chasing down schools of fish, making the Hobie Mirage Revolution one of the most popular kayaks among striped bass fishermen. The Vantage CT seat allows for comfortable all-day fishing, and the MirageDrive180 with Kick-Up fins allows full-power reverse propulsion.


Hurricane Skimmer

Hurricane Skimmer 116 First Class

Length: 11’6” | Width: 30.5” | Weight: 43 lbs. rigged | Capacity: 300 lbs. | Retail: 1,449

The popular Skimmer 116, Hurricane’s lightest sit-on-top model, has been paired with Native’s First Class frame seat. The result is a extra stable, super comfy platform for fishing and cruising. Best of all, the Hurricane Skimmer 116 First Class weighs only 43 pounds with the seat installed.


Jackson Bite FD

Jackson Bite FD

Length: 11’6” | Width: 35” | Weight: 82 lbs. (hull only) | Capacity: 400 lbs. | Retail: $2,849

The Jackson Bite FD is an affordable pedal-kayak that doesn’t cut corners. It performs well whether paddling or standing, and the open-concept deck allows for ample storage with a system of touring-style bungie cords.


Native Watercraft Slayer Propel MAX 12.5

Native Watercraft Slayer Propel MAX 12.5

Length: 12’6” | Width: 34” | Weight: 95 lbs. fitted | Capacity: 500 lbs. | Retail: $2,899

One of Native’s most popular designs, the Slayer Propel 13, has been updated to the max with ultra-comfortable elevated seating, an extended rudder, more fishing storage, and electronics-ready recesses and mounts. The hands-free pedal drive goes easily from forward to reverse, and the rockered bow gets up and over chop.

Slayer Propel Max 10

Native Watercraft Slayer Propel Max 10

Length: 10’ | Width: 34.15” | 75 lbs. fitted | Capacity: 400 lbs. | Retail: $2,299

The Slayer Propel 10will fit in the bed of a truck but has many of the features of its bigger sibling, the Slayer Max Propel 12.5. The Max 10 flawlessly combines features and size, making it kayak like no other on the market.

Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 10

Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 10

Length: 10’ | Width: 34” | Weight: 62 lbs. (fitted) | Capacity: 400 lbs. | Retail: $2,299

The Slayer Propel 10 is a super-light, pedal-drive fishing kayak. The armchair-comfortable seat, rock-solid stability, and clutter-free cockpit empowers even an xxl angler to stand and sight-cast or just relax and sip the beverage of the day. The rail-mount system means easy on-and-off for rod holders and purposely-positioned rails for mounting cameras.

Native Watercraft Titan Propel

Native Watercraft Titan Propel (10.5/12)

Length: 10’9”/12’ | Width: 37.5”/39″ | Weight: 97/109 lbs. fitted | Capacity: 500 lbs. | Retail: $2,799/$2,999

The Native Watercraft Titan has proven itself to be a bass-fishing kayak extraordinaire. All Titan models feature Plastifoam technology that adds flotation for safety and increased stiffness for performance. The stable platform is optimal for sight-casting and features easy-to-reach horizontal rod storage with rod-tip protection.

Native Watercraft Falcon 11

Native Watercraft Falcon 11

Length: 11’ | Width: 32.5” | Weight: 60 lbs. fitted | Capacity: 325 lbs. | Retail: $1049

The Native Watercraft Falcon 11 is the ultimate grab-and-go paddle-fishing kayak. With solid stability, high/low seating, and electronics-ready features at an affordable price, it is tough to beat.


Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot

Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot 120/136

Length: 12’/13’6” | Width: 37”/37” | Weight: 152 lbs./158 lbs. (assembled) | Capacity: 558 lbs./660 lbs. | Retail: $4,349/$4,849

The Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot motorized kayak leverages Minn Kota’s Spot-Lock technology, motoring you to your fishing location faster and holding your position over the hole. Command the kayak with a touch of your thumb using the Bluetooth-connected i-Pilot remote.

Old Town Sportsman BigWater PDL 132

Old Town Sportsman BigWater PDL 132

Length: 13’ 2” | Width: 36” | Weight: 96 lbs. hull only | Capacity: 500 lbs. | Retail: $3,249

Get to your spot, then stay there without paddling, on the Old Town Sportsman BigWater PDL 132 pedal kayak. With instant forward and reverse, maneuverability, and stability, you’ll enjoy precise boat control while your hands remain free to fish.

Old Town Sportsman 106

Old Town Sportsman 106 Powered by Minn Kota

Length: 10’6” | Width: 37” | Weight: 121 lbs. assembled | Capacity: 525 lbs. | Retail: $3,349

The Old Town Sportsman 106 Powered by Minn Kota motorized kayak is simple and intuitive, getting you on the fish faster in a compact, low-profile kayak you can fit on your car top.

Old Town Sportsman Salty PDL

Old Town Sportsman Salty PDL 120

Length: 12’ | Width: 34.5” | Weight: 104 lbs. assembled | Capacity: 450 lbs. | Retail: $2,449

If you fish and play in coastal areas, the Old Town Sportsman Salty PDL 120 pedal kayak is the craft for you. Outfitted for fishing, it is also at home having fun in the waves. With instant forward and reverse, the award-winning PDL Drive is the most reliable and easy-to-use model on the market.

Old Town Sportsman PDL

Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 | 120

Length: 10’6’/12” | Width: 36”/36” | Weight: 107 lbs./116 lbs assembled | Capacity: 450 lbs./500 lbs. | Retail: $2,449/$2,749

The Old Town Sportsman PDL 120 pedal kayak provides hands-free fishing in a performance kayak that’s both nimble and stable. With instant forward and reverse, the award-winning PDL Drive is the most reliable and easy-to-use pedal drive on the market.

Old Town Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman

Old Town Sportsman Discovery 119 Solo

Length: 11’9” | Width: 32.5” | Weight: 56 lbs. | Capacity: 354 lbs. | Retail: $1,249

Offering the simplicity and utility of a classic solo canoe with the agility and sleek handling of a kayak, the Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman hybrid canoe is a stable, lightweight craft that is easy to handle on and off the water. Enjoy unique features like tackle and rod storage, comfortable seating, and an accessory track on this grab-and-go canoe.


Pelican Catch 110 HyDryve II

Pelican Catch 110 HyDryve II

Length: 10’6” | Width: 34” | Weight: 78 lbs. | Capacity: 425 lbs. | Retail: $1,499

Pelican’s HyDryve system brings pedal-drive technology within reach of budget-minded anglers on this rudder-controlled fishing kayak. Made with RAM-X Premium, a multi-layer polyethylene with an advanced resin in the top layer imparting a glossy finish and providing significantly more rigidity than standard polyethylene, the Pelican Catch 110 HyDryve II remains light, stiff, strong, and easy to move.

Pelican Catch 130 HYDRYVE II

Pelican Catch 130 HyDryve II

Length: 12’6” | Width: 34” | Weight: 78 lbs. | Capacity: 425 lbs. | Retail: $1,739.99

The Pelican Catch 130 HyDryve II is a 12’6” rudder controlled fishing kayak that brings pedal drive technology within reach. This sit-on-top features adjustable pedals and foot straps to ensure a comfortable position and its tunnel hul provides exceptional stability on the water.

Pelican Catch 100

Pelican Catch Classic 100

Length: 10’ | Width: 34” | Weight: 57 lbs. | Capacity: 350 lbs. | Retail: $599

The Pelican Catch Classic 100 features a tunnel hull for amazing stability, making iteasy to stand in while casting. Well-planned-out accessories help keep everything conveniently stowed, yet it’s light enough for most people to carry and launch on their own. The Catch 100 is ideal for the smaller angler looking to access new waters.

Pelican Catch PWR 100

Pelican Catch PWR 100

Length: 9’9” | Width: 39.75” | Weight: 75 lbs. | Capacity: 450 lbs. | Retail: $1,249

Pelican’s Catch family is growing, with a personal watercraft that is ready to take your choice of gas or electric motor. The Pelican Catch PWR 100 is pre-wired so you can stow the battery in the front compartment while easily connecting your motor in the back.


Perception Outlaw 11.5

Perception Outlaw 11.5

Length: 11’6″ | Width: 35” | Weight: 77 lbs. | Capacity: 425 lbs. | Retail: $929

The Perception Outlaw 11.5 boasts a wide-open deck, an expansive standing platform, seriously elevated seating, and intuitive features throughout, disrupting the notion that an incredibly unique angling platform needs to break the bank. The Outlaw integrates industry-firsts including a stowaway seat for complete deck walkability and space for up to a 35L cooler. Two “double-barrel” rod holders offer the ultimate multi-rod setup. Elevated seating allows for the highest fishing vantage ever in a kayak, and the ergonomic and comfortable seat extends time on the water and transition easily from sitting to a standing position.


Sea Eagle 350fx Fishing Explorer

Sea Eagle 350fx Fishing Explorer

Length: 11’6” | Width: 39” | Weight: 51 lbs. | Capacity: 575 lbs. | Retail: $1,099

Designed by and for avid fishermen, this inflatable kayak features nearly indestructible 2000 denier reinforced protective layers, 6 built-in rod holders, and a fully adjustable foot brace. The Sea Eagle 350fx Fishing Explorer offers a max load capacity of 635 pounds and is completely self-bailing.


Sea Eagle 385fta FastTrack Angler

Sea Eagle 385fta FastTrack Angler

Length: 12’6” | Width: 36” | Weight: 45 lbs. | Capacity: 635 lbs. | Retail: $1,199

The Sea Eagle FastTrack Angler is a rugged fishing kayak you can take wherever the fishing is happening. The patented, state-of-the-art, external, rigid, inflatable NeedleKnife™ Keel makes for a faster, smoother paddling experience. The sharper, narrower, tapered bow allows for faster entry through wind, waves, and current.

Sea Eagle FishSUP 126

Sea Eagle FishSUP 126

Length: 12’6” | Width: 40” | Weight: 45 lbs. | Capacity: 500 lbs. | Retail: $999

This incredibly stable, bow-to-stern tapered, swallowtail inflatable stand-up paddleboard is designed specifically for anglers. The Sea Eagle FishSUP‘s’ removable transom gives you the ability to run it with an electric motor. It stows in your car trunk and sets up in under 10 minutes.


3 Waters Kayaks Big Fish V2

3 Waters Kayaks Big Fish V2 105 | 120

Length: 10’5”/12′ | Width: 33’5”/35 | Weight: 89 lbs./100 lbs | Capacity: 380 lbs/400 | Retail: $799/$899

3 Waters Kayaks Big Fish 120 V2 offers all the features you expect from a high-dollar kayak at an affordable price. It’s designed with a focus on stability due to its cathedral tri-hull. The Big Fish 105 V2 offers all the same features in a 10-foot version.


3 Waters Kayaks Big Fish 103

3 Waters Kayaks Big Fish 103 | 108

Length: 10’6” / 11’ | Width: 35” / 38” | Weight: 110 / 135 lbs. (without seat and drive) | Capacity: 397 lbs / 450 lbs. | Retail: $1,899 / $1,989

The Big Fish 103 and 108 were specially designed to accommodate the Pro Fish pedal drive for hands-free propulsion. 3 Waters’ cathedral trimaran hull design provides stability for fishing or pedaling with friends and family.


Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120

Length: 12’3” | Width: 31” | Weight: 63 lbs. | Capacity: 350 lbs. | Retail: $1,229

A legendary original in the fishing-kayak realm, the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 has been revamped with improved comfort, stability, speed, and paddler interface. Equally at home on rivers, lakes or oceans, the new Tarpon delivers a dynamic on-water performance with enhanced agility and stability, while well-executed and innovative features elevate the overall experience. It is also available as the Tarpon 105.

Wilderness Systems Recon 120

Wilderness Systems Recon 120

Length: 12’2” | Width: 38” | Weight: 95 lbs. | Capacity: 450 lbs. Retail: $1,409

The Wilderness Systems Recon 120 is a factory-loaded boat that you can rig your way. With a fully customizable open platform, a lineup of revolutionary new features, and the freedom to choose the preferred mode of propulsion – paddle, pedal, or power. Recon pedal drive is sold separately.

Wilderness Systems Recon 120 HD

Wilderness Systems Recon 120 HD

Length: 12’2” | Width: 38” | Weight: 115 lbs. | Capacity: 450 lbs. Retail: $2,819

The Wilderness Systems Recon 120 HD is a confidence-inspiring fishing machine for both the novice and expert, the Recon is a factory-loaded boat that you can rig your way. The Recon 120 HD boasts a fully customizable open platform, a lineup of revolutionary new features, and the freedom to choose the preferred mode of propulsion – paddle, pedal, or power.

65 on “2023 Fishing Kayak Buyer’s Guide

  1. Chris Fittante

    Still no mention of Vibe kayaks? You guys should check them out. I have been extremely happy with my Sea Ghost 130.

      1. Will

        Second year in a row, that you folks forgot about Lifetime Kayaks. Not all of us have a thousand or thousands to spend on a yak. I paid $550.00 for my Lifetime Teton and will put her up against any of these models, you have shown. I know I have had mine 2 seasons and she is good on ponds, lakes, rivers, and ocean. I’m 70 years old and the only bad thing is she is a bit heavy.

      1. Hugh

        Back in stock, Kenny, with new models, l8ke the hybrid. This review is dated and not in Buyer’s best interest, dollar for dollar. Vibe all the way

  2. Bill

    I plan on fishing the bays, inlets, and ocean off Long Island, NY. Which kayak would best serve the variety I’m looking for?

    1. Ryan

      One that is really solid, has a mechanical drive in the form of a gas outboard, is made of fiberglass, and has a tall gunnel optional options include bow mount trolling motor

  3. Knot Local

    What kayak would you recommend for the
    cape cod canal, and its heavy current?? Want to stay away from the crowds this season

    1. Citizen Snipps

      I pedaled out of the Charlestown breechway in RI w/ high tide starting along side a Hobie Pro Angler in my Old Town Pdl. the mirage drive has a lot more torque. hobie > old town > Native as far as drive systems go the rest have to low of gear ratio’s

    2. Andrew Milmore

      You cant kayak on the canal, nor would you really even be able to

    3. Stephen Mcsweeney

      You can’t boat fish in the canal. It is a waterway. Traffic only. You can fish from the rocks. Boats have the right of way.

      1. Td

        I have had 3 lower back surgeries. Bought a Jackson coosa peddle. Love it
        And have had no back problems associated with it.

  4. GregW

    Any one demoed or used multiple pedal drive kayaks.
    What brand has most comfortable system. I have lower back issues that I treat with fitness.
    Mostly looking at the Native and old town because of reverse. But the new Pelican with light weight hull material looks interesting. I’ll give up reverse if the Hobie style drive is not comfortable.

    1. Citizen Snipps

      Ive owned a old town pdl since they came out like 3 yrs ago had 0 problems with drive and the kayak.

    2. C Ball

      I have fished on rented Hobies w/ Mirage Drive and Old Town Predator w/ pedal drive. The Hobie Mirage is superior as a pedal drive if you enter shallow water frequently. The Mirage drive has the ability to recess the drives fins against the hull justing using your feet. So you can quickly and easily go into shallows. W/ Old Town, you need to unlock the drive and lift it up w/ your hands, so it takes longer and you need at least one hand free to do it. That said, the Predator is stable to stand up in.

  5. GregW

    Looking to buy a pedal drive kayak. Any opinions on what system is more comfortable. Hobie, old town, native. I fish an 18 CC slipped maybe 5min from my house. So this will be a travel saltwater and primary freshwater boat.
    I’ll be casting and trolling.
    My question is purely based on comfort not technology or speed. Are you avoid your knees while casting one over another.
    Dose one unit give you lower back pain through out the day?? I’m going to hit the demo tour this season before buying, but 20-45min dose not equal a day of hard fishing.
    Any info is good info.

  6. John

    The prices and weights of these yaks , crazy, you aren’t car topping most of them at those weights. And I think having to trailer a yak is really missing the point of what they were first made for, easily transported .

    Lifetime Teton ?

  7. Citizen Snipps

    I think the Vibe Shearwater with a mirage 180 or 360 would be PDL King

  8. LOU


    1. Just A. Burner

      Slip in the water, remove drawers, do your thing, slide back in, keep on going.

  9. Kenny Noce

    I don’t see no mention of the nice pelican or lifestyle brand yaks they sell cheap up at the job lot.

    Sure, they ain’t got no fancy pedal driving.

    Sure, they ain’t got no rod holders.

    I rigged mine up for deep sea fishing with just a oil elbow grease- And some good ol’ make America great again ingenuity.

    I may just try to stay out at sea for a few months in the yak to avoid the ol’ Covid 19.

    You know that’s a hidden project between China and the dems don’t you…

    C= China’s
    O= own
    V= virus
    I= includes
    D= democrats

    1. C Nish

      What does politics have to do with it can’t U just fish or what

    2. Kenny Not Nice

      I’m a Republican and you’re giving us a bad rap. Please stay out there as long as you can.

  10. LOU


  11. C. A. Nishan

    What does politics have to do with anything ya can’t just fish

  12. J Shannon

    I have a 12 ft ascend that I bought from bass pro shops 3 years ago. I forget what model it is but it was relatively cheap($600 I think) I keep my kayak on a rack at the beach and use it in the Long Island Sound (salt water). The seat literally fell apart while I was in the sound the second year I had it. The metal had rusted as well as most of the metal cleats, hooks, etc on the kayak. To be fair, the seats are removable, but I left them in the yak at the beach year round. I bought another seat for it and now I take it with me every time I use it. The yak is wide, stable and has enough room for fishing and keeping gear that I bring. It paddles like a brick. It is very slow and does not track great. I bought the yak because I really needed a SOT for fishing. It serves its purpose, especially for the price. If I had more money at the time, and know what I do now about this yak, I probably would have spent a little more to get something better

  13. Dave

    This us a useless article filled with fluff and advertising straight from the manufacturer’s. The first 4 or 5 paragraphs sound like they were written for people with a 65 IQ. How many ways can you say “kayaks are different” duhhh.

  14. Aril

    Any experience with the perception pilot in inshore fishing? Stability and speed wise.

  15. Greg C

    Anyone have any comments on the dorado 12.5 Made by feelfree kayaks and what about the electric drive upgrade

  16. Jason

    I own a Jackson 2020 Bite FD (bought brand new) and love it – the prices on here for the Big Rig and Bite FD are over $1,000 higher than they retail for so don’t know where they are getting their prices from.

  17. Lisa

    Any suggestions for kayaks? Looking for one as a gift for my husband. It will be used for fishing mostly in the Eastern Sierras..lake fishing. He’s 6’6 so I’m curious how to buy a kayak for a taller person or does it even matter?? Thanks!

  18. Glenn

    Love the idea of some of the more modern robust kayaks, but one has to consider the weight of these kayaks. I have an older Wilderness Systems kayak I have fished from for years, it’s close to 80 lbs and it’s pushing the limits of being able to carry and put on top of my SUV. It would be pointless if I needed a trailer to transport the kayak. I’d get a real boat if it came to that.

  19. Adam X

    The fact that the NuCanoe Frontier isn’t even on this list makes me wonder about the legitimacy of this list. The Frontier you could easily customize making it a single or tandem kayak. Also mounting points for trolling motors. Multiple customized rail points for many added options and attachments. That Frontier would easily top majority of the crummy old generic style kayaks with generic hull designs on this list.

  20. Tim

    Look at the Eddyline Caribbean series. You will definately pay more, but great features, great to paddle, and lightweight. Caribbean Angler well equipped.

    1. Paddlingspace

      Crescent LiteTackle and CK1 Venture, NuCanoe Unlimited, Vibe Shearwater 125, Perception Outlaw 11.5…. This guide needs a serious update.

  21. NoahBryant

    Picture yourself paddling leisurely across a serene lake or quiet pond. Whether you re fishing, exercising or just taking a moment to get away from the hustle and bustle back on shore, the waters of smaller lakes and ponds are likely to offer you a calm ride. However, kayaking on a larger lake does increase the chances of facing waves that could pose a danger to you and your vessel. These waterways can come in all shapes and sizes. Some rivers will offer you a peaceful ride downstream while others will give you an adrenaline-filled experience battling through whitewater rapids. Regardless of your experience level, you should be aware that these waterways could change without warning. The speed and activity level of their currents, both on and under the surface, could drastically increase or decrease in an instant.

  22. Mike Coxmaul

    Sportsman AutoPilot 136. If i wanted to pedal i’d have stayed on the exercise bike.

  23. David WS

    I picked up a used Hobie Revo 16 with outriggers Hobie Sidekick Ama Kit, nothing else is faster or as stable.
    Easy to load , as it’s length makes it easier to place on the SUV, one end at a time.
    Only drawback – not a lot of space in the cockpit, but since I only target 1 or 2 species at a time it’s not a problem.
    (without the outriggers it would not be stable, but with it’s fine.)

  24. Jason Melaugh

    Nobody ever mentions the BlueSky Boatworks Angler 360. Love mine

  25. Joey

    You guys missed the proverbial boat my not including Malibu Kayaks here. I have the Steakth 15 with an installed Bass Yaks package and it is BEAST in the waters around Martha’s Vineyard. Check em out.

  26. michael mcnally

    Got my catch 100 for $450 and only used once as long as the wind ain’t blowing too hard this thing is a beast on the water. Small enough for me to get in and out by myself and some hard fit ponds. This thing’s a dream for the money money. I would love an autopilot 120 from old town but I got to wait for all the kids to get through college first.

    1. John

      you can’t list pelican kayaks as fishing kayaks without listing the pelican catch mode 110, which supports your claim about this list being outdated. It’s a cheap, light, stable most affordable kayak easy to accessories and power and many of us are looking for that, I believe made in Canada not sure

  27. Bob

    This Buyer’s guide is from 2019. On the water is misleading people for clicks.

  28. Tom

    You did a disservice to the readers by excluding FeelFree kayaks. Best pedal system on the market.

  29. Raoul Souliere

    I have a ride inside ultra light 12′ wilderness systems kayak. It weighs 40 pounds perfect for car top. Best boat for me at 81 years old.

  30. marc foley

    There is a lot to be said for Lifetime sit on tops for around $400-$600. About 10 ft and 50lbs.Well
    thought out -perfect for lakes,streams and back bays. Can easily be outfitted with more than enough
    extras to get you through. We’re all not rich and what’s wrong with some old fashioned excersise.
    Why be a pedal pusher when you can have arms like Popye.All kayaks are fun! just get out there!

  31. Serge Robert

    good morning..which pedal kayak “High seat ” do you recommend,,,for cruising on Peace River , Bowling Green Florida..
    thank you

  32. Amelia@fishing kayak

    Best artical review Fishing Kayak Buyer’s Guide – On The Water

  33. Amelia@fishing kayak

    very informative artical by learning fishing kayak on the water

  34. Dave

    Vanhunks Kayaks are up and coming, check them out! Plenty of sit on anglers, SUPs and pdl or fin drive options. I own the Shad 10 for a couple of years now and I love it. Stable enough for standing and plenty of cargo room.

  35. Ted D’Alessio

    I would like to purchase a two man fishing kayak. Any suggestions?

    1. JimN

      MIght be tough. Weight capacity is one issue. Remember you should only load a Yak to 70% of its capacity. Regretfully my weight plus my gear (and it is the body weight being most of the issue) takes me to about 55% ofmy yaks capacity. Maybe a 8 year old son could be added.
      The second is , and maybe it is just me, but I really have to concentrate that my backcasts don’t snag another pole or the rudder control etc. Once in a while they do. I sure would not the snag to be my fishing partner. Pitching or jigging might be the only techniques I would employ in a two person kayak

  36. JimN

    I realize that a 2000 /3000 dollar kayak is out of range for lots of people, but I owned a 600 dollar Perception fishing sit in kayak for a while and it was OK. It got me on the water. But the difference between that as a fishing platform and a quality PDL sit on top super stable boat is night and day. Probably about the same comparison as moving up from a 20 hp tincan boat to a entry level bass fishing boat.

  37. Anarchy Fishing

    There is a lot to be said about the Oldtown Auto Pilot line of kayak when it comes to hard core fishermen. While yes, it is on the top side of the price and weight understand that it is arguably one of the most stable kayaks on the market due to width of the kayak and hull design as well. Maneuverability of these kayaks is limitless you can do 360 in this kayak sitting in place. With the combination of the Minn Kota trolling motor and rudder I am able to position myself in any way i need in seconds. With spotlock capability not only can I target and pinpoint a ledge, hole, schooling fish it also eliminates the need for an anchor all together. Paired with a Minn Kota puck i can move my kayak in 5ft section while still in spot lock and not have to continually reset my position or when hitting structure, docks, so forth and so on. Using the True North setting i can fix my motor in a direction keeping my bow in the direction I need it to be set my motor to a lower speed and slow my drift down when currents are pulling hard and achieve the target drift speed for the fish that I’m targeting. Are these kayaks expensive? Yes but you are buying the top-of-the-line technology as well as quality, and weight capacity. The sky is the limit with these kayaks!

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