2020's Best Fishing Kayak Reviews

OUR TOP CHOICE: Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130

Great on rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, and even open water. This sit-on-top kayak can bear larger fishers and great hauls. Simply put, the most fish for the bait.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Don’t teach a man how to fish and you feed yourself. He’s a grown man. Fishing isn’t that hard. -Ron Swanson

It can be even better; more exciting, less hard, and more rewarding from a kayak

If you don’t have the time to build your own—as the character quoted above might recommend—the selection available can be nearly as daunting a task as shipbuilding. 

Whether you intend to beat out past the surf or paddle upriver. Solo or in tandem, we’ve compiled the creme of the kayak crop.

Load up, grab your Personal Flotation Device (PFD) and reel in your perfect personal fishing kayak.

Best Fishing Kayak

Editor’s Choice: Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130

Great on rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, and even open water. This sit-on-top kayak can bear larger fishers and great hauls. Simply put, the most fish for the bait.

Top 12 Best Fishing Kayaks Reviews

The Sea Ghost 130 from Vibe Kayaks exceeds other kayaks by leagues. Because of its size and design, it’s one of the most stable fishing kayaks on the market. One can even cast and fish standing. A feature that can’t be undersold, particularly on the multi day fishing excursions a kayak this size makes available.

Capable of beating out through a surf for saltwater fishing, or against a current; the Sea Ghost’s toe rudder system makes steering a breeze, freeing you to really get into the stroke of propulsion. This makes speed and maneuverability on the Sea Ghost scary good… I’ll see myself out. 

At 75 pounds, it’s one of the heavier boats on this list, but that construction lends extreme durability to the unit and equips it with one of the largest capacities available. A whopping 550 pounds.

Where this boat really shines in comfort. A dual position breathable seat with adjustable foot braces for any size person, and easy access to accessory gear tracks, paddle parks, cup holder, and whatever accoutrement you attach to this dynamic hull.

The BKC TK122 is everything a pair of fishing friends or family could hope for. It seats two adults comfortably, and even a child to whom one could teach the proverbial ropes. 

Its large hull is loaded with stowage space. Personal flotation devices, a cooler, a big catch, a case of beverages; you name it. This big boat was built for the burden.

With a carrying capacity of 770 pounds, this fishing kayak might as well be a barge with the heaviest load limit on this list.

Brooklyn Kayak Company puts together one of the best and most durable fishing kayaks one can find at any price point. The TK122 is no exception.

While inexpensive, they don’t cut corners. The aluminum framed and breathable seats are comfortable enough for however long an excursion one would want. With the design of this boat, a team could really get out in the wild.

Maybe even bring back that legendary fish that got away.

The Sun Dolphin Aruba SS 12-Foot Sit-in Kayak is the best bare-bones fishing boat that bait can buy. Though currency makes the exchange easier.

Weighing just under 50 pounds, the Aruba SS is light and easy to handle. Its profile provides excellent stability for fishing, and the rugged UV-stabilized fortiflex high-density polyethylene means you aren’t trading price for cheap fabrication. 

You’ll need to purchase your own paddles for this rig, but that is often for the best. Making sure you’ve a good fit is crucial to kayaking. Particularly if your planning any longer excursions. More efficient strokes make for a quicker and more responsive boat and FAR more miles per day on the float. 

Rife with features; the seating is comfortable, with access to a dry stowage compartment, shock cord deck rigging, and flush-mounted rod holders.

You won’t win races, but you can still manage your biggest lake or river catch ever in the Aruba SS. And you’ll have enough money left over to buy your own trophies.

This 9 foot long piece of blissful solitude can be your for less than six Benjamins. The BKC UH-FK184 is a perfect river, lake, stream, and pond fishing platform—and it’s stable enough to stand on, in optimal weather. 

Four flush-mounted static rod holders and an additional articulated rod holder makes it as dynamic as most successful sport fishers. It wields a more modular setup than many kayaks at twice the price.

Two dry waterproof hatches, and an accommodating design leaves one with more stowage space than some kayaks that are a third longer. Which is good because you won’t want to come back in.

The seats are comfortable and high backed, but one can order the interchangeable seats for the Larger BKC kayaks affordably if you want an inexpensive kayak with a bit more support. Nobody worry. They all have cup holders.

Paddles and paddle parks are included in this 44-pound table of contents for some of the biggest fish stories you’ll ever tell.

The Sea Ghost 110 from Vibe Kayaks has all the utility features needed for most catches, built into one of the finest engineered, most stable and fastest hulls on the market. One can confidently cast and fish upright.

Well handled even in a rough chop; the Sea Ghost’s toe rudder takes care of the steering so that you can more enthusiastically commit to paddling. One can hardly favorably comment on the handling of a kayak without this feature, or something similar.

Light enough for one person to handle alone at 62 pounds, the durable rotomolded polyethylene can safely keep 425 pounds of load stolidly afloat. 

A dual position breathable seat with adjustable foot braces for any size person, and easy access to accessory gear tracks, paddle parks, cup holder, and whatever accessories you want, demonstrates the Vibe knows that comfort is crucial on longer hauls.

The perfect kayak for most purposes, without having to BOAT (or Bust Out Another Thousand).

The Elkton Outdoors Steelhead Fishing Kayaks are two of the most durable inflatable kayaks available today. It comes in a single person model or a tandem unit, and both can be used for any kind of adventuring you can dream up.

The rigid drop-stitch floor, self-bailing drains, and reinforced impact points make this inflatable boat perfect for fresh or saltwater fishing, waterfowling, exploring, and it’s even rated for up to class 3 rapids.

Seven hard modular mounting points allow sportsmen of any ilk all the room one needs for gear—depth finders, rod holders, GPS units, trolling motors—you name it. In addition to the larger model’s 600 pound carrying capacity.

It comes with lightweight breakdown paddles, removable skeg, travel bag, seats, footrests, and even a dual-action high volume high pressure hand pump. 

At 40-44 pounds, these two are the lightest on this list with the most favorable weight to capacity ratio. That strength comes from 1,000 layers of ultra-durable PVC. 

Since these boats are inflatable, it is wildly easier to transport between locations and store between seasons.

The Auklet Sit On Top Fishing Kayak by Elkton, sits on top of quality design, and is loaded with quality features, that makes this—you guessed it—one quality sit-on-top kayak.

The SmartTrack rudder system allows you to steer with your feet so that rowing can be more a dedicated act of propulsion. Extremely useful or even essential in working upstream or against tides. Important, because this model is stable enough for all of it. One can even stand to cast and fish. If you are anything like me, your knees, hips, and back will thank you for that.

Loaded with features like a modular mounting plate for included active rod holders (That doubles as quick access storage compartment), additional dry storage module to keep valuables secure, cockpit cup holder, aluminum-framed seat, lightweight aluminum paddle, two more active rod holders, and four vertical rod holders.

This thing is like a gunboat for fish.

At 60 pounds this hull is right around the middle of the pack as far as weight is concerned, but its 500-pound load limit has the second highest ratio on the list. 

The Skipjack 90 9 Foot Angler from Vibe is a brilliant beginner boat both for its bevy of capabilities and its benign price point. 

One of the smaller and lighter boats on the list, the Skipjack 90 only weighs 42 pounds and as such is easy for a single person put-in or take-out. Perfect for the novice learning in their spare time, or the pro just looking to get away from it all. 

Its rotomolded polyethylene hull is shaped to track exceptionally in river currents, but will function well enough for saltwater fishing too. The units built-in stowage spaces, bungee deck ties, and four flush-mounted rod holders leaves room to spare for most kayakers. 

The engineers at Vibe are no neophytes to the needs of fishers and understand that ergonomics are essential for longer excursions. The seat is comfortable, the cup holder accessible, and the design of Vibe kayaks foot spaces fit most sized people—fishing from this kayak makes the water more your element than the fishes.

The Sun Dolphin Excursion 10-Foot Sit-in Fishing Kayak. You cannot find a rugged, well-built kayak that does more, for less. It is not a stand out performer in any category, but it is a boat you can count on without breaking the bank.

Weighing just under 50 pounds, the Excursion is light and easy to handle. Its profile provides excellent stability for fishing, and the rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex high-density polyethylene means you won’t be pouring money into a hole in the water to keep your kayak afloat.

You’ll need to acquire your own paddles for this boat, but I would advise that anyhow. Making sure you have an appropriate fitting paddle is crucial to kayaking. Particularly if you’re planning any longer excursions. 

Rife with features; the seating is comfortable, with access to a dry stowage compartment, shock cord deck rigging, and flush-mounted rod holders.

You won’t win races, but you’ll get more fishing done from this boat than from the couch.

The BKC RA220 11.6′ Single Fishing Kayak is a boat that has all of the features a river kayak must for any experienced angler. 

The combination of this unit’s hull shape and displacement makes it fast and maneuverable as well as stable enough to stand. On long upriver trips, the ability to get up and stretch one’s legs is never under-appreciated. 

The breathable aluminum-framed seat is plenty comfortable, and the shock cord deck seems purpose-built for long river excursions. 

68-pound weight to a 450-pound load limit—and made from the same rotomolded polyethylene as found often on this list—it performs as well as you would expect a kayak on a best of collection. Comparatively!

What makes the RA220 the ultimate river kayak is the intersection of size, stability, cost, capacity, and for the last time, I cannot overstate the value of the toe rudder on any boat that might have to beat a current.

The Original Oru Foldable Kayak has been making proverbial waves in the world of kayaking, and helping people with limited space still get out there and connect with the water.

Innovative, fold-out design is stable enough for beginners, but its contoured shape maneuvers the stronger waters experienced paddlers won’t shy away from.

FROM BOX TO BOAT AND BACK IN A BLINK – Construct your kayak in under 5 minutes! Oru pioneered the origami-inspired, foldable structure, so you won’t spend your float setting up, OR lugging around a huge boat. Starting at only 26 pounds, you’ll almost always have the lightest boat on the water.

As mighty as it is efficient. Oru Kayaks undergo extensive strength and durability testing and each is rated to survive 20,000 folds and exceed U.S. Coast Guard recreational vessel requirements. 

Each kayak comes with a full 12-month warranty & 30-day money back guarantee, giving you peace of mind while out at peace.

Newport Vessels transom mounted electric trolling motors—this model, the 55lbs of thrust version, but there is one that is right for you—are ultra-quiet, cool, and efficient motors that are long lasting and generally perfect for mounting to a fishing kayak. Keeping one comfortably where the fish are, throughout the day.

8 Speeds (5 forward and 3 reverse) operated from a 6-inch telescoping ergonomic extendable handle, puts total control in the palm of your hand. 

A 30-inch Composite Fiberglass Shaft provides lightweight strength in this fully adjustable model. Allowing for proper depth placement in all water conditions. Rotating head allows for bow or stern propulsion.

Saltwater compatible hardware on these units—designed to be used in salt or freshwater, keeping the unit as dynamic as most successful fishers. 

The NV 55lb motor requires one (1) 12V deep cycle or marine battery (battery not included), but is equipped with a bright battery indicator to provide immediate charge level feedback. Nobody wants to get stuck without juice by surprise. 

Reelin’ it in. 

There are figuratively as many options in regards to fishing kayaks as there are fish in the sea. Find the right one and there will be both a lot more and then far less fish in the sea.

The needs and resources for a fishing kayak vary by excursion. From freshwater beginners—fishing solo—to teams taking on a tidal chop for a saltwater catch; there is a boat that is best for your fishing needs.

Vibe, Elkton, Brooklyn Kayak Company, and Sun Dolphin all offer the largest slice of open waters, the most secret river bends, and the most explorative options, the most horizon—all without limiting the adventure to those with abundant disposable time and income.

Better still, this is the season to buy and get the best possible deal. Perfect if you happen to be a waterfowler

So click, pick, and stick it to those fish—hook, line, sinker, and in your hold—now.

Best Fishing Kayak Overall

Of them all, the Sea Ghost 130 from Vibe seems to do the most, the best, for the least but if you have different needs, not one of the set will let you down.

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