Best Fishing Kayaks For 2017 – Tested & Reviewed By Expert Anglers!
Imagine leaving everything behind for the weekend - the big city, your apartment, electronic gadgets and annoying neighbors; getting in your car, and heading towards the nearest water body. Once you reach the river, lake, or ocean, you pull out your watercraft from the back of your car and hit the water.
But what is the perfect watercraft for relaxing and fishing on the water? Is it a motor boat, canoe, sailboat, or kayak? My unwavering opinion is that a fishing kayak is the # 1 perfect angling watercraft for any water body, as it is reliable, stable, versatile and spacious.
If you are looking to get a kayak for you, but didn’t get enough resources, I have created this website to help you analyzing the features and performance of the kayaks available on the market.
Furthermore, selecting a fishing kayak is a hassle as you need to consider dozens of factors before getting the most perfect one. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of researching the best for you, have to look at my top 10 fishing kayaks, which are guaranteed to make your kayaking experience much more enjoyable.
Our Selections of Best Fishing Kayaks Compared!
1000 Denier Reinforced
Our Picks of 15 Best Fishing Kayaks For 2017
1. Riot Kayaks Escape 12 Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak
The Riot Kayaks Escape 12 Angler Kayak is a 41.4 lbs thermoformed fishing beauty, which can support 300 lbs of load without breaking a sweat.
This stable boat has been designed for the serious angler, with features that ensure top notch performance is delivered every single time.
When you purchase the Escape 12, you will benefit greatly from a comfy and customizable high back and seat arrangement, adjustable sliding foot braces, a front hatch, a pilot rudder system, 2 flush-mount rod holders, a drain plug, scupper holes, a paddle hook, rear deck shock cord storage, and an integrated console.With these features, you can have a customized and fun-filled fishing experience.
- Designed with adjustable sliding foot braces
- The two rubber handles makes it easy to carry for transportation
- It has adjustable rod holders that provide a smooth performance
- The set is adjustable
- Features ample storage for all your items
- Has stand assist straps that makes it easy to stand upIt has cupholders
- Its sit-on-top design is love by many anglers
- Fitted with a pilot rudder plan and an effective anchoring system
- It has uneven bottom
- The kayak doesn’t carry a lot of load
- It doesn’t track well
- It doesn’t have center storage
2. Advanced Elements AE1007-R Inflatable Kayak
The AdvancedFrame inflatable kayak from Advanced Elements is a hybrid day touring kayak that is composed of a folding frame.
The unique design of the kayak provides you with three seat positions for solo and tandem paddling, while the adjustable and high support seats ensure that you are comfortable for extended periods on the water.
Additionally, the bow and stern are reinforced by inbuilt aluminum ribs, which track as well as hard-shell kayaks, while maintaining the swift speeds that all anglers love. This 4.6 star rated kayak uses long lasting components and materials, which will resist punctures and scratches while maintaining the integrity of construction.
This 10’5” kayak is also quick to inflate and easy to store, so that you can quickly toss it in the back of your truck and head out for a water-filled weekend.
- The kayak comes pre-assembled so you just need to attach the seats
- It is designed with three layers of quality material to resist puncture
- The kayak has a low seat location that allows solo paddling or tandem
- Has plenty storage
- Has a rigid aluminum frame
- The seats of the kayak are removable and replaceable
- It is suitably priced to match its top features
- The kayak is very stable even in white water and rapids
- The kayak doesn’t have spray skirtsIt is heavier to carry
- Doesn’t have sun coverage on the legs
3. Advanced Elements Strait Edge Inflatable Angler Kayak
Advanced Elements has excelled once again, this time with a 9’8”, 41 lbs crossover angling kayak that will blow your mind.
The Strait Edge inflatable kayak boasts of optimal stability, magnificent haulage, amazing durability and customizable kayaking options.
This angling kayak is made up of self-bailing features, which perform well in big waves, so that your time on white water is memorable.
If you prefer open waters, then the aluminum ribs on the bow and stern will make your tracking as easy as ever. The convenient and comfortable kayak is also fitted with customizable features, such as rod holders and a fish finder, so that all those hard to catch fish are within your reach.
But the amazing features do not end here; you also have the benefits of a padded and breathable seat, two rod holders, stainless D-rings, bungee deck lacing, paddle holders, and a spring valve.
- Made with high support adjustable padded seat to provide comfort
- It has a heavy duty material that is puncture resistant
- Comes pre-assembled so you do not have much assembly work
- It offers a superior tracking
- Ample storage space to fit all your fishing gear and equipment
- Has a removable mounting rail so you can add additional rails for fish finder and rod holders
- It feels very stable
- The kayak is a little expensive
- Some customers complain that the inflation plugs are not the same
- Difficult to access the self draining plugs when the kayak is inflated
4. Lifetime Sport Fisher Kayak
The Lifetime Sport Fisher is a 60 lbs, 10-foot fishing monster, which uses top of the line design and intricate features to provide you with an unparalleled experience.
The most impressive feature of this spacious kayak is its balanced seating, as it can accommodate up to 3 individuals on a solo, tandem, or family trip.
The high and dry seating is enhanced by the highly stable tunnel hull design, which allows you to comfortable sit side-saddle as you fish, or stand up for better vantage. This kayak is also made up of convenient scupper holes, molded carry handles, numerous footrest positions, two padded backrests, a 6 inch rear storage hatch, fishing pole holders; an optional accessory mount, and a molded paddle cradle.
If you are looking for a durable recreational kayak which can comfortably fit you, your family, and your gear, then the Lifetime Sport Fisher kayak is for you.
- Designed with a high-density polyethylene to provide strength and durability
- Has ample space to accommodate many fishermen
- Has a watertight compartment to keep your gear safe
- The kayak comes with all the items you need to get started
- The price of the kayak is reasonable
- It has an ergonomic seat with comfortable backrest
- Very steady to withstand tipping or to fall in the water
- The kayak has olive green color that is similar to water vegetation, and this makes it difficult to be seen.
- The seats of the kayak are not cushioned
- Considering its length and lightweight design, it doesn’t work as expected in windy conditions
5. KL Industries Sun Dolphin Aruba Sit-In Kayak
When it comes to sit-in kayak, Sun Dolphin offers 4 Aruba options; including 8SS, 10, 10SS and 12SS kayaks.
These kayaks vary in length from 8 feet to 12 feet, and in maximum load capacity from 260 lbs to 395 lbs. Despite the aforementioned differences, the KL Industries Sun Dolphin Aruba sit-in Kayak all share the great features that have made Sun Dolphin so popular.
These include a rugged high-density polyethylene hull, a molded-in paddle holder, an adjustable and padded seat back, various storage compartments, convenient carry handles, a spray collar, a recessed drink holder, and shock cord deck rigging.
These easy to track and paddle Aruba sit-in kayaks are also notable for their great stability, which ensure that you can fish without fear of tipping into the water. Can you ask for more?
- It has adjustable foot braces
- Carrying handles make it easy to transport
- Has convenient gear storage
- The seat is padded and adjustable with a high back support
- Designed with a water bottle holder
- Comfortable and lightweight
- Very easy to maneuver
- It comes in different color options like red, tangerine, lime green and oceanIt tracks well
- It doesn’t come with other accessories
- Its plastic is buoyant
- The kayak is not stable
6. Hobie Pro Angler 12
If you don’t have any constraints in terms of money, I’ll recommend you this Hobie product. This 12-feet Pro Angler is everything classy and functional at the same time.
This lightweight Kayak has some cool additions and features that are hard to find in any Kayak these days. It just full justice to the money you spend on it.
You get a bow-hatch for yourselves. Plus, there is a rod storage to mount your fishing rod when you are not using it. Just to make sure you are on the right track, the Kayak facilitates GPS, Fish Finder and other electronic device mounts.
When it comes to comfort, Hobie doesn’t even flinch. The comfortable backrest allows you a sitting position that is beneficial and assuring for your spine’s safety. Add to that the Mirage 180 paddling system. This allows you to paddle without the involvement of your hands. You’ll be less tired and concentrate more on fishing.
The convenient design of this thing allows you to maneuver it out of tough corners. The design also allows it to be fast and swift around the waves.
Did I mention floor mats and carrying handle as well with the leash of 12-14 feet? Yup, you have them too.
- You can maneuver it easily without any problems.
- This thing survives through toughest weather and water conditions.
- Hobie Pro gives you a large storage space to work with when fishing.
- Despite being a 12-feet kayak, this one is fast, really fast.
- The MirageDrive makes it a comfortable experience to paddle this Kayak for longer distances.
- It dries faster than other Kayaks too.
- This thing is portable and can fit on the back of any pickup truck.
- The H-rail is rust resistant perfect to take on saltwater fishing.
- Price might cause headaches for even the best among the fishermen.
7. Hobie Mirage Outback Kayak Olive
As I am ending my list of Best Fishing Kayaks for 2017, we stumble on Mirage Outback Kayak from, you guessed it; Hobie.
Besides the color, it has a lot going for it. For example, it is big and spacious. You get the capacity of 400lbs which translates as pretty large catches in terms of fishes.
The benefits don’t stop there. In fact, it has “Thru-Hull Wire Plugs” that allow you to paddle backwards. The foam seat grants you comfort while the molded rod holders at the back provide safe storage options for your fishing equipment.
You have the option of sailing with the Kayak in extreme conditions too. It has a twist and stow sail mount that helps you in windy conditions. Thanks to this, you won’t need to paddle for long if the wind is right.
You can store fishes on the hull. There’s a bow hatch that opens nicely as well. The hatch is a “Twist n’ Lock” system one for your convenience. ST fins and rotomolded polyethylene hull are rust resistant and last a long time before needing maintenance. A perfect package for saltwater fishing.
You got “Mesh covered storage space” that don’t let water spoil your catch. At the same time, the mesh cover stays good for months if not years.
- A winner in my book in terms of price and performance graph.
- You have the option to either go for a 12-feet or a 14-feet kayak.
- MirageDrive Outback is robust. It can withstand impacts from rocks, broken branches and sharp objects submerged in water.
- The little parts and portions of this kayak work great.
- The storage compartment is really big and I could put so many things in there that I am impressed.
- Only thing is, it is a bit too wide for me. Wide kayaks are awkward to paddle.
8. 2017 Wilderness Radar 115 Fishing Kayak Package
For the hardcore fishing fans, I am giving you one of the best fishing kayak 2017 packages out there. Yes, 2017 Wilderness Radar 115 comes with a whole lot more than just the Kayak. Interested? Let’s take a peek, shall we?
With a comfortable seat, this Kayak is available with multiple design options. The seat comforts your back while you paddle through the water.
This spacious fishing kayak has a large storage compartment and mounts for GPS and fish finders. You can put your fishing rod to rest when you are not fishing.
The combo pack features Helix PD pedal drive. It is rust resistant and rotates fast to provide the riders easy maneuverability and accessibility while fly fishing.
The SMART Hull technique allows you easier acceleration and tracking features. The hull also stabilizes and strengthens the kayak to survive tough situations.
Now we move down to Vamo “Tie-downs” and “Roof Racks.” The Tie downs do a great job in securing the Kayak in one place. The roof racks allow you to store necessary things on them without damaging. This thing is worth every buck you shed.
- The setup and design of this Kayak is simplified as you’d expect from this franchise.
- It is perfectly safe to take out on an adventurous ride.
- The hull system actually saved my valuable time while on the sea.
- It is definitely the ride for me when embarking on long fishing expeditions.
- The helix pedal system left a mark on me thanks to the performance.
- I’d try to improve the straps a little bit.
- The rudder comes separate from the package; I had to wait a bit to get mine.
9. Sea Eagle 420x Explorer Inflatable Kayak
If you have ever seen the price tag of Sea Eagle 420x Explorer Inflatable Kayak and you must be wondering why this inflatable kayak is so expensive!
The answer lies in its unrivaled design and craftsmanship, which make this 54 lbs, 2-person inflatable kayak a worthwhile investment.
The tough as nails kayak is composed of a rugged and durable polyester fabric, spacious interior that can hold up to 855 lbs in adults and gear; four convertible/self-bailing drains that keep you dry, powerful AB40 paddles, roomy stow bags, and a large and removable rear center skeg.
These are just a few of the features that make the Sea Eagle 420x explorer perfect for Class IV rapids, open water, trout streams, and wilderness rivers.
- It has a very durable construction
- The seat is comfortable for longer paddlingIt inflates within a short time
- Best for all types of paddling
- The kayak is very stable
- Supports 2-3 adults
- It doesn’t come with clear instructions
10. Ocean Kayak Zest Two Expedition Tandem Kayak
If you are seeking a Kayak for two to go on a trip together, this 16-feet water beast will be perfect. Ocean Kayak has a reputation of bringing out top-notch products that deliver the goods when necessary. This one is no different from the rest. And then, it adds more to its repertoire of perks.
Firstly, as I said, you have the capacity for two full-grown adults on board. If you have a kid, bring him along too. Oh, and the pet dog can also ride this beast on water.
This one is perfect for warm weather and provides you the chance to fish while one pedals the boat. Ocean Zest Two is perfect for a summer adventure that involves fishing.
You have the standard comfort plus seats with a twist. These guys provide you “Molded-in” foot braises. These braises allow you to keep your feet in place without any shaking.
I prefer this one as Top Fishing Kayak (hey, my own opinion matters, right?) because this one has cup holders for a coffeeholic, a paddle keeper, a skid plate to guard you against rushing water, and carry handles to take this thing along wherever I go.
Then there is comfort. You can only experience it firsthand and when you take this baby to the water. I suggest you buy Zest Two Expedition Tandem for that.
- A good option for saltwater fishing and paddling.
- Riders and fishermen reported this Kayak to be faster than most alternatives.
- This thing handles the “Bow-in” waves better than most peddling kayaks.
- Reasonably priced when you compare the features and performance level.
- I found the carrying handles too far from each other.
- The Bow Carrying Handle comes apart from time to time but is fixable.
11. Old Town Canoes & Recreational Kayak
For over 117 years, Old Town has kept its promise, and tradition of delivering the highest quality canoes and kayaks.
The beloved Dirigo series is no different, offering innovative design, advanced technology, and convenient features that will make your paddling easy and fun.
The Old town Dirigo 106, in particular, aims to bring avid anglers in close contact with the fish below, in an attempt to provide a seamless and exciting fishing experience.
This 10’6”, 42 lbs kayak is equipped with several features; such as an Active Comfort System Seat, OT cushioned seat, thigh pads; a Glide Track foot brace system, multiple sealed hatches, a cup holder, a drain plug, a paddle keeper, and a Stabil-form hull design to name a few.
All of these features work to provide you with maximum comfort and convenience, as well as generous room and stability as you navigate previously hard to reach fishing spots.
- It is very easy to maneuver
- Features a lightweight design
- Ample space to keep your fishing gear
- Designed with a comfortable contoured poly cushioned seat
- The glide track foot brace system gives you a comfortable and stable paddling
- You can keep your keys, phone and other small items in the glove box hatch
- It has a thigh pad to enhance your comfort
- No cons for this kayak so far
12. KL Industries Sun Dolphin Journey SS Kayak
KL Industries and Sun Dolphin Journey SS kayak have come together once again to give us a high-quality kayak with versatile features.The Journey SS kayak comes in two main sizes, with one being 10 feet in length and the other being 12 feet in length.
Despite the varying sizes and capacities, both kayaks are packed with amazing features that will make you smile.
The lightweight and portable kayak has a Fortiflex high-density polyethylene hull, which makes paddling and tracking the kayak easier than ever. This stable kayak is also outfitted with two flush mount holders, one swivel fishing holder, a Portable Accessory Carrier (PAC), protective thigh pads, adjustable foot brace, a paddle holder, retractable carrying handles, and storage and shock cord deck rigging.
When you combine all of these convenient, and wide-ranging features, it is no wonder this kayak is in such high demand from anglers who love fishing on secluded lakes and rivers. If this sounds like you, then the Journey SS may just be the fishing kayak you’ve been hoping for.
- It has a very large and comfortable seating area
- The foot braces are adjustable to your liking
- Lightweight so it is easy to carry
- Made with high density UV-stabilized polyethylene for durability
- The fishing kayak is easy to store
- Provides ample storage space
- Easy to maneuver in shallow waters or streams
- It comes with a shock cord rigging
- The kayak is affordable
- The kayak doesn’t have scupper holes
- Its tracking is not great in rough conditions
- It has a less glide technology as compared to other expensive kayaks
13. Old Town Vapor 10 Angler Recreational Kayak
If you are an angler enthusiast looking for a compact kayak that can bear a huge load while still maintaining maximum stability and efficiency, then the Vapor 10 Angler is the kayak for you.
This entry-level kayak is having a large and comfortable cockpit; adjustable seating with a Comfort Flex seat and Glide Track foot brace system, convenient fishing via flush mounted rod holders.
Easy portability with built in carry handles, convenient paddling with an anchor trolley system, and simple storage with a stern day well.This 49 lbs kayak has a maximum load capacity of 325 lbs, ensuring that you and all your belongings can set out on a fishing adventure like no other.
So whether you are a beginner paddler, avid angler, or sportsman, this lovely kayak will meet your needs.
- The kayak provides quiet paddling on lakes, ponds and other slow moving rivers
- It is made from highly durable single layer linear polyethylene
- The seat is padded to provide comfort for all day paddling
- Gives you ample storage to carry your items
- Very lightweight weighing only 49 lbs
- Designed with molded carry handles to make it easy to transport
- Designed with comfortable thigh and knee pads
- The kayak scratches with ease on its exterior
14. KL Industries Sun Dolphin Bali SS Kayak
The Bali SS kayak from Sun Dolphin is a recreational sit-on-top kayak, which comes in 3 length sizes; 8 feet, 10 feet, and 12 feet.
This large-capacity entry-level kayak is not only affordable; it provides superior and easy to use features that beginner paddlers will love.
The durable kayak tracks well on lakes and rivers, due to its high density, UV-stabilized hull design and its fantastic paddling system.
To guarantee your comfort, the kayak is also equipped with an adjustable and padded seat, molded foot wells, and a spacious open cockpit. The lightweight, and easy to transport a kayak also has self-bailing features and multiple storage compartments that will keep your gear and belongings secure as you paddle and fish in the water near you.
- The kayak comes at an affordable price
- Has more storage compartments
- Works well in rivers and lakes
- Designed with an adjustable padded seat back
- It is perfect for beginners
- It tracks and paddles with ease
- Lightweight hence very easy to carry
- Designed with a high quality UV stabilized fortiflex high density polyethylene for durability
- Has carrying handles for easy transportation
- The kayak is very small
- The foot rests of the kayak are not comfortable
- The seat doesn’t have a bottom cushion
15. Ocean Kayak Trident Ultra 4.3 Fishing Kayak
The Ultra 4.3 is one of a kind when it comes to Fishing Kayaks. And for good reasons! It comes with better features than the 4.7 we’ve all come to know and love.
The features begin with the central hatch. This hatch features spots for a fish finder, a GPS system, and any other electronic system you may have.
You’ve got paddle keepers to safeguard your paddles while staying steady on the water. To catch better fishes, you have four fishing road mounts on board. Just when you thought that wasn’t enough, I present you molded-in cup holders. These allow you to keep your beer cans to rest until you’ve caught a big trophy fish.
Wait, the surprises don’t end here. The “Oversized Tank Well” accommodates for fishes of most sizes. You can celebrate the catch of some of the biggest fishes of the ocean. The wear strip at the end is replaceable. You have the option to take multiple ones along to your fishing trip just to be safe from any miscalculations. The item sits around a nice price to accommodate all the features.
- The kayak has a compatibility option for transducers of multiple sizes unlike others.
- It features a hybrid seat back which comforts your spine when you embark on long fishing trips.
- The hatch opens and closes with an audible “Click” sound.
- The storage section has a compartment for the anchor as well.
- It is a fast kayak when it’s on the water compared to many of its alternatives.
- Price is significantly higher than other “Ocean Kayak” products out there.
- It is heavier than most kayaks when you carry it on land.
Things to Consider Before Buying A Fishing Kayak
- Loading Capacity
- Number of Seats
- Safety On The River
When you head out onto the water, you need gear as well as water, food, and extra clothes to name a few things.
It is therefore, necessary to ensure that the angler kayak you select has a respectable maximum load capacity, which can easily carry you as well as any extra equipment you have with you. Different kayaks have different loading capacities, with the average capacity starting at 200 lbs and rising to 1000 lbs. If you want your kid to go with you and enjoy, go for a tandem kayak with proper loading capacity.
However, remember that kayaks with greater loading capacity are heavier in weight. If you are looking for easy maneuverability select a moderate loading capacity, e.g. 250-400lbs. Seating is extremely important on a kayak, as it determines how many people can be accommodated on the water.
Ordinarily, angler kayaks range from 1-person to 3-person, allowing solo paddlers and families alike to have a blast out on the water. If you enjoy switching between paddling solo, in tandem, and with your friends or family, then a 3-person kayak is perfect for you. If you prefer quiet and solitary time on the water, go with a 1-person kayak.
In addition, ensure that you select a breathable and padded seat for maximum comfort during extended periods on the water. Any kayaker knows the importance of safety while out on the water, and that is why it is necessary for you to choose a kayak that is known for its stability. This will ensure that you remain on the kayak as you fish, as opposed to falling in the water and injuring yourself.
A wider kayak will provide you with greater initial stability; however, it is slower and heavier than its narrow counterparts. Last but not least, you need to find a kayak which is rich in convenient features that will make your fishing easier.
Kayaks with multiple rod holders, various storage options, carry handles, molded-in bottle holders, a skeg for tracking, a narrower width (better for more experienced anglers), foot pegs, thigh braces, spray skirt allowances, shock deck rigging, and an overall ergonomic design are better for fishing.
With all of this information provided above, I am now 100% certain that you are fully informed on all aspects of a best fishing kayak. Using this unique and informative buyer’s guide, you can now make a wise investment which will offer you value for your money as well as unlimited fun on the water.
So stop sitting around, buy your fishing vessel today, and get out on the water tomorrow. And don’t forget to tell me how big a fish you hauled in!