The Best Duck Hunting Kayaks of 2018 – Guideline For Beginners

Why hunt from a kayak?

For starters, even the best duck hunting kayaks cost less than the cheapest boat, and a kayak can manoeuvre in shallower waters than the smallest flat-bottom Jon boat. But the main benefit of having a kayak is that one person can load and unload it alone, and it’s possible to launch almost anywhere.

A kayak can be dragged across mud and through the reeds with ease and requires no developed launch ramp—you won’t need a trailer either, as a simple car-top rack will do for transport.

And finally, kayaks are very versatile and you will be able to enjoy their benefits for fishing and recreation once duck hunting season is over.

Choosing a Good Hunting Kayak 

Kayaks are very popular watercraft nowadays, and there is a plethora of models on the market, so choosing the best duck hunting kayak is a bit of a hunting trip in itself. We looked at the few boats that had features specialized to waterfowl hunting, and also sorted through the best dual-purpose hunting/fishing craft.

Read on to learn more about the best ducking hunting kayaks for the money. 

Best Duck Hunting Kayaks Comparisons 

8 Best Duck Hunting Kayaks - Reviews

1. Wilderness Systems A.T.A.K. 140 Kayak

Wilderness Systems A.T.A.K. 140 Kayak

At 14 feet x 34 inches, the A.T.A.K 140 is the biggest boat in our review—it has a wide open design that offers plenty of room to haul gear and shoot from. It comes in coma colors and begs to be customized.

The large bow storage area opens up wide and is self-draining. The suspension-style seat offers high, low and recline positions, with honeycomb mesh material for breath ability and quick drying. Accessory tracks are placed all over the boat, and rigid ergonomic carry handles are positioned on the sides as well as the bow and stern. The boat weighs 95 pounds, can carry 550 pounds, and can be rigged with a trolling motor.

We like the A.T.A.K. 140 because it is roomy and comfortable, yet it rides low so profile visibility is reduced. The accessory rails make it easy to attach camo material. The seat is very comfortable, and the high position gives good swing room for shooting over a camo frame if the boat is rigged that way. The removable battery pod is great for storing ammo and calls. There is also an open utility pod that holds loose ammunition and spent shells. 

The A.T.A.K. 140 is already a great boat to start with, but it can easily be turned into a real hunting machine—this is our top choice for a non-pedal boat.

What we liked

  • Large and roomy
  • Many storage and attachment options
  • Comfortable seat

What we didn't like

  • Heavy
  • High price point

2. Hobie Pro Angler 12

The Pro Angler 12 is one of Hobie’s top-shelf salt water fishing kayaks.

This kayak comes at a high-end price, but it can be modified to make a very effective solo shooting boat. Horizontal rod storage can be turned into gun storage, and the large bait and battery compartments will hold a lot of gear. Decoys can be lashed to the rear deck.

This kayak is powered by the Mirage Drive pedal drive system so no paddling is needed. Pedaling frees up your hands, making it easy to move around and place decoys, then tuck into the reeds and shoot from the boat. The maneuverability of this small pedal boat brings a whole new strategy into play. Pedal out to retrieve and drop the birds into the front compartment, then tuck into another hole. A broad beam keeps the boat stable when you shoot, and the seat is comfortable enough to hunt from all day.

The main downsides we noted with the Hobie are price and weight—at over 100 pounds, a wheeled dolly system will be in order if you need to drag the Pro Angler very far. On the other hand, this kayak can open a whole new world of duck hunting in the right hands and water conditions.

What we liked

  • Pedal powered and steerable
  • Shoot and move capability
  • Great fishing boat in the off-season

What we didn't like

  • Heavy
  • Very expensive

3. Old Town Predator PDL Kayak

The Old Town Predator PDL is the ultimate hunting machine.

This camo-pattern 13-foot boat has 36-inches of beam and a 500 pound capacity at 117 pounds of boat weight. It has a 16 x 10-inch bow hatch and a large, open rear platform to hold gear. The flat, clear cockpit deck is designed for stand-up fishing and has a removable sealed storage pod. The Predator has a rockered overhung bow that runs through chop like butter and keeps the cockpit dry. This kayak is powered by a revolutionary pedal crank system that provides both forward and reverse maneuverability.

The Predator does it all, and is our choice for the top open-water and creek hunting kayak—this boat is fun to drive and moves effortlessly under pedal power. Tuck into edges along the bank and shoot, or come creeping around the corner of the reed beds with gun in hand. Great for crossing big water and setting up on shore, then loading the dog in the back and hunting around the decoy set.

The pedal unit is removable and the propeller flips up for paddling into the shallows or transporting the boat. The seat is excellent, and this boat has plenty of options for attachments and modifications. The Hobie is a nice pedal boat, but we think the Predator leans more toward hunting.

The only cons we found were the weight and length of this craft, which may give some transport issues to overcome—however, if getting the boat on water is not a problem, we would encourage anyone to get this one.

What we liked

  • Top in class pedal power
  • Big, wide, and stable
  • Easy to modify
  • Classic brand

What we didn't like

  • Heavy for one man
  • High price point

4. Malibu Kayaks X-Factor Kayak

The Malibu X-Factor is a specialized fish and dive kayak that is easily adaptable, and although it is stable enough to shoot from, it is also ideal for the duck hunter who wants to cross water with a dog and a lot of gear then shoot from the bank.

This kayak can take a trolling motor and has tons of dry storage room with compartments that are designed to carry large items like dive tanks. The hull is designed for straight tracking with a heavy load on board, and it has a high rocker line that lets it handle rough water well.

What impressed us most about this kayak was the capacity-to-weight ratio—this boat weighs only 62 pounds, but it can carry 625 pounds. This is a far more realistic than a 300- or even 500-pound capacity boat if you are going to carry a dog, much less another hunter—remember, you need to float high enough to stay safe and dry if the wind comes up.

The X-Factor provides the room needed for serious transport. The beam is wide enough for hunting from the boat, but the shape of the bottom and the storage compartments get in the way. However, if you need to cross deep water to get to a shoreline blind, this is the best boat for the job.

What we liked

  • Big and stable
  • Handles chop well

What we didn't like

  • Not a great shooting platform
  • High price point

5. Native Watercraft Slayer 12 Kayak

Native Watercraft Slayer 12 Kayak

The Native Watercraft Slayer 12’ is a compact sit-on-top boat that comes in a good hunting camouflage pattern. It has several features that let it work for hunting.

This kayak weighs only 62 pounds, and the tunnel hull bottom shape breaks mud suction and makes for easier dragging. The Slayer is also made for stand-up fishing and is one of the most stable kayaks in its class. It comes with padded carry handles and a hand-sewn mesh seat that adjusts to high and low positions to add comfort—you can lower the seat for paddling efficiency and raise it for shooting maneuverability.

Of course we like that the Slayer is made in the USA, but it also has features that make it a good duck hunting boat. The large, open front and rear storage compartments take bulky items with no problem. With 400 pounds of capacity, it is definitely a solo boat, but putting a dog in the back seat is not a problem either. Removable cockpit side rails and a variety of mounting points make for easy customization.

The advantage of a sit-on-top boat like the Slayer over a dedicated duck boat is that distance paddling is far easier. On the downside, you won’t be able to lie down in this boat, but you can tuck into the weeds or add a camo screen and shoot from it. The Slayer is a nice clean kayak that offers solid hunting potential and good value for the money.

What we liked

  • Clean, open cockpit
  • Comfortable seating
  • Plenty of modification options
  • American made

What we didn't like

  • Low weight capacity
  • Small integral dry storage

6. FeelFree Lure 11.5 Kayak

The Feel free Lure is an 11.5-foot fishing kayak with a winter camo design that will work well on the edges of big open water.

At 74 pounds and with a wheel in the keel, this boat is easy to move around. It offers useable storage in front and rear as well as a dry box in the cockpit that is ideal for ammunition stowage. A beam width of 34 inches and capacity of 425 pounds make the kayak stable enough to shoot from and ideal for a solo hunter. We like the comfort that this boat offers—the unique gravity seat is comfortable enough for long sessions and offers two heights of seating position.

This kayak has a rounded, stable outline yet the v-bow lets it cut through chop with ease. We converted the rear rod holders into a gun rack by screwing ATV gun mounts onto wooden insert pegs, and there is also room for a gun in the cockpit. The boat rides dry and holds steady when shooting, and we like the seat.

The Feel Free Lure offers a lot of features and we recommend it for hunters looking for a shorter paddle boat than the X-Factor or Slayer.

What we liked

  • Excellent seat
  • Paddles fast yet is stable when shooting
  • Plenty of modification options

What we didn't like

  • Tail wheel can catch weeds
  • Front hatch can be tricky to open

7. Lifetime 10-Foot Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak

Even though this blow-molded 10-foot kayak has seat positions for 3 people, the reality would be an adult and two small children at best.

The foot positions are molded in, wide enough to make a universal fit, and the boat comes with two padded backrests, two built-in rod holders, built-in paddle clips, and a dry storage compartment in the rear. The sit-on-top design is very stable with one person aboard, and the kayak tracks well with its up-turned v-nose. It is fairly heavy at 82 pounds, so it takes some skill and strength to transport and launch alone.

We checked this kayak out with a hunter and a gun dog plus equipment in mind—the 500-pound capacity of this kayak will work for that type of situation, and this boat is far easier to paddle with that kind of load than one of the flat-bottom dedicated hunting designs. 

You may need to sacrifice some shallow-water capability, and lose some specialized hunting features like camouflage attachment points, but for a budget price you can get a good boat for carrying a dog and decoys out into a pond.

What we liked

  • Stable
  • Rugged build
  • Low price

What we didn't like

  • Heavy
  • Minimal features

8. Beavertail Final Attack Portable Pit Blind

The Beavertail Final Attack is a dedicated duck hunting craft that is made for use on land and water.

This is a 9-foot semi-boat with a 32-inch beam and a load capacity of 360 pounds. Its specialized features include built-in drag handles on both ends, a large dry storage compartment at the stern, and molded-in wheels. It weighs 55 pounds and transports fairly easily. A catamaran-style bottom form makes this kayak a lot easier to maneuver than a pure flat bottom—this also adds lateral stability for support when firing to the side and throwing decoys. This boat has a transom for mounting an electric motor.

This kayak was tough to handle in the water as it tends to plow along rather than glide—the wide nose and the wheels add a lot of drag, not to mention all the weeds that get caught on the wheels. We would call this a coffin blind for use in fields that can get out into the water if needed. There is no comfortable seat either, as the floor is flat to allow for lying prone—we had to sit on a dry bag of extra clothing and rain gear.

This Beavertail is easy to drag around even for one person, and if you hunt corn fields with the occasional shallow puddle or marsh, it will work well. Note that the cover needs to be ordered separately.

What we liked

  • Plenty of room inside
  • Dual use for a low price
  • Easy to customize

What we didn't like

  • Hard to paddle
  • Uncomfortable to sit in
  • Cover costs extra

Bag a Great Duck Hunting Kayak 

We found some nice boats in our test, in fact, it is really tempting to buy a couple of kayaks for different water conditions. If at all possible, try before you buy, but use our list to help you narrow things down—and most of all, be sure to make hunting for the best kayak as fun as hitting the water on those fall mornings will be.

David Valle
 

I started this blog to provide advanced material, guiding you towards a better and more comfortable fishing experience. I deliver more than fishing gear guides, and motivate people to hit the water!

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