2016 Fishing Kayak Reviews: Best Fishing Kayak for the Money

Choosing the best fishing kayak in 2016 for your specific angling needs is very important. Not every kayak would work for you, since every angler has his unique needs and habits based on the waters, type of fish and motivation for fishing.

Angler & Fishing Kayaks Comparison

ModelRatingSeatsLengthMaterial
Old Town Predator 135.0Single13-FeetPlastic Shell
Hobie Mirage Oasis4.8Double14-FeetPlastic Shell
Pelican Liberty 100X5.0Single10-FeetPlastic Shell
Perception Sport Pescador 124.8Single12-FeetPlastic Shell
badge-best-seller-miniKL Industries Sun Dolphin Journey SS4.5Single10-FeetPlastic Shell
Ocean Kayak Trident 133.3Single13-FeetPlastic Shell
badge-best-seller-miniLifetime Sport Fisher4.3Single10-FeetPlastic Shell
Sevylor Colorado Hunt & Fish4.8Double13-FeetInflatable PVC
Hobie Mirage i9S5.0Single09-FeetInflatable PVC
BIC Yakkair Fishing-2HP5.0Double13-FeetInflatable PVC
Ocean Kayak Prowler Big Game Angler5.0Single12-FeetPlastic Shell
Malibu Kayaks X-13 Fish & Dive4.6Single14-FeetPlastic Shell
Riot Kayaks Escape 12 Angler Sit-On-Top3.8Single12-FeetPlastic Shell
Old Town Vapor 10 Angler4.6Single10-FeetPlastic Shell

It can be challenging for beginner and seasoned anglers to make a decision when looking for a brand new angler kayak to suit their needs. So we made this list, a curated list, to guide you on the most popular ‘yaks in the market.

Need info on the best kayak paddle for fishing, click here for our paddle reviews

With so many kayaks out there on the market and a bewildering amount of information from various kayak fishing sources it can be a challenge.

kayak fishing is best in louisiana

There is nothing like the serenity of fishing in the morning.

Whether you are seasoned veteran looking for vital advice or a beginner just starting out, reading our 2016 fishing kayak reviews, guides, and tips to find out what kayaks successful anglers are using after 2015 – and why, is a big part of making a good buying decision. In fact, we have a basic kayak fishing  tips page to get you started if you are not too familiar with how to fish from a kayak or are new to this sport.

Most kayaks on the market are usually available in stock versions (unrigged) and angler versions (rigged). Most anglers prefer to go with the rigged option to save on the hassle of rigging their own kayak with the necessary equipment. However, as you talk more to fellow kayakers and gain more experience, you will start customizing your kayak to your needs and eventually start buying unrigged fishing kayaks and make it your own right from the beginning.

What to look for in a Good Fishing Kayak

  1. Length versus width, speed versus stability – These are choices you have to make depending on your needs. Shorter kayaks are usually slower than longer ones while wider ones offer more stability than the narrower types. Some kayaks are equipped with an upswept bow (rocker) which increases their performance in waves and strong current but not on flat water
    Kayak bass fishing with a rattle snake

    Shane Davies of River Run Guide in Texas, caught a bass with a rattle snake!

  2. Kayak design: Sit-on-top or Sit-in – Sit-on top fishing kayaks are preferred by most kayak anglers because it is easier to get out and wade as well as add accessories. However, the ride can be very wet at time, and may not be ideal for fishing in extremely cold water, strong waves and current. On the other hand, there are the sit-in or “cockpit-style” kayaks. These are great for fishing in cold water, windy conditions and strong waves. Since you are basically sitting inside the kayak, the center of gravity is much lower thereby increasing the kayak’s stability. An added bonus of selecting a sit-in kayak is that there is a storage compartment in the middle for storing your gear. However, it takes time to get out of the boat and wade when need arises. Sitting low also limits your view.
  3. Rigged versus unrigged – When it comes down to the basics, the only difference between a fishing kayak and a kayak is the built-in rod holder for your precious fishing rods. As a general rule stock kayaks are cheaper than rigged units. If you are an experienced kayak angler, you can save money by purchasing a stock kayak and rigging it yourself, in the process adding a personal touch to the boat. However, getting the right balance required a lot of skill and most kayak fishermen would be better off investing in a factory rigged unit.
  4. Motor versus Paddle – For a kayak, it would be best to use a paddle. There are trolling motors you can install on the kayak but that defeats the advantage of using a kayak for fishing in the first place. There are many options on the market but it is generally advisable to go for the lightest paddle you can find.

Top Fishing Kayak Reviews in 2016

Hobie Mirage Oasis Kayak

Hobie Mirage Oasis Kayak 2013 IvorySpeed is the one feature that distinguishes the Hobie Mirage Oasis Kayak from the competition. Whether fishing solo or with a companion, you will definitely like the performance this tandem kayak offers.

>> Click here for more Hobie Angler Owner Reviews

The boat boasts fasts acceleration and impressive cruising speeds without compromising its capacity to hold gear. The twist and seal hatch allows additional storage below deck.

The kayak offers dual steering with its twist and store rudder. This is a retractable rudder system that can be easily engaged or disengaged with a quick pull on the T-shaped control handles. The rudder controls are available from both front and rear positions.

To offer optimal comfort, both the front and back seats are well padded. A fully adjustable thick padded self-inflating lumbar support system is included for additional comfort.

Like all other kayaks in the Hobie range, the Hobie Mirage Oasis Kayak can take a sail to drive you to your favorite fishing grounds. This, coupled with fact that you can pedal, as well as paddle the kayak makes the Oasis one of the most versatile kayaks on the market.

Ocean Kayak Trident 15 & 13 Angler Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak

Ocean Kayak Trident 13 Angler Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak Urban CamoWhen the Ocean Kayak Trident 15 Angler Sit-On-Top kayak was first released, it was one of the first kayaks specifically designed and constructed for fishing and years later, it is still one of the best fly fishing kayaks in the market.

>> Click Here for more Angler Owner Reviews

Its carefully thought out deck allows lots of storage and mounting options for all your fishing gear and accessories. The large bow Pro Hatch with its Cross Lock Strap system and the cockpit-accessible rod pod offer ample storage room to plug in bait boards, rod holder and more.

The seat area is quite big, which leaves you with enough room for both fishing and paddling. To keep your high-end fish finder display protected, the Ocean Kayak Trident Angler edition kayak is equipped with a Sonar shield that also makes it easy to read the screen in sunlight.

The boat is lightweight and has ergonomically designed carry handles which means that transporting it would be a breeze. Thanks to its stability and efficient design, the Ocean Kayak Trident Angler sit-on-top kayak is a good choice for most anglers.

Pelican Liberty 100X Angler Kayak

Pelican Liberty 100X Angler KayakReleased as one of the products in Pelican International’s highly respected Premium line, the Pelican Liberty 100X does not disappoint. It features the highest quality pelican components.

>> Click here to read current Angler kayak owner thoughts

The improved polyethylene formulation used to construct the hull offers superior aesthetics and like other boats in this line, comes with a twin-arched hull that is optimized to enhance performance, whether in terms of speed, tracking or stability.

With regards to fishing, the Liberty 100X offers just about everything you would ever need but doesn’t go overboard. The rod holders are capable of fitting a range of rod grips. It is also equipped with a paddle holder

For a boat its size (just under 10 ft long), the Pelican Liberty 100X Angler offers excellent storage capabilities. The rear section is quite big and there is an 8 inch storage hatch behind the seat. The boat has a functional layout, to ensure that everything you needs is always within reach. Other standout features include:

  • Adjustable foot pegs
  • Cockpit table with a molded in compartment for storage, a day hatch with a cup holder net and a dry bag.

Old Town Predator 13 Kayak

Old Town Predator 13 Angler KayakThe predator is perfectly engineered, both below and above the waterline to deliver the perfect platform for fishing. The boat is made using a high performance LT900 polyethylene tri-hull for incredible strength and durability.

>> Click Here to Read Fellow Angler Owner Reviews

The hull’s design offers enhanced tracking and stability. The paddle holder, rod placement and sitting layout were all designed to increase the boat’s fish-ability. Dual rod tip holder located at the bow make rod storage easy, but the Old Town Predator 13 Kayak is also equipped with a host of other handy storage features such as:

  • Exo-Ridge Tank well – this keeps all your gear secure and dry. Ideal for storing the battery, cooler or tackle boxes.
  • Big bow hatch with click seal cover – this roomy opening is ideal for gear bag storage and can be locked securely with one click.
  • Dual tackle holder – these are convenient, recessed storage spaces on both sides that offer quick access to your gear.

Customizing the boat is easy thanks to 6 strategically placed mounting plates that eliminate the need for drilling the hull.

Perception Sport Pescador 12 Angler Kayak

Perception Sport Pescador 12 Angler KayakThis is the most stable fishing kayak of the bunch, and a very easy to use sit-on-top kayak, that comes fully rigged with all the fishing features needed to hit the water.

>> Click here for owner perspective from like minded Anglers

The Perception Sport Pescador 12’s versatile hull design is ideal for tracking on lakes, but it is also highly maneuverable on rivers. Its Rotomolded polyethylene construction offers rugged durability.

The cockpit is a little larger than what you will find on most other kayaks its size, but it leaves plenty of room for you to work with your tackle as well as enter and exit it with ease.

The boat comes with one flush mount rod holder but making additions is quite easy. Other features include a tank well with a bungee cord and a bow hatch and a center day hatch to provide enough storage room for all your gear.

KL Industries Sun Dolphin Journey SS Kayak

KL Industries Sun Dolphin Journey SS Kayak drab greenThis ‘yak was designed for both kayak fishing enthusiasts and family fun lovers in mind. It comes outfitted for fishing with one swivel rod holder and two flush mount holders. The dry box is completely waterproof and comes in handy for GPS, fish finder or cell phone storage.

>> Click here to snag more owner insights on this Sun Dolphin

The open cockpit and large, comfortable seating area allows easy entry and exit. It was also designed with standard adjustable footrests to accommodate paddlers of different heights.

There is plenty bungee aft, fore and rear to secure gear for two. Moreover, it comes with a portable accessory carrier that can be used as extra storage, a backpack or tow behind. Includes padded seat backs and adjustable foot braces to accommodate paddlers of all sizes.

The KL industries Sun Dolphin SS Journey kayak is also very portable thanks to its rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex® High Density Polyethylene construction.


How to Choose the Best Fishing Kayak Under $500, $1000, or Any Budget

There are many kayak fishing videos created for people shopping under budget, but for our purpose, check out the below video on the main differences between why one would go with one type of anglers kayak versus another, of the more expensive tiers, when deciding on how to choose one from so many bestsellers.

>> Click here for the bestseller Angler ‘Yaks in the market

Your overall kayak angling experience depends a lot on how you choose your kayak. You want a kayak that is not only functional, but also offers optimal comfort and safety regardless of where you choose to fish and for how long. While kayaks hold an advantage over bigger boats when it comes to price, maintenance and ease of use, they tend to trail when it comes to comfort. But comfort is multidimensional and it does not just depend on ergonomics, but also stability.

Apart from comfort considerations, choosing the best fishing kayak for the money means that you first have to come up with an honest idea of how you intend to use your kayak and how much you care to spend. Is your limit set at under $500? $600? a $1000!? Once you know, then you can narrow it down relatively quickly.

  • Will you paddle on calm lakes or whitewater and waves? Then look into recreational kayaks.
  • Will you be fishing alone or with friends and family? Then look into tandem kayaks.
  • Are you in for the thrill of competition or do want to spent a few lazy days fishing?
  • What is your budget?

What to look for in the Best Angler Kayak

There are many aspects you should keep in the back of your mind when going over good fishing kayak reviews. This will help you focus on what you need versus what you want when choosing the best angler kayak.

  • Stability – having a stable platform is vital especially to a person who is new to kayak fishing. Stability can either be discussed in terms of initial and secondary stability. Initial stability refers to the side to side wobble you feel when sitting in or on a kayak. On the other hand, secondary stability is what keeps a kayak stable even as it approaches its point of flipping. Kayaks with lots of initial stability are therefore more important to beginners while seasoned users would be better served by a kayak with great secondary stability.
  • Speed – Generally, the narrower and longer the kayak, the faster it is. If most of your fishing is in small, protected areas or close to the shore, then you probably don’t require a fast kayak. However, if you are fishing in a bay, reservoir, sound, or even the open ocean, you may have to acquire a fast kayak for professional angling.
  • Maneuverability – Shorter angler kayaks are slower but more maneuverable hence should be preferred if you are going to fish in narrow estuaries and small creeks.
  • Storage – It’s nice to have kayak that offers different places to store your stuff. If you intend to take a lot of fishing gear, then it may be best to go with a boat designed with a double hull as they offer lots of potential storage below the deck.

Remember to Have Fun

Before you go shopping for bait, fishing lines, expensive spinning reels, etc.. your first step will be to identify your needs by learning about the sport.

When it comes to kayak fishing there is definitely a wide range of options and skills that will determine your type of fishing kayak.

Luckily, today’s kayaks can accommodate any type of fishing from the recreational to the professional. So take your time and don’t compromise when choosing the best fishing kayak, and just remember… have fun!

kayak fishing in colorado river

Enjoying a beautiful day fishing at the Colorado River.