2018 Fishing Kayak Reviews: Best Rigged Fishing Kayak for the Money

Choosing the best fishing kayak in 2018 wasn’t easy. At the end we determined our #1 pick based on value and functionality. That being said, we know every angler has their own specific needs of what is important to them, we get it.

It makes it even harder to pick when you have fishing kayak brands like Sea Eagle that continuously push the envelope on kayak tech and come up with new and improved version of their already top notch inflatables. Which is why we review them separately, and separated based on experience level:

Beginners – The SE 370 Sport Fisher is ideal for the beginner angler on a budget. Leaving you with extra cash to spend on a rod and plenty of lures.  Great tracking and easy to carry. It comes with a multi-purpose storage box and two rod holders.

Intermediates – The new 350fx Fishing Explorer takes the cake as the best inflatable fishing kayak, period. It comes fully rigged, silent and easy to paddle to those sweet corner spots, stable and strong for standing when your catch is giving you a bit of a fight, and comes with a built in fish ruler for your trophy catches.

Pros – The 385fta FastTrack Angler series is a fishing machine. It will cut through water like a hot knife on butter. Its fast and stealthy with plenty of room to stand in or bring a fellow angler. Comes fully rigged with extra options to make it your own.

The built in fish ruler makes it easy to catch and release your trophy fish if all you want is to boast about your catch.


Because you might have your own unique needs and habits, based on the waters, type of fish, motivation, frequency of fishing, and budget, we know that just one choice isn’t enough. The comparison list below not only showcases our favorites, but also a few other top options, which should help you in your final purchasing decision.

FULLY RIGGED
Sea Eagle
350fx Pro Inflatable
Pros:
  • Easy to maneuver with and very nimble.
  • Moves swiftly in the water making it great for tracking or just a leisurely outing.
  • Can add a trolling motor if needed.
  • Comes with a built-in fish ruler.
  • Good choice for intermediate and pros anglers.
Cons:
  • The carrying bag straps are a bit thing making it feel heaver on the shoulders.
THE ULTIMATE KAYAK
Sea Eagle
385fta Deluxe Inflatable
Pros:
  • Perfect balance.
  • Tracks well and stays put when standing.
  • Fully rigged and has everything a fisherman needs to get started without spending more on additional options.
  • Comfortable seats.
  • Manufacturer is passionate about their products and provide great customer service.
Cons:
  • I couldn't find anything wrong with the 385fta.
  • I want to stay the price, but for what you get, it's worth it.
BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK
Sevylor
Coleman Colorado 2-Person 13' Inflatable
Pros:
  • Quiet as it gets for trolling and reaching hard to get fishing spots.
  • Can easily attach a 30lb motor.
  • Well built with a double wall layer protection.
  • Completely stable even when fully loaded with your gear.
  • Great value as its priced quite low for such great product.
Cons:
  • Uncomfortable seats, but can be solved with an inexpensive kayak seat support accessory.
DURABLE & VERSATILE
Advanced Elements
Straitedge Angler 10' Inflatable
Pros:
  • Fast inflate and deflate times.
  • Plenty of storage and room for gear.
  • Super stable with excellent tracking.
  • Quality build with durability in mind.
Cons:
  • Long dry out time as it has many nooks and crannies.
  • Not as fast in the water as hard plastic shell kayaks.

1st-place-badge
Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak.

Our #1 pick is the Sevylore Coleman Colorado. What makes this kayak so unique and our top choice is:

  • This boat is designed to be fished and hunted in all day.
  • It’s the most durable inflatable you’ll ever have.
  • It’s great to customize and enjoy without the hefty price tag.
  • It’s great for trolling and reaching spots other boats can’t go.

Best of all… fish will never see you coming!

All good reasons why this boat is a must for anyone that takes this sport seriously.

“The Trout-Slayer” – Nicknamed so by a 5-Star verified Amazon reviewer.

We know it can be challenging for beginners and seasoned anglers to make a buying decision when looking for a brand new angler kayak to suit your needs, especially when purchasing online! (which is why we made the below curated list in the first place).

But if you want to stick to just the top 3 and avoid decision fatigue, check out our top three choices below that we singled out from the vast number of 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 2018 fishing kayak reviews, guides, and tips to find out what kayaks successful anglers are using after 2017 – 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 2018

Hobie Mirage Oasis Kayak

Hobie Mirage Oasis Kayak 2013 Ivory

Speed 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 Camo

When 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 Kayak

Released 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.

Update: The Liberty is currently not available. However, we found the Sport Strike 100x to be an excellent alternative.

>> Click here to check out the Sport Strike 100x specs and details

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 Kayak

The 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 Kayak

This 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 green

This ‘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!

Our #1 Pick For 2018... The Sevylor Colorado Hunt & Fish Comes with an 18-gauge PVC construction is rugged for lake use and is guaranteed not to leak.
kayak fishing in colorado river

Enjoying a beautiful day fishing at the Colorado River.