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.
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.
Our #1 pick is the Sevylore Coleman Colorado. What makes this kayak so unique and our top choice is:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
Customizing the boat is easy thanks to 6 strategically placed mounting plates that eliminate the need for drilling the hull.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!