Kayaking is a great sport on its own and many people love this for outdoor adventures. The kayak is one of the more durable rowing style boats. It is not only designed to withstand whitewater, but it can be a great tool for relaxing and enjoying the very best nature has to offer.

Kayak fishing can be relaxing and give you a much-needed break from the rush of the city and your job. While fishing in a kayak is tricky, it’s possible and fun. In this article, we explore all the basic details of kayaks and how you can go about choosing a top fishing kayak.

We have also done a lot the legwork and chosen 7 of the top kayaks on the market in 2017. We feel you could invest in these kayaks as a professional angler to help you fish and get the best possible value for your money.

Product
2017 Hobie Cat Revolution 11 (Golden Papaya)
Hobie Mirage Outback Camo Kayak 2017 - 12ft1/Camo
Wilderness Radar 135 Fishing Kayak
Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 13 Kayak - 13ft2/Hidden Oak
2017 Hobie Cat Revolution 11 (Golden Papaya)
Hobie Mirage Outback Camo Kayak 2017 - 12ft1/Camo
2017 Wilderness Radar 135 Fishing Kayak Package with Helix PD Pedal Drive System, Vamo Roof Rack Pads and Vamo Tie Down Set. Now Shipping!!! (Dusk)
Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 13 Kayak - 13ft2/Hidden Oak
Reviews
-
Product
2017 Hobie Cat Revolution 11 (Golden Papaya)
2017 Hobie Cat Revolution 11 (Golden Papaya)
Reviews
Purchase On Amazon
Product
Hobie Mirage Outback Camo Kayak 2017 - 12ft1/Camo
Hobie Mirage Outback Camo Kayak 2017 - 12ft1/Camo
Reviews
Purchase On Amazon
Product
Wilderness Radar 135 Fishing Kayak
2017 Wilderness Radar 135 Fishing Kayak Package with Helix PD Pedal Drive System, Vamo Roof Rack Pads and Vamo Tie Down Set. Now Shipping!!! (Dusk)
Reviews
-
Purchase On Amazon
Product
Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 13 Kayak - 13ft2/Hidden Oak
Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 13 Kayak - 13ft2/Hidden Oak
Reviews
Purchase On Amazon
Product
Perception Kayak Pescador Pro 12 Bs Sonic
Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak, Urban Camo
Lifetime Muskie Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak with Paddle, Tan, 120"
Perception Kayak Pescador Pro 12 Bs Sonic
Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak, Urban Camo
Lifetime Muskie Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak with Paddle, Tan, 120"
Reviews
Product
Perception Kayak Pescador Pro 12 Bs Sonic
Perception Kayak Pescador Pro 12 Bs Sonic
Reviews
Purchase On Amazon
Product
Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak, Urban Camo
Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak, Urban Camo
Reviews
Purchase On Amazon
Product
Lifetime Muskie Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak with Paddle, Tan, 120"
Lifetime Muskie Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak with Paddle, Tan, 120"
Reviews
Purchase On Amazon

Difference Between a Kayak And a Fishing Kayak

Kayaks were originally designed by the Inuit for fishing and hunting inland on lakes, rivers, and streams. With fishing being so popular manufacturers started gravitating towards the fishing and recreational kayak. There are a few distinct differences between recreation and fishing kayaks.

When looking at the design, you will find that all brands build a little differently and fishing designs are wider than recreational. This wider design offers more space and the ability to stand upright, which will help balance it on the water, adding stability. The last thing any fisherman wants is to turn his boat.

Recreational kayaks also encompass competition designs, which will be longer and narrower. This will help break the resistance but increased the risk of tipping over if struck on the side by a rogue wave.

Design

When looking at the design of the kayak, you will find that all kayaks are built a little differently and the fishing kayaks are wider than your recreational kayak.

Since you will need a little more space and the ability to stand upright, this extra width will help balance it on the water and give you a little more stability as well.

The recreational kayak and competition kayak will be longer and much more narrow as this will help break the resistance the water offers in competitions. With a competition kayak, you also run the risk of tipping over.

Materials

The different materials used in the kayak will play a huge role in the price, but many buyers stick to an affordable plastic. Whether using it for recreation or fishing, the plastic kayak is not just affordable but also durable.

The Roto-molded design is the most common manufacturing method and this is done by heating up the plastic on the hull and the deck. These two parts are the molded into one another and this leaves you with a seamless kayak and fewer chances of gaps forming and water leaking inside.

An alternative to roto-molding is the fusion method. This is when the two halves are fused to one another with heat or welding.This leaves a seam and water might eventually break through into your kayak when a hard impact occurs.

The last design is the composite kayak, and this can be any composite material including but not limited to carbon fiber, Kevlar, and fiberglass. While these kayaks are much lighter, they lack some durability and will cost much more. Composite kayaks can be used for fishing, but many only recommend them for the sea or kayak touring.

After testing a few composite kayaks, you will also notice that they feel a little more elegant on the water. These will not hold up against the riverbanks and rocks found in your local fishing river.

Storage

Fishing designs will have more storage space. This will be perfect for keeping your catch if you are not catching to release. Many are built with storage that can be accessed in direct reach of the paddler. This will make them more practical to use for fishing.Some fishing designs also allow a user to stand up and move around on the deck.

This ability to move around lets manufacturers design more stage solutions in harder to reach spaces, compared to recreational designs. Larger storage areas will add additional weight, and the hull will balance it out to keep you afloat when searching for your next fish.

The best part of the fishing kayak, in my opinion, is the ability to store your rods and paddles when you need to get up; allowing you move around the deck.

Seating

Kayaks generally include two types of seating and many inexperienced kayakers will go for the inside seating. Unfortunately, if you love fishing, the inner seating has a few flaws. One of them is you will be unable to move around the deck when you find your fishing spot. You also run the risk of falling over if you move too much as they are designed to have a lower center of gravity.

By sitting on top of the deck, you will have control of movement and you will be able to reach everything you need. Having seating below the deck line means will need to eject yourself underwater while the hull fills up with water. It’s also tough to turn around and get the kayak upright again while sitting below the desk line. When sitting on top of the deck a user can simply jump off react faster.

A fishing kayak is generally enclosed and will not fill with as much water, increasing buoyancy. The downside to sitting on top will be if you encounter turbulent water it is easier to get thrown off.

Hull Type

The hull also falls in the same category as the materials that are used for the kayak and with fishing kayak, you should be looking for a plastic hull. This is if you plan to catch in the river. If you plan to visit the ocean, the composite haul will be a better option and it is much lighter as well.

Plastic is durable and much more affordable and when it has been roto-molded, you will not have to deal with any seam that might lead to some weaknesses.

Plastic is capable of resisting a couple of bumps from the rocks found in most rivers. You should not need having any troubles on the water. We would recommend a plastic hull for the fishing kayak in the river and a composite hull for the ocean or tour.

Stability

While weight reduction is key in recreational and sporting kayaks, the fishing kayak focuses on providing you with ample space to move and store all of your fishing tools.

These are also designed for they have a few accessories included to ensure that your experience is a little easier and minimize the risk of tipping over when moving. Here are the top accessories found on the best fishing kayaks:

Accessories

While weight reduction is key in recreational and sporting kayaks, the fishing kayak focuses on providing you with ample space to move and store all of your fishing tools.

These are also designed for they have a few accessories included to ensure that your experience is a little easier and minimize the risk of tipping over when moving. Here are the top accessories found on the best fishing kayaks:

  • Rod Holders: Fishing kayaks will have multiple rod holders, enabling you to paddle out without having to keep the rod in your hands. You will be able to carry different multiple fishing rods and keep them on the kayak. This gives you the ability to cast in the longer rod and use the smaller rods for some fly-fishing whilst waiting for the big one to bite.
  • Mounting rails: The mounting rails are ideal for mounting your rod after it has been cast. This frees up your hands, and you can even get a beer or use the smaller rods to do some fly-fishing while waiting for the big catch. The mounting rails are effective when you have something caught and they will also offer you some stability when reeling in.
  • Foot Pegs: The foot pegs can be found in the high-end kayaks, but many of them must be purchased separately. These pegs will offer you grip when reeling in and pulling back. They can also be adjusted to your liking, and you should have all the footing in the world. The footpegs aren’t all that expensive either and they will ensure you never lose your footing ever again.
  • Straps: Should you hook that big fish, the chances are high pulled off the kayak and to whilst reeling straps can be purchased separately and they are for catching fish. They can be unclipped in a matter of seconds, releasing you to scoop the fish up and into the netting.
  • Paddle holders: The recreational kayaks do not have paddle holders and since you will be touring, you will be paddling all the time. However, when it comes to fishing, the paddle holders are important and you do not want to lose a paddle into the water. The paddle holders will keep your paddle or paddles securely into place and on the kayak when fishing or be moving around.

While there are many more accessories that you might find on your kayak, these are the most important. Many of the high-end kayaks will have most of these features included. Since they are quite expensive, you can also buy them separately and install them as you need them.

Spending the extra couple of bucks will definitely simplify your trip and give you the ability to enjoy kayaking and fishing at the same time.

Key Features To Consider When Buying a Fishing Kayak

Now you have a better understanding of the different kayaks and the accessories you could add. Additionally, you will need to look at a few more things when buying your first kayak.

If you are an experienced angler, but you have no kayaking knowledge, this guide should be perfect for you when it comes to buying your next kayak. Here are the most important features to consider when buying a new kayak:

Size

The size is definitely one of the most important parts of choosing a kayak and this can be broken down into the width and the length. The longer kayaks are generally a little narrower and they glide much faster with shorter strokes.

This means that you will go further and exert less effort in doing so. They are a little easier to hand with the smaller width, but they lack some stability when it comes to fishing.

The shorter the kayak, the cheaper and easier to transport it will be. The shorter kayaks can also be easier to handle and you are less likely to tip over with bigger waves of water coming at you.

However, the more width the kayak has the harder it will be to handle. Shorter kayaks are preferred for fishing and they tend to offer much more control and stability.

How The Hulls Differ

Kayaks can be found with different shapes for the hull. The flat hulls with hard chines and greater flare or curvature to the outside are considered to be much more stable. Anglers will generally prefer these for the ability to turn and move them around in the water. These hulls are the most common when it comes to fishing kayaks.

Round hulls with soft chines and less curvature are much easier to roll and they are also a little more nimble. These kayaks are much better at navigating through your whitewater rapids, and they will be great for competition.

Finally, the bow-shaped or V-shaped kayak is skinny and these are much faster at pacing through the water. They are harder to turn and move, but they offer more speed for those competing.

Symmetry

All kayaks are built either symmetrical or asymmetrical and this will have another big effect on the kayak and the ability to turn. The symmetrical kayaks are the most common, and they are much easier to turn with. They will be better for negotiating whitewater and smaller streams that might take you with the current.

The asymmetrical kayaks lack the ability to turn and maneuver through these streams. However, these kayaks are generally much longer and faster and they can be used for pacing through the water at speed.

There are two forms of asymmetrical kayaks and these are the Fishform and the Swedeform. The Fishform kayak has more weight on the front while the Swedeform has more weight in the back.

Chines

The chines are the transition of the kayak from the hull to the top. This can either be rounded and smooth, which is called a soft chine. A hard chine features an abrupt move from the bottom to the top of the kayak.

The harder chine is much easier to maneuver, while the softer chine offers much more stability and a smoother passage through the water.

Rocker

The Rocker is defined as the upturn of the hull from the one side to the other as viewed from the side. The fishing kayak with a lot of rocker will pivot much easier due to more of the hull sitting in the water.

With less rocker, the kayak will be much more afloat onto of the water, and you will have some additional stability. These kayaks are; however, a little tougher to turn and pivot.

Volume

In terms of kayaking, the word volume literally means the amount of space that is available inside the boat. The more advanced kayakers will refer to this space in liters or gallons and the bigger and flatter the kayak, the more space it will have inside.

As a professional angler, you will need a flatter kayak with more space. This ensures you can store everything you need and get to it while having the maximum stability to keep you afloat.

Bottom Shapes

Lastly, you will need to look at the shape of the bottom and this will also have a massive effect on the kayak. They range from a sharp V-shape to a more steady and flat shape. The bottom shape will have an influence on the speed and the ability to maneuver the kayak.

Obviously, the V-shapes are much faster and they are easier to maneuver while the flatter shapes will offer more stability, but also less resistance to the current. Anglers tend to use the wider shapes to keep them afloat and offer maximum stability.

Top 7 Fishing Kayaks Of 2017

Understanding the features is one thing, but when you are faced with the top kayaks it can be a daunting prospect to make the right decision. This is where we come in. We have done all the legwork to find the top 7 fishing kayaks that you could use for your next fishing expedition.

These kayaks were all tested and we used much of this buying guide to ensure we do find the best kayaks on the market today. Here are the top 7 fishing kayaks you can buy on the market today:

Hobie Mirage Outback Kayak

Hobie Mirage Outback Camo Kayak 2017

The Hobie Mirage Outback Kayak is designed from roto-molded polyethylene and this makes it durable and you will not have to deal with seams that might cause cracks and allow the water to get inside. The kayak also includes the new Mirage Drive 180 that brings the legs into play as well. This means that you will paddle much faster and more efficiently to get to your destination for fishing.

The seating is also quite unique and comfort is definitely one of the main focuses. It features on-top seating, but this can be adjusted. Even the lumbar support allowed us to have a comfortable traveling experience and you do not get tired of sitting as quickly. It also comes with a pre-installed transducer from, the Lowrance brand and this will be perfect if you are looking to add a fish finder.

At around 33-inches wide and 12-feet long, the Hobie Mirage Outback Kayak will be easy to transport and moving around in the water will also be easy. It features a capacity of 400lbs and should be perfect for virtually anyone looking to get into angling on a kayak.

We would definitely recommend this kayak for the price. It might seem quite expensive, but when you consider the drive system and the rudder that is included, the price actually makes sense and might even seem like a bargain. You will; however, need to install all of your own fishing accessories if you plan on using it for angling.

Pros:

  • Durable seamless design
  • Wider hull for better floating
  • Comes with the new Drive system for faster paddling
  • Reasonably priced

Cons:

  • Does not include any fishing accessories
Hobie Mirage Outback Camo Kayak 2017 - 12ft1/Camo
1 Reviews

Hobie Mirage Revolution 11

Hobie Mirage Revolution 11 Fishing Kayak

The Hobie Mirage Revolution 11 is a smaller 11-foot kayak that has also been constructed from roto-molded polyethylene. It is a little less stable and will only feature a capacity of 275 pounds, which means that larger individuals will not be able to use it. This kayak also includes the Mirage Drive 180 system that brings the legs into play and will make paddling seem that much easier.

The rudder is retractable, which means that you can choose when to use it and when to get rid of it. This puts more of the control into your hands as a paddler. Since the length is a little smaller, it is much easier to transport and while it might lack a little speed in the water, it is perfect for those searching for maneuverability.

This model includes molded rod holders and a few storage latches that can easily be accessed if you are an avid angler. The additional width will also give you much more stability and you will be able to freely move about on the kayak as you are angling.

It is quite expensive for the size, but it does include the retractable rudder and the specialized drive system from mirage. This does make the price quite reasonable and we would highly recommend it for smaller individuals or for women looking to get into the angling world and enjoy a day on the water.

Pros:

  • Durable roto-molded design
  • Reasonably priced
  • Includes the Mirage Drive 180 system
  • Includes all accessories for fishing

Cons:

  • Shorter and wider design is harder to maneuver
2017 Hobie Cat Revolution 11 (Golden Papaya)
2 Reviews

Wilderness Radar 135 Fishing Kayak

Wilderness Radar 135 Fishing Kayak

The Wilderness Radar 135 Fishing Kayak is one of the most stylish fishing kayaks you will find on the market today. It is a tri-powered kayak with a paddle and features pedals for you to speed up the process and reach your destination a little faster. Kayak features S.M.A.R.T. hull technology and symmetrical design does make it much easier to maneuver in the water.

The platform and the bottom is a little flatter instead of having the shaper V-shape. This ensures that it has the ability to float much better e and give you some additional stability when trekking around on the deck. The AirPro Max seating is extremely comfortable and can also be adjusted to your liking for maximum comfort.

The design is definitely one of the main selling points and it is available in a multitude of color combinations. It also features a maximum weight limit of a staggering 475-pounds, which makes it ideal for virtually anyone looking to get into the sport.

Unfortunately, it is quite expensive and will set you back a couple of bucks. However, will also of the accessories and the smart paddling included, it will definitely be worth it for your fishing expeditions. We would recommend this kayak for the more advanced anglers looking to upgrade to something better and heavier for bigger catches and more stability.

Pros:

  • Extremely durable and stable
  • Stylish color and design
  • Includes all accessories
  • Includes a pedal system for faster and more effective progress

Cons:

  • Costly
Wilderness Systems Radar 135 Kayak 2017 - 13ft6/Desert Camo
  • Bow and Side Paddle Park
  • Orbix Bow Hatch
  • FlexPod OS Console System

Slayer Propel 13

Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 13 Fishing Kayak

The Slayer Propel 13 is a 13-foot kayak with an asymmetrical style design and most of the weight is located at the back of the kayak. It also includes the pedal system found in many top-end models and will give you great durability for those rocks found in the water with the roto-molded design. The seating is one of the highlights and since it is handmade, you will feel all the love and care when on the water.

The deck is padded and this makes it much more comfortable to sand on. The padding on the deck will also make it slip-resistant should you get a little water inside and you will not feel like a fool of your slip and fall overboard. It includes multiple storage options in the back and the front of the kayak to keep all of your fishing equipment.

Two-rod holders are found on the sides of the kayak. A cup holder and mounting rail are also included for you to add your accessories and the padded carry handles will make it easy to carry and lift out of the water when you are done. With the extra length, it does lack a little bit of maneuverability but will be perfect for floating and moving around.

The colors are also a little stale, but it is quite affordable for all the features you receive. We would have loved an additional rudder, just to give you more control and stability when moving to your destination in between those tight spots. We would definitely recommend this fishing kayak to beginner, intermediates, and experts alike.

Pros:

  • Extremely durable design
  • Top speed of 4.2 per hour
  • Reasonably priced
  • Includes all accessories

Cons:

  • Lacks some maneuverability
  • Stale colors to choose from
Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 13 Kayak - 13ft2/Hidden Oak
2 Reviews
Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 13 Kayak - 13ft2/Hidden Oak
  • Propel Pedal Drive System with Forward and Reverse
  • Left Hand Rudder Control System
  • Impact Resistant Stern Rudder

Perception Pescador Pro 12.0 Kayak

Perception Pescador Pro 12.0 Kayak

Next, we have the Perception Pescador Pro 12.0 Kayak and this kayak has also been roto-molded to ensure that you have no seams or weaknesses in the hull for the water to exploit and eventually penetrate inwards. It features a stylish design with great combo colors for you to choose from and have your kayak stand out from the rest of the crowd.

The kayak also includes a pre-installed transducer and you can add a fish finder to the mounting rails that have been included. This also makes it easier for you to find a hotspot for fishing in the river. The pilot drive pedal system has been included to make it easier for you to reach your destination and to add more maneuverability to the kayak.

The kayak design does make it a little tough to go straight and after experimenting, you will need to constantly adjust the rudder to get straightforward movement. The pedals also tend to slip quite often and this will disturb your momentum when moving at faster speeds to reach your favorite fishing location.

While this kayak is definitely well priced, there are many places and opportunities for improvement. The design is quite attractive and it offers great stability for those who need to move on the deck, but once the current comes, you will be in a tough position to get out of it. We would recommend this kayak to beginners and intermediate anglers.

Pros:

  • Reasonably priced
  • Includes multiple accessories
  • Roto-molded design
  • Adjustable seating

Cons:

  • Hard to move straight
  • Pedals do slip from time to time
Perception Kayak Pescador Pro 12 Bs Sonic
9 Reviews
Perception Kayak Pescador Pro 12 Bs Sonic
  • Keepers foot brace system
  • Pro seat for comfort
  • Stern 5 inch deck plate

Ocean Prowler Kayak 13

Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak

The Ocean Prowler Kayak 13 is a well-designed and stylish kayak that combines performance with stability to make it easier for you to reach your destination and move around without tipping over into the water. It includes multiple large pockets and a hatch for you to store all of your valuables and fishing equipment and these can also be reached with ease.

The rudder system is easy to use and this will keep you going in the direction you need. However, since it is 13 feet long, you will have some troubles with maneuverability in smaller areas. The kayak is designed with molded cup holders and rod holders to ensure that you do not need to carry around all of your rods while focusing on paddling.

It is also compatible with a transducer scupper, but with no mounting rail, you will need to mount this piece of the kayak yourself for adding more accessories. The carry handles will make it much easier to carry and to strap to your vehicle when it needs to be transported after and before each fishing trip.

It is one of the cheaper kayaks and while it does not include the peddling system found in the top range kayaks, it will still be ideal for the beginner and intermediate angler. We would recommend this kayak to anglers who are not using it as often and only need something for the occasional angling trip into deeper water.

Pros:

  • Extremely durable
  • Stylish design
  • Easy to carry and transport
  • Really affordable

Cons:

  • Lacks a peddling system
Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak, Urban Camo
21 Reviews
Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak, Urban Camo
  • One of the original and still most popular kayaks designed specifically for fishing
  • Performance hull is fast, stable and quiet and is designed to handle calm or rough waters
  • Large front hatch with easy access to bow to stern internal storage and accommodates multiple rods for safe below deck storage

Lifetime Fishing Kayak with Paddle

Lifetime Fishing Kayak with Paddle

The Lifetime Fishing Kayak with Paddle is the final option on our list and it is definitely designed for the beginners. The kayak is really cheap and it has also been constructed from plastic. It features a flat bottom, making it perfect for anglers to float on the water whilst searching for that elusive fish in the deeper water.

The seating is not on top and you will be sitting inside the kayak. This makes it a little harder to get up and move about without tipping over the boat. It does; however, include stability chine rails and a rod holder for you to store your rod whilst paddling. No peddles have been included and the kayak seems to have some troubles when it comes to taking on smaller currents wand waves.

The Lifetime Fishing Kayak with Paddle is really cheap and we would definitely recommend it for beginners and for use in quiet waters. The additional carry straps will make it easy for you to carry the kayak and the shorter length will ensure that it can be stored virtually anywhere in your home or on the trailer when transporting.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Decent design
  • Includes a few accessories
  • Easy to move and transport

Cons:

  • Lacks all high-end features
Lifetime Muskie Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak with Paddle, Tan, 120'
41 Reviews
Lifetime Muskie Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak with Paddle, Tan, 120"
  • Constructed of uv-protected high-density Polyethylene. Multiple footrest positions for different size riders. Stable flat bottom
  • Adjustable padded seat back and seat pad for comfort. Two flush mounted fishing rod holders. One top mount fishing rod Holder
  • Front and rear shock cord straps. Two 6" storage compartments in rear and center. Two Paddle cradles with shock cords

Our Favorite and Number 1 Fishing Kayak for 2017

Choosing the best one from all of these it quite daunting and we had to test them repeatedly to find a few flaws. All of these models are well designed and will definitely offer a ton of benefits to the avid angler.

We eventually settled on the Hobie Mirage Outback Kayak for the combination of durability. The Mirage Drive System 180 is one of the best on the market and it has already been included in the design.

For the price, this kayak is one of the best for fishing. It includes many of the accessories and the sizing makes it perfect to maneuver all over the place.

We would definitely recommend the Hobie Mirage Outback Kayak as our choice for the number one kayak you can choose on the market today to fulfill all your fishing needs.

Final Thoughts

We would like to thank you for reading this article and we hope that you understand all the features of the fishing kayak. All of these models should be perfect for you as an angler and we really hope that you have found the ideal model that meets your needs.

We would like to encourage you to let us know in the comment section if you think we might have missed any important features or any of your favorite fishing kayaks. Please also let us know how they are beneficial to you and why you would include them.

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