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Fishing from a kayak can unleash a whole new realm of opportunities for an angler. Their ability to navigate through tighter spots; the more practical storage they provide and their ease of launching when compared to a boat makes them a very alluring option.
But with so many great options available, which are the best fishing kayaks to use?
In this article, we are going to list some of the best kayaks for fishing, so you can see the variety available, the different builds and sizes, and also the price ranges for them all.
There are two main types of fishing kayaks, and we will have a list for both of them. The first is the best fishing kayaks with pedals, and the other is the best fishing kayaks with paddles.
There are pros and cons for both, which I will go into more at the bottom of the article
Best Pedal Kayaks Best Paddle Kayaks Hobie Mirage Pro Angler Bonafide SS127 Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak Native Watercraft Slayer Propel Max Emotion Stealth Pro Angler 118 Fishing Kayak Jackson Big Rig FD Pedal Fishing Kayak Ascend H10 Sit-In Hybrid Kayak Native Watercraft Titan Propel Bonafide RS117 Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak
Best Fishing Kayaks with Pedals
The pedal kayaks chosen here are listed due to their overall build quality, design features, and overall performance capabilities.
All of these fishing kayaks have earned the right to be listed as the best, as they have all been massively popular with kayak anglers all over the world.
Hobie Mirage Pro Angler
The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler is the Rolls Royce of fishing kayaks, powered by the amazing Mirage Drive propulsion system.
The unique design of the Mirage Drive allows for powerful and efficient manoeuvring ability, as well as the ability to go forwards or in reverse with the flick of a lever.
There are three different size options available in the Hobie Pro Angler range. The Mirage Pro Angler 12 is the shortest of the three models, at 12’ long.
It carries all of the features of the Pro Angler range, and its size makes it that much easier to move from home to water.
The 14’ Mirage Pro Angler 14 offers bundles of room, and is the perfect fishing platform for all kinds of waters, whether you prefer river, lake, estuary or more open water.
As with all of the Pro Angler range, the Mirage Pro Angler 14 offers incredible stability, so if you feel like you want to stand up while you fish, you will see just how easy it is in any of these kayaks from Hobie.
The biggest of the three Mirage Pro Angler range is the 17T. This 17’ fishing kayak is a twin-seater, and both seats have multiple positioning options, making it a very flexible fishing platform for either one or two people.
Whichever of the three Hobie Pro Angler options is best suited for your needs, you know you are getting an absolute beast of a kayak to fish from.
Hobie fishing kayaks are not cheap, but you are paying for the best quality available, so it should be an investment that will greatly enhance your fishing abilities and options.
Native Watercraft Slayer Propel Max
The Native Slayer Propel kayaks have become a very popular choice for anglers, and their excellent design quality and range of features will certainly improve your kayak fishing experience.
The very successful Slayer Propel 13 kayak has now been updated to the new ‘Max’ model, and this brings even more design features and enhancements to the old design.
One of the main reasons behind the popularity of the Native Slayer Propel Max kayaks is their versatility. They are suitable for anything from freshwater river fishing through to offshore saltwater fishing.
Not only does the Slayer Propel Max provide versatile performance ability, but it is also extremely comfortable to sit in for longer periods, and also very stable.
The elevated seat on the Slayer Propel Max gives you good vision of where you want to fish and cast, and also allows you to fish without getting the extreme fatigue that you may have experienced from other kayak seats.
Key features of the Native Slayer Propel Max
- Ultra-comfortable adjustable and elevated seat
- Improved electronics-ready compartments
- Extended rudder for tracking and turning efficiency
- Horizontal rod storage
- Rockered bow to get up and over chop
- Transducer recess in the hull
- Stern and bow anchoring and motor-ready
- Hands-free forward to reverse propel pedal drive
Jackson Big Rig FD Pedal Fishing Kayak
The paddle version of the Jackson Big Rig kayak has been a very successful model with anglers for a long time, and the much-requested pedal version of the big rig was eventually released by Jackson, and this now has also become an extremely sought after choice for kayak fishermen that want the hands-free experience.
This Jackson kayak was named “Big Rig” for a reason….it has a really spacious design with plenty of storage space, and because of its width, it is also very stable and easy for you to stand and fish from.
Well thought out design features such as the rod tip protectors at the front of the kayak will allow you to place your rods safely along the sides in the rod trough storage while you are maneuvering out to your fishing spot.
This Big Rig FD pedal kayak actually has four rod tip protectors, which has doubled from the previous model.
The Jackson Big Rig FD uses the excellent Flex Drive propulsion system, which will allow you to navigate into shallow water and narrow creaks with ease.
If you drive over something, the Flex Drive system will kick up so you are able to still keep moving forwards without any damage to the kayak or pedal system.
If you wanted to go motorized, you also have the flexibility to remove the Flex Drive pedal system from the kayak and replace with a Jackson motorized head unit.
There is a huge amount of storage space available in the Big Rig FD kayak, and this makes your fishing trips so much easier. The compartments are easy to access and you will have everything you need at hand.
Overall, the Jackson Big Rig FD kayak is a very high-quality and well-built option that has been a smash-hit with kayak anglers since it was released.
Native Watercraft Titan Propel
Another inclusion in the best pedal fishing kayaks from Native Watercraft, this time the Titan Propel model.
The Titan Propel pedal kayak has a really wide hull, so it’s capable of carrying a lot of gear. It also provides a lot of stability for the craft, so standing up to cast and sight-fish is very easy to do.
The comfortable hand-sewn seat on the Native Titan Propel kayak is comfortable. It makes long sessions out on the water a pleasure, rather than the back-breaking experience other seats provide.
The Titan Propel is very easy to manoeuver and this will allow you to get into the smaller little creaks. The Propel pedal drive is very efficient and allows for forward and backward manoeuvering.
Key features of the Native Titan Propel
- Propel Pedal Drive
- Dual Power-Pole mounts
- Full length seat sliding track
- Horizontal rod storage
- Rod Protection
- Under-seat storage tray
- Hatch in the bow with hull storage
- Split-paddle storage
- Comfortable elevated hand-sewn seat
- Huge desk storage area
The Best Paddle Fishing Kayaks
Now we will take a look at some of the best paddle fishing kayaks available today.
Bonafide SS127 Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak
The excellent Bonafide SS127 fishing kayak really has been well thought out in its design so that your fishing trips in it are as easy and enjoyable as possible.
The first time you sit in this kayak and set off on the water you feel just how well made it is and the stability it provides. Yes, you can stand up in this kayak, throw your lures around and feel that you have a very stable platform under your feet.
The Bonafide SS127 also tracks extremely well, the hull cuts through the water, and even in more choppy conditions, you are able to get the kayak moving smoothly in a straight line.
Another reason why we chose the Bonafide SS127 as our top paddle fishing kayak is its versatility. It is so good in a wide variety of conditions and locations, whether its for small creak fishing through to offshore fishing.
The HiRise™ kayak seating system used on the Bonafide SS127 is not only comfortable, but it is also elevated quite a bit from the deck of the kayak, so this gives you a much better view around you when sight-fishing.
What Bonafide has done really well with the SS127 is to create this ‘Ultimate Fishability™’ concept, which means that they have positioned everything on the kayak so it is right there and easily accessible.
This meant they had to create a lot of custom features to fit specifically on this kayak, and they really have achieved that concept very well I think.
Key features of the Bonafide SS127
- Hybrid Cat-Hull design
- Under seat sliding Junk Drawer™
- DryPod™ with transducer through-hull scupper
- Bow hatch with double header hinges
- Multi-rod and paddle management points
- HiRise™ seating for elevated viewing
- PerchPads™ for additional standing position
- Side carry handle with paddle storage
- Boss Strap™ rod management system
Emotion Stealth Pro Angler 118 Kayak
What a good fishing kayak the is! I was so impressed with this paddle kayak, as it really did everything you would want from a kayak and did it well.
First of all, the Emotion Stealth Pro Angler looks great. It just has that quality look to it and gives you confidence that it will handle well on the water right from the off.
Fortunately the Pro Angler 118 is not all looks and no substance, it has plenty of substance and performs just as good as it looks, in fact better!
The kayak is very stable, even in choppier waters it holds true and you quickly gain confidence in its ability to hold firm in a variety of conditions.
It can also hold heavier weights without any problems, so if you are of a larger size then the is a great option for you (it has a 375lb capacity). It is easy to stand and cast in this kayak as well, so if that is a requirement you need then that’s another box checked.
It tracks really well, you’ll find that it stays true to the direction you’re paddling in, which so many other kayaks don’t do. It is not the fastest of kayaks I have been in, but the for me the control made up for that.
The storage space on the Emotion Stealth Pro Angler 118 is sufficient. There is a large tankwell storage with bungee cords behind the seat, and a water resistant oval hatch at the front with a rubber seal to keep your belongings dry.
The seat on the is comfortable to sit in and provides plenty of support for your back. It is easily adjustable so you can find your optimal paddling position.
Key features of the Emotion Stealth Pro Angler 118
- Quick-Dry Foam-Back Mesh Seat
- High Initial Stability Hull Allows for Stand-Up Casting
- Innovative Combination Tunnel Hull
- Six 12-Inch Sections of Universal Track for Accessory Mounting
- Tankwell Storage with an Adjustable Bungee System
- Adjustable Foot Braces for Any Adult Angler
- Adjustable Framed Seating System with Three Settings: High for Fishing, Low for Paddling, and Reclining for Relaxation
- Stability Strap for Stand-Up Casting
- Includes Two Paddle Keepers and One Front Paddle Cradle
- Molded-In 30-Inch Ruler to Easily Measure Fish
- Foam-Reinforced Deck Provides Floor Strength and Buoyancy
- Front Oval Hatch is Water Resistant with a Rubber Sealing Lip
- Ready to Fish – Comes with 2 Flambeau Tackle Boxes and 2 Flush Mount Rod Holders
Ascend H10 Sit-In Hybrid Kayak
I wasn’t expecting to like this sit-in kayak so much, but the Ascend H10 is just too good to leave out of this best fishing kayaks list.
First of all, the storage space in the Ascend H10 is impressive. If you were looking to go on overnight trips and needed to put camping gear in the kayak, then it will fir in here with ease.
The Ascend H10 tracks remarkably well, the penetrating hull really cuts through the water well and you’ll notice just how true the kayak stays as you paddle through the water.
The H10 is also extremely stable when paddling. It also handles rougher conditions well, so if you wanted to use it for offshore fishing then you will be able to get out through the surf in this.
It is the tunnel hull design on the Ascend H10 that enables the craft to have the stability and tracking ability it provides. It is a really well though out and effective design that makes this fishing kayak such a versatile and impressive performer.
The advanced seating system used in the Ascend H10 is comfortable and provides ample support for longer fishing trips. If you are intending to use the kayak in more choppy conditions, then the backrest of the seat will give you the confidence and comfort you need to tackle the waves head-on.
Main features of the Ascend H10 fishing kayak
- Rotomolded, custom-crafted tunnel hull w/stepped bow & stern keel for excellent durability, stability & maneuverability
- Bow storage compartment w/expandable mesh cover
- 47.4” (1.20 m) long, 23.6” (59.94 cm) wide cockpit opening
- Forward-cockpit, port & starboard accessory-mounting rails
- Port & starboard cockpit-side storage bags
- Adjustable foot braces
- Removable, adjustable seat w/bungee hold-downs & backpack
- Dual flush-mounted rod holders w/rod leash eyelet (leash sold separately)
- Large multipurpose stern tankwell w/expandable mesh cover
- Bow & stern carrying handles
The Ascend H10 sit-in hybrid fishing kayak is a really good quality option that provides an excellent platform to fish from, and at a very reasonable price too.