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Choosing A Fishing Kayak: What Are The Things To Consider?

Kayak fishing is quickly becoming a hot trend and rightly so. There are many benefits of fishing on a kayak of which convenience and accessibility easily come to mind. Kayaks allow you to explore remote waters that larger boats may not be able to reach. Also, kayaks are easier to transport which explains their convenience.

Kayaks are also more affordable than motorized boats. And let’s face it, paddling is a fun exercise. All these reasons and more are responsible for the increasing popularity of kayak fishing.

With the several kayaks available on the market, it’s only natural that there are kayaks tailored toward fishing. These fishing kayaks come in different types and what might be a good fishing kayak for you may not be the same for another person.

There are several factors to consider when choosing a fishing kayak of which stability and storage space, and water conditions stand out. Continue reading to learn more about fishing kayaks and how to choose one.


I’ll be discussing all the factors you need to put into consideration when buying a fishing kayak. The aim here is to make you understand what makes a fishing kayak great or bad. And this will help you make informed decisions when buying a fishing kayak.

Sit-on-Top vs. Sit-Inside Fishing Kayaks

Kayaks generally have two basic designs and that’s the sit-on-top and the sit-inside designs. I discussed in detail the differences between the two, their pros, cons, and the activity they are best suited for in my article: Sit-on-top vs Sit-in kayaks. However, I’ll talk briefly about sit-on-top and sit-in kayaks here.

Sit-on-top kayaks are not enclosed and lack the cockpit that traditional kayaks have. Instead, there’s a molded seat and you actually ‘sit on top’ of the kayak. This design is generally considered the best for beginners and fishing. The open-top design means the paddler has freedom of movement which is beneficial while fishing. Also, you can easily attach accessories to sit-on-top kayaks.

It’s easy to exit and enter sit on top kayaks while on the water and it’s common to see paddlers using SOTs going for a swim. SOTs are also literally unsinkable and their open design means you are exposed to the elements which is beneficial if you are paddling in hot conditions.

However, they are not ideal for use in cold weather and they are not as fast as traditional kayaks. Also, SOTs can’t handle rough waters and rapid currents.

Sit-inside is the traditional kayak design with an enclosed design and cockpit. They can also be used for fishing even though SOTs are generally considered more convenient for fishing. Sit-inside yaks are very fast, excellently handle rough waters, are more maneuverable, and the enclosed design protects you from the elements.

However, some people feel like they are confined in a sit-inside kayak. You can’t enter or exit sit-inside kayaks as you’d do in a sit-on-top kayak.

fishing kayaks - guide 1

Are Pedal Kayaks Good For Fishing?

Pedal kayaks are great for fishing. Since you propel pedal kayaks by a pedal mechanism, your hands are completely free and this makes it easier to fish. Pedal kayaks are also very stable and you can even stand up to fish. Learn more about pedal kayaks by reading my article about pedal kayaks.

Does The Color of The Kayak Affect Fishing?

Studies have shown that fish don’t see as many colors as humans. In fact, they pay more attention to shadows in their environment. As a result, the color of your kayak doesn’t affect your fishing. Color will become important when you want to choose lures but not kayaks.

So you can choose any color of kayak you want. Some people love blue because it blends with the sky overhead. Some prefer colors that have great visibility like yellow, orange, and red. And a buddy of mine chose a color that matches his wife’s eyes, haha.

How to Choose Your Fishing Kayak

Size/Length of The Kayak

The length of a kayak has a direct effect on its speed and maneuverability. The longer a kayak, the faster but less maneuverable it will be, especially in tight spaces. And the wider a kayak is, the more stable it’ll be.

This means that larger kayaks are generally more suitable for fishing. However, there is a tradeoff as larger yaks are bulkier and more difficult to transport.

Storage Space

How much storage space you’ll need is dependent on your gear. You have to consider if you’ll be keeping fish in which case you’ll need a crate; is live-bait storage important to you, and so on.

The good news is that fishing yaks generally have large storage compartments but you should still go for one that can easily accommodate all the gear you’ll be bringing along on your trip.

fishing kayaks - guide 2

Rod Holders & Other Features/Accessories

Rod holders are the most important accessories on a fishing kayak. It’s also beneficial to have mounts for fish finders, cup holders, and so on.


Larger kayaks are generally more stable and there are models that are so stable that you can actually stand up to fish without either you or the kayak losing balance. I made sure to include only the most stable kayaks on this list. Standing up to fish can at times be more convenient than sitting.

Comfort / Seat

A comfortable seat is key to having an enjoyable time on the water. You won’t realize this until you have a kayak with uncomfortable seats and start feeling all kinds of pain after spending time on the water. The best kayak seats are well-padded, ergonomically designed, and have backrest support.

The kayaks on this list are of high quality and come with comfortable seats. But it’s not unusual for paddlers to replace their kayak seats with more comfortable aftermarket seats. You can check out my article on kayak seats.

Weight / Ease of Transportation

This one is straightforward. The bigger a kayak, the more difficult it will be to transport. You have to consider the size of your vehicle when choosing a fishing kayak and go for one that’ll fit comfortably inside or on the roof of your vehicle.

Final Thoughts

If you intend to fish on your kayaking expeditions, then it’s important to buy kayaks that are specifically designed for this purpose. Fishing kayaks have everything to make your kayak fishing trips comfortable and enjoyable. Get one today and here’s to you catching enough fish to fill your crate, haha.

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