Best Fishing Kayak Reviews 2020
Kayaks are an inexpensive way for fishing enthusiasts to leave the shore and go into the waters to enjoy their hobby to the fullest extent.
The need for the modern fishing kayak came from users accidentally tipping over traditional kayaks while fishing. Because fishing involves a lot of body movement from a person, the kayak has to be extremely stable in order to compensate for the body movement. That has been solved now, thanks to modern fishing kayaks that are purpose built for stability.
Choosing the right and the best fishing kayak can be a daunting task however as not all models are created equally. There are a lot of specifications and features that you need to consider before deciding on a fishing kayak that will truly suit your needs. Fishing kayaks vary in their sizes, hull shapes and other parameters. For example, slim and long kayaks are better for longer journeys (hence called “Touring kayaks”), as they are easier to paddle. The thin frame however means that they are not very stable. Wider and shorter kayaks on the other hand are extremely stable, but require a lot more effort to paddle.
So, with many considerations in mind, it is easy to become confused on which fishing kayak to choose. Worry not however, as there are some fishing kayak models which are designed for versatility. They’re not the most stable but they’re not a chore to paddle as well. They trade peak performance for better versatility. What follows is a comprehensive fishing kayak review of three of our favorite fishing kayaks.
Best Fishing Kayaks 2020
- Malibu Kayaks X-Factor Fish and Dive Package Kayak
- Hobie Mirage Outback
- Lifetime 10’ Sport Fisher Tandem
- Sun Dolphin Excursion 10-Foot Sit-in Fishing Kayak
- Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 9 Foot Angler
- Air Head Montana AHTK2 Kayak
- Lifetime Lotus Sit-on-top
Malibu Kayaks X-Factor Fish and Dive Package Kayak
|Excellent cargo space|
|Self-draining center hatch|
The Malibu Kayaks X-Factor kayak is a feature-filled kayak that caters to the need of kayak enthusiasts who want to fish as well. The kayak is built for stability and maximizing cargo space. It is 14 feet, 4 inches long and 32 inches wide with a depth of 12 inches.
The hull of this kayak has been built with stability in mind but don’t let that put you off with regards to its tracking performance. Buyers say that the X-Factor tracks well and despite its proportions it is not particularly cumbersome to paddle. It is versatile enough to be equally comfortable in rivers, calm flat lakes as well as the choppy surf.
The X-Factor features a lot of cargo space for the user to store their fishing and camping gear. At the front of the kayak you have a Gator hatch which gives you safe and dry storage option. A major feature of the X-Factor is the center hatch that is equipped with self-draining trays that can be used for storing live bait.
The X-Factor is a highly stable kayak. It is stable to the degree that the user can stand on the casting platform comfortably without the balance of the kayak being upset. But the stability of this kayak does not mean that it is a boat. Buyers report that this model tracks well and is able to maintain a good speed. That makes it a highly versatile option. It’s stable enough for one to stand on and fish confidently, but it also cuts through water and maneuvers with great ease. Really, it’s the best of both worlds.
As mentioned earlier, the X-Factor has excellent cargo space. And that is backed by owners who praise this model for the amount of gear they can pack into it. This means less time spent on choosing what equipment to take and what to leave behind, and more time spent on actually enjoying fishing. There are several storage spaces where you can store your gear categorically.
The center hatch with the self-draining feature is also a popular feature among users of this kayak. Users praised its ability to keep drinks cool and some even fill it with ice to enjoy their drinks cold.
The X-Factor is praised by both beginners and veterans. The stability means it is a very easy kayak to learn on, and its high build quality means that it will serve its owners long and well.
Some users have noted the 100-pound weight of this kayak as a difficulty. But that also means that it has great stability in water. If portability is not an issue for you, this is a negligible shortcoming.
Most buyers of this kayak are perfectly happy to give it a 5 or in some cases a 4-star rating. The Malibu X-Factor is also our choice for its perfect blend of performance, stability, practicality and most of all affordability. Thanks to its stable nature it’s perfectly suited for beginners while it also offering dependability for more expert users.
If you’re looking for a great fishing kayak that will not break the bank, the X-Factor is an easy recommendation.
Hobie Mirage Outback
|Pedals in front||Heavy|
|Adjustable seat & lumber support|
|Good storage space|
The Hobie Mirage Outback is a high-end kayak made with requirements of demanding enthusiasts in mind.
The Hobie Mirage Outback comes with an innovative feature called the “Hobie Mirage Drive”. It is best described as a unique way of powering the kayak by using a set of pedals located in the front. The main purpose of this feature is to improve stability and to give the user the option to keep moving while they hold a fishing rod in their hands. While in other kayaks you have to be stationary while fishing, because you cannot hold a fishing rod and paddle the kayak at the same time, in the Hobie Mirage you can do both.
The Hobie Mirage is also a highly stable kayak, measuring 33 inches at its widest point. You can easily stand on the kayak and fish with utmost confidence. There’s also a built-in rudder at the back for better tracking and maneuverability.
The Hobie Mirage also offers a lot of storage options. There are dedicated fishing rod holders, a gear bucket and a general cargo area. For additional versatility, the Mirage even comes with a sail mount for when there’s a bit of wind and you’re too tired to paddle!
Pedals might not be the fastest way to get around on a kayak, but that still does not mean they’re useless. In fact, owners of the Hobie Mirage Outback all praise this feature, saying that it allows them to move around while they fish or use their hands for other purposes such as recording a movie, taking pictures and so on. This really is a great feature that makes the Hobie Mirage Outback a truly versatile kayak.
The pedals also ensure great stability while you are fishing. A river with a slight current might disturb the balance of your kayak while you are fishing, so you offset the current easily by pedaling slowly just to keep the momentum in check. The pedals are also highly convenient when your arms are simply too tired or you just feel like relaxing.
The relatively high seat is also a feature that has earned this kayak high praise from its owners. It is adjustable, so you can set it to the most ergonomic setting according to your body. It also offers lumbar support which is great for users who suffer from back problems. The seat is an often-overlooked feature in most kayaks that cost even more than the Mirage Outback.
Owners of the Mirage Outback are also quite impressed by the amount of storage space it has. There are pockets, fishing rod holders and cubbies to store various gear in a convenient manner.
The biggest drawback of this kayak has to be its high price. Its high-end features and durable construction do justify the price but there’s no overlooking the fact that it is not an inexpensive piece of equipment. Potential buyers should be prepared to keep this kayak for the years to come if they plan on investing in it.
Its unique feature, the “Hobie Mirage Drive”, may be considered redundant by users who’re not fans of pedaling. And it can certainly become a cumbersome experience as well because the Hobie Mirage Outback is also quite a heavy kayak. The weight also makes it difficult to move the kayak on land, so you might need an additional set of hands to carry it around.
The Hobie Mirage Outback is a high-end kayak that is laden with great features. It is an enthusiast’s model no doubt, and owners of the kayak are very satisfied with their purchase.
Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher Tandem
|Robust & Stable||Quite Heavy|
|Comfortable Seats||Not Fast in Currents|
|Load Capacity of 500 lbs.|
The Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher Tandem is a fishing kayak built to accommodate two persons in comfort. It is an economical tandem kayak but has a very sturdy build quality. It is a no-frills kayak that caters to likes of beginners and hobbyists.
Although this kayak is designed for two adults, it is not very large in its proportions. The seats are positioned much higher than the surrounding water allowing its users to stay drier as compared to kayaks with lower seat heights.
This kayak has a short and wide design, making it perfect for users who want a stable fishing kayak that can handle a person who is standing up.
The seats of the Sport Fisher are padded for added comfort. On the storage front it features 3 fishing rod holders, and a sizeable 6 inch storage hatch. The kayak has paddle clips that can hold the paddles in place when you’re simply relaxing.
The Sport Fisher is a very sturdily built kayak that makes it a good choice for beginners. Beginners make mistakes and the rugged nature of this kayak ensures that the inevitable scrapes with gravel and rocks will not damage it in any meaningful way. The affordable nature of this kayak further solidifies its place as a great beginner’s first kayak.
Families looking to spend time together will also find the multi-person ability of this kayak as a great point.
The inherent stability of this kayak isn’t great news just for first-timers however, as veteran anglers will also appreciate this, as they can fish standing up with the confidence that this kayak won’t just tip over. Stability is a core attribute of any fishing kayak but is not guaranteed at such an entry level price point.
With a payload capacity of 500 pounds, this kayak is also perfect for healthier individuals. Its wide dimensions ensure that this kayak can accommodate a variety of body types in relative comfort.
The Sport Fisher isn’t the lightest fishing kayak around. In fact at almost 80 pounds it is quite heavy. That means that it will be difficult for the average person to carry it around on their own. The Sport Fisher almost counts on its tandem feature to attract only couples to offset its weight problem.
This kayak is not a performance kayak either. It will not be at home in faster-moving currents, and is best suited in calm, relaxed waters. The bulky nature of the kayak means that it isn’t as effortless as a pure touring kayak to paddle around in.
There’s no getting around the fact that the Sport Fisher is a heavy, bulky kayak that is built really with the intention of accommodating multiple people. Stability seems to be its top-most priority. But that really is what it makes it such an attractive option for people who’re looking to spend time in water with another person on board. It is a very sturdy kayak which makes it a reliable companion that will serve its owners for a long time.
Buyers on Amazon rate it highly for its user-friendly nature and sturdy build quality. For kayakers on a budget, this is a very attractive option.
Sun Dolphin Excursion 10-Foot Sit-in Fishing Kayak
|Two flush mount rod holders||limited storage space|
|Good leg room||For calm waters|
|lightweight & stable|
If you are looking for a fishing kayak under 500, Sun Dolphin Excursion 10-Foot Sit-in Fishing Kayak is a good option for you.
Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 9 Foot Angler
|Great maneuverability||Average speed|
|Tons of storage||Bottoms of the seat uncomfortable|
|Places molded for outriggers||Limited mounted points|
|Six scupper holes and plugs||Not suitable for windy conditions|
|Includes vibe journey paddle|
|4 carrying handles|
Vibe Kayak Skipjack 90 is a 9-foot long sit-on-top lightweight fishing kayak. It is one of the top players in the competitive fishing kayak market right now and is rightly so. It has a very sleek and innovative design which tracks smoothly across all sorts of water conditions. Skipjack 90 is suitable for fishing anywhere even in surf conditions, lighter waves or moving rivers.
This fishing kayak has all the qualities that anglers rely on stability, maneuverability, gear compatibility and storage. The hull edges make the ride on this kayak extremely stable. It won’t trip or sway while you are busy catching fish in the water.
The kayak weighs only about 46 pounds which makes it portable. It also has a keel which runs along the length of its hull and provides better tracking during your fish hunt.
The Skipjack 90 is made up of rotomolded one-piece high density polyethylene which makes it exceptionally durable. In addition, this kayak includes comfortable backrest, a V-wave center hatch, storage wells in the bow and stern, 4 molded-in grip handles, 4 fishing rod holders and an easy access cup holder.
- Length: 9 feet
- Width: 32 inches
- Weight: 46 pounds
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
- Rod Holders: 4
- Type: Sit-on-top
Air Head Montana AHTK2 Kayak
|Four bottom fins for superior tracking||Doesn’t come with a paddle and pump|
|Light-weight, compact and portable||Seats can be a bit wobbly|
|Highly visible color (orange) for safety|
|Easy to maneuver|
|Grab Handles for easy lifting|
|Drain plug to get rid of excess water|
|UV and water resistant coatings|
Air Head Montana is a tandem inflatable kayak designed to accommodate two paddlers. AHTK2 performs best in white water and lakes. It’s light in weight and is equipped with all the accessories that kayak anglers look for. This model is definitely one of the most comfortable inflatable kayak designs in the market.
It is made up of heavy gauge PVC material and fortified I-beam construction method which makes this kayak extremely durable unlike other inflatable kayaks. It has a large cockpit which is great for beginners as it allows you to enter and exit the kayak easily in emergency situations.
AHTK2 has two inflatable seats that are exceptionally comfortable and adds convenience to your overall fishing experience. You can even adjust these seats according to your comfort and water conditions. Its neoprene elbow guards help you sit and balance your weight in the kayak easily.
The kayak also comes with back and front spray covers which will keep you dry while on water. Air Head Montana comes with 6 stainless steel D-rings that are meant to help in securing the cargo nets and tow it when required.
Its multiple air chambers serve as a safety net so even if the kayak gets damaged, it still floats and takes you safely to the shore. Its flat bottom hull may not allow great tracking on water but it does offer excellent navigation.
- Length: 12 feet
- Width: 32 inches
- Weight: 36.3 pounds
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 500 pounds
Lifetime Lotus Sit-on-top
|Lightweight and portable||Speed is not great|
|Aesthetic design and color||Seat is not comfortable for longer rides|
|Good stability and maneuverability|
|One person and two person models|
|Comes with a paddle|
|Solid material with UV coatings|
|5 year warranty|
Lifetime Lotus is a well-designed fishing kayak available in bright blue color. It has a strong hull made up of high density polyethylene which is very durable. Unlike other materials, polyethylene doesn’t get rusted which means that it is a one-time buy and it lasts for years.
The hull is well-designed for improved stability, effective tracking and paddling. Lotus is comparatively a small kayak only 8’ long and 30” wide. But this smaller size of the kayak increases its efficiency and maneuverability in the water.
The kayak comes with scupper holes in the cockpit area so that you can get rid of the excessive water during paddling. It also has an adjustable backrest and multiple footrest positions to accommodate people of different heights.
Moreover, it has a tankwell storage in the back with bungee cord lacing where you can store your accessories like fishing rods, fish finders and other personal belongings. A paddle cradle is also available in the kayak to hold your paddle in place.
It is available as both single person and two person kayaks. You may choose it according to your requirements.
- Length: 8 feet
- Width: 30 inches
- Weight: 38 pounds
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 250 pounds (for one person)
- Material: High Density Polyethylene
Perception Conduit 13 Kayak
|Strong enough to ride on high currents||A bit expensive|
|Good leg and water space||Seat is not comfortable for longer rides|
|Lightweight hence easy to transport||Balancing is hard for beginners|
|Lots of thighs and knee pads|
|Great tracking capability due to added length|
|Super Sleek design|
Perception Conduit is available in a number of different sizes in the market. The Conduit 13 is a spacious kayak and comes with all the features of a professional kayak.
It is both stable and offers good speed which is truly a rare combination in fishing kayaks. It performs remarkably well in flat waters like smaller lakes and milder rives but is also rudder capable if you want to paddle it in rough waters. The kayak is exceptionally easy to paddle and is really non-restrictive.
The conduit 13 features lower sitting position and a larger cockpit for added comfort during fishing. The slender stern and bow allows it to glide smoothly across water. Its added length provides great speed and tracking in water.
The kayak also has a single tracking fin which is aided by the rigid construction of its body for great tracking in water. It has both bow and stern hatches with bulkheads for dry storage. The maximum weight capacity is 295 lbs. which means you will have lots of storage capacity as well.
- Length: 13 feet
- Width: 26.5 inches
- Weight: 51 pounds
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 295 pounds (for one person)
- Material: High Density Polyethylene
- Type: Sit inside
Intex Excursion Pro Kayak, Professional Series Inflatable Fishing Kayak
|Very affordable price||Low quality oars|
|Has two removable skews for shallow and deep water||Some people reported leaks in the kayak|
|High quality material used which increases durability||Not great for heavy waters|
|Light weight and easy to transport|
|Really easy to setup|
The Intex Excursion Pro Kayak is one of the best inflatable fishing kayak in the market under 500$. It is made up of 3-ply laminate PVC with polyester core which is puncture resistant and lasts a long time. It also has UV resistant coating on the top and therefor you really do not have to worry about the integrity of this inflatable fishing kayak.
Intex Excursion Pro Kayak offers great stability and rigidity. Its high pressure, spring loaded valves make inflation and deflation of the kayak really fast. It is also equipped with pressure gauge so that you don’t over-inflate it. The two air chambers make sure that if anything goes wrong, you stay afloat and reach the shore safely.
Another cool feature is its mounting bracket which can be used to hand all kind of accessories like GPS system, fish finders and so on. Besides this, you will have more than enough storage on stern and bow. The kayak also comes with two integrated fishing rod holders which is a plus.
- Length: 12 foot 7 inches
- Width: 3.1’
- Weight: 39 pounds
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 400 pounds
- Material: Heavy Duty Vinyl with a Polyester core
- Capacity: 2 persons
- Comes with 2 paddles, repair kit, 1 pump and pressure gauge
Choosing the right fishing kayak
The best fishing kayak is the one that will suit your needs. Although the options presented in this fishing kayak review are all excellent kayaks, you need to decide which one will really serve your purpose.
The Malibu X-Stealth is an excellent all-rounder that combines rock-solid stability with good performance in water. It is relatively economical and is chock-full of features that are found in much more expensive kayaks. If you’re looking to explore the realm of kayaking and want something versatile, the X-Stealth should be on the top of your buying list.
Enthusiast kayakers who want a high-end model with a high degree of engineering will find the Hobie Mirage Outback to be an excellent choice. Its unique MirageDrive was built with anglers in mind and speaks volumes about its designers’ commitment to providing its users with the best fishing experience. It is a costly kayak however, so casual kayakers might find its price difficult to justify.
Families or beginner users who’re looking at kayaking as a potential new hobby should consider the Lifetime Sport Fisher. It has an entry-level price which makes it easier to buy. The high build quality of this kayak ensures that you can really grow into it and not want much else. It is on the heavier side and performance-minded kayakers will find it cumbersome in the waters.