It’s a gorgeous sunny day at the lake, and there’s a cool breeze keeping the temperature at a near-perfect 70 degrees. You’ve been on the water for two hours now, and have already caught three sizable fish — a fantastic haul. To celebrate, you crack open a beer, sit back, and relax in one of the best fishing kayaks around. It’s a beautiful day to be alive.
Sound like a dream? It doesn’t have to be! Kayak fishing is a growing hobby among outdoor enthusiasts, and consequently there are plenty of excellent kayak models to get you going in style. Whether you’re a novice learner looking for your first kayak, or an experienced outdoorsman looking to commit to a swankier ride, check out our list of the best fishing kayaks of the year!
Our Top Picks: Best Fishing Kayaks
Pressed for time? Here’s the bottom line:
- Best Overall: Malibu Kayak Stealth 14. With unmatched stability, a spacious cockpit, and Malibu’s patented live bait tank, this is the perfect kayak for fishing.
- Best Eco-Friendly: Eddyline Caribbean 14. Made of Eddyline’s proprietary Carbonlite 2000, this kayak is fully recyclable and made in an environmentally-friendly manufacturing process that minimizes waste and puts the planet first.
- Best Budget: Coleman Sevylor QuickPak. The Coleman QuickPak is here to prove that fishing kayaks don’t have to break the bank, and inflatable kayaks don’t have to be flimsy!
- Best for Beginners: Malibu Kayaks X-Caliber. Whether you’re new to fishing in a kayak, or new to kayaking in general, this ‘yak has all the features you need to take the stress out of your adventure.
1. Malibu Kayaks Stealth 14 Fishing Kayak
The best fishing kayak overall
Manufacturer: Malibu Kayaks | Weight: 85lbs | Capacity: 550lbs | Length: 14’ 4” | Price: 💰💰💰💰
Kayak fishing, even on large, calm lakes, isn’t always smooth sailing. That is to say, your fishing kayak needs to be able to handle all kinds of waters without breaking a sweat. Enter the Malibu Kayaks Stealth 14.
This 14-feet-long, 85-pound behemoth offers the kind of stability you need to fish comfortably, with your paddles stowed away. The wide cockpit is spacious, ensuring you’re relaxed and have plenty of room to bring all your gear with you. Both the hull and kayak itself are designed extra-wide, making the entire thing almost entirely tip-proof — even for anglers who prefer to stand!
Despite how big it is, the Stealth 14 tracks well and cuts pretty easily through choppy waters, so you won’t have any trouble controlling it.
This baby’s crowning glory is Malibu Kayak’s patented live bait tank, which lets you bring live bait with you for the best fishing results! And, it’s outfitted with a plug for easy flushing at the end of the day.
- Live bait tank is an angler’s dream and in addition it’s super convenient
- Plenty of onboard storage for all your gear with dual rod holders
- Extra-wide design is excellent for stability over large, choppy waves, and will even let you stand to fish!
- The wide design makes turns a bit slower than skinnier kayaks
- Some reviewers found that, with the wide design, their paddles weren’t quite long enough
2. Eddyline Caribbean 14 Angler Fishing Kayak
The best eco-friendly fishing kayak
Manufacturer: Eddyline | Weight: 50lbs | Capacity: 350lbs | Length: 14’ | Price: 💰💰💰💰
Though kayaks are already one of the most environmentally-friendly water vessels, why not take it a step further? The Eddyline Caribbean 14 is a specially-crafted kayak made from their proprietary Carbonlite 2000, a high-performance, co-extruded plastic laminate with a UV-resistant exterior and performance that mimics fiberglass. With added qualities like abrasion resistance, impact resistance, dimensional stability, and reduced heat distortion, there’s nothing not to like.
But if that’s not enough for ya, these kayaks are also 100% recyclable. Eddyline strives to manufacture with environmentally-conscious practices and recycles or repurposes all scrap plastic their processes generate, to minimize waste as much as possible.
- Proprietary Cloud 10 Seat means comfortable, ache-reducing support
- Lightweight construction means excellent tracking that cuts easily through choppy waters
- Completely recyclable and made with waste-reducing, environmentally-conscious processes
- Definitely pretty pricey
- Water gets in relatively easy due to the sit-on-top design
3. Coleman Sevylor QuickPak Sit-On-Top Kayak
The best fishing kayak on a budget
Manufacturer: Coleman | Weight: 18lbs | Capacity: 400lbs | Length: 8.5’ | Price: 💰
Inflatable kayaks might seem like a “real” kayak’s cheap, low-rent underling, but they’re much more than the stigma lets on. The Coleman Sevylor QuickPak is by far one of the best sit-on-top kayaks available today, and still manages to be less than 300 dollars!
Visually, it looks a lot like what you’d expect from a hard kayak, but in practice, it’s a lot less bulky and much, much lighter. Made of durable PVC with a tarpaulin bottom, this inflatable watercraft is incredibly puncture-resistant. Even so, there are multiple air chambers to ensure your kayak remains floating and functional in the rare case a puncture does occur, and the included repair kit ensures your kayak still has plenty of life left to live. Set-up takes mere minutes thanks to the paddle that doubles as a high-pressure pump. Both air intake valves feature dual locking points to keep the air in when you want it and reduce inflation time. Plus, the paddle has its own storage!
The spacious design means there’s plenty of room to stretch out, while the padded backrest keeps you supported and comfortable. This kayak can support up to 400 pounds when fully inflated, but still weighs in at less than 20 pounds itself, making it easy to lug around — and thanks to the included backpack-style carry case, you can bring it with you hands-free!
- Dual skegs make for excellent, easy tracking
- Heavy-duty PVC construction is puncture-resistant and built to last
- The padded seat is comfortable and supportive for a long day on the water
- Some reviewers found the included paddle flimsy, but noted it gets the job done and does aide in inflation
- Since the seat doubles as the backpack carry case, and the seat often gets wet while kayaking, your trip home might be a bit damp
4. Malibu Kayaks X-Caliber Fish and Dive Kayak
The best fishing kayak for beginners
Manufacturer: Malibu Kayaks | Weight: 71lbs | Capacity: 400lbs | Length: 12’ 6” | Price: 💰💰
If you’re just starting out and looking for a fishing kayak that has everything you need and nothing you don’t, look no further than Malibu’s X-Caliber. This angler’s dream features four rod holders (two in the front and two in the back), so you can fish from any position that makes you happy, and cast as many lines as you please!
There are also multiple additional seating options, so you can bring a friend, a partner, your child, or even your fur baby with you on the water. To be sure, the 625-pound weight capacity can easily handle the whole family in addition to all the supplies and gear you could need.
The robust design offers incredible stability and tracking, and you can maneuver on a dime without fear of tipping over. If you’re still unsure, Malibu is ready to convince you with their limited lifetime warranty. For first-time kayakers or first-time fishing kayakers, this craft is designed to take all hassle out of the day.
- Four rod holders for multi-line casting from any position
- Easily-accessible storage with plenty of additional seating
- Semi-flat bottom offers added stability without sacrificing tracking
- While perfect for beginners, it may leave something to be desired for more advanced kayakers
- Many reviewers found that the seat cushion wasn’t all that comfortable, and recommended getting some additional support
What to Look for in the Best Fishing Kayaks
With so many ‘yaks to choose from, be sure to keep in mind the features that are important to you.
For example, things like how comfortable the seats are, how long the nose is, what the on-boat storage looks like, what the weight capacity is, how well it cuts through the water, and what kind of water it’s made for are vital aspects of the best fishing kayaks. Remember that it’ll take some time for you to get used to any new kayak, and you might need to get some add-ons or accessories to suit your needs fully.
For this guide on fishing kayaks, our team spent 4 hours researching the most popular options from over 30 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about one hundred user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each kayak. Furthermore, after comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 4 fishing kayaks on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.
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