Nothing beats the summer heat like fishing amidst the rivers and lakes with your partner or friends, right? Plus, fishing is a trend that seems to be catching steam as of late.

But the waters can be unpredictable and dangerous (we’ve all heard those scary stories for sure) and that’s where your fishing kayak got to stand strong.

A kayak has to be stable enough, easy to control (even when during strong winds and currents) and come with ample storage for all your essentials but then, that’s what every brand claims to provide.

So how do you separate the best from the rest? How do you find the right kayak for next great fishing adventure?

Relax, we did the digging for you and picked out the 10 best fishing kayaks for 2018 to ensure you get your money’s worth.

1Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130 – Best Overall


If you’ve got the taste for the best fishing kayak, the Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130 2-person kayak, is sure as worth every penny.

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2Brooklyn Kayak Company UH-TK 181 – Best Budget Pick


Easy maneuvering and stability are key features in a kayak and the with the sit on top design, that’s what the UH-TK 181 is all about.

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3Sun Dolphin Bali SS – Best Value


Looking for a kayak that offers the best bang for your buck? The Sun Dolphin Bali SS is just the kayak you need. But the kayak is more than just its low price (no wonder it’s a best-seller).

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And here’s a more detailed overview of each fishing kayak:

Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130

The in-built rudder system is its stand out feature. That’s because it ensures effortless paddling even during the worst of conditions (so you’d never drift away from your course). And unlike most sit on top models, the Vibe Ghost 130 comes with an extra wide double hull construction. So why does that matter? In short, because you won’t sink. Plus, it also makes the kayak safe for standing and fishing. Furthermore, because it is a sit on top design, you get unmatched maneuverability. You also have the freedom to move around thus reaching your gear is easier (this makes reeling in fish simpler). Also, these kayaks make for easy entering and exit (so go ahead and take that dip in the water you’ve always wanted to). Lastly, the kayak is capable of storing 2 roads, cups, scuba tanks, coolers, crates etc. so you’d have everything you ever wanted when out fishing.

On the downsides, the Ghost is slightly bigger and heavier so carrying it may require a helping hand. Also, with great features comes a greater price tag but when it comes to performance and safety, the Vibe Ghost 130 is an absolute beast (a buy you won’t regret).

What we liked

  • Integrated rudder for greater stability and excellent tracking
  • Extra wide hull prevents sinking
  • Comes with large storage option for water coolers, crates etc.
  • Comfortable Seating
  • Safe for standing and fishing
  • Large size offers great speed and stability

What we disliked

  • It’s expensive
  • The heavy build makes carrying difficult

Bottom Line

If you’ve got the taste for the best fishing kayak, the Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130 2-person kayak, is sure as worth every penny.

Check it on Amazon →


Brooklyn Kayak Company UH-TK 181

Cementing that is the 34-inch beam that ensures no strong currents or winds can play spoilsport on your day out. Also, since it’s long i.e. 140 inches it has the license to thrill as you can reach higher speeds during straight stretches without losing balance. Plus, if you’re addicted to your mobile (because social media is life) or want to store your keys or wallet, you’d be happy to know the UH features multiple water resistant compartments. But that’s not all. You also get space for a whopping 7 fishing rods and paddle rests so you can go hands-free as well without risking losing the paddles.

As for the negatives, it’s one of the heaviest kayaks on the list (85 lbs) but carrying but the handles should ease the burden. Also, since it lacks a rudder system (like our first pick), paddling isn’t as buttery smooth as that but the paddles do a great job nonetheless.

What we liked

  • Sit on top design for easy maneuvering
  • Can withstand even strong currents and winds
  • Comes with waterproof compartments for storing mobiles, wallets etc
  • Can store up to 7 fishing rods
  • With the longer length speed is not an issue

What we disliked

  • Lacks a rudder system
  • It’s heavy but carrying handles are a relief

Bottom Line

Easy maneuvering and stability are key features in a kayak and the with the sit on top design, that’s what the UH-TK 181 is all about.

Check it on Amazon →


Sun Dolphin Bali SS

Unlike most cheaper kayaks, the Sun Dolphin Bali SS is a sit on top kayak which means you put your fears of sinking to rest. That’s because with this design you get utmost stability and control making it ideal for all kind lakes and surfs. The seating area is spacious and comfortable enough for people of all sizes. Also, it comes with thigh pads so no jerky or sudden movements hurt you. With the sit on top design and the open cockpit entry and exit in a kayak hardly gets any easier than with the Bali SS.

And while its compact design is great for carrying it from one place to another, you’ll miss out on the high-speed adrenaline rushing action of the bigger kayaks. Also, you’d want to handle the kayak with care as it’s prone to breakage (keep it for the occasional weekend trips).

What we liked

  • It’s cheaper yet efficient
  • Sit on top design provides great control and stability
  • With an open cockpit, entering/exiting is super easy
  • Comes with ample seating area and thigh pads for added safety

What we disliked

  • Compromises on speed due to its small build
  • Needs to be handled with care as it’s prone to cracks and peels
  • Lacks carrying handles

Bottom Line

Looking for a kayak that offers the best bang for your buck? The Sun Dolphin Bali SS is just the kayak you need. But the kayak is more than just its low price (no wonder it’s a best-seller).

Check it on Amazon →


Perception Kayak Pescador Pro

With the hull design, the kayak catches great speed to get you up and about your favorite location in quick time while being stable so you don’t simply topple over. What perception have successfully managed to do is maintain a balance between spaciousness and compactness while ensuring the kayak is still lightweight. But don’t fall for its compactness, there’s plenty of room for every fishing gear you’d want to carry. Ensuring that, are the hatches at the bow, multiple compartments, and the 3-rod holders.

While the Pescador will leave the newbies in awe, for the pros it may not be much of an upgrade when it comes to speed and control. Also considering its mid-size body, the high cost will make most people think twice. But if you do go for it, it’s a worthy buy.

What we liked

  • Hull design ensures great speed and stability
  • No lack of storage options
  • Though bigger it’s still lightweight

What we disliked

  • Not the upgrade professionals would want
  • Slightly overpriced

Bottom Line

Perception Kayak, Pescador Pro is built for fishing. Yeah, trust us, if you knew Spanish you’d know it’s even got fishing in its name.

Check it on Amazon →


Sun Dolphin Excursion SS

Making the Excursion a highly durable choice is its UV protected Polyethylene build which ensures no cracks or peels disrupt your fishing adventure. Like most sit in kayaks, the Excursion ensures a dry experience even during rigorous paddling and high currents (keeps the harsh sunlight out too). It also has rod mounts on either side as well. Plus, the bottle holder’s conveniently placed for easy access. The seat and footrest can be adjusted as per your height and size and to top that, there’s plenty of padding for a comfortable experience.

Coming to the drawbacks, while it’s compact shape make lifting easy, you’d be compromising on speed. Go for the bigger, badder Sun Dolphin Excursion 12-Foot for higher speeds (but that’s one just for the pros). Also, it lacks storage compartments which means you’d have to leave your watch, wallet, mobile etc. back at home for safety. Another drawback with sit-in design kayaks is that entering and exiting can take a few extra seconds but for a kayak costing around $250, the Excursion, sure as hell packs a punch.

What we liked

  • Sit in design keeps you dry and protected from sunlight
  • Has thigh pads and padded seats for extra protection
  • Lightweight and compact for easy carrying
  • Comes with easy to access mounts for fishing rods and a water bottle

What we disliked

  • Its smaller dimensions mean you’ll have to compromise on speed
  • Also lacks storage compartments for the smaller stuff
  • Entering and exiting the kayak could be slightly tougher

Bottom Line

Like most Sun Dolphin kayaks, this one’s also moderately priced thus is easy on the pocket but that doesn’t mean it compromises on basic features.

Check it on Amazon →


Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T

This 2+1 kayak comes with ample room for a child in the middle (so you can keep eye on him/her even when paddling). Though a 3-person kayak, its sit on top design is just as efficient as that of any other kayak when it comes to stability and control. The Skipjack 120T also comes with multiple compartments for your gadgets, wallets etc. and a bungee storage for the bulkier items on the checklist. Lastly, it has 4-rod holders and carrying handles so loading it onto your SUV or pickup truck is effortless.

Now, what we don’t like about the Vibe Skipjack 120T is the uncomfortable seating which in our opinion needs a tad bit more padding. Also, if you’re looking for a kayak with speed that thrills, we’d recommend the Vibe Ghost 130, the Skipjack is slightly slower as it’s smaller.

What we liked

  • Is easy to carry with the 4 carrying handles
  • Suitable for 1-3 people
  • Plenty of storage space
  • Offers nimble control and stability

What we disliked

  • Uncomfortable seating when used for long hours
  • Slower than our top picks
  • Not suitable for standing

Bottom Line

There’s no anguish worse for a mother than having to leave her toddler behind even it if it means a fishing trip with the hubby and with the Skipjack 120T, you won’t have to anymore.

Check it on Amazon →


Lifetime Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak

Its excellent build also means it comes with a weight capacity of 500 lbs and thus should fit in a child with ease (now, take your toddler out for the weekend getaway too). Furthermore, helping you maintain course when the going gets tough is the sit on top design and the specially designed hull. These in tandem provide stability and excellent control (making the Sport Fisher ideal for both the pros and the newbies). Also, shape and size are no barriers with the Sport Fisher due to the multiple footrests (after all, it’s good to be chubby and cute). To top it all off, the kayak has 3-rod holders, paddle clips and a 6” storage hatch so nothing important ever goes missing.

Moving on to the cons, one of the core issues with this kayak is its lack of speed which comes down to its small length. While small, it weighs around 60 pounds and since it lacks handles, carrying it is sure to get you thinking twice (great way to work out those big gun though). Lastly, another major drawback is the uncomfortable seating and thus should be used only for short trips.

What we liked

  • Offers great control and stability
  • Top-notch durability
  • Multiple footrests to fit in larger people
  • Can fit in a child too
  • Hull design helps withstand strong winds and currents

What we disliked

  • Lacks carrying handles
  • Slow speed
  • Uncomfortable seating

Bottom Line

With a brand name like that, durability’s got to be priority and backing that up is the High-Density Polyethylene construction of the Lifetime Sport Fisher (yeah, this bad boy can last you for years).

Check it on Amazon →


Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak

Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak sports an adjustable seat back with efficient padding on both the seat back and the seat (you want to be seated in a comfortable way and you get just that). Secondly, the footrests on the Angler 100 are also adjustable which means people of all shapes and sizes can fit into it hassle-free. With the two 6-inch storage compartments carrying your essentials is simpler while the shock cords help you tie down the big stuff. The Angler too is a sit on top kayak and we’re pretty sure by now you’re well aware of how that helps.

For all it’s impressive features, the Angler 100 lacks the durability of its brother, the Sport Fisher with many users reporting of cracks within a year. Considering its lack of durability, we find the Angler slightly overpriced but if comfort is a priority for you, it makes for a good occasional use kayak.

What we liked

  • Adjustable seat back ensures utmost comfort
  • Adding to that is the padding on the seat and seat back
  • The two 6-inch compartments provide enough space for all essentials
  • Has handles for easy carrying
  • Adjustable footrests ensure anyone can fit in

What we disliked

  • Highly Priced
  • Lacks durability
  • Ideal only for occasional use by

Bottom Line

If you didn’t like the uncomfortable seating of the Sport Fishes, Angler 100 is just the Lifetime kayak you’re looking for.

Check it on Amazon →


Sun Dolphin Journey

Making your ‘journey’ smooth is the sit-on-top design which provides great control and keeps you afloat. Rivers or big lakes, the Journey can handle them all with great finesse.

Secondly, the low weight i.e. a mere 44 pounds and its small profile means you can load it on to your truck or car all by yourself. The 3 fishing rod holders are conveniently placed so you can reach them easily without falling over. Lastly, the thigh pads keep you protected from injuries while the adjustable foot braces mean it can fit in even bulkier people.

On the downside, while the storage space is great, neither is it waterproof nor big enough for the heavier items so think twice before you carry your mobile or wallet. Also, it’s small design means, it’s not the fast and furious kayak some of us crave.

What we liked

  • Comfortable seating with thigh pads for added protection
  • Provides great stability thus suitable for any river or lake
  • 3-rod holders are within easy grasp
  • It’s lightweight and compact

What we disliked

  • One of the slowest kayaks on the list
  • Does not provide adequate storage
  • Suited only for newbies

Bottom Line

Sun Dolphin makes its way into the 10 ten again and this time, they have come up with an excellent mid-range kayak known as the Journey.

Check it on Amazon →


Ocean Kayak Frenzy Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

The lightweight and compact design in tandem with its sit on top seating style provide both nimble control and stability (perfect for the nervous first-time kayakers). It also makes loading and unloading the kayak on/off your truck or car easy and requires no additional help (plus, they didn’t forget the handles either). Making your day even more comfortable (even when kayaking all day long) is the well-cushioned seating. It’s adjustable 4 ways so your size and height are no hindrance. And providing the icing on the cake is the excellent storage options, cup holder and replaceable rear skid plate which ensures it doesn’t break down easily.

As for the drawbacks, unless and until you’re specifically looking for a one-person kayak, the Frenzy isn’t for you. Also, the rear skid plate is a good addition but the overall durability of the Kayak is surely left wanting more. But considering its pocket-friendly pricing i.e. less than $500, it’s still a decent buy and ideal for the occasional weekend getaway.

What we liked

  • Has handles for hassle-free carrying
  • Steering the kayak is easy due to its small size
  • Compact design and sit on top seating ensures greater stability
  • Comes with ample storage solutions

What we disliked

  • Lacks the durability of higher-end models
  • Designed to seat only 1 person

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the daily life for some lone time, you’ve found your ideal mate in the Ocean Kayak Frenzy one-person kayak.

Check it on Amazon →


Ultimate Fishing Kayak buying Guide

Here are a few features that we decided our top picks based on.

Seating Style

A kayak comes with 2 seating styles, a Sit on top and Sit in style. Each of these designs has its set of pros and cons. More about them below.

Sit on Top Kayaks

Okay, so if you’ve been reading reviews I am sure you’ve realized our emphasis is more on sit on top kayaks. Wondering why?

Firstly, that’s because with sit on kayaks you get an unmatched freedom to move about and greater maneuverability as well.

Next up, the ease of entry/exit from the kayak means you can take a dip in the water and still get back with ease.

Also, and you will love hearing this, they don’t easily sink. What gives these kayaks this feature is the double hull construction.

Due to the double hull build, there is air filled in between the hulls which helps prevent sinking and also keeps the kayak relatively dryer.

But the sit on top design isn’t perfect. You are exposed to the harsh sun and winds. And since you’re higher up on the water, paddling effort required to travel is comparatively greater.

Lastly, these kayaks also tend to be heavier than sit in kayaks but often come with carrying handles (small trade-offs for otherwise massive benefits).

Sit in Kayaks

In a sit-in Kayak, you’re seated inside a spacious cockpit (similar to that of an F1 car). And while entering/exiting can be comparatively tougher, they keep you safe from the harsh winds and sunshine.

Also, the cockpit design of these kayaks helps you stay drier while the better hull displacement means these kayaks offer even greater speeds but compromise on maneuverability.

Lastly, storage space with sit-in designs can be an issue. So if you’re a fisherman who loves their gear, sit on tops kayaks are tailored made for you.

Storage

Fishermen have their own set of gears and stuff like the bait, fish finder etc. they’d want to carry and thus it’s important for a kayak to have plenty of storage space.

Most kayaks come with cords that let you tie the big stuff down while the multiple compartments take care of the smaller stuff.

In short, any kayak that fits in the gear you need is perfect in this case. Big or more isn’t always a solution, it’ll cost you more.

Note: Although still not recommended, carrying your mobiles, wallets etc. should only be considered if the compartments are waterproof.

Dimensions

The dimension of a kayak has implications on the speed, stability, and ease of turning and thus it’s important to find one that’s just the right size.

While a short kayak is going to be easy to maneuver, they are slower. If you’re looking for something fast, go a for a kayak with a length of about 12-14 feet.

Secondly, being wide does provide stability but a wider kayak being more stable isn’t a foregone conclusion (other factors play their part as well).

Also, the longer the kayak, the heavier it’s likely to be. This means you’ll need a helping hand putting it into your truck (that’s where carrying handles come into play).

On the other hand, the smaller kayaks are easier to lift. Yup, light enough for you to do it all by yourself but may compromise on durability and aren’t suitable for strong currents and winds.

Comfort

Whether you are sweating it out paddling or just enjoying the quite while fishing, having comfortable seating can make all the difference. So make sure the kayak seating has adequate padding.

While the higher-end models come with adjustable seating and seat back, it’s good padding that’s a priority.

Also, a kayak with adjustable footrests should further add to the comfort and also helps fit in even bulkier people.

Conclusion

A good kayak can make or break your fishing experience. Get the best fishing kayak like the Vibe Ghost 130 for the ultimate fishing experience but if you’re short on cash, the Sun Dolphin Bali SS is value for money.

May lack the fancy frills of the Ghost 130, but if you’re a newbie, the Bali SS is a no-brainer pick.

But if you prefer sit-in kayaks, the Sun Dolphin Excursion is loaded with important features and yet, is pocket-friendly.

If you’ve got any further question about kayaks, do drop us a comment below and in the meantime, happy kayaking.

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