What Is the Best Fishing Kayak?

By: Josh Feltenberger

October 18, 2022

So you’ve decided to get into kayak fishing. After watching countless videos on social media and YouTube, you might even be more confused than when you started. There’s a lot to learn and it can definitely get overwhelming. There’s sit on top kayaks, sit in kayaks, kayaks with pedal drive systems and kayaks that even accept motors into them. With all of those options and every kayak brand stating “They are the best” where do you even begin to choose the best fishing kayak? Well, the experts at FishUSA are here to help! We’ve all been down this road before and a few pointers can make choosing the best kayak for you a whole lot easier.

Let’s start with the most basic style of fishing kayaks, the sit-on-top. What this means is that the seat is on top of the kayak. Although simple, this doesn’t mean that some of these models aren’t amongst the best kayaks for fishing. Just about every fishing kayak manufacturer has a model in this style. Bonafide, Jackson, Native and Hobie all do just to name a few. Sit-on-tops are well known for being very stable and having a solid center of gravity. Now you are probably asking yourself “ How does sitting on top make something more stable?”. It's all in the design of the kayak and how the hull is built. Bonafide Kayaks, for example, came up with their hull design through many years of R & D and call it a Hybrid Cat Hull. In basic terms, their hull is like two pontoons. What this gives you is incredible stability to the point where you can even stand and fish. Every brand has their own unique hull design. Bonafide has always been a fan favorite with anglers looking to get the most out of a kayak. With models to fit any price range from the RS117(entry level) to the flagship models SS127 and P127. With a sit-on-top kayak you’ll have the stability to be confident when you’re landing the fish of a lifetime!

One of the best fishing kayak advancements to ever hit the market was the creation of the pedal drive kayak. Pedal drive kayaks are still considered sit-on-top kayaks; they just have pedals in them so you don’t have to worry about paddling. These kayaks really shine in big water situations or when there is long distances to cover because they are much less physically taxing to operate. No need to worry about paddling across the lake and losing time if you are in a competition. It’s tough to say what the best pedal kayak available is because each brand has designed a unique drive. Hobie designed what they call a mirage drive, Bonafide and Native use propel drives and Jackson has their redesigned flex drive. Hobie Kayaks have been a customer favorite for many years with their Pro Angler series, or PA for short. These kayaks come with 180 or 360 mirage drive depending on what model you choose. They are built like a tank and command the water when you are out. The Pro Angler is arguably the most versatile pedal drive on the market because of its capability to fish a small creek as easily as the open ocean. Many people will likely tell you that the Pro Angler is the best pedal kayak on the market and they’re likely not wrong. If spending more time fishing then paddling is something that's important to you, then a fishing kayak with a pedal drive is probably the route you should take.

In conclusion, there are many fishing kayaks on the market today. The best fishing kayaks in your eyes may not be the most suitable for another angler. For an angler that doesn’t mind paddling while he or she is fishing then the standard sit-on-top kayak is probably the best route to take. These offer stability and comfort for a full day of fishing and are also excellent for recreation and paddling around with friends and family. If getting from point A to B the quickest way possible is something you would like then a pedal kayak is going to be the best choice for you. As long as you enjoy your time on the water, it really doesn’t matter what type of kayak you’re fishing out of! TIGHT LINES !