Fishing & Hunting Tips

Fishing Kayak Buying Guide

After a long tiring weekend, who doesn’t want some refreshment for a fresh new start? And if it’s fishing in a kayak with your fishing rod in the serene water, a slow breeze over your head that would be something out of this world!

While some activities need a lot of mastery, Kayaking is relatively easier! But choosing the best fishing kayak for you? What when the task goes a Lil bit daunting. But trust me, with a little insider anyone can choose the best fishing kayak right away.

Thinking of that, here is the ultimate kayak buying guide for you which will help you to buy your very first kayak. So without further ado, let’s get started with today’s topics. And last but not least, check out our latest blog on the ultimate kayak fishing guide for beginners if you’re struggling with the fishing part!

Types of kayak

Buying any types of kayak, you need to know about all the existing types and their purpose so that you can get the best type for you. Basically, there are a few types of kayak serving different goals and we’re gonna try to cover all the major types.

I bet it’s gonna be super sucky if you choose a touring kayak and go fishing with it! So along with fishing kayaks, let’s see some other types. Shall we?

We mainly divided all the kayaks into three categories.

  1. Touring/ recreational kayaks
  2. Fishing kayaks
  3. Sport kayaks/ whitewater kayaks

Touring kayaks

Touring kayaks

We categorized as touring/ recreational kayak while some folks consider them as different types. Touring or recreational whatever you call it, it has also sit-inside and sit-on-top versions based on paddlers’ expertise on kayaking!

If you just started kayaking and want something calm and relaxing with no worries to balancing, get a sit-on-top touring kayak. It’s wide and quite stable which is perfect for a newbie paddler. With the wider hull and short length, I bet you’re on that kayak.

Because of the shorter length and wider hull, you’re gonna get an awesome balance and maneuverability but speed! You have to compromise the speed and quick responsiveness of the kayak.

The good thing about these recreational sit-on-top style kayaks is you can do a little fishing with these. Not the best one though but it will work!

Coming to the sit-inside type recreational kayak, they tend to be much longer and slimmer for a better tracking ability and speed. Because of the efficient hull designs, they cut through the water so smoothly and goes with great speed. You travel a long distance without tiring yourself with these kayaks.

With satisfying bright sides, there are some downsides too. Because of the slim and long body, you have to sacrifice stability and maneuverability. so yeah, they require greater skill to keep from capsizing as well as master skill to maneuver.

These kayaks are usually made of composite, plastic or fiberglass sometimes with a higher price. Last but not least, going fishing is not gonna be a wise decision with a touring kayak!

Fishing kayaks

Fishing kayaks

What could be a much better feeling than getting into the water for fishing and not even wet yourself!  Fishing kayaks are the new themes that came for quite a long time now and since it evolved it’s been dominating the market till now strongly.

There are many types that you can relate to an activity like fishing. Of course, the debate goes on about Sit-in vs sit-on-top kayak: which one is best for fishing, but let’s concentrate on all the types that can be used for fishing.

Considering your situation, you can either go for a SOT or SIK realizing the potential of each. We will talk details about these later on this blog. But for general thoughts, if it’s too cold there and you want yourself to be dry badly, get a Sit-inside kayak with minimal fishability. Yup, it’s not gonna be super stable and served with best fishability but sure will get your work done somehow!

Coming to the SOT or sit-on-top kayaks, these are most of the angler’s favorite type for fishing. With an awesome stability and maneuverability, sit-on-top kayaks are meant to be fishing. Moreover, some models featured with insane fishability which will surely make your fishing trip so smooth and effective.

Another great option for a fishing kayak is the inflatable kayaks geared with fishing equipment. They are lightweight, easily storable and the best thing of all is easily carryable to literally anywhere!

Sports/whitewater kayaks

Sports/whitewater kayaks

Wanna experience the wild side of kayaking? Whitewater kayaking is what you’re looking for. Maybe it seems like kayaking is relaxing and serene but it can be fairly savage and dangerous too. Only the dare lover wanna do sports like it where a second of the unconscious mind can give a serious blow!

Cutting all the crap, humans are crazy about this extreme sport. Pretty obvious, this needs a special type of kayak which is called whitewater kayaks. You will get both rotomolded and inflatable options in this segment. But whatever it is, if you got some love for your skull don’t forget to wear the best kayak helmet you find!

Fishing Kayak Buying Guide

Important facts to consider before buying a fishing kayak

#1. Set a budget and know what are you buying on that budget

I know you did set a budget but it’s crucial to have proper knowledge about what you’re getting at that price point. Different people have different affordability for that situation and the question is asked often and often that which price point they should hit for a good kayak!

Maybe it sounds harsh but the truth is you’re getting exactly what you are paying. There are some really cheap kayaks which will eventually be exposed so fast and end up with some really bad experience. Obviously, a higher price kayak will outperform a cheaper kayak.

But then again I’m not on the side to wait for the future rather than living in the present. Buy a fishing kayak with some research with whatever budget you’ve got. Here are 3 basic levels and price points of a kayak.

Basic: talking about a good basic fishing kayak, it starts with a price range of 250$-500$ with minimal comfort and setup. Yeah, you can’t expect much from it but I think it’s a wise decision to have a fishing kayak under 500 bucks in case you’re a beginner or want to gift it to your loved ones who just wanna start kayak fishing.

Intermediate: every activity should be taken to the next level after a certain time, so does kayak fishing. Once you mastered a basic kayak with some good stability and fishing, it’s time to move to the Intermediate level and getting an intermediate level kayak.

And intermediate level kayak starts with a price range above 500$ to all the way up to 1000$. Feel free to check our latest article on best fishing kayak under 700 bucks where you will get some of the best intermediate level kayaks.

Apart from that here’s a cool hack for you, if your budget is 700-800 bucks, get a kayak in 500$ range and invest 200-250 bucks on a premium quality kayak paddle. Trust me it will be a smart move.

Advanced: it’s super fun to fish at an advanced level kayak. This grade kayak starts from 1000$ to anywhere you can go. It will ensure the most comfort and fishing ability you can get from a kayak, and yeah also they tend to be extremely durable because of high-quality construction.

#2. Consider these top 4 factors before affording a fishing kayak

If you are new to the kayak fishing world, you really need to know these facts I’m going to discuss now. Even I had a lot of confusion at the very beginning when I decided to afford my very first kayak. There are tons of kayak in the market but note that All are not actually fishing kayaks. There are different types such as-

  • Sports kayak
  • Fishing kayak
  • Recreational etc.

So yeah, coming to the point don’t get confused and end up buying a kayak which will not ultimately accompany you on fishing. With typical factors, a fishing kayak should have certain criteria to fill for a smooth fishing journey. Let’s dive down to it!

Durability: Whatever you purchase, durability comes first. We don’t wanna compromise about durability right? But is a fishing kayak under 500 bucks durable enough? Well, the answer is “yes” it could be durable if you do good research. But we already did the research for you and also utilized our life experience to ensure the best fishing kayak for you, so don’t you worry!

Back to the topics, there are certain factors that determine the durability of a kayak. The core factor is the material of the kayak, what the kayak is made of! There are materials used to make kayak nowadays such as

Durable plastic is the least expensive option you got. Typically these are molded polyethylene material which forms a rigid system to will stand up to the hard substrates into the water body and shoreline. The more layer it got, the more weight the kayak gains.

With proper storage and maintenance, a well built rotomolded polyethylene material will go for a long period of time without exposed. Please check out our article on How to store a kayak vertically where you will get complete guidance. Besides, this HPPE made kayaks are the most widely used kayaks for fishing purpose.

There were so many fiberglass rods in the market, but ever heard of fiberglass kayaks? Yup, they exist with a bit increased price and have both advantages and disadvantages in terms of fishing. Fiberglass kayaks are so lightweight which greatly boost the speed of the kayak and of course easy to transport.

The glossy finish helps it to cut through the water so smoothly and makes it so responsive to take quick turns. But there is a downside of it too as I said. It can’t take a massive impact of rocks on the shore or something like the HDPE kayaks can. So yeah, fiberglass kayaks have some durability issues.

Kevlar materials are the most expensive option you got. Though they are not fishing really! Kevlar made kayaks are ultra-light and durable. I believe these kayaks or canoes are made for sports purposes mainly.

Fishability: What’s the whole point of buying a fishing kayak if you can’t go fishing with it? Yup folks, fishability of a kayak is one of the most crucial facts to be considered.

Let’s make it real simple for you, just check these features offered or not with the kayak while buying a kayak.

  • Are there enough rod holder options?
  • Is there enough storage options available?
  • Can you fit a GPS fish finder in your kayak?
  • Can you stand-up comfortably in the kayak? (though you can fish while sitting too)
  • Is there any pocket to put your baits, lure and other equipment?

Stability: We discussed this earlier in this article but let’s emphasize this again. Stability can literally save you from drowning! Calm water or running water, is your kayak stable enough? With the increasing width, stability depends.

Though stability can make the kayak slow, then again safety comes first. And also you can stand up with confidence in a wider kayak.

Comfort: With a comfortable yak, you can spend the longest day possible with nature. If it lacks comfort, nothing feels more disgusting than that. Afterall kayak fishing is all about mind relaxation and meditation right? So an uncomfortable kayak will increase the stress instead of eliminating it!

Comfort depends on a few factors. Let’s have a quick discussion of comfort.

Seat: with a comfortable seat, you can stay as long as possible in the water. You should also look for an adjustable seat. Check out what’s the seat back is made of. Something soft but firm will be a good choice. The seat influences most of the comfort level of a kayak.

However, you don’t have much of an option your you are buying a budget kayak. With the budget increases, you will get a more advanced and comfortable seat. But yeah, you always have the option to buy a seat and then equip it.

Length: you may wondering how length could be a comforting fact! Yeah, it does, if you buy a short kayak but you are a tall angler, then you can’t fit yourself comfortably in the kayak. So consider the kayak length before buying one.

Generally speaking, for a person above 6’ hight, a 10-12 foot kayak will fit good. Height below that will be fine with a shorter kayak.

Weight capacity: for a comfortable and confident fishing expedition, you need to consider that is your kayak able to hold your weight and all other equipment weight?

When you are looking for the best fishing kayak under 500 or a fishing kayak under 1000 bucks, you should look for the weight capacity first. Then calculate your weight and possible equipment ( fishing rod and reel, weights, bait, containers, tools, etc. ).

Normally I keep the 25% weight for the equipment and 75% for me, see if it fits your requirements or not.


Wrap up

Lastly, folks hope the blog will help you find the best fishing kayak for you and your loved ones. With a little care and maintenance, any kayak tends to last for a long time. But the most important of all, be safe out there in the water. Nothings come first then taking care of life right?  Happy fishing, folks!

Nicholi Wyto

Hey I'm Nicholi Wyto is a professional sports fisherman and hunter, love to enjoy spending time in Michigan’s rugged northern forests. I love to explore my experience and help others who are interested in fishing and hunting.

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