Fishing & Hunting Tips

Sit in vs sit on top kayak – which one is best for fishing

Let me tell you a short story. On a fine Sunday, a novice paddler decided to get into the water with a sit-inside kayak and do some fishing. Everything was going perfectly but when he got a bite, he got excited and lost his balance. He got a bit shaky cause he’s not that good at balancing. So ultimately, the yak flipped and the whole kayak was covered with water. That was not a happy ending and with that, his whole day ruins.

Now, folks, you might be thinking that why I’m making this horrifying! Cause that could happen with you too if you don’t get yourself mastered in few skills and go fishing with a Sit-inside kayak. Truly I’m a big fan of these sit-inside kayaks because of it’s excellent trackability and speed. But when it comes to fishing, Sit-on-top kayak will end the debate.

But let’s not go to the verdict now. Everything on earth has some bright sides and downsides. So does the Sit-inside and Sit-on-top kayak has. Let’s check out all the practical pros and cons of Sit-inside and Sit-on-top kayak for fishing and finish the never-ending debate of Sit-in vs Sit-on-top kayak.

A basic comparison of Sit-inside and Sit-on-top kayak

Sit-inside Sit-on-top
Sit inside of a cockpit Sit on the molded cockpit/chair
Warm and dry Exposed to water
Longer body and more narrow Wider deck
Faster Slower
Better Tracking and Handling Better maneuverability

Sit-inside vs sit-on-top kayak, Pros, and Cons for fishing in the regular sense

Sit in/sit inside kayaks (SIK)

Oh boy! These Sit-inside kayaks are the lifesaver in the bone-shaking winter days. It’s really fun to have a tour with it or paddling around the whole morning for recreation. But an activity like fishing, not something any angler will recommend much!

Let’s see the pros and cons of a sit-inside kayak, how convenient is this for fishing!

  • Provides great comfort in winter season when the water is freezing cold
  • Typically sit-inside kayak has greater speed than a SOT
  • Sit-inside kayak has a much better trackability (tracking: it’s a term refers to how straight the kayak moves if the kayak keeps it’s motion straight after you stop paddling that indicates the kayak has good tracking power. In other words, tracking is how effortlessly it cuts the water).
  • The low center of gravity allows it much easier to paddle
  • If you wanna keep yourself dry, SIK is the only option
  • Usually lightweight
  • Sit-inside kayaks are not beginner-friendly, you need to master a bunch of skills to comfortably drive a SIK
  • The in/out from a SIK is not an easy task, sometimes it feels hideous
  • Kayaks with good tracking ability often lack maneuverability
  • In a sit-inside kayak, once you’re in, you’re in! There’s no way you can move your body freely
  • Standing up while fishing? Not a chance!
  • Flipped over from a sit-inside kayak (which is pretty normal incidence for a beginner) is no different than a nightmare, the SIK will be filled with water and getting inside again will be the hardest part. Trust me, you don’t wanna have that horrible experience precisely in freezing cold water.
  • Sit-inside kayaks don’t have much of a storage option
  • One of the major downsides of SIK is they are less fishable comparing with a SOT
  • Sit-inside kayaks are less stable

Sit-on-top kayaks (SOT)

Sit-on-top kayaks are born to fish, they gained huge popularity in the fishing community in a very short period of time. Let’s find out why!

  • These kayaks are champion in terms of stability, typically wider hull gives them ultra-stability
  • You can stand-up with confidence even in a mid-range budget kayak, a SOT kayak under 700 bucks will do the job perfectly. Standing up while fishing will promote the sight fishing and better castability
  • SOT kayaks are the best choices for a Novice paddler, cause it’s stable and doesn’t require much of a skill
  • In terms of Fishability, Rigability SOT kayaks are unbeatable
  • Greater Storage capability for tons of fishing equipment
  • The sitting gesture is comparatively comfortable than SIK
  • Better maneuverability than SIK (maneuverability refers to how responsive the kayak is! In a broad sense, how quickly and efficiently the kayak turns and responds to turning paddle strokes. Usually, shorter kayaks are the most maneuverable)
  • You can mount a handful of gears such as fishing rod holder, GPS fishfinder, GoPro and many more in SOT kayaks
  • SOT kayak don’t allow water for long, it has these Scrapper holes which facilitate the drainage system
  • You can travel with your partner in a SOT, many SOT kayak offers enough room for 2-person. You can even paddle with your dog in a SOT
  • enter/exit is much easier than SIK
  • Less chance of Flipping over; so safe!
  • Sit-on-top kayaks are usually heavier than the Sit-inside kayaks which decrease the speed
  • Normally these kayaks are bad at tracking
  • In a SOT, there’s no way you can keep yourself dry
  • Since SOT kayaks are heavier(because they can carry much weight) it takes more physical effort to paddle forward
  • A cheap sit-on-top kayak can be pretty uncomfortable for a long day fishing

Certain conditions to consider

What’s the weather status/ what’s the time of the year?

Despite the fact that humans have much better adaptability, fishing is such an activity where you need comfort to focus. If you’re in a situation where your kayak doesn’t suit the weather status, you cannot fish for a long time.

In the summer season, you don’t need to keep yourself warm. A sit-on-top kayak is a perfect choice in this time of the year. Moreover, getting wet is a kind of a blessing in hot summer weather. And Sit-on-top kayaks will surely allow you to get wet.

The colder season is a bit challenging. Now we know that in general sense a sit-on-top kayak will outperform a Sit-inside kayak in terms of fishing, the colder season could be a change of rules. You need to keep yourself warm and dry which a Sit-inside kayak will do, the cockpit will help you make yourself comfortable.

What are you fishing for?

The main purpose is fishing, isn’t it? If you’re planning for casual fishing with a single fishing rod and reel, you can go for a sit-inside kayak. But if you’re planning for serious fishing with tons of fishing gear, either it’s a striped bass or a little panfish you’re gonna need a Sit-on-top kayak.

Since sit-on-top kayaks are much more stable for it’s wider hull, it will let you stand up. And sight-fishing is so essential for any kind of fishing. Even sometimes you need better castability such as in bass fishing, in certain situations a SOT in the #1 recommendation.

How much gear/storage you need?

If you’re planning to stow your whole fishing setup with Tech Gadgets such as Fish Finder, GoPro action cam then SIk or the sit-inside kayak is not gonna be a wise choice. In that case, a SOT kayak should be your cup of tea.

SOT has always better storage capability than a SIK. Although they feel cumbersome in the water, it’s always good to have all the equipment on the yak for fishing.

But if you just wanna paddling around through a slow-moving river or flat water, relaxing and listening to jazz, then Sit-inside kayak will be an amazing option.


Let’s come to a verdict

The truth is folks, bot SIK and SOT are amazing. It depends on you which one matches your situation. But if you ask me, considering all the facts I will go with a Sit-on-top kayak. Cause it doesn’t limit me with anything and gives you the full freedom. But yeah, in much colder water I might keep the Sit-inside kayaks in consideration.

Hope this blog helps to solve your confusions. Check out TopReviewGeek for more tips, tricks, informations and gears for fishing. We love to share our experience with angler folks around the globe. Happy kayaking!

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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