Our team at KayakFisha has worked long and hard to bring you these fishing kayak reviews in an easily understandable and digestible size for each kayak we worked with and used. Below, you will find our top choices for the best all round fishing kayaks for the money. Some brands are more expensive, others are a little more agreeable on the wallet. Despite it all, though, these kayaks will keep you afloat, keep you safe, and keep you fishing the entire duration that you’re on the water. Happy Fishing!
What to Look for in a Great Fishing Kayak
With the sudden influx of new kayak aficionados, it’s very encouraging to see the technological advances in the crafts as well, to adapt to the rising popularity of the sport. Comfort is incorporated in the innovative designs to turn your recreational jaunt on the waters, an enthralling excursion! Whether you are a seasoned veteran looking to upgrade your angler, or acquiring a kayak for the first time, the plethora of options in the market could overwhelm you, each boasting seemingly unprecedented features. However, before you go overboard with the functionalities, here are some basic factors that you should keep in consideration before making the purchase:
As a general rule, the more stable your platform is, the easier it is to cast a line and reel in a big catch without toppling head first in the water. Where as surf or racing kayak is a kayak that is designed for a paddler to go as fast as possible with stability as a secondary priority, or a mere afterthought, the fishing kayaks are constructed for novices with a comprehensive stability in mind! Wide kayaks are more stable and equipped with an upswept bow (rocker), which makes them better for your purpose.
Paddle vs. Pedal
Paddle driven offer more versatility, as they can draft in super shallow water, over trees, through mud, and more, while the pedal driven models are more suitable for open water. Since many people find it less fatiguing to use a pedal driven, and can switch to paddle any time they want if something goes amiss with the paddle drive system, they are growing in popularity. Note that you will have to pay extra for a pedal-powered model, as they can be considerably more expensive.
Sit on Top vs. Sit-in
Sit on top models allow more flexibility of getting out and wade in the water, as well as more capacity for storing fishing paraphernalia. However, the ride can get wet at times and is not suitable for fishing in extremely cold weather and amidst strong current. The sit-in models or cockpit style, basically a traditional sit-inside model with a much larger cockpit opening, offers a much safer ride in extreme conditions and wavy water.
Rigging vs. Unrigged
The main difference between a kayak and a fishing kayak is incorporated rod holders for holding your fishing rods. Since a rigged angler is more costly, a seasoned kayaker can save money and improvise his kayak by adding the rigging himself, However, getting the balance right is crucial and most kayakers would be better off investing in a rigged unit.
A great fishing model generally has two hatches, with a main hatch for fishing paraphernalia, as well as a smaller dry hatch, situated right behind the seat, for stashing away your belongings. Make sure that the hatches are easily accessible in the kayak, otherwise they are practically useless. A well designed fish hatch has a rod shoot to fit all your rods in comfortably and contributes to the overall strength. The hatch lid should also have a good seal.
“One size fits all” doesn’t cut the bill here! Whether you fit comfortably with enough leg room spared, in indispensable to determining how comfortable the kayak is. Many brands have models that are too small and can be terribly uncomfortable and also give your kayak a very false sense of stability, while a sizing that is too long can be very uncomfortable on your back and legs.