The 6 Best Fishing Kayaks of 2019

A fishing kayak can be a great purchase, but a good one can run you a pretty penny very easily. Before you purchase your first or next kayak, read this guide to make sure you are making an educated purchase.

1. Best Sit-on-Top Fishing Kayak: Hobie Mirage Outback

Hobie Mirage Outback

Sit-on-top kayaks are preferred by most anglers as they offer improved visibility and a drier ride. Moreover, they generally provide greater storage space than most sit-inside models do.

Good to Know

The Mirage will not be complete without covering the proprietary drive mechanism – the MirageDrive 180.

This allows the user to move his or her feet back and forth to push a set of pedals in the cockpit area. These pedals then transmit the energy into two fins extending below the hull.

These fins beat back and forth, pushing the water away and driving your kayak forward.

You must still supply the muscle power to propel the craft by using your legs rather than your arms, and enjoying a greater mechanical advantage.

Though the Mirage bears a high price tag, it is worth the expense.

Other Features

• The 33-inch-wide kayak provides a stable platform for anglers
• Includes the MirageDrive 180 pedal propulsion system for hands-free kayaking
• Comes with a twist-and-stow rudder that folds out of the way when not in use
• Fish-finder ready, the Mirage features through-hull cable plugs and a built-in transducer mount

2. Best Sit-Inside Fishing Kayak: Old Town Loon 126


While most anglers prefer sit-on-top kayaks, some prefer the drier ride, lighter weight and improved safety profile of traditional sit-inside models.

If this sounds like you, then it is hard to go wrong with the Old Town Loon 126 Angler Kayak.

Good to Know

This 12-foot-6-inch long craft includes a number of features that will make fishing a breeze. Part of its appeal is the comfort it provides.

It’s like the difference between riding around in a luxury automobile and a beat-up old Jeep.

The Loon’s seat is unparalleled and it can be adjusted in myriad ways. There is ample padding to comfort your caboose and the fabric is a quick-drying mesh to help reduce problems with sweat.

With other subtle creature comforts, like a cup holder and water bottle bracket, the Loon provides one of the plushest rides available.

Other Features

• Removable work deck with USB port that allows you to keep all your handheld devices (GPS, cellphone, etc.) charged and at your fingertips.
• Active-comfort seat provides anglers with a comfortable ride
• Includes anchor trolley system
• Sharp keel line improves tracking and stability
• Flush-mounted rod holders

3. Best Tandem Fishing Kayak: Native Watercraft Ultimate FX 15 Tandem


Tandem kayaks are a great choice for those seeking a kayak built for two.

You can still pilot them by yourself but it typically doesn’t make sense to opt for a tandem model unless a partner tags along for the bulk of your fishing trips.

In all cases, it is important to select a high-quality tandem kayak which includes all the features you require, and the Ultimate FX 15 certainly fits that bill.

Good to Know

While it has all the standard features you’d expect from a fishing-ready tandem kayak, it also borrows some design principles from canoes which makes the craft innovative as it is effective.

Note that while some Native Watercraft kayaks feature their proprietary propeller-based propulsion mechanism, the Ultimate FX 15 Tandem does not.

It must be paddled, although many users report that they managed to paddle effectively while riding it solo.

The Ultimate FX 15 is not cheap but you can’t get such high-quality craft for much less.

Other Features

• Tight line anchor trolley
• Adjustable seats offer anglers the ability to ride low, ride high or flip the seat up and stand
• Convertible to a solo-seat arrangement
• Padded arm rests
• Grooved tracks for mounting accessories

4. Best Fishing Kayak for the Money: Riot Kayaks Escape 12 Angler

Every time cost becomes the primary consideration for a purpose, you are forced to make sacrifices and compromises.

The important thing to do in these cases is to forego those things that you can do without while still ensuring that you select a unit with the features you need. The Riot Kayak Escape 12 Angler provides exactly this.

Good to Know

It is a 12-foot-long, sit-on-top kayak that offers premium performance and options at an intermediate price point.

At 30 inches wide, it provides enough stability to allow you to fish with confidence, yet still tracks well and travels fast.

This is a great model for those who are just starting out in the hobby, who want a little more substance and style than many of the economy models offer.

Other Features

• Pilot rudder system allows precision control of the craft
• Four flush-mounted rod holders and one swivel-mounted rod holder
• Anchor and trolley system
• High-backed seat provides great comfort

5. Best Ocean Fishing Kayak: Wilderness Systems Thresher 155


When selecting a kayak for open waters, speed, stability and the ability to track in a straight line for long distances are the most important considerations.

However, reliability – which is primarily a manifestation of smart design and quality craftsmanship – is also important given the high-stakes of open-water kayaking.

The Wilderness Systems Thresher 155 has all of these qualities and more.

Good to Know

This sit-on-top kayak is built for speed. But unlike many other quick kayaks, it is incredibly stable even in the open water.

It also has ample storage room and a clean deck design, giving plenty of room to cast, retrieve and battle big fish.

In the end, the Wilderness Systems Thresher 155 provides a great value for the money.

Other Features

• 450-pound capacity allows you to drag big fish back to shore without worry
• Fully removable fishfinder pod
• Adjustable foot pegs to provide the ultimate in comfort
• Oversized bow hatch holds a ton of gear

6. Best River Kayak: Jackson Kayak Coosa


While you can use any kayak suitable for small waters to scoot around a lazy backwater stream, you need one that’s built to handle fast current if you intend to fish large, powerful rivers.

You have to prioritize a kayak that is fast and stable but remains nimble enough to slip by rocks and other hazards. Jackson Kayak Coosa fits this bill perfectly.

Measuring a hair over 11 feet in length and 32 inches in width, the Coosa provides a great combination of stability, speed and performance.

Other Features

• 23-inch standing platform allows you a better view of the water while you fish
• Go Pro camera mounts are positioned around the kayak which makes filming your adventures a breeze
• Removable skid plate
• Ergonomic seat makes your ride comfortable

All credit for this great list goes to Outdoor Empire.

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