Fishing is one of the most popular outdoor activities. In US, 49 million people went fishing in 2019, and the number is keep increasing over time.
Most people first start fishing from the shore. At some point, they start exploring their own fishing spot. Because most of the shore fishing spots they search from google are already full of fishermen and fisherwomen, there aren’t much fishes left and really difficult to get a bite.
Finding your own fishing spot from the shore is not an easy task, because many times you won’t be able to access to a certain point without being on a boat. So, you may start thinking to buying a boat. After doing some research, you will realize that owning a boat needs a lot money.
Even though you have enough money to buy a boat, there are lots of things to consider: boat license, boat insurance, storage place, sports trailer, maintenance, etc.
Other option you can think of is Kayak Fishing which is getting more and more popular. If you just want to do fishing on the water like rivers, lakes, and ponds, then kayak is much better than boat.
For fishing activities, kayaks have the following pros and cons when compared to boats:
Fishing Kayak: Pros and Cons
What are the pros fishing kayaks have?
- Cheaper than boat (affordable)
- Stealth (no motor sounds when approaching to fishing spot)
- Works well on skinny water (freshwater, lake, river, pond)
- No need to plan for long hours trip (less work before and after fishing)
- Low maintenance (almost ZERO)
- Anyone can start from tomorrow (easy to learn)
- Launch and fish anywhere
What are the cons fishing kayaks have?
- Backaches (Resolve: get high quality of seat, stand up fishing)
- Can get wet
- Limited amount of equipment can be loaded
Quick Answer: Best Fishing Kayaks
Inflatable (Option: Electric Motor): 1. 385fta FastTrack™
Inflatable (Option: Gas or Electric Motor): 5. 435ps Paddleski™
Hard Shell (Pedal System): 3. PK14
Hard Shell: 4. Yellowfin 130T
Hard Shell (Modular; No Roof Rack Needed): 6. Point 65 N Tequila
Top 10 Fishing Kayak Reviews
385fta FastTrack™ model is a fishing tandem kayak designed for incredible tracking and is less affected by the wind with a tapered profile.
Anglers that need to be able to cut through water quickly will appreciate everything this 12 foot kayak has to offer. Not only will you have better tracking abilities thanks to this kayak set up, but you’re also going to have plenty of extra room and space for all of your fishing tackle and gear as well.
Not only are they extra reinforced for strength and durability, but the kayak itself has also been protected further with Non-slip crocodile hide EVA foam protective floor pad that guarantees you don’t have to worry about punctures if your fish throws the hook before you reel them in.
This model is a tandem setup that can accommodate up to three people with a maximum capacity of 635 pounds. However, it is great size for two adults fishing together.
You can choose to install an electric motor which costs around $300 for Motor and Motormount. The engine capacity can handle 34 pounds of thrust and the design of this kayak allows it to handle white-water rapids all the way up to Class II. With motor, you can easily get to many fishing spots. And if you are really into the fishing, you better want to save your time and energy from paddling.
Average Review Score: (4.9 / 5) Total 16 Reviews
350fx Fishing Explorer™ model can be used for any type of kayak activities such as whitewater kayaking, fishing, and touring. This model is designed by and for avid fishermen, so it has convenient features for fishing activity. The six individual rod holders are the real star of the show with this kayak.
Thanks to its unique construction and form factor, however, it can be inflated inside of just seven minutes, can be completely deflated inside of three minutes, and has an overall carrying capacity of 575 pounds. They’ll be plenty of room to bring home the days catch alongside everything you need to reel it in.
Compare to 1. 385fta FastTrack™ inflatable fishing kayak above, this model is more robust, more buoyant, and has 16 high-capacity self-bailing drain valves versus two on the 385fta which makes comfortable using in almost any type of water imaginable – aside from open seas.
Average Review Score: (5 / 5) Total 2 Reviews
Average Review Score: (4.8 / 5) Total 9 Reviews
Average Review Score: (4.7 / 5) Total 24 Reviews
Average Review Score: (4.4 / 5) Total 37 Reviews
You may not heard about Point 65 Sweden, but it is one of the leading outdoor brand with backpacks and kayaks since 1996 in Northern Europe.
This modular kayak, Tequila, is just amazing. If you don’t have or don’t want to spend extra money on a roof rails, roof racks, or sports trailer, but still prefer hard shell kayak, this is the best option for you. This kayak can be fit in the back of most cars.
The good thing about this kayak is, if you want to make your single kayak to tandem kayak, you can just buy middle piece separately (around $350) and connect with your two pieces from single kayak. According to many buyers’ fishing kayak reviews, this single kayak doesn’t track well, but after you make it to tandem kayak, it tracks pretty well and is maneuverable.
This kayak is not for rough waters. It is for lakes and calm rivers, and it is not recommended if you are a big and tall person because the length of the kayak is 9’6″ and the weight capacity is only 265 lb.
Average Review Score: (4 / 5) Total 1 Review
Star Pike is 12’8” long and weighs 45 pounds, which gives it extra length and strength compared to some of the other inflatable options on the market today. That extra length definitely helps this kayak track better, track smoother, and gives it a lot of extra “front-end speed” over flat water for sure.
Engineered specifically for more relaxed water, this is the kind of inflatable kayak you want to bring on bigger and lazier rivers, ponds, and larger lakes. It isn’t quite capable enough to tackle chop and seawater, but it’s going to handle everything else you throw at it for sure.
Average Review Score:
If you are going to be doing a little bit of kayak fishing in rough and choppy water, anticipate plowing down rapids and rivers that can get pretty hairy, you’re going to want to take advantage of the internal aluminum ribs of StraitEdge that provide a lot of extra strength and durability you wouldn’t have been able to enjoy elsewhere.
The aluminum ribs and a lot of extra rigidity that improves tracking and speed but also obviously reinforces the hull so that it becomes essentially “bulletproof”. The entire structure feels identical to a traditional kayak with the type of responsiveness you’d expect as well.
Measuring in at 10’6” and only weighing 45 pounds this is one of the most compact inflatable kayak you’ll find on the market today, but it’s also one of the most maneuverable. The strength and durability of this kayak let you fish places you wouldn’t have been able to before – and lets you fish with a lot more confidence in your boat than you would have had otherwise.
Average Review Score: (5 / 5) Total 2 Reviews
Simplicity is the name of the game with this particular kayak, a kayak that measures in at 12’8” long, 39 inches wide, and has a 46 pound weight for the hull.
Pike Angler can carry upwards of 400 pounds which means your average solo angler is going to have plenty of room for gear and equipment when they put in with this kayak.
2000 denier PVC tubes allow this kayak to inflate at 2.5 psi throughout, providing a strong, stable, and easy to maneuver kayak platform compared to some of the other options on the market today. The removable tracking fins improve your overall stability while also help you to focus on the fishing rather than paddling your new boat.
Average Review Score: (5 / 5) Total 2 Reviews
Specifically designed for anglers that are looking for an adventure, you will be immediately impressed at just how stable and how agile this kayak is once you get into the water.
Taking advantage of next generation proprietary whole material created by the folks at Innova, this inflatable kayak is resistant to abrasion, punctures, aging, as well as overall UV degradation. This is the kind of kayak you can expect to look and operate just as good as brand-new for years and years to come.
A solo operator with a 441 pound capacity, it’s 12’3” length and 46 pound weight make it a dream for those that want to put in on backwaters and big rivers. It also tracks relatively straight thanks to the included tracking fin, and piloting this kayak is a dream.
Average Review Score: (4 / 5) Total 1 Review
Tips for Beginners – Kayak Fishing
When you go fishing or kayak fishing, you need to research regulation, weather, and water condition beforehand.
Also, don’t forget to confirm fishing availability, catch and possession limits, and size restrictions.
How to Kayak Fishing?
Kayak fishing is a combination of kayaking and fishing but there are a few specific skills you must learn to have a successful expedition.
You must be aware of the local fishing reports depending on where you are. You must be familiar with the weather and any challenge it may pose.
You should have all the essential gears in your fishing kayak and be safe on the waters. You can get an inflatable fishing kayak and pack in all the accessories. Yet, it will not be a traditional fishing vessel. Your fishing technique will also be limited to the rod and reel.
Since you are likely to spend some time at specific spots on a course, you should be aware of the presence of any other vessel, especially speed boats and larger boats.
The first thing you should learn about kayak fishing is sight fishing. You are not casting a net to capture all the fishes found in the area.
Sight fishing is basically looking as far into the water as possible to spot fish and then to lure it for the catch. You can use polarized glasses that will almost completely counter the glare emanating from the surface of the lake, river or coastal waterway.
Some water bodies have very little visibility so sight fishing may be difficult. In places where it is possible, sight fishing is fun and rewarding. You can use a sit-on-top or standing Sea Eagle kayak for sight fishing.
You should always have the rod ready and you must be prepared to change the lures as and when needed.
Not all fish respond to the same bait. You should not take much time to change the lure or cast the rod when you find some fish schooling in one place, feeding or fighting.
For this purpose, have the rod and lure ready alongside the fishing kayak. This is easier than having the rod aimed towards the front. A rod placed straight over the front deck will make it difficult to maneuver whenever there is some wind.
You must learn to be stealthy.
You cannot make too much noise. Whether you are paddling or placing and controlling the fishing rod, none of the accessories or essentials should make a lot of sound.
The rod should not knock against the fishing kayak. You should paddle softly in order to avoid splashing on the water. Vibrations, sounds and splashing water will drive fish away.
They will swim away from the shallower parts to the deeper parts of the river or lake. Some people get a fishing kayak with pedals but not with motor for this reason.
You should learn to drift. Paddle to get to the fishing spot.
Once you are there, stop paddling and use the natural current of the river or the wind over a lake to drift slowly and steadily.
You can use an occasional stroke on the right or left to stay on the intended course. Drifting is crucial for kayak fishing.
Things to Have With You
An increasing number of hobbyists are getting into kayak fishing. It no longer seems to be a mere trend as preferences for fishing from kayaks are on the rise.
The benefits are hard to ignore. It’s a cheaper and less fussy way to get out and fish in the waters. There’s no fuel, maintenance, and other preparatory requirements; and there’s no need to look for (and queue at) a ramp to launch your kayak.
Kayak fishing also opens up more spots to hook your prized fish where your big boat can’t steer into.
If you’re considering on embarking on this alternative fishing experience, the following are things to have with you when kayak fishing.
The kayak is, of course, a primary gear.
It is your flotation equipment that enables you to move conveniently and swiftly on water. There is a variety of choices and you need to select one that fits your skill, purpose, and storage capabilities.
Touring kayaks are fast and easy to maneuver. These are great for long trips but may require a lot of space to store.
Inflatable kayaks are smaller in size, so they are better options if you need to consider storage space.
A kayak paddle is a necessary match to your primary equipment. It is your main gear for movement.
There is also a variety of choices. Types differ according to shape and material used.
Beginners may be content with commonly designed paddles. But as you get more skilled, you may prefer specific shapes for performance and power issues. When it comes to material, you may want to consider durability and adjustability.
Beginners may want to prioritize a lightweight feature. These paddle types are less fatiguing and can get you going for longer.
Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
A PFD is a must. This strap-on lifejacket ensures that you are able to float in water anytime you fall in.
Designs vary but the most useful ones will have multiple compartments for storing your lures, D-rings, and other fishing gear.
Consider adjustable shoulder and side straps for better and comfortable fitting.
Fishing Rod and Reel
These are your instruments for catching fish. The fishing rod can be medium to long length.
You can choose between an inshore and offshore rod. Some may be heavy for a novice so opting for a lightweight material is an option.
The fishing reel is your device for casting a line, baiting fish, and reeling your catch in.
You can choose between a spin reel or a baitcasting reel. Before you take the fishing gears on the kayak, make sure that you are used to them.
Other Essential Accessories
There are essential kayak accessories you should consider getting to complete your gear and be more prepared for a safe and enjoyable time during kayak fishing.
A first aid kit should be on hand so you can treat cuts and other wounds immediately.
A tackle storage box lets you organize your fishing tools neatly.
Consider getting mountable rod holders and paddle holders if your kayak doesn’t have them yet. These secure your gear onto the kayak so you don’t lose them during sudden jolts. You may also opt for leashes.
Do’s and Don’ts When Kayak Fishing
Kayak fishing is still quite new to other hobbyists.
This interesting method of catching fish may be one way to spice up the way you go fishing and could probably get more friends to join you on your next fishing trip.
Kayak fishing is relatively safe and can be high on fun but it can quickly turn dangerous if you don’t prepare well.
Keep fishing safe and pure joy in your kayak by making careful planning and consideration of all you need to do and have for an upcoming kayak fishing adventure.
Following are some do’s and don’ts when kayak fishing.
Recommend You To Do
1. Do maintain an awareness of weather conditions and of your surroundings.
Check weather forecasts before launching out on a certain day.
Prepare your items keeping in mind what the weather conditions may be like. Maintain awareness of your surroundings as you fish in your kayak.
Stay mindful of other boats and vessels in the fishing area. Be ready to maneuver and make signals so you can keep a safe distance from them.
2. Do consider investing in useful electronic equipment.
GPS, compass, fish finders, and the like help you maintain the right direction, preventing you from getting lost. It gets you to places and to your catch faster. It redirects you on the right path sooner.
Horns, flares, radio, and other communication and signaling devices help you alert rescuers when you need immediate attention. These also inform others of your presence on the water, helping you avoid collisions and other hazards.
3. Do get yourself in physical shape and condition.
The seasoned kayak fishing hobbyist may look at this practice as an exciting recreational activity and a great way to exercise and burn calories.
For the beginner, however, kayak fishing may be physically strenuous and risky if the body is not in physical shape.
You can choose basic workouts that build strength and endurance in order for you to handle the physical challenges this activity entails. Do arm and leg reps so you can build and strengthen those muscles you’ll be relying on to paddle and navigate you through the waters.
Try jogging, biking, stair climbing and other routines to work on your stamina.
Please Don’t Do
1. Don’t disregard your physical readiness and existing medical conditions.
Get a recommendation from your doctor. And, if you have a current medical condition, let your doctor assess and approve you for kayak fishing before planning to go on one.
Each body uniquely handles the physical factors and environmental factors (like extreme heat or cold) that play into kayak fishing.
Also, know how to schedule your trips. You may be in tip-top condition at one time but quite the opposite at another time.
2. Don’t go kayak fishing unprepared nor unlearned.
As you fish and paddle your kayak, you’d want to use appropriate gear and execute right techniques. So, research, learn, and get basic training in kayak fishing.
By researching plus learning from professionals, you can learn key principles on proper paddling techniques and choosing more appropriate equipment. These will help you be more guided and strategic each time you go on a kayak fishing trip.
3. Don’t consume the wrong types of food and drink.
Have a sufficient amount and bring the right types of food and drink.
You’re never sure how long you’ll be in the water. Kayak fishing may run short. But, you may also enjoy it too much and decide to stay longer. Or, you may have made a promise not to leave without a catch and the wait may have turned out long.
The hot sun can get you dehydrated quickly so have enough water and bring fruits that are rich in water. You get natural sugars and you replenish those fluids lost.
Colas and beers are welcome treats but drink pure, plain water more. No water ride may be complete without some snacks but favor nutritious types like nuts, boiled eggs, and other protein-rich treats.
Must Know Fishing Regulations in US
The fishing regulations in the United States are laid down as per the statutes of the Fisheries Law. Fisheries Law includes federal and state legislation. There are many relevant laws such as the Magnuson-Stevens Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act.
Purpose of the Fisheries Law
The collective of such laws ensures endangered fish species are protected, overfishing is averted, the natural habitats of marine species are not damaged and there are demarcated waters where people can fish.
The laws also have provisions to protect the water bodies, whether freshwater lakes and rivers or the coastal areas and the high seas up to the international waters.
There are different types of fishing and accordingly relevant laws are applicable.
Commercial fishing has more stringent regulations. Recreational fishing or sport fishing is much easier. One does need a fishing license though. Commercial fishing requires permits.
There are catch limits and also a clearly marked fishing season. An individual with a relevant license can indulge in recreational or sport fishing aboard a kayak in public waters around the country at most times of the year.
Recreational fishing does not call for the implementation of stringent regulations such as annual catch limit or the statutes of Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, Fish and Wildlife Improvement Act, Fishermen’s Protective Act, International Fisheries Law or National Fish Habitat Conservation Act. You can fish on public waters such as national lakeshores and seashores, beaches, rivers and those in national wildlife refuges.
Where Can You Fish?
There are 270 national parks and 309 national wildlife refuges where you can fish. These are administered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
A total of 245 million acres of land under the Bureau of Land Management are accessible to the public for recreational fishing, and there are two hundred and eight rivers and streams where you can fish.
You can find best places for kayak fishing in the United States from here.
Types of Fishing License
It is imperative to have a fishing license before you embark on an expedition aboard a kayak. Every state has its own regulation for fishing license. You must read about the relevant state law.
Fishing licenses are typically provided by Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks or Department of Fish and Game. There are a few types of fishing license.
- Who: Residents vs. Nonresidents
- Where: Saltwater vs. Freshwater
- Why: Recreational vs. Commercial
You must apply for a nonresident fishing license if you are on vacation in another state. Freshwater fishing license does not enable you to take your kayak out to the sea and catch a bass.
How to Apply for Fishing Licenses
You can apply for a fishing license online, over the phone or in person.
You can also send a mail and receive the license subject to approval. You must pay the required fee to get the license. Every state has its own process of application. Not all states accept applications by mail or over the phone.
Online application is the easiest and fastest way to get a fishing license in any of the states across the US.