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10 Best Fishing Kayaks for 2021

If you love fishing you’ve probably had the experience of seeing fish rise just beyond your reach. While fishing the McKenzie River in Oregon I had just that experience. The sun was setting and the fish were rising. So many fish. Despite casting my hardest, it was like the fish knew where they could safely feed free of interruption. Boy did I wish I had a quality kayak or SUP at that moment.

Whether you fish lakes, rivers, or the ocean, a good fishing kayak is going to allow you to cover more water. This means fishing to more fish, and getting to those tough-to-reach spots you can’t always cast to from the shore. If you’re not already an angler, or are just getting started with fishing, there are a ton of options for fishing kayaks these days. Every major boat manufacturer produces one, so we’ve put together a list of the best fishing kayaks for 2021 to meet the needs of every angler.

You’ll find sit-on-top kayaks, inflatable kayaks, and pedal-drive kayaks, all ranging in length, weight and customizability and coming in at varying price points. And if you’re new to paddling, check out our guide on how to paddle like a pro before you get out on the water.

Best Introductory Fishing Kayak: Perception Pescador Pro 12

The Pescador Pro 12 strikes a nice balance in the kayak fishing world. Its 12 foot length offers both maneuverability and stability. Designed for lakes, ponds, and flat water, this sit-on-top kayak has plenty of deck space to store gear, multiple rod holders, and rails to mount all your accessories.

Best Top-of-the-Line Fishing Kayak: Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12

Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12

Hobie kayaks are like the Harley-Davidsons of the kayaking world. They’re totally customizable, have revolutionary technology, and are top of the line. One thing that sets this kayak apart is its MirageDrive 180 foot pedal. This foot pedal allows you to propel the boat forward and backward with your feet, freeing up your hands to manage line, tie on a new fly, or sip your beverage. Hobie kayaks come with their H-Rail accessory systems, which allows you to mount all sorts of gear without drilling into the boat.

Best Fishing Kayak for Small Water: Bonafide SS 107

What makes the Bonafide SS 107 great for smaller water is its 10-foot 7-inch size. Shorter kayaks offer better maneuverability and you navigate tight corners on small streams and rivers. Bonafide has added some thoughtful touches that really set this fishing kayak apart. Their HiRise seat is comfortable and lets you sit up higher. A 34-inch width brings stability and storage space. YakAttack Gear Traks allow you to stash all your gear out of the way and at the ready.

Best Fishing Kayak for Large Water: Riot Mako 14

The Riot Mako 14 is ready for your biggest adventures. It’s 14-foot length provides a ton of stability on choppy water and is stable enough to stand up and walk around on. This means tons of visibility and farther casting. Its Impulse Pedal Drive allows hands-free operation while seated. And the fully adjustable, quick-drying seat will keep you comfortable all day.

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Best Inflatable Fishing Kayak: Aquaglide Blackfoot Angler 130

Inflatable kayaks are easier to store and transport. If you plan to fish remote waters that require a hike in, consider an inflatable kayak. The Blackfoot 130 can fit one or two anglers, has a 650-pound capacity, and only weighs 41 pounds. With plenty of space to store your cooler, tackle boxes, and fishing rods, this kayak will keep you on the water all day long.

Best Fishing Kayak for Fly Fishing: Jackson Mayfly

The Mayfly has been designed to help fly fishermen and women enjoy their time on the water. Whether you’re fishing a flat or a river, fly anglers have more line to manage than spin casters. Jackson has addressed this by making everything on this boat as snag free as possible. They’ve also added fly-fishing-specific design elements, like integrated fly patches and unique fly box storage.

Most Customizable Fishing Kayak: Nucanoe Frontier 12

This might be a hotly contested category. I’m sure some Hobie anglers would say their Hobie is the most customizable. And honestly, all of these kayaks offer the gear tracks and deck straps you’ll need to build out your fishing kayaking. But the Frontier 12 stands out for a number of reasons. It can be powered by paddle, pedal or motor attached to the back (sold separately). This sit-on-top has an open deck to hold your crate and cooler, or for use as a platform. The Frontier 12 is stable enough to stand up in, meaning you’ll have 12 feet of space to fight that fish. 172-inch of Freedom Track is enough space to mount whatever gear you might need for the day. 

Lightest Fishing Kayak: Star Challenger Inflatable Fishing Kayak

The Star Challenger only weighs 27 pounds. Meaning it’s perfect for your hike-in fishing destinations. It also packs down small if storage is a concern. That said, the Challengers 10-foot 8-inch length and 9-inch tube sides provide plenty of stability for your fishing adventure. YakAttack SwitchPad mounts allow you to customize this kayak to your heart’s desire.

Best Tri-Powered Fishing Kayak: Wilderness Systems Radar 115

The Radar 115 is the ultimate multi-powered fishing machine. In addition to paddling, this kayak offers pedal drive and is compatible with multiple Helix pedal models. It also has a stern mounting plate for your trolling motor. Sturdy enough to stand up in, the Radar 115 has no shortage of dry storage, mounting tracks, and bungee storage.

Best Sit Inside Fishing Kayak: Pelican Argo 100X Angler

Pelican has built their Argo 100X with all the bells and whistles a kayak angler needs. This fishing kayak has multiple rod holders, including one on a swivel for trolling. A front storage hatch will keep your gear dry, while the rear bungee tank well securely holds often-needed items at the ready. A cockpit table is great for holding your bottle or giving you room to work as you rerig your set up.

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