July 25, 2022 12 min read

Sit-In Fishing Kayaks

sit in kayaks on a lake near an ice berg

The first decision you need to make before purchasing a fishing kayak is whether you want a sit-in or sit-on variation. 

Sit-on kayaks are usually favored in the fishing community as they have wide-open decks that are excellent for storage and movement. With that being said, however, “sit in” kayaks shouldn’t be totally eliminated because they actually come with a few benefits that set them apart from their sit-on cousins.

In this article, we’re going to narrow down 6 of the best sit-in fishing kayaks while also highlighting their benefits and the things you need to consider before purchasing. If you’re looking for the ultimate sit-in fishing kayak, keep on reading!

What is a Sit In Fishing Kayak?

Man on a sit in kayak fishing on a lake

If you’re new to the kayaking world, then you may not know the difference between the sit-in and sit-on kayak variations. 

Sit-on kayaks have an open cockpit to make it easier for the paddler to get on and off their kayak. As your body is entirely exposed in a sit-on kayak, they provide you with large amounts of leg room and also give you more freedom during your paddle.

Sit in kayaks, however, have an enclosed cockpit meaning the lower half of your body sits inside the kayak. They can be harder to get in and out of, especially if you’re a taller or heavier paddler, but they do have a few benefits when it comes to kayak fishing and kayaking in general. 

Benefits of a Sit-In Fishing Kayak

The first benefit of a sit-inside kayak for fishing is that they usually weigh far less than a sit-on top kayak. This lower weight not only makes it easier to paddle a sit-in through the water, but it also means that transportation of the kayak can be done with just one person. 

Secondly, a sit-in kayak gives you far more protection than the sit-on top variety. This comes in especially useful if you’re paddling in cold air and water temperatures. Granted, you’ll still need to dress appropriately, but you won’t be at risk of getting wet from water spray.

A sit-inside kayak's final advantage is that they offer paddlers more dry storage areas for fishing gear and personal belongings. You may need to get out of the kayak to access them, but at least you have peace of mind that your expensive equipment won’t get ruined.

Things to Consider When Purchasing a Sit-In Fishing Kayak

Before you purchase a kayak there are a few things you need to consider. These things include the kayak’s length, width, weight, weight capacity, and any of the accessories that come with the boat. After all, you’re spending your hard-earned money, so you want the kayak to be perfect for you and all your needs.

Length

Generally, longer and thinner kayaks will be able to slice through the water at much faster speeds than shorter, wider kayaks. Although a thin kayak's speed and tracking are a lot better, their overall maneuverability and stability are compromised, so that’s definitely something to think about. 

When it comes to a sit-inside fishing kayak, a length of 10 to 12 feet would be ideal. For more information on how to size your sit-in kayak check out our article The Ultimate Kayak Sizing Guide.

Width

Man fishing using Advanced Elements inflatable kayak, Red

The wider the kayak the more stable it will be thanks to its enhanced surface area. As fishing requires some movement, you’ll want a kayak that’ll remain stable so you don’t end up capsizing. Any kayak over 30” should provide you with a stable enough platform for fishing.

Weight

If you plan on paddling alone then the weight of your kayak will also need to be thought about. If your kayak is too heavy, you will struggle to get it on and off your car, and it will also be difficult to carry to the water. 

Stronger paddlers may not have an issue with the weight of their kayaks, but if you’re on the smaller side then you should try and find a kayak that you can comfortably carry by yourself. 

Weight Capacity

All kayaks have a maximum weight capacity that you should remain under to ensure your kayak performs at its best. If you go over the weight limit, your kayak will sink into the water, making it difficult to paddle and control. 

Usually, a single paddler will be well under this total limit, but with additional fishing gear, your weight may be creeping up to this number much faster than you think.

Before purchasing a kayak, you should weigh yourself and any of the fishing gear you’ll be taking on board with you. Once you’ve calculated your combined weight, compare it to the kayaks you’re interested in. Ideally, you want to be under 10 to 20 lbs, so you can upgrade any gear in the future if you so wish.

Accessories

This one isn’t a huge issue, but if you’re shopping on a budget, then the accessories that come included in the kayak package can make all the difference. 

Kayaks can be an expensive purchase which can then be increased even further if you have to go out and buy separate paddles, pumps, or carry bags. If you’re purchasing a hard shell kayak, then look for options that come with a paddle. For inflatables, you’ll also want it to come with a pump and a carry bag. 

The 3 Best Hard Shell Sit-In Fishing Kayaks

Perception Sound 10.5 Sit-Inside Kayak

Perception sound sit inside kayak for fishing and fun

Dimensions Weight Weight Capacity Check Price

10’6 x 29.5”

46 lbs

335 lbs

Check Price

The Perception Sound 10.5 Sit Inside Kayak has a 56” cockpit length and was designed with larger paddlers in mind. You see, this kayak is more of a half sit-in kayak. The cockpit doesn’t extend up as far as most others giving you more legroom and more space to move around.

During construction, Perception added a tri-keel hull to improve the kayak's stability and ease of steering in slow-moving rivers and calm coastal waters. Whether you’re paddling along or trying to reel in a fish, this stability is highly appreciated as no one wants to end up in the water.

The Sound 10.5 not only performs well for general paddling, but it also has some great fishing features that’ll come in handy during your next outing. 

Towards the front of the kayak, you’ll find a molded dashboard that has space to store essential items and also features two mounting points for the Perception Solo Mount Accessory system. This accessory system allows you to add Perception accessories like rod holders and camera mounts. 

For comfort, Perception added footrests that can be adjusted to suit paddlers of all sizes. These footrests sit directly in front of the ergonomic adjustable zone seat that offers the paddler optimum support and comfort. 

Your larger items, like your cooler, fishing crate, or tackle box, can be stored in the rear storage area that also features two molded-in rod holders so you can fish hands-free. 

Package

Although Perception added useful fishing elements to their kayak, when you purchase the Sound 10.5 all you’ll receive is the kayak itself. This means you’ll have to purchase a paddle separately.

Specifications and Features

  • 56” cockpit
  • Tri-keel hull
  • Molded-in dashboard with accessory mounting system
  • Adjustable footrests
  • Ergonomic seat
  • Rear storage area with flush mount rod holders

Pros & Cons

 PROS CONS
  • The tri-keel hull helps to improve the boat stability and tracking.
  • As the kayak is more of a half sit-in kayak, the cockpit is very spacious for larger or taller paddlers.
  • You can attach additional accessories to the front mount system.
  • The rear features two molded in rod holders so you can fish hands-free.
  • You’ll only receive the kayak meaning you’ll have to source a paddle separately.

Perception Flash 9.5 Sit-Inside Kayak

Pelican Sprint XR lightweigth one person kayak for fishing

Dimensions Weight Weight Capacity Check Price

12’ x 28”

50 lbs

325 lbs

Check Price

The second sit in Perception fishing kayak to make our list is the Flash 9.5. Perception constructed this kayak out of durable high molecular weight polyethylene to keep it lightweight and easy to carry. 

When looking at the Flash 9.5, you can see it has a deep V chine hull that increases its stability and tracking even in choppy water conditions. This hull design also responds well to shifts in positioning and body weight.

As sit-in kayaks can sometimes be difficult to bail out of when you capsize, Perception equipped the Flash 9.5 with a stern bulkhead that improves flotation and ensures you’re able to exit the kayak if needs be. 

With the Flash 9.5, you aren’t limited to just using it as a fishing kayak as it can also be used as a recreational kayak for paddlers of all abilities. As you’ll more than likely be spending long days out on the water, Perception fitted their kayak with an Ergoflex G2 seating system that offers extra back support and increased airflow. 

The features of the Flash 9.5 don’t stop there. At the rear end of the kayak, you’ll find a quick-lock hatch to keep your personal belongings dry, a front storage area for your fishing gear, adjustable foot braces, and knee pads to protect your knees against the side of the boat, and a built-in bottle holder.

Package

Like the Perception Sound 10.5, the Flash 9.5 doesn’t include a paddle so you’ll need to purchase one separately. 

Specifications and Features

  • Deep V chine hull
  • Stern bulkhead
  • Ergoflex G2 seating system
  • Front and back storage areas
  • Knee pads and footrests
  • Bottle holders

Pros & Cons

 PROS CONS
  • The Flash 9.5 is easy to maneuver and has fantastic tracking. 
  • Perception designed it with a deep V chine hull to improve stability out on the water.
  • You will be comfy even during long days out on the water thanks to the Ergoflex G2 seating system.
  • There is adequate storage at the front and rear of the kayak.
  • It’s on the higher end of the price scale. 
  • It doesn’t include a paddle.

Pelican Argo 100XR Sit-In Kayak

Pelican Argo 100xr sit in kayak

Dimensions Weight Weight Capacity Check Price

10’ x 29”

43 lbs

300 lbs

Check Price

The Pelican Argo 100XR Sit-In Kayak also has a more open cockpit than most traditional sit-in kayaks to improve comfort and to give the paddler more room. Inside the cockpit is an Ergocoast seating system that can be completely removed from the kayak or adjusted to suit your personal preferences.

Pelican flattened out the hull of the Argo 100XR and added floating blocks on either side of the kayak to ensure safety while out on the water. They also designed the hull to be a twin-arched multi-chine hull that makes the fishing kayak incredible stable and easy to get in and out of.

The back of the kayak features a quick-lock hatch, and additional storage can be found towards the front of the kayak in the form of a small bungee area. Along with storage space, Pelican added adjustable footrests, premium knee pads, and two bottle holders for water bottles or similar sized accessories.

Two rigging tracks at the front of the boat are available for you to install Pelican accessories and you can even go hands-free and secure your paddle in the side paddle tie-down.

Package

Pelican didn’t include a paddle with their Argo 100XR kayak, so you’ll need to purchase one separately. 

Specifications and Features

  • Ergocoast seating system
  • Twin arched multi-chine hull
  • Front and back storage areas
  • Adjustable footrests and knee pads
  • Two front rigging tracks
  • Tie-down paddle holder

Pros & Cons

 PROS CONS
  • You can securely fasten your paddle away while fishing with the tie-downs on the side of the kayak.
  • The boat is extremely lightweight making it easy for one person to carry it to the water. 
  • The more open cockpit design makes getting in and out of the kayak a breeze. 
  • You can attach additional accessories to the front rigging tracks.
  • It doesn’t include a paddle. 

The 3 Best Inflatable Sit-In Fishing Kayaks

Intex Challenger Inflatable Sit-Inside Kayak

Intex challenger kayak with aluminum oars and air pump

Dimensions Weight Weight Capacity Check Price

9’ x 30”

27.2 lbs

220 lbs

Check Price

Although the Intex Challenger wasn’t designed with the sole purpose of fishing in mind, who’s to say that you can’t use it as one? After all, it has a large front, easy to reach bungee system that would be perfect for storing essential fishing gear.

And, we know what you’re thinking, won’t an inflatable kayak pop if I use it for fishing? Well, the answer is no, inflatable kayaks are extremely durable, and the Intex Challenger is made from heavy-duty puncture-resistant vinyl and was constructed with two separate air chambers. 

Having two separate air chambers means that if one of them punctures (which is highly unlikely), then you’ll still have a backup to get you back to shore. 

Intex added an inflatable I-beam floor to improve the kayak's rigidity and stability while out on the water and they also added a removable skeg to help with tracking. Grab lines and an inflatable seat with a backrest are some of the other features of the Intex challenger.

Package

The Intex Challenger comes with an 84-inch aluminum oar, a hi-output manual hand pump, a carry bag, and a repair patch.

Specifications and Features

  • Made from heavy-duty puncture-resistant vinyl
  • Two air chambers
  • Front bungee storage area
  • Inflatable I-beam flooring
  • Inflatable seat with a backrest

Pros & Cons

 PROS CONS
  • The Intex Challenger is extremely lightweight and easy to transport.
  • Intex added a large front bungee net area for gear storage.
  • The Challenger is made from heavy-duty puncture-resistant vinyl and has two separate air chambers for durability. 
  • Because the kayak is inflatable it would be incredibly comfortable for long journeys.
  • Intex included a complete package to get you out on the water in an instance. 
  • As far as kayaks go the Intex Challenger is extremely budget-friendly. 
  • The carry bag is fairly low quality so it would be nice to see a padded backpack.

Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Convertible

Advanced Elements convertible elite inflatable kayak

Dimensions Weight Weight Capacity Check Price

15’ x 32”

52 lbs

550 lbs

Check Price

The Advanced Elements Advanced Frame Convertible is the only tandem kayak to make our list, and even if you’re fishing solo, you can use this extra seat area to your advantage. 

In some ways, you get the best of both worlds with this kayak, because Advanced Elements includes zip on conversions to transform the back seat from a sit-on a kayak to a sit-in kayak. If you’re paddling and fishing solo, you can also remove the front seat and adjust the backseat to give yourself a large amount of storage space. 

When it came to performance Advanced Elements equipped their kayak with a built-in aluminum rib frame and a drop-stitch floor to improve its overall tracking, speed, and rigidity. They also included a front bungee area, carry handles and high support inflatable seats.

Package

The Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame kayak doesn’t come with anything other than the kayak itself. All carry bags, pumps, and paddles will need to be bought separately. 

Specifications and Features

  • Solo or tandem paddling
  • Built-in aluminum rib frame
  • Drop stitch flooring
  • Removable seats

Pros & Cons

 PROS CONS
  • You have the option to paddle with one or two paddlers.
  • It can be converted into a sit-in or sit-on kayak with the use of removable spray skirts.
  • It has an aluminum rib frame and a drop-stitch floor to improve performance.
  • It is incredibly expensive.
  • It doesn’t come with anything other than the kayak itself. 

Aquaglide Noyo 90 Inflatable Sit-In Kayak

Aquaglide Noyo 90 inflatable kayak, Blue

Dimensions Weight Weight Capacity Check Price

9’ x 35”

21 lbs

250 lbs

Check Price

The Aquaglide Noyo 90 Inflatable Sit-In Kayak is another kayak that wasn’t specifically designed for fishing, but there is no reason why you can’t use it as one.

Something we particularly love about the Noyo 90 is its 35” width. If you’re looking for an incredibly stable fishing kayak, then this is it. 

Some of the features included on the Noyo 90 are a high volume EVO beam flooring that improves the kayak's rigidity, a quick release fin for tracking purposes, and drain plugs to remove any water from the cockpit, and a zip-open dry compartment for personal belongings and paddling gear.

Package

The Noyo 90 doesn’t come included with any additional extras, so your pump, paddle, and carry bag would need to be sourced elsewhere.

Specifications and Features

  • EVO beam flooring
  • Quick release fin
  • Drain plugs
  • Zip-open dry compartments

Pros & Cons

 PROS CONS
  • The 35” width makes it an incredibly stable kayak.
  • Drain plugs throughout the cockpit to remove any excess water.
  • Zip-open dry compartments will keep your belongings safe, even if the kayak capsizes.
  • It doesn’t come included with any extras like a paddle, pump, or carry bag.

FAQ’S

🏆 What type of kayak is best for fishing?

Many people would class sit-on top kayaks as the best fishing kayaks because not only do these kayaks have large open decks, but they also supply you with numerous storage areas for tackle boxes, coolers, and other fishing gear. 


👍 Can you fish from a sit-in kayak?

Although fishing in a sit-in kayak is slightly more challenging than fishing from a sit-on, it is still totally possible. Many people prefer a sit-on the kayak because they offer large storage areas for essential fishing gear and they provide you with more freedom while casting.

If you do decide to fish from a sit-in kayak, however, then try to be as minimal as possible with your gear.


🏝️ Is it better to fish from a sit-in or sit-on kayak?

Many anglers agree that sit-in kayaks are the best kayaks for fishing. The wide-open decks give you space for fishing gear and also give you more freedom when casting and reeling in your catch. 

This isn’t to say, however, that you can’t fish from a sit-in kayak, because you can! You’ll just need to minimize your gear and work on perfecting casting and reeling from a confined space.

Megan Bryant
Megan Bryant

Based in Bali, her favorite SUP spot is the GILI Islands themselves. Travel is another passion of hers - she dreams to see the entire world one day.


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