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October 07, 2022 17 min read

Fishing Kayaks

Man fishing on a white sit-on kayak

In our opinion, sit-on kayaks are by far the best kayaks for fishing as their wide-open decks give you unlimited space to move around while casting, reeling, and of course, paddling.

Over recent years, the sport of kayak fishing has become increasingly popular for many reasons. Firstly, kayaks are far smaller than traditional fishing boats, meaning they can paddle in waters that once weren’t accessible.

Secondly, boats without motors truly have the upper hand when it comes to fishing. Fish are highly sensitive to sound and vibrations in the water, so by only having a paddle, you’re limiting the amount of noise and water disturbance you’re making while traveling through the water.

Of course, there are many other benefits to fishing from a kayak which we go into more detail about over in the Top 10 Kayak Fishing Tips, but possibly the most attractive benefit of all is the fact that kayaks are far more affordable than traditional fishing boats.

So, now that we’ve discussed some of the awesome benefits of kayak fishing let’s get into the best sit-on fishing kayaks that’ll instantly transform your fishing trips.

GILI’s Top Picks: By Budget

Best Budget
Lifetime Tamarack Angler Fishing kayak
Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100

This solo fishing kayak weighs in at only 52 lbs and has adequate dry storage and on deck storage for all of your essential fishing gear.

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Best Mid Range
Sevylor Coleman Colorado Fishing Kayak
Sevylor Coleman Colorado

The Sevylor Coleman Colorado is a tandem inflatable fishing kayak that can hold up to 470 lbs. Its ultra-wide deck makes it an incredibly stable fishing platform, and its built-in rod holders allow you to practice all the hands-free fishing that your heart desires.

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Best Premium
Wilderness systems tarpon
Wilderness Systems Tarpon

Wilderness Systems Tarpon fishing kayak has a large front hatch dry storage, a cool touch Phase 3 air pro seat, and sidetrack accessory rails so you can customize the boat as you so wish.

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10 Worthy Sit-On Fishing Kayaks

Perception Pescador Pro

Perception pescador pro adjustable lawn chair

Dimensions Weight Capacity Check Price

12’ x 32.5”

64 lbs

375 lbs

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The Perception Pescador Pro is a 12-foot one-piece roto-molded fishing kayak that Perception made from high-density polyethylene. This construction gives the kayak exceptional UV resistance while also allowing it to take on bumps and scratches. 

To then improve the durability of the kayak even further, Perception added a replaceable skid plate that protects the underside of the kayak if it gets dragged along the floor for any reason. 

Along with keeping their kayak durable, one of Perception's main goals when designing the Pescador Pro was to make it as stable as possible to help boost confidence out on the water. And even though it's only 32 inches wide, you’ll still have no trouble remaining balanced when casting or reeling in your catch of the day. 

Regarding fishing, comfort is important because we all know fishing isn’t a quick sport. Let’s be honest, when you’re heading out kayak fishing, you’re more than likely going to be spending the entire morning or afternoon out on the water. 

So, to make their kayak as comfortable as possible, Perception added a removable captain’s chair with zonal mesh sections that can be lowered, raised, or moved backwards or forwards depending on your personal paddling preferences. 

And finally, when it comes to fishing features, the Pescador Pro has front and rear bungee storage areas that are big enough for tackle boxes or coolers, two molded rod holders so you can fish hands-free, and a fish-finder console so you can install a separate fish-finder if you so wish. 

Specifications and Features

  • Made from high-density polyethylene
  • UV and abrasion-resistant
  • Replaceable skid plate
  • Removable and adjustable captain’s chair
  • Front and back bungee areas
  • Two fishing rod holders
  • Fish-finder console
  • Gear tracks

Pros & Cons

 PROS CONS
  • Perception paid close attention to the kayak’s durability, adding a replaceable skid plate and constructing the Pescador Pro out of high-density polyethylene.
  • The captain’s chair can be adjusted to fully suit your personal paddling preferences.
  • You can tie down your tackle boxes and coolers to the front and back bungee areas.
  • The integrated rod holders, gear tracks, and fish-finder console make fishing from the sit-on-top kayak deck a breeze.
  • Although Perception claims that the Pescador Pro is stable, the deck could be slightly wider to help improve overall balance even further. 

Perception Outlaw 11.5

Perception outlaw kayak

Dimensions Weight Capacity Check Price

11’6” x 35”

77 lbs

425 lbs

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The second Perception kayak to make our best sit-on-top fishing kayaks list is the Outlaw 11.5. This kayak is shorter and wider than the Pescador Pro, and it can also hold 50 lbs of extra weight on its deck.

With that being said, although the size of these kayaks differs slightly, one thing both the Outlaw and the Pescador Pro have in common is the fact that Perception added replaceable skid plates, so the underside of your kayak is protected at all times. 

To improve walkability on the Outlaw 11.5, because let’s be honest, when fishing on a kayak, you need all the space you can get, Perception designed the seat so it can be completely removed and stored away to give you the most amount of room possible. And if you do choose to store the seat away, the empty space then makes room for a 35L cooler that you can substitute for your seat.

When the seat is locked in place, however, it sits 5 inches above the deck height to give you better views of the water beneath you. This additional height not only helps you see the fish you could be potentially catching but it also improves comfort while paddling. 

Something else the Pescador Pro and the Outlaw have in common is the two-rod holders that give you quick and easy access to your fishing rods while also keeping them neatly out of the way while you paddle. Furthermore, the Outlaw also features front and back tank wells for your belongings, molded-in trays and cup holders, and three solo mount recesses so you can choose to add further accessories. 

Specifications and Features

  • Replaceable skid plates
  • Removable seat that sits 5 inches about the deck height to improve sight fishing
  • Space for a 35 L cooler
  • Two molded-in rod holders
  • Front and back tank wells
  • Molded-in tray and cup holders
  • Three solo mount recesses

Pros & Cons

 PROS CONS
  • The Outlaw 11.5 can hold a generous amount of weight. 
  • Even if the kayak gets dragged along the floor, the underside will be protected by the replaceable skid plate. 
  • You can completely remove the seat to give yourself more room to walk or to carry a 35L cooler. 
  • You can easily store your rods away in the rod holders so you can be hands-free.
  • The solo mount recesses allow you to add additional accessories. 
  • The kayak is 77 lbs which may be difficult to carry or transport. 

Pelican Sentinel 100X

Pelican sit on top kayak one person kayak

Dimensions Weight Capacity Check Price

9’6” x 30”

44 lbs

275 lbs

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The Pelican Sentinel 100X is a relatively small sit-on-top fishing kayak that weighs only 44 lbs. This low total weight can be extremely beneficial when it comes to transporting or carrying your kayak, especially if you are a smaller paddler who’s heading out kayaking alone. 

During the designing process, Pelican thought carefully about the hull shape and what would be most beneficial to kayak anglers. They decided on a multi-chine flat bottom hull to improve stability in the kayak when casting a line or reeling in fish. Because the kayak is only 30 inches wide, this hull design really helps to improve the kayak’s overall balance. 

The deck of the Sentinel 100X has a few mentionable features, with the first being a large back bungee storage area and a front net storage area. Both areas can be used to die down crucial fishing gear that you need to keep within an arm's reach. Along with storage, Pelican also included two vertical rod holders, two paddle holders, a smartphone holder, and two accessory eyelets. 

Specifications and Features

  • Multi-chine flat bottom hull
  • Front and back storage areas
  • Two vertical rod holders
  • Two paddle holders
  • Two accessory eyelets
  • Smartphone holder

Pros & Cons

 PROS CONS
  • The Pelican Sentinel 100X is a more affordable option when it comes to hard shell sit-on-top kayaks.
  • At only 44 lbs the Sentinel 100X is extremely lightweight making it the perfect option for smaller paddlers who enjoy kayaking alone.
  • The multi-chine flat bottom hull helps to improve the kayak’s overall stability.
  • Even though the kayak is relatively small, there is still enough storage space for all of your fishing gear. 
  • The Sentinel 100X can only hold 275 lbs which may not be enough gear weight for many anglers. 

Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100

Lifetime Tamarack Angler Fishing kayak

Dimensions Weight Capacity Check Price

10’ x 31”

52 lbs

275 lbs

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If you’re shopping on a budget, then look no further than the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100. Lifetime constructed their affordable kayak from UV-protected high-density polyethylene and added multiple footrest positions to suit paddlers of all sizes. 

The underside of the boat features a flat bottom hull to improve the kayak’s stability, and the company even added an additional sharp bow to increase the kayak’s speed and tracking. 

Now, you’re probably thinking that due to the kayak’s low price point, it probably lacks some crucial fishing features. But that couldn’t be any further from the truth. The Tamarack Angler 100 has two flush-mounted fishing rod holders and an extra top-mounted fishing rod holder, so you can have a total of three fishing rods on the boat at any given time. 

Along with that, they also included an adjustable padded seat and seat pad, front and rear bungee storage areas, and two 6” dry storage compartments in the front and rear of the hull. And, if that wasn’t enough, Lifetime also included a paddle and a paddle holder so you can securely fasten your paddle in place when it isn’t in use. 

Specifications and Features

  • Made from UV-protected high-density polyethylene
  • Built-in footrests
  • Flat bottom hull with a sharp bow
  • Two flush-mounted fishing rod holders
  • One top-mounted fishing rod holder
  • Adjustable padded seat
  • Front and rear bungee storage areas
  • Two 6” dry hatch storage compartments
  • Included paddle and paddle holder

Pros & Cons

 PROS CONS
  • Although the Tamarack Angler 100 is the most affordable kayak on our best fishing kayaks list, it doesn’t lack the features of its competitors. 
  • You can have a total of three fish rods stored away in the kayak’s rod holders. 
  • There are both bungee storage areas and dry hatch storage areas to protect your important belongings and gear. 
  • The kayak comes with a paddle and a paddle holder so you can remain hands-free at all times. 
  • Anglers with a large collection of gear may find the total weight capacity to be too low. 

Lifetime 10 Foot Tandem Fishing Kayak

Lifetime two person tandem fishing kayak with paddles

Dimensions Weight Capacity Check Price

10’ x 36”

73 lbs

500 lbs

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So far we’ve only discussed solo kayaks, but if you enjoy heading out on the water with a companion, then the Lifetime 10-Foot Tandem Fishing Kayak is a fantastic tandem option.

The kayak, which measures 10 feet, can hold up to 500 lbs of weight and can be paddled solo or tandem. The option to eliminate a seat and paddle solo would then give a single paddler a huge amount of weight capacity to work, making it a perfect option for fly fishermen who like to overpack. 

As far as stable fishing kayaks go, the 10 Foot Tandem by Lifetime is an excellent choice as it is nearly impossible to tip over, thanks to its 36” width.

And although so far, the Tandem Kayak by Lifetime sounds great, there is something we don’t particularly love about this model, and that is the fact that the seats only feature padded backrests. To make the kayak comfortable for long days out on the water, you’d need to purchase an additional kayak seat cushion. Otherwise, you’re guaranteed to end up with a numb bum. 

Now, we know when you take a quick glance at the Lifetime 10-Foot Tandem Kayak you probably think its features are very basic, but actually, the kayak boasts three flush-mounted rod holders, a 6” hatch for dry storage, two molded paddle cradles at the front, and the back of the boat, and footrests to suit paddlers of all sizes.

Specifications and Features

  • Ability to be paddled solo or tandem
  • Padded backrests
  • Three flush-mounted rod holders
  • 6” dry hatch storage area
  • Molded paddle cradles
  • Multiple footrests

Pros & Cons

 PROS CONS
  • The kayak is extremely versatile, so you can choose to paddle it solo or with an additional paddler.
  • If you are paddling the kayak solo, then you have a huge weight capacity of 500 lbs.
  • Its 36-inch wide deck makes the kayak extremely stable out on the water.
  • There are three-rod holders as well as paddle cradles so you can remain hands-free while out on the boat.
  • The seats only feature padded backrests so you’d need to purchase an additional kayak seat cushion to improve comfort. 

Wilderness Systems ATAK 120

Wilderness systems ATAK sit on top fishing kayak

Dimensions Weight Capacity Check Price

12’3” x 35”

86 lbs

400 lbs

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Wilderness Systems have two kayaks that make their way onto our best fishing kayak list. The ATAK 120 is the first, and although it comes with a considerable price tag, there are a few features that make the price somewhat reasonable. 

Firstly Wilderness Systems designed their ATAK kayak to be compatible with their new Helix MD motor drive. This means that you have the option to transform your standard paddle kayak into a motorized kayak to have the best of both worlds. 

Along with this, they included their patented suspension-style seat to provide you with optimum comfort when out on the water. The seat, which can be adjusted to a high, low, or reclined position, is also accompanied by adjustable XL foot braces to further aid in comfort. 

Behind the seat at the back end of the boat is a large tank well with adjustable bungees that’ll help hold down the majority of your fishing gear. The remainder of your gear that could potentially be damaged if it comes into contact with water can be stored in the circular stern dry hatch.

The front end of the ATAK has a paddle park to securely fasten down your paddle when it isn't in use, a flex pod removable console, and accessory rails so you can attach different fishing accessories onto your kayak. 

Specifications and Features

  • Compatible with the Helix MD motor drive
  • Suspension style seat
  • Adjustable XL foot braces
  • Rear tank well with bungees
  • Rear circular dry hatch
  • Paddle park
  • Removable console
  • Accessory rails
  • Removable skid plate

Pros & Cons

 PROS CONS
  • The option to add on an additional motor to transform the kayak into a motorized kayak. 
  • Both the suspension seat and the XL foot rests combined provide you with a comfortable platform to paddle from. 
  • The rear tank well is large enough for the majority of your fishing gear.
  • You can attach different accessories onto the accessory rails.
  • The ATAK 120 is incredibly pricey compared to other kayaks on our list. 

Wilderness Systems Tarpon

Wilderness systems tarpon

Dimensions Weight Capacity Check Price

12’3” x 31”

63 lbs

350 lbs

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The second Wilderness Systems kayak is the Tarpon which you’ll be happy to know presents itself with a much lower price tag. It’s still fairly expensive compared to some other kayaks on our list, but it’s not as expensive as the ATAK 120, so that’s something.

Although the Tarpon and the ATAK 120 are the same length, the Tarpon is 4 inches narrower and 23 lbs lighter. The narrower deck of the Tarpon does mean that it isn’t going to be as stable as the ATAK 120, but you do have the advantage of it being far easier to transport.

The seat on the Tarpon is an adjustable Phase 3 Pro seat that has a cool touch system to help it remain cool for the entirety of your trip. Wilderness Systems also include large padded footrests in their Tarpon model to give paddlers of all heights the comfort they need for long days out on the water.

At the rear of the kayak, there is a large storage area with a net system for coolers, crates, or tackle boxes. And at the front end of the Tarpon, you can also find a dry hatch to store any personal belongings that can’t come into contact with water.

Directly in front of the seat is a magnetic water bottle strap system to securely fasten your water bottle, and to both the right and left-hand sides of the seat, you can find accessory rails so you can customize your kayak however you wish. 

Specifications and Features

  • Cool touch seat
  • Large padded footrests
  • Rear storage area
  • Front dry hatch storage area
  • Magnetic water bottle strap
  • Accessory rails

Pros & Cons

 PROS CONS
  • It’s fairly lightweight and easy to carry.
  • The cool touch seat system will help to not only keep the seat cool but also the paddler.
  • They included adjustable footrests to help improve comfort on the kayak.
  • You have both dry storage and a large storage area for bigger fishing items.
  • The water bottle holder is directly in front of you, so it acts as a constant reminder to stay hydrated.
  • Even though it is cheaper than the ATAK 120, it is still fairly expensive. 

Sevylor Coleman Colorado

Sevylor Coleman Colorado Fishing Kayak

Dimensions Weight Capacity Check Price

10’9” x 39.6”

41 lbs

470 lbs

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We had to throw an inflatable kayak into the mix, and one of our favorites is the Sevylor Coleman Colorado. And, we know what you’re thinking, can inflatable kayaks actually be used for kayak fishing? And won’t they just pop if a hook goes anywhere near them? 

Well, the answers are yes, they make excellent kayaks for fishing, and no, the materials they’re made from are extremely durable, so you don’t need to worry about punctures from hooks. 

As you can see from the table up above, the Coleman Colorado is an extremely stable fishing kayak thanks to its 39.6” width. You’re almost guaranteed that no matter what type of fish you’re reeling in, this baby isn’t going to topple over. 

But, something we particularly love about inflatable fishing kayaks is their portability. At only 41 lbs, the Coleman Colorado is extremely easy to transport to and from the water, and once you’re finished, you can even deflate it and fold it up into a bag. 

Some other features that make this inflatable option stand out are the multiple air chambers that’ll keep the kayak afloat if there does happen to be a puncture for any reason, the Berkley quick set rod holders that are completely adjustable so you can fish hands-free, and the paddle holders that’ll secure your paddles out of the way when they aren’t in use.

Oh, and something we forgot to mention is that this kayak is extremely versatile as it can be paddled solo or tandem. As there is very limited storage space on board, by paddling solo, the removal of the front seat frees up a lot of space for all of your fishing gear. 

Specifications and Features

  • Made from 18 gauge PVC
  • 1000D tarpaulin bottom and 840D nylon cover
  • Multiple air chambers
  • Berkely quick set rod holders
  • Paddle holders
  • Mesh storage pockets
  • D-rings

Pros & Cons

 PROS CONS
  • The Coleman Colorado is extremely portable as it only weighs 41 lbs.
  • It can hold a generous 470 lbs of weight. 
  • It would be extremely difficult to tip the Coleman Colorado over as the deck is extremely wide and stable.
  • There are both rod and paddle holders, so you can be hands-free whenever you need to be. 
  • It can be paddled solo or tandem. 
  • There isn’t a lot of storage space when two people are in the kayak together. 
  • You’d need to buy the paddles and pump separately. 

BKC Tandem Fishing Kayak

BKC tandem sit on top fishing kayak aluminum frame seats

Dimensions Weight Capacity Check Price

12’8” x 34”

74 lbs

770 lbs

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The BKC Tandem Fishing Kayak takes the top spot when it comes to weight capacity. This kayak can hold a generous 770 lbs making it one of the best options for larger anglers or those with excessive gear.

As with most other tandem kayaks, however, the BKC Fishing Kayak can be paddled solo or tandem by simply removing one of the aluminum padded frame seats.

During the creation process, BKC wanted their kayak to be as stable as possible, so they crafted it from a single piece of high-density polyethylene and gave it a flat bottom hull shape to help it remain balanced on even the choppiest of waters.

And finally, when it comes to features, BKC added two waterproof hatches so you can store away your keys, wallet, or phone, four built-in rod holders so each paddler can have two lines cast at any given time, two paddle parks to securely store your paddles when they aren’t in use, and a rear bungee tie-down area for gear and personal belongings. 

Specifications and Features

  • Made from a single piece of high-density polyethylene
  • Aluminum padded frame seats
  • Two waterproof hatches
  • Four built-in rod holders
  • Two paddle parks
  • Rear bungee tie-down area

Pros & Cons

 PROS CONS
  • The BKC Tandem Kayak provides paddlers with a generous 770 lbs weight capacity. 
  • You can paddle the kayak solo or tandem. 
  • The aluminium frame chairs have padded seats and backrests. 
  • There are two waterproof hatches for your valuables.
  • You can have up to four rushing rods in the water at any given time. 
  • The kayak includes two paddles. 
  • There isn’t much storage for larger fishing gear. 

BKC 11.6 Angler Kayak

BKC angler sit on top fishing kayak with paddles and upright chair

Dimensions Weight Capacity Check Price

11’6” x 34”

68 lbs

550 lbs

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The final kayak on our best sit-on-top fishing kayak list is another BKC kayak, but this time it’s a strictly solo kayak that is loaded with interesting fishing accessories. 

Like BKC’s Tandem Kayak, the solo variation is made from a single piece of high-density polyethylene that can support up to 550 lbs of weight. But, what we really love about this kayak, in particular, is its fishing features.

BKC included their ergonomic aluminum frame seat and also gave the kayak a pedal-operated rudder to help the boat track straight while you’re paddling. As well as this, the kayak has three waterproof hatches, two flush mount rod holders, two paddle parks, and a bungee tie-down area for slightly larger gear.

Specifications and Features

  • Made from a single piece of high-density polyethylene
  • Aluminum frame seat
  • Pedal-operated rudder
  • Three waterproof hatches
  • Two flush mount rod holders
  • Two paddle parks
  • Rear bungee tie-down area

Pros & Cons

 PROS CONS
  • Even though the kayak is a solo kayak it can still hold a large amount of weight.
  • You can improve tracking thanks to the pedal-operated rudder.
  • There are three waterproof hatches so you can store away your belongings.
  • There are two flush mount rod storage holders to allow you to be hands-free.
  • It’s on the higher end of the price scale.

FAQ’S

🏆 Which fishing kayak has the most comfortable seat?

After conducting our fishing kayak reviews, we personally think the Sevylor Coleman Colorado or the Perception Outlaw 11.5 has the comfiest seat. 

The Coleman Colorado is an inflatable kayak, and this alone ranks it at the top when it comes to comfort because, let’s be honest, we all know how comfy inflatable objects are. But, the Perception Outlaw 11.5 also ranks for comfort as the seat is mounted above the kayak deck and allows the paddlers to adjust the backrest to a reclined or upright position. 


👍 What type of kayak is best for fishing?

Sit-on-top kayaks are the best type of kayak for fishing as their open decks allow anglers to move around more freely. This comes in particularly handy when you want to cast your line or reel in your fish.

As well as more space to move around, sit-on-top kayaks also give anglers more room to store gear such as coolers and tackle boxes. You don’t get that luxury with sit-inside kayaks, so it really does make a big difference. 


🏝️ What Is the most stable sit-in kayak?

If you’re after stability, then look no further than the Lifetime 10-Foot Tandem Fishing Kayak or the Sevylor Coleman Colorado.

The 10 Foot Tandem Fishing Kayak from Lifetime has a 36” deck making it an incredibly stable fishing kayak for those who prefer kayaks of the hard shell variety. But, if convenience is also a huge priority for you, then Coleman Colorado takes the first spot.

Sevylor constructed their inflatable kayak to be a whopping 39.5” wide, making it extremely difficult to topple over, even if you’re reeling in the biggest fish you ever caught.

And on top of that, inflatable kayaks such as this also have the huge advantage of being extremely portable. Once you deflate the Coleman Colorado, you can compact it into a carry bag that can then be placed in the trunk of your car or stored away in a cupboard.. 


❓ Which is better kayak for fishing, sit-on or sit-in?

Many anglers prefer sit-on-top kayaks to sit-inside kayaks as the sit-on-top varieties offer more space for fishing gear and general movement. 

You see, a sit-inside kayak has an enclosed cockpit which limits the amount of space you have to move around. This deck also cuts down the amount of storage space available, meaning you’d only be able to take out minimal or extremely compact gear.

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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