what is a fishing kayak?

What Is A Fishing Kayak And Its Best Features?

If you are interested in fishing from a kayak, you are probably wondering what is a fishing kayak and what are its best features?

What makes it different from other kayaks and great for fishing?  

In this article, you will discover 

  • What is a fishing kayak and what makes it different
  • Why would you fish from a kayak
  • The best features and capabilities of a fishing kayak
  • Why most fishing kayaks are “sit-on-top” models
  • What is the best length for your fishing kayak
  • The best color for a fishing kayak
  • The benefits of standup fishing

By the end of this read you will know if a fishing kayak is right for you!

Let’s get started!

What Is A Fishing Kayak?

These kayaks are ideal for one or two fishermen who want to go out on the water and catch some fish. They’re wider, so you’ll be able to cast farther with them, and they have more storage space as well as stability due to their broad form making it easier to land those big ones!

Kayakers who use offshore fishing methods require a kayak that can track and go through waves. These daring fishermen pursue huge game like snapper, mackerel, sharks, and billfish.

Inshore fishers use kayaks to navigate in bays and marshes to target redfish and speckled trout. For calmer waters, they use wider kayaks that sit on top. Pedal drive kayaks are common in these areas so that the fisher can travel longer distances and fish in one spot by pedaling. 

Pond and lake fisheries tend to fish similarly to inshore, using skegs and rudders to navigate currents. They typically have more rods and lures for bass fishing. These floating platforms are ideal for getting into tight spaces, putting up rigs around thick grass, pads, and heavy vegetation or obstructions like logs and brush piles. In these locations, a trolling motor is commonly used to maneuver. They can target bass, sunfish, gar, catfish and trout in these areas.

How Is A Fishing Kayak Different?

Fishing kayaks are different from other types of fishing boats in several ways. For one, they are much smaller and more maneuverable. This makes them ideal for fishing in smaller bodies of water, such as ponds, lakes, and streams.

Fishing kayaks are also much more stable than other types of fishing boats, making them perfect for fishing in rough waters.

Some of the best benefits of fishing from a kayak include the ability to get into tight spaces, the stability of the kayak, and the fact that kayaks are much quieter than other types of boats. This allows you to sneak up on fish more easily and get closer to them for a better chance at landing a big one! So, if you’re looking for a different and exciting way to fish, consider giving kayak fishing a try. You might just find that it’s your new favorite way to fish!

Why Fish From A Kayak?

Fishing from a kayak has become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. Kayak fishing offers anglers a unique and exciting way to enjoy the sport, with many benefits that traditional fishing simply can’t match.

Here are just a few reasons why you should consider giving kayak fishing a try:

1. You’ll Get Closer to the Action

One of the best things about kayak fishing is that you’ll get up close and personal with all the action. In a boat, you’re typically sitting high above the water, which can make it difficult to really see what’s going on below. In a kayak, however, you’ll be right at water level, giving you a much better view of the fish and their habitat. This can be a great advantage when it comes to spotting fish and making the perfect cast.

2. You Can Fish in More Places

Another big benefit of kayak fishing is that it allows you to access waters that are simply inaccessible to larger boats. With a kayak, you can paddle into quiet coves and inlets that are off the beaten path, giving you access to fish that may not see much pressure from other anglers.

3. You’ll Save Money

Kayak fishing is also a great way to save money on your fishing trips. Kayaks are much more affordable than boats, and they require less maintenance and upkeep. You’ll also save on gas, since you won’t need nearly as much to power a kayak as you would a boat.

4. You Can Go Fishing Anytime

Another great thing about kayak fishing is that it’s possible to go fishing anytime, even if the weather isn’t ideal. With a kayak, you can safely paddle in waters that are too rough for boats, meaning you can get out on the water even when the conditions aren’t perfect.

5. You’ll Get a Great Workout

Kayak fishing is also a great way to get some exercise. Paddling a kayak takes some effort, and you’ll be getting a great upper body workout as you paddle around in search of fish.

If you’re looking for a unique and exciting way to enjoy fishing, then kayak fishing is definitely worth considering. 

Sitting while fishing in a kayak

What Are The Best Features Of A Fishing Kayak?

There are many different types of fishing kayaks on the market, each with its own unique set of features. But what are the best features of a fishing kayak?

Here are some of the most important things to look for when choosing a fishing kayak:

1. Stability: When you’re out on the water, you want a kayak that is stable enough to keep you safe and dry. Look for a kayak with a wide, flat bottom and large, comfortable seat.

2. Storage: A good fishing kayak will have plenty of storage space for all your gear. Look for a kayak with compartments or hatches where you can store tackle boxes, life jackets, and other gear. Some kayaks even have rear tankwells for storing coolers.

3. Maneuverability: A kayak that is easy to maneuver is a great choice for fishing in tight spots or in crowded areas. Look for a kayak with good tracking ability and consider a pedal drive kayak..

4. Comfort: You’ll be spending hours in your kayak, so make sure it is comfortable. Look for a kayak with a padded seat and adjustable foot pedals.

5. Durability: A fishing kayak should be able to withstand years of use and abuse. Look for a kayak made from durable materials like polyethylene or fiberglass.

6. Price: Fishing kayaks can range in price from a five hundred dollars to several thousand. Choose the best kayak you can afford that has all the features you need.

7. Warranties and Returns: Be sure to read the fine print before you buy a fishing kayak. Some companies offer great warranties and return policies, while others do not. Choose a kayak from a company that offers a good warranty and return policy in case you are not satisfied with your purchase.

8. Reviews: Before you buy a fishing kayak, be sure to read reviews from other kayakers. This is a great way to get unbiased opinions about a particular kayak.

9. Test Drive: If you can, test drive the kayak before purchasing it. This will allow you to evaluate how well it handles. Kayaking rentals and demo days are good options.

Why Are Most Fishing Kayaks “Sit On Top” Models?

The main advantage of “sit on top” (SOT) kayaks is that they are much easier to get in and out of than traditional sit-inside models. This is a huge benefit for fishing since anglers often have to get in and out of their kayaks to change lures, untangle lines, or stand while they fish for sight fishing.

Another advantage of SOT kayaks is that they offer more storage space than sit-insides. This is important for fishing since anglers need to bring along a lot of gear like rods, tackle, bait, and coolers. And since SOT kayaks have an open design, it’s easier to access this gear while on the water.

Finally, SOT kayaks are generally more stable than sit-inside models since they have a lower center of gravity. This is important for fishing since it allows anglers to move around more easily without tipping the kayak over.

Interested in learning about pedal kayaks for fishing?  Check out Is A Fishing Kayak With Pedals Worth The Price?

What Is The Best Length For A Fishing Kayak?

The best length for a fishing kayak depends on a few different factors, such as the type of water you’ll be paddling in, the type of fish you’re targeting, and your own personal preferences.

In general, shorter kayaks are easier to maneuver and are better suited for calmer waters, while longer kayaks track better and provide more storage space for gear.

Ultimately, the best length for your fishing kayak is the one that you feel most comfortable with.

Find out more about the best length for a fishing kayak here.

Common Features Of A Fishing Kayak

When it comes to fishing kayaks, there are a few different types to choose from.

Sit-on-top kayaks are very popular among anglers because they offer a comfortable, stable platform from which to fish. These kayaks also provide easy access to tackle and gear, and they typically have plenty of storage space.

Sit-in kayaks are another option for anglers, and these boats offer a more traditional kayaking experience. They can be a bit more challenging to get in and out of, but they offer better protection from the elements and can be easier to paddle for long periods of time.

Inflatable kayaks are another option, and these boats offer many of the same advantages as sit-on-top kayaks. They are extremely portable and can be easily stored when not in use. Inflatable kayaks are also very stable and provide a comfortable platform from which to fish.

There are certain features that are common to most fishing kayaks. These include a comfortable seat, storage space for tackle and gear, and rod holders.

Common Features For Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayaks

  • “Sit On Top” Cockpit Design
  • Premium Deck Padding For Standing
  • Rudder Control System On The Left Or Both Side
  • Hard Shell Bow Hatch
  • Cockpit Dry Storage Hatch
  • Rear Storage Well
  • Scupper Holes
  • H-Track Accessory Mounting – For Rigging Additional Rod Holders, Fish Finder, Etc
  • Cup Holders
  • Flush Mount Rod Holders 
  • Paddle With Bungee Ties To Side Of Kayak
  • Adjustable Seating With Back Rest
  • Impact Resistant Stern Rudder
  • Carry Handles
  • Drain Plug


  • Sharp Bow For Tracking
  • Tunnel Hull Or Similar Design For Stability
  • Kick Up Rudder For Damage Protection
  • Molded Keel For Better Tracking


  • Pedal Drive System With Forward And Reverse
  • Fish Finder Built-In Transducer Mount And Through-Hull Cable Plugs
  • Anchor Trolley Or Anchor Pole
  • Personal Floatation Device (PFD)

Which Color Is Best For A Fishing Kayak?

“What does color have to do with it?” you’re probably wondering. Color has a number of effects on both larger, public bodies of water and smaller lakes and streams.

Certain colors are more beneficial to anglers while fishing, according to some kayakers. Some fishermen feel that darker colors make it simpler to hide from fish and blend in with the water. It’s worth considering if you want to gain a little edge.

Other kayakers simply choose a color that they like or that will make their kayak more visible on the water. Again, there is no right or wrong answer here – it ultimately comes down to what you prefer.

Tips For Making Your Kayak More Visible On The Water

  • Choose to have bright orange painted on your watercraft and vest.
  • Use reflective stickers  above the water’s edge.  
  • Use an LED pole light on the kayak and carry a loud whistle for additional attention.

Can You Stand While Fishing?

This was the million dollar question for me when I was looking into fishing on a kayak.

I don’t know about most people, but I get crazy cramps when I sit too long in a confined space. So, I need to stand up and walk around a bit.

The ability to comfortably stand depends on if you are larger guy or gal.  Secondly, if you have a good sense of balance.

But most of all, good stability depends on four kayak design factors:

  • Kayak length
  • Kayak width
  • Hull design
  • Your weight vs the designed carry weight of the kayak

The short answer is yes if you choose carefully.

Rule of Thumb: for stability I recommend:

  • Kayak with a length of 12 feet or longer
  • Kayak width of 34 inches or wider
  • Hull with a dual-v or double-u shape design
  • Kayak carry weight of at least 100 pounds more than rider weight and gear

This should give you all the stability you need. Just check the kayak technical specifications.

But, we’re not done yet. The next thing that’s important is the kayak length.


In this article, you learned:

  • What a fishing kayak and what makes it different
  • Why would you fish from a kayak
  • The best features and capabilities of a fishing kayak
  • Why most fishing kayaks are “sit-on-top” models
  • How to find out the best length for your fishing kayak
  • The best color for a fishing kayak
  • The benefits of standup fishing

You now have an idea if a fishing kayak is right for you.

Tight lines and happy fishing!

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