Kayak fishing is an exciting way to get on the water and has quickly become one of my favorite hobbies. but if you’re new to the sport the choices can be overwhelming. How do you know which fishing kayaks are right for you? Do you want pedal or paddle? Do you want a stand-up platform or do you value light mobility? The good news is today’s market has tons of varieties available to fit your needs.

Paddle VS Pedal

Pedal kayaks are great because you get to propel yourself through the water with your feet while keeping your hands free for casting. You can cover more ground much quicker with a pedal drive without wearing yourself out. Pedal drive kayaks usually come with a hefty price tag so expect to pay top dollar.

Paddle kayaks are king of the shallow water, allowing you to get to areas inaccessible on a paddle kayak. They also allow for a much stealthier approach and the paddle is great for making quick adjustments while standing. Paddle kayaks are typically much more budget friendly.

Weight and Stability

When deciding on a fishing kayak you want to take your own body type into consideration. Light weight kayaks are easier to transport and give a lot of mobility on the water. They also make transporting to and from the water much easier. This is usually at a cost to stability. You never want to overload a kayak or you risk the chance of flipping. Pay attention to the weight limit when selecting your kayak and always wear a life jacket.

Larger kayaks with wide platforms make for much more stability, even allowing the user to stand up comfortably and fish. These kayaks tend to be much larger and heavier which can making hauling a much more difficult task.

Ask yourself, do you have to carry the kayak a long distance to the water? Consider a smaller kayak that is comfortable to carry or get a kayak cart. Want to stand up safely? Consider a larger kayak with a wide surface area.

Best Pedal Fishing Kayaks

Old Town Topwater 106 PDL


  • 10’6″ long, 36″ wide
  • Boat weight: 95-pounds
  • 450-pound maximum load capacity
  • Pedal drive system
  • Transducer mounting system
  • Breathable Element Air seat and padded EVA floor pads
  • Easy-turning trucker-style rudder control knob
  • Carry 4+ rods with two rod holders and horizontal rod storage

Perception Pescador Pilot 12


  • 12’5″ long, 33.5″ wide
  • Boat weight: 95-pounds
  • 475-pound maximum load capacity
  • Made in USA
  • Ergonomic mesh captain’s chair is comfortable and removable
  • One-handed rudder control with 360-degree turning radius
  • Four molded-in rear rod holders for hands-free storage while paddling

Best Paddle Fishing Kayaks

Perception Pescador Pro 10


  • 10’6″ long, 32″ wide
  • Boat weight: 57-pounds
  • 325-pound maximum load capacity
  • Made in USA
  • Lawn chair style mesh seat with 2-level seat adjustment and breathable mesh
  • Large front and rear open storage for cooler tackle and other gear
  • Integrated accessory rails on each gunwale for fish finders Rod holders and other accessories

Pelican Sentinel 100x


  • 9’5″ long, 30″ wide
  • boat weight: 44-pounds
  • 275-pound maximum load capacity
  • Removable storage compartment that fits perfectly into the tank well
  • 2 rod tie-downs, Flush mount rod holders, 2 Accessory eyelets
  • adjustable footrests

Best Budget Fishing Kayaks

Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100


  • 10′ long, 31″ wide
  • Boat weight: 56.5-pounds
  • 275-pound maximum load capacity
  • Adjustable padded seat back and seat pad for comfort
  • Two flush mounted fishing rod holders
  • Front and rear shock cord straps
  • Front and rear t-handles for easy transport

Intex Excursion Pro


  • 10′ long, 36″ wide
  • Boat weight: 25-pounds
  • 220-pound maximum load capacity
  • laminate PVC with polyester core: light weight and highly resistant to damage from abrasion, impact and sunlight
  • includes paddle, air pump, carry bag and inflatable seat booster
  • Storage space in bow and Stern