Last updated August 3rd, 2020
Choosing a new fishing kayak can be difficult; as of the beginning of 2020 there are over 200 different models spread among near 30 different brands in the U.S. We’ve put together this page and the tables below to give you a better sense of all the different options available. If it’s your first time here we recommend you read over the “How To Use This Guide” below which explains the methodology and nuances behind the data. If you want to see every kayak in one place then use our guide to every domestic kayak. Otherwise choose a sub-category to see only those models along with our breakdown.
How To Use This Guide
We continually update the the guides above as new models role out. These guides are for fishing kayaks, which is kind of a loose term, because technically you could fish from any kayak, right? Also, what exactly is a kayak?
To be clear we’ve included only vessels that can be propelled with a double bladed kayak paddle. That rules out SUPS, Jon Boats, Canoes, etc. We have also included kayak hybrids: a boat design that mixes design elements of a kayak and another vessel class. As long as a hybrid can be propelled with a kayak paddle, and is referred to as a hybrid kayak/something, it made it on the list.
As far as the fishing part we’ve only included vessels that are referred to by their manufacturer as “Fishing Kayaks”. Sometimes that means all the bells and whistles, and sometimes it’s just a few rod holders in the back. We’ve excluded any models that don’t include fishing components, or belong exclusively to another category (for example touring or whitewater.
The style column has three different acronyms.
IK stands for Inflatable Kayaks; i.e. pumping is required.
SIS represents Sit In Kayaks; these have a cockpit and your body sits closer to the water.
SOT represents Sit on Top; these are the most prevalent form factor for fishing kayaks, you’ll be sitting above the water.
The type column refers to the vessel’s primary means of propulsion right out of the box. Paddle kayaks do not include any sort of propulsion system other than your shoulders. Pedal kayaks include a pedal drive; whereas some kayaks can be upgraded to include a pedal drive (see next paragraph). The Old Town Predator MK is the only kayak with the Motor type, as it comes with a center console motor pod. Other kayaks that can take custom motor consoles are indicated in the notes column.
All specifications are sourced from the manufacturers website. In cases when certain information wasn’t available we’ve sourced it from third party retailers. Length has two columns but contains the same information albeit in different formats. Use the Length (in) column to order in descending/ascending order. Width, or beam, refers to the widest part of the boat. For weight we’ve used the highest number listed by the manufacturer, which is often the fully rigged weight, which is to say the weight of the hull, seat, and pedal drive (if applicable).
MSRP stands for Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price, basically what the kayak maker thinks retailers should sell it for. It does not include the price of optional upgrade, sales tax, or freight, so don’t be surprised when the final price is a bit more. The dynamics of price and cost are different for every supplier and retailer – the price you actually pay for a kayak will vary. It’s very possible that you may end up taking advantage of a sale if you’re savvy enough to know the best time to buy a kayak. There’s a decent enough probability that the current market price for many of these models is less than what’s listed below. All MSRP are listed in U.S. dollars.
Upgrade to Pedal
Some kayaks have pedal drives that must be purchased separately. A Yes in the upgrade pedal column indicates that a kayak can accommodate its manufacturer’s pedal drive system, whereas a No indicates that it cannot. NA is used for kayaks that already come with pedal drives.
There are two basic categories of seats. Lawn Chair style refers to any type of seat with an aluminum frame. Certain lawn chair style seats can swivel, we’ve denoted these as Lawn Chair w/ Swivel. Suspension style seat supported with pads are referred to as Padded. Please note the image representative of seat style only; quality, material, and design will vary by manufacturer and model.