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Kayaks For Big Guys | The 8 Best Boats in 2022

Big Man in Kayak

If you’re wondering whether kayaks for big guys and girls are in your wheel-house then you should answer a few questions. Are “seconds” to you more like “thirds and a half” for skinny folk? Do you wish the clothes at Big and Tall were bigger and taller? Has your doctor raised both eyebrows when looking at your charts? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you, and your waistline, are living life to the fullest. Your jokes are funnier, your laughter is deeper, and who cares if your knees won’t last past 50.

Just because you’re a portly paddler doesn’t mean you should be precluded from getting your toes wet. There’s plenty of nature out for our fellow full figured fishermen and they should stake their claim just like the rest of us. Unfortunately as a bigger boater you’ll have to take into consideration a few other dimensions that welterweight watermen don’t need to think about it. No need to worry though, because just like your extra large size clothing, we’ve got you covered. We’ve covered both how to shop for kayaks for big guys and included a lineup of the best fishing kayaks available.

The Kayaks for Big Guys Lineup

Click on the kayak image to learn more about a specific model.

NameImageTypeLengthWeight Capacity (lbs)Price
Jonny Boats Bass 100Jonny Boats Bass 100Motor10'400$899
3 Waters BigFish 108 PDL3 Waters Big Fish 108Pedal11'450$1,799
Bonafide SS127Bonafide SS127Paddle12'7"475$1,599
Native Titan Propel 13.5Native Titan Propel 13.5Pedal13'6"550$2,999
Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14Hobie PA 14 180Pedal13'8"600$3,999
NuCanoe Fontier 12NuCanoe Frontier 12Paddle12'650$1,599

There are plenty of great fishing kayaks for big guys available. But we feel the above are especially worth highlighting. We’ve categorized these by paddler weight. You can shop above your class, but we don’t recommend going down. We’ve got the basics for each craft below; if you want more details consider checking out the full reviews (currently forthcoming).

MiddleWeight: 200-250lbs

Jonny Boats Bass 100

Black Jonny Boats Bass 100 aerial and profile view.
LengthWidthWeightCapacity
10'35.5"77 lbs400 lbs

The Jonny Boats Bass 100 is a newcomer to the kayak scene on what we hope is the leading edge of motorized kayak design. Unlike most fishing kayaks the Jonny 100 is built from the ground up for motoring. It has a planing hull and transom mount. With a 2.5hp motor the Jonny 100 will fly across the water. There are several bespoke accessories that make this rig more like a miniature bass boat than a paddle kayak. It has a load limit of 400 lbs and a beam (width) of 35.5 inches, along with an adjustable lawn style seat. At a base price of $899 the Jonny Boats Bass 100 is at the lower end of the price range, but it really needs a motor on it (outboard or trolling) to truly shine. If you choose this boat you should budget an extra $500 -$1,000 for outfitting.

Bottom Line: If you’d rather just fish when you go fishing and exercise off the water then this is the boat for you.

Cruiser Weights: 250-300lbs

Bigfish 108 PDL

3 Waters Bigfish 108 PDL
LengthWidthWeightCapacity
11'38"115 lbs450 lbs

3 Waters Kayaks Bigfish 108 PDL is a nifty kayak at a great price point and a weight load of 450 lbs. Its non-traditional cathedral hull provides increased stability and a deeper deck. The beam is wider at 38″ but not so much as to hinder paddling. Paddling, however, won’t be your primary means of propulsion as the Bigfish 108 comes with its proprietary Profish pedal drive system. The Profish is unique in that it’s completely sealed (i.e. little to no maintenance) and uses a chain driven mechanism to allow for greater power transference. Steering is handled via the built in rudder and a swanky 8 ball handle up front. With a length of 11′ the Bigfish 108 is one of the shorter yaks on this list which will make it easier to transport and store. At $1,799 the Bigfish 108 PDL offers a ton of value in a short and stocky package.

Bottom Line: The Bigfish 108 PDL is a value packed option for a stouter, self-propelled, fishing kayak at a great price point.

Bonafide SS127

Bonafide SS127 Kayak aerial view
LengthWidthDeck HeightWeightCapacity
12'7"33.75"15.5"94 lbs475 lbs

The Bonafide SS127 was designed for ultimate fishability and it is one of the best paddle only S.O.T. kayaks available. Bonafide focused on building a platform that emphasized and accentuated every facet of fishing on a kayak. They forewent pedaling and motor integrations to focus on stability, storage, and comfort. As such the SS127 has an extremely stable hull making standing and moving around on the boat a breeze. The seat has one of the highest “Hi” positions of any boat on the market, which is not only comfortable for your knees, but also enables quick transitions from sitting to standing.

There are tons of unique elements on this yak that make it a true joy to fish from. With a weight limit of 475 lbs and a slimmer beam of only 33.75″ this boat is both capable of carrying a load and being paddled easily, unlike some of the wider kayaks on this list. The Bonafide SS127 has an MSRP of $1,599 and is ready to rock right out of the box.

Bottom Line: The SS127 is an amazing option for people who want to paddle and desire a more traditional kayak fishing experience.

Heavy Weights: 300lbs +

Native Titan Propel 13.5

Native Titan Propel 13.5 in Hidden Oak
LengthWidthHeightWeightCapacity
13'6"41.5"14"178 lbs550 lbs

The Titan Propel 13.5 is a big fishing kayak, like really big. At 13.5′ long and with a weight capacity of 550 lbs this yak is ideal for big people. This is a pedal kayak and features the Native Propel Drive, meaning that your primary means of propulsion over water will be your legs. The Titan 13.5 has tons of space for storage; so if you’re the type to bring a lot of gear on adventures, no worries. In fact if you wanted to bring a kid you could do that to – just add an extra seat and you’re good to go.

We also really like the ability to easily add a trolling motor in the cockpit; steering and fishing at the same time is effortless. The Titan Propel 13.5 isn’t cheap; it has an MSRP of $2,999. However for that price you’re getting a lot of boat, tons of great features, and a high quality pedal drive. As far as accessories go you’ll 100% need wheels for this one; it has a fully rigged weight of 178 lbs.

Bottom Line: This is the boat we think the Mountain from GOT would use; plenty of room for even the biggest fishermen.

Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14

Blue Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14
LengthWidthWeightHeightCapacitySeat Capacity
13'8"38"144.5 lbs20"600 lbs350 lbs

Hobie’s Mirage Pro Angler 14 is in the same league as the Titan: it’s a big, big, boat. At 13’8″ long and with a weight capacity of 600 lbs, and a seat capacity of 350 lbs, the Mirage Pro Angler 14 feels like it could hold it’s own against a Naval Destroyer. Its size isn’t its most distinguishing feature however: that privilege belongs to the drive system.

The Mirage drive system is what set Hobie apart in the kayak world and led to the brand being synonymous with quality and innovation. The latest fin driven drive spent 6 years in development and is probably the best engineered kayak drive system available. You can’t go wrong buying a Hobie, but all that R&D doesn’t come cheap. A fully kitted out Pro Angler 14 will run you between $4,000 and $5,000 depending on the build.

Bottom Line: The Hobie Pro Angler 14 is like a BMW: high performance, great engineering, and a big price tag.

NuCanoe Frontier 12

Green NuCanoe Frontier 12
LengthWidthHeightWeightCapacity
12'41"12-17"77 lb650 lbs

NuCanoe takes its design inspiration (and name) from, well you guessed it, canoes. The NuCanoe Frontier 12 features a wide open deck-space with twin t-tracks running the length of the yak which allows for easy reconfiguration and customization. It has a whopping 650 lb capacity and, perhaps one of its best features, a swivel seat. Swinging round in the seat makes fishing a breeze and really opens up use of the whole deck; no more awkwardly reaching behind you for a tacklebox. The transom mount can fit a 2.5 hp motor and the PIVOT drive is a drop in pedal system that makes the Frontier 12 open to any means of propulsion. This vessel is wide with a 41″ beam that can make paddling difficult; don’t expect to win any races in this one.

Bottom Line: The Frontier 12 is a perfect kayak for big guys craving complete customization and fishability.

Alternative Craft

Canoe

Old Town Next Canoe in orange

Canoes have two distinctive advantages that have made them ubiquitous among sea-faring peoples throughout history; they’re lightweight and carry a lot of weight. Canadian fur-trappers used a type of canoe called the Canoe du Maitre which was capable of carrying 16 paddlers and a payload of nearly 8,000 lbs; the canoe only weighed 200 lbs.

Now we don’t expect that you intend to start trapping fur but canoes are a great option for fishing. They’re lightweight, durable, spacious, and usually pretty cheap. A 17′ canoe can hold 800 lbs and easily accommodate 2-3 people all while weighing less than 100 lbs. Browse through facebook marketplace or craigslist and you can usually find a decent canoe for well under $500.

Bottom Line: If you want to take your bigger buddies fishing with a few coolers of beer, grab a canoe.

Inflatable Kayaks for Big Guys

Fully rigged Sea Eagle 385
LengthWidthWeightCapacity
12'6"36"45 lbs635 lbs

Inflatable vessels tend to get overlooked a lot of times; maybe because they conjure memories of blowing up floaties at the beach. Hold your breath; because modern inflatables are a great option for a lot of reasons. First and foremost among their benefits is storability. Inflatable kayaks and canoes weigh considerably less than their rotomolded counterparts and compress into manageable sized pouches; making inflatables one of the few sea-faring vessels you can actually store in a closet or car trunk.

Sea Eagle is one of the leading manufacturers of inflatable recreational watercraft and their vessels offer a lot. The Sea Eagle 385 is an inflatable fishing kayak with a load limit of 635 lbs. It can be outfitted with a swivel seat, motor mount, and removable skegs. This yak only weighs 45 lbs and folds up into a package that can easily fit under a coffee table. We’ve spent a lot of time on the 385; check out the full review here.

Bottom Line: If you’re short on space or want something easier to maneuver than consider an inflatable.

A Word about Weight

We’re willing to bet that most of you already know where you fall on the Body Mass Index (BMI). In case you’re wondering though the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), states that the average weight for American men over the age of 20 is 197.8 lbs, while for women it’s 170.5 lbs. So if you weigh more than that than you are technically bigger than average, which is also a great pickup line.

Kayaks, like all boats, have a finite weight capacity. Hopefully you should know that going over that limit will spell disaster, in the sinky sinky sort of way. But even getting close to that limit can cause some undesirable effects. Boat weight limits are sort of like towing weight limits for automobiles. Sure your Dodge Ramdorado can tow 8,000 lbs; but that doesn’t mean you should hook up a load weighing 7,999 lbs. That sort of weight would stress out the vehicle’s engine, transmission, and everybody driving around you.

Loading up a kayak with too much weight isn’t a great idea either. It’ll take more effort to paddle and the stability will be severely compromised. Any additional weight, say from oncoming water,or landing a big fish, could push you over the edge and into Davy Jones Locker. A reasonable heuristic is to limit any kayak load to 75% of its total capacity; providing you affordable margin for the unexpected rogue wave or that new state record catch.

Must Haves on Kayaks for Big Guys

While the kayaks in this article are all great options they’re but a slim selection of all the models on the market. Luckily the current kayak market is saturated with yaks of all sizes. There are plenty of kayaks for big guys and the selection is better than ever. No matter your preference for paddle, pedal, or power, there’s an option available for you.

In general you’ll want to refine your search to sit on top (S.O.T.) type kayaks. They typically have higher weight capacities, are more stable, and are better fishing platforms. Keep the tips below in mind while you’re shopping.

Load Capacity

A yak’s load capacity/limit is the total weight it can support safely. As a bigger person you’ll want to look for load limits proportional to your weight. Add 25 lbs to your current weight, to allow for gear, and divide the sum by .75 to come up with the minimum weight capacity to look for. If, for example, you weigh 300 lbs then you’ll want to look for a kayak with a capacity greater than 430 lbs (325/.75). Most S.O.T. yaks longer than 12′ have load limits of at least 450 lbs, so capacity shouldn’t be a constraining factor.

Seat

Finding a kayak with the right seat is like upgrading from economy to first class. You’ll have more leg room, your back won’t hurt, and you can just sit back and enjoy the ride. Modern kayak seats come in two basic flavors: molded in seats outfitted with foam padding, and lawn-chair style seats. Lawn chair style definitely offers more comfort but differ greatly in size and material. If possible make sure to do a test sit and see if you can picture yourself lounging in that seat for 8 hours. If your bum is comfy then alright alright alright.

Another feature that’s worth looking out for on kayaks for big guys are swivel mounted chairs. These style of seats enable full 360˚ turning which makes it much easier to grab a tackle box or use the motor. If you’re not able to reach behind you easily then a swivel seat might be a must have. It isn’t easy to retrofit a kayak with a swivel seat; be honest with yourself about your flexibility and decide early if a swivel is necessary.

Standing Room

The ability to stand up on a kayak is a relatively new feature. Sure it’s always been possible, but standing on vessels that aren’t designed for it is risky at best, really wet at worst. Standing provides two major benefits: first it lets you stretch your legs. A good stretch will improve blood-flow, feels great, and saves a trip to shore. Secondly it’s a huge boon for fishing. The higher vantage point can help you spot fish and casting is a lot easier.

Not all kayaks are created equal in terms of stand-ability; it take quite a bit of engineering to design a hull that provides high-end stability. Modern kayak hull designs borrow elements from race boats, pontoon boats, and sailing catamarans to offer a vessel that’s both extremely stable and can paddle effectively. There are a few different design methods to achieve a stable fishing platform, so look for yak’s that market this feature extensively.

Overview on Kayaks for Big Guys

The kayak market today is friendlier towards bigger people that it ever has been. Design elements aimed towards improving comfort and stability are constantly being tested and implemented. The fishing kayaks for big guys we’ve listed above are a slim cross-section of all the fishing kayaks available, but we believe they’re some of the better models available. Be sure to keep in mind our shopping tips in mind and if at all possible take a test paddle. We look forward to seeing you on the water and give us a holler if you found this guide to the best fishing kayaks for big guys helpful!


Be sure to check out the best kayak fishing gear under $30 to outfit that brand new Yak. And don’t forget the essentials for a safe trip.