The Coolest New Fishing Kayaks of 2021….So Far

WS Recon 120
Photo Courtesy of milehigh_sti

Summer 2021 is official as of June 20th, which coincidentally, is Fathers Day. Conspiracy? Probably. During a hair-raising 2020 kayak manufacturers were busy dealing with sold out inventories and supply shortages. But in between the chaos they were able to finalize production of this year’s new models. And they’ve done a bang up job on developing some awesome new fishing kayaks for 2021.

If there’s a theme for 2021 it’s getting back to normal; which for kayaks means dropping the Corona 15. This year’s lineup is leaner and lighter. All your grunts and groans hauling mini-freight barges up the boat ramp were heard. New models like the Crescent CK-1 Venture, Hobie Lynx, and Vibe Sea Ghost have been streamlined for performance both off and on the water.

There’s limited details on most of the models listed below. However we expect a lot more will be coming out this July during the industries landmark trade show, ICAST. It’s schedule to resume in person in Orlando this year. So expect to see a lot more about pricing, specs, and trim levels in the coming months. Without further adieu below are the new boats to drool over for 2021.

Riot Mako 9 Air

Riot Mako 9 Air
Photo courtesy of Riot Kayaks

The Riot Mako has been the least expensive pedal kayak for a long time. So how about an inflatable version? The Mako 9 Air is a pontoon style inflatable biyak. A rigid platform bridges the two pontoons and holds all the necessaries such as the seat, impulse drive, and rudder. Hand control steering and pedal power are welcome additions to this inflatable yak that’s bound to give Hobie some welcome competition in the inflatable pedal yak category. The Riot Mako 9 Air is available for $1,799.

Riot Mako 14

Riot Mako 14

Sometimes pleasure boating or day sailing is great. But other times you’re gonna need a bigger boat. And the Riot Mako 14 is the bigger boat. With a tip to tail length of 14’3″ and a weight of 121 lbs the Riot Mako 14 is the largest in Riot’s fleet. Gratuitous front and rear tankwells, square-back stern, hand steering and the Riot Impulse drive make the Mako 14 a compelling option at just $1,999. Available in 14 colors the Mako 14 is a great option for sharkin’, even if you got city hands.

Crescent CK1 Venture

Crescent CK1
Photo Courtesy of Crescent Kayaks

We’ve covered the CK1 Venture before and it’s one of the best new additions in 2021. For purist paddlers looking for a straightforward but excellently executed kayak you can’t do much better than the Venture. Designed with paddling as a priority this boat moves through the water more elegantly and responsively than most of its bulkier and wider competitors. Billed as a “Platform” the Venture provides flexibility in outfitting and style to accommodate every type of water, fishing, and adventure. For just $899 the Venture is an incredible steal that’s sure to dot the lake all through the summer.

Hobie Mirage Lynx

Hobie Lynx

We’re not sure what a small carnivorous feline has to do with paddling, but hey who cares. The Lynx is a super-light thermoformed SUP/Kayak barebones hybrid. A new highback seat, improved steering, and 180 Mirage drive deliver the essentials in a zippy 61 lb package (fully rigged). It’s officially the lightest pedal kayak available and comes with Hobie’s trademark quality construction and design. And since it’s a Hobie you knew it wouldn’t be cheap. A $2,699 MSRP will grab you a brand new Ivory Dune or Papaya Orange Hobie Lynx. Meow baby.

Pedayak

Pedayak

Our friends in France have developed the first wholly integrated commercially available electric paddle assist kayak (EPAK). Modular, stable, and slick as all get out the Pedayak is a neck-cranking head turner and for good reason. The base package starts at €2,000 and ramps based on outriggers, sails, and accessories.

RTM Hiro Impulse

RTM Hiro Impulse

Europeans have been fishing for a lot longer than the Yankees, but they’ve taken a while to catchup on the kayak fishing scene. More recently the gap has closed and multiple European kayak manufacturers are starting to give American producers a run for their money. The RTM Hiro features well though out handles, in hull storage, and a slew of modern features in addition to its prop driven pedal drive. At ~ $2,500 it’s competitively priced against American made 12′ pedal yaks.

Native Slayer Max 10

Native Slayer Max 10 Promo

Native debuted the Slayer Propel Max 12 in 2019 as an upgrade to one of their most well known yaks, the Slayer, and it’s an absolute stud of a boat. This year they managed to take all the best features of the Max 12 and cram it into a package 2′ shorter. The Native Slayer Propel Max 10 is one of the best value pedal kayaks out there and is sure to be a common sight on the water with an attractive price of just $2,499.

Stealth Fusion 480

Stealth Fusion 480

Stealth kayaks caters almost exclusively to offshore fisherman targeting large pelagic fish in deep water. The Stealth Fusion 480 is their first foray into rotomolded kayaks; all other models are painstakingly hand-crafted out of fiberglass. 4.8m long and weighing around 30 kg the Fusion cuts through waves quickly and with little fanfare. A built in live tankwell and fish locker provide storage for both bait and prey. The Fusion 480 features the same great lines and designs as its brethren at a much more affordable price of around $1,750.

3 Waters Big Fish 103

Big Fish 103

3 Waters pedal yaks are renown for their distinctive cathedral style hulls, 8 ball shift-stick steering, and perhaps most importantly – their great value. The Big Fish 103 continues the trend with its big brother the Big Fish 108, albeit in a smaller package at just 10’6″ long and 110 lbs unrigged. The 3 Waters pedal drive is also unique in that it’s a sealed chain driven system. This design offers a cycling feel more comparable to a bicycle than rod and pinion driven systems.

NuCanoe Unlimited

Nucanoe Unlimited

We did a double take when we first saw the NuCanoe Unlimited; largely because it’s so similar to the current NuCanoe Frontier 12. Running 6″ longer than the Frontier at 12’6″ the Unlimited features some significant quality of life improvements that more than justify the additional $100 over the Frontier. While there are too many to list here the standouts are the seriously improved rear handle, new runoff routing, flush mount rod holders, and molded in tackle trays.

Along with an abundance of gear-track and some stylish color options the Unlimited exemplifies the best of NuCanoe’s open deck design philosophy. Given the totally reasonable price of just $1,599 we’re hard pressed to think of who would opt for the older Frontier over the Unlimited. Keep your eye out for Frontier 12 sales because it may soon be headed to the kayak graveyard.

VanHunks Mahi Mahi

Vanhunks Mahi Mahi

Fun Fact; not only is Mahi Mahi delicious, it’s also the fastest growing fish in the world. While VanHunk’s Mahi Mahi won’t outrun it’s namesake it’ll definitely make for a fun and affordable day out. At 11′ long the Mahi Mahi offers the speed of longer boats with most of the convenience of 10′ models, and is fair strike between performance and weight. Speaking of convenience this is a convertible kayak which can fit either a prop or fin driven drive. At $1,499 with fin drive the Mahi Mahi is one of the most affordable pedal-yaks out there.

Wilderness Systems Recon 120

WS Recon

The designers at WS pulled out all the stops on the Recon 120. Long awaited and debuting with a splash the Recon is finally available. Dual horizontal rod troughs, in hull rod storage, a novel drive retraction system – the Recon’s got it all. The design is especially striking and reminiscent of a battle cruiser spearing through the water. Best of all this is a convertible kayak, meaning you can buy now for just $1,199 (without drive) and upgrade later (+$1.149).

Overview on New Fishing Kayaks

The new fishing kayaks in 2021 are drool-worthy for sure. But unfortunately supply chain issues mean grabbing a new fishing kayak can be a hassle. If you’re keen on rocking one of the above models be prepared to act fast. Kayaks are in high demand and supply interruptions are likely to persist into 2022. If you’re in the market for a new yak but still need to do some research consider using our searchable databases. It makes filtering down your options a lot easier. Finally we’ll be updating this list after ICAST 2021; so be sure to check back for more details.