Fishing tandem kayaks represent a smaller subset of the fishing kayak market, and there is an eclectic mix of watercraft available in this group. Tandems are designed to hold two full sized people. There are plenty of other kayaks that are capable of seating two, but aren’t explicitly designed for it, and so they’ve been excluded from this list. Since they’re carrying additional payload tandem fishing kayaks are naturally heavier, longer, and more expensive than single seat yaks.
Fishing Tandems fill a unique niche in kayak fishing and you should count yourself lucky if you’re considering one; because you’ve got friends who like to fish! Getting out on the water with a buddy, spouse, or child is extremely rewarding; you’re able to share your passion for the outdoors, and fishing in particular, in an intimate and hands on adventure. If you’re considering a fishing tandem be sure to take into account all the considerations. These are great boats, but can be difficult to manage without some diligent planning.
Tandem Fishing Kayaks
The following statistics come from our data set on tandem fishing kayaks. There are 25 different tandem models currently available in the U.S. designed for fishing.
Click on a fishing tandem kayak picture to learn more about that model.
Most Expensive Tandem Fishing Kayak
Hobie Mirage Tandem Island
The Hobie Mirage Tandem Island is not only the most expensive tandem kayak, it’s the most expensive of any fishing kayak. Featuring two mirage drives, two stabilizers (amas) , a sail kit, and a slew of upgrades the Tandem Island almost qualifies as a small yacht. The Tandem Island is a very specific type of watercraft designed for open water sailing and fishing. It’s one of the few kayaks that has incorporated a sail as a principle design element, rather than as an retrofit add-on. As a hybrid catamaran/kayak the Island excels at catching the wind and can easily reach speeds of 11 knots (12.5 mph).
The Tandem Island is a blast to be on. It’s perfect for hopping between sand barges or trolling across a bay. Surfing the high seas and catching the wind adds an element of speed and daring that other yaks simply can’t match. With an MSRP of $7,339 the Island will put a big dent in your wallet. However there aren’t too many other yaks that can match the Island’s performance at sea. And for that price you’re getting a top of the line watercraft from a high tier, high quality brand. We’re pretty sure this is the yak Tom Hanks would have wanted in Cast Away. Wilson calls shotgun.
Most Affordable Tandem Fishing Kayak
Lifetime Sport Fisher Angler 100
The Lifetime Sport Fisher Angler 100 is a rather short and light tandem kayak. At only 12′ long and with a weight of 60 lbs this kayak is more akin to many single seater yaks than it is other tandems. While it may not feature all the bells and whistles the Angler 100 will get the job done. The seats are very close; if you’re in the stern you could easily kick your partner. The closer seating arrangement can make it difficult to fish together. Finding room to store gear and rods can be frustrating as well.
At an MSRP of $650 the Angler 100 is well below the average and median price of tandem fishing kayaks. Despite some of its shortcomings the Angler 100 is a serviceable vessel. We think it’s probably better suited for adults taking out kids, or small dogs, rather than for two full sized people.
Feelfree Lure II
The Feelfree Lure II is the only tandem fishing kayak that can be upgraded with a pedal drive. Unlike some of the other tandem pedal kayaks the Lure II has only one drive well. That means whoever’s at stern will be doing all the work, or you could slide in the battery pack to motor it. Feelfree’s overdrive pedal system is unique in that it easily converts into a 40 lb thrust motor. Just insert the battery pack, lean back, and sip you beer while you pass all those suckers paddling.
The Lure II measures 14’2″ long and is a tad hefty at 92 lbs, but easily manageable for two people. The Lure II runs for $1,539 and the Overdrive Pedal Console costs approximately $930. The Overdrive Motordrive runs at $1,400, so for a fully tricked out Lure II with pedal system and motor you’re looking at $3,869. That’s not cheap, but being able to space these expenses out makes the price much more approachable. It’s far more effective than the traditional method, which is to swap out yaks every couple of years. On occasion you can find the Lure II with a pedal system at a lower price than if you were to buy boat and drive separately. You can learn more about the Lure II and all its features at Feelfree.
Our Pick for the Best Value Tandem Fishing Kayak
There are some true gems in the tandem kayak category and a wide variety of shapes and sizes to suit any couple. Our pick for the best value, however, goes to the Vibe Yellowfin 130T.
Vibe Yellowfin 130T
The Vibe Yellowfin 130T offers numerous “must have” features at an affordable price of only $1,049. At 13′ long the 130T is a little on the shorter side for tandem kayaks, but the seats are spaced far enough apart to not be a problem. Vibe’s high quality lawn chair style seats afford each paddler plenty of comfort and two hatches provide dry storage. The hull is sharp enough to track well while still remaining stable enough for standing. It comes rudder ready and can be steered from either bow or stern footrests.
Weighing only 80 lbs, but with a capacity of 500 lbs, you should have no problem with transportation or gear storage. Front and rear tankwells, gear tracks, cupholders, and 3 different seating positions round out the 130T to make a great deal. The fact that it comes with two paddles is the cherry on top. If you’re hankering for a tandem kayak and hunting for a deal we think you’d be hard pressed to do better than the Vibe Yellowfin 130T.
Fishing Tandem Pro’s and Con’s
Fishing tandem kayaks biggest selling point is that they can carry two people. It’s true there are non-tandem models that can make the same boast. But those yaks won’t be as accommodating for your passenger as a craft purposefully designed for two. These designs also translate into bigger payloads. If you’re looking to bring along a ton of gear for extended voyages then a tandem will carry the weight without sacrificing performance.
Extra length and beam doesn’t just translate to extra carrying capacity. It also conveys more far more real estate than solo varieties. If you’re the type to bring 10 rods, your entire tackle collection, and still need to stop by Cabelas before hitting the water, than a tandem might suit you well. We’re personally fans of the grab n go philosophy. But we recognize that everybody fishes differently, and when you pull up that new PR because you had just the right bait at the right time, you can smirk at us with confidence.
What would Han be without Chewie? Butch Cassidy without the Sundance Kid? The Three Musketeers without two of the Musketeers? Ok that last one doesn’t work so well. The point is that having a buddy in the trenches is a lot better than gunning by yourself. Paddling is easier, pedaling is easier. And when you hook that whopper your co-pilot can help keep you in position or help net in the catch. Finally having a friend with you is just more fun, and safer. If it starts to get hairy out there than you’ve got backup to help in a pinch.
A tandem kayak basically needs two of everything: two seats, two sets of footrests, two cupholders, etc. All those extra components and additional plastic add quite a bit of cost so prices, by necessity, have to be higher. Seats and pedal drives tend to be some of the most expensive parts of a kayak. Any boat with two sets of drives or lawn chair style seats is going to be far pricier than their single seater kin. If you need to fit multiple passengers, but can’t justify the price, then consider checking out canoes that are 15′ or longer.
Not all tandem kayaks are created equal. Higher end models have multiple seat configurations and can allow face to face conversation. The majority however are limited to a traditional front to back seating arrangement. That’s great for paddling, but can cause problems for fishing or socializing. Longer kayaks (over 14′) generally negate tangle ups with fishing, but you’ll still need to be cognizant if your partner is a little too exuberant with their casting.
Transportation and Storage
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that fishing tandem kayaks are longer and heavier than single seat kayaks. When you’re out with a partner the extra load shouldn’t be unmanageable. There are two of you to distribute the chore of loading, unloading, and transportation. If, however, you plan on using a tandem kayak solo then the extra weight and dimensions could prove difficult to handle. Kayak trailers may be a necessity depending on the fishing tandem model you choose.
Overview on Tandem Fishing Kayaks
Fishing Tandems are an awesome type of kayak that offer numerous benefits over single seat yaks, but with some trade-offs in weight and price. These boats are great for friends intent on spending some quality time on the water, or for parents looking to take their kids fishing. We’d say take your spouse, but these boats didn’t gain the nicknames “Divorce Boats” by happenstance. Tandems are an amazing way to introduce hesitant newbies to the sport. If you end up rocking a tandem consider yourself an ambassador to the sport. Your passengers will have you to thank when they begin their own kayak fishing journey.
Tandems not quite your style? Click here to go back to the YL buying guide.