The two major categories of fishing kayaks are termed sit-on-top and sit-inside, so there’s a common misconception that fishing out of a kayak is limited to sitting down. While this may be true for sit-inside kayaks, there are many sit-on-top models on the market today designed for standup kayak fishing. These kayaks make standing up safe, comfortable and easy to do.
There are many reasons kayak anglers prefer standup fishing. Standing provides greater range of motion for casting and working the lure. You’ll be able to cast farther and more accurately when standing. Standing up also allows you to see farther into the water to locate structure and fish. Lastly, the simplest reason to stand up and fish is to change your positioning and stretch your legs. It’s nice to have this as an option in addition to sitting.
In this article we’ll provide what to look for when buying the best standup fishing kayak for you.
Top picks: Best standup fishing kayaks for 2023
The following standup fishing kayaks have received the highest star ratings by reviewers in our Kayak Angler Buyer’s Guide. See and review all standup fishing kayaks here.
Best Standup Fishing Kayaks
Shearwater 125 Signature Series
Sportsman PDL 106
The Catch 110 HyDryve II
Boss 12 ss
Pescador Pilot 12.0
Topwater 120 PDL
Blackfoot Angler 160
Shop for standup fishing kayaks
When searching for a fishing kayak you can stand up in there are a few factors to take into account.
First, you’ll want to be sure it is a sit-on-top kayak with an open deck space, the most suitable type of kayak for standup fishing.
You will also want a wide hull. The best kayaks for standup fishing are built with a flat planing hull, or even better, a pontoon-style hull, with multiple, separate surface areas adding buoyancy and distributing your weight across the water’s surface.
You can find more information about what makes the best standup fishing kayak in the buying advice section later in this article.
The links below will take you to the Kayak Angler Buyer’s Guide, where you will find every standup fishing kayak available on the market today. You’ll also find complete kayak reviews, spec, pricing, and where to buy the best kayaks for standup fishing.
Shop by type
Shop by brand
Ascend standup fishing kayaks
Bonafide standup fishing kayaks
Feelfree standup fishing kayaks
Hobie standup fishing kayaks
Jackson standup fishing kayaks
Kaku standup fishing kayaks
Native Watercraft standup fishing kayaks
NuCanoe standup fishing kayaks
Old Town standup fishing kayaks
Pelican standup fishing kayaks
Perception standup fishing kayaks
Sea Eagle standup fishing kayaks
Vibe standup fishing kayaks
Wilderness Systems standup fishing kayaks
Shopping for a used standup fishing kayak?
Purchasing a used fishing kayak may be a great choice for those seeking their first kayak for standup fishing, or those whose budget does not allow for buying a new kayak. When purchasing a used kayak for standup fishing, make certain of a few things before closing the deal.
- Be sure the kayak is suitable for standup fishing. Sit-on-top kayaks with an open deck are the type of boat design you can stand up in. You will also want the fishing kayak to have a wide, flat, or pontoon hull. You can learn more about standup fishing kayak design in the buying guide section below.
- Research the kayak before showing up. Read reviews and ask fellow kayak anglers whether this may be the best kayak for standup fishing.
- Check for damage. Always go to see a kayak in person before committing to a sale. It is normal for a kayak to have surface level scratches. But you do not want to purchase a kayak that is cracked. Deep gouges or a dent can be okay as long as they do not affect performance. A faded kayak has likely been left out in the sun. The UV deteriorates the plastic and this may lead to further damage.
- Test paddle. You won’t know for certain whether it is a fishing kayak you can stand up on until you’ve taken it on the water.
For more tips on what to look for when selecting a used fishing kayak, read our article How To Buy A Used Fishing Kayak.
Standup fishing kayak buying guide
First, a standup fishing kayak will need to be a sit-on-top and not a sit-inside kayak. A sit-inside kayak has a closed deck, meaning you slide into the boat and it is a cavern inside. Sit-inside kayaks are intended for sitting. You can not stand up on a sit-inside kayak because the kayak will capsize or fill with water should you fall. A sit-on-top kayak has an open deck space, and should you capsize you can just climb back on.
Stability is the next factor in finding a fishing kayak you can stand up on. There are two major design factors in a kayak that increase its stability for standup fishing. One is the width of the kayak. Wider kayaks tend to be more stable. This is because you have an increased surface area making contact with the water as the boat tilts from side to side.
The second design factor affecting stability is the hull design of the kayak. The bottom section of the kayak making contact with the water is referred to as the hull. The shape of the hull plays an important role in determining its stability and whether it is suitable as a standup fishing kayak.
A wide flat hull, or what is often called a planing hull, is one example of a hull that works well for standup kayak fishing. This is because it feels like a platform when you are standing.
A pontoon-style hull is perhaps the most stable type of kayak there is for standup fishing. This is because pontoons act like a catamaran. When leaning from side to side, each pontoon acts as its own point of contact on the water. The weight is also distributed throughout the hull. Each pontoon also provides the boat with more buoyancy because internally there is air in each chamber.
Pontoon hulls are also known as multi-hull kayaks and are often found as double-U or trimaran shapes. These types of hulls make great standup fishing kayaks.
One other detail when looking for a standup fishing kayak is the layout of the open deck space, also called the cockpit. You’ll want a kayak that provides a flat area for your feet. Some kayaks, especially those with a raised stadium seat, may feature an ample amount of flat deck space for standing in the center of the kayak.
Fishing kayaks with a low, traditional seat, but that are still intended for standup fishing will often have flat areas within the footwells to plant your feet.
When buying a kayak suited for standup fishing it’s important to take the factors of any kayak into account. Be sure you are comfortable in the kayak and are able to transport it. It’s always recommended to test paddle a kayak before purchasing.
Still looking for answers? Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about standup fishing kayaks.
Can you stand up in a fishing kayak?
Certain kayaks are designed for standup fishing. To start, kayaks that you can stand up in are sit-on-top kayaks. They will also have a wider hull, and either a flat or pontoon shaped hull. You will also want the kayak to have a flat area within the deck space for placing your feet.
Can you stand up in a sit-inside fishing kayak?
It is not recommended to stand up in a sit-inside kayak. This is because if you capsize, a sit-inside kayak will fill with water, and become submerged.
Are stand up paddleboards and standup fishing kayaks the same?
Kayaks and standup paddleboards are two different types of paddling craft, though they can both be suitable for standup fishing depending on where and what type of fishing you do. There are also more hybrid standup paddleboard/kayaks being produced, and some of these make a great option for fishing.
Where can I buy a standup fishing kayak?
Most fishing kayak retailers have options designed for standup fishing available. If you are unfamiliar with which characteristics are the best for standup kayak fishing, visit a specialty fishing kayak store where the staff are knowledgeable about the type of fishing you would like to do. Also read the buying advice information earlier in this article.
Standup fishing kayak reviews
Below you will find in-depth reviews from Kayak Angler contributors on the best standup fishing kayaks available today.
- Inflatable Kayak Review: BOTE Zeppelin Aero 10
- Tandem Fishing Kayak Review: Hobie Mirage iTrek 14 Duo
- Tandem Fishing Kayak Review: Brooklyn Kayak Company TK122
- Fishing Kayak Review: Ascend 133X
- Fishing Kayak Review: SeaStream Angler 120 PD
- ICAST First Look: Feelfree Airship
- ICAST First Look: Bonafide RVR 119
- Fishing Kayak Review: Ascend 12t
- Fishing Kayak Review: Sun Dolphin Boss 12 SS
- Fishing Kayak Review: Ascend 10t