What size fishing kayak is best for you? The answer to this question depends on what you are hoping to get out of your kayak. Some people prioritize speed over stability, some are looking for more storage options, and others need a boat that is light enough to cartop by themselves.
Twelve-foot fishing kayaks are considered mid-size in the world of solo fishing kayaks. They offer more deck space as well as more stability in larger waves in comparison to shorter 10-foot kayaks. These kayaks are great for fishing lakes, and some models were built to thrive in inshore and offshore fishing. A longer kayak has more space for gear, but is also heavier and harder to transport.
Those looking for the most gear storage, unwavering stability (in wider hulls), or apex speed (in narrower hulls) may want to size up to a 15-foot model. But for those who want a balance between space, stability and maneuverability, these 12-foot fishing kayaks by NuCanoe, Old Town, Hobie, Perception Kayaks, Vibe Kayaks, Wilderness Systems, Eddyline Kayaks, Pelican, Native Watercraft, Jackson Adventures and others will more than satisfy.
Here are the best 12-foot fishing kayaks on the market today:
- NuCanoe Frontier 12
- Old Town Topwater 120 PDL
- Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12
- Perception Pescador Pro 120
- Vibe Maverick 120
- Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 Angler
- Eddyline Caribbean 12 Angler
- Pelican Sentinel 120XR Angler
- Native Watercraft Slayer 12 Pro
- Ascend 12T
- Field & Stream Eagle Talon Kayak
- Jackson Adventures Liska
- Riot Escape 12 Angler
[This article is part of the Kayak Angler Buyer’s Guide for The Best Fishing Kayaks for 2021. Find all the best fishing kayaks from the top brands for all situations.]
The Frontier 12 from NuCanoe provides exceptional stability and a completely customizable wide, open deck, allowing you to truly fish without limits. Whether you fish solo or tandem, seated or standing, rivers or lakes, paddling or trolling, the Frontier’s remarkable stability and 360 Pinnacle Seat will keep you confident and comfortable on the water.
The Topwater 120 PDL from Old Town is the newest member of the Topwater series, offering big fishing performance in a hands-free, easy to maneuver 12-foot size. Equipped with the PDL drive (backed by an industry-leading five-year warranty), the Topwater 120 PDL leaves your hands free to focus on fighting the fish. Other features include a stable DoubleU hull, 500 pounds of capacity, thoughtful on-board tackle and rod storage, and an easy-to-use universal transducer mount.
The Mirage Pro Angler 12 fishing kayak from Hobie deploys all the big-boat fishing features of the Pro Angler series on a 12-foot-long platform that fits neatly in the back of most any pickup truck. Keep a half-dozen rods rigged for the ultimate kayak fishing adventure. Confidently stand and fire cast after cast. The elevated Vantage ST seat makes it easy to move around the boat. Now includes a retractable skeg for improved course-keeping, as well as innovative H-Rail for superior flexibility in accessory rigging. Now with the Guardian Retractable Transducer Shield and the reversing MirageDrive 180 with Turbo Kick-Up Fins.
The Pescador Pro 120 from Perception Kayaks is a real fishing kayak for real fishing enthusiasts. It’s packed full of fishy features with the tracking and stability discerning anglers have come to expect from today’s fishing kayaks. While heavier in weight than the 10-foot version, the Pescador Pro 120 is still lightweight compared to other kayaks of the same length. It also retains the maneuverability of the Pescador Pro 10.0, while adding cargo space, speed and stability.
The Maverick 120 SUP from Vibe Kayaks is ready to help you conquer the water. It may not technically be a kayak, but this board is so versatile we thought it deserved a spot on the list. The stable, no-flex deck provides superior stability, comfort and maneuverability, and its light weight means it’s easy to carry and get out on the water. For those chasing down their next catch, it’s packed with features, including five gear tracks, multiple paddle parks, and front and rear bungee tie-down systems. The Maverick 120 is ready to answer when adventure calls.
The Pungo 120 Angler from Wilderness Systems is a bestselling recreational kayak with all of the storage and accessories necessary for the serious angler. Features include a customizable Pungo dashboard, a stern hatch, rod holders, a roomy cockpit, Phase 3 AirPro outfitting and more. Combining efficiency and speed with impressive stability, the Pungo was made to get you there.
The Caribbean 12 Angler from Eddyline Kayaks is a fisherman’s dream both on and off the water. The three main highlights are its light 45-pound weight, overall stability and comfort. The unique Gull Wing hull configuration retains efficiency and tracking while maximizing stability and maneuverability. The Caribbean 12 includes a luxurious Cloud 10 seat, balanced carry handles, paddle holders, traction pads, rod holders and much more.
View all Eddyline 12-foot fishing kayaks.
The Sentinel 120XR Angler from Pelican comes equipped with the Ergocast SB Seating System—a comfortable chair that allows you to adjust seat tension to make sure you get the support you need. Easily removable, you can also use this seat on the beach as you take a quick break to snack or relax. Adjustable foot rests will help keep you in the ideal paddling position. Bringing along everything you need is easy with the large rear tankwell and front storage platform.
View all Pelican 12-foot fishing kayaks.
The Slayer 12 Pro from Native Watercraft features high/low seating positions for out-of-the-wind paddling and comfortable ergonomic fishing. Fish and depth finders are a cinch to mount. A clean, open cockpit makes it perfect for stripping line while fly fishing, and allows bait casters freedom of movement when snatching that big bass. This boat includes cam-lok paddle holders, three pocket tool holders, a bow hatch cover, anti-slip pads, an anchor trolley and a tag-a-long wheel.
View all Native Watercraft 12-foot fishing kayaks.
The 12T is one of Ascend’s stablest fishing kayak models. The company’s advanced tunnel design has a wide transom and flared bow sections, making this boat stable enough to stand up and cast from. The non-skid foam deck mat ensures you can do so safely and comfortably. The 12T also features port and starboard accessory mounting rails, paddle holders, a large stern tankwell, bow and stern carrying handles and more.
Field & Stream Eagle Talon Kayak
The Eagle Talon Kayak from Field & Stream is an ideal companion on your next relaxing day of fishing on the lake. This sit-on-top kayak features an adjustable padded seat, a molded-in well to hold your tackle box, two flush mount rod holders with leashes, a stern tankwell, a 1.5-pound folding anchor, two paddle parks and more. The Eagle Talon is a great entry-level boat for those looking for a way to get out on the water.
The Liska from Jackson Adventures is the modern version of the bestselling Cuda series. It’s wider, more stable and has been updated with features that novice kayakers are looking for—and experienced anglers demand. A versatile inshore/lake kayak fishing platform, the Liska uses the same Hi-Lo trimmable seating as the Cuda HD and MayFly. Track systems on the gunwales and a large stern storage area add the functionality lacking in the original Cudas.
The Escape 12 Angler from Riot Kayaks is designed for fishing-minded kayakers and equipped with features for serious anglers. This boat provides a great combination of stability and performance, making it appropriate for many different fishing environments. Features include a Pilot Rudder system, four flush mount and one swivel mount rod holders, an anchor trolley system and more.
How we chose the best 12-foot fishing kayaks
We consider several factors when choosing the best 12-foot fishing kayaks. From ensuring we judge the kayak according to its intended purpose to making sure you’re actually able to buy it, here are the things we consider when picking the kayak in each category:
- Purpose. Comparing apples to apples.
- Performance. How well does it do its job?
- Features. Sometimes we’re all about bells and whistles, sometimes not.
- Real-world testing. We put them to the test on the water.
- Price. Is it affordable? Does its performance justify its cost?
- Sales. Best-selling models are best-sellers for a reason.
- Availability. It won’t be good if you can’t buy it.
- Designer and brand interviews. We ask the people who made it why.
Let’s find you the perfect 12-foot fishing kayak
Use the Kayak Angler Buyer’s Guide‘s reviews, specs and expert rankings to help you find the right kayak at the right price. Find all the best fishing kayaks from the top brands for all situations in The Best Fishing Kayaks for 2021.