Looking to buy your first fishing kayak? You’ve come to the right place. Narrowing down your options can be overwhelming even for seasoned kayak anglers. This Guide To Buying A Fishing Kayak will provide you with all the information you need to know about the different options available on the market today.
Once you’ve read the above article and feel like your head is about to burst, come back here. We’ve simplified things for you by picking out some of the best beginner fishing kayaks. All you have to do is decide which one has the features that matter most to you.
Most brands don’t have a fishing kayak that they market as “beginner-friendly.” What makes a fishing kayak a good option for someone who is just starting out is if it balances price point with features. If you buy the cheapest model on the market, you might sacrifice comfort, performance and even safety—all things that make for a more enjoyable time on the water. We aren’t saying you need to spend a fortune, either. Today’s market is filled with great options, giving you just the right number of features without breaking the bank.
These beginner fishing kayaks from Hobie, Wilderness Systems, Native Watercraft, Vibe Kayaks, Bonafide Kayaks, Feelfree Kayaks, NuCanoe, Ocean Kayak, Old Town, Pelican, Advanced Elements, Kaku Kayaks, Perception Kayaks, Sun Dolphin, Sea Eagle and more offer great value, useful features and guaranteed fun out on the water.
Here are the best beginner fishing kayaks on the market today:
- Hobie Mirage Passport 10.5
- Wilderness Systems Tarpon
- Native Watercraft Ultimate 12
- Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 100 Angler
- Bonafide Kayaks SS127
- Feelfree Kayaks Lure 11.5
- NuCanoe Flint
- Ocean Kayak Trident 11
- Old Town Topwater 120
- Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler
- Advanced Elements StraitEdge Angler
- Kaku Kayaks Wahoo 12.5
- Perception Pescador 12.0
- Sun Dolphin Boss 12 SS
- Sea Eagle 350FX Fishing Explorer
- Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100
[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 Mirage Passport 10.5 from Hobie is a pedal kayak that is both fun and functional. With the tried-and-true MirageDrive Classic with ST Fins, Hobie makes it possible to reach isolated beaches and remote waters. Every feature is designed with your entertainment in mind. Sail open water or fish the flats, thanks to the vertical accessory tube and molded in rod holders. Dual mounting tracks keep your accessories within reach, while the 8-inch Twist-n-Seal Hatch keeps them dry. The easy-to-use steering system and simplified version of Hobie’s twist-and-stow rudder puts navigation at your fingertips.
The Tarpon is easily the most versatile boat in the Wilderness Systems lineup and is equally at home on rivers, lakes or oceans. This sit-on-top has excellent stability and great tracking, and with the adjustable Phase 3 AirPro seating system, you can spend all day on the water in comfort. Features include a large rear storage well, a front storage hatch, a DryTec removable dry box, SlideTrax accessory rails, a quick-park paddle holder, a MagnaTec magnetic water bottle strap system and more. This boat comes in two sizes: the 105 and 120.
The Ultimate 12 from Native Watercraft is an original standup fishing hybrid (featuring Native’s patented Tunnel Hull technology) that lowers your center of gravity to make standing while sight casting a breeze. The Ultimate 12 offers easy access to fishing at a budget price. Its clean, open floor-plan makes loading and unloading a breeze, and allows for unobstructed casting. Lightweight and sturdy, this hybrid is hard to beat.
The Yellowfin 100 Angler from Vibe is ready to help you escape. Comfort and portability come together in this fully equipped, lightweight kayak. The Yellowfin 100 is the perfect throw-and-go vessel and features the Vibe Hero seat, providing comfort and support for long days on the water. The Yellowfin 100 has all the features anglers demand like extra rod holders, a large rear tank well, adjustable foot braces, front and center hatches, tackle tray holders and mounting points.
View all Vibe beginner fishing kayaks.
The SS127 from Bonafide Kayaks is hard to beat when it comes to fishability from a kayak. Every feature was designed from the ground up to create an amazing angling experience. Featuring a hybrid catamaran hull design that provides uncompromised stability in various conditions, this boat is not kind-of-stable, it’s crazy-stable (at only 33.5 inches wide!). This allows for the comfortable HiRise seating system to raise to an ultra-high position for improved sight casting and to relieve pressure on your lower back.
The Lure 11.5 from Feelfree Kayaks is a versatile kayak designed for fishing or other activities where stability, capacity and an open deck space are necessary. A key feature of the Lure 11.5 is a removable sonar and electronic pod, making it easy to install a fish finder. The kayak comes with a variety of comfort features including the removable, multi-height adjustable Gravity Seat and Wheel in the Keel. The Lure 11.5 is also available with the Overdrive Pedal & Motor System.
The Flint from NuCanoe brings unprecedented performance, features and quality to the sub-$1,000 fishing kayak market. The Flint has rock-solid stability, while being fast and nimble. Featuring a clean open deck and all the features an angler would need—rod storage, tackle storage, gear mounting, paddler holders, and a Pinnacle Seat providing all-day comfort—this ‘yak rocks on choppy surf and cruises on calm days.
The Trident 11 from Ocean Kayak is the most compact kayak in the Trident fleet and is built for convenience, agility and easy transportation. The all-new Mod Pod makes storing and organizing your gear a breeze. Other features include two flush mounted rod holders, gunnel accessory tracks, a paddle holder with rod rest, an oversized tankwell and more. This boat is a great choice for inland waters, slow-moving rivers and moderate ocean swells.
View all Ocean beginner fishing kayaks.
The Topwater 120 from Old Town offers large fishing kayak performance, in a compact, nimble package. A marriage of stability and performance, the Topwater—with the all-new ultra-stable DoubleU Hull—quietly glides through any water condition while providing a stable, comfortable standup fishing platform. Equipped with thoughtful on-board tackle and rod management and a revolutionary universal transducer mount, even the saltiest of anglers will be impressed by the overall fishability of the new Topwater series. Old Town sacrificed nothing, delivering a series of innovative fishing kayaks that are easy to maneuver and even easier to transport all while boasting an impressive maximum capacity.
The Sentinel 100X Angler from Pelican is part of their recreational sit-on-top collection and is ideal for the paddler looking to enjoy a stable and relaxing kayaking experience during the warm season on calm or slow-moving waters. The Sentinel 100X Angler is specifically designed for the experienced fisherman looking to try kayak fishing. Measuring 9’6″ and weighing only 44 pounds, this kayak is incredibly easy to transport and store. A multi-chine flat bottom hull ensures the stability needed when casting lines.
View all Pelican beginner fishing kayaks.
Designed for the kayak angler, the StraitEdge Angler from Advanced Elements has great stability, multi-layer material, and multiple air chambers, providing maximum durability for aggressive conditions. Its removable Accessory Frame allows anglers to customize the kayak with aftermarket accessories. This inflatable kayak also features a high-back lumbar seat with rod holders, D-rings, deck lacing, paddle holders and a patented aluminum rib-frame technology for superior tracking and performance.
The Wahoo 12.5 from Kaku Kayaks is the perfect balance of stability and speed. Its aggressive hull cuts through water, tracks well and is easy to maneuver. The roomy and open deck offers stable and easy standing. Also featured are a comfortable aluminum frame raised chair, forward and aft top-load aluminum gear tracks for all your accessory needs, and integrated micro Power-Pole mounting.
The Pescador 12.0 from Perception Kayaks is one of the most versatile sit-on-top fishing kayaks on the market. The multi-chine hull, broad shoulder and tracking keel creates a boat with maneuverability, glide and stability—so much so that even new paddlers can explore lakes, ponds and flatwater rivers with confidence. This boat packs plenty of speed and capacity for any size paddler to enjoy a full day on the water. Features include spacious open storage, covered dry storage, two rod holders, multiple gear tracks, a Comfort Seating System and more.
View all Perception beginner fishing kayaks.
The Boss 12 SS from Sun Dolphin is an extremely stable sit-on-top fishing kayak, thanks to the tri-hull design. Coupled with the large stand up walking area and four traction pads, this kayak is a platform you’ll feel confident fishing from. Amenities include a three-position deluxe padded honeycomb seat with aluminum frame, a standup strap, universal mounting plates, two storage compartments with bag inserts, front and rear storage wells with bungees, four flush mount and one adjustable rod holders, paddle holders and more.
A robust, accessorized version of the Explorer from Sea Eagle, the new inflatable 350FX Fishing Explorer features double-layered, 1,000-denier-reinforced PVC, six built-in rod holders, sprayskirts with accessory belts to hold lures and tools, a 36-inch fish ruler, and anchor trolly D-rings. It also features a fully adjustable and easy-to-use FlexBrace foot brace, and a removable, high-pressure, drop-stitch floor with non-slip EVA pad for superior stability. This boat accepts a 34-pound electric motor.
View all Sea Eagle beginner fishing kayaks.
The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 is a sit-on-top fishing kayak that has a comfortable padded seat and back rest for your long paddling and fishing adventures. Designed for extreme safety and stability, the Tamarack Angler has a stable, flat bottom with deep tracking channels and stability chine rails. The kayak is constructed of blow-molded high-density polyethylene (HDPE) making it durable, UV-protected and impact-resistant. The 52-pound design and front and rear carry handles make it easy to transport to and from the waterfront. With fishing rod holders, shock cord straps, multiple foot rest positions, and two storage hatches, this kayak has plenty of extras to enhance your paddling and fishing experience.
How we chose the best beginner fishing kayaks
We consider several factors when choosing the best beginner 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 fishing kayak for beginners
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.