When you are gearing up to hit the water, it is important to make sure you have a kayak that will not only keep you safe, but also provide you with performance features for the best on-water experience.
Kayaks designed for saltwater fishing provide more control in waves, offer increased stability, and often also make it easier to cover larger distances.
These boats from Vibe Kayaks, Bonafide Kayaks, Wilderness Systems, NuCanoe, Old Town, Hobie, Kaku Kayaks, Viking Kayaks, Sea Eagle, Native Watercraft, Perception Kayaks and 3 Waters Kayaks are furnished with specific features that make them ready for saltwater fishing.
Here are the best saltwater fishing kayaks on the market today:
- Vibe Kayaks Shearwater 125
- Bonafide Kayaks SS107
- Wilderness Systems Tarpon
- NuCanoe Flint
- Old Town Sportsman Salty PDL 120
- Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14
- Kaku Kayaks Wahoo 12.5
- Viking Kayaks Profish Reload
- Sea Eagle 350FX Fishing Explorer
- Native Watercraft Titan Propel 10.5
- Perception Kayaks Pescador Pro 120
- 3 Waters Big Fish 108
[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 Shearwater 125 by Vibe Kayaks was designed with speed and stability in mind. It has many options for angling customization including offering the choice of pedal, power, or paddle acceleration in the form of the Vibe X-Drive pedal system, Bixpy Jet motor and Vibe Evolve paddle—or the unique combo of all three. Plus this kayak comes at a price that allows you to build the fishing kayak of your dreams while fitting any budget.
View all Vibe saltwater fishing kayaks.
A shorter version of its big brother, the SS107 from Bonafide Kayaks offers virtually all the same features of the larger model, coming in at 10’7” in length for those looking for improved portability and transportation options. It retains the hybrid catamaran hull design and HiRise seating system and an almost identical deck space for standing and moving around the boat. There are very few fishing kayak options in the 10’ to 11’ range that offer these kind of high-end feature sets, making the SS107 a great choice.
View all Bonafide saltwater fishing kayaks.
How do you improve upon a legend? Introducing the new Tarpon. Retaining everything paddlers loved from the celebrated original with improved comfort, stability, speed and paddler interface, the new Tarpon is easily the most versatile boat in the Wilderness Systems lineup that is equally at home on rivers, lakes or oceans. Every detail is carefully crafted and executed flawlessly to bring you boundless paddling perfection. Two sizes available.
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 Sportsman Salty PDL 120 pedal kayak from Old Town is perfect for those who fish and play in coastal areas. With two 18″ tracks for accessory mounting, one forward-facing and two rear-facing flush mounted rod holders, tank wells in the bow and stern, and more, this boat is fully outfitted for fishing. The award-winning PDL Drive is one of the most reliable and easy-to-use pedal drives on the market, providing instant forward and reverse propulsion and a patented easy-docking system. This kayak is at home in the waves and is meant for having fun.
The Pro Angler 14 from Hobie packs extreme fishing utility, with six horizontal rod lockers, enough tackle compartments to empty a store, and an elevated Vantage ST seat that’s as much easy chair as captain’s perch. There’s a non-skid deck for standing and veritable acres of H-Rail for mounting and electronics. All this is contained on a spacious 14-foot platform, with no need for a gas tank. Also included are Hobie’s Guardian Transducer Shield and reversing MirageDrive 180 with Turbo Kick-Up Fins.
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 Profish Reload from Viking Kayaks offers a great kayaking experience whether you’re paddling for pleasure or you’ve got fish on your mind. It offers plenty of storage for multi-day trips on the coast or down the river and isn’t too heavy for those portages. A low seat and freeboard means less wind resistance and their high-back seat offers great comfort for long days on the water.
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 saltwater fishing kayaks.
The Titan Propel 10.5 from Native Watercraft provides instant, hands-free forward to reverse propulsion. The 10.5 is easily transported in a truck bed while offering many of the same features as the 13.5-foot model. All Titan models feature Native Watercraft’s Plastifoam technology, which adds flotation for safety and increased stiffness for performance. This boat offers superior stability making the platform optimal for sight casting while providing plenty of leverage to reel in the catch.
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 Big Fish 108 from 3 Waters Kayaks is the newest edition to the popular Big Fish kayak series. This kayak was specially designed to accommodate the Pro Fish Pedal Drive, featuring the intuitive 8 Ball steering system, combined with the oversized Beaver Tail rudder for an impressive propulsion experience. The Big Fish 108 EZ Rider seat offers all-day paddling comfort with multiple sitting and standing configurations—high, low, recline and flip away, which doubles as a lean bar when standing. At 11 feet long and with a capacity of 450 pounds, the Big Fish 108 is an all-around, have fun or go fish kayak for the masses, utilizing a Cathedral Hull design that is super stable yet easy to maneuver.
How we chose the best saltwater fishing kayaks
We consider several factors when choosing the best saltwater 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 saltwater 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.