When purchasing a kayak, one of the first decisions an angler needs to make is whether to go with a sit-on-top or sit-inside. In the fishing world, sit-on-top models tend to be more popular; however, there are some specific advantages to sit-inside kayaks that are worth consideration.
The first advantage of a sit-inside fishing kayak, and also the most common reason people choose them, is that they are typically lighter weight. Many people struggle with the weight of a sit-on-top kayak and it can be frustrating when a single-person kayak requires two people to transport it.
The second advantage is protection from the elements. While you’ll stay warmer and drier in a sit-inside kayak, it is important to remember that you still need to be dressed for immersion in the event you tip. The final advantage to a sit-inside kayak is that you usually have more dry-storage options—that being said, many times you need to get out of the kayak to access them.
These sit-inside fishing kayaks from Wilderness Systems, Perception Kayaks, Bonafide Kayaks, Old Town, Pelican and more offer a wide variety of options to get you on the water from sun-up to sun-down—and maybe even longer.
Here are the best sit-inside fishing kayaks on the market today:
- Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 Angler
- Perception Kayaks Sound 9.5
- Bonafide Kayaks EX123 Expedition
- Old Town Loon 120
- Pelican Argo 100XP Angler
- Lifetime Payette Angler 98
- Riot Enduro 12 Angler
- Sun Dolphin Excursion 12 SS
[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 Pungo 120 Angler is one of Wilderness Systems‘ best selling recreational kayaks with all of the storage and accessories necessary for the serious angler. Combining efficiency and speed with an impressive balance of stability and comfort features such as the roomy cockpit and Phase 3 AirPro outfitting, the Pungo was made to get you there.
The Sound 9.5 from Perception Kayaks is affordable, easy to transport and full of features, making it a great sit-in kayak for all of your adventures. A refresh on this model aligns it with the Sound family of kayaks, adding more features and room for gear. The redesigned dashboard features a molded-in area for a tackle box and gear, plus two molded-in rod holders behind the seat for easy access. A deeper, wider rear stern tankwell provides more storage and the RAM Solo Mount.
View all Perception sit-inside kayaks.
Bonafide Kayaks refers to the EX123 as the SUV of kayaks, so called because of its versatility and performance. Weighing less than 70 pounds, anglers are able to get this kayak to the water without breaking a sweat. Once on the water, stand up with confidence thanks to the kayak’s stable Bonafide HyCat hull. Make the most of three options for storage from a molded-in forward storage well, a removable console and rear hatch. The EX123 makes it easy to spend more time fishing.
The Loon 120 from Old Town is part of the Loon series of advanced recreational kayaks. It features the ACS2 seat, creating one of the most advanced and best-fitting cockpits available. It also includes a removable workdeck, supplying space for customization, cameras, gear and water, dry storage, and a USB port to keep your gadgets charged, even after hours on the water.
View all Old Town sit-inside kayaks.
The Argo 100XP Angler from Pelican is specifically tailored to the paddler looking to regularly use their kayak to go fishing or on recreational expeditions. It is also great for a family of kayaking enthusiasts, each with their own preference on how to spend their time on the water. With ergonomic carrying handles and weighing only 41 pounds, you will be able to easily carry the Argo 100XP Angler wherever you decide to go.
The Payette Angler 98 from Lifetime is a sit-inside kayak that has a large cockpit and a comfortable backrest for your long paddling adventures. Designed for safety and stability, the Payette has a stable, flat bottom with deep tracking channels and stability chine rails. The kayak is constructed of blow-molded, high-density polyethylene making it durable, UV-protected and impact-resistant. The lightweight, 44-pound design and front and rear carry handles make it easy to transport to and from the waterfront.
The Enduro 12 Angler provides you with more storage capacity, floatation and sealed bulkheads than many of Riot’s other sit-inside models. With two sealed compartments for fishing and camping gear, this kayak is ready to take you on your next fishing campaign. It also features a skeg system, two flush mount rod holders and one swivel rod holder, an anchor trolley system and more.
Sun Dolphin Excursion 12 SS
The Excursion 12 SS sit-in fishing kayak from Sun Dolphin tracks and paddles with ease, while offering maximum stability. Have more fishing gear than you can usually fit in one boat? No problem—the Excursion has a portable accessory carrier that can be used as extra storage. This kayak is great for anyone, featuring a large comfortable seating area, retractable carrying handles and flush mount fishing rod holders.
How we chose the best sit-inside fishing kayaks
We consider several factors when choosing the best sit-inside 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 sit-inside 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.