When you are looking to buy a fishing kayak, you want to make sure you have scoured the market and considered all the best kayaks. Sit-on-top kayaks are a big category in kayak fishing and they are a popular choice among anglers.
What are the features anglers find valuable about sit-on-top fishing kayaks? Anglers typically like them for their ability to stand and fish, open deck space, ease of accessing gear, and ease of getting on and off of.
These fishing kayaks from Bonafide Kayaks, Hobie, Vibe Kayaks, NuCanoe, Old Town, Wilderness Systems, Perception Kayaks, Kaku Kayak, Ocean Kayak, Native Watercraft, Pelican, Advanced Elements, Eddyline Kayaks, Viking Kayaks, AIRE, Sea Eagle, Uncharted Watercraft, Feelfree Kayaks and more offer a wide variety of performance-ready kayaks for the best angling experience.
Here are the best sit-on-top fishing kayaks on the market today:
- Bonafide Kayaks SS127
- Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12
- Vibe Shearwater 125
- NuCanoe Frontier 12
- Old Town Topwater 120
- Wilderness Systems Tarpon
- Perception Kayaks Pescador Pro 10
- Kaku Kayak Wahoo 10.5
- Ocean Kayak Trident 13
- Native Watercraft Slayer 12 XC
- Pelican Catch 120
- Advanced Elements StraitEdge Angler Pro
- Eddyline Kayaks Caribbean 12 Angler
- Viking Kayaks Profish GT
- AIRE IK Angler
- Sea Eagle 350FX Fishing Explorer
- Uncharted Watercraft Outbound GT
- Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100
- Feelfree Kayaks Lure 11.5
- Jackson Mayfly
- Riot Kayaks Mako 12
[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 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 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 and ready in the four standard horizontal and two molded-in rod holders 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 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.
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 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.
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 Pescador Pro series of sit-on-top fishing kayaks from Perception Kayaks are outfitted with the features and performance serious anglers demand. Fast, stable and designed to track straight in variable conditions, the Pescador Pro 10.0 is the total package for effortlessly covering water on your favorite lake, pond or flatwater river to find the fish. Smart features include secure attachment and storage zones to keep gear within reach. All in a boat that’s lightweight for easy transport and storage.
View all Perception sit-on-top fishing kayaks.
The Wahoo 10.5 from Kaku Kayaks provides fishing performance in a compact design. It’s stable for easy standing, has an aggressive bow and deep keel for straight tracking and easy maneuverability, and features Micro Power-Pole integrated mounting to boot. Also included are a raised aluminum chair, aluminum top-load gear tracks and two flush-mounted rod holders. Kaku Kayaks shaved 2 feet and almost 10 pounds off the Wahoo 12.5 and created the Kaku Wahoo 10.5. The goal was to create a more compact fishing kayak without compromising on features from its big brother, so they flattened the rocker to make sure it was easy to stand on, lowered the keel to maintain good tracking and added a sick deck pad. This easy-to-handle, quick little ‘yak has all the features of the Wahoo 12.5, minus a little storage.
View all Kaku sit-on-top fishing kayaks.
The Trident 13 from Ocean Kayak is the ideal size for inshore and inland angling, with the Trident’s legendary ease of paddling. The Trident 13 Angler balances size with agility, making it the most versatile kayak in the fleet. The Trident 13 performs well in almost any water application, but you’ll notice the superb performance in breaking surf and rough seas.
The Slayer 12 XC kayak from Native Watercraft offers a solid fishing platform. The hull of the XC is designed toward cross conditions performance. A broad, flatter hull not only allows river anglers to maneuver and control their boats in tighter conditions while sliding through shallow areas with a very shallow draft, but it also gives an incredibly stable standing platform for sight fishing. A flip of a lever drops a directional skeg to allow the Slayer XC to track on a line to the next spot. The XC includes a removable electronics-ready pod.
The Catch 120 from Pelican is perfect for those looking for a kayak with more space and storage. At 12 feet long and 69 pounds, it is ideal for the bigger angler looking to bring along a lot of gear with a total weight capacity of 400 pounds. It features Pelican’s Ergocast G2 Dual Position Seating System with a convenient pocket in the back allowing you to insert extra lumbar support, adjustable straps under the seat that provide adjustable tension, and elastic straps located on the seat that allow you to keep small tools handy. The Catch 120 comes loaded with features anglers will love.
Designed for the kayak angler, the StraitEdge Angler PRO from Advanced Elements has great stability, multi-layer material, and multiple air chambers, providing maximum durability. Its removable Accessory Frame System allows anglers to customize the kayak with aftermarket accessories. It also features a drop-stitch floor for rigidity and standup capability, as well as Advanced Element’s ultra-comfortable AirFrame PRO seat.
Read Kayak Angler‘s full review of the Advanced Elements StraitEdge Angler PRO. Watch our video review of StraitEdge Angler PRO specs and features. View all Advanced Elements sit-on-top fishing kayaks.
The Caribbean 12 Angler from Eddyline Kayaks is a fisherman’s dream both on and off the water, the three main highlights being 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 sit-on-top fishing kayaks.
At just under 12 feet long, the Profish GT from Viking Kayaks is designed for paddlers of all experience levels and sizes looking for a compact paddling and fishing platform that is exceptionally easy to handle both on and off the water. This boat is compact, easily managed and incredibly maneuverable. The stability of the Profish GT will appeal to both all-water anglers and recreational paddlers looking for a worry-free ride. New for 2020 is the optional High Seat for an elevated perspective.
View all Viking sit-on-top fishing kayaks.
The IK Angler 11’ from AIRE is a fishing-specific kayak designed for avid fishermen who want to access more open water. Built for comfort, the adjustable seat will have you sitting above the water to make casting a breeze and provides support for your lower back. This kayak is lightweight, compact and includes AIRE’s Integrated Gear System (IGS) which incorporates a movable base in a sleeve that accepts cargo pockets, rod holders and anchor mounts.
View all AIRE sit-on-top fishing kayaks.
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 sit-on-top fishing kayaks.
The Outbound GT by Uncharted Watercraft is a folding fishing kayak that packs up to make it easier for anglers to transport it. It’s molded of high-molecular weight polyethylene using twin-sheet thermoforming technology. The frame is made from 1.5-inch powder-coated, aluminum tubing. Also featured are molded-in foot wells, three flush-mount rod holders, paddle clips and two six-inch hatches. It packs down to 60 x 34 x 22 inches for easy transportation and storage. Wheels included. Assembles and disassembles in seconds with no tools.
Read Kayak Angler‘s full review of the Uncharted Watercraft Outbound GT. View all Uncharted Watercraft sit-on-top fishing kayaks.
The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 is a sit-on-top fishing kayak that has a comfortable padded seat and backrest 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.
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 MayFly from Jackson Kayak is a fly fishing oriented sit-on-top loaded with features to make kayak fly fishing more fun and user-friendly. The MayFly has a versatile hull optimized for tracking, stability, and speed in popular fly fishing conditions and destinations, including tropical flats, slow-moving rivers, lakes and ponds. The MayFly includes a myriad of design aspects that address the needs of fly fishermen—such as fly line management—creating the ultimate kayak fly fishing platform. Snag-free foot rests and features, protected fly box storage, unique storage options for your fly fishing rod and reel, rod butt props for dealing with tangles, integrated and protected fly patches, and more cater to the high-performance features expert fly fishermen need while being versatile and stable enough to bring new kayak fly anglers into the sport.
Riot Kayaks Mako 12
The Mako 12 from Riot Kayaks comes with the high comfort movable seat, impulse drive and pilot rudder system with hand steering. Features include abundant tracks for additional gear, a reflective safety grab line, four flush-mount rod holders, four rubber grab handles, an eight-inch deck hatch and a six-inch access hatch along with a built-in bow handle.
How we chose the best sit-on-top fishing kayaks
We consider several factors when choosing the best sit-on-top 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-on-top 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.