Since the two major categories of fishing kayaks are termed sit-on-top and sit-inside, there’s a common misconception that fishing out of a kayak is limited to sitting down. While this may be true for sit-inside kayaks, there are many sit-on-top models on the market that are designed to make standing up safe, comfortable and easy to do.
There are many reasons anglers prefer to stand and fish. Standing provides greater range of motion for casting and working the lure. You’ll find you’re more accurate and can cast farther when standing. It also allows you to see farther into the water to locate structure and fish. Lastly, the simplest reason to stand up and fish is to change your positioning and stretch your legs. It’s nice to have this as an option in addition to sitting.
In cases where a kayak isn’t marketed as a standup fishing kayak, you’ll want to look for a sit-on-top boat that has solid primary stability and a wide beam. A wide, open, flat deck will also provide plenty of room for your feet. An elevated seating platform will make it easier to move from a seated to standing position and back.
Another option for anglers to consider is a standup paddleboard. Fishing SUPs are designed to be stable and paddled from a standing position. Don’t discount this option just because you don’t see as many of them around. Read Top Anglers’ Tips On Better SUP Fishing to learn more.
These standup fishing kayaks (and some paddleboards) from Hobie, Old Town, Feelfree Kayaks, Kaku Kayaks, Vibe Kayaks, Perception Kayaks, Wilderness Systems, Jackson Adventures, Bonafide Kayaks, NRS, Pelican, NuCanoe, Sea Eagle, Native Watercraft and Evoke offer a wide variety of options to get you on the water and fishing from a standing position with confidence.
- Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12
- Old Town Predator 13
- Feelfree Lure 13.5
- Kaku Kayaks Zulu
- Vibe Maverick 120 Hybrid
- Perception Outlaw 11.5
- Wilderness Systems A.T.A.K.
- Jackson Adventures MayFly
- Bonafide Kayaks SS127
- NRS Heron Fishing SUP
- Pelican Catch PWR 100
- NuCanoe Frontier 12
- Sea Eagle FishSUP 126
- Native Watercraft Slayer 12 XC
- Evoke Sequoia 120
[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 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 Predator 13 from Old Town was engineered—both below and above the waterline—to deliver the perfect platform for fishing and on-water sporting. Old Town’s Pro Staff examined seating, rod placement, paddle holders and total “fish-ability” and incorporated it all into this revolutionary boat. This boat features Old Town’s Element Seating System, which provides high/low seating options and an adjustable backrest. Also included are rod tip holders and rod retainer bungees, side-mount paddle storage and a molded paddle rest, a slip-resistant deck, a stand-up assist strap and more.
View all Old Town standup fishing kayaks.
The Lure 13.5 from Feelfree Kayaks provides a new level in stability, comfort and versatility. The 13.5 is longer, faster, extremely stable and capable of bigger water, featuring a front multi-use console, and a removable sonar and electronic pod. The Lure’s super-stable 34-inch-wide hull paired with an extra-large padded standing platform gives you the option to paddle or cast in sitting or standing position. The Lure 13.5 is also available with the Overdrive Pedal & Motor System.
The new Zulu from Kaku Kayaks allows you to paddle it, pedal it or motorize it. It’s designed with stability, speed and versatility in mind, and features an open, roomy deck that is great for standing and fishing. The unique sight casting chair that was introduced on the Voodoo allows you to get an elevated view of the water. The Zulu can carry tons of gear and there are gear tracks allowing for lots of different rigging options. It’s also fully integrated with a Micro Power Pole mount.
The Maverick 120 Hybrid 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 Outlaw 11.5 from Perception Kayaks boasts a wide-open deck, an expansive standing platform, seriously elevated seating, and intuitive features throughout, disrupting the notion that an incredibly unique angling platform needs to break the bank. The Outlaw also integrates industry-firsts including a stowaway seat for complete deck walkability and space for up to a 35-L cooler. Don’t forget about the two “double-barrel” rod holders, ergonomic seat, three solo mount recesses, traction pads and more.
The A.T.A.K. from Wilderness Systems strikes the elusive balance between speed and stability with its long waterline, highly walkable surface and wind-shedding hull. The open deck design is optimized for accessory customization with storage opportunities intelligently located throughout. The AirPro MAX high/low seat delivers comfort and visibility, while the Flex Pod OS console provides electronics integration and compatibility with the Helix MD Motor Drive (sold separately). It comes in two sizes: the 120 and 140.
The MayFly from Jackson Adventures 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.
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 Heron Fishing SUP from NRS is an inflatable board that provides super rigid performance and folds compactly for easy storage and transport. It has twin 7-inch-diameter side chambers and a spacious rectangular deck, giving you the room to land hard-fighting fish and the carrying capacity for your tackle, tools and cooler. Daisy-chain rigging easily secures your cooler or tackle bag behind you and NRS also includes three accessory mounts and bungee rigging upfront. Customize your setup with removable, interchangeable plastic fins that are also nylon-reinforced allowing them to absorb impact without breaking.
The Catch PWR 100 from Pelican is helping the CATCH family grow. Don’t let its compact 9’9” length fool you—the Catch PWR 100 will carry a total weight of up to 450 pounds, and at 78 pounds, this kayak is cartop-able and can be loaded and unloaded by one person. Mounted on sliding rails, the new Ergo360 swivel seat with adjustable back rest supports up to 300 pounds. This seating system allows you to easily face in any direction and ensures you are comfortable all day long. The transom is ready to take your choice of gas or electric motor (up to 2.5 hp). The Catch PWR 100 is pre-wired so you can conveniently stow your battery in the front compartment while easily connecting your motor in the back.
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 FishSUP 126 from Sea Eagle is an incredibly stable, bow to stern tapered, swallow-tail, inflatable standup paddleboard that’s designed specifically for fishermen. Sit, stand, fish, motor, troll—this SUP allows you to do it all. It inflates in just seven minutes for quick access to the water and packs down small for portability. The removable transom takes a 55-pound thrust trolling motor so you can troll or motor to your favorite spot.
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 Sequoia 120 from Evoke offers a stable platform to fish upon whether you are sitting or standing. Features include rod holders, below-deck storage, adjustable foot braces, universal mounting plates, a three-position padded seat, rod tip holders, a stand-up strap and paddle holders. There’s also front and rear storage areas that are deep enough to hold all your tackle gear and a bait cooler.
How we chose the best standup fishing kayaks
We consider several factors when choosing the best standup 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 standup 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.