5 Best Fishing Kayaks For 2024

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Joe Discher


fishing kayak on open water

Best Fishing Kayaks for 2024

We will dive into what we think are the 5 best fishing kayaks for 2024, but first, did you know that there are over 54 million people who enjoy fishing worldwide? Since the COVID Pandemic in 2020, the number of new fishing participants has increased 13%!

Having the right fishing kayak makes fishing much more enjoyable than fishing from the shore, and it is a lot less expensive than purchasing a bass boat. If you are just getting started, be sure to read my blog about Kayaking For Beginners o find out everything you need to know about kayaking.

What sets fishing kayaks apart from other kayaks? Fishing Kayaks have rod holders, better stability and more storage than traditional kayaks. Fishing kayaks are typically a better choice even if you haven’t decided to fish from a kayak right away. I personally enjoy taking my fishing kayak out for a joy ride even if the fish aren’t biting that day!

If you are looking for a fishing kayak, we are here to help.

Read on, and please let me know if you have any questions!

Why Listen To Me About The Best Fishing Kayaks?

My name is Christina Bishop. Growing up, I spent most summer days fishing on the lake with my father. I’ve been holding a fishing rod since before I could even walk!

My friend Stephen and I have spent 2 or more days with EACH fishing kayak here in beautiful North Georgia, and I want to share my opinions with you on each of these fishing kayaks.

Enjoy the information, and as always, PLEASE let me know if you have any questions.

#1 Choice: Nucanoe Frontier 12


(Best Suited for Beginner to Intermediate Kayakers)

First on our list is The Nucanoe Frontier 12. This is one of the most popular and unique kayaks because it is a hybrid of a kayak and a canoe. It has a wide-open deck from bow to stern just like a canoe giving you enough space for 2 paddlers, your dog or more fishing gear! This kayak can also be taken to the next level by adding a motor, a powered anchoring system or even more high-end electronics. The boat is popular with beginner anglers who want a simple but stable sit-on-top kayak for fishing. The Nucanoe Frontier 12 combines the best of canoeing and kayaking, and it is the best fishing kayak for newbies and pros!

The large deck space, full customization and superior stability are just a few of the features that anglers can expect to enjoy from the Nucanoe Frontier 12. Whether you plan to use the kayak by yourself or in tandem, you can customize it in so many ways which is why we made this our top pick.

What We Love About It:

  • Great Design – Honestly, we love it! This is the only fishing kayak-canoe hybrid we have seen on the market, and the wide-open deck does not compromise performance to stability.
  • Fusion 360 seat – The Fusion 360 seat spins in any direction allowing the angler to access fishing gear in the stern or operate an optional outboard motor. No other kayak we reviewed has this feature!
  • Large Capacity – The Frontier 12 can handle a weight up to 650lbs which means you can bring a friend or man’s best friend and go tandem fishing!

Pros & Cons


  • Stability – Extremely stable due to its wide standing deck
  • Comfort – It has an adjustable, 360-degree seat with lumbar support
  • Large Capacity – It has a 650lb weight limit
  • Simplicity – Use the wide-open space however you would like, including adding another seat or pedals


  • Speed – It is difficult to paddle in open waters and river rapids due to its high, wide beam and flat hull
  • Weight – Weighing in at 80lbs unequipped, it may be difficult to transport and it is a bit slower when paddling due because of its heavy weight.

Review & Final Verdict (4.5/5)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The NuCanoe Frontier 12 is one of the most unique fishing platforms that we reviewed due to its canoe-kayak hybrid form factor. The simple open design is user-friendly for new anglers and pros alike. We love how you can either keep it simple and spacious or customize it with electronics, fishing gear, pedals, lights, a second seat and even a motor! Having a 360-degree seat gives it another advantage. With this kayak, there is something for everyone!

#2 Choice: Old Town Sportsman PDL 106

(Best Suited for Beginner to Pro Kayakers and Anglers)


Coming in second on our list of best fishing kayaks is the Old Town Sportsman PDL 106.

Old Town is the world’s oldest, largest and most revered manufacturer of canoes and Kayaks.

Old Town began manufacturing its first sit-on-top fishing kayak in 2013, but all of their watercraft are still built by hand in Old Town, Maine, just as they were 100 years ago!

With a luxury style adjustable seat and footpegs, you will stay comfortable on the water for hours.

The Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 is the most fully loaded and customizable kayak we have tested so far.

There are 3 different ways to power the Old Town Sportsman PDL 106. The first and preferred way is the pedal drive. It also comes with a paddle, and you can also install a small powered motor.

This kayak is ideal for someone who plans to spend a lot of time in a fishing kayak.

What We Love About It:

  • Great DesignHonestly, we love it! The pedal drive is amazing. Simply drop it in when you are in water deep enough to use it, and you can easily pull it out and switch to paddling when you are in the black waters or shallow waters.
  • Storage – This kayak has storage everywhere! There is a large hatch in the bow that can hold 2 or 3 dry bags worth of gear. Storage also runs down both sides of the boat so longer rods can fit inside. There is a small hatch opening right behind the seats. You will find another small compartment in the PDL drive right between the footpads where you can put a phone, wallet and a small tacklebox with no problem. It even has extra storage on top of the drop-in pedals!
  • Seat – The ElementAir seat is very comfortable. It is covered with a thin mesh, and it has velcro adjustments. The seat is removable so that you can use it as a lawn chair.
  • Fishing – The kayak comes well equipped and ready for fishing. With 2 rod holders behind the seat, they are easy to access. There are also track mounts on both sides. There is also a transducer mount ready for your favorite fish finder. You can also stand up and fishing this kayak.
  • Durability – You can hit a few logs or a rock, and the plastic is so thick you may not even notice the scratches.


  • Skid Plates – Two skid plates gives you some damage control when you encounter rough surfaces.
  • Transducer Mount Included – Not every kayak has this, so if you plan to install a fish finder it is ready to go!
  • Maneuverability – It handles very well in both calm water and rivers. It does a fair job in choppy waters.
  • Retractable Rudder System
  • Pedal Drive – Free your hands up for fishing! You can pedal forward and backward, and you can also steer using the controls on either side of the hull rather than having to use your paddle.
  • Comfort – The sliding track system makes it easy to adjust both the seat and the foot pedals. The seat is also very comfortable.


  • Heavy – The Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 weighs 95 pounds empty. This is the heaviest kayak we have tested so far.
  • Speed – While the kayak maneuvers well, it is not the fastest kayak to pedal or paddle. This isn’t as much of a concern if you use a motor.
  • Seat Height – The seat position does not sit as high as other kayaks we have tested. This can be fixed with some after market modifications.
  • Paddle Holder – The paddle only mounts to the right side.

Review & Final Verdict (4.7/5)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

We highly recommend the Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 kayak to anyone who is serious about fishing in protected areas, bays, harbors, lakes and rivers. At just 10 feet long, it is easy to maneuver, and the pedal drive makes casting so much easier.

#3 Choice: Perception Pescador Pro 12

(Best Suited for Beginner to Intermediate Kayakers)


Next on our list of the best fishing kayaks is the Perception Pescador Pro 12!

Made in South Carolina, USA, the Perception Pescador Pro 12 is one of the best fishing kayaks on the market. It features a trendy design with multiple color choices and high-quality materials offering the kayak’s durability without compromising on style. Its multi-chine hull design helps you maintain balance in various waters, making it ideal for a wide range of waterways.

Its adjustable seat and footrest are perfect for accommodating paddlers of all different shapes and sizes. It also has spacious front and back storage compartments for fishing bait, coolers, and other items. 

The Perception Pescador Pro 12 is ideal for people who demand comfort and durability from their fishing paddle kayaks.

What We Love About It:

  • Great Design – It’s very practical with its spacious storage compartment in the back. It also features a center console with easy-to-access cupholders. You also have easy access to two fishing rod holders right behind the seat.
  • Rugged – The Perception Pescador Pro 12 can withstand the most rigorous use The company claims that the kayak’s special surface coating is UV and scratch-resistant so you can rest assured that it is built to handle unexpected rough launches and landings. The kayak also has a changeable skid plate at the bottom meaning you could drag the kayak on less than ideal surfaces although we still don’t recommend doing that!
  • Comfort – The Perception Pescador Pro 12 Perception’s seat designs have always been excellent, and the Pro 12 is no exception. This particular model features a stadium-style seat with a detachable metal frame. Thus, it can double as a camp chair for you to take a break after a long paddling journey. The best part is that the seat has dual-mesh cushioning that offers top-class comfort to kayak fishing enthusiasts. That’s not all! You can adjust the seat into two positions – you can keep it erect or recline it backward. You will be sure to find the ideal posture for your kayak fishing trip!
  • Portability – Weighing in at 64lbs, it is not as heavy as some of the other kayaks that we have tested. It features easy-grip hooks on the bow, and it is not too difficult for 1 person to load and unload for short distances.

Pros & Cons


  • Comfortable Removable Seat – The seat is very comfortable and adjustable, and we love the fact that you can remove it and use it as a camp chair!
  • Durable Hull – The team at Perception knows that fishing kayakers are going to encounter rough landings and launches, and they did a great job using materials that will protect the body from scratches. The skid plate is a nice bonus as well!
  • Stability – The Perception Pescador Pro 12 does not compromise on stability. However, we don’t recommend standing for long periods of time in this particular kayak.
  • Price – This kayak is priced less than the Nucanoe Frontier 12 and the Old Town Sportsman PDL 106 we reviewed.


  • Maneuverability – Although the Perception Pescador Pro 12 will glide across smooth water like slicing thru butter, it does not offer the best movement on rougher waters. Your paddling speed will vary depending on wind and water conditions.
  • Rod Holders – Although it comes with built-in rod holders, they can be wobbly without some modifications
  • Standing and Casting – The kayak has not been approved for standing and casting. This could be a deal-breaker if you prefer to stand up and cast. Otherwise, the kayak is very stable when you are sitting.
  • No Pedals – There is no option to add pedals, so you will either be paddling or you can install a small motor.

Review & Final Verdict (4.3/5)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Perception Pescador Pro 12 is a great fishing kayak for those who want a rugged kayak with plenty of options to add a fish finder, a rudder and more. There are only a couple of gripes we have like not being able to stand up and cast as well as some issues with the rod holders for certain types of fishing rods, but when we compare that with the kayaks speed, tracking and easy customization we think this kayak is worth it!

#4 Choice: Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100

(Best Portable Budget Kayak)


Next up we have the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100. This is a great first fishing kayak if you are just getting into the sport and you don’t want to spend a lot of money to find out if you like it. Or, if you are a minimalist, this kayak is perfect because it still has room for everything you need and nothing you don’t.

Don’t let its low price tag fool you. It packs a ton of value, so keep reading to find out more!

So who is Lifetime? Since 1986, Lifetime has been perfecting paddle-based vessels. Today they offer a diverse selection of kayaks and paddleboards that includes everything from youth and fishing kayaks to sit-in boats, paddles, and other accessories.

What We Love About It:

  • Price – You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on your first kayak to get out there and have fun.
  • Length – This is only a 10′ kayak making it easier to transport than other 12-foot kayaks. Stephen is almost 6′, and he was still comfortable in it.
  • Weight – At around 54lbs, it is much lighter than most other kayaks we tested.
  • Potential Upgrades – You can spend just a little today to get started, and you can make your own homebrew anchor trolleys and add other features without breaking the bank!

Pros & Cons


  • Lightweight – This is one of the lightest kayaks we tested.
  • Outstanding Stability – Although we don’t recommend standing up in the kayak, it is very stable in all weather conditions.
  • Affordable – You get a lot of features for a fraction of the cost of other kayaks.
  • Ample Storage Space – There are 3 dedicated rod holders, a cup holder and a storage hatch.
  • Excellent Maneuverability
  • Portability – 1 person can easily handle this kayak making it a pleasure to take out more often.


  • Flimsy Paddle – We recommend replacing the paddle right away. While the one that comes with it will work, it is not high quality and the last thing you want to do is get caught up the creek (or ocean) without a paddle! There are several great aftermarket options, and with the money you save by not buying a more expensive kayak you can put it towards a paddle.
  • Uncomfortable Seat – The seat is not very comfortable, and after about 1 to 2 years you may need to replace it. There are several great aftermarket options, and with the money you save by not buying a more expensive kayak you can put it towards an upgraded seat.
  • Lacks Scupper Plugs – This is not a big deal because you can actually use practice golf balls as scupper plugs!

Review & Final Verdict (4.4/5)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 is the best bang for your buck if you want a fantastic angling kayak without spending thousands of dollars, and even if you decide to upgrade your comfort features like a new seat and paddle, you will still save a lot of money and have a great time. It’s also very durable, but if you do get it scratched up a bit you won’t feel as bad about it because of the price.

#5 Choice: Pelican Sit On Top Fishing Kayak


Moving on down to #5, we have the Pelican Sit On Top Fishing Kayak. This is another great fishing kayak if you are just getting into the sport and you don’t want to spend a lot of money to find out if you like it. However, it does not compromise on quality as It has a few fishy features that might appeal to the amateur angler, such as flush-mounted rod holders, a swivel rod holder and a rear storage tank. It has room for everything you need.

So who is Pelican? Pelican is a manufacturer of kayaks, paddleboards, boats, sleds, paddles and more. Pelican now enjoys a strong reputation, known for its unique products of superior quality and durability. They have designed RAM-X™, an exclusive multilayer material, that produces a lightweight product with an unmatched stiffness, resistance to impacts, and breakage, with exceptional longevity and superior security. RAM-X™ has become the benchmark of quality within the industry. They are equally proud to be the first North American manufacturer of kayaks to use twin sheet thermoforming technology (TSF). The combination of patented Pelican materials with TSF technology creates an unrivaled product on the international market.     

What We Love About It:

  • Price – This is another great option that does not cost thousands of dollars for you to get out there and catch fish.
  • Length – This is only a 10′ kayak making it easier to transport than other 12-foot kayaks. Stephen is almost 6′, and he was still comfortable in it.
  • Weight – At 50lbs, it is the lightest out of all of the fishing kayaks we have tested so far.
  • Swivel Rod Holder – Not only do we have flush rod holders, we have a swivel rod holder which is a very nice feature!

Pros & Cons


  • Lightweight – At just 50 pounds, 1 person can easily load or unload
  • Sufficient Storage – Suitable for a minimalist or amateur angler
  • Excellent Speed and Maneuverability
  • Great Value
  • Great Maximum Weight Capacity of 325 pounds


  • Rod Holder Position – the rod holder mounts are just a bit out of reach for most people
  • No Motor Option – You cannot add a motor or pedals to power this kayak
  • Seat Comfort – If you will be out on the water for longer than 2 hours, you might want to upgrade the seat

Review & Final Verdict (4.3/5)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Basscreek 100XP Angler is a nice-looking fishing kayak, and it performs well.

However, some owners have complained that the seat is uncomfortable. You might need an extra cushion to make it more comfortable. We found it to be okay for up to 2 hours.

A serious angler might have a problem with the position of the swivel rod holder.

There are also no mounts for adding a fish finder.

These kayaks are popular rental kayaks at many of the Georgia State Parks for a good reason. We really like the brand reputation, the weight capacity, the price and durability. If you are looking for a no-frills fishing kayak, this is a great choice.

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A certified Leave No Trace master and seasoned hiker, Joe Discher brings over a decade of trail wisdom and eco-conscious expertise to the outdoor community. His passion for kayaking and trailside cooking is matched by an in-depth knowledge of outdoor gear, ensuring readers receive advice they can trust. Joe's commitment to the wilderness and its preservation is at the core of every article, inspiring confidence and fostering responsible exploration.