Best Kayak for Fly Fishing: Get the Pro Buying Guide and Reviews

When you think of fly fishing, you mind may go to A River Runs Through It and the brothers casting their line. But as technology and design has improved, you are no longer limited to the waters you can stand in. Some of the best kayak for fly fishing are designed to accommodate fly fishing and allow you to cast your lines in a wide range of areas, with few places off limits. If you are ready to explore new areas and enjoy fly fishing in a wide range of locations, you need to invest in a fly fishing kayak.

Best Kayak for Fly Fishing: Get the Pro Buying Guide and Reviews

Jump To: List of 10 Best Kayaks For Fly Fishing

Things To Consider

When looking for a great kayak for fly fishing, it is important to consider certain features and make sure they are right for you. Kayaks in themselves can be an amazing activity and are really enjoyable. However, unless you get one that is outfitted specifically for fly fishing you may end up frustrated and empty handed at the end of the day. Finding the best kayak for fly fishing that fits your style, build, and expertise means there are certain things you’ll need to look for. We’ll cover those things below before digging into the list of the top 10 best kayaks for fly fishing.

Kayak FishingStability

Once of the most important feature when it comes to fly fishing is stability. Well, in any kayak, stability is important but it’s usually a trade off for speed. You want to be able to fully stand up to cast your line and get the proper arch of your rod. Sitting to fly fish is okay, but you want to have the option to stand. This is where stability comes into play. You don’t want to have to worry about struggling to steady yourself and keep your balance every time you cast your line.

For the greatest stability, you want a kayak with a large width. This will help you to move from sitting to standing, while minimizing the amount of rocking your kayak will do. A greater length can also help to gain more stability, but is not going to impact it as much as the width will. At the very least, you need a kayak with a width of 30 inches. But you should try to aim for between 30 and 40 inches in width for your kayak.

Kayak StylesStyle

There are many styles of kayaks on the market, but it is important to make sure you get the right one for you needs. You should look for fishing specific kayaks because they typically incorporate features like rod holders, easy to access storage, and wider widths. When it comes to finding the best kayak for fly fishing, function should come before style.

You will also need to decide whether you want to have a sit on top or sit in kayak. A sit in kayak is the standard design with a cockpit. This is a great option for colder weather fishing when you want to avoid being splashed, but can be more difficult to get in and out. If you prefer to stand up while fly fishing, you may find it more difficult to balance and maneuver in a sit in kayak.

Sit on top kayaks do not have a cockpit, but instead is a much more even and flat surface. This creates a more easily maneuverable design for those who want to rotate between standing and sitting. They also are much easier to get on and off, and are typically easier to handle. There is no added protection from the colder temperatures, so you may not want to use a sit on top kayak around cold water.

Another style option you will need to make is whether you want to go with a hard body kayak, or an inflatable model. While inflatable kayaks may not sound like a good idea when fishing, many kayaks are constructed to be incredibly durable and puncture resistant. They are also much easier to store and transport from one location to another. But hard body kayaks also have the benefit of being puncture proof, more durable and always ready to go.

Seating

Pactrade Marine Adjustable Padded Deluxe Kayak Seat Detachable Back Backpack

Seating in your kayak is another important feature that needs to be considered. This is because seating isn’t just for while you are paddling to your favorite spot. The seat in your kayak should be comfortable and supportive, while also being adjustable and customizable to your needs. This will allow for greater control over the positioning of your seat and make sure it is just where you need it for the best results.

While seats in fly fishing kayaks may seem overly complicated at times, you want to make sure you get something that can be raised high enough to cast from, without impacting your stability. Remember you’ll want to be comfortable during your fishing trip.

Deck

Whether you go with a sit in or sit on top kayak, it is important that you consider the deck you are getting. This is because you want easy access to your gear, without them being loose and able to move around. Look for decks with secure sections, whether it is wells, bungee cord, or dry storage, so you never have to worry about losing any of your gear while on the water.

It is also important to think about functionality and make sure you have options besides just leaving all your gear out in the open. This is because it is easy to snag your gear when casting. Try to aim for an organized deck that won’t be overcrowded, but still functional. For the best results, look for a kayak with a flat deck. The wider your deck, the better as well.

Maneuverability

You never know when you are going to want to try out a new spot for fishing. One of the biggest appeals of best kayak for fly fishing is that you can access new areas and go almost anywhere. But for the least amount of restriction on where you can go, you need to consider maneuverability. Wider kayaks do add greater stability, but the longer and wider your kayak is, the harder it is to steer it. For a kayak that will have greater maneuverability, look for something under 40 inches in width and no longer than necessary. You’ll also need the better kayak paddles as well.

Storage

While it may seem convenient at the time to just have everything in you deck, you want to have the non-essentials stored away to save space. Look for kayaks with places to store your gear like hatches so you don’t need to worry about anything getting wet. This will also help prevent any damage to items like electronics when not in use.

Freegrace Waterproof Dry bagOther storage options to consider are wells that can allow items like dry bags to be secured and kept out of the way. Rod holders are a key part of any fishing kayak, and should definitely be a must for fly fishing as well. This will keep your rod from being dropped, damaged or lost in the water. You can also look for a kayak that has molded sections for items like fish finders to be secured so you can easily use them without using up deck space.

If you need more storage space in your kayak, you can also look for tracks. This is a features unique to fishing kayaks and will help you to create additional storage space in the inside of your kayak. This, however, only works with sit in kayaks.

Versatility

The best fly fishing kayak will allow you to use it in a variety of situations. Obviously, you want something that will work with your favorite spots, but you also want the option to explore other places. You should also look for something that would be comfortable to use with ordinary fishing outings and even some casual paddling. To get the most for your money, you want to choose something that will work in as many situation as possible to fit your needs.

 

Tips For Fly Fishing In A Kayak

If you are new to fly fishing in a kayak, it is important to know a few things before you hit the water even when you have the best kayak for fly fishing.

Look For Fly Fishing Specific Features

If you are looking for the best kayak for fly fishing, the features in it may not necessarily be the best options. For example, some fishing kayaks are great for fly fishing, but don’t include things a fly fisher would need. Rod holders are most commonly an issue and should be replaced with fly fishing rod specific ones for the best results.

Keep Your Kayak As Snag Free As Possible

Snags can happen to even the most experienced of anglers. To reduce your chances of snagging, you should try to avoid having anything out on your kayak that could be easily caught. Utilize storage compartments and wells, and try to keep everything secured as flat as possible.

Airhead Complete Folding Grapnel Anchor SystemInvest In An Anchor

You don’t want to have to worry about drifting around while fishing. By investing in an anchor, you guarantee that your boat stays where you want it to and you can focus on your cast. Otherwise, rushing to try and get back to your spot can cause you to damage or lose gear in the hassle.

Back Cast High

The change from standing in the water to standing in a kayak means having to adjust your cast. To avoid hitting the water or hitting your boat, you should always keep your back cast high. This will prevent unsuccessful casts and save your energy.

Use Your Reel

Bringing in a fish is also slightly different in a kayak than wadding. You need to avoid slack lines as much as possible once you hook a fish, working to prevent tangled line. Once you realize you have a bite, you should use your reel to take in any slack in the line and then fight the fish once the line is taught. Otherwise, you can end up with tangled lines and having to cut your catch free.

Practice

No one will be an expert in fly fishing overnight even if they are in the best kayak for fly fishing. Even the best wadding fly fishers will need some time to adjust. Rather than jump right into fly fishing from a kayak, it is recommended that you take some time to practice. This will help you adjust to the differences between wadding and fishing from a kayak, without worrying about spending a whole day traveling to your favorite spot with no results.

10 Best Kayaks For Fly Fishing10 Best Kayaks For Fly Fishing

 

Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130

The Sea Ghost 130 is the first on the list because of the overall design and features included. While many fishing kayaks will have some features, but lack others, the Sea Ghost 130 covers all the bases and then some. The 33 inch width provides stability, without making it too wide for certain areas and can handle up to 550 pounds. You get a paddle, rudder system and seat included in your purchase, and there is plenty of storage for you to keep everything organized.

This is because you get a console with a magnetic tackle tray, water tight dry storage hatches, storage well with bungee cord on top and lots of spots to mount your rods and accessories. The seat is able to move into two positions and is designed to let air flow to prevent overheating or a soaked seat.

Pros

  • 33 inch width
  • 13 inch length
  • 550 pound weight capacity
  • Includes paddle
  • Pre-installed rudder system
  • Vibe Hero two position seat
  • Lots of gear mounting options
  • Durable material
  • Plenty of storage

Cons

  • Weighs 75 pounds

NRS Pike Angler IK Inflatable Kayak

NRS Pike Angler IK Inflatable KayakFor those looking to buy a fly fishing kayak, but just doesn’t have the space, you should consider an inflatable model. One of the best inflatable kayaks for fly fishing is the NRS Pike. The 39 inch width creates a lot of stability, is self-bailing and has three separate air chambers.

The entire thing only weighs 46 pounds, and comes with a carrying case and pump. While there is no dry storage, the ends of the kayak are covered with bungee cord to create a secure spot for your gear. There is also plenty of deck space and a seat that is both adjustable and entirely removable. This kayak also comes with a three year warranty

Pros

  • 39 inch width
  • 8 feet long
  • Weighs 46 pounds
  • Comes with carry case
  • Self-bailing
  • Three year warranty
  • Carry handles
  • Three separate air chambers
  • Removable and adjustable seat

Cons

  • No paddles included
  • No dry storage

Perception Kayak Pescador Pilot 12.0

Perception Kayak Pescador PilotIf you have ever looked at a top ten list of kayaks for fishing, you have most likely seen the Perception Pescador. This kayak is ideal for fishing of any time because of the 32 inch width and highly durable materials. They design includes a storage well with bungee cord over top and dry storage, as well as built in buoyancy and self-bailing  features. You can purchase the Pescador for a very affordable price, making it easy to budget and is available in eight different color options. This kayak also comes with a fie year warranty and is made in the United States.

Pros

  • 5 year warranty
  • 32 inch width
  • 12 foot length
  • Self-bailing
  • Great for all types of fishing
  • Storage well with bungee cord
  • Dry storage
  • Built in buoyancy
  • Drink holder
  • Eight color options

Cons

  • Only 375 pound weight capacity
  • No paddle included

Sun Dolphin Bali SS

Sun Dolphin Bali SSAnother kayak you will see on many top ten lists for fishing of all kinds is the Sun Dolphin Bali SS. Their fly fishing kayak is shorter than others at only 10 feet in length, but makes it ideal for navigating more difficult areas. The 34 inch width provides lots of stability, while the entire thing only weighs 44 pounds.

The Bali SS is UV ray resistant and includes plenty of storage options. A dry storage hatch, storage well with bungee cord and paddle holders are there to help you keep things secure and organized. There are also adjustable foot braces and the entire thing is incredibly tough and able to handle rocky areas.

Pros

  • 10 feet long
  • 34 inch width
  • Weighs 44 pounds
  • Five different color options
  • Portable accessory carrier included
  • Dry storage hatch
  • Storage well with bungee cord
  • UV ray resistant
  • Highly durable
  • Includes paddle holder
  • Adjustable foot braces

Cons

  • Only 250 pound weight capacity

Ocean Kayak Prowler Big Game II

Ocean Kayak Prowler Big Game IIFor anglers that like to fish in a wide range of locations, it is important to have a kayak that can handle it all. The Prowler Big Game II is ideal for fishing in both deep waters and shallow, and can handle up to 600 pounds. Storage space includes a Mod Pod hatch, cup holder, six mounts for accessories, a dry storage hatch and a storage well with bungee cord on top. You can adjust the foot brace system as you need and the seat is made to provide support and comfort.

Pros

  • 34 inch width
  • 9 feet in length
  • 600 pound weight capacity
  • Works in deep and shallow water
  • Six mounts for accessories
  • Large hatch for dry storage
  • Adjustable foot brace system
  • Storage well with bungee cord

Cons

  • Weighs 70 pounds

Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 17T

Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 17T KayakIf you don’t want to fish alone and don’t want to buy two separate kayaks, you can always consider buying a tandem. Hobie offers a lot of great fishing kayaks, and the Mirage Pro Angler 17T is no exception. This hard body tandem kayak is designed to work with paddles or with foot pedals, with each seat having their own set. There are three separate storage hatches, plenty of rod holders and even carrying handles to make transportation easier.

This kayak is also set up for an anchor trolley system and rudders. You can mount your gear in several places and the whole thing can handle up to 900 pounds.

Pros

  • Tandem kayak
  • 17 feet long
  • 5 inches wide
  • Foot pedal system
  • Lots of storage options
  • 12 separate rod holders
  • Carrying handles
  • Anchor trolley system ready
  • Accessory mounts
  • 900 pound weight capacity
  • Rudder access system

Cons

  • Weigh can make it difficult to transport

Old Town Guide 147

Old Town Predator 13 Angler Fishing KayakOld Town is one of the oldest companies and one of the largest manufactures of kayaks and canoes. It only makes sense that the company will  have a lot of experience in this area, and is no surprise that they ended up on the list. The Guide 147 includes lots of storage space with a Mod Pod console, dry hatches, storage well with bungee cords and horizontal rod holders. A fish finder transducer scupper is also included in the design and you can choose between three different camo colors. The seat also includes three different positions to provide comfort and support.

Pros

  • Lots of storage options
  • Slip resistant deck
  • Adjustable 3 position seat
  • 425 pound weight capacity
  • Mod Pod storage system
  • Includes fish finder transducer scupper
  • 2 foot length
  • Bow hatch storage
  • Horizontal rod storage options
  • 5 inch width

Cons

  • Does not come with rod holders

Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person

Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing KayakAnother great tandem kayak, the Sevylor Coleman Colorado to person fishing kayak is both lightweight and durable. The puncture resistant material is a combination of PVC with tarpaulin on the bottom and nylon over the top. There are multiple air chambers to make sure that you won’t sink if there is a puncture, and the kayak is compatible with a 12 volt trolling motor. You also get deck space for storage, along with mesh pockets, D-rings and paddle holders to keep your gear in place.

Pros

  • Tandem kayak
  • Accepts 12 volt trolling motor
  • Lightweight
  • Durable, puncture resistant material
  • Multiple air chambers
  • Adjustable rod holders
  • Paddle holder
  • Mesh pockets and D rings

Cons

  • No pump or paddle included

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 130X 

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 130X KayakThe Tarpon 130X is yet another kayak that includes a hands free steering option. Foot pedals are included, along with a paddle and the fitting to have a motor installed, making it easy to switch between different steering types. In addition to the different ways to power your kayak, you also get plenty of storage options. There are dry storage hatches as well as a storage well with bungee cord overtop to secure your belongings. The AirPro LITE seat is adjustable and a foot brace system makes it easy to get some extra grip to reel in your catch.

Pros

  • Comes with foot pedals and paddle
  • Motor compatible
  • Lots of storage
  • 13 feet in length
  • Dry storage hatches
  • Storage well with bungee cord
  • 32 inch width
  • Adjustable AirPro LITE seat
  • Lots of accessories available for purchase
  • Foot brace system

Cons

  • Weight capacity is only 375 pounds

Jackson Kayaks Mayfly

Jackson Kayaks MayflyWhile the Mayfly is not the fastest kayak in the water, it is one of the most stable. The 35 inch width and 450 pound weight capacity makes it perfect for just about any angler without worrying about rocking. There are two dry storage containers, as well as a storage well with bungee cord on top to keep larger items secure. You get a comfortable high seat and foot pads for added tread and grip.

Pros

  • Sit on top design
  • 450 pound weight capacity
  • 35 inch width
  • 8 foot length
  • Lots of storage
  • Great seat
  • Low profile gunnels
  • Fly fishing specific rod holders

Cons

  • Weighs 89 pounds, not including seat

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