Top 5: What's The Best Ocean Fishing Kayak?

John Malcolm
John MalcolmPublished: May 22, 2023
Top 5: What's The Best Ocean Fishing Kayak?

Let me paint a picture for you: You're out in the open ocean's vastness, feeling the sun's warmth on your skin and the salty breeze in your hair. The possibilities seem endless, and it's just you and your desire to catch the biggest fish you can find, but you need a reliable partner to take on this adventure. That's where the best ocean fishing kayak comes in.

You might be wondering where to start your journey for the best ocean fishing kayak, but don't worry. We've got your back with an all-inclusive guide to ensure you choose the ultimate kayak for your upcoming fishing escapades.

From the essential features to consider when selecting an ocean fishing kayak to the top 5 options that exceed your expectations, we've got you covered. So let's not waste any more time and gear up to find the perfect kayak for you.

Choosing the Right Ocean Fishing Kayak

When choosing the perfect ocean fishing kayak for your needs, there are several factors to consider.

First and foremost, you want to ensure that the kayak is specifically designed for ocean fishing. It should be resilient enough to tackle rough waters, withstand strong currents, and handle windy conditions. To achieve this, you should look for high-weight capacity, sturdy design, and durable materials.

Now, let's talk about the type of fishing you plan to do. Will you be going after big game fish or smaller species? The kind of fishing you plan to do will influence the size and style of kayak you choose. A sit-on-top kayak may be more comfortable, providing more storage space for longer fishing trips. On the other hand, a sit-in kayak may offer better speed and maneuverability. Of course, where you're fishing will dictate this.

It's also important to consider additional features that can make your fishing experience more enjoyable and fruitful. Do you need rod holders, a fish finder mount, or other fishing gear storage options? Are you planning to bring a partner or extra gear on your fishing trip and need a tandem fishing kayak? Lastly, remember about propulsion options - paddle kayaks are great for exercise and control, while pedal kayaks allow for hands-free movement, giving you easier access to your fishing gear. We'll cover all of this when we discuss features to look for in the best saltwater fishing kayak.

Choosing the right ocean fishing kayak can take time, but it's worth putting in the effort. With the excellent design features, you'll be fully prepared to set sail on any offshore fishing expedition.

Key Features to Look for When Choosing an Ocean Fishing Kayak

When it comes to picking out the perfect ocean fishing kayak, there are a few crucial features that cannot be ignored. Let's take a closer look.

Stability of the kayak.

Stability is critical when you're out on the open ocean. The last thing you want is to flip over and end up in the water with all your gear. Look out for kayaks with a broad base or those advertised explicitly as "stable" fishing kayaks; this will ensure you stay upright no matter the conditions.

Storage space in the kayak.

Another must-have feature is plenty of storage. You need enough space to stow away all your fishing gear, including rod holders, fish finders, and additional fishing rods. If you're planning on taking a partner with you or think you'll need more room, consider tandem kayaks or those with loads of compartments – these will give you plenty of space to keep your essentials close at hand.

Propulsion of the kayak.

Pedal kayaks are also gaining popularity among anglers. They offer you the freedom of hands-free operation and excellent maneuverability. With pedals that allow you to control your kayak while keeping both hands free to fish, you won't miss a moment of the action. Even kayaks with trolling motors are slowly gaining traction in the market for those who can afford them.

The durability of the kayak.

Finally, think about the material of your kayak. Hard shell kayaks are more durable and robust, but inflatable kayaks are lightweight and easy to transport. If you plan on heading on an offshore fishing trip, a sturdy saltwater fishing kayak is the best option for stability and reliability.

When searching for the right ocean fishing kayak, there are factors you need to keep in mind to ensure you have the ultimate fishing experience. With stability, storage, maneuverability, and kayak material in mind, you will surely find a kayak that suits your fishing style.

Top 5 ocean fishing kayaks on the market.

Now that you know what features to look out for, let's look at some of the best ocean fishing kayaks on the market.

Keep in mind that we've tried out dozens of kayaks to find the best ones, and these are the best five out of the bunch. We wanted to give you a variety of kayaks so you can choose the one that best fits your fishing style.

Elkton Outdoors Cormorant 2-Person Tandem Inflatable Fishing Kayak

Elkton Outdoors Cormorant 2-Person Tandem Inflatable Fishing Kayak

First up on our list is a tandem kayak by Elkton Outdoors. This is easily one of the best fishing kayaks we've ever used.

The Elkton Outdoors Inflatable 2-Person Kayak inflates in only minutes from its compact storage size to a full-size kayak. When fully inflated, the kayak's dimensions are (118in. x 35in x 16in) making kayak fishing more convenient than ever! We couldn't believe how quick and easy it was to set up, which meant more time on the water.

This tandem fishing kayak is constructed with 18-Gauge rip-resistant 1000D PVC, making it tear and HOOK resistant, so you don't have to worry about springing a leak when you're out on the water. We bumped into rocks and logs multiple times along the beach without damaging the kayak.

You don't know what features and accessories you love with most fishing kayaks until you try them. Well, you can't beat the included accessories - 2 adjustable seats, rod holders(2 Vertical & 4 Trolling), double sided oars, double action pump and carry bag. It was great having everything we needed right there with us, especially the rod holders and adjustable seats.

The Elkton Outdoors Cormorant inflatable fishing kayak is also an excellent alternative to conventional kayaks since it's easy to repair and adjust. If needed, three separate removable air chambers allow for quick and simple adjustments, diagnosis, and repair. We didn't need any repairs, but knowing the option was there was good.

Why we love this kayak.

This kayak is hands-down amazing. The convenience of being inflatable and lightweight made it easy to transport and set up, and we were impressed with how rugged and durable it was. The included accessories and easy repair options were the icing on the cake. We can't wait to take it out on the water again soon.

Aquaglide Chelan 120 Inflatable Kayak

Aquaglide Chelan 120 Inflatable Kayak

Next on our list of the best ocean fishing kayaks is the Chelan 120 by Aquaglide.

We recently purchased a couple of these kayaks and took them out on a weekend trip to the lake, and we were thoroughly impressed.

The Chelan 120 is perfect for one person to go on touring trips, explore lakes and gentle rivers, and do other recreational flat-water paddling. We found it easy to maneuver and control, even in windy conditions. When we were on Lake Amistad in Texas, the winds increased to around 20 mph, and we were still in control of the inflatable fishing kayaks. So, needless to say, if you take it out in the ocean, you'll be just fine.

With its 11.5-foot open bow layout, the Chelan 120 has extra room for dogs or gear. We brought our dog along with us on the trip, and she loved sitting up at the front of the kayak and enjoying the scenery. It was also great having extra space to store our gear.

The details of the kayak are impressive, too - it's designed for one person with a max weight of 300 lbs (136 kg). The dimensions are 11'-3" (344 cm) L x 32.5" (82.6 cm) W x 11.5" (29.2 cm) H x 10" tube diameter. It has everything you need, including the kayak, seat, fin, storage bag, Halkey-Roberts Valve adaptor, and repair kit.

We love that Aquaglide is passionate about water sports and engineers some of the best boating technologies available. It shows in the performance and portability of this kayak. It's so easy to inflate and deflate, making it hassle-free to transport and store.

Why we love this kayak.

Overall, we absolutely love this kayak and highly recommend it to anyone looking for an inflatable kayak for touring trips and recreational paddling. The extra room for dogs or gear is a fantastic feature, and the portability with the included storage bag is another bonus. Aquaglide has engineered a high-performing and hassle-free inflatable kayak that we can't wait to use again.

Reel Yaks Pedal Kayak

Reel Yaks Pedal Kayak

Not everyone is a fairweather angler. Some like to hit the water no matter the conditions. For the latter, this kayak by Reel Yaks is perfect for you.

One thing that stood out about this kayak is its effortless pedal drive. The fin pedal drive system is incredibly powerful and easy on the knees, allowing me to propel myself effortlessly to my favorite fishing spot. The flaps made getting closer to the action easier with a quieter drive, which was perfect since I didn't want to scare away any fish. Plus, the drive system wasn't stuck in grass or pads, making it ideal for navigating shallows near stumps and docks.

The ultimate fishing platform provided by the kayak's stable "W" hull shape was just what I needed for my day out on the water. With a large cockpit and secure storage hatches, I could keep all my essential fishing gear safe and dry even in the roughest conditions. The 4 track rails for mounting fishing rod holders and accessories and the six rod holders made it easy for me to catch multiple fish at once. And let's not forget about the bottle holder for my drink to quench my thirst.

Another fantastic feature of this kayak is the all-day comfort it provides. The stadium-style cushioned chair with quick-drying, breathable fabric made the long trip extremely comfortable. I could also customize the adjustable backrest and rails to meet my preference. The thick foot pads provided standing comfort and maximum grip when I needed it the most, making the experience all the more enjoyable.

Carrying and storing this kayak was a breeze, but it's not the lightest kayak we've tried. Weighing 68 lbs (unloaded), I could easily lift onto my roof or tailgate and be at my secret fishing spot in no time. Plus, it has an incredible 500lbs load capacity, so I could carry all my gear without worrying about overloading the kayak. The 11' length made it easy to maneuver and store, and the flap pedal drive system was very lightweight and flat, making it convenient & secure to store.

Why we love this kayak.

We highly recommend the Reel Yaks Pedal Kayak to anyone looking for an enjoyable fishing experience. Its innovative features, all-day comfort, and ease of carrying and storage make it easy to explore any lake or river. We think that once you try it, you'll fall in love with it.

Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler Kayak

Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler Kayak

When we tried out all of the kayaks, we quickly realized that Pelican was not messing around. For it being a hard-bottomed kayak, it's incredibly lightweight

The multi-chine flat bottom hull of the kayak ensures the stability needed when casting lines and reeling in fish, making it perfect for any fishing enthusiast. Measuring 9'6" and weighing only 44 lbs, it was effortless to transport and store, which was a huge plus. Its compact size made it easy to fit into our truck, so we could take it anywhere we wanted to fish.

The material used in the construction of the kayak is plastic, which is durable and long-lasting. Made using Pelican's patented Ram-X materials, the Pelican Sentinel 100X will be around for years of exciting experiences.

The kayak also comes equipped with the ExoPak, a removable storage compartment that fits perfectly into the tank well. This was incredibly convenient as we could store all our fishing gear and equipment in one place and easily access it when needed. The unique manufacturing process used by Pelican allows them to include additional flotation inside the hull of all of their sit-on-top kayaks to meet or surpass ABYC standards.

The sentinel has a maximum capacity of 275 lbs, enough for all our fishing gear. However, you might consider one of the other kayaks if you're heavier.

We took the kayak from an inlet and were incredibly impressed with its performance. The kayak was stable and maneuverable, allowing us to quickly reach our fishing spot. The padded backrest and seat cushion provided exceptional sitting comfort, and we could fish for hours without discomfort. The paddle holder on the side of the kayak was another added convenience, allowing us to free up our hands when reeling in fish.

Why we love this kayak.

We were thrilled with our Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler Kayak purchase. Its durability, ease of transport and storage, and added features such as the ExoPak and paddle holder make it the perfect kayak for any fishing enthusiast. We can't wait to take it out on another fishing adventure soon.

Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot 136 Motorized Fishing Kayak

Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot 136 Motorized Fishing Kayak

Last on our list, yet it's still a great fishing kayak packed with technology, is the Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot 136 motorized fishing kayak. It's for those that want to get around without the exhaustion. Of all of them, this is easily our favorite on the list.

The first thing that caught our attention was the integrated Minn Kota trolling motor, which is saltwater-ready and GPS-enabled. Using the Bluetooth-connected i-Pilot remote, we propel and maneuver effortlessly. We used this kayak on a fishing trip to the coast in Galveston, and the trolling motor made it so much easier to navigate through the waters.

One of the standout features of this motorized kayak is Minn Kota's Spot-Lock technology. It allowed us to maintain our position on the water hands-free, making it much easier to cast, change lures, and reel in our catch. This feature's convenience was invaluable; it felt like having an anchor without the added weight or hassle.

The Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot 136 has convenient features that make it a dream for any fishing enthusiast. Customizable accessory tracks, cushioned floor pads for better comfort and grip, a custom tackle box, and plenty of rod holders make it easy to customize the kayak to suit our fishing needs. The premium dual-layer Textilene mesh seat is removable for transport and provides excellent comfort and breathability on the water. Adjustable foot braces and an extra-large rudder ensure ideal maneuverability and boat control.

This 13-foot, 6-inch kayak has a maximum capacity of 660 pounds, with a usable capacity for people and gear of 427 pounds. It weighs 158 pounds, and the removable motor console weighs 24 pounds. Despite its size and weight, we had no issues transporting it to our fishing spot. It's a big boy, but worth every pound of it.

Why we love this kayak.

We love the Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot 136. The combination of the integrated trolling motor, Spot-Lock technology, and numerous convenience features make it the perfect companion for any fishing trip. Sure, it's one of the more expensive options on the list, but if you can swing the price tag, it's easily worth the investment.

Tips and Tricks for Using an Ocean Fishing Kayak

For those just starting with ocean kayak fishing, it can be overwhelming to navigate the waters. However, with some practice, you can master the skills and make the most of your fishing trips. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you make the most of your ocean fishing kayak experience—

  • Pack accordingly. Always bring essential fishing gear, such as fishing rods and a fish finder. Knowing where to find the fish is key, and having the right equipment will increase your chances of success. Typically, there's no going back once you're out on the water.
  • Play it safe on the water. This might sound like a no-brainer, but we've got to say it. Keep safety in mind and wear a life jacket at all times. You never know when an accident might occur, and it is better to be safe than sorry.
  • Secure your gear. Make sure to secure your gear before heading out into the water. Organization is vital, so use rod holders and storage compartments to prevent anything from falling overboard. We like to carry extra bungee cords with us, just in case.
  • Paddle efficiently. Learn how to properly paddle your kayak. Quick bursts of power will help you make sharp turns, while longer strokes will help you cover more distance. Of course, if you have the Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot 136, you don't have to worry about this.
  • Try different techniques. Don't be afraid to experiment with varying methods of fishing. The possibilities with saltwater fishing kayaks are endless, so try trolling, casting, or bottom fishing until you find the best approach.

By following these tips and tricks, you can have a safe and enjoyable time exploring the waters in your ocean fishing kayak. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don't be discouraged if you don't catch anything immediately. You must learn the area, what the fish are biting on, and the best times to fish.

Making the Right Choice for Your Next Ocean Fishing Adventure

If you're searching for the perfect ocean fishing kayak, it's crucial to consider your specific requirements and desires. Do you plan to fish solo or with a buddy? This is a vital factor to consider before making a decision. Of course, tandem kayaks are ideal for those who like to fish with a partner, while one-person kayaks are perfect for solo anglers.

The type of waters you intend to fish in is equally important when selecting the ideal kayak. If you fish in deep waters, you'll need a stable kayak with abundant storage for your fishing gear and of course your kayak cooler. Conversely, a smaller kayak may be more efficient if you're fishing in shallower waters. Remember, the water's depth can be a significant consideration when selecting your ideal kayak.

Remember that the right choice ultimately relies on your needs and tastes. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so research and choosing wisely is critical.

Whether you're searching for a sit-on-top kayak, an inflatable kayak, or a pedal kayak, rest assured that there is a perfect option out there waiting for you. So go ahead, explore your options, and prepare for the most unforgettable ocean fishing experience ever.

John Malcolm

John Malcolm

Expert Angler

John is a highly skilled angler with over two decades of experience and a passion that has led him to participate in numerous tournaments, including reeling in a remarkable 9lb bass on Lake Okeechobee. His dedication to fishing and willingness to share his expertise make him a respected ambassador for the angling community, inspiring others to appreciate the sport.

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