April 29, 2016

Best Fishing Kayak Review

Best Fishing Kayak Review

What makes a fishing kayak “the best”?

That depends.

Good news! Hundreds to choose from!

Best Fishing Kayak Review
Fishing from a kayak kan be fantastic!

To find the best fishing kayak is not easy!

First, there are more than 100 kayak manufactures, who produce multiple models of kayaks. Kayaks come in numerous types, including:

  • Fishing (that’s what BassHoles are talking about!)
  • Recreational (kayaking for kayaking’s sake)
  • Sea (calm ocean areas)
  • Surf (for rougher waters)
  • Whitewater (shooting rapids)
  • Racing (competition)
  • Specialty & hybrids (inflatable, folding, pedal, twin hull)
  • Stand-up paddling (another type of recreational)
  • Military (I would tell you more, but then I’d have to kill you)

So we can certainly simplify the list by focusing on Fishing kayaks, which also includes some of the Specialty & Hybrid kayaks. You’ll see why in a moment.

What are the considerations?

many kayaksThere are numerous factors you will want to consider before you choose your kayak. For example:

  • Is your kayak JUST for fishing?

Or will you kayak through whitewater rapids? Or just relax and paddle with other family members in their kayaks?

  • Where will you be fishing?

In ponds? Streams and rivers? Saltwater harbors, estuaries, and flats?

  • How do you want to power your kayak?

Strictly by you paddling? Or do you want to be able to use a trolling motor. Or even paddle the kayak with built-in propulsion?

  • What type of seating do you prefer?woman with fish in kayak

SOK or SIK? That’s sit-on-top (SOK) or sit-inside (SIK). The sit-on-top-kayak is safer (won’t fill with water if they roll over), and provide more room and, for me, comfort. The sit-inside-kayak is better if you are in fast moving waters, are lighter, and will keep a BassHole dryer.

  • What dimensions work best for your needs?

    • Greater length means you’ll be able to cover distance more easily, but you can’t maneuver your kayak in the water and at the launch site.
    • The wider the kayak, the more stable it will be. Extra wide kayaks allow a BassHole to stand up and sight fish.
    • How much weight can your vehicle, and you, handle? A heavier kayak may require a wheeled cart to move it comfortably.
    • Man in small boatHow much, and what type, of storage do you need? Are you keeping fish, and so need a live-well? What about clothing? And, of course, fishing gear!
  • What’s your budget?

Kayak prices range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. You certainly do get more when you spend more, but that doesn’t mean your budget (or spouse) will permit you to buy the deluxe, premium, ideal, dream kayak (at least in my humble opinion!).

A few possibilities

With so many kayaks to choose from, I’m going to simply list my top 5 to begin with. And I’m going to arrange them not from favorite to least favored, but instead leave my TOP recommendation for last. Feel free to scroll down to number 5, but first, a warning: it’s pricey!

If you are an experienced kayaker, then the information presented in these reviews may be enough for your to make an intelligent decision. But if you are starting out, then try to locate a dealer where you can take a test drive on a variety of kayaks. Especially try both SIK and SOK models.

OK, here we go!

1. Sun Dolphin Excursion sit-in Fishing Kayak

Sun Dolphin Excursion 10Overall Ranking: 4 out of 10
Price: $399.00 Check price at Amazon.com
Maker: Sun Dolphin
Length: 10′
Width: 30″
Height: 13″
Weight: 41 lbs.
Capacity: 250 lbs.
Material: UV-stabilized Fortiflex® high density polyethylene


  • 2 flush mount rod holders

    sun dolphin kayak top view
    The molded seat caused “sore butts” according to multiple users
  • 1 swivel rod holder
  • Adjustable padded seat
  • Large open cockpit
  • Storage
  • Adjustable foot braces
  • Water bottle holder
  • Protective thigh pads
  • Paddle holder


This is an inexpensive but tough kayak. For the money, it is a great choice for a starter kayak. It comes with a lot of terrific features for the fisherman. Should you decide to “upgrade” further down the line, this will be a great “backup” kayak or one for your friends to use.

I personally do not care the the SIK (sit-in kayak), but younger, more limber users find this to be fine.


  • Some owners praise the excellent customer service provided by Sun Dolphin — any issues were resolved “no questions asked” for “no charge.”
  • Low price.
  • Lightweight.
  • Can fit in the trunk of some cars (with the seat folded down).
  • Many (not all) users rated the kayak very high.
  • Closed cargo area in back.smiling man fishing in sun dolphin kayak


  • Other owners say when asking about
  • 250 lb. weight capacity (so I’m too big to use this kayak).
  • Consistent complain by users is molded seat made for a sore butt after long use.
  • No drainage / self bail (if fills with water, must swim to shore).
  • Paddle is not included.
  • No capacity for adding a trolling motor.


This is a great kayak for someone who wants to “test the waters.” And it could be a fine kayak for many years, though many users report they decided to upgrade and use the Sun Dolphin for friends and guests.


Sun Dolphin received lavish praise from most users for their excellent customer service; one complained that they would offer no advice to replace cords, and doing so would “void the warranty.”


boy fishing in sit-in kayakThe main pluses of the Sun Dolphin Excursion are the low price and excellent customer service. I’d advise investing a little more (or a LOT more if you’ve got the scratch!) and getting a kayak you will use for a long, long time.

I don’t care for the sit-in kayak (SIK) design, and prefer the sit-on kayak design (SOK).

My greatest regret with my Hobie Float Cat 75 is not being able to easily add a trolling motor, so this kayak not having that capability lowers it in my scoring.

Sun Dolphin does offer higher priced models, including SOKs, so I’ve included a link for those interested in checking those out.

==> Click here to view more models of Sun Dolphin Kayaks on Amazon.com ==>

If you’re short of cash and have tough buttocks, the Sun Dolphin Excursion is a great deal!

2. Sea Eagle SE330 Inflatable Sports Kayak Pro Solo Package

Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable KayakOverall Ranking: 6 out of 10
Price: $467.00 Check price at Amazon.com
Maker: Sea Eagle
Length: 11′
Width: 34″
Tube Diameter: 10″
Weight: 26 lbs.
Capacity: 500 lbs.
Material: 33 mil Polykrylar / Seam: High Frequency Welded / Floor: Inflatable I-beam Construction
Inflation & Assembly Time: 6 mins.
Whitewater Rating: Up to Class III


Man fishing in Sea Eagle 330The Sea Eagle inflatable kayak Pro Package is even less expensive than the Sun Dolphin (at least at this writing, the package is offered for $239.00, a savings of $228.00!). And like Sun Dolphin, Sea Eagle is a very respected company noted for it’s outstanding customer service. One user reported that his dog chewed the vent caps, and when he called Sea Eagle to purchase new ones, they sent him replacements at no additional charge (but added he should buy better chew toys for the dog).

If you recall from my review of inflatable pontoon boats, I rated the 2 Sea Eagle products highest. And though I will recommend those same products over this one, I felt I owed it to Sea Eagle to list this kayak!


  • Stores easily in small spaces.
  • Lightweight.
  • Can be transported in a small car.
  • Awesome customer service!
  • Deluxe One-way valves (air pumped in does not escape) with tethered O-rings and tight cap.
  • 2 molded skegs allow smooth tracking.
  • 5 tube I-beam floor, supports most of the weight.
  • Sea Eagle’s standard 3 Year Manufacturer’s Warranty.

Pro package includes:Woman in Sea Eagle 330

  • 4-piece 7′ 10″ paddle.
  • Deluxe inflatable kayak seat.
  • Foot pump.
  • Carry bag.
  • Repair kit.


  • One reviewer described the paddle as “cheap.” But no one else mentioned that about the paddle.
  • Skegs are not removable (glued into place).
  • No footrests.
  • No rod holders.
  • No ability to add trolling motor.


This is another great choice for the budget conscious BassHole. At the time of this writing, there is a deep discount in the Pro Package described above, bringing the total cost down to below$250.00. It is one of the most popular portable kayaks.

Many_inflatable_canoesIt’s perfect for someone living in an apartment, or some other cramped space. It can be stored in a very tight place.

It’s easy to transport, and can fit in even a small car. One user says he carries 2 of these in his trunk at all times, and has been able to enjoy many spontaneous kayaking adventures with his family (or solo!).

It can be inflated in just minutes.

It’s tough, durable, and supports a great deal of weight.


Sea Eagle has excellent customer service. It is a very reputable company that you can trust to provide you with the sort of support you would want from any company.


If you’re tight on funds and space, this is a great choice, backed up by a fine company.

Described as holding 2 people, it’s probably better suited for solo use. If you expect to take 2, you would probably be happier with a larger version. See below for those options.

I do wish there was a way to add a trolling motor to the kayak.

Again, I would recommend the Sea Eagle Inflatable Pontoon Boat over the kayak, but this is a fine option!

==> Click here for more Sea Eagle inflatable kayaks on Amazon.com <==

If money and quarters are tight, this is a nice choice!

3. Emotion Stealth Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak

Overall Ranking: 7.5 0ut of 10Emotion Stealth Angler Sit-on-top Kayak
Price: $844.94 Check price at Amazon.com
Maker: Emotion Kayaks
Length: 11′
Width: 30″
Height: 14″
Weight: 58 lbs.
Capacity: 300 lbs.
Material: UV-Protected high-density Polyethylene

FEATURESemotion stealth angler sit-on-top kayak side view

  • Ultra lite seat with padded backrest.
  • Storage in rear tank well (with cargo net).
  • 3 fishing rod holders.
  • Self-bailing scupper holes.
  • Paddle keeper
  • Carry handles on bow, stern, and both sides.
  • 8″ locking hatch.
  • Easy-roll skeg wheel (help transport and tracking).
  • Molded footwells.


Once you break the $500.00 barrier, the quality of the kayak begins to increase. It is a sit-on-top kayak, and users report that the seat is very comfortable. The solid plastic construction allows for adding many accessories, including a trolling motor.


  • night fishing kayakRugged enough to add a trolling motor.
  • Can also add fish finder, extra straps, etc.
  • 3 rod holders.
  • Sit-on-top kayak.
  • Very stable when seated.
  • Good price.
  • Reasonable weight.


  • Not stable enough to stand up in.
  • Scupper holes under seat seat wet your butt.
  • Skeg wheel is small and sometimes the kayak rolls over.


This is a very nice kayak that’s not too expensive and offers many advantages. It needs some room for storage, so it’s best for someone with their own home, or access to a garage or shed to store it in.

It can easily accept a trolling motor, which vastly increases mobility and distances able to be fished.


Of the first 3 models featured here, this would be the first choice I would recommend. It costs a few more dollars than the previous listed, but it’s ability to accept a trolling motor makes it my recommendation. It’s not the best fishing kayak (see #5 for that, in MHO!), but it’s a durable and serviceable fishing kayak.

==> Click here to see more models of Emotion kayaks on Amazon.com <==

4. Wilderness Systems ATAK 140 Fishing Kayak

Price: $1,799.00 Check price at Amazon.comwilderness systems atak fishing kayak
Maker: Wilderness Systems
Length: 14′ 1″
Width: 34″
Height: 14″
Weight: 86 lbs.
Capacity: 550 lbs.
Material: Polyethylene


  • Extremely comfortable AirPro MAX seat
  • Open deck walk space w/ traction pads
  • Enclosed bow storage and additional storage throughout
  • Wind shedding hull
  • Integrated paddle park
  • Self-bailing scupper holes
  • Paddle keeper
  • Oversized metal grab handles on bow and stern; molded-in side handles
  • FlexPod OS electronics console
  • Wilderness Systems’ tri-hull design
  • Wilderness Systems’ lifetime warranty


The Wilderness Systems ATAK — Advanced Tactical Angling Kayak — was designed for fishing. It includes a number of features specifically developed for your fishing adventures.


  • Seat keeps you in the water longer.kayak in weeds
  • Very stable.
  • Carries heavy loads.
  • Rod storage system.
  • Spacious storage.
  • Built in handles.
  • Accepts trolling motor.
  • Great resale value.
  • Easy to paddle.


  • Heavy for one person.
  • Rod holders are extra.
  • Replacement parts can be difficult to obtain.
  • FlexPod not watertight, will electronics be affected?
  • Cup holder doesn’t drain (issue reported by one reviewer — seems like a tiny issue, but wanted to report what I learned!).


The Wilderness Systems ATAK — Advanced Tactical Angling Kayak — is a great choice for the angler serious about fishing and requiring a kayak that will carry tremendous loads.

It has a comfortable seating system, which allows you to fish longer than some other kayaks. That maximizes the time you can stay out on the water!

You can add a trolling motor for greater distances, and a fish finder to locate your quarry.


The ATAK is certainly not cheap, but there are more costly kayaks out there. Generally speaking, the more you pay, the more you get! At this price, it certainly makes sense to check it out carefully, and take a test float if possible.


This is the best fishing kayak I’ve mentioned thus far.

However, given the price for the ATAK, I would want to save up a bit longer and shoot for the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler. But if that’s not possible, then this is a great choice.

AND, it is sometimes possible to get great deals on last year’s model.

==> Check Wilderness Systems fishing kayaks at Amazon.com <==

5. Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12 Kayak

Hobie Mirage Pro AnglerOverall Ranking: 9.5 0ut of 10
Price: $3,149.00 Check price at Amazon.com
Maker: Hobie Kayaks
Length: 12′
Width: 36″
Height: ”
Weight: 98 lbs. (Hull); 120 lbs. (Fully Rigged)
Capacity: 350 lbs.
Material: Rotomolded Polyethylene


  • MirageDrive with Glide Technology
  • Vantage ST Seating w/ Boa® system lumbar support
  • Dual steering
  • 6 rod holders (2 vertical & 4 horizontal)Hobie Mirage with man fishing
  • Tackle storage under seat and pivoting system in large rectangular hatch
  • Retractable Rudder
  • Front and rear carrying handles
  • Replaceable mounting boards
  • Sail mount


  • Lowrance® ready
  • eVolve™ electric motor slot
  • Livewell-ready cargo area

OPTIONSHobie with man and fish

  • eVolve™ electric motor kit
  • H-Bar stand up assist
  • Livewell
  • Dolly


Here is my number one, no holds barred, tip-top, pinnacle, absolute favorite, no questions asked, best recommendation for a fishing kayak.


This kayak is propelled by the MirageDrive with Glide Technology pedal drive system. Seeing is believing.

You use your big, strong, BassHole LEGS to glide you (and you can go fast!) through the water, as opposed to your arms.

Besides, aren’t your arms and hands busy fishing? Casting, hauling in that big bass, casting again. You can’t do all that while you’re paddling with an oar!

Hobie offers incredible customer service. Though their products are nearly indestructible, I read 2 reviews that reported a crack in the hull, which Hobie replaced! And 1 was a Hobie purchased second hand! They back their products.


  • Again, hands free kayaking.Hobie POV
  • Very stable, you can even stand up to fish.
  • Awesome Hobie customer service and support.
  • Adjustable seat supports even large BassHoles.
  • Sit-On-Top (SOT) kayak.
  • Accepts trolling motors.
  • You can mount a fish finder.
  • Great storage and tackle systems.
  • Useable in both fresh and salt water.
  • Combines fishing and exercise!


  • HEAVY! At 120 lbs., this boat requires some means to transporting it to the water.Hobie Plug In Cart
    • Trailer (see below for one person loading on car top).
    • Cart
  • PRICEY! I don’t have one because I don’t have the bucks. Yet.
  • Mandatory minimum $189.00 freight charge (but at this price, what’s another couple hundred bucks?)
  • All options are also pricey. But with Hobie’s excellent customer service, “you get what you pay for.”
  • Hobie eVolve Torqeedo trolling motor is $2,149.00! It’s a great addition, but wow!


Hobie with man and fish 2The Hobie MirageDrive fishing kayaks are a wonderful option for an angler considering a full priced boat.

Compared to watercraft costing $20,000.00 to $50,000.00 and more, the Hobie suddenly becomes very affordable. Even equipped with all the accessories.

Make no mistake, it’s a premium priced kayak, but a premium product.

Hobie Fishing has it’s own FaceBook page, and it’s fun to read about all the fun BassHoles (and other fisherfolk) are having in their Hobies.

==> Click here to visit Hobie Fishing on FaceBook <==

Hobie also offers a 17 foot tandem kayak, which can be enjoyed by either 2 or a single angler. The seats are removable, and the front seat can face forward, or be switched to face the other angler.Hobie Mirage Pro Angler Tandem Kayak


It’s a lot! But compared to a fishing boat, well, a bargain?

I have a pontoon craft made by Hobie, and have had it for 20 years. It’s still going strong! The only issue I had was the seat posts broke after years and years and years of use. Luckily I was able to add a clip in stadium seat, and keep on fishing!


It takes a lot of money to get a Hobie. But if you CAN afford it, it’s a great value.

They seem to retain their resale value as well. Used Hobie’s are offered for not much less than new ones, at least for a few years.

If you can arrange a test ride at a local kayak dealer, I greatly recommend that before laying out thousands of dollars for the Hobie. But I haven’t found any buyers who reported regrets!

There are other Hobie Mirage Drive kayaks, so:

==> Click here to see Hobie Mirage Drive Kayaks at Amazon.com <==


I’m currently debating between a kayak or an inflatable pontoon boat (read that review here) to upgrade my fishing vessel.

If I had the money (or WHEN I have the money?), I would most certainly buy the Hobie MirageDrive Kayak. It is a fishing machine!

Here are the features I require no matter what I get next:Front of hobie winter background

  • Safety. Stable, plenty of floatation
  • Comfort. As I said, I prefer sitting on top as opposed to with my legs straight forward.
  • Growth Potential. Even if I can’t get a trolling motor to start, eventually I will want to be able to add that feature.
  • Customer Service. As far as I can tell, all these kayak and inflatable pontoon boats are backed with stellar customer service (let me know if you’ve have a poor experience!).
  • Range. I love my Hobie Float Cat 75, but my range is quite limited. With these upgrades, I believe my range would be significantly increased, especially if I mounted a trolling motor!
  • Fishing Craft. Of course you can buy great kayaks that aren’t designed for fishing, but that’s all I want them for, so whatever I buy will need to be designed for a fishing BassHole!

Finally, as I stated earlier, if possible take a “test float” in whatever type of craft you think you want. Compare and contrast! Get the one that fits your needs best. And then come back and tell your fellow BassHoles everything you learned!

Until then, Tight lines!

Roger, The Smiling bassHole

Catch-Big-Bass http://catch-big-bass.com/ is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Related Posts

Fishing Log: 9th Fishing Trip, May 19, 2016

Fishing Log: 9th Fishing Trip, May 19, 2016

Fishing Log: 7th & 8th Fishing Trip, May 12 & 13, 2016

Fishing Log: 7th & 8th Fishing Trip, May 12 & 13, 2016

Fishing Log: Second Fishing Trip, April 17, 2016

Fishing Log: Second Fishing Trip, April 17, 2016

Fishing Log: First Fishing Trip, April 5, 2016

Fishing Log: First Fishing Trip, April 5, 2016

The Smiling BassHole

I'm a BassHole!Kickin' Bass and lettin' them go.

Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • What a great blog! The details are great and has every information you’re gonna need for the fishing kayak.
    My cousins love fishing and anything related to it. They go fishing every month together, and I used to go with and learn a lot before leaving my country. I’m going to recommend them to see this post.
    Thank you!

    • Thanks Basem!

      Glad you found the information useful.

      Tell your cousins they should come to the site and share their fishing adventures with he rest of the BassHoles around the world!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • I had no idea there was so much to think about when buying a fishing kayak! I am afraid I would have gone to the big box store and let the sales person put me into something that would have been totally inadequate because I had not thought it all out properly. And, I didn’t know the right questions to ask! I believe anyone who is considering a purchase such as this will both save money AND be much happier with their choice if they follow your advice here!

    • Thanks SueEllen!

      You might be able to get a perfectly adequate kayak at a big box store, but the key IS to know what exactly do you want, need, and what can you afford?

      And of course the more you pay, the more you want to be certain that you are making the best choice.

      You want to try and avoid spending a few hundred dollars for a kayak only to learn it’s not enough, and then have to “eat” that amount and get something more useful.

      Plus, doing the research can be fun too!

      Should you have any questions, be sure and let me know.

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Great article!

    I had no idea there were so many different options to choose from when it came to kayaks. But with all the great info here I could definitely make a good choice if I decide to get one in the future.

    Thanks for the great read!

    • Thanks Derek!

      In truth I haven’t even scratched the surface of how many kayaks there are out there! There are literally over 100 manufacturers, but I haven’t investigated them all. These were all kayaks that got good reviews (though there are many others that got good reviews I haven’t included yet!).

      I knew about the Hobie Pro Angler. That’s my dream boat. I haven’t yet decided if I would actually choose the Hobie Pro Angler with all the bells and whistles (which might cost almost $10,000, depending on the selection & features) over a regular bass boat (which costs about $20,000), but at the moment I don’t have $100, so I don’t need to make any fast decisions!

      If you decide you want to investigate deeper into fishing kayaks (or anything else fishing related), don’t hesitate to contact me. I love learning and sharing!

      Tight lines!


  • Hi Roger … and thanks for the excellent blog on fishing kayaks .

    You have done a great job of describing this product and your knowledge of this sport is only exceeded by your passion for it … keep up the great work !

    • Thanks Paul!

      I certainly worked hard researching all these products. Of course I already knew a lot about the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler — including that I can’t yet have that AND my wife too! But someday?

      Yes, I certainly do love fishing. In fact, I’m about to leave for a fishing trip! Weather should warm up to high 40’s while I’m out! I generally stay a couple of hours (it’s five minutes from where I live), at least until the fishing starts to heat up!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Hello,

    As a person that loves to fish and enjoys being near lakes and rivers, but has honestly never been to involved with kayaking, just wanted to let you know that I have found your website to be extremely valuable.

    I have been fishing for most of my life, but recently I have been looking to branch out a little more and invest in a good kayak so that I can step my game up a couple notches instead of fishing from the shore every time I go out.


    I had absolutely no idea that there were so many different types of kayaks and options to choose from, you have certainly given me a ton to consider, but no doubt I can find all of the information that I need right here.

    For myself personally, as somebody just starting out, I think the final 2 options are a little above my level (and pay grade), and honestly I probably just don’t need quite that much kayak.

    The first 3 options however really caught my eye, and I am probably going to lean towards either the Sea Eagle or the Emotion Stealth to start things off.

    By the way thanks for providing some very helpful videos along the way as well, it really helped me to get a visual instead of just reading about them.

    If I was excited before, taking a look at your website and discovering just how much I am going to be learning in the coming months and years has really taken things to a new level, so thanks for that!

    I will be checking in with you frequently to see what else I can learn so I will talk to you again soon!

    • Thanks Matt!

      My heart (and wallet) go out to you regarding those last 2 options. I love watching the videos about the Hobie MirageDrive Pro Angler. There are TONS of options you can add to this outfit as well. And they are all very neat, but pricey!

      I’m glad you’re excited about getting a kayak. It will certainly vastly increase your fishing options from just shore fishing (which can certainly be fun when you can reach the fish!). I’d love to add a trolling motor to get some more distance out of whatever craft I use.

      The Sea Eagle company is awesome. They really stand behind their product. And their offerings are very durable. Plus it’s easy to store and light to carry!

      I will remind you there are other options to a kayak, including inflatable pontoon boats, which I reviewed here. Here the Sea Eagle is my number 1 recommendation (2 different models!).

      Finally, be sure and consider float tubes, which I reviewed here. They don’t have the range of the others, but are certainly the most affordable!

      Thanks for your post!

      Let us know when you make a decision!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • A very detailed post on fishing kayak, you have provided all the information essential for one to make the decision about which is the best fishing kayak depending on his needs. By reading your reviews I found sun dolphin kayak quite appropriate for me. I don’t know why, but I just want to be in that Kayak it just sounds cool to me. Thank you for this very informative post Roger 🙂

    • Thanks, Hari!

      Plenty of folks do love the Sun Dolphin. I believe it is that manufacturer’s favorite model. One very nice feature of that kayak is it’s low cost.

      One thing I don’t care for is it’s a SIK (sit-in-kayak). I’d prefer having the seat a bit higher, partially because I can’t sit comfortably for long with my legs straight out in front of me.

      Have fun!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Hi Roger,
    Wow, like many other people have commented, I never knew there were so many kayak options! Never thought people even fished from kayaks, seems too unstable. But the one with the pedal system is really cool, and it just makes sense, you can leave your arms free to fish, its a great idea and I wish I had thought of it 🙂 Thanks for putting all the effort and research into these products, it is a really good run down and very helpful.

    • Thanks Summerly!

      Kayaks are VERY stable, which is why they have lasted so long as a craft. And of course fishing kayaks often have features to make them even more stable than they already were!

      There are many other kayaks to choose from!

      And I agree! The Hobie MirageDrive does make a lot of sense. As you point out, it keeps your hands free for fishing!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Thanks Alex!

    I did do a lot of research on this post!

    First, to identify kayaks in the various price points (though I knew I was going to end with the Hobie MirageDrive Angler Pro, as I’ve coveted this baby for a couple of years!).

    Second, to compare and contrast the various options offered, and narrow it down to 5. Remember, there are a hundred companies! Though I confess I did not research every one of them (YET!).

    Third, to identify the features of each offering.

    And fourth, to read all the users reviews I could find, and get unsolicited feedback on the models.

    And you’re write, I’ve very passionate about fishing! I went out today. No bass, but caught a very nice trout.

    Tight lines!

    Roger, The smiling BassHole

  • This is a really detailed post on fishing kayaks. I don’t know my kayaks very well, and I always thought a kayak was just a pointy-shaped boat thing that can be used in all situations (whether fishing, recreation, whitewater rafting etc.). But wow, there are so many different considerations when it comes to choosing the best fishing kayak! One question though – once I’ve decided what my needs are, where then do I actually start looking for suitable kayaks? All the different specs look really confusing…!

    • Sienna,

      Great question!

      The best next step, once you have narrowed down your needs, is to visit a kayak store. You can ask about the various options, and the different opportunities. AND take a “Test Float.” Try out the different models, and then you can make your final decision.

      And when you do, come on back and let us know what you decided!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Amazing how many options there are! I was just gonna browse but your article was so extensive, I ended up reading the whole thing. I have never considered kayaking but will definitely give it some serious thoughts. Thanks!

    • Thanks Dennis!

      Glad you found some interesting information in the article!

      There are actually even MORE options out there. If you do decide to try kayaking, a great way to judge the many options is to take a “test float,” go to your local kayak dealer and try out a few different options.

      Especially be aware of the fishing capabilities (assuming you are using it for fishing, of course), and the comfort.

      If you do decide to “go kayak,” come back here with any questions, or to report what you decided on!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Hi Roger,
    That’s a great comparison, nice and clear and logical to follow to help make a decision on what to buy. I like the sense of humour that you’ve used as well to make it more fun.

    Just like other people have commented I also didn’t realize that there were specialized fishing kayaks with all the bells and whistles like these. I have a Tasman Express NZ-made sit in sea kayak, so quite different ‘kettle-of-fish’ (excuse the pun!) to these fishing kayaks.

    I love the great idea of the Hobie Mirage Drive being leg powered. I wonder how efficient that is compared to paddling, apart from the fact that legs are strong than arms. It would be interesting to know the top speed of these. I can do about 9km per hour in mine and it doesn’t matter how hard you push, that’s the limit, whereas those skinny fibreglass downriver racing kayaks do 12km/hr or more I think.

    Happy fishing and kayaking!

    • Thanks Tim!

      Great question about comparing the speed of the MirageDrive with paddling a kayak.

      I just did some very quick research. Kayaking World says that 5.5 km/hr is a good pace for an average kayaker. So you are WAY above average! Congratulations!

      I haven’t yet found very conclusive statements about speed, though I will certainly continue to look! Meanwhile, I did find this YouTube video showing the MirageDrive versus kayak paddlers. As you can see, the MirageDrive has plenty of power!

      I’ll keep looking as this is very good information.

      Of course you must realize, the Hobie Pro Angler is a FISHING kayak. They also have other MirageDrive kayaks that are faster. But no fishing! That’s just silly! (Well, to this BassHole.)

      I’m glad you liked the humor. As I’ve said many times, as a recovering standup comic and clown college graduate, I really can’t help myself!

      Keep racing those kayaks!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

      • Hi Roger,

        Thanks for the link to the MirageDrive vs kayak paddlers. That was quite impressive!

        I did a quick calculation based on the length and width of my kayak from an equation I found at http://www.coastandkayak.com/2001/on01howfast.html I came out with about 5.2 knots (9.6 km/hr). To go any faster than that you really need to have a lot of power to get the thing planing!

        Happy fishing and boating!


        • Tim,

          You bet! Commentators point out that the drag is also involved. None the less, it is impressive!

          Sounds like your speeds are near peak performance! Not that that surprises me, with your vigilant exercise routines. Which you seem to enjoy? Me, it’s always a chore. Though I don’t mind when I’m kicking or rowing my Hobie! I mean, that’s to fish, so totally different payoff.

          Planing a kayak would be pretty impressive! I’m sure you’ll have that mastered soon!

          Thanks for the comment!

          Tight lines!

          Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Roger

    My issue is that I now want to jump straight in at $1800!

    OMG Some of those boats are completely impractical for me, but that only because a lack of storage. The inflatable is perfect but I want the Porsche of the bunch!

    Excellent article which is why I come back to your site time and time again. I dont just get Pro after Pro after Pro I get the cons as well!

    As you say, they are pricey but you’ve set it perfect why. Its not just me trying convince my wife asking if I can buy one! You’re in the conversation with me!

    Thank you for writing your blog Roger!


    • Thanks John!

      I hope I can convince YOUR wife to let you “jump straight in”! MY wife is not persuaded, but she’s a “frugal NH Yankee girl.”

      In my first Log Blog I mention that I won’t spend 20 bucks on a thermometer. I need to plan my spending carefully!

      And I AM looking to upgrade from my Hobie Float Cat 75 (hence all the research that proceeds my posts). I don’t know if I’ll be able to “hold out” until I get enough for a Hobie MirageDrive Angler Pro, but to me that makes a lot of sense. Just because I believe once I got that, I wouldn’t have to worry about another craft until I’m crossing the River Styx (sorry, that’s a reference to the Greek mythological river separating Earth from the Underworld, crossed after your death).

      But I WILL be able to keep spending on the many kewl Hobie accessories!

      Glad you find the blog useful. Let me know when you make your decision and add your own appraisal for your fellow BassHoles!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Well my word that is quite a selection and although my eyes light up when I look at some of the pricier models, it would have to be the Sea eagle inflatable for me as I wouldn’t be able to hide it from my kids and I couldn’t risk them wrecking anything too expensive. great review though, very comprehensive.

    • Thanks Dan!

      The Sea Eagle is a great choice. And light weight. Plus at that price you could get more than one and take the kids with you!

      It’s extremely tough and durable, plus the construction makes it very stable. And you can always upgrade to another model when the kids are older!

      By the way, I’m not sure your kids could “wreck” those pricier kayaks — they are pretty tough! But you know your kids better than I do!

      Whatever you decide, come back and share your insights and review!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

    • Thanks Vince!

      I’m glad you enjoyed the website.

      So what type of fishing do you enjoy? Please feel free to share your fishing adventures here, even if you’re NOT a BassHole!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

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