Different Types of Fishing Kayaks

When it comes to fishing, there is a myriad of different ways to partake in the activity.

Some like to hoof it on foot and fish from the banks/shores, landlubber style.

Some like to get in the water themselves and spear their catches, or noodle them.

Most like to be in a boat, on the water.

And if you're here reading this article, that's a pretty good indicator of what you're interested in trying out.


Just like its bigger brother the boat, kayaks come in a variety of different shapes, sizes, and purposes. And just like anything that involves multiple options, pros and cons are always going to come with the territory.

Whether you're an avid kayaker, a newbie looking to get into this fun, exciting world, or someone shopping for another person, you'd be well off if you were armed with the knowledge of what you're looking for.

That's why I've decided to break down the different types of fishing kayaks and list some pros and cons!

Do You Want To Sit Or Perch?

Boats are the standard when it comes to watercraft, and it's not hard to see why.

They offer room to store things, stand, sit, move around

Motors let nautical travel go by a lot quicker

They're just fun and cool

However, when dealing with kayaks, choices and sacrifices have to be made. Unlike their bigger cousins, kayaks are smaller and provide less room and options to use the watercraft.

Two of the biggest questions to answer are the following.

Do I want to sit in a kayak?

Or do I want to sit on a kayak?

Sit-Inside Kayaks​​​​

When the average person thinks of a kayak, the image that’ll pop up in their head is that of a sit-inside.

The classic option, these are the kayaks recommended for the colder waters due to the cockpit (space where you’ll be sitting for your fishing trip) providing shelter for your lower body from the wind and a majority of the water.

One of the downsides, however, is the difficulty of getting things back on track on the off chance that you happen to roll over and fall into the water. It’s harder to get back into your kayak when water is filling up the cockpit and causing the kayak to possibly sink!

Sit-On-Top Kayaks

If you’re looking for something different than the standard kayak, a sit on top kayak might be your huckleberry.

As the name implies, sit-on-tops come with the seat being attached on top of the hull. They’re actually rather beginner friendly, due to one not needing to know how to prevent a kayak from rolling and potentially capsizing.

They come with a solid hull, and several holes called scupper holes placed around the top of the kayak. The purpose of these holes is to prevent the water from building up and allowing the water to drain.

Anglers would love these types of kayaks more than trollers would due to the amazing stability that a kayak like this would provide.

The cons, though?

You’re not going to be dry if you decide to go with a sit-on-top like you would be with a traditional sit-in kayak.

To Rig Or Not To Rig

When looking around for a fishing kayak, you’d be better off knowing about the two types that you’d find on the market:

  • Angler versions, which come equipped with all of the fishing gear
  • Stock, the barebones kayak that you’ll have to set up yourself

In this hobby, a lot of fishermen prefer to rig their own kayaks so that everything will be tailored to their specific needs and setups.

Nothing wrong with that at all, but that could be a bit daunting to deal with if you’re a newcomer to this hobby. If you have the money to shell out for a kayak that’s basically ready to go for you, then grab it and get on the water! The fish are waiting!

Length And Width: Size Does Matter

Another key factor to take into consideration when browsing around for your kayak is the size of the kayak itself.

You’ll need to know what you’re using this kayak for and what kind of waters you’ll be in. You’ll also need to answer these questions for yourself to help you make a better decision.

Do I want to be speedy and agile on the waters?

Or do I prefer stability?

If you know you’ll get that urge to paddle like a madman to see how fast you can go, you’ll want to go with a long, narrow kind of kayak.

If you’re looking for more of a stable, slower type of trip, then a wide-body, recreational kayak is what you’ll be happy to find.

Speaking of recreational kayaks…

Recreation Versus Sport, Who Wins?

While dealing with the back and forth of deciding whether you want a sit-in or a sit-on, you should also know that the sit-in version could be broken down even further into two groups:

Recreational, or rec for short

Sea/ Touring kayaks

The shorter, casual option of the two, recreational kayaks are widely popular amongst lovers of the sport/hobby. They come with shorter, wider frames and usually have bigger cockpits than their counterparts. The bigger cockpit dispels that closed-in, confined feeling one may get when it comes to dealing with sit-ins.

On the other hand, sea kayaks are for those with an affinity for speed. They generally come equipped with longer, narrower frames which are suitable for trying to get speedy on the waters.

As a trade-off for your potential speed demon habits, you're probably going to feel a little bit more confined since the cockpits are noticeably smaller.

Nevertheless, you'll still be happy with whatever you pick, so long as you’ve made sure to determine all of your potential needs for your kayak and trips.

Well folks, there's the breakdown on the different types of kayaks out there. They come in many shapes and sizes, customizable options, and colors.

Now that you've gained a bit more knowledge on the topic of fishing kayaks, I'd hazard a guess that you're ready to shop around fishing kayak for yourself and see what you like! Happy hunting, or should I say…