Best Beginner Fishing Kayak: Starter Reviews [2019]

Are you tired of sitting on the shoreline and getting bored with the small fries you’re catching? Do you want to take things to the next level and travel to the secret fishing spots you know are out there and reel in some genuinely fantastic fish? That’s an exciting prospect, but you need a way to get there—a kayak will do the trick!

If you’re interested in finding a kayak to get exploring, you’ll need to find the right one to suit your needs. We’ll be reviewing the different kayaks available for beginners, and we’ve included more advanced options as well. Ranging from budget to luxury kayaks along with inflatable kayaks, we’re going to show you the best beginner kayaks out there!

 

 

Our Top Choice

We understand that not everyone has time to read through multiple reviews. You want to purchase your first kayak and go on your next fishing adventure as soon as possible. So, right out of the gate, we give you what we consider to be the best starter fishing kayak: the Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90.

Why the Skipjack 90? Simple. It is a compact and well-built kayak that can brave any water condition. It is reasonably priced, has multiple fishing rod holders, and excellent tracking and stability. Despite its size, the Skipjack 90 can compete with larger kayaks in terms of tracking and balance, yet it still has ample storage for all your fishing gear. For us, the Skipjack 90 is the kayak that gives you the best bang for your buck.

 

 

Best Beginner Fishing Kayaks Reviewed

Perception Pescador Pro Sit-on-Top Kayak

When looking for the best beginner fishing kayak, you want two things: ease of use and quality. The Perception Pescador Pro sits above the rest of the beginner kayaks as it packs in performance, stability, and comfort perfect for fishing.

 

Key Features

  • Two-level seat adjustment with breathable mesh
  • Leak-proof one-piece construction
  • Front and rear storage space for cooler and fishing gear
  • Integrated accessory rails

 

What We Like About This Product

The Perception Pescador Pro is a well-thought-out kayak indeed. Despite its name, the kayak is accessible and easily useable by beginners and pros alike. The sleek build, accessory mounts, and storage space make it a well-rounded boat.

 

What We Don’t Like About This Product

Stability has its price, and, in the case of the Pescador Pro, the increased weight leads to portability issues. If you’re not one to do heavy lifting, you’ll probably need assistance in getting this kayak to the water.

 

 

Pros

  • Sit on Top (SOT)
  • Leak-proof one-piece construction
  • Lots of cargo space
  • Lots of legroom for taller fishers
  • Comfortable seats

 

Cons

  • Heavy for its size
  • Portability issues
  • There are cheaper beginner kayaks

 

The Perception Pescador Pro is a fantastic beginner kayak. It’s well-built and stable and can be used even in rougher waters. The amount of storage space and the accessory mounts make it suitable for newbies and pros alike. The increased storage and stable build do take their toll on portability, though, and, if you’re a reasonably small individual and will be fishing in calmer waters, then there are lighter options out there.

 

Overall Rating – 5 of 5

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Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 -Best Value

We like to pack our list with the best options first in both budget and reliability. If you’re looking for the best bang-for-buck compact fishing kayak, then the Skipjack 90 is the answer. At only nine feet in length and weighing less than 50 pounds, this kayak is well-equipped, comfortable to handle, and affordable at the same time.

 

Key Features

  • 9-foot, 42-pound lightweight SOT kayak
  • Includes four flush-mount rod holders
  • Features V-Wave center hatch along with storage wells in the bow and stern of the kayak
  • Ergonomic backrests and cushion for the seats

 

What We Like About This Product

The Skipjack 90 is an excellent example of the idiom, “Good things come in small packages.” It’s compact, and it has standard features that you don’t often find for kayaks of its size or price. Despite its size, it can manage tough waters and can even brave the ocean.

 

What We Don’t Like About This Product

As fantastic as the Skipjack is, its seat construction does leave us wanting. If you don’t find the factory seat comfortable, you may want to swap it out for a better one. Outside of that, though, this kayak is perfect for its size.v

 

Pros

  • Lightweight and reliable
  • Excellent tracking and stability
  • Handles wonderfully in most water conditions
  • Portable

 

Cons

  • Factory seats aren’t comfortable and are easily damaged

 

For its size and price, the Skipjack 90 is a fantastic kayak that will satisfy beginners and pro anglers alike. It is a formidable vessel that you can take to any lake, river or even ocean and still maneuver and track easily.

 

Overall Rating – 5 of 5

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SUNDOPLHIN Aruba 10-Foot Sit-in Kayak

If you’re a solo beginner and you feel more secure in a sit-in kayak, then the Sun Dolphin Aruba 10-foot sit-in kayak is an excellent option for you. A thoughtful compromise between compactness and convenience, this is one of the best beginner fishing kayaks out there.

 

Key Features

  • Large open cockpit with adjustable padded seat and high-back support
  • Shock cord deck rigging for gear storage space
  • Adjustable foot brace
  • Made from rugged UV-stabilized HDP

 

What We Like About This Product

The SUNDOLPHIN Aruba is a compact, robust, and convenient kayak that is an excellent fit for any beginner looking for a fishing craft. It has ample storage space and a comfortable cockpit that gives you enough support to make long fishing trips.

 

What We Don’t Like About This Product

This kayak is simple and straightforward to use, but the addition of fishing accessory holders would have pushed this product to the top as the best beginner kayak.

 

Pros

  • Comfortable cockpit
  • Lightweight
  • Convenient gear storage

 

Cons

  • Lacks any fishing accessory holders

 

If you’re looking for a great lightweight, compact, and reliable sit-in starter kayak, the Aruba is a worthwhile option. It doesn’t have fishing accessory slots, which is a bit of a bummer, but it makes up for it with its ample watertight storage (as long as you align the shock cords properly).

 

Overall Rating – 4 of 5

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Lifetime 10-Foot Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak

Fishing for hours on end is relaxing, but it can get boring if the fish are not biting. So, what’s the best solution? Bring a friend! The Lifetime 10-foot tandem fishing kayak is a respectable but inexpensive boat that you might consider if you’re looking to bring a friend or a family member fishing.

 

Key Features

  • Built from High-Density Polyethylene for superior strength and durability
  • Seats up to three people with a weight capacity of 500 pounds
  • Multiple footrest positions
  • Comes with two double-sided paddles, two padded backrests, and three fishing pole holders

 

What We Like About This Product

This tandem kayak is at an extremely low price point and is one of the cheapest kayaks on the market—we recommend it for anyone on a tight budget.

 

What We Don’t Like About This Product

The Sport Fisher possesses neither high speed nor tracking. It is best suited for calm waters, and, even then, it can be a bit clumsy. It is also quite heavy, weighing 80 pounds empty.

 

Pros

  • The extremely low price point
  • Seats up to three people for family fishing trips
  • Steady and safe

 

Cons

  • You get what you pay for in terms of design and build
  • Quality control issues have hounded the company

 

Don’t let the low price of this tandem kayak fool you. It is a robust and stable craft that is ideal for less-experienced users. If you want a cheap option that would allow you to bring a buddy or your kids along for a fishing trip, this is the right choice.

 

Overall Rating – 3.5 of 5

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Intext Excursion Pro Kayak – Best Inflatable

Are you on a budget and have limited space at home for a stable kayak? Then, you might want to look at inflatable options like the Intext Excursion Pro Kayak. Despite being made out of PVC and polyester, this vessel can take some punishment, and it is adjustable for shallow and deep waters.

 

Key Features

  • Constructed from durable PVC laminate with a polyester core
  • High-pressure inflation that provides stability and extra rigidity
  • Two adjustable bucket seats, two floor-mounted footrests, and two rod holders
  • Removable and adjustable mounting bracket for GPS systems and fish finders

 

What We Like About This Product

Incredibly cheap, durable and portable, the Excursion Pro Kayak is a great tandem kayak that you can use for both shallow and deep waters.

 

What We Don’t Like About This Product

Even though it is durable, it is still inflatable, which means it will never be as sturdy or as reliable as solid-hull kayaks. It is a cheap option, but it’s not something that would last years of wear and tear.

 

 

Pros

  • Easy storage and highly portable
  • Multiple accessory and fishing rod slots
  • Tandem kayak
  • Can be used for both ocean and shallow water fishing
  • Incredibly cheap

 

Cons

  • Budget option that won’t last the test of time

 

We recommend the Intext Excursion Pro Kayak for people who don’t want to be held hostage by kayak rentals in their favorite fishing spots. It’s lightweight, portable, and durable enough for most fishing needs, and, while it probably won’t be your last kayak, it is a good beginner option.

 

Overall Rating – 4 of 5

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Lifetime Youth Wave

If you’re looking to get your kid started in the relaxing yet adrenaline-pumping activity that is angling, the Lifetime Youth Wave is an excellent choice.

 

Key Features

  • Ergonomic cockpit designed to enhance balance and motor skills
  • Reverse chine for stability with a swim-up step
  • Lightweight at 18 pounds
  • Weight capacity of 130 pounds

 

What We Like About This Product

The Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak is a great option to help you bring out the angler in your child and develop some independence. Sure, it’s safer to have your child or teenager in your kayak, but your kids have to learn to fish alone— not to mention it’s great exercise.

 

What We Don’t Like About This Product

It doesn’t come with seat pads or a backrest, so your kids may find it uncomfortable for longer trips.

 

Pros

  • Made to enhance balance and motor skills in kids
  • Lightweight

 

Cons

  • No seat pads or backrest
  • Best used in slow-moving waters

 

If you want to get your kids away from their screens and make them appreciate the great outdoors with fishing and exercise, you might like the Youth Wave.

 

Overall Rating – 4.5 of 5

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Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130

We know this is a list for the best beginner fishing kayaks, but for our more affluent readers who care only about performance and don’t consider the cost, we offer one of the best deluxe fishing kayaks in the market today, the Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130. It has an immense amount of storage space for catches and gear, and it has terrific speed and tracking that other kayaks can’t beat.

 

Key Features

  • SOT fishing kayak
  • Multiple mounts for accessories (two flush-mount rod holders and four integrated gear tracks)
  • Toe-controlled rubber system for optimum and less-fatiguing paddles
  • Numerous and large storage options
  • Vibe Hero Seat provides superior comfort and support with dual positions

 

What We Like About This Product

The Sea Ghost 130 is a long kayak at 13 feet, but this means it has improved speed, excellent stability, and better tracking than most fishing crafts on the market. The more massive build also means even more storage space, enough for any angler, beginner or pro.

 

What We Don’t Like About This Product

As we mentioned previously, the Sea Ghost isn’t cheap. While there are more expensive kayaks out there, you’ll probably need to sit down and consider the purchase for a bit. We recommend it only for anglers that are committed and in it for the long haul.

 

Pros

  • Superior tracking, speed, and stability
  • Large storage spaces
  • Multiple accessory mounts

 

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Portability issues

 

The Sea Ghost 130 is an incredible kayak, it performs with the grace of a bigger boat, but it isn’t as unwieldy as longer crafts. The large size does have drawbacks in terms of portability, so you’ll need someone to help you get this into the water, but once you’re on it and fishing, all the effort is well worth it.

 

Overall Rating – 5 of 5

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Malibu Kayaks Stealth 14

Following the trend of luxury crafts, we’d also like to offer the Stealth 14 for your consideration. This is the luxury SUV of the kayak world. If you’re looking for a large and supremely stable craft that tracks well and is easy to paddle, then you can stop searching now.

 

Key Features

  • 14 feet, 4 inches in length and 32 inches at its widest area
  • Extremely stable build
  • Features a highly adjustable and versatile X-seat
  • Patented Gator hatch and center bait tank system

 

What We Like About This Product

Despite its size, the Stealth 14 tracks excellently and is easy to paddle. The stability provides a smooth and steady ride regardless of the water conditions.

 

What We Don’t Like About This Product

There’s very little to complain about in this luxury vessel outside of its price. If money isn’t an issue, then this is a good buy.

 

 

Pros

  • Extreme stability
  • Great amounts of storage space
  • Easy to maneuver and paddle
  • Comfortable seat

 

Cons

  • Pricey

 

If you’re looking to purchase just one kayak for all your fishing needs, the Stealth 14 is the one we’d recommend the most. It is an incredibly cost-efficient investment, will last you for years even with regular use, and performs well in different water conditions.

 

Overall Rating – 5 of 5

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Hobie 2019 Mirage Outback

If the Sea Ghost wasn’t pricey enough for you, then we leave you with the final option of the latest rendition of the Hobie Mirage Outback. It is an incredibly expensive kayak, but it is worth every penny. We placed it on this list as a premium option for anglers new to kayaks that want a top-of-the-line craft.

 

Key Features

  • Equipped with the Hobie Mirage 180 with turbo fins and retractable rudder system
  • Four-way adjustable seating with Boa lumbar support
  • Built-in Lowrance transducer mount for Fishfinder
  • Has four horizontal and two vertical rod holders
  • Large front hatch and under-seat tackle storage

 

What We Like About This Product

Hands down, the Hobie Mirage Outback is the best paddle-driven kayak in the market with all the accessory and storage space you’ll ever need.

 

What We Don’t Like About This Product

It is incredibly expensive, and, if you’re looking to dip your toes in the water with an inexpensive beginner kayak, this is not the option for you.

 

Pros

  • The best paddle-driven kayak in the market
  • Lots of storage space
  • Multiple fishing accessory slots
  • Comfortable and adjustable seat

 

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Very Heavy

 

If you want a top-of-the-line option that allows you to have your hands free at all times, then the Hobie Mirage is your best bet.

 

Overall Rating – 5 of 5

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Beginner Kayak Buying Guide

Purchasing your first fishing kayak can be a daunting task, and there are a lot of factors to consider. Fishing from the lakeshore or riverbanks is quite different from fishing from a kayak. Find out what you need to keep in mind when buying and ensure that you find the right starter kayak for fishing purposes. If you’d like to read about the safety options available to you when kayaking, check out this roundup post.

 

Comfort

If you’re more of a sit-on-a-lawn-chair-and-fish-from-the-docks-all-day kind of person, then one of the most important considerations when looking for a fishing kayak is comfort. You’ll need to take a look at the seat(s) and ensure that they are not just cushioned or made of molded plastic. More comfortable kayaks have adjustable footrests, and the seats rise from the hull, ensuring that you’re not sitting in the water when it comes in through the kayak’s scuppers.

Most kayaks have removable seats, so you can switch them out for more comfortable ones if necessary. If you’re considering a kayak that has molded plastic chairs, then make sure you bring a lot of cushions.

 

Accessories

When it comes to fishing kayaks, one of your primary considerations has to be the capacity for accessories. A kayak that has rod holders, anchor systems for your cooler, and mounts for GPS receivers and gadgets like fish finders will go a long way in ensuring that you have everything you need when you need it.

 

 

Design

There are two types of fishing kayak designs: sit-inside kayaks (SINKs) and sit-on-top boats (SOT). Between the two, the SOT design is more reliable as it provides more versatility when it comes to storage space and how you position your body within the kayak. Although SOTs have scuppers that allow them to shed water quickly, this does come with the discomfort of getting wet from time to time. Still, the flexibility SOTs provide offsets this.

If you are standing a lot on your kayak, then you will need a stable design; a boat with a broader body is often indicative of increased stability. On the other hand, if you want to move faster and have better tracking in the water, then you should consider a longer and thinner kayak. However, things such as a rudder, keel, or skeg help even wider-built boats improve tracking and stability.

 

Portability

Will you be transporting your kayak on a roof rack or a trailer? If it’s the former, then you’ll want to look at a shorter and lighter kayak. Transport and storage have to be among your primary considerations, so make sure that you check the number of carrying handles on the model you want to purchase. Cheaper boats usually have two carrying handles while the more expensive kayaks have more.

 

Paddle or Pedal

The propulsion system of your kayak is something that you have to take into account as well. Of the two options, we suggest pedals as they keep your hands free for other things such as steering and fishing. Pedals are also less fatiguing and allow you to track better when used in smaller kayaks. Note that pedals are more expensive and more substantial compared to paddles, but they are better for long trips.

 

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it—our comprehensive review of the best beginner kayaks for 2019. Remember that the best fishing kayak is the one that suits your needs. You can buy the Stealth 14 or the Mirage Outback, but if you won’t be using all their accessories anyway or if you don’t have the means to store or transport them, then you’ll have wasted your money.

Be sure to use the buyer’s guide so that you have a firm grasp of what your needs are. Once you know that, you can begin your selection process. We hope this review helped you find the right fishing kayak for you. See you on the water!

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