A kayak lets you fly fish in the middle of the pond or lake, so it's the perfect vessel of choice for the activity. Basically, it allows you to get where the fish are rather than waiting on-shore and hoping you are in the right spot.
The problem lies in finding the best fly fishing kayak that's perfect for you. After all, not all kayaks are designed equal; some are better for fly fishing than others. To help you out, we've taken the time to narrow down the choices so that you don't have to.
Best Fly Fishing Kayak Reviews
1. Intex Excursion Pro Kayak
The Intex Excursion Pro Kayak is designed for those looking for a durable kayak that features extra storage. It has a two-seater design, allowing you to fish with a friend without sacrificing your comfort.
Here is a breakdown of the Intex Excursion Pro Kayak's features:
- Laminated PVC and Polyester Core
These materials are known for being super tough or durable, as they are abrasion-resistant and can withstand impacts and sun exposure. Additionally, they are lightweight, so the kayak is easy to bring anywhere.
Gasoline, oil, and saltwater won't damage the PVC material too. Lastly, it allows more air pressure, which helps the kayak stay rigid.
- High-Pressure Spring Loaded Valves
The high pressure inflates the kayak and improves performance. Some elements that are enhanced are extra rigidity and stability. Additionally, the high-pressure spring load ensures quick inflation and deflation.
- Adjustable Mounting Bracket
You will be able to use the adjustable mounting brackets to attach extra accessories to your Intex Excursion Pro Kayak. This includes GPS systems, fishing rod holders, or fish-finding systems. The kayak also comes with a carrying bag and repair patch.
- Bow Storage Space and D-Rings
Located at the kayak's bow is an extra storage compartment that you can use to carry fishing essentials. There are also D-rings where you can attach gear, such as bags and other pieces of equipment, as long as the weight doesn't exceed 400 pounds.
What We Like
What we love most are the added storage and D-rings, as they allow you to store all your fishing essentials plus more. This feature is ideal when you're spending hours outdoors.
What We Don't Like
The only downside is that the Intex Excursion Pro Kayak may not be able to support people of heavy stature. The seats will be uncomfortable to use if you are over six feet due to their design. Still, the rest of the kayak has terrific features.
2. Sevylor Quikpak K1 Kayak
The Sevylor Quikpak is an excellent solution for one-person kayaking ventures. It's designed to allow you to hit the water in as little as five minutes and includes a unique backpack system that holds your gear. Improvements from previous versions include solid PVC construction and a rugged tarpaulin bottom to help extend the kayak's durability.
Now that we've covered the essential upgrades, let's take a closer look at the Sevylor Quikpak K1 Kayak's features.
- Quick Five-Minute Setup
To set up the kayak, all you'll need to do is fold it out and pump it up. Putting it away is also just as simple because all you need to do is let the air out and fold it up. It also folds up into a backpack and includes padded shoulder straps for easy transportation.
- Cargo Net and Cup Holder
When you're out on the water, you want to have access to all your gear. The cargo net holder can store all of your fishing essentials, and the cup holder keeps your drink easily accessible.
- Convenient Lift Handle
The Sevylor Quikpak K1 Kayak has a built-in lift handle to help you carry it over shallow water. This feature also makes it easier to get in and out of the kayak.
- Tarpaulin Bottom
The Quikpak adds stability, thanks to the rigid floor, flat bottom, and three-chamber design. This feature helps keep the kayak in shape and prevents accidents if you accidentally snag on any objects.
- Airtight System
The airtight system using thick PVC has been integrated into the kayak to help reinforce the bottom. Additionally, it features a double lock fast valve to assist with quick inflation and deflation. Plus, you will find multiple air chambers that keep the kayak inflated if one is punctured.
- Backrest and Footrest
Lastly, the Sevylor Quikpak K1 Kayak features a backrest that lets you lean back while still being safe. There is also a multi-position footrest that can keep you comfortable when fishing.
What We Like
The ability to be able to set up the kayak in a few minutes is impressive. Plus, the benefit of carrying the kayak as a backpack makes it easy to transport from your car to the lake.
What We Don't Like
The paddles are made from weak materials, and some kayakers find it hard to maneuver the Sevylor Quikpak K1 Kayak. That said, you can purchase your paddles and use them.
3. BKC TK122 Series Tandem Coastal Cruiser
The BKC TK122 Series has an improved design since it's more comfortable and has a three-seater design. Other improvements include stability, durability, and safety. If you're looking for a kayak that's suitable in all types of environments, then the TK122 may be your next favorite.
While the TK122 is an excellent choice for comfort, there is more to it than just that. Here is an overview of its features:
- Fully Loaded Accessories
This kayak comes with all the accessories you could ever want. That includes two ergonomic aluminum frame seats, two adjustable aluminum paddles, and two waterproof hatches. There are also four built-in rod holders, two paddle parks, and one bungee cargo tie-down.
- High-Density Polyethylene Material
The high-density polyethylene material is more durable than other materials, enabling the kayak to last through multiple environments. Aside from that, the kayak can support up to 770 pounds due to its durable build.
- 34-inch Support Beam
The 34-inch support beam strengthens the kayak and keeps it balanced when in challenging weather. That means it can safely travel through choppy water or swift currents.
- Fishing Rod Holder
This kayak is an excellent choice for most because of the two built-in flush mount rod holders and two articulating rod holders. This feature allows you to use multiple baited lines simultaneously.
- Water Resistant Storage
The water-resistant storage is located in the front of the kayak and includes two water-tight storage hatches. This allows multiple anglers to keep their belongings separated and within reach. The rear cargo space also comes with a bungee cord that can help secure your fishing gear and outdoor wear.
- Aluminum Frame Chairs and Padded Seats
The BKC includes aluminum chairs that feature padding and backrests. They also have multiple adjustment points that allow you to switch to a comfortable position.
What We Like
The most significant benefit to this kayak is that it's a three-seater and can safely sit a family or friends. Being able to fish socially can be a fun bonding activity, especially with the comfortable and adjustable seating.
What We Don't Like
The biggest downside is that the BKC kayak weighs 68 pounds. If you're going to transport it, it will take multiple people to move it easily.
4. Wilderness Systems ATAK 120
The Wilderness Systems ATAK 120 is a compact version of the Wilderness Systems award-winning ATAK 140 kayak. The ATAK 120 includes an open, customizable platform with high stability and a wind-shedding deck. It also has better maneuvering, a secondary transducer scupper, and a quick-release cam lever.
As you can see, the ATAK 120 is a tech-friendly kayak for anglers. However, let's take a deeper look into what the kayak offers:
- Phase 3 AirPro Seating
The Phase 3 AirPro Seating is designed to be the most comfortable seating due to its adjustability. The mesh fabric is honeycomb-vented, and the inside of the chairs includes ergonomic 3D foam. This allows more excellent airflow and keeps you cool and comfortable during extended fishing trips.
- Adjustable XL Footbraces
The Wilderness Systems ATAK 120's large, padded footrests provide lasting support throughout the day. You can also easily lock them into place using the side lever.
- Large Stern Accessory Mount Area
If you're worried about storage space, then don't be. That's because the ATAK 120 features endless options due to the mounting area. You'll be able to connect and store tools in the allocated mount area.
- FlexPod OS Flexibility
There is room for a fish finder next to one of the seats. You can also place the battery and transducer in a removable pod. This particular kayak model is compatible with Helix MD Motor Drives.
- Center Easy-Access Storage
Lastly, a removable storage mount in the middle of the boat is perfect for holding tools, tackle bait, and beverages. You can easily remove it in one click if you want to add extra space to the kayak.
What We Like
We love that the Wilderness Systems ATAK 120 includes both comfortable seating and extra storage. It is also better than the 140 due to the smaller size, making it easier to transport without giving up any functionality.
What We Like
The only downside is that the Wilderness Systems ATAK 120 weighs 86 pounds, so it's cumbersome to transport. That said, the kayak's functionality makes up for it.
5. Perception Pescador Pro 12
The Perception Pescador Pro 12 features a sit-on-top design and provides generous storage space for accessories and mounts. The primary enhancement from previous versions is the removable camp chairs. Also, the kayak length and overall weight have been reduced from previous models to enhance maneuverability.
Now that we have a basic understanding of the Pro 12, let's take a closer look at the remaining features:
- Pro Seat
The Pro Seats has a lawn chair style and features mesh fabric. The seats also include two-level seat adjustments and are comfortable enough for an all-day fishing trip.
- Front and Rear Storage
There are large front and rear open storage areas located on the kayak. You can also secure all items using bungee lashings.
- Skid Plate
A skid plate has been installed on the bottom of the Perception Pescador Pro 12 to extend its longevity. You can rest assured that even if the kayak drags, the kayak's bottom can be repaired easily.
- Quick-Adjust Footrests
For all-day comfort, the kayak includes adjustable footrests to accommodate anglers of all sizes. The footrests are quick-adjusts which enables you to adjust when necessary quickly.
- Safety Construction
To help keep you safe, the boat features a leak-proof design with a built-in buoyancy. The one-piece construction will lessen the chances of the boat springing a leak.
- Integrated Accessory Rails
There are integrated accessory rails located on each gunwale. You can use the rails to attach fish finders, rod holders, and any other boating accessories.
What We Like
The most significant benefit of the Perception Pescador Pro 12 is the replaceable skid plate. If you plan to fish in lakes, ponds, or other slow-moving water, the added ability to repair the kayak cheaply is ideal.
What We Don't Like
While this kayak excels at many things, comfort is not one of them. While the footrests are adjustable and comfortable, the seating lacks cushioning, which isn't suitable for all-day fishing trips.
It's essential to understand what you're looking for in a good fly fishing kayak. Small features that usually wouldn't matter can make or break your fishing trip. We've found that you should consider the following features:
1. Fishing Environment
While it may seem trivial, the environment plays a massive role in how your fly fishing trip will turn out. A kayak that is suitable for specific conditions will be beneficial and even ensure your success. Select a kayak based on if you're fishing in shallow rivers or lakes or the open ocean.
Fly fishing is generally an all-day activity, so having a comfortable seat is a must. When it comes to seating, you'll want to find an adjustable one for you to find the most comfortable position.
It's also best to look for kayaks with chairs that have added cushioning and mesh fabric. The mesh fabric can help ensure proper airflow, perfect when the weather is hot.
Apart from a comfortable seat, there should also be enough space for your legs. That's why you must look for kayaks with adjustable footrests.
Stability is required when it comes to fly fishing due to moving, casting, and retrieving. It's crucial to have a boat that won't rock or wobble any time you move. Kayaks that allow extra space besides seating are often recommended because they allow you to change your casting stance.
4. Sit-on-Top vs. Sit-In
Fishing style can influence which type of kayak style you'd want. Sit-on-top kayaks are favored because they are open, can prevent flooding, and are easier to cast when seated. That said, they expose you to the outdoor elements, which means you'll be susceptible to water.
On the contrary, sit-in kayaks protect you from water and the outdoor environment. However, they may become swamped in certain situations. They aren't the best for rainy climates, as the water can pool up inside the kayak. Still, they are faster than sit-on-top kayaks and are more durable.
5. Weight and Weight Limit
You'll need to be aware of two types of weight when choosing your kayak: the weight limit and the weight of the kayak itself. While these factors don't seem too important, they are essential to know if you're using the kayak for fly fishing.
Not knowing the weight limits can cause significant issues out on the water and put you at risk. The weight limit, also known as carrying capacity or maximum weight, should be checked.
Some kayaks can only hold 200 to 400 pounds, and if you're seating one to two people along with gear, you may exceed that limit. In situations like those, your kayak could tip over or break, so it's crucial to calculate approximately how much weight you and your gear will be.
The kayak's weight is also an essential factor because it helps determine how easy it is to transport. Kayaks can range from 30 to 350 pounds, depending on the material it's made from. If you're fishing in areas where you may need to hike, it's essential to know if you can transport your kayak.
Fly fishing is an all-day activity and requires a complete set of gear, including fishing rods, baits, and tools. To accommodate all your equipment, you'll need a kayak that has sufficient storage space. The benefit of having storage on your kayak is that you can keep the materials while transporting and have everything organized and ready to grab while fishing.
Hatches are water-tight and are an excellent storage area for large gear, extra clothes, and anything else you don't want getting wet. Cockpits are also perfect storage spaces for grab-and-go items such as sunscreen, knives, handheld GPS systems, or extra fishing lines. Lastly, stern storage is ideal for cooler boxes or toolboxes tied down via bungee cord.
Fly Fishing Kayak FAQs
1. What Kind of Kayak Is Suitable for Fly Fishing?
The most popular type of kayak for fly fishing tends to be a pedal kayak because they allow you to focus on fishing rather than paddling. However, fly fishers also are favoring kayaks with electric motors. Any hands-free kayak is preferred, but you can fly fish from almost any type of fishing kayak.
2. What Kayak Is Most Stable?
The most stable kayak has a wide frame, as it provides more stability by giving the boat more capacity. That said, a wide kayak doesn't always mean that a kayak is stable, as the hull design will also have a significant influence on stability.
3. Can I Stand While Fishing in a Kayak?
It's generally not recommended to stand while fly fishing unless you have an extra-wide or wide kayak. Most fishing kayaks provide rod mounts or allow you to fish while sitting. If you enjoy standing, then make sure you invest in a wide kayak with a stable hull design to prevent the kayak from tipping.
4. Do You Need Wider or Longer Kayaks for Fly Fishing?
Always go for wider kayaks if you're planning on storing extra cargo or plan on standing up. Wider kayaks are also better if you're sitting multiple people since they give everyone enough leg space. Lastly, a wider kayak is suitable for leisurely fishing.
On the other hand, longer kayaks excel at moving faster. If you have a fishing destination that takes a bit of time to get to, then you'll likely enjoy a longer kayak. A long kayak is also better at maneuvering around tight spaces.
5. Is It Hard To Fly Fish From a Kayak?
The answer is both yes and no. A fishing kayak will come with adequate space and storage for all your fly fishing needs. The problem is that many kayaks are not designed for fly fishing and may only be for recreation. If you're fly fishing from a regular kayak, you will face difficulties.
6. Do You Need a Kayak Rod Holder?
You don't need a rod holder, but they do make fly fishing more leisurely. Instead of having to hold your fishing rod by hand for hours, you can simply place your rod into a mount holder. Also, some fly fishing kayaks come with multiple rod holders, which you can use simultaneously.
Which Kayak Is Best for Fly Fishing?
The best fly fishing kayak would have to be the award-winning Wilderness Systems ATAK 120. It includes comfort, style, and stability all in one package. Stand-out features also include extra storage and easily adjustable seating.
The only downside to the ATAK 120 is that the kayak is heavy, so it's honestly worth the investment. Plus, you'll have the option of connecting a Helix MD motor drive which can help improve accuracy while fishing.
Overall, we think it's an excellent unit and hope it fits your needs for your next fishing venture.
Looking for more product reviews? Check out our Buyer's Guide to the Best Fly Fishing Gear.