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10 Best Sit On Top Kayaks for Fishing

Kayaks can be a great way of getting into areas you might not be able to get to with an ordinary boat or on foot. The best sit on top kayaks offer you this ability while not being confined in a small area, such as inside a fishing canoe.

Kayaks are extremely easy to use and are more stable to ride on the water. The broad platform and the big open cockpit provide you with more room to move around and stand as you fish.

Best Sit on Top Kayaks

If you have ever ridden in a canoe, you know it can get quite uncomfortable after a period of time. Imagine fishing from one!

Sit on top kayaks can take some getting used to, but they have some very good points to them. They allow you to get to areas you may not have fished in a very long time. They are a lightweight kayak and easy to handle.

Best of all, they’re affordable!

Kayaks can be customized in many ways to fit your needs and preferences. Most customizations are pretty inexpensive when compared to customizing a boat.

In this article, I will cover several of the best sit-on-top kayaks, how to care for them, their features, how to use them, and much more!

What Is a Sit on Top Kayak?

Sit on top kayaks have similar hull shapes to their traditional counterparts. But instead of sitting inside the kayak, you sit on a molded depression on top of the kayak.

Sit-on kayaks are usually wider, which makes them more stable and less prone to tip over. This makes them a great option for a beginner.

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This is significantly more comfortable for a person with a larger body type or that is tall. It gives you more freedom of movement.

The 2-man sit on top kayak is among the most popular kayaks. Someone that does not have a lot of experience with kayaks can opt to start with the starter kayak.

Best Sit on Top Kayak Sizes

Kayaks range in size from a one-person sit on top kayak to a 12-foot sit-on-top kayak. Size depends on your needs and how you will be using your kayak.

There are many brands of kayaks on the market. These different brands cater to different types of users.

From anglers to adventurers to explorers, there is a brand and model to fit your needs. These kayaks can also be easily outfitted to accommodate your activity.

Most of the “plastic” kayaks you see today are made of rotomolded polyethylene, a rigid, flexible, and relatively soft plastic. In this process, the resin pellets are pulverized into powder, and the appropriate amount is poured into a two-part aluminum mold. It is then closed and basically ‘tumbled’ in an oven.

Why Plastic is Tough

Do not let the word” plastic” give you the impression these kayaks are not tough. These are some of the most impact-resistant materials on the market today.

Many manufacturers, like the Ascend FS12t sit-on-top angler kayak producer, manufacture their kayaks with the fisherman in mind. At the same time, the academy sports kayak has the explorer in mind.

A great feature of many of the sit on top kayak models on the market is the scupper holes in the kayak, ensuring it never fills up with water. Water splashing over the deck of the kayak will automatically drain out.

How to Care for Your Sit on Top Kayak

Taking care of your sit on top kayak is one of the most important things you can do to ensure it will last for years to come.

There are only a few simple steps you need to take. If you use your kayak in the saltwater, you will want to give it a good rinse after you get out of the water.

You can use mild soap and a soft brush if your kayak is dirty enough to require a more intense wash. Then rinse thoroughly.

Make sure to completely dry your Kayak before storing it. You can wipe it dry or let it set out and air dry.

It is best to make sure you store your kayak in the dry and not leave it outside and exposed to the elements.


Best Sit on Top Kayaks for Fishing

1. Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T 

Best Overall

This Kayak handles well with one or two people. It has four handles for an easy moment on land as well.

Pole holders are great and it comes with four addition mounting options for accessories. Inside there are great cup holders and a fairly roomy with water-resistant space for storage.

Key Features

  • 2-person sit on the top fishing kayak – 12 ft 72 lbs 2-person kayak – perfect for kayak fishing, travel, or family recreation – 500-pound weight capacity
  • Two sealed hatches with built-in cup holders for safe housing of smaller items. And rear cargo area with bungee tie-down straps for larger gear
  • Two paddle parks to help secure paddles when not in use, preventing lost overboard paddles.
  • 4 carrying handles for easy transport out of the water.

2. Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Kayak

Best Cheap Kayak

Lifetime Muskie Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak with Paddle, Tan, 120""" (90508)
  • Constructed of uv-protected high-density Polyethylene....
  • Adjustable padded seat back and seat pad for comfort. Two...
  • Front and rear shock cord straps. Two 6" storage...

Perfect for any angler. The Tamarack angler 100 fishing kayak is constructed of the most durable polyethylene.

It is lightweight enough to carry into areas that have may not have been fished in a long time. So you can land the BIG ONES!

  • Constructed of UV-protected high-density Polyethylene.
  • Multiple footrest positions for different size riders.
  • Stable flat bottom.
  • Adjustable padded seat back and seat pad for comfort.
  • Two flush-mounted fishing rod holders.
  • One top mount fishing rod holder.
  • Front and rear shock cord straps.
  • Two 6″ storage compartments in rear and center.
  • One paddle keeper, one adult black paddle.
  • Front and rear t-handles for easy transport.
  • Deep hull tracking channels.
  • Stability chine rails.
  • Durable high-density Polyethylene (HDPE) construction.

3. Ocean Kayak Caper Classic Recreational Sit-On-Top Kayak

Best Beginner Kayak

Sale
Ocean Kayak Caper Angler One-Person Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak, Lemongrass Camo, 11 Feet
  • Ocean Kayak renowned tri-form hull combines primary and...
  • The Caper Angler's roomy Cockpit and Four-Way adjustable...
  • Store gear, food, and other items in the large click Seal...

We often get asked, what’s the best kayak for beginners? We feel it’s the Caper with its high volume, compact, do-everything design. It offers a huge bow hatch, accessing tremendous inside storage and a tank well for plenty of on-deck storage.

The Caper includes many features you do not usually find on kayaks in its price range. Like a Comfort Plus seat, Click Seal bow hatch, padded carry handles molded-in footrests, and a cup-holder – perfect to add to your offshore kayak fishing gear.

The Caper is stable, nimble, and versatile, it matches the performance of bigger boats.

Features:

  • Cupholder
  • Paddle keepers
  • Tri-form hull for stability
  • Tracking and maneuverability
  • Threaded hull drain Plug
  • Skid plate

4. Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 130T

Best Tandem Sit on Top Kayak

The best option for tandem kayaking…Hands down! Vibe kayaks offer excellent customer service, quality products, and so much more!

Check out the following features included in the design of the yellowfin 130 T.

Features:

  • 3-person sit on top fishing kayak – 13ft 80lbs multi-person kayak. Perfect for fishing, travel, or family recreation – 500 lbs weight capacity
  • 2 flush mount rod holders with caps and 4 Mounting points for Scotty, RAM, or Railblaza mount rod holders
  • Optional center paddle position for solo paddling
  • 2 sealed hatches with bag inserts, a large bungee rear tank well, and bow cargo bungee system
  • Adjustable footrests for customized comfort

5. Old Town Sportsman BigWater PDL

Best Pedal System Kayak

The Old Town PDL Kayak’s tri-hull design makes it ideal for open water and coastal fishing. It has an easy-to-use forward/reverse pedal drive that offers easy hand-free navigation and fishing. Taking off and landing are pain-free, thanks to the unique easy-docking mechanism and low-maintenance pedal drive.

One forward-facing and two rear-facing flush-mounted rod holders are available when needed and out of the way when not. The kayak’s universal transducer mounting system makes mounting your preferred fish finder (priced separately) simpler than ever.

A paddle clip positioned on the side of the hull keeps your backup paddle safe and out of the way as you fish.

The Kayak has a superior seat design that offers excellent lumbar support. The high-quality mesh seat is readily adjusted to your leg length for the best possible comfort while keeping you cool and relaxed all day long on the lake. It also has a cup holder for your favorite beverage.

The Kayak has other conveniences and unique features, such as customizable accessory tracks and cushioned floor pads for excellent comfort and grip. It comes with the Old Town Lure Angler life jacket (sold separately) that ensures you are comfortable even during long days on the water. The only drawback of this kayak is the lack of dry storage.

Features:

  • Multiple rod holders
  • Removable pedal drive for easy transport
  • Custom tackle box
  • Large stern tank well
  • Easy-to-use forward/reverse pedal drive
  • Adjustable seat
  • Excellent storage options
  • Incredibly stable

6. Perception Tribe 9.5 Sit on Top Kayak

Best Kayak for Fun

The Perception Tribe Kayak is the most versatile sit on top kayak as it is ultra-stable yet quick with incredible performance. It is an ideal kayak for all-around fun, thanks to its do-it-all design that make it work better on flat water, including beaches and coastal bays.

The thick, ventilated ergonomic padding and an adjustable seatback provide customized support. It has multiple footrest options allowing you to select the most comfortable position.

The kayak also features Perception’s legendary one-piece rotomolded high-tech polymer construction for superb UV protection and impact/abrasion resistance.

The cutting-edge design provides more speed and superior stability, making it easy to maneuver on any water. It has a paddle leash tightly tethers your paddle, fishing rod, or other gear for a leisurely boat ride. The adjustable Velcro loop enables you to attach items of different sizes and shapes.

Its weight is 46 pounds, and its carrying capacity of 300 pounds makes it an excellent kayak for individuals who need a boat to transport all of their fishing equipment.

The rugged side handles on this kayak make it easier to transport the kayak. Huge front and back compartments include bungee cord lashes to fasten cooler or equipment bags of any dimension or form.

Features:

  • Multiple footrest options accommodate paddlers of all sizes
  • Comfort Seating System with Framed Seatback
  • Adjustable seatback positioning
  • Large front and rear open storage
  • Convenient drink holder
  • Rugged side handles

7. Pelican Sit On Top Kayak – Sentinel 100X – 9.5 Feet

The Most Lightweight Kayak

The Pelican Sentinel is a great kayak for exceptional maneuverability and covers long distances with less force. It is also ideal for anglers and beginners who want good speed and optimal return of effort.

The kayak features a twin-arched multi-chine hull design that provides more stability, giving you a steady and safe ride. This makes the watercraft suitable for thrill seekers who want to enjoy a relaxing and stable kayaking experience on calm water. The spacious open cockpits enable easy access in and out of the kayak.

The Pelican Sentinel has a tank well and a front storage platform, both of which have bungee cords for extra storage. It also has two paddle tie-downs and molded footrests to keep your hands free. You can also bring your pet on board.

The additional scupper drains beneath the kayak help drain any extra water that could enter your watercraft and are perfectly safe. In addition to having a flatter hull construction, it guarantees your safety while riding.

The sit-in kayak is equipped with an adjustable ERGOLOUNGE seating system with an extra wide padded backrest and extra-thick cushioning for maximum comfort on the water. It is made with highly long-lasting high molecular density polyethylene material, making it sturdy and super lightweight.

Features:

  • ErgoLounge Seating System
  • Perfect for all sizes of paddler
  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Excellent stability

8. Sun Dolphin Boss SS Sit-On/Stand-On Top Angler Kayak

The Most Affordable Kayak

The Sun Dolphin Kayak is a user-friendly fishing kayak built with anglers in mind. Despite being affordable, it has excellent fishing features found only in high-end kayaks.

It is also ideal for recreational use. The kayak is made of rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex High-Density Polyethylene, making it a lightweight and durable kayak for fishing that every angler will enjoy using.

The Sin Dolphin Boss features adjustable footrests and a dual-position seating system that enables you to adjust the seat to a low or high seating position. It has a stand assist strap, anti-slip decking, bow, and stern quick-lock waterproof hatches.

The catamaran hull design lets you move to the deck comfortably. The spacious, open cockpit features padded seats and adjustable foot braces for added comfort. Besides, the kayak has several fishing rod holders for easy rods storage.

Features:

  • Paddle holders
  • Carry handles
  • Durable
  • Dual-position fold-down seat
  • Large front and rear gear wells

9. Vibe Sea Ghost 130 Kayak

The Most Stable Kayak

The Vibe Sea Ghost Kayak provides unmatched hull stability and excellent tracking, allowing you to venture farther. It is designed to enable anglers to move quickly to their preferred destinations and let them stand once they get there.

It has a high capacity as it can carry up to 550 pounds, enabling you to bring everything you might need for a successful fishing trip.  

The sleek hull guarantees quick, nimble tracking and a toe-controlled rudder that helps anglers catch big fish more quickly, allowing you to conserve energy on lengthy paddles, strong currents, and windy days. It is crafted with Rotomolded single-piece polyethylene for durability and lightweight purposes.

Besides, the kayak features a large rear storage area with a bungee tie-down that helps you hold your cooler. The top-loading gear tracks and flush mount rod holders are optimal for customization. It has a versatile sit with adjustable foot braces for maximum comfort.

Features:

  • Plenty of storage space
  • Premium comfortable seat
  • Optimal comfort
  • Slip resistant deck
  • Tackle toss tray for quick tackle changes
  • Built-in cup holder
  • Rudder system

10. Wilderness Systems ATAK 120 | Sit on Top Fishing Kayak

Best Sit on Top Kayak for Bass Fishing

The Wilderness Systems ATAK sits on top and offers an optimal comfort and improved mobility. It is made of premium polyethylene that makes it last for an extended period without wearing or tearing.

The inflatable kayak is equipped with large, padded footrests for comfy and support. The front and rear gear tracks allow you to add and remove accessories easily. The ergonomic 3D foam is covered in mesh fabric with honeycomb vents to increase ventilation and keep you cool while supporting the lower back.

Features:

  • Extremely stable
  • Large stern accessory mount area
  • Center easy-access storage
  • Incredibly comfortable seat
  • Traction pads that operate quietly

What To Consider When Choosing the Best Sit On Top Kayak

When shopping for a sit-on-top kayak, it is a good idea to consider a few things to ensure you select the right one. This is because kayaks come in different types ranging from white water kayaks, recreational kayaks, and sea kayaks to pedal kayaks. They also come in various kayak brands like Ocean Kayak Malibu and Sun Dolphin Bali.

Ask yourself, how many people will you be riding with? What will you be using it for? And where will you be going? After you answer these questions, consider the following:

Length

Shorter kayaks are assumed to be slow, although not really “slower,” while longer kayaks are speedier. A longer hull tends to be heavier than a shorter one. Longer kayaks track more accurately than shorter ones, which results in less right-to-left shifting while you paddle.

Weight

The kayak’s weight affects its performance. Smaller hulls without a lot of attachments will weigh less. Lighter hulls are typically more agile, whereas larger hulls might track more accurately while sailing. Kayaks weighing more than 130 pounds are challenging for one person to load and unload alone.

Width

Narrow kayaks move more quickly. However, wide kayaks offer more stability while being a little slower to pedal or paddle, and many thrill kayakers value that. Long and narrow sit-inside kayaks were widely known for long-distance riding, though only a few manufacturers offer them today.

Capacity

What maximum weight capacity does the kayak support? In your kayak purchase, make sure it has far more capacity than you’ll need. Don’t ever load your kayak to more than 75 to 80 % of its rated capacity. This is especially important for larger kayakers and those who need to carry a lot of gear.

Other factors to consider are the seat, storage, rudder, and accessories. If you stay on the water for an extended period, make sure you choose the best kayak seat that is larger, comfortable, and adjustable for relaxed paddling. Also, choose a kayak with extensive rear hatches if you intend to carry more gear.


FAQs

How to buy a kayak for beginners?

It is a good idea to check reviews and see which kayaks have the best reviews.

How to make a kayak track better?

An added rudder would be the best way to make a kayak track better.

What is the best kayak for beginners?

Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T | 12 Foot Tandem Kayak is a good kayak for a beginner.

How to stay dry in a sit on top kayak?

You may want to consider a kayak with a skirt. Another idea is waterproof
attire.

How to paddle a sit on top kayak?

Place the blade in the water near your toes. Pull the blade back alongside the kayak approximately to your hip, a better way to think of it is pulling the kayak up to the blade.
Lift the paddle and perform the same move on the other side. To turn the kayak, use a wide sweep stroke on one side.

What is the most stable kayak?

Tandems are typically more stable than their single counterparts.

Are sun dolphin kayaks good?

Yes, they are among the most top-rated according to reviews.


Insider Advice

When shopping for a sit on top kayak, it is a good idea to take into account a few things. One being, how many people will be riding with you? What you will be using it for? And where you will be going?

Fishing kayaks are gaining more popularity among anglers. This is due in part, to better designs, more comfort, and access to certain areas they give.

If you are considering a sit on top kayak it as a good idea to look at the reviews on the top brand and make your decision.

This will give you an idea of what other angler’s thoughts are, and what brand and design are best for you.

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing enthusiast. He has over 25 years of fishing experience, and 6 years of spearfishing experience, and is currently learning how to boat. Jon has his Open Water PADI Certification and FII Freediver Level 1 Certification. Jon has traveled the world to fish and dive, most notably in the Great Barrier Reef, Baja Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia. More Articles
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Articles » Gear Reviews » 10 Best Sit On Top Kayaks for Fishing