Canoe vs Kayak Fishing (Fishing Gear Guide for 2023)

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Canoe vs kayak fishing: which is better? We’re covering what you should know about the canoe and kayak to help you choose which one suits you better.

Let’s start with fishing canoes.

Fishing canoes are a great way to explore areas you may not ordinarily be able to access with a larger boat. These areas are most likely prime fishing grounds due to it being difficult to get there.

Lightweight and easy to transport, fishing canoes can allow you to easily get into areas that may not have been fished in a long time. This could mean some large fish.

There are several different styles and sizes of fishing canoes on the market. If you are looking for a boat and do not want to spend big bucks on a larger boat, a fishing canoe is the best option.

Man Kayak Fishing in the Ocean
Fishing Kayaks have come a long way. They are more sturdy than fishing canoes.

However, these fishing canoes have their drawbacks. They can be very unstable.

This is especially true when casting or setting a hook.

There is an alternative. The fishing kayak is a great choice as a step down from a flat-bottom fishing boat.

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They are very affordable and durable. There is very little maintenance involved in keeping a fishing kayak in great shape.

In this article, I will cover several fishing kayak brands and styles. And the difference between fishing canoes and fishing kayaks.

Fishing in a Canoe?

Canoes can be dated back to ancient times. They were the first types of boats ever used.

Today they are used by fishermen because of their ability to get into areas normal-size boats cannot go.

This opens up a whole field of opportunity for fishermen to access larger fish. Fish that have escaped other anglers because of their inaccessibility.

Fishing canoe on shore

Canoes of the past were carved from wood, logs that were just hollowed out, to be more exact. These fishing canoes served the anglers well, but today, they have advanced significantly.

Some canoes today are still made of wood. But today’s fishing canoes are also comprised of carbon fiber, fiberglass, and high-impact plastic.

These fishing canoes are very durable. Along with rugged construction, canoe manufacturers have also considered comfort and safety.

Fishing canoes can be V bottom or flat bottom. They can also be paddle propelled or foot-propelled with built-in foot-operated paddles.

What is a Fishing Kayak?

Fishing kayaks, like fishing canoes, have been used for many years as a means of transportation. Also, as a means of getting into hard-to-reach locations.

Fishing kayaks afford the fisherman the ability to float quietly. And into areas without disturbing easily spooked fish.

The first kayaks were constructed from stitched animal skins. Such as a seal stretched over a wooden frame made from collected driftwood.

Fishing Kayak on the water

Fishing kayaks have certainly come a long way since then. Like canoes, kayaks can be made of many different materials. One of the most popular is high-impact plastic.

Many kayaks can be made to order with special design features. These features include built-in coolers, rod holders, GPS receivers, and much more.

Another advantage that fishing kayaks offer is they are easy to store when not in use. They are also easy to transport.

Fishing kayaks come in several different sizes. While they do not offer the same stability a wider boat would, you quickly learn how to distribute weight equally after a few uses.

Flippers or propellers and a foot mechanism also propel kayaks. These kayaks offer hands-free fishing and all the associated benefits.

Canoe vs. Kayak Fishing: What’s the Difference?

Most fishing kayaks are usually a sit-on-top style. You sit with your legs bent or straight-out flat. You can only face forward, and twisting around to look behind is difficult.

In a canoe, you sit higher, your legs are bent, and you can move around easier, even stand up if you need to.

A kayak uses only a two-bladed paddle, and when not in use, it is usually balanced across the cockpit or has to be fastened along the deck. To move, you have to put down your fishing pole and pick up the paddle.

Fishing Canoe on shore

A canoe is propelled with a single-blade paddle that, when not in use, can be quickly dropped to the deck. A canoe also has the advantage of adding an electric trolling motor.

Weight is a consideration from a hauling standpoint. For example, a 12-foot canoe weighs 23 pounds, and a two-person 15-foot one is 50 pounds. A 12-foot fishing kayak weighs 50 pounds or even up to 100 pounds. The pedal-powered kayaks start at 85 pounds and can go over 100.

When you’re standing and casting from a boat, you use your whole body, even more so when reeling a fish in.

You only have your arms and shoulders from a canoe or kayak for these actions. A kayak also requires a slightly different cast technique than when a canoe. This is because you are much closer to the water’s surface and have less of your body to use for the cast.

This is one of the reasons why canoes and kayaks are great for redfish kayak fishing.

Our Top Picks: Fishing Kayaks and Canoes

[amazon table=”87048″]

Best Fishing Kayaks and Canoes Reviewed

1. Old Town Canoes

Best Canoe Option

[amazon box=”B07PT8L5B3″]

This canoe is more sturdy than you’d think as long as you sit and use it for paddling. As soon as you start to adjust your center of gravity higher, they become less stable due to their hull design. It’s 11 feet long and weighs 50 pounds. This makes it transportable enough for most individuals.

This canoe will hold you well even if you’re on the heavier side. You can also load it up with more people to have others enjoy fishing with.

Don’t stand in it because they are less stable than kayaks for fishing. Canoes aren’t meant for standing, so keep a low center of gravity.

2. BKC 12-Foot 5-inch Sit On Top Tandem

Best Tandem Kayak Option

[amazon box=”B01GC9B0HO”]

The Brooklyn Kayak Company BKC UH-TK181 sit on the top tandem kayak and is adventure-ready.

Grab a buddy and take a two-person kayak ocean fishing excursion. Paddle solo across the bay. Take it for a trip down a lazy river with a trolling motor attached.

Head out on the lake when the chop is up—the Brooklyn Kayak Company. BKC UH-TK181 12-foot 5-inch, 68-pound sit on top tandem kayak has the capacity to support plenty of weight and the space to hold plenty of gear.

Its 34-inch beam has the stability and tracking to keep you balanced and on course even when the wind and water act up and even when you are standing up for the perfect cast.

Its intuitive features help make any outing a success. That goes for an afternoon fishing trip, a multi-day camping adventure, and everything in between.


  • Comes with pre-installed threaded bolt holes in the transom for a motor mount or other accessories.
  • Tracks and turns well.
  • Lightweight and easy to carry.
  • Easy to get in and out of.
  • Rod holders included.

3. Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90

Best Kayak for Beginners

[amazon box=”B07PQTQVD5″]

Key Features:

1-person sit on the top fishing kayak – 9ft 46 lbs fishing kayak with a deluxe seat that provides portability and stability in a smaller package.

Mount for accessories – 4 capped flush mount rod holders and mounting point for Scotty, RAM, and Vibe mount accessories.

No more overboard paddles – Two paddle parks to help secure paddles when not in use, preventing loss of overboard paddles.

Multiple storage options – 2 sealed hatches with bag inserts and a large bungee rear tank well to protect all your kayaking necessities.

Extra features – 4 easy-grip carry handles for transport and portability.

Pros and Cons:

  • Maneuvers are easy, and great for a first-timer.
  • It comes with everything you need, i.e., paddles, plugs, and storage is already lined.
  • We wish it had a little more storage.
  • Has to room for add-on accessories.

4. Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 130T

Best Multi-Person Kayak

Key Features:

3-person sit on the top fishing kayak – 13ft 80 lbs multi-person kayak – perfect for fishing, travel, or family recreation – 500 lbs weight capacity.

Mount for accessories – 2 flush mount rod holders with caps and 4 Mounting points for Scotty, RAM, or Railblaza mount rod holders.

Option to ride solo – Optional center paddle position for solo paddling.

Multiple storage options – 2 sealed hatches with bag inserts, large bungee rear tank well, and bow cargo bungee system.

Multiple storage options – Adjustable footrests for customized comfort.


  • Tracks well and has a stable feel.
  • Lots of storage and room for coolers.
  • The seats are comfortable.
  • It can be used in single or tandem

5. Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130 Angler Kayak

Most Comfortable Option

Key features – 1-person sit on the top fishing kayak – 13ft 75 lbs fishing kayak that offers the best of speed and stability.

Mount for accessories – Includes 2 flush-mount rod holders and 4 integrated gear tracks for customized rigging.

Optimum control = Pre-installed toe-controlled rudder system saves your energy during long paddles, windy days, and strong currents.

Multiple storage options – Large center console, 20″ front oval hatch, rear hatch, and large bungee rear tank well.

Superior comfort – The dual-position Vibe Hero seat provides comfort and support for long days on the water.


  • Very stable for casting.
  • The seat is very comfortable.
  • It has plenty of storage.
  • Has room for many add-on accessories.
  • The rudder works very well.
  • Easy to paddle for a larger kayak.

6. Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak

Most Stable Fishing Kayak

[amazon box=”B00FMA9E1O”]

One of our favorite sit-on-top kayaks. Constructed of UV-Protected High-Density Polyethylene. Stable Flat Bottom. Deep Hull Tracking Channels. Stability Chine Rails.

Multiple Footrest Positions for Different Size Riders. Adjustable Padded Seat Back and Seat Pad for Comfort.

Notable Features:

  • Front and Rear Shock Cord Straps.
  • Two Flush Mounted Fishing Rod Holders.
  • One Top Mount Fishing Rod Holder.
  • Two 6″ Storage Compartments in Rear and Center.
  • One Paddle Keeper with Shock Cords.
  • Front and Rear T-Handles for Easy Transport.
  • Durable High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Construction. 5-Year Limited Warranty.


  • Makes a great beginner kayak.
  • Tracks straight and stable.
  • Handles waves very well.
  • Lightweight and easy to handle.

Insider Advice

Fishing canoes and kayaks are a great way to explore areas that may not have been fished in a long time.

While canoes offer many of the same features kayaks do, fishing kayak options far outweigh the options offered by canoes.

Stability is a big factor along with the ability to add many more options. One of these is a trolling motor.

Neither the fishing canoe nor the fishing kayak can take the place of a boat. But they do allow you more opportunity than you would have with a larger boat.

Storage is another factor. Fishing canoes and fishing kayaks can be stored just about anywhere.

For a relatively low price, you can purchase a pulley system that allows you to store them in a garage loft.

Being durable and affordable, fishing kayaks and fishing canoes are a small investment. But they can make your next fishing trip more enjoyable and more productive. At the same time, with the very little it takes to maintain them, they can last many years.

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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