The 5 Best Kayaks for Fly Fishing – Reviewed & Tested By Professional Anglers
Fly fishing is probably one of the most peaceful and most rewarding types of fishing you can do.
Since fly fishing is getting more and more popular, anglers have utilized kayaks for this type of fishing given all the advantages that fishing from a kayak can provide you with.
A kayak can help you get closer to the fish and allow you to reach areas that a boat will not be able to go in the water. Kayaks are also stable, easy to transport, and they have much lower maintenance and cost
Kayaks come in different sizes with different features and there are some kayaks that are specifically designed for fishing. There are many things you will need to consider before choosing the best kayak for fly fishing.
To help you narrow down your options, here’s a compilation of some of the best fly-fishing kayaks along with a detailed review of the benefits and features each of these kayaks can offer you.
|Perception Pescador 12 Pro||High-Density Polyethylene||64 lbs.||375 lbs.||12′ X 31.25″|
|Old Town Predator MK||High-Density Polyethylene||117.5 lbs.||600 lbs.||13’2” X 36”|
|Intex Excursion Pro Kayak||3-Ply PVC||39.01 lbs.||400 lbs.||12’7″ X 3’1″|
|Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14||High-Density Polyethylene||148.5 lbs.||600 lbs.||13’8” X 38”|
|Sun Dolphin Journey 10||High-Density Polyethylene||44 lbs.||250 lbs.||10′ X 29.5″|
List of the Best Fly-Fishing Kayaks in 2021
1. Best Overall – Perception Pescador 12 Pro
The Perception Pescador 12 Pro kayak offers you the quality and performance level you need for fly fishing.
The kayak is constructed from rotomolded polyethylene, which makes it durable and UV resistant.
it comes with handles positioned on the bow and stern which makes it easy to transport as. It also has a replaceable skid plate on the bottom that allows you to drag the kayak to transport it without damaging the bottom.
It’s designed with a wide hull which increases its stability while the longer length enhances its speed.
It comes with adjustable foot braces instead of footwells to improve your leg position along with a lawn chair style ventilated seat with extra padding and 2-level seat adjustment to keep you cool and increase your comfort while fly fishing for hours.
The weight capacity of the kayak is 375 pounds. And it comes with multiple storage spaces including a deep tank well, a large dry hatch in the front of the kayak as well as bungee cords to secure your fly-fishing gear and.
It is suitable for fishing as it comes with built-in rod holders behind the seat and two gear tracks to install any additional fishing accessories. So, you’ll not need to drill any holes in the kayak.
Pros Vs cons
- It’s UV-resistant and durable
- It offers more speed and stability
- It’s has carrying handles for easy transportation
- It’s equipped with a comfortable ventilated seat
- It has a skid plate to protect the bottom from damage
- It comes with a built-in rod holder behind the seat
- It comes with extra storage space and dual gear tracks
- It doesn’t come with a paddle
This Perception Pescador 12 Pro kayak is the best option for you if you’re looking for a speedy fly-fishing kayak without sacrificing stability or comfort.
2. Second Runner – Old Town Predator MK
Old Town is the Predator MK kayak bridges the gap between traditional fishing kayaks and motorized boats.
The Old Town Predator MK Kayak is made from a high-density polyethylene material which increases its durability and resistance to heavy impact.
The tri-hull design and the non-slip Exo-Ridge padded deck make it very stable so you’ll be able to stand up while fishing. On top of this, the Element seating system provides extra support to ensure your comfort when fishing for a long time.
The kayak is powered by a Minn Kota motor manufactured from anodized zinc-coated metal. This motor doesn’t produce much noise and comes with multiple speed options.
It is also equipped with a foot-controlled rudder system to improve tracking and allows you a hands-free kayaking experience to focus on casting your rod with accuracy and landing the fish.
Its total weight is 117.5 pounds (including the motor) and it has a weight capacity of 600 pounds which allows you to carry all the fly-fishing gear you need.
It comes with multiple storage options including a tank well for storing a cooler or a gearbox as well as a large bow hatch with a sealed cover, a rectangular sealed hatch located under the seat, and multiple storage pockets designed for easy access to your tackle.
It also comes with multiple features that make it perfect for fly fishing including a built-in paddle rest, rod holders, and several removable mounting plates for installing additional accessories without needing to drill holes into the kayak.
Pros VS Cons
- It’s made from durable impact-resistant material.
- It has a foot-controlled rudder system to improve tracking.
- It provides excellent stability for fly casting
- It’s designed with a non-slip deck to allow you to stand up while fishing
- It’s equipped with a comfortable seating area an
- It’s powered by a Minn Kota motor with multiple speed options
- It has a very high weight capacity and comes with multiple secure storage options.
- It comes with built-in rod holders and accessory mounts
- It’s heavy in weight which makes it harder to transport
The Predator MK kayak is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a stable motorized kayak that’s suitable for fly fishing.
3. Best On a Budget – Intex Excursion Pro Kayak
The Excursion Pro inflatable kayak is one of the best budget-friendly kayaks. It comes with many features and accessories that make it perfect for fly fishing at an affordable price.
The Excursion Pro is made from a sturdy 3-ply PVC material which increases the durability of the kayak. The material also allows for high-pressure inflation which increases the kayak’s rigidity and makes it more stable.
It has 2 removable skegs to help you maintain your balance whether you’re fly fishing in deep or shallow waters. It’s equipped with 2 adjustable seats and 2 floor-mounted footrests to enhance your comfort levels when fishing for long hours.
The kayak is designed with 3 separate air chambers to increase safety. It also comes with spring-loaded valves and a high-output pump which facilitates the inflation and deflation process.
It’s light in weight and comes with a carrying bag to make transportation a lot easier. The weight capacity is 400 pounds and it comes with extra storage space in the bow and stern as well as stainless steel D-rings to secure your fly-fishing gear.
It comes with 2 collapsible aluminum paddles and a repair patch kit. It also comes with 2 built-in rod holders and a removable adjustable mounting bracket to install any additional fishing accessories such as a GPS or a fish finder.
Pros VS Cons
- It’s very durable and resistant to impact
- It comes 2 paddles, a pump, and a repair kit
- It’s equipped with 2 adjustable seats and 2 adjustable footrests
- It’s light and easy to transport
- It has a high load capacity and comes with multiple storage options
- It comes with 2 fishing rod holders and a mounting bracket
- It’s not the best for standing up while fishing
- The material of the carrying bag is not very durable
The Intex Excursion Pro Kayak is the perfect choice if you’re looking for an affordable fly-fishing kayak without compromising any features or accessories.
4. Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14
The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 kayak is definitely one of the best when it comes to high-end fishing kayaks. It offers many impressive features that satisfy the needs of all anglers.
The kayak is made from a high-density polyethylene material that increases its durability.
It’s equipped with a high-quality pedal drive system with ST Turbo Fins that provide excellent control when steering the kayak along with a retractable rudder system to improve tracking.
It can alternatively be powered with the Evolve electric motor that comes with a battery that lasts up to 8 hours and a charger.
It has a built-in adjustable Vantage seat with lumbar back support to maximize your comfort level and a non-slip deck to allow you more stability to fish while standing.
The weight capacity of the kayak is 600 pounds and it has many storage options for your gear including a large rectangular hatch with a tackle management system, horizontal storage for rods, a sealed bow hatch with a removable liner, and a large cargo area at the back with bungee tie-downs to increase security.
It also comes with a two-piece paddle, 2 built-in vertical rod holders, and multiple mounts to install any additional accessories.
Pros Vs Cons
- It’s made from a highly durable material
- It provides a stable non-slip platform for fishing while standing up
- It provides excellent maneuverability and tracking.
- It designed with a built-in pedal drive system and retractable rudders
- It’s compatible with a powerful electric motor
- It comes with a comfortable adjustable seat with back support
- It has a very high weight capacity and multiple storage options
- It comes with a paddle, fishing rod holders, and accessory mounts
- It’s very heavy in weight and can be difficult to transports
- The motor doesn’t come with the kayak and has to be purchased separately
The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler kayak is the perfect choice for professional fly anglers looking for a high-end kayak that combines stability, maneuverability, and speed.
5. Sun Dolphin Journey 10
The Journey 10 kayak from Sun Dolphin comes with many features that are specially designed to make your fishing experience much better.
The kayak is made from a high-density polyethylene material which makes it UV-resistant and durable.
The wide hull design provides more stability to be able to fish while standing while the lack of a cockpit allows for easy entry and gives you enough room for fly casting.
It comes with a padded seat, adjustable foot braces, and built-in protective thigh pads to maximize your comfort when fishing for long hours.
It’s light in weight and easy to carry as it has retractable carrying handles. It can carry 250 pounds and it comes with multiple storage compartments for your fishing gear.
What makes it ideal for fly fishing, is that it comes with a built-in swivel fishing rod holder, 2 flush mounts, and a portable accessory carrier that can be used as extra storage
Pros Vs Cons
- It’s made from durable and UV resistant materials
- It provides high stability for fishing while standing up
- It’s light in weight with handles for easy transport
- It’s equipped with a comfortable padded seat and protective thigh pads
- It comes with extra storage space
- It has a portable accessory carrier
- It has a fishing rod holder and 2 flush mounts
- It doesn’t move very fast
- It has a low weight capacity
The Sun Dolphin Journey 10 would be the option for you if you’re new to fly fishing and looking for a functional fishing kayak to get you started
How To Choose the Best Fly-Fishing Kayak?
There are several factors you need to consider before buying a fly-fishing kayak. Let’s break down these factors in detail:
Type of Kayaks
Kayaks are classified into types depending on their design each type comes with benefits and drawbacks
Sit-on-top kayaks are designed without a cockpit, which makes them ideal for fly fishing.
Some sit-on-top kayaks come with standing platforms so that you can stand up while fishing. They allow you more freedom for a wide range of motion when casting and reeling in fish.
They have enough space on deck to attach your fly-fishing gear and minimize the chances of your gear getting snagged.
They’re also good for beginners because they’re relatively safer, less prone to capsizing, and can be easily entered from the water.
Sit-inside kayaks, on the other hand, are typically designed with an enclosed cockpit.
The presence of the cockpit would provide you with more protection against the elements, however, it would limit the range of motion you would need for casting and reeling in fish.
You can check this full comparison of sit-on-top vs sit-in Kayaks here, it can be greatly helpful to choose which is best for you.
The material used to manufacture the kayak directly affects its durability. You need to choose a kayak made from high-quality materials to ensure the kayak won’t get damaged easily or wear out with prolonged use.
Kayaks made from plastic materials are usually more durable but heavier in weight while kayaks made from composite materials such as Kevlar, carbon fiber, and fiberglass are a lot lighter in weight but they’re also more expensive.
Stability and Maneuverability
Fly fishing requires lots of moving around to catch the fish, you might also need to stand up while fishing for better casting accuracy. So, you need to choose a kayak that offers you a good amount of stability and balance.
The stability of the kayak is affected by its width. Wider kayaks have a higher center of gravity, which means they have a high degree of primary stability.
The maneuverability of the kayak is also a very important factor to consider. You need to choose a fly-fishing kayak that would allow you to move smoothly in the water especially in rough conditions.
Storage and Weight Capacity
Fly fishing different types of gear such as fishing lines, rods, flies, and more. So, you need to choose a kayak with enough storage space for all the gear you need.
The storage space should be easy to access and include at least one dry storage option for storing your phone, keys, and any fishing equipment that is sensitive to water. It should also come with a bungee cord system for easily storing items like backpacks or dry bags.
You also need to consider how much weight your kayak can carry. The weight capacity of your fly-fishing kayak should at least be 100 pounds more than your weight and the weight of your gear combined to avoid overloading your kayak.
The kayak’s performance mainly comes down to its speed and tracking. Both of them are directly affected by the kayak’s length and width.
Shorter and wider kayaks are better stability and tracking or you can go for a longer and narrower kayak if you prioritize speed. You can learn why longer kayaks are faster here and how you can make your kayak’s track straight here.
Accessories And Comfort
You’re likely to spend a long time in your kayak while fishing, so you need to choose a kayak that would provide you with the best comfort.
You need to choose a kayak with a sufficiently padded and adjustable seat with a solid backrest to reduce back pains when paddling for a long time
Having a place to securely store your fly rod is also critical, so you might want to go for a kayak with built-in rod holders.
Some kayaks come with other features that enhance your comfort levels such as standing platforms, accessory mounts, drink holders, footrests, and pedal systems.
It’s recommended to set your budget and determine what features are your priority before shopping for a fly-fishing kayak in order to find the kayak that effectively suits your needs and offers you the best value for your money.
The cost of any kayak mainly depends on factors like the quality of its construction, the materials, size, weight capacity, storage space, and any additional accessories.
If you are just getting into Kayaking, you can start with a good and cheap kayak at first to get the needed experience and find out what you really like. You can check out the best cheap kayaks here, these still provide excellent kayaking experience and are a great value for the money.
Everything You Need to Know about Fly Fishing
What Is Fly Fishing?
Fly Fishing is a popular fishing technique that basically involves presenting the bait to the fish as if a bug or an invertebrate has landed on top of the water or slightly under the water surface.
You can catch many species using the fly-fishing technique such as salmon, trout, panfish, carp, tarpon, bonefish, and striped bass.
When learning how to fly fish, you first need to know the kind of gear you need which includes a fly rod, reel, a weighted line, and some artificial flies. I have a guide for the best fly fishing lines here that you should definitely check out.
You also need to know basic fly-tying techniques like how to combine thread, wire, beads, feathers, yarn, and hair to create artificial insects and bait.
What Is the Benefit of Fly Fishing from a Kayak?
There are many benefits that fly fishing from a kayak can offer you:
- Kayaks offer you the stability you need to be able to cast a fly rod and make it easier to stand up while fishing.
- Kayaks are excellent when it comes to stealth. They allow you to get close to the fish because they do not produce much noise.
- Kayaks are very maneuverable. They allow you to access tight areas that bigger boats can’t reach or navigate.
- Kayaks are small and light which makes them easier to transport.
- Kayaks can be specifically designed to ensure your comfort when fly fishing for hours and they come with accessories and storage areas for your fly-fishing gear.
- Kayaks are more affordable and are easier to maintain.
Pro Tips for Fly Fishing from A kayak
Fly fishing from a kayak is not difficult to master, but it can be a challenge for a beginner.
Here are some tips you can follow to improve your fly-fishing skills:
- Choose a fly-fishing-friendly kayak with a stable standing platform and fly rod-specific rod holders.
- Improve your paddling technique and learn how to paddle while standing up.
- Make sure the deck of your kayak is clear so your line wouldn’t get caught or snagged on anything when you’re casting.
- Anchor your kayak to maintain your position while fishing in strong currents or heavy winds.
- Keep your rod angled out and your backcasts long and high if your location allows it.
- Practice changing lures quickly as you need to be efficient with one-handed casting and paddling
- Go for lightweight fly lures instead of heavier lures or natural baits.
- Avoid making a lot of noise and try not to knock your paddle or rod against the kayak or the water’s surface because any loud noise or banging on the kayak’s deck or sides can scare the fish away.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do You Need an Anchor for Kayak Fly Fishing?
Yes, you need an anchor for kayak fly fishing, especially if you’re fishing on moving waters. An anchor will help maintain your position and reduce noise to prevent scaring the fish. It will also help you avoid having the kayak blown back to shore while you’re casting. It’s recommended to use collapsible anchors that weigh between 1-3 pounds when flying fishing from a kayak.
How To Improve Your Kayak’s Tracking?
In order to improve your kayak’s tracking, you need to practice paddling techniques and maintain a good body posture. You also need to make sure your kayak is in a good condition and take into consideration external factors such as wind and current conditions that can affect your kayak’s ability to track straight.