Sea Kayaks Vs. Fishing Kayaks: 3 Key Differences That Matter

Kayaking is a popular water sport that has been enjoyed for centuries, and today, there are many different types of kayaks designed for various purposes. 

Whether you’re looking to explore calm waters or brave rough ocean conditions, there is a kayak out there that is perfectly suited for your needs. 

Two of the most popular types of kayaks are sea kayaks and fishing kayaks. While they may look similar at first glance, there are some key differences between the two that make them better suited for different activities.

So, here’s a quick overview of sea kayaks vs. fishing kayaks:

Sea KayaksFishing Kayaks
Sea kayaks are typically longer and narrower with a more streamlined shape.Fishing kayaks are wider and shorter with a flatter bottom.
Sea kayaks are faster and more maneuverable than fishing kayaks.Fishing kayaks are more stable than sea kayaks.
Sea kayaks have sufficient storage space, but they may not be able to carry as much gear as fishing kayaks.Fishing kayaks are designed to carry a lot of gear and equipment. They are also equipped with additional features, such as fishing rod holders and built-in coolers.

Keep reading to learn more about the differences between the two kayaks in more detail in order to determine which one is better for you.

The Differences Between Sea Kayaks and Fishing Kayaks

a photo of a fishing kayak to show the differences between sea kayaks vs. fishing kayaks

Sea kayaks and fishing kayaks are two distinct types of kayaks that are designed for different purposes.

While they may look similar at first glance, several key differences between the two make them better suited for their respective activities.

So, let’s break down these differences in more detail:

Design and Construction

One of the primary differences between sea kayaks and fishing kayaks is their design and construction. 

Sea kayaks are typically longer and narrower than fishing kayaks, with a more streamlined shape that allows them to easily cut through the water.

They are designed for use in the ocean, so they’re fast and efficient, making them ideal for long-distance trips and exploring open waters.

On the other hand, fishing kayaks are generally wider and shorter than sea kayaks, with a flatter bottom and a more stable design.

They are often equipped with additional features such as fishing rod holders, storage compartments, and built-in coolers, which make them ideal for anglers who want to fish from their kayak.


Another major difference between sea kayaks and fishing kayaks is their stability. 

Sea kayaks are designed to be fast and maneuverable and are also less stable than fishing kayaks. However, that doesn’t mean they’re not stable at all; they require a higher degree of skill to paddle and may be less comfortable for beginners or inexperienced kayakers. You can learn more about how stable sea kayaks are here.

On the other hand, fishing kayaks are typically much more stable than sea kayaks, making them ideal for anglers who want to fish from their kayak. The wider design and flatter bottom provide a more stable platform, allowing anglers to move around and cast their lines more easily.

Storage and Gear Capacity

Finally, sea kayaks and fishing kayaks differ in their storage and gear capacity. 

Sea kayaks are typically designed to be lightweight and streamlined, which means that they have limited storage space and may not be able to carry as much gear as fishing kayaks.

On the other hand, fishing kayaks are designed to carry a lot of gear and equipment.

They often have built-in storage compartments and coolers, which allow anglers to carry bait, tackle, and other essential gear with them on their trip, making them ideal for anglers who want to spend a day on the water fishing without having to worry about running out of supplies.

Understanding these differences can help you choose the right kayak for your next adventure on the water.

If you’re interested in learning more about the difference between other types of kayaks, you can check out my guide on the difference between touring kayaks and sea kayaks here.

Can You Use A Fishing Kayak in the Sea?

You can use a fishing kayak in the sea, but it’s important to choose the right type of fishing kayak and to take appropriate safety precautions.

Fishing kayaks that are specifically designed for use in the sea are commonly referred to as “sea fishing kayaks” or “ocean fishing kayaks.” These kayaks are typically larger and more stable than traditional fishing kayaks, with a longer and wider hull that can handle the challenges of open water.

My top pick for an ocean fishing kayak is this Ocean Kayak Prowler 13. You can also check out the rest of my recommendations for the best ocean fishing kayaks here.

In addition, it’s important to consider the type of fishing you’ll be doing in the sea, as different types of fishing require different equipment and techniques.

Can You Use A Sea Kayak for Fishing?

While sea kayaks may not be specifically designed for fishing, they can still be used for this purpose with some modifications. 

Some sea kayaks may have built-in features like storage compartments and bungee cords that can be used to secure fishing gear, while others may require aftermarket modifications like rod holders and additional storage options.

However, it’s important to note that sea kayaks may not be the most stable option for fishing, especially if you plan on standing up or casting while on the water. Additionally, the limited space and storage options of sea kayaks may make carrying all the necessary fishing gear and equipment difficult, especially for longer fishing trips.

If you’re planning to fish from a sea kayak, here are some quick tips to help you make the most of your experience. You can also check out my guide on how to set up your kayak for fishing for more detailed information.

Quick Tips for Fishing from Sea Kayak

  1. Make sure you check the weather forecast before heading out on the water. Sea conditions can change quickly, so it’s important to be prepared.
  2. Wear a personal flotation device (PFD) at all times while on the water.
  3. Be realistic about your skill level and experience. Don’t push yourself too hard, and avoid taking risks that could put you in danger.
  4. Bring along all the necessary fishing gear, including a tackle box, fishing rod and reel, bait, and a cooler for storing your catch.
  5. Use a kayak anchor to help you stay in one place while fishing and prevent the wind and current from pushing you off course.
  6. Keep an eye out for other boats and give them plenty of space.
  7. Be aware of fishing regulations and laws in your area, and make sure you have the appropriate licenses and permits.
  8. Bring plenty of water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized during your trip.

Sea Kayaks Vs. Fishing Kayaks: Which Is Better?

In order to decide which type of kayak is better, you need to consider what type of kayaking you plan to do, as well as the types of water and environments you’ll be exploring. 

If you plan on primarily fishing and want a more stable and spacious kayak designed specifically for this purpose, a fishing kayak may be a better option. However, a sea kayak may be a better fit if you enjoy exploring and touring open-water environments and want a faster, more efficient kayak.

Moreover, if you already own a sea kayak and want to try fishing with the right modifications and safety precautions, it can certainly be done.

Ultimately, the decision between a sea kayak and a fishing kayak comes down to your specific needs and preferences. You can try out both types of kayaks, if possible, to get a feel for their differences and choose the one that best fits your needs.

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