TOP 14 Best Ocean Fishing Kayaks Reviewed 2020 for Open Water Adventures
Do you enjoy visiting the ocean? Do you enjoy kayaking? Do you like fishing?
If you’ve answered yes to all of these questions – then you’re in the right place.
Ocean kayak fishing is one of the most challenging but rewarding variations of the activity you can possibly do.
You want to be able to experience all that nature has to offer while being safe and conscious of your surroundings.
With the peace of mind that enables you to land that awesome catch.
So, you need to make sure you’ve got all the right gear to do it – which is why today I’m focussing on finding the best ocean fishing kayak of 2020.
Check out my reviews below and decide for yourself which is the top kayak.
A buyer’s guide and FAQ section will follow.
- TOP 14 Best Ocean Fishing Kayaks Reviewed 2020
- Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak
- Third Coast Avalon 120 Sit-On Angler Kayak
- SunDolphin Boss SS Sit-On-Top Angler Kayak
- Perception Pescador Pro Sit-On-Top Kayak for Fishing
- Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 Angler Kayak
- Brooklyn Kayak Company Tandem Fishing Kayak
- Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler Kayak
- Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost Fishing Kayak
- Ocean Kayak Trident 15 Angler Kayak
- Brooklyn Kayak Company Single Propeller Fishing Kayak
- Wilderness Systems Radar 135 Fishing Kayak
- Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Predator Pedal Fishing Kayak
- Hobie Mirage Compass Sit-On-Top Pedal Kayak
- Hobie Mirage Pro Angler Kayak
- What to Look for in the Best Ocean Fishing Kayak
TOP 14 Best Ocean Fishing Kayaks Reviewed 2020
Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak
Review: The Lifetime Tamarack Angler is a quality kayak that regularly graces cheap fishing kayak reviews. It’s an entry-level craft – as you’ll quickly become aware of regarding the pricing.
This version is 10ft in length, with a super-stable flat bottom, UV-protected high-density polyethylene hull, and a sharp bow and skeg for improved tracking in the water – always useful in choppy conditions.
It has two storage hatches, multiple footrests, bow, and stern bungee cords, two flush mounted fishing pole holders and one top-mounted holder.
Its weight capacity is 275 lbs.
- Amazing price for what you get.
- Loads of great features.
- Solid, impact-resistant build.
- Not as comfortable as more pricey models.
Third Coast Avalon 120 Sit-On Angler Kayak
Review: Offering an adjustable seat with pull straps and a de-lux seat back, this angling kayak from Third Coast is also packed with features for an affordable price.
It offers two 9 inch round clamshell hatches with removable bags, as well as spacious storage well with a bungee cord to the rear.
There are ditty trays to keep tackle or gear to hand, and an adjustable foot brace system for users of any height.
Two top-mounted rod holders and a flush-mounted holder complete the package.
- Great price.
- Attractive and practical design.
- Excellent storage options.
- Perhaps not advisable in stormier conditions.
SunDolphin Boss SS Sit-On-Top Angler Kayak
They can also turn their hands to fishing kayaks, though, and this super stable Boss model has a catamaran-style hull that’s just right for anglers.
The bow and stern storage well are very generous with bungee cord protection, and the craft offers non-slip pads and stand-up strap to help you with a standing cast.
All the usual fishing kayak features are here and it will take a maximum weight of 500 lbs. Plenty of wiggle room for you, your gear and maybe even your dog.
- Well-constructed and designed.
- Excellent storage options.
- Walk on deck.
- Great price for a top name.
- Again, take care on choppier waters.
Perception Pescador Pro Sit-On-Top Kayak for Fishing
Review: Perception handcrafts their kayaks in the USA and are a top quality name in the market.
The Pescador is a well-built craft with added buoyancy in solid, one-piece construction.
Featuring two-level seat adjustment with mesh for added breathability, large bow and stern storage wells with shock cords, and integrated accessory rails for fish finders, rod holders and other accessories.
Ideal for calmer coastal waters, the Pescador is a versatile kayak with an excellent balance of performance, stability, and comfort.
- Stable, solid construction.
- Name you can trust.
- Choice of colors.
- No storage hatches.
Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 Angler Kayak
Review: Although it claims that this is a fishing kayak, it isn’t strictly designed as one.
The reason I’ve included it because it’s a super-stable craft that you can easily adapt with fishing pole holders and other accessories.
It has large tank wells and water-tight storage compartments, as well as offering a very comfortable seating system so you can stay out on the water longer.
It’s a Wilderness Systems kayak for an excellent price that offers trademark stability. Considering WS also have fishing kayaks for double the price – this is not a bad investment at all if you feel like a fun project.
- Very stable and comfortable.
- Loads of storage.
- Cool choice of funky colors.
- Technically not a fishing kayak.
Brooklyn Kayak Company Tandem Fishing Kayak
Review: The first of our BKC entries see this very affordable tandem fishing kayak which is really well designed and packed with practical features.
There are no less than seven rod-holders – three articulated and four flush-mounted.
Perfect for increasing your chances of a bite.
There are two, waterproof storage hatches in easy reach of each paddler, extra storage well with shock cord to the rear, all while offers a 440 lbs load capacity for you, a partner and all your kit.
Not only that, but two 86-inch aluminum paddles are also included and there’s an option for adding a trolling motor.
Possibly the best tandem kayak for ocean fishing out there.
- Excellent value for money.
- Quality make and construction.
- Loads of features.
- Paddles included.
- Great choice of colors.
- Sits a little too low in the water for choppier conditions.
Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler Kayak
Review: As the name suggests, Ocean Kayak are world leaders when it comes to sit-on-top kayaks that are suitable for choppier, more challenging waters.
They’re a super-stable craft that can take a bit of a beating and their Prowler model is an excellent example of that.
Designed to handle rough waters, it has a weight capacity of 325 lbs, a click-seal front storage hatch, a tank well to the rear with shock cord, and two flush-mounted rod holders. You’re unlikely to get a better ocean fishing kayak for under $1000.
- Top-quality construction.
- Loads of storage and extra features.
- Scupper holes under the seat – might need some extra waterproofing.
- Center hatch should really have been watertight.
Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost Fishing Kayak
Review: Based out of Georgia since 2013, Vibe kayaks are making up ground on the big-boys-on-the-block.
Their Sea Ghost model offering a nice balance of speed and stability across its 13 ft frame.
It includes two flush-mount rod holders and four integrated gear tracks for customized rigging, a toe controlled rudder system for tougher conditions and a watertight dual-hinged console with cargo bags and magnetic tackle tray.
Ten scupper holes and plugs are also included and the kayak has a maximum weight capacity of 550 lbs.
- Everything about this kayak is quality.
- A ridiculous amount of features.
- Choice of colors.
- Slip-resistant decking.
- Super-comfortable “Hero” seat.
- Let me know in the comments if you can find one!
Ocean Kayak Trident 15 Angler Kayak
Review: Ocean Kayak produce their flagship fishing kayak with the Trident model, designed for rougher swells with its solid, 15-foot hull.
It has a super-comfortable seat for long days on the water, two flush-mounted rod holders, gunnel accessory tracks, an oversized tank well with bungee cord and cooler option.
Its redesigned Mod Pod II offers loads of options for accessories, while the kayak will take a maximum weight capacity of 455 lbs.
Fast, stable and reliable, the Trident is one of the best kayaks for offshore fishing on the market.
- Excellent performance.
- Loads of features and storage options.
- Solid build.
- Choice of colors would have been nice.
Brooklyn Kayak Company Single Propeller Fishing Kayak
Review: BKC comes back with this propeller-driven, pedal kayak that is excellent for use in rough water, or if you just need to have some extra speed and control through the swell.
Featuring ergonomic seating with an aluminum frame, you can stay out there for longer with this kayak.
It offers loads of storage, and with the ability to add a trolling motor, you can legitimately travel for serious distances in this machine. Flush mounted fishing pole holders and plenty of extra features are also packed into this beautifully made fishing kayak.
No matter the conditions, this craft will keep you on course to land a cracker.
- Excellent design.
- Pedal and rudder system.
- Super-comfortable seat design.
- Loads of storage.
- Choice of colors.
- Don’t rely too much on the pedals.
Wilderness Systems Radar 135 Fishing Kayak
Review: The Radar 135 is a top-of-the-line model from Wilderness Systems, a beautiful fishing kayak that offers pedal, power and paddle options.
It combines “S.M.A.R.T” technology – Stability, Maneuverability, Acceleration, Responsiveness and Tracking.
Suitable for a variety of water environments, it has a flat bottom offering the ability to stand, midship and bow storage compartments, stern storage well with shock cord webbing, and front mounting surface and console for accessories. It has a maximum weight capacity of 450 lbs.
- Sturdy, solid build.
- Versatile – tri-power options.
- Excellent performance/stability/comfort ratio.
- Pedal power and other accessories not included – and they’re expensive.
Old Town Canoes & Kayaks Predator Pedal Fishing Kayak
Review: Old Town has been making kayaks since before many of these companies were a glint in the eye. This is their Predator model, which is every bit as badass as the name suggests.
It’s a 13 ft kayak with a 500 lbs weight capacity that is jam-packed with features, including a QuickSeal hatch, six accessory plates, internal battery case and built-in transducer scupper, non-slip EVA foam deck, and one forward-facing and two rear-facing flush mount rod holders.
The easy-to-install, award-winning pedal drive will be up and running in no time as you leave shallower waters. This is one sexy mother f…ishing kayak.
- Tried and trusted name.
- Beautiful design.
- Solid, quality construction.
- Loads of features.
- Award-winning pedals.
- Not ideal for larger users with a high seating position.
Hobie Mirage Compass Sit-On-Top Pedal Kayak
Review: Pro anglers do say that if you’re going to take up this sport/activity/pastime/hobby then you should just get yourself a Hobie and be done with it.
The problem is – you tend to have to pay through your nose for it.
First of our two entries from this Californian company has their MirageDrive pedal system with “Glide Technology,” a super-comfortable, breathable seat that is mounted just at the right height for fishing, an easy-grip rudder handle, spring-loaded rudder, and H-Track accessory mounts for pimping out your kayak how you like it.
It’s hard to find a fault here.
- Top quality company.
- Outstanding build quality.
- Versatile options.
Hobie Mirage Pro Angler Kayak
Review: Packing the powerful Mirage Drive 180 with Turbo Fins and a retractable rudder system, the Hobie Mirage Pro is just about as good as it gets for kayak anglers. It’s built like a tank, rugged, durable and packed with features.
The incredible seating position provides the best vantage point for fishing, with outstanding support to keep you on the water all day long – and even longer if need be.
There are more accessory mounting options than you can shake a fishing rod at, and its 12-foot hull will hold a maximum 500 lbs weight capacity.
This is the best kayak for saltwater fishing that money can buy. And money is what you’ll need to buy it!
- It’s a flagship Hobie – I need not say more.
- Ridiculously expensive.
What to Look for in the Best Ocean Fishing Kayak
With so many features and options available for ocean fishing kayaks, it can be hard to know where to start.
Check out my guide and FAQ section below to help you out.
With one or two exceptions, almost every fishing kayak is going to be of the sit-on-top variety.
This is especially true of kayaks designed for use in the sea or ocean – you need to have the improved stability that you simply wouldn’t get with a sit-in kayak.
You’re far more likely to roll a sit-in kayak as you’re trying to land a big catch than you would with a sit-on-top kayak.
However, there are further things to consider still that doesn’t make things are black and white as that.
Hull Shape and Size
Kayaks that are built for use in the ocean generally tend to be narrower than other recreational kayaks – this is so they can deal with waves and currents and adapt to choppy swells.
Of course, this isn’t that ideal when it comes to having the stability to land a fish, so kayak companies have had to come up with hybrid models that are capable of doing both.
The length and shape of the hull will play a part in your kayak’s performance when you’re out on an ocean fishing trip.
Your choice is likely to come down to what type of water you’re going to be encountering.
For quiet lakes and wide, slow-moving rivers, a fishing kayak’s hull will be rounder and wider, with a larger cockpit.
For water that is a little more tempestuous, a kayak’s hull will sport a V-shaped design to enable it to deal with choppy waves.
Of course, you can experience any type of water in any location if the conditions are right – so just consider where and what you’re going to be using the kayak for before making your final decision.
But try to make sure your ocean fishing kayak is at least 15 feet long. It’ll make those waves seem a lot less daunting.
Most kayaks that are designed for fishing – in the ocean or otherwise – will have built-in features that will make your experience more enjoyable.
These will often include fishing rod holders – either flush on the side of the kayak for storing your poles or top-mounted so you can rest them with a line in the water.
The best fishing kayaks will offer both.
Added to this, good fishing kayaks will offer the option of adding more features and accessories to your craft – such as electronic kayak-friendly fish finders, GPS devices or extra rod hardware.
Keep an eye out to see if your chosen model has all the extra fishing features you will need.
You’re going to need somewhere to put your catch – unless you’re returning it to the sea that is.
Fishing kayaks are usually excellent when it comes to the amount of storage they offer – because any fisherperson is likely to need a lot of space for tackle and gear.
Not to mention where to store the fish should you have a particularly lucky day.
Aside from that, if you’re looking to be out on the water for any length of time, you should have the food and drink supplies to see you through.
Look for ocean fishing kayaks with storage in the bow and stern – watertight containers are the best.
Kayaks with large tank wells and shock cord rigging are very useful for packing a cooler or two.
Check to see if there are midship storage options – such as watertight consoles for electronics or important papers you can’t get soaked.
Again, a good fishing kayak will offer plenty of space for your gear so you can stay organized and concentrate on reeling in a fat one.
You might notice as you work your way through the review that the top-end ocean fishing kayaks have additional power options.
This most likely comes in the form of pedals located in the midship section for added control, speed and freedom across the water.
Having pedals greatly increases your ability to track fish while at the same time keeping your hands free to use rods and any other equipment.
It also can help you escape a dangerous situation if one should arise.
And you won’t be nearly as tired in your arms at the end of the day as you would be using paddles alone.
Some fishing kayaks will also offer the option to add a trolling motor – for an even more leisurely fishing trip.
As well as having additional power options, any ocean kayak worth its salt will be equipped with a rudder.
This makes it easier for you to keep a steady tracking line through choppier waves.
Alas, you’re going to pay a lot more for this privilege. In cheaper models the most you can hope for it a good skeg.
But a skeg to assist tracking is far better than nothing at all.
Either way, for choppy water – or if you’re planning on traveling long distances – a rudder is a very good addition to your craft.
Cockpit and Seating
It might go without saying that it’s important to be comfortable when you’re out in a fishing kayak.
But there is a vast gulf in the quality and condition of cockpit and cockpit seating.
Some manufacturers go out of their way to ensure this is their kayak’s best feature – sometimes at the expense of other parts.
And some budget models – while being perfectly usable for a short time – will make you wish you could have a bum transplant if you’re fishing for a full day.
Also, consider how wide a cockpit is compared to how large you are. It’s nice to be able to enter and exit with comfort and some form of dignity intact.
A cockpit shouldn’t restrict your movements in any way, so make sure you are free to move around and have the option of standing if that is a feature you would prefer.
There’s definitely a balance to be had here – but happy mediums are available if you take care in looking for them.
Take another look at the prices of the kayaks above.
From the budget Lifetime kayak to the high-end Hobie, the price difference is astounding.
Of course, it’s entirely up to you how much you want to spend – but I always recommend to do so within your means.
And not only that, do so within your skill level.
Purchasing a $3K + ocean fishing kayak is a silly idea if you’ve never experienced the activity in your life.
But, who am I to judge?
Do what you will!
How Do You Anchor a Kayak in the Ocean?
Now that is a very good question – and it’s one that I cannot answer. At least with any real authority anyway or without risking a lawsuit.
However, in the interests of finding out, I stumbled upon this outstandingly informative video below.
If you want to learn how to anchor your kayak at sea (not just useful for fisherpeople) then this is all you’ll need.
Check it out:
Are Sit-On-Top Kayaks Good for the Ocean?
As previously mentioned, ocean kayaks and fishing kayaks are generally two completely different things.
But for an ocean fishing kayak, they need to be something of a hybrid.
In this case, sit-on-top kayaks are the best for ocean kayak fishing – providing you’re not out in particularly rough conditions.
Either way, whatever kind of kayaking you’re doing in whatever kind of kayak, you’re going to need a Personal Floatation Device for your safety and peace of mind. So, take a look at that link to find some of the best ones available.
What Size of Kayak Should I Use for Ocean Fishing?
You’re looking to pick up a kayak that’s long and wide.
It needs to be stable so you don’t roll it when trying to land a fish, so a wider, flatter bottom is preferable.
At the same time, it should really be somewhere between 15-20 feet in length. Longer kayaks – like ocean touring kayaks – are built that way to cut through waves easily.
Of course, this isn’t a hard and fast rule – shorter fishing kayaks are perfectly suitable – it’s just a nice guideline to aim for if you can.
Where Can I Store My Catch?
Are you putting it back or taking it home for the grill?
If it’s the latter, you’ll need to pick yourself up a cooler – and a fishing kayak that will be able to carry it.
Most fishing kayaks have excellent storage options – including a rear tank well that will take a cooler.
Remember to also check the maximum weight capacity of the kayak – so it can take you, all your gear and the monster fish you’re planning to catch.
Ocean Kayak or River Kayak?
Again, ocean kayaks are generally longer, sleeker with the ability to cut through choppier waves.
River kayaks are likely shorter and wider – often known as a recreational kayak. They are far more maneuverable than their sea kayak counterparts.
Generally speaking, you can use an ocean kayak in rivers and lakes, but you can’t use a river kayak in the ocean.
Can I Buy a Cheap Ocean Fishing Kayak?
Of course, you can! You don’t have to spend crazy amounts of money to own an effective, quality ocean fishing kayak.
Just make sure you do your research well and you know the limits and capabilities of what you’re purchasing.
Do I Need Pedals on an Ocean Fishing Kayak?
It’s not essential to have pedals on an ocean fishing kayak – but it might be a really good idea.
Pedals will give you more control in the water, help you in tougher conditions, give you that extra bit of speed for chasing the fish or leaving a potentially dangerous situation and save you a great deal of energy and effort from your arms.
They’re also a great deal of fun for recreational kayaking.
The problem is, you’re going to pay much more for this technology for the privilege.
It’s entirely up to you if you think you’ll need or benefit from it. If you’re undecided, going for a kayak that has the option to add pedals at a later date might be a good investment.
We’ve successfully paddled our way through the choppy waters of the best ocean fishing kayaks in 2020.
I hope you’re a little closer to understanding the market and that you’ll find the right product for you.
Let me know in the comments any of your thoughts or observations – or which kayak you’d most like to purchase and why.
And good luck out there in landing that prize catch!