Kayak fishing allows you to uncover hidden nooks and crannies of the most under-fished areas.
But it doesn’t come without its own set challenges, too:
Transporting a kayak to the shore along with all the fishing equipment can be a real nuisance. And should I even talk about how challenging it is to figure out a good place to store your ‘yak?
Luckily, kayak fishing is no longer reserved for paddlers who have the luxury of a spacious garage or backyard.
Inflatable kayaks can make all the difference and break down the barriers of owning a hardshell kayak.
I took it upon myself to analyze some of the most popular inflatable kayaks designed for fishing to help you find the best inflatable fishing kayak for your needs. Shall we begin?
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In A Rush? The Winner After 37 Hours Of Research:
Sea Eagle 385 FastTrack Angler Inflatable Fishing Boat
Why is it better?
- Designed to fuse stability and maneuverability for a safe kayak fishing experience
- High-quality, rugged construction that prevents any leakage or abrasion
- Enables you to bring along all of your fishing equipment and accessories, with the rod, lure, and hook holders and dedicated bungee rope laced storage
- Two open and close drain valves make inflation and deflation easy and fast
- The large skeg improves speed and helps gliding through the water
- Non-slip EVA foam padding on the rigged floor to allow for stand-up fishing
- A nylon carry bag and a repair kit are included in the purchase
- Well-positioned ergonomic carry handles for transportation
Are Inflatable Kayaks Good For Fishing? Solving the Dilemma
A quick answer is: Yes, inflatable kayaks are just as good for fishing as hard-shell kayaks.
Still, to dispel all of your doubts and assure you that inflatable kayaks are safe, I need to dive into the matter much deeper.
I mean, I totally get where you’re coming from:
The Titanic scenario (with the theme song and holding hands on the wood board scene) doesn’t seem fun.
Thankfully, the odds of that happening are slim to none. Inflatable kayaks have more than one air chamber, so even in the unfortunate event where you get a puncture and one chamber completely deflates, you will still not sink.
The heavy-duty materials used in inflatable kayaks nowadays hold up really well against tears and punctures. On top of that, the fabrics are often multilayered and reinforced for additional safety.
This is not to say that inflatable kayaks are invincible, of course. You should always have a patch kit with you – you know, just in case. But when you combine the special multi-chamber construction and the quality materials, any significant damage is highly unlikely.
Another concern that may arise is stability.
Well, I have some good news for you – Inflatable kayaks are actually more stable than hardshell kayaks! Due to their flat bottoms and greater width, they are incredibly buoyant and difficult to capsize.
Alright, now that we’ve got that out of the way:
Is there enough space for my fishing accessories in an inflatable kayak?
Well, just like with any other kind of kayak, not every inflatable kayak is made for fishing. Inflatable kayaks for fishing are specially designed to meet the needs of fishermen.
What I mean is, they come with a range of fishing-friendly features, such as in-built rod holders and designated storage space for fishing accessories or your cooler.
Choosing The Best Inflatable Kayak For Fishing: Factors To Consider
Now, the million-dollar question:
What features will you need in an inflatable fishing kayak?
I’ve pulled together the most important things to keep in mind to find the best inflatable kayak for fishing.
A Closer Look at the Construction Materials of an Inflatable Fishing Kayak
One of the primary decisions you’ll have to make is the construction material.
And it goes without saying that you want an inflatable kayak made from puncture-resistant, heavy-duty material. But which one is the best?
Let’s move on to the top three most commonly used materials for inflatable fishing kayaks.
I’ll lay out their characteristics so that you can weigh up the pros and cons and pick the winner for you.
- PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) – This material is best described by an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. It is also the most economical material out of the three. When built right, an inflatable fishing ‘yak made from PVC will last you for a long time, and it’s an excellent value for the money. However, it can degrade when exposed to intense sunlight, and it’s also not too enthusiastic about certain chemicals and gasoline. That’s the reason why manufacturers reinforce PVC with UV-protectants to extend its lifespan.
- Nitrylon – Sturdier than PVC, Nitrylon – a material made from Nitrile Rubber and Polyester fiber – is resistant against more elements and thus a viable option for extreme weather climates. However, the added strength also reflects the weight, as these inflatable fishing kayaks tend to weigh up to 15% more than the PVC ones.
- Hypalon – When I say that Hypalon is used by the U.S. Coast Guard and military, it paints a clear picture of what to expect. In other words, this material scores the highest in terms of durability and puncture resistance. The negatives? It comes with the highest price tag out of the three. So, if you want the ultimate, virtually indestructible build and have some big bucks to spend, you should consider an inflatable yak made from Hypalon.
A Word About The Weight & Seat Capacity
Inflated kayaks will have their respective rated weight and seat capacity.
Generally speaking, single and tandem inflatable kayaks for fishing are the main two types, but a 3-person kayak is not a rarity either.
It might seem simple. Yes, the main question is:
Do you prefer fishing solo, or will you be taking a fishing buddy along for the ride?
But make no mistake:
A kayak’s seat capacity is no guarantee for its weight capacity.
Even if a vessel is marked as a 2-person kayak, it doesn’t automatically mean it’ll come with the necessary weight capacity for you, another grown person, and all of your fishing accessories.
Hence – and I cannot emphasize this enough – you always have to check the weight capacity of the model you’re planning to get, no matter how many people it claims to be able to support.
Oh, and while at it, the rule of the thumb is:
Limit the weight of passengers and everything else onboard to 90% of the rated capacity. You’ll thank me later.
What adds the attribute “fishing” to an inflatable kayak are its fishing-specific characteristics. Naturally, not all kayaks will be equally supplied with these.
So, which fishing-friendly features should you look for in a perfect kayak?
There are some essentials, so to speak, that you’ll want to tick off the list:
- Enough integrated fishing rod holders for you and your partner
- Dedicated storage space for the cooler.
- A carry bag is also the norm with inflatable kayaks.
- A pump is a welcome addition, but not all manufacturers choose to include it.
Next, nice little extras include mounting spots for a fish finder, GPS, and similar gadgets that add to your fishing experience. Many kayaks come with paddles, too. To be fair, most of the time they aren’t prime quality, but they are good enough to get you started or used as a spare pair.
Now, pro anglers are probably wondering: Can I put a trolling motor on my inflatable kayak?
Yes, the answer is that you can propel your inflatable fishing ‘yak as long as it has a trolling motor mount.
Another compelling option for the advanced fishermen out there is the drop-stitch floor. It increases the rigidity of the inflatable floor, making it a suitable fishing platform and allowing anglers to stand and fish.
Ultimately, the answer to which of these fishing features you’ll need is the oh-so-annoying:
It depends on you and what you expect from the sport.
Lastly, if you’re a new kayak angler, make sure to check out these helpful kayak fishing pointers.
Best Inflatable Kayaks For Fishing – Top 10 Picks Reviewed & Rated
Best Budget-Friendly Tandem Inflatable Kayak for Fishing
Intex Excursion Pro Kayak, Professional Series Inflatable Fishing Kayak
My first stop is the Intex Excursion Pro – a ‘yak worth considering for fishing, especially if you are bringing someone along with you.
At 39 pounds, it is fairly lightweight, albeit it is made from a three-ply laminate PVC material and supported by a Polyester core.
The manufacturers were generous with this one:
It offers plenty of space for your fishing accessories, with a bow and stern storage, two rod holders, a D-ring tie, and an adjustable mountain bracket. The package also includes a repair patch, aluminum oars, and a carry bag.
That said, they weren’t so generous when it came to the weight capacity. You might have to limit accessories you bring on board because 400 pounds for a 2-person ‘yak simply isn’t satisfactory enough.
- Laminate PVC construction with a Polyester core
- Measures 12.6 x 3.1 feet
- Weighs 39 pounds
- 400-pound weight capacity
- Dedicated storage for various kinds of accessories
- Sturdy heavy duty PVC construction
- Easy to inflate and deflate due to high-pressure valves
- Free accessories included
- 400-pound weight capacity is not good enough for a tandem fishing kayak
- The paddles that are included in the purchase are too small
The Excursion Pro by Intex is excellent if you enjoy company while fishing, but make sure that your total weight doesn’t exceed 400 pounds!
Best Stand-up Fishing Inflatable Kayak
Elkton Outdoors Steelhead Fishing Inflatable Kayak
Who said that inflatable kayaks could not be as rigid and stable as hardshell kayaks?
With its drop-stitch floor that allows for unparalleled stability in this category, the Elkton Outdoors Steelhead begs to differ.
This kayak is made from 1000D reinforced PVC to protect you from bumps, rocks, and any other obstacles you may face.
The well-positioned ports for water drainage account for additional safety with this ‘yak.
Considering that it’s a one-person kayak, its 400-pound weight capacity means that you can bring along any accessories you wish. Also, the storage space is nicely organized, and it includes a bungee cargo area.
Admittedly, this inflatable fishing kayak is not the most budget-friendly out there – but it’s more than worth it if you’re looking for the most stable inflatable kayak.
- 1000D layered PVC construction
- Measures 10.8 x 3.3 feet
- Weighs 40 pounds
- 400-pound weight capacity
- Large storage area
- Rated for Class III rapids
- Stable floor suitable for stand-up fishing
- Padded, comfortable seat
- Great weight capacity
- Relatively pricey for its category
- The setup is a bit confusing, and the manual is vague
Due to its sturdy drop-stitch floor, the Elkton Outdoors Steelhead Fishing Inflatable Kayak makes for an excellent fishing platform for experienced anglers who use the stand-up fishing technique.
Best Inflatable Tandem Fishing Kayak – Runner Up
Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak
Next up, we have another tandem fishing kayak – and if the previous pick, Intex Excursion Pro, didn’t satisfy your weight capacity criterion, this one surely will.
Namely, the Sevylor Coleman Colorado comes with a 470-pound weight capacity, which is bound to be sufficient for two people and all the fishing gear they want to bring on board.
On top of that, it’s got all the storage options you can think of: D-ring tie-downs, shock cord deck rigging, pockets, Berkley Quick Set swivel holders, and so on.
Not everything is sunshine and rainbows, though. Due to the wide beam, maneuverability isn’t this kayak’s strong suit. Also, the integrated rod holders are nice but unfortunately placed, so they can interfere with your paddling.
- 18-gauge PVC construction
- 10.75 x 3.25 feet
- Weighs 32.9 pounds
- 470-pound weight capacity
- Large weight capacity
- Has different kinds of storage compartments
- Wide hull for added stability
- Features multiple air chambers
- The positioning of rod holders might obstruct paddling
- I wish the kayak was more maneuverable
Are you bringing along a fishing buddy on your kayak fishing endeavors? Then the Sevylor Coleman Colorado is one of the best picks you can get.
Overall Best Inflatable Fishing Kayak
Sea Eagle 385 FastTrack Angler Inflatable Fishing Boat
The Sea Eagle 385 Fast Track model – the newest one from the manufacturer’s Angler Series – a dedicated inflatable fishing kayak which allows you to say goodbye to the limitations of weight capacity.
This kayak can withstand over 600 pounds of load, translating to 3 people and all the fishing equipment needed.
The material is virtually indestructible, and the non-slip drop-stitch floor is excellent for stand-up fishing. The basic version features a single seat, but fishers can also get the Pro Angler Package version with two countered ergonomic seats.
Weighing around 45 pounds, the Sea Eagle 385 is on the heavier side, which should come as no surprise considering its weight capacity. I’m happy to report that it still goes from deflated to fully functional in just a couple of minutes, though.
- 1100 Decitex reinforced construction
- Measures 12.6 x 3 feet
- Weighs 45 pounds
- 634-pound capacity
- Non-slip protective floor pad
- Reinforced sturdy construction
- Unparalleled weight capacity for a one-person kayak
- Suitable for stand-up fishing
- Built-in 36-inch Fish Ruler
- Available in multiple seating positions
- Heavier than most inflatable kayaks
- No dedicated footrests
Sea Eagle’s new 385 FastTrack Angler is arguably the best inflatable kayak for fishing. It’s a fully accessorized, all-around ‘yak that will undoubtedly prove to be a valuable fishing partner!
Best 2-Person Inflatable Fishing Kayak
Elkton Outdoors Cormorant 2 Person Tandem Inflatable Fishing Kayak
Elkton Outdoors has created the perfect pick for paddlers planning to fish with friends or family.
The rugged 1000D PVC construction is tear-resistant so that you can avoid any mishaps when you hit the water. What’s more, the adjustable seats are equipped with comfort gel, and they are very easy to connect to the hull.
It also exceeded my expectations in the accessories department. Six mesh pockets are complemented with a large mesh storage compartment that straps into the ‘yak.
To top it all off, you get two paddles, eight holders, a carry bag, and a pump in the package.
That said, larger paddlers might have some trouble accommodating themselves as the seats are positioned pretty low. Still, there is plenty of legroom, which compensates for the issue.
- 18-gauge 1000D PVC
- Measures 9.8 xWeight Capacity 2.9 feet
- Weighs 27 pounds
- 450-pound capacity
- Lightweight and swift
- Rugged construction
- A lot of included accessories
- Easy to set up
- Suitable for the ocean and stand-up fishing
- Inflation time is higher than average
- The seats are positioned very low, so taller people should consider adding cushions
The Elkton Outdoors Cormorant is an ideal inflatable kayak if you’re planning to bring a pal along and it also comes equipped with everything you need for fishing.
Beginner-Friendly Inflatable Fishing Kayak
ADVANCED ELEMENTS StraitEdge Angler PRO Inflatable Kayak
The first thing that stands out about my next pick is its quality build for the price. It is made out of high-quality PVC fabric and reinforced with aluminum ribs for additional security.
When you hear about this construction, you probably expect the ‘yak to be on the heavier side. I’m happy to say that it’s not the case; at 45 pounds, it’s slightly above average, but nothing that would scream heavy.
While this vessel won’t get you down Class V rapids, it will give you all the prerequisites for hours of fun on a casual fishing trip.
Besides the sturdy and stable construction, there’s the drop-stitch floor, abrasion pads, and multiple air chambers for even prolonged durability.
The only objection I want to make considers the straps holding the seat that seemed to be a bit unreliable.
- PVC tarpaulin construction with aluminum ribs
- Measures 10.5 x 3.2 feet
- Weighs 45 pounds
- 400-pound capacity
- Satisfactory load capacity
- Aluminum ribs improve tracking
- High-quality materials
- Drop-stitch floor
- There’s a trolling motor mount
- Low-quality seat straps
- Paddle and a pump aren’t included
Although I wish the StraitEdge Angler PRO came with a better range of accessories in the package, it’s still excellent value for the price for a single-person ‘yak.
Best 3-Person Inflatable Kayak for Fishing
BRIS 14.1ft 3 Person Inflatable Fishing Kayak Boat
Is it a boat, is it a kayak, is it a plane? Ok, it’s not a plane. It’s sort of a jack of all trades; design, hull shape, and dimension-wise, it’s a kayak.
To start with the construction, this futuristic vessel can withstand all of your fishing adventures, no matter which water surface you are planning to tackle. Moreover, it’s UV-resistant and comes with a stable drop-stitch floor, suitable for stand-up fishing.
It even has room for a third paddler and a whopping 770-pound capacity. Pretty impressive, huh?
As you can assume, the only downside is that this hybrid kayak is pretty bulky and heavy. If you’re going to be paddling alone, you’ll likely need to recruit a pair of helping hands for setup and transportation.
- 1100D PVC construction
- 14.1 x 4.3 feet
- 70 pounds
- 770-pound capacity
- Ample storage space
- Outstanding weight capacity
- Pump, bag, and repair kit included
- Quadruple overlap seams
- 3-year warranty
- Very heavy and difficult to transport
- A bit pricey
This unique ‘yak by Bris has a specific audience: Fishermen who like teamwork or families who go fishing together. If you fit the description, it’s one of the best vessels you can choose!
Best Inflatable Fishing Kayak – Runner-up
Sea Eagle SE370 Inflatable Sport Kayak Fishing Package
The Sea Eagle SE370 came second in the race today, just behind the new-and-improved 385 model by the same manufacturer.
It’s constructed with heavy-duty K80 Polyvinyl Chloride and the I-beam floor that adds to the rigidity. Add the fact that all the seams are welded into the equation, and it becomes clear: This ‘yak is well-prepared for any weather conditions you may encounter.
Believe it or not, this inflatable kayak can also handle Class III rapids, but it will also work just fine for a leisure fishing day in any body of water.
Despite being relatively lightweight – weighing just over 30 pounds – the SE370 boasts a weight capacity of 650 pounds.
All these advantages come at the expense of this ‘yak’s speed. If you’re paddling alone, it won’t be as fast and agile as some other inflatable kayaks.
- K80 PVC construction
- Measures 12.5 x 2.8 feet
- Weighs 32 pounds
- 650-pound capacity
- Premium materials
- Easy to transport
- Multi-chamber design
- NMMA-certified and rated for Class III whitewater
- Short inflation time
- The included paddles are a bit short
- Could be faster and more maneuverable
Safe, stable, versatile, and predictable – in a good way – Baffin P3 is an excellent choice for taller paddlers looking to get out on the open sea.
Best Inflatable Fishing Kayak for Bigger Kayakers
Aquaglide Blackfoot Hb Angler Kayak XL
The Aguaglide Blackfoot Hb Angler Kayak XL is a big and tall paddler’s dream.
The worst part about kayak fishing for a taller and broader user can be an uncomfortable, small seat that doesn’t offer enough back support. With Blackfoot Hb’s spacious seat on a raised platform and an extra-long hull, you won’t face that problem.
In addition to plenty of space for one or two paddlers, this ‘yak offers a plethora of storage for accessories, including a mesh storage pocket, four rod holders, and seven mounting plates.
And it’s worth pointing out, it’s part of the small collection of tandem inflatable fishing kayaks that can boast a load capacity of 600 pounds – so great for overnight paddling trips
What might count as a downside is the skeg mounting mechanism. It requires fastening a screw, which can easily get lost. Compared to removable pins you’ll find in the majority of other ‘yaks, this solution seemed a bit impractical.
- Premium-grade drop-stitch construction
- Measures 13 x 3.25 feet
- Weighs 31 pounds
- 600-pound capacity
- Long and wide to accommodate anyone
- Great storage options
- Very stable
- The seat is mounted on a removable platform for a higher seating position
- Sturdy handles for transportation
- Pump would’ve been a welcome addition
- A bit complicated to mount the skeg
This ‘yak’s durable construction and the weight capacity are bound to leave you mind-blown. It’s incredibly stable and optimized for bigger guys to stretch out in comfort.
Best Inflatable Fishing Kayak for Fast Moving Water
Sea Eagle 350fx Fishing Explorer
Finally, the Sea Eagle 350fx is a perfect go-to for paddlers looking for the adrenaline rush who have the necessary skill to catch fish in heavy currents.
Just like other Sea Eagle picks, the 350fx stakes its reputation on building quality, with the signature 1100 Decitex construction and reinforced layers for added rigidness.
The qualities of the 350fx do not end there. It comes loaded with angler-friendly features, such as the six rod holders, a fully adjustable foot brace, Fish Ruler, and anchor trolley D-rings. The Deluxe Solo package is the entry-level version, with the possibility to opt for other packages that feature different seats.
The elephant in the room is the hefty price tag; but if you’re willing to spend a few extra dollars, the Sea Eagle 350fx has everything needed for fishing trips.
- 1100 Decitex construction with 2200 Decitex reinforced sections
- 11.6 x 3.3 feet
- Weighs 51 pounds
- 575-pound capacity
- Equipped with six rod holders
- Built-in 40-inch Fish Ruler
- Rigid drop-stitch floor
- Ergonomic foot brace
- NMMA-certified and rated for Class IV whitewater
- Not everyone will appreciate the price tag
- It could have a steep learning curve for beginners
This Sea Eagle’s inflatable kayak is the best model in the Explorer Series for the avid fisherman who runs rapids Class III or higher and wants a reliable fishing vessel.
To Wind It Up: Best Inflatable Fishing Kayaks
Kayak fishing is one of my favorite ways to adventure while paddling. Very few things rival the feeling of your ‘yak gliding across the water in anticipation of a bite.
And it doesn’t have to be out of reach, even if the idea of finding a dedicated storage space for your yak seems like a nightmare. Nor does inflatable kayak fishing have to be about compromise or getting less – you really can have it all.
There are a plethora of compact inflatable kayaks designed specifically for fishing. The only thing you need to do is inflate them, and even better – they make your trek to the coast effortless.
Today, the title of the best inflatable fishing kayak goes to the Sea Eagle 385.
With high-quality, reinforced material, it will not tear, puncture, or slip, and its 4-chamber structure is synonymous with safety.
And did I mention it sports a slew of fishing accessories, including a rod, hook, and lure holders, and a Fish Ruler? Yes, folks, this ‘yak has it all.