A look at more than a dozen of the latest and greatest fishing kayaks on the market today.
From weekend angler to hardcore paddler, the fishing kayak has evolved with a wide range of benefits and ever-growing appeal to fishermen across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Each year manufacturers find new and ingenious ways to pack more great features into an expanding line-up of available boats at lower price points, and this year is no exception. Whether you choose to pedal, paddle or power your craft to that next angling adventure, here is more than a dozen boats to carry you along the way.
Eddyline, a leading manufacturer of premier touring kayaks and paddles since 1971, pioneered vacuum bag and thermoform technology making the highest quality kayaks and paddles for sea kayaking, open water, recreational kayaking and fishing in an environmentally-sound manner. The ultimate lightweight fishing kayak, the Eddyline Caribbean 14 Angler is a high performance version of their popular Caribbean 12, especially adapted for fishing enthusiasts who may be dealing with surf or rough water conditions. The Caribbean 14 Angler is not your typical, heavy-hauling fishing kayak. This kayak is quick and stable, with a hull designed for efficiency, tracking and maneuvering. The Cloud 10 Seat offers a comfortable ride, and the elevated seat with a drain keeps you dry. Based on the Caribbean 14 platform, the 2018 Angler version includes a front hatch liner, installed YakAttack 8-inch GTTL90 GearTrac, Installed footwell pads, a pair of installed flush-mount Sea-Dog rodholders and a YakAttack rod holder and track mount.
Based out of North Carolina, FeelFree offers some of the most innovative kayaks and accessories on the market. With unique color combinations and the cutting-edge standard features, FeelFree kayaks have redefined paddling as we know it today. The Feelfree Overdrive series is the modern evolution of pedal and powered kayak propulsion offering effortless speed, ease of use and adaptability. The Overdrive unit is the only two-in-one system that offers forward and reverse pedal or power driven capabilities in one single unit when paired with the optional Motordrive add-on. It features a one-handed rudder steering lever control and Gravity seat adjuster for the ultimate in accessibility and comfort. Engineered to last, the system is manufactured using cast aluminum and finished off with heavy-duty components. Paddle, pedal or power; the Overdrive system gives kayak anglers and recreational paddlers the flexibility to Feelfree all day long no matter where they choose to have fun!
MSRP: $ 2,199.00 – $2,999.00
Hobie has been involved in fishing since the introduction of the Float Cat in 1994, followed by the revolution of small-boat fishing with the Mirage Drive system in 1997. They now offer a full line of fishing watercraft and a range of accessories that allow Hobie customers to adapt their boats to their own type of fishing. The newest and hottest fishing kayak from Hobie is the 12-foot long Mirage Compass sporting kayak. It features Hobie’s renowned Mirage Drive pedal-power system, allowing for superior control and speed to travel farther, faster. The Compass is a perfect build-to-suit platform that can be outfitted with any number of accessories for the casual cruiser or the serious angler, but it comes in at a more affordable price point. The Mirage Compass is a Lowrance-ready boat and comes standard with a built-in transducer mount and includes through-hull cable plugs.
Jackson Kayak was founded in 2003 and they design, build and manufacture leading whitewater, fishing and exploration paddlesports products. With the motto “Build it like it’s your own,” all of their products are made in the USA in growing support of the local Tennessee economy. The Jackson Big Tuna is one of their largest capacity kayaks with the ability to paddle either as a tandem or a solo fishing kayak. It has many different seating positions allowing for traditional tandem positions, ‘facetime’ positions and a good variety of solo positions making it a great platform for fishing of all kinds. Its JK stability, logical accessory positioning, rudder option, and speed make it a serious predator in all water types and it excels in both big lakes and inshore saltwater environments.
Specializing in fishing kayaks with pedal and paddle power, Native Watercraft leads the industry with innovative designs that meet anglers’ needs. The new Native Slayer 12 XC is the first boat of its kind designed to be comfortable floating rivers, stalking the flats, and paddling open water. The hull of the XC is designed towards cross conditions performance. A broad flatter hull not only allows river anglers to maneuver and control their boats in tighter conditions while sliding through shallow areas with a very shallow draft, but it also gives an incredibly stable standing platform for sight fishing. When it’s time to cover some ground, a flip of a lever drops a directional skeg to allow the Slayer XC to track on a line to the next spot. The XC maintains a clean deck profile for anglers, but is carefully packed with fish ready features and advanced electronics capabilities for the biggest gear hounds.
NuCanoe combines the best of canoes, kayaks, and small boats to deliver the ultimate experience on the water with confidence-inspiring stability, open and customizable decks, and best-in-class seating. NuCanoe boats are ideal for fishing, fly fishing, hunting, paddling, crabbing, diving, and so much more, and best of all they are made in the USA and are built to last. Igniting the passion of the beginning kayak angler, while also refueling the fire of experienced anglers looking to get back to the basics, the NuCanoe Flint is one of the hottest and most versatile fishing kayaks on the market today. While all boats in the NuCanoe line-up come ready to add on all the custom accessories you need to make the perfect boat for you, the Flint also comes loaded with some great accessories seen on boats costing twice as much including the custom height Pinnacle seat, six rodholders (two horizontal and four flush-mount), Hawg Trough channel, gear tracks, transducer recess and more.
Ocean Kayaks began back in 1971 in California when the original company founder took an old surfboard and carved out spots to sit and to store his scuba gear. Over the next 45-plus years the company has grown to become one of the world’s biggest sit-on-top kayak manufacturers. Now based in Maine, they offer a variety of sit-on-top designs to fit your needs, and the newest addition to their fleet of boats is the Ocean Malibu Pedal. This revolutionary pedal-driven kayak combines effortless transport, versatility, and the most advanced pedal drive technology on the planet into a compact and affordable package. It easily accommodates any watery pursuit imaginable—from lunch-break fitness and easy vacation fun to blue-water angling adventures. Plus, it’s lightweight, easily car-topped, and has a footprint ideal for easy off-the-water storage. A kid’s jump seat makes family outings a breeze, and it even has plenty of room to bring your dog along for complete family adventure. The Malibu Pedal’s PDL Drive system is the same rugged and fast foot-powered engine found on the award-winning Old Town Predator PDL. The PDL Drive’s no-fail performance has earned accolades from kayaks of all walks, from anglers to waterfowlers to adventure paddlers-turned-pedal devotees.
For more than 100 years, the spirit of paddling has inspired the craftsmen of Old Town Canoe and Kayak. Today this heritage of craftsmanship and innovation lives on in modern canoes and kayaks built to deliver the finest paddling experiences. The Predator Series of kayaks has received the highest acclaim since its introduction. Predators won ICAST’s coveted 2013 and 2014 “Best Boat” awards, along with “Best of Show” in 2014, and now the Old Town Predator MK does even more by boldly going where no motor has gone before! The Predator MK bridges the gap between fishing kayaks, bass boats and shallow water skiffs. This game-changer is the combination of the Minn Kota motor and foot-controlled rudder system, which allows for hands-free fishing. Now you can work your local waters like a tournament angler.
Based in Canada, Pelican International is a world leader in the design and manufacture of kayaks, canoes, pedal boats and fishing boats. For almost 50 years they have leveraged a mastery of thermoforming to deliver durable, quality products at affordable prices. The Pelican Premium CATCH 100 is an amazing fishing kayak built on a tunnel hull. Measuring 10 feet in length, this sit-on-top angler kayak is very stable and offers great maneuverability and tracking. Its wide and flat deck platform provides a large standing area and room for extra gear or mounting your accessories. It features adjustable footrests, a comfortable and breathable Ergocast G2 dual position seating system allowing you to adjust the seat to a high or low seating position, a quick-lock hatch and a storage platform with bungee cords to store your fishing gear, flush mount rodholders, an angler ruler and a stand assist strap to help you quickly transfer to a standing position. Made of RAM-X PREMIUM, a multi-layer polyethylene with an advanced resin providing significantly more rigidity than standard polyethylene, it is lighter, stiffer and stronger. Whether you are bass fishing, fly fishing or looking for something extremely stable, this is the one for you.
For over 40 years, Perception has been producing top-of-the-line kayaks and in that time they pioneered the plastic kayak, which resulted a mass explosion in popularity of the sport. The Perception Hi Life 11.0 is the most versatile boat ever built, offering a sit-on-top design that can be paddled like a kayak or a stand up paddleboard. Its maximum stability and unique features create an experience that’s unlike anything else—perfect for sharing the water with kids and pets or a day of paddling on your own. The unique cushioning across the entire top surface keeps your feet happy on a long day of casting. The low-profile rear swim deck with handles makes it easy to get back on board after swimming, while the large open front area is the perfect perch for small children or extra gear. The Hi Life is fun for all ages and abilities and is up for any adventure whether that means cruising, swimming, fishing, or simply relaxing with your favorite beverage.
The Sea Eagle line-up of fishing kayaks are true rugged inflatable fishing kayaks designed by and for fishermen who wish to adventure outside traditional methods to catch more fish and bigger fish! The portability and convenience of these inflatable kayaks is unmatched and lets you stow them in your car trunk always ready to go. The Sea Eagle 350fx Fishing Explorer is a robust, beefed up, fully accessorized version of the rugged Explorer Series. The 350fx features double layered, nearly indestructible, tough as crocodile hide, 2000 Denier reinforced protective layers; six built-in rodholders; forward and aft spray skirts with Sea Eagle exclusive accessory belts to hold your tools, hooks, and lures; a fully adjustable foot brace called the FlexBrace™; a 40-inch FishRuler™; anchor trolley D-rings; a huge max load capacity of 575 pounds; and is completely self-bailing. The 350fx is available in four different packages that all include the kayak, paddle, seat, manual pump, removable skeg, storage bag and repair kit. So bring on the roughest conditions and still get to those fish!
MSRP: $899.00 – $1,299.00
Since 1986, Wilderness Systems has been building kayaks that incorporate innovative designs tuned for performance, premium outfitting and stunning quality. The aesthetics of the all-new Wilderness Tsunami 125 inspire performance and exploration with modern deck lines, while a focus on improving the paddler’s experience sees new features incorporated into the design—two removable
mesh deck storage bags are perfect for stowing close-at-hand items, and an under-deck storage area provides another alternative for staging extra gear and tackle. Small changes with big effects have also been integrated into the hull—the flared sidewalls and increased volume above the waterline have been improved to provide more confidence and stability, while the longer waterline has increased speed and efficiency. The Tsunami 125 is swift and agile, the spacious cockpit and deeper hull is ideal for day trippers. A touring kayak that excels in tight, twisting environments.