Best Stand Up Fishing Kayak

Best Stand Up Fishing Kayak

Fishing is fun, challenging, and meditative all at the same time. Kayaking is relaxing, invigorating and exciting.

What could be better than combining the two? Nothing, in my opinion. When searching for the best stand up fishing kayaks, it can be hard to navigate through all the options.

There are a lot of things to consider when looking for a fishing kayak.

Sifting through every brand and design out there could take hours.

Here at Fin Bin we’ve taken the stress and time out of your search and narrowed down the best six stand up fishing kayaks on the market.

From high-quality material to state of the art design, we've analysed what makes a select few kayaks stand out from the rest.

Whether you are looking for stability or tracking, or maybe just awesome accessories like a cup holder, we got what you need.

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#1 Best Overall: BKC UH-TK181 12-Foot
BKC UH-TK181 Kayak
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  • Best tandem fishing kayak
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  • 440 lbs. Load capacity
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  • 34-inch beam for ultimate stability

#2 Best Overall: Feel Free Lure 10 Kayak
Feel Free Lure 10
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  • Best compact fishing kayak
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  • 36” wide for ultimate stability
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  • Wheel in the Keel for easy transport

#3 Best Overall: Pelican Sport The Catch 100
Pelican Sport The Catch
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  • Best in durability
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  • Quick lock hatch for convenient access to gear
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  • Only 54 lbs

#1 Best Overall: BKC UH-TK181 12-Foot

BKC UH-TK181

Summary: Our number one choice for its state of the art gear hardware and durability. The BKC UH-TK181 12’ can be paddled with two kayakers but is maneuverable enough to paddle solo. This kayak has outstanding tracking which means you can focus less on paddling and more on casting.

Because it has a 34” beam, you won’t have to worry about stability if fishing standing up. If you are looking to paddle is some challenging conditions, the BKC UH-TK181 12’ can handle some decent chop and wind.

The BKC UH-TK181 is also one sturdy boat. You can be confident in its toughness because it is made with high-density polyethylene. That means less chance of dings, scratches or cracks. Transporting won't be a problem either due to the ultra comfy handles along all sides of the kayak.

The gear set-up alone will have you drooling. There are an impressive seven, yes seven, rod holders. Three are articulated, and four are flush mounted. And the storage capabilities are enormous: two waterproof hatches at both seats, rear storage well with bungee tie-downs, and mounted eyelets to attach gear to. Not to mention the two paddle rests so you won't lose your paddle while you fish.

The BKC UH-TK181 is impressive in its ability to interchange from a tandem paddler to a solo rider. Fish together or alone, enjoy long or short trips and bring all the gear you want. The storage space, tracking ability and stability of this fishing kayak makes it a must-have for you and your partner.

Pro's

  • Has pre-installed threaded bolt holes for a motor mount
  • Best tandem for its price
  • Light for its size

Con's

  • Handles are not molded
  • Back seat accumulates some water in chop

#2 Best Overall: Feel Free Lure 10 Kayak

Feel Free Lure 10 Kayak

Summary: This kayak is compact without losing any storage space. The Feel Free Lure 10’ has strategic gear placement so you can bring as much fishing gear as you would on a larger kayak. There are mounting points with pre-mounted eyelets for attaching equipment and gear tracks along the rails.

The deck lines will keep your belongings in place so you can focus on catching those fish. There is also a lot of storage space in the hull. The center console sealed hatch at bow and gear well at the stern are all options for stashing gear. It also comes with two flush mount rod holders so you won't lose your fishing rod.

Another great aspect of this kayak is the adjustable Gravity Seat with built-in storage pockets. You can lower the seat for paddling and raise it for fishing. This kayak comes with a wheel under the hull and molded handles for ease of transport.

The Feel Free Lure 10’ is clearly designed for comfort, with the convenience cup holder, bungee paddle holders and a padded standing platform. Being this comfortable while out on the water means you will extend your fishing time by hours!

This kayak is for the fisher looking for fun day trips and shorter paddles. But because it can tow up to 375 lbs, you can use it for more than just fishing. Take it on nature watching trips, photography trips or even research trips!

Excellent tracking because of its tri-hull design with two channels under hull instead of just one.

The Feel Free Lure 10' is your best choice for compact design, optimum gear space, and convenient storage.

Pro's

  • Gravity Seat is removable
  • Stand assist strap
  • Drain plug

Con's

  • Is on the heavier side for a smaller kayak

#3 Best Overall: Pelican Sport The Catch 100

Pelican Sport The Catch 100

If you are looking for a kayak that can withstand a beating, the Pelican Sport the Catch 100 is it. The folks at Pelican kayaks made this kayak with patented RAM-X™ technology, a multi-layer polyethylene with a resin top coat for ultimate toughness. This kayak is very resistant to scratches, dents, and cracks.

There are also accessories and gear that make the Sport the Catch a great buy. At only 54 lbs and 10’ long, this kayak packs two gear wells on the bow and stern, four flush mount rod holders, and bungee deck lines on the bow. It can tow up to 350 lbs, so you won’t have to worry about leaving any fishing gear behind on land.  

This kayak isn't just tough; it's also comfortable. The ERGO CAST G2 dual position seat can be adjusted for paddling or fishing with plenty of back support and cushion. And with the stand assist strap, getting in and out of the seat will be a breeze.

Pro's

  • The open cockpit for storage
  • Drain plug
  • Molded in ruler to check fish for size compliance

Con's

  • Bow hatch is not close to the seat
  • Susceptible to filling with water in chop

#4 Lifetime Products Emotion Stealth 118

Lifetime Products Emotion Stealth 118

For the fisher who isn’t afraid of rougher conditions, this kayak is built for performance. The combination tunnel hull is a unique design that allows the kayak to cut through chop aggressively while maintaining balance and stealth for tracking.

The cargo space is made tough too. The front oval hatch has a waterproof sealed lid, and the stern gear well has bungee tie downs to keep your belongings safe and on the boat. With six feet of universal tracking along the rails, there's no end to the gear you can attach to the Emotion Stealth 118. The quick-drying framed seat can adjust to three heights for ultimate comfort.

Though there is plenty of room for your own tackle box, you won't need to bring one. This kayak has two built-in tackle boxes, as well as two flush mount rod holders and two angled rod holders. Excess water won't be a problem, either. There are seven self-bailing scuppers to keep water from accumulating on the deck.

For the more adventurous fisher, the Emotion Stealth 118 can handle rougher waters and more challenging fishing locations. At 11’8” and a 375 lbs weight capacity, this kayak ranks in at number four on our list.

Pro's

  • Paddle cradle secures paddle while fishing
  • Molded in 30” ruler to check fish for size compliance
  • Molded-in carrying handles in front, back and sides

Con's

  • 86 lbs, on the heavier side for a single angler kayak

#5 Sun Dolphin Boss SS

Sun Dolphin Boss SS

The Sun Dolphin Boss SS earns its name at 12’ 3” long and 78 lbs. It’s great for bigger fishermen and customers looking for a high level of stability and can carry up to 500 lbs.! The deck is only 32” wide, but the Catamaran style hull guarantees stability.

With adjustable footrests and a stand assist strap, you'll be fishing in comfort. Storage is a breeze, too. The cargo hatches at the bow and stern are quick locking to keep water out but are easy to get into. The gear wells on the deck have tie downs for security and are large enough to carry coolers and buckets.

The dual position seat and foot pegs can be adjusted to fit any adult paddler. The non-slip padded deck makes stand-up fishing comfortable and stable. The Boss SS also comes with one swivel and four flush mount rod holders, and a luxurious beverage cup holder.

Pro's

  • Comes with accessory tracks
  • Sizable below deck storage
  • Mounted handles

Con's

  • 78 lbs.
  • Hatches do not come sealed
  • Slightly softer polyethylene top deck, susceptible to dents and scratches

#6 Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 110

Vibe-Sea-Ghost-110

No fish will be safe from the Sea Ghost 110! The rudder system is perfect for navigation tight corners and narrow passageways to score the trickier catches. You'll save tons of energy and time steering with this state of the art rudder.

You’re going to need plenty of storage for all the fish you’ll catch with the Sea Ghost 110, so it’s designed with a lot of space. There is a large center hatch with below deck storage, a center console, a gear well at the stern with bungee tie downs and gear tracks on the rails.

The Sea Ghost 110 includes a framed seating system that has cooling mesh for the hot days. It's adjustable and removable for easy installation and removal. Rotomolded single piece polyethylene will keep this kayak light to carry but still tough against dents, scratches, and cracks.

The Sea Ghost 110 is 11' long and only 62 lbs. A must buy for someone looking for a lightweight kayak that's easy to transport. With a built-in cup holder and two flush mount rod holders, you'll be paddling in style and comfort.

Pro's

  • Rudder for easy steering
  • Good gear storage and accessory mounts
  • Four mounted in handles

Con's

  • Gear screws need to be tightened before going out on the water
  • Weight is not balanced, a bit front heavy

Top 5 Kayak Fishing Tips for Beginners

Having a fishing kayak is great! But only if you know how to use it. Below are some tips on kayak fishing and getting to know your kayak so you can have the best time possible!

#1: Learn the water conditions: Just like any other activity on the water, make sure you get to know whether and water patterns and check the weather and buoy reports. Make sure it's safe to paddle out.

It's also cool to learn about how water and weather conditions will affect the fish. Usually, fish will swim in currents in a certain direction and be in different places at different tides. Knowing these patterns will help you catch more fish.

#2: Wear sun protection and safety gear: Don't skimp on the sunscreen and always wear a life jacket. You can get pretty burnt after a day out on the water, so wear sunscreen, and/or a hat and protective clothing. Don't be afraid of looking silly with a life jacket. It's always best to prepare for any situation.

#3: Move quietly: Sound can scare the fish away. Try to minimize paddling, loud talking or dogs barking. All these loud noises will spook your catch. Also, learning to drift is helpful. If you paddle a little upstream from where you see fish, they will resurface as you float back downstream and will be easier to catch.

#4: Learn to sight fish: A lot of times, especially with polarized sunglasses, you can see fish through the surface of the water. While standing in your kayak, practice looking for fish and then quietly paddling over to them. That way you won’t be aimlessly paddling around for fish all day.

#5: Stay safe: Always stay aware of your surroundings and watch out for your friends. Fishing can be consuming, so make sure to take periodic breaks to make sure you are in safe paddle zones and your friends are safe too.


Kayak Vs. Paddle Board Fishing

Stand up paddle boards are similar to fishing kayaks in that they usually have bungee tie downs for containing gear and they are a little wider for stability. Some of them even have mounted eyelets for gear attachment and mounts for holding buckets and crates. The upside of SUP fishing is that the board is much lighter, easier to store and easier to carry. Stand up paddle boards for fishing usually, cost less than stand up fishing kayaks.  

The downside is, well, pretty obvious. The chance of tipping over is much higher, and there's not as much room for gear. The lack of space isn't always a bad thing though. Some people love the simplicity of bringing less gear, and a SUP is much easier to get in and out of the water.

I personally prefer stand up fishing in a kayak, but sometimes I’ll take a SUP out fishing if I don’t want to deal with transporting my kayak or bringing a lot of gear.


Things To Consider When Buying a Stand-Up Fishing Kayak

When purchasing a stand-up fishing kayak, you want one that you can stand up fish in easily and without the fear of capsizing. Your weight, weight of your gear and your kayaking experience are all important things to take into consideration. If you are a larger person, you most likely will want to get a kayak that is wider and more buoyant so you will have more stability.

That being said, if you are an experienced kayaker, you could probably get away with a smaller kayak. If storage and transport is your main concern, consider purchasing a shorter kayak that weighs less. Just be aware that they aren’t quite as stable while fishing.

Kayak stand up bars are an accessory worth looking into, like this one from Feel Free. They are universal and will easily fit on any of the kayaks on this list. They are great for extra stability and balance, especially if you are a kayak fishing newcomer.

Aside from stability, there are a lot of cool extra features that stand up fishing kayaks come with. Many come with gear tracks, storage hatches, and gear wells. Sometimes all that extra deck gear can add weight to the kayak. If you are amped on your fishing gear and want to bring all of it on the water, you might not mind the extra weight.

If you prefer lighter weight over being able to bring as much gear as possible, consider a kayak with less gear attachment mounts. You might also consider a kayak with a smaller, less technical seat or less cargo holding areas.  

Also remember that the more comfortable you are while fishing, the longer you will fish, and the more fish you will catch! Consider investing in a fishing kayak with a seat that has a lot of back support, or a padded deck, so your feet don't get too sore.

After having read through our top six stand up fishing kayaks list, you should have a pretty good idea of exactly what you are looking for.

If you're looking for a sit-down kayak, we recommend heading on over to our best kayaks main guide.

FAQ

Is Stand-Up Kayak Fishing Hard?

Stand up kayak fishing can be a little more challenging than fishing on a sail or motor boat. Not only do you have to use your own manpower to get yourself to your fishing destination, but you also face the challenge of balancing on the kayak while you fish.

Most fishing kayaks are made with stability in mind, but it’s still a good idea to get comfortable on calm waters first before you charge out into a choppy open ocean.

Fishing itself can be hard too. It takes a tremendous amount of patience and determination. Sometimes it also just comes down to luck. Don't be discouraged if you don't always catch a lot of fish or catch none at all. Eventually, you will get good enough and lucky enough to have that amazing day where the fish practically jump into your kayak.


Where Do I Keep My Fish On My Kayak?

Just like land and boat fishing, it’s important to keep your fish in a cold, covered container. I prefer a cooler with ice or ice packs. Sometimes I even keep them in a bucket with cold water. Most fishing kayaks have storage holes or gear wells with bungee cords where you can securely and safely store your fish while you paddle back to shore.

Final Thoughts - Which Should You Get?

Fishing is always better with a friend, but also fun alone! Consider the BKC UH-TK181 12’ for the top tandem or solo stand up fishing kayak. It has plenty of storage and gear hook-ups for all your fishing gear.

As I mentioned earlier, you also want to make sure you are comfortable while you fish. The kayaks on our list come with top-notch seating systems and storage solutions so you can focus less on your set-up and more on fishing.

If ease of storage and transport is a priority, consider a lighter kayak with a wheel at the stern, like the Feel Free Lure 10 or the Pelican Sport the Catch 100. Sometimes, a bigger kayak is desired for a bigger paddler. If that’s the case, consider a kayak like the Sun Dolphin Boss SS.

Whichever kayak you choose, rest assured that any stand up fishing kayak on this list will leave you happy and catching fish!

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