The Best Ocean Fishing Kayak: Beginner-Friendly To Advanced Kayaks

Last Updated on April 14, 2022

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My first ocean kayaking experience was a disaster. Primarily because I didn’t know what I was doing, nor did I have the proper gear.

Thankfully, you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did, and your saltwater fishing kayak experience can go much better than my first time.

To start things off right, having the best ocean fishing kayak like the Old Town Sportsman BigWater will go a long way.

If you’re cramped for storage and transportation space, then the Elkton Outdoors Steelhead Inflatable Fishing Kayak will be your best option.

Keep scrolling to see the rest of the 11 best offshore fishing kayaks!

Comparison Table: Best Saltwater Fishing Kayak on the Market

ImageFeaturesRatingPrice
Best Overall
Old Town Sportsman BigWater
Old Town Sportsman BigWater
  • Length - 13' 2"
  • Width - 34"
  • Weight - 86 pounds
  • Capacity - 425 pounds
9
Amazon
Best Sit-On-Top
Hobie Mirage Passport 12 Sit-On-Top Kayak with Paddle
Hobie Mirage Passport 12 Sit-On-Top Kayak with Paddle
  • Length - 12ft
  • Width - 34 inches
  • Weight - 73lbs
  • Capacity - 400lbs
8
REI
Elkton Outdoors Steelhead Inflatable Fishing KayakElkton Outdoors Steelhead Inflatable Fishing Kayak
  • Length - 12' 6"
  • Width - 3' 3"
  • Weight - 44 pounds
  • Capacity - 600 pounds
6
Amazon
Best For Beginners
Perception Pescador Pro 12 Kayak
Perception Pescador Pro 12 Kayak

Length - 12'
Width - 32.5"
Weight - 64lbs
Capacity - 375lbs

7
Backcountry
BIg Kayak
Ascend 133X Tournament Sit-On-Top Kayak with Yak-Power
Ascend 133X Tournament Sit-On-Top Kayak with Yak-Power
  • Length - 13'
  • Width - 36.5"
  • Weight - 125 pounds
  • Capacity - 550 pounds
8
Bass ProCabela's
Best Pedal
Reel Yaks 11' Fishing Pedal Kayak
Reel Yaks 11' Fishing Pedal Kayak
  • Length - 11 foot
  • Width - 34"
  • Weight - 62lbs
  • Capacity - 500lbs
7
Amazon
Best Tandem
BKC TK122U 12' 6
BKC TK122U 12' 6" Tandem Sit On Top Fishing Kayak
  • Length - 12' 8"
  • Width - 34"
  • Weight - 74lbs
  • Capacity - 770lbs
7
Amazon
Budget Tandem
Ocean Kayak Malibu II XL Angler Tandem Sit-On-Top Kayak
Ocean Kayak Malibu II XL Angler Tandem Sit-On-Top Kayak
  • Length - 13' 4"
  • Width - 34"
  • Weight - 74 pounds
  • Capacity - 450 pounds
6
Amazon
Feature Rich
Wilderness Systems Atak 120 Fishing Kayak
Wilderness Systems Atak 120 Fishing Kayak
  • Length - 12' 3"
  • Width - 35"
  • Weight - 85lbs
  • Capacity - 400lbs
7
Backcountry
Aquaglide Blackfoot Angler 130 Inflatable KayakAquaglide Blackfoot Angler 130 Inflatable Kayak
  • Length - 13'
  • Width - 38"
  • Weight - 41 pounds
  • Capacity - 650 pounds
6
REI
Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 Sit-On-Top KayakWilderness Systems Tarpon 120 Sit-On-Top Kayak
  • Length - 12 feet
  • Width - 30 inches
  • Weight - 63 pounds
  • Capacity - 350 pounds
7
REI

The Best Offshore Fishing Kayak Reviews

Old Town Sportsman BigWater

Old Town Sportsman BigWater

BEST OCEAN FISHING KAYAK OVERALL

Specs

  • Length – 13′ 2″
  • Width – 34″
  • Weight – 86 pounds
  • Capacity – 425 pounds

Pros

  • Customizable
  • Comfortable seating
  • Lots of storage
  • Stable

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Paddle not included
  • Low seat height

Why We Chose It

Old Town has manufactured kayaks and canoes for decades. They’re a trusted kayak brand by many professional kayak anglers and the average weekend warrior like you and me on various fishing trips.

The Sportsman BigWater is designed for kayak fishing, so it has built-in rod holders and mounting tracks that allow you to add other fishing accessories, like a kayak fish finder.

I love the ability to make the kayak suit your needs, not the other way around.

The stability offered by the Sportman BigWater means you won’t be as concerned with flipping when you encounter large waves. It also means when the water is calm, you can stand and fish!

The Old Town Sportsman BigWater is the best ocean fishing kayak overall because it offers everything a kayak angler needs while braving the seas, stability, customizability, and good handling.

Hobie Mirage Passport 12 Sit-On-Top Kayak with Paddle

Hobie Mirage Passport 12 Sit-On-Top Kayak with Paddle

BEST SIT ON TOP OCEAN FISHING KAYAK

Specs

  • Length – 12ft
  • Width – 34 inches
  • Weight – 73lbs
  • Capacity – 400lbs

Pros

  • Pedal or paddle
  • Lots of storage
  • Comfortable seat
  • Customizable
  • Easy to use rudder system

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Pedal power is only forward

Why We Chose It

Hobie is a staple in the kayak industry. They make some of the best kayaks on the market today, so it’s no surprise they made the top of our list.

Despite the price, the Hobie Mirage Passport 12 is their entry-level pedal kayak, so if you need reverse pedaling, then you’ll have to upgrade the Mirage drive pedal system. Having the option to pedal or paddle is great for fishing because pedaling keeps your hands free to fish, but if you need the extra control, you can still paddle.

This kayak does have loads of storage and customizability, so you can store your gear and add any fishing accessories you might need, like a Power-Pole Micro. There are a couple of built-in rod holders, but you can add more along the mounting tracks if you need them.

I like the transducer cavity because you have a place for a transducer and don’t have to try and find a place for it.

The Hobie Mirage Passport 12 is the best sit-on-top ocean fishing kayak because you can pedal or paddle it, plus it has plenty of storage for your fishing gear.

Elkton Outdoors Steelhead Inflatable Fishing Kayak

Elkton Outdoors Steelhead Inflatable Fishing Kayak

BEST INFLATABLE OCEAN KAYAK

Specs

  • Length – 12′ 6″
  • Width – 3′ 3″
  • Weight – 44 pounds
  • Capacity – 600 pounds

Pros

  • Tandem
  • Lightweight
  • 1-year warranty
  • It comes with everything you need to get started
  • Lots of storage

Cons

  • Low seats/uncomfortable
  • Not great in the wind
  • Will pop if sliced by sharp rocks

Why We Chose It

In all honesty, inflatable fishing kayaks are not my favorite. However, I understand you might not have the room to store and transport a plastic kayak, so the Elkton Outdoors Steelhead Inflatable Fishing Kayak is excellent.

I like this kayak because it comes with everything you need to get on the water, a pump, two paddles, a travel bag, and a removable skeg. There are several places to mount an accessory. However, they require a special adaptor.

There is lots of storage but no fishing rod holders. Since you sit low in the kayak, it makes it more difficult to paddle, especially in windy conditions, but this kayak is stable, and you won’t have to worry about flipping.

The Elkton Outdoors Steelhead Inflatable Fishing Kayak is great for those who don’t have the room to store and transport a plastic kayak, but if you do, I recommend choosing a different kayak.

Perception Pescador Pro 12 Kayak

Perception Pescador Pro 12 Kayak

BEST OCEAN FISHING KAYAK FOR BEGINNERS

Specs

  • Length – 12′
  • Width – 32.5″
  • Weight – 64lbs
  • Capacity – 375lbs

Pros

  • Lots of storage
  • Stable
  • Customizable
  • Comfortable seat

Cons

  • Performs best in flat water
  • Not enough gear tracks

Why We Chose It

The Perception Pescador Pro 12 Kayak is the best ocean fishing kayak for beginners because it’s inexpensive by fishing kayak standards, stable, has lots of storage, and is customizable.

The Pescador Pro 12 is 12′ long, so you know it will track well in the open water, but it’s stable enough to handle a slight chop on the water. It has plenty of storage for all your tackle boxes and the weight capacity to go with it.

The downside to the Pescador Pro 12 is that theirs not many gear tracks, so you can customize it to meet your exact needs, and there’s nowhere to mount a kayak trolling motor, so you’ll have to buy a bracket if you want to mount a trolling motor to this kayak.

Since the Perception Pescador Pro 12 is a beginners fishing kayak, we shouldn’t expect it to have high-end fishing kayaks features. For the price, it’s tough to beat!

Ascend 133X Tournament Sit-On-Top Kayak with Yak-Power

Ascend 133X Tournament Sit-On-Top Kayak with Yak-Power

BIG FISHING KAYAK FOR THE OCEAN

Specs

  • Length – 13′
  • Width – 36.5″
  • Weight – 125 pounds
  • Capacity – 550 pounds

Pros

  • Lots of storage
  • Stable
  • Customizable
  • Built for fishing
  • Comfortable seat

Cons

  • Heavy

Why We Chose It

The Ascend 133X Tournament Sit-On-Top Kayak is big enough to handle almost anything saltwater fishing has to offer.

I love how customizable this kayak is. You can add a Power-Pole Micro to the back, a bow mount trolling motor on the front, and still have room for your fish finder. There are plenty of gear tracks to mount other rod holders and kayaking accessories.

The seat is comfortable enough to sit in all day, and it has a “junk drawer” for storage which is great to throw your lures or trash into while fishing. The worst part about this kayak is its weight. It’s cumbersome, especially when you have additional gear like a trolling motor and/or Power-Pole Micro.

If you need a big fishing kayak, then the Ascend 133X Tournament Sit-On-Top Kayak offers the space and customizability for you!

Reel Yaks 11′ Fishing Pedal Kayak

Reel Yaks 11' Fishing Pedal Kayak

BEST BUDGET-FRIENDLY OCEAN FISHING PEDAL KAYAK

Specs

  • Length – 11 foot
  • Width – 34″
  • Weight – 62lbs
  • Capacity – 500lbs

Pros

  • Pedal or paddle
  • Plenty of storage
  • Lightweight
  • Stable

Cons

  • Low seat height
  • A little small for offshore fishing

Why We Chose It

The Reel Yaks 11′ Fishing Kayak is a pedal or paddle kayak. Pedal kayaks are great for getting to your fishing spot a little faster and less fatigued. There’s also a spot to mount a trolling motor bracket off the side of the kayak so you can use all three types of power to propel your kayak.

Even though it’s a foot less than I’d prefer, there is still plenty of storage on the kayak so that you can bring all of your favorite lures along for the trip. It has six flush mount rod holders and gear tracks for other fishing and kayaking accessories so you can customize it to fit your fishing style.

Because it’s a pedal drive, it’s pretty expensive, but as pedal fishing kayaks go, it’s still an entry-level pedal kayak. The low seat height might make it a little challenging to stand up even though the kayak is stable.

The Reel Yaks 11′ Pedal Fishing Kayak is an excellent way to get introduced into pedal kayaks for ocean fishing because it offers some of the higher-end features at a more affordable price.

BKC TK122U 12′ 6″ Tandem SIt On Top Fishing Kayak

BKC TK122U 12' 6" Tandem Sit On Top Fishing Kayak

BEST TANDEM SALTWATER FISHING KAYAK

Specs

  • Length – 12′ 8″
  • Width – 34″
  • Weight – 74lbs
  • Capacity – 770lbs

Pros

  • Enough room for two adults and a small child
  • Waterproof storage
  • Customizable
  • Multiple rod holders
  • Stable

Cons

  • Low seat height
  • No trolling motor mount

Why We Chose It

The Brooklyn Kayak Company TK122U Sit-On-Top Tandem Fishing Kayak has multiple rod holders and gear tracks, so you and your fishing partner can customize it to fit your styles.

The worst things about the kayak are the low seats and the lack of options for a trolling motor mount. The TK122U is a large kayak with lots of weight capacity and room for storage. The extra length also helps the kayak track or paddle straight.

The kayak is very stable, so you don’t have to worry about rocking it and accidentally knocking the other person into the water. Even though it’s sturdy, I wouldn’t recommend standing up and fishing with another person in the kayak, but if you’re by yourself and have decent balance, you’ll be fine.

The Brooklyn Kayak Company TK122U is the best tandem saltwater fishing kayak because it has more than enough room for two anglers and their gear.

Ocean Kayak Malibu II XL Angler Tandem Sit-On-Top Kayak

Ocean Kayak Malibu II XL Angler Tandem Sit-On-Top Kayak

BEST BUDGET-FRIENDLY TANDEM KAYAK FOR SEA FISHING

Specs

  • Length – 13′ 4″
  • Width – 34″
  • Weight – 74 pounds
  • Capacity – 450 pounds

Pros

  • Lots of room
  • Stable
  • Designed for moderate ocean swells and waves

Cons

  • Not suited for standing
  • Not customizable
  • Low seat height

Why We Chose It

The Ocean Kayak Malibu II XL Angler was designed for the ocean. I would argue it’s a hybrid between a recreational kayak and a fishing kayak.

This kayak has plenty of room for two people, so you shouldn’t have to worry about accidentally snagging the other person while fishing. For the price, and since they call it a fishing kayak, I think there should be some gear tracks for other kayak fishing accessories besides the four rod holders.

The Malibu II XL Angler is stable, but I wouldn’t recommend standing in it and fishing because the kayak floor is not flat because of the built-in foot brace, so standing is a little awkward. The low seat height will also make it difficult to stand.

The Ocean Kayak Malibu II XL Angler is a budget-friendly tandem ocean fishing kayak option that can be paddled solo, so if you have a regular fishing partner, then this kayak is worth checking out!

Wilderness Systems Atak 120 Fishing Kayak

Wilderness Systems Atak 120 Fishing Kayak

FEATURE-RICH OCEAN KAYAK SIT-ON-TOP

Specs

  • Length – 12′ 3″
  • Width – 35″
  • Weight – 85lbs
  • Capacity – 400lbs

Pros

  • Customizable
  • Adjustable seat
  • Lots of storage
  • Stable

Cons

  • Expensive

Why We Chose It

The Wilderness Systems Atak 120 Fishing Kayak has many of the features you’d expect from a high-end fishing kayak.

My favorite feature is how customizable the kayak is, you can place your kayak fishing accessories anywhere you’d like along the gear tracks, and you don’t have to drill holes. The seat even adjusts, so you’re more comfortable while on the water.

This kayak is stable, so not only could you stand and fish, but if you hook a big fish while fishing offshore, this kayak can handle it.

The Wilderness System Atak 120 Fishing Kayak is for the kayak angler looking to upgrade from their beginners’ kayak.

Aquaglide Blackfoot Angler 130 Inflatable Kayak

Aquaglide Blackfoot Angler 130 Inflatable Kayak

Specs

  • Length – 13′
  • Width – 38″
  • Weight – 41 pounds
  • Capacity – 650 pounds

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable seating
  • Lots of storage
  • Easy to transport

Cons

  • Pumps not included
  • Paddle not included

Why We Chose It

The Aquaglide Blackfoot Angler 130 is large enough to handle the ocean waves, yet it’s still packable in the trunk of a car. The great thing about inflatable kayaks, besides how easy they are to transport, is that they can hold a lot more weight than polyethylene kayaks of a similar size.

The seat is the most impressive feature of this kayak. It has storage space underneath for a small tackle box, which I love because it’s easy to get to, and it has a padded seat, while most inflatable kayaks use an inflatable chair.

It comes with a good carrying case with backpack straps. The case can be checked luggage on a flight. It does have a few disappointments, like the lack of an air pump and paddle. So you’ll need to buy an air pump, which I think is quite silly.

The Aquaglide Blackfoot Angler 130 Inflatable Kayak is for anyone looking to add an easy to transport fishing kayak to their collection. It’s great for beginners as long as you remember to buy a pump!

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 Sit-On-Top Kayak

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 Sit-On-Top Kayak

Specs

  • Length – 12 feet
  • Width – 30 inches
  • Weight – 63 pounds
  • Capacity – 350 pounds

Pros

  • Adjustable seat
  • Lots of storage
  • Dog-friendly
  • Customizable
  • Inexpensive for a fishing kayak

Cons

  • Low seat height
  • Not as stable because it’s more narrow
  • The dry box is known to leak

Why We Chose It

Wilderness Systems makes excellent kayaks and kayaking accessories. The Tarpon 120 Sit-on-Top Kayak is no different. While I think a few improvements could be made, this kayak is tough to beat for the price.

I know many people love kayaking with their dogs; I don’t recommend kayak fishing with your dog so that you don’t accidentally hook them, but this kayak is dog-friendly when you’re not fishing, so feel free to bring along your four-legged friend!

Since Wilderness Systems makes kayak fishing accessories, their kayaks are often very customizable, which means you can fish how you want to instead of adjusting to the kayak. I discovered that the dry box has a design flaw and won’t keep everything dry, so don’t put anything in there that can’t get wet.

The Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 is an excellent ocean kayak because of its size and amount of storage space.

Factors To Consider Before Buying The Best Sea Fishing Kayak: Buyer’s Guide

Factors To Consider Before Buying The Best Sea Fishing Kayak: Buyer's Guide

While there are many factors to consider, like price vs. features, there are three main factors you should keep in mind that will matter the most to you when you’re out on the water. They are:

  • Stability
  • Comfort
  • And storage

Let’s dive into these factors a little deeper!

Stability

Stability is essential because it’s a safety concern. Even if you have good balance, you want a stable kayak. Not only so you can stand and fish to stretch your legs, but it also helps in choppy or rough waters; you won’t have to worry about flipping as much as you would with a less stable kayak. The best fishing kayaks are incredibly stable.

Comfort

This is another crucial factor because you’ll be in your kayak for countless hours, so you might as well be comfortable. Otherwise, you probably won’t enjoy it as much and won’t experience the joys of kayak fishing as often as you should!

Fishing kayaks are stepping up their game with comfortable seats, but the chair’s height is another way many could continue to improve the comfort of their kayak.

Today most kayaks are made from polyethylene, which is plastic, so they’re not comfortable to sit in unless you have a well-padded seat with a backrest and footrests. A sit-in Kayak is rarely as comfortable as a sit-on-top kayak because you’re limited on your seating positions.

Storage

fishing kayak storage

You like fishing gear if you’re anything like me, so having ample storage options to bring along that gear is vital. Many fishing kayaks on the market today offer watertight storage hatch and open-air/ bungee storage in the tank well.

There are also aftermarket products that you can purchase to help add more storage compartments to your kayak.

A few kayaks offer under the seat storage space, and I especially love this because it raises the seat height a little, and it doesn’t waste the newly created space that’s already limited on a kayak.

A few other factors that you should consider are:

  • Price
  • Features
  • And customizability

Price

As always, I’m going to recommend you stay within your budget, even if that means sacrificing some features. Most fishing kayaks will cost around $1,500. However, you can find some that are around $1,000, but they won’t be as comfortable or have many of the features of a true fishing kayak.

Features

The best fishing kayaks have several standard features that help them stand out from recreational kayaks. Typically, fishing kayaks have more comfortable seating, rod holders, gear tracks, and places to mount your sonar. They also have handy storage areas for your tackle boxes.

Customizability

Everyone has a unique fishing style, and your kayak should be able to reflect that. You might prefer to fish with or without a trolling motor or change the location of your sonar or where your rod holders are located. The best ocean fishing kayaks allow you to customize your kayak to exactly how you want everything fully.

You’ll Also Need

paddle for fishing kayak

Once you get into kayak fishing, you’ll soon realize there are an unlimited number of cool gadgets you can buy that all claim to make your kayak fishing experience better. While some might, others are gimmicks. The following are items that will help your kayak fishing experience. I know this because they have helped me!

Paddle

Having a paddle should be evident while kayak fishing. I highly recommend having a fishing kayak paddle, even if you choose to run a motor on your kayak. You never know when the batteries will die, or the motor doesn’t want to run.

I run a trolling motor and a gas-powered outboard motor on my kayak at different times, and I always have my paddle with me. It has saved my butt several times when I ran out of battery, gas, or couldn’t get my motor to start.

Life Vest

This is for your safety. I always wear my life jacket while I’m in my kayak. I often fish by myself, so I would be foolish not to wear one, and even when I fish with others, I wear one while in my kayak.

I wrote an article on the best kayak fishing PFD if you need a life vest.

Fishing Rod

rod for fishing kayak

It’s difficult to fish without a rod, but not all rods are kayak friendly. Usually, rods with a longer butt, like a surf rod, are more difficult to fish with while seated in a kayak. When buying a rod for ocean kayak fishing, it needs to be strong and easy to handle in a small space.

Fish Finder

A kayak fish finder is one of the best ways to up your fishing abilities. Unless you’re a tournament kayak angler, you don’t need the latest and greatest sonar. Remember, sonar doesn’t do you any good if you don’t know how to use it properly, so spend some time learning the ins and outs of your fish finder.

Trolling Motor

When I added a trolling motor to my kayak, it completely changed my fishing. I can now go further without getting tired, and I can control my kayak better while fishing.

You need a trolling motor rated for saltwater use while saltwater fishing, so keep that in mind as you check the best kayak trolling motors.

Trolling Motor Battery

If you’re going to run a trolling motor or a fish finder, you’ll need a way to power them. Lithium batteries are currently the best batteries on the market because they’re more powerful yet weigh less than lead-acid batteries. In another article, I help you choose the best trolling motor battery.

Fishing Net

I’ve lost several fish trying to boat flip them into my kayak, so I bought a net. That was one of the best decisions I made to help me land more fish. There are several tremendous nets worth checking out explicitly designed for kayak fishing on the market.

Kayak Friendly Tackle Box

A kayak-friendly tackle box is a must. More than likely, you’ll have several small boxes for different lures. I like to have two boxes that I put everything in that I think I’ll use throughout the day. These boxes are small enough to sit under might seat but large enough to hold nearly everything I’ll need for a day of fishing.

I keep the rest of my stuff in other boxes in my truck and switch out lures as needed. This keeps me from overloading my kayak, but I still have what I should need to catch fish.

One More Cast

Ultimately the best ocean fishing kayak comes down to preference; I prefer the Old Town Sportsman BigWater as the best ocean kayak for fishing because it’s large enough to handle the waves, and you can still easily paddle it.

Suppose you’re on a small budget; the Perception Pescador Pro 12 Kayak is the kayak for you. It’s excellent for beginners because it’s stable and offers many features that enhance the fishing experience.

We love hearing back from you, so if you have any questions, leave them in the comments below, and we will answer them!