The Best Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak From an Experts Viewpoint

Last Updated on June 23, 2022

We independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here.

My goal is to spend several hours in my SOT fishing kayak every week.

Over the last several years, I found what I like and don’t like about sit-on-top kayaks, and I’m going to break it down in this article so you can choose the best one for you.

The Ascend 128X is the best-sit-on-top fishing kayak to cut to the chase because it has all the features you need at a reasonable price.

If you have money burning a hole in your wallet, then the Jackson Kayak 360 Pro Kayak has the most comfortable kayak seat you’ll ever sit in.

Keep scrolling to see the rest of the kayaks!

Comparison Table – Best Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak

Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak Reviews

Ascend 128X

Ascend 128X



  • Length: 12′ 8″
  • Width: 34″
  • Weight: 96lbs
  • Max capacity: 450lbs


  • Built-in Yak-Power system with wiring harness
  • Three power plugs
  • Eight scupper drains
  • Enhanced seating system with a high-back seat
  • Adjustable foot braces


  • Heavy
  • Small dry storage hatch

Why We Chose It

Ascend is the Bass Pro and Cabelas in-house brand. They make high-quality outdoor gear at an affordable price.

The Ascend 128X is surprisingly inexpensive, considering all the incredible features offered by this fishing kayak.

For starters, it has the electrical wires for a trolling motor and/or fishfinder already run, so you won’t have to worry about drilling holes and running the wires yourself.

The three power plugs give you the options you need to choose where you place your kayak trolling motor and fishfinder.

I appreciate the abundance of scupper drains, so this kayak doesn’t hold water; it quickly drains out as long as you don’t have the plugs in the scupper holes.

The seat is very comfortable, essential if you plan to spend hours fishing from it. The adjustable footrests also help you stay comfortable while sitting down.

The kayak’s width is a whopping 34″, which means the kayak will be stable enough to stand and fish from, with no worries about falling into the water when you’re setting the hook.

The biggest drawback to this kayak is its weight. Ninety-six pounds is extremely heavy to be car-topping, so you’ll likely need a trailer to transport this kayak.

There’s also a small amount of dry storage, so you might need a dry bag if you need to bring several items that can’t get wet.

The Ascend 128X is designed for the serious kayak angler at an affordable price. However, if it’s heavier than you want, the BKC PK12 Angler 12-Foot is another viable option.

It comes standard with a trolling motor, and it’s 20-pounds lighter than the Ascend 128X.

The primary downside to the Brooklyn Kayak Company PK12 is the price but keep in mind you’re also getting a trolling motor with it.

Old Town Topwater 106

Old Town Topwater 106 Kayak



  • Length: 10′ 6″
  • Width: 34.5″
  • Weight: 73lbs
  • Max capacity: 440lbs


  • Trusted Old Town brand name
  • Designed for fishing
  • Adjustable seat
  • Incredibly stable
  • Excellent storage options
  • EVA foam deck pads


  • Heavy for a 10ft kayak

Why We Chose It

Old Town is one of the most trusted brands in the watersports industry. They’ve been making quality kayaks and canoes for decades.

The Old Town Topwater 106 is perfect for someone looking for a small fishing kayak.

It has all the features you need in a compact package, making transporting it more manageable.

The main thing I think could be improved is the weight; however, fishing kayaks are known for being heavy, so this isn’t a surprise.

The Topwater 106 is stable and perfect for beginners who might be nervous about tipping it while fishing.

The adjustable seat keeps you comfortable while paddling and fishing and helps make standing easier.

The stability and EVA foam deck pads also make standing to fish a breeze.

The foam pads will keep your feet reasonably comfortable, and the stability will keep you safe in the kayak.

There are plenty of built-in rod holders and storage areas to hold all your gear. The dry storage is at the bow (front), and the bungee storage is at the stern (rear).

I like that the bungee storage has scupper holes to drain the water out when it splashes into the tank well.

The Old Town Topwater 106 is trusted by beginner and expert kayak anglers, and the price is tough to beat.

If you’re still concerned with stability, the Jackson Kayak Bite Angler is two inches wider and only a couple hundred dollars more.

However, it doesn’t have dry storage, and it’s eleven foot six inches long, but it weighs about the same as the Topwater 106.

Perception Pescador Pro 12.0

Perception Pescador Pro 12.0



  • Length: 12′
  • Width: 32.5″
  • Weight: 64lbs
  • Max capacity: 375lbs


  • Easy paddling
  • Lots of storage
  • Adjustable seat
  • Adjustable footrests
  • Keel guard


  • A tiny amount of dry storage
  • A bungee secures the seat.

Why We Chose It

Perception Kayaks makes quality high-density polyethylene (plastic) kayaks for beginner and intermediate paddlers.

The Pescador Pro 12.0 has many advantages to offer the kayak angler with only a couple of disadvantages.

It will be challenging to find another kayak of this size with these features at this price.

It’s designed for fishing which means there are flush-mounted rod holders, gear tracks, and plenty of storage so you can bring along all the gear you need for a day of fishing.

While I’m not overly impressed with the seat design, it is definitely more comfortable than other kayak seats.

Being secured by bungees shouldn’t be that big of a deal while you’re sitting in it.

The Pescador Pro 12 is very limited when it comes to dry storage.

You have enough space for a small battery for a fish finder or your phone, wallet, and keys in the front. While in the back, there’s another small dry storage compartment.

I like the adjustable foot brace system because it helps maintain proper paddling posture no matter your height.

I love that it has a replaceable skid plate on the bottom of the hull; because it increases durability and prolongs the life of the kayak when you drag it along the ground and beach it on rocks or a boat ramp.

The Perception Pescador Pro 12 is an excellent kayak for beginners because it’s reasonably priced and has all the features needed to start fishing.

If you’re searching for a slightly smaller stripped-down kayak, the Perception Access 11.5 might be what you want.

It’s several hundred dollars cheaper because it doesn’t have a seat as comfortable as the Pescador Pro, nor does it have adjustable footrests. It’s great for slow-moving rivers, lakes and ponds, and coastal waters.

Aquaglide Blackfoot Angler 130

Aquaglide Blackfoot Angler



  • Length: 13′
  • Width: 38″
  • Weight: 41lbs
  • Max capacity: 650lbs


  • Lightweight
  • Designed for fishing
  • Easy to transport
  • Comfortable seat
  • Cockpit splash guard


  • Low seat height
  • No dry storage
  • Less than ideal for paddling in the wind

Why We Chose It

Aquaglide makes quality recreational and fishing inflatable kayaks.

Inflatable kayaks are perfect for kayak anglers who don’t have enough room to store a traditional kayak or are looking for an easy-to-transport kayak.

They’re much more durable than blow-up pool toys, but I don’t recommend dragging the Blackfoot Angler 130 across sharp objects.

As the name suggests, this kayak was designed for kayak fishing, so it has several locations to mount fishing rod holders or a fish finder.

The cockpit splash guard should help keep most of the water off of you and out of your kayak; however, you should always prepare to get wet in a kayak.

There is no dry storage on board, so bring a dry bag to keep your items that cant get wet, like your wallet, keys, and phone.

One of the most significant advantages of inflatable kayaks’ design is their stability.

They’re naturally wide, and the air chambers are on the kayak’s sides, only adding to the stability.

Though the seat is padded and adjustable, it sits low to the floor, and most people will find them uncomfortable after paddling and fishing.

The Aquaglide Blackfoot Angler 130 is one of the best inflatable kayaks on the market, regardless of its size.

However, the Sea Eagle FishSUP 126 has a unique design and won’t catch the wind like the Blackfoot Angler 130.

It’s genuinely a standup paddleboard designed for fishing. It has a removable seat, optional rod holders, and a motor mount.

At 12-foot long and 500 maximum weight capacity, you can bring a friend or haul all the gear you’ll ever need.

Elkton Outdoors Steelhead 130

Elkton Outdoors Steelhead 130



  • Length: 10′ 10″
  • Width: 39.5″
  • Weight: 40lbs
  • Max capacity: 400lbs


  • Lightweight
  • Designed for fishing
  • Front bow spray shield
  • Rigid drop-stitch floor
  • Saltwater compatible


  • No dry storage
  • It doesn’t handle well in the wind
  • Less than an ideal seat

Why We Chose It

The Elkton Steelhead 130 is a reasonably priced inflatable fishing kayak.

While inflatable kayaks are not my first choice for fishing, they’re an excellent choice for those who need a lightweight and easy-to-store kayak.

The downsides to the Elkton Outdoors Steelhead 130 are there’s no dry storage, so don’t bring anything that can’t get wet, the wind will blow you around because it’s so lightweight, and the sides are tall, and the seat is not comfortable.

Some features try to combat the disadvantages, like the spray shield. It’s designed to keep as much water out of the kayak as possible.

I like the sturdy floor because it’s stable enough to stand and fish if you can manage to get to your feet.

As long as you rinse it off after every use in brackish or saltwater, it should last you a long time.

I also like that this kayak comes with almost everything you’ll need to safely get on the water, a paddle, an air pump, a fin, and a carrying case.

The Steelhead 130 has plenty of room for storage and five locations for rod holders or a fish finder; these simple features help it to be one of the best inflatable fishing kayaks.

The Advanced Elements StraitEdge Angler PRO is another 10-foot option. It has an aluminum rail to mount your fishing accessories and a more comfortable seat.

However, the seat is low to the floor, and there’s not as much storage space. The StraitEdge Angler Pro is also more expensive than the Steelhead 130.

Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 100

Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 100



  • Length: 10′
  • Width: 32″
  • Weight: 57lbs
  • Max capacity: 375lbs


  • Inexpensive
  • Lots of waterproof storage
  • Easy to paddle
  • Adjustable seat
  • Designed for fishing


  • Low seat height

Why We Chose It

It’s challenging to find a fishing kayak under $1000, but Vibe Kayaks managed to price the Yellowfin 100 for much less than $1000.

It has all the features that beginner kayak anglers will need in an easy to paddle kayak.

There’s plenty of water resitant storage in the front for your valuables and the gear tracks, plus the bungee storage in the back means you can bring along all your fishing gear for the day.

The seat is adjustable, which makes it a little more comfortable, but it sits low, and it’s secured by a couple of small bungees.

It also uses a bungee to hold your paddle when you need it out of the way. There’s a paddle holder and two flush-mount rod holders on either kayak side.

The hull design lends it to being easy to paddle and a great kayak for river fishing.

For the price it’s tough to beat the Vibe Yellowfin 100.

The Wilderness Systems Targa 100 tries, but it’s more expensive, and it’s not designed for kayak fishing like the Yellowfin 100.

The Targa also has lots of dry storage and is easy to paddle because of its size.

However, it lakes gear tracks and rod holders, which makes hauling your fishing accessories much more difficult.

Jackson Kayak 360 Pro Blue Sky Boatworks

Jackson Kayak 360 Pro



  • Length: 13′ 4″
  • Width: 48″
  • Weight: 140lbs
  • Max capacity: 500lbs


  • Stable
  • Most comfortable seat
  • Designed for fishing
  • Wide-open deck
  • Foam deck padding


  • Heavy
  • Expensive
  • Difficult to transport and store
  • Challenging to paddle

Why We Chose It

Jackson Kayak is known for making high-quality kayaks. They’re a brand you can count on to stand behind their products.

While the BlueSky Boatworks 360 Pro looks like a mini-pontoon, we classify it as a kayak because it’s a plastic boat with a limited space.

You’re not going to find a more comfortable kayak seat than the one on this kayak. It sits up high, it’s adjustable, and it has armrests.

The pontoon-style design makes it incredible stable.

Though the pontoon style makes it awkward to paddle, you can easily add a trolling motor and use it instead of paddling.

I like that they added the transport cart to make it easier to load and unload; however, it’s still 140 pounds, so you’ll need a trailer to haul it.

I love the expansive open deck. It gives it a bass boat feel, yet your on a small boat.

The foam padding on the deck makes standing for hours easier on your knees and feet.

The storage is out of the way but secure and easily accessible, but there’s no bungee storage.

If you’re interested in the Jackson Kayak 360 Pro, be prepared to spend a lot of money because it’s not cheap.

The Classic Accessories Colorado Pontoon Boat is a much cheaper option because it’s inflatable and doesn’t have a deck, so be prepared to get your feet wet.

It does have a trolling motor mount and several storage compartments.

The chair is a Jon boat seat, so it’s not adjustable, and they’re not known for being overly comfortable, but this is also 1/10 the price of the 360 Pro.

Lifetime Kayaks Kenai Angler

Lifetime Kayaks Kenai Angler



  • Length: 10′ 3″
  • Width: 31″
  • Weight: 53lbs
  • Max capacity: 275lbs


  • Inexpensive
  • Designed with fishing in mind
  • Dry storage
  • It comes with a paddle
  • Easy to paddle


  • No gear tracks
  • Uncomfortable seat
  • Low-quality carry handles

Why We Chose It

Lifetime Kayaks make inexpensive kayaks, so it makes sense they’re considered our budget-friendly kayaks.

Since the Kenai Angler is under $500, most people can justify purchasing it.

Remember that the more money you “save,” the more features you’re giving up.

This kayak has rod holders, so you can say they were at least thinking about anglers when they designed it; however, that’s all the fishing features it offers.

It does not have gear tracks, so to mount additional rod holders or a fish finder, you will have to drill holes in your kayak, which I’m not a fan of doing.

The Kenai Angler has lots of bungee storage and a dry storage area, so you can bring your tackle boxes and items that need to stay dry.

The seat is another area where they cut costs, the backrest is adjustable, but the thin foam and low height will quickly get uncomfortable while fishing.

I prefer to have carry handles that are secured to my kayak by more than just a rope, but this isn’t the end of the world because other high-end kayaks still do this with their handles.

The Lifetime Kayaks Kenai Angler is best for someone on a tight budget, but you still want to go kayak fishing.

Another option is the slightly more costly Pelican Mist 100XP Angler. Two things make this a better choice, the more comfortable chair, and the adjustable foot braces.

However, it does not have dry storage, and it’s more expensive despite having similar handles and rod holders.

So if you need the dry storage, the Kenai Angler is for you, while if you prefer a more comfortable seat, the Pelican Mist 100XP Angler will be the kayak you want to check out.

Hobie Mirage Passport 12

Hobie Mirage Passport 12



  • Length: 12′
  • Width: 34″
  • Weight: 73lbs
  • Max capacity: 400lbs


  • Pedal power
  • Designed for fishing
  • Comfortable seat
  • Lots of storage


  • Expensive

Why We Chose It

Hobie makes the highest-quality, most advanced watercraft and kayaks on the market.

The Mirage Passport 12 is no exception.

With the patented Hobie MirageDrive pedal propulsion system, you can quickly get to your fishing spots and still have the energy to fish.

I love that pedaling keeps your hands free to fish, unlike paddling. The only times you need your hands is to switch from forward to reverse or vice versa and to steer.

The Kick-Up fins are designed for those times when you don’t see a log or rock, and instead of breaking, they kick up to get over the obstacle and then quickly reset to keep going.

The rudder will also kick up if you hit anything with it.

While testing this kayak, I could do circles in an area not much larger than the kayak. So if you need a tight turning kayak, the Mirage Passport is the one.

The Mirage Passport 12 has rod holders, gear tracks, and lots of storage for your fishing tackle.

The adjustable mesh seat will keep you relaxed and comfortable while pedaling and fishing.

The reason everyone doesn’t own a Hobie is because of its prices. Hobie makes excellent kayaks, but you will pay a high price for any of them.

The Hobie Mirage Passport 12 is the best pedal fishing kayak if you can get past the sticker shock.

Believe it or not, the Old Town Sportsman Salty PDL 120 is slightly more expensive, but it has instant forward and reverse, unlike the Mirage Passport.

Another reason it’s expensive is that it’s designed for saltwater use, so it has corrosion-resistant materials in the PDL.

The seat is comfortable, and there’s plenty of storage.

If you’re a brackish or saltwater angler, the Sportsman Salty PDL 120 should be at the top of your purchasing list.

Ascend 10T

Ascend 10T



  • Length: 10′
  • Width: 31″
  • Weight: 67lbs
  • Max capacity: 325lbs


  • Rotomolded
  • Designed for fishing
  • Lots of storage area
  • Adjustable seat
  • Several gear tracks


  • No bungee storage and minimal dry storage
  • Stability issues
  • It takes on more water than it should

Why We Chose It

For a fishing kayak under $1000, the Ascend 10T has all the features that you could want.

The flush-mount rod holders keep your poles out of the way while you’re paddling or using a different rod.

You can add more rod holders or a fish find using the gear tracks, and there’s plenty of storage area; however, you will need a rope to run through the D-rings in the front and back to secure your tackle.

The dry storage compartment is small, so leave most items that need to stay dry on the shore.

This kayak is easy to paddle, but it’s a little tipsy compared to other Ascend kayaks.

It also takes on more water than it should, even when you’re not close to the maximum weight limit.

The rotomolded design makes it more durable than thermoformed kayaks because there’s no seam to split apart.

The Ascend 10T has a comfortable mesh seat which allows your back to breathe so you’re not as sweaty.

If this kayak isn’t your cup of tea, check out the Ocean Kayak Venus 11 to see a recreational kayak in the same price range.

However, the Venus 11 doesn’t have many of the fishing kayak features that the 10T has to make your fishing trips even more enjoyable.

The main advantage the Venus has is the larger dry storage locations.

Ascend 12T

Ascend 12T



  • Length: 12′
  • Width: 31″
  • Weight: 77lbs
  • Max capacity: 350lbs


  • Lots of storage
  • Comfortable, removable seat
  • Designed for fishing


  • Heavy
  • It takes on more water than it should

Why We Chose It

You will rarely find a 12-foot kayak for under $1000. The Ascend 12T is loaded with fishing features and under $1000.

It has lots of storage options for your gear, including waterproof storage. There’s enough room to bring a small cooler for snacks and beverages.

The gear tracks along the edge are best for a fish finder, but an additional rod holder can also go there.

The flush-mount rod holders are behind the seat and keep your fishing poles out of the way as you’re paddling and fishing.

The padded seat is removable so that you can use it as a camp chair, but it’s difficult to get back into place, and it’ll make you sweat more than a mesh chair.

I’m glad it has a few scupper holes because it takes on a lot of water when you encounter a wave.

I recommend using a trailer to transport this kayak because it’s heavy. You need two people to car-top it safely.

Overall, it will be tough to find a kayak of this size and amount of features for a price comparable to the Ascend 12T.

The Reel Yaks Fishing Pedal Kayak isn’t comparable in price, but it has additional features the 12T doesn’t have available.

It is a pedal drive instead of a paddle only, and it has more flush-mount rod holders, more dry storage, and a similar seat.

So if those added features are worth paying twice as much for then, the Reel Yaks Pedal Fishing Kayak is the one you should check out.

SOT Fishing Kayak Buyer’s Guide

The following features are things to keep in mind when purchasing a sit-on-top fishing kayak. These are my preferences when I buy a new fishing kayak.

SOT Fishing Kayak Buyer's Guide


I want a stable kayak. It’s a safety factor, and it keeps all my gear in the kayak where it belongs instead of on the bottom of the lake or river.

Having a kayak that you can stand up and fish from is ideal for long fishing days. Plus, it often gives you a better vantage point to see potential catches.


Maneuverability doesn’t matter as much in a SOT kayak as it does with a sit-in kayak, but it still matters, especially if you’re fishing rivers.

You need to be able to maneuver your kayak to get the perfect cast to catch more fish.


kayak fishing fishability

Was the kayak designed for fishing, or is it a recreational kayak with rod holders slapped on it?

Fishing kayaks are more versatile than other styles of kayaks, but they’re also heavier.

The fishability of a kayak often comes down to storage options, comfortability of the seat, stability, and the availability of gear tracks.


We all have a unique way of fishing. Can your kayak match your style? Or do you have to conform to your kayak?

I prefer kayaks that I can customize to my style of fishing.


You’re likely going to spend hours in this kayak at a time; make sure it’s comfortable.

Otherwise, your fishing experience will be overshadowed by a sore back and rear end.

You’ll Also Need

Now that you’ve bought a new fishing kayak, you’ll need a few other items to stay safe and have even more fun.

Rigging your kayak can be almost as fun as fishing from it!


kayak fishing PFD

I never leave the bank without my lifejacket secured. It’s not worth the risk, and I’m a decent swimmer.

Don’t skip our best kayak fishing PFD article if you need a life vest; we reviewed the top lifejackets designed for kayak fishing.


kayak fishing paddle

I was surprised the first time I bought a kayak, and it didn’t come with a paddle. I just spent over $1000, and it doesn’t come with a paddle?

Sit-on-top kayaks often require a longer paddle. If you’re confused about what paddle to get, we have a comprehensive guide to choosing the best kayak paddle.

Fish Finder

I recommend learning how to fish without a fish finder. That way, you’re not dependent on a single piece of gear.

Once you’ve figured out the basics of fishing, you can choose the best kayak fish finder.

Last Cast

Few things in life are better than catching fish from a kayak.

Having the best sit-on-top fishing kayak like the Ascend 128X will make kayak fishing even more enjoyable.

We’re all on a budget, so if you’re like me and don’t have an unlimited fishing budget, you might want to check out the Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 100 because it’s under $1000.

We love hearing from you, so if you think we left off the best SOT kayak, then let us know in the comments!