3 Best Sit In Fishing Kayaks

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Hey there my fellow fishing enthusiasts. Today, for those looking to get themselves setup with a nice fishing kayak that you can sit inside of, I have had a good look around and come up with my 3 best sit in fishing kayaks to slide into this year. Sit in kayaks are not as prevalent when if comes to kayak fishing however for those who like the extra protection they offer, then there are options for you here.

The popularity of sit on top models is mainly due to the fact that they are easier to move around on when fishing and have more space to keep all of your fishing ‘stuff’. However, there are a few that prefer the sit in models due to the fact that they tend to track a little better and for their protection against the elements – especially in the cold. So grab yourself a nice cold beverage and a snack and let’s see if we can get you started on a nice sit in fishing kayak for a nice price…

My 3 recommended sit in fishing kayaks

I will review these in more detail below but if you just want to get moving without all the carry on, my 3 are listed here for your convenience:

02/18/2024 04:37 am GMT Lasso Brag

What should you be looking for?

Ok, so in general, my number one rule when it comes to getting into a kayak that is suitable for fishing is that as a minimum, they must have one thing above all others – rod holders. Most will have other options – which we will run through below – however if they don’t have rod holders (or a bracket to add one) then they are not really a fishing kayak. Of course these can be added as a DIY modification later on, but we are talking about off the shelf fishing options here. So with that in mind, let’s run through the rest of it below:

Types of Kayaks

In terms of kayaks, there are three main types that you may be interested in looking at. These are:

1. Sit in Kayaks

Let’s start with these as this is what we are discussing in this post. These are the ones where you sit inside the kayak (via the little ‘cockpit’ at the top). They can be just as effective for fishing as the sit on top models and work well in areas with stronger current. They do tend to be narrower and longer making them a little faster across the water however this makes them a little less manoeuvrable as well.

Most move around with paddles and do hold the added advantage of offering more protection from water spray etc. making them good for those fishing in colder climates. However, they do lack the on-top storage and access capability of their sit on top cousins.

Best Sit In Fishing Kayaks - man in sit in kayak

2. Sit on Top kayak

As the name suggests, these are the style that you sit on top of as you paddle along. As discussed above, sit on top kayaks tend to be the popular choice for fishing as they are generally wider and more stable than some of the others as well as giving you the ability to swing a rod 360 degrees around the vessel with ease. On the downside, there is no protection from the water (you will get a wet backside) and they are also generally slow moving.

Most move about via the traditional paddle method however the higher end models also have foot peddles and hand held rudders to make fishing a little easier.

3. Inflatable Kayaks

Again as the name suggests, inflatable kayaks are pumped up for use and come in both sit on or sit in options. Many do come with fishing capabilities and can definitely be used in this capacity. They are also very good where storage and transportation space is limited (I.e. you don’t have a roof rack or trailer on which to carry the hard plastic versions).


In addition to the three main type of kayaks outlined above, there are a number of variations that you can look into as well. So as you start to look into the type of kayak you would be looking to purchase, the first thing to consider is where you will be using them. Think about:

  • Water type – Will you be on a lake, in an estuary or on the open sea? Check the recommended usage locations for any model that you are thinking about.
  • Current – Estuaries generally are susceptible to tidal currents – if these are strong then a longer, sit in model might suit better if you have to paddle a distance to get to where you want to fish.
  • Hazards – Some water locations (especially lakes) contain hazards such as rocks and fallen trees etc. which whilst generally do not bother a kayak as they may a faster moving motor boat, they are still something to be aware of. Longer, narrower kayak models are not as easy to turn around between rocks and/or trees in the water as the sit on top flatter models.
  • Rapids – Look, if your kayak is built for fishing, it is probably not going to perform too well in any environment where there are rapids to deal with – such as a river, stream and upper reaches of an estuary. In all honesty, I would be looking at converting a more appropriate vessel to allow for fishing if you were looking at spending a bit of time within these areas although a sit in model will definitely handle these conditions a little better.

There is more to this but from the point of view of fishing from a kayak, as long as none of the above are too extreme, then you should be ok in any model. At the end of the day, the main question to ask yourself is whether you need to more balance or more speed to be able to manoeuvre around your chosen waterway.

Species of fish being chased

Another consideration to think about is the type of fish that you will be chasing. Again, this is mainly about balance and manoeuvrability. If, for example you are chasing fast moving surface fish with a lure, then you may need to move quickly to get to where they are. Alternatively, those of you looking to drift along in the current with your bait or lure bouncing along the bottom, then slower moving, wider kayaks will suit.


Kayaks, like most other floating devices, come in a range of lengths starting at around 8 ft up to 13 – 14ft. Depending on the environmental and fish factors we have discussed above, you may consider the following:

Short craft (8 – 9ft) – The shorter the craft, the easier it is to turn however not the fastest thing you will ever sit in. It will also not hold a glide over the water for very long and is very susceptible to anything other than flat water. Very good for lakes etc. where waters are not rough and manoeuvrability around trees and rocks etc. is required or estuaries with minor currents (like the one I fish in).

Medium craft (10 – 12ft) – In my research, I have found may articles where this is considered the perfect length. They can handle rougher water whilst maintaining stability with a little more speed. They are a little harder to manoeuvre than the short craft but a little faster with better water glide (a.k.a. tracking) to keep the craft moving forward with momentum. The perfect length for those looking to fish in a number of areas and/or environmental factors.

Long craft (13ft+) – If speed a must, or are you planning to do a bit on the open ocean, then I would suggest a longer kayak option. Manoeuvrability and turning is a problem here (think Titanic) however but if you are chasing fast fish – or need to travel larger distances to get to the fishing grounds – then good length is a must.


Width also plays a role here but to be honest, I have always looked at length as my main factor (other may disagree so please comment below if you do). In short though, the wider the craft, the more stable it will be on the water. Narrower boats tend to be faster and maybe a little more manoeuvrable (longer boats however still will not turn as well as shorter ones).

what to look for in a fishing kayak - sit in fishing

Fishing assistance

Again, if you are looking at a kayak and it doesn’t have at least some rod holders, then it is not a fishing kayak. Remember that with a sit in kayak, there is only really a certain amount of space and fishing does generally need a little bit of equipment such as a rod (obviously), bait and a knife at a minimum. So regardless of the width or length, look for a kayak with the following:

  • Rod holders – in my opinion a must for a fishing kayak – even if these are the only fishing related options on the vessel. I mean, where do you put your rod when you are paddling otherwise?
  • Storage – preferably with a dry bag but at the very least somewhere to store your extra tackle, water, cell phone and car keys etc. – even the smaller length craft will normally have at least one of these.
  • Bait cavity – These are little sections in the top of the kayak where you can put your bait (some are round for drinks as well). These are not critical (and not common in sit in models) but very nice to have.
  • Netted storage – These are generally located at the very front or back of the kayak where you can put larger stuff such as a life jacket (if not mandatory to wear), tackle bags, drink coolers and so on…

The number and setup of these will obviously vary from kayak to kayak dependent upon the length (where they can fit more in), and price paid. For a good sit in fishing kayak however I would be expecting some of the above at the very least.


Is a sit in or sit on kayak better?

Is a sit in or sit on kayak better?

It really depends. Sit on kayaks are generally thought to be best for fishing as they provide for more room and stability. However a sit in kayak provides for extra protection and warmth and are also a little better if you wish to travel longer distances to your fishing spot

What is the best size kayak for a beginner?

For a beginner, stick to around 8 to 10″ as they are the most stable and easier to paddle.

What is the most stable kayak to buy?

Sit on kayaks are generally considered to be more stable on the water – especially when fishing. However they are not as easy to maneuver around structure etc.

My three recommendations broken down

So based on the information above, and my own experience, I recommend the following options:

1. Lifetime Payette Sit-Inside Angler Kayak

This first one is a very basic model that would work well for those looking to mix fishing with just plain recreational paddling. It doesn’t have the features of many others however its good tracking length and lightweight design make it perfect for beginners (or those who need a lighter model for transport purposes). Specifications as follows:

  • Construction: UV-protected high-density Polyethylene
  • Length: 11.6 ft
  • Rod Holders: 2 flush mounted and 1 swivel
  • Dry Storage: 1 behind seat
  • Bait cavities: No
  • Netted Storage: 1 at front

Other inclusions:

  • Lightweight 44lb
  • Sharp keel for speed and tracking
  • Elastic paddle holder on side
  • 250lb capacity

Why have I chosen it?

I like this one purely for its lightweight design and ease of use for those looking to either get started with kayak fishing and/or just be able to ‘throw’ it on top of the car for a leisurely recreational paddle. At just over 11.6ft it is suited most water conditions with great stability and manoeuvrability. It’s strong blow-molded high-density polyethylene (HDPE) hull design also means it will stand up to all those minor ‘dings’ that come with fishing in rocky or coral covered areas.

The only issue with this one is that there is no paddle included but you can get one below:

2. Pelican Recreational Sit-in Kayak

This next one does sail dangerously close to my non-fishing model due to the lack of rod holders however as there are brackets for them I will let it slide through. My reasons for choosing it however is that it’s longer, narrower design makes it perfect for those who need to travel a little further to their fishing holes – or if currents are quite strong. Its specs include:

  • Composition: RAM-X PREMIUM high molecular weight polyethylene with resin cover
  • Length: 10 ft
  • Rod Holders: None – brackets however located in front of cockpit
  • Dry Storage: 1 behind seat
  • Bait cavities: Indented ledge at front of cockpit
  • Netted Storage: 1 at front

Other inclusions:

  • Lightweight 42lb
  • ERGOCOAST portable seating system
  • Elastic paddle holder on side
  • 300lb capacity

Why have I chosen it?

This is a good sit in fishing kayak for a good price. Its Polyethylene sharp keel design makes it a master of speed, tracking and stability suited to many locations including fast currents making it a good option should the fishing holes be a little further away from the launch point. It is also lightweight (42lb) with good space for fishing and storage. This is a kayak suitable for beginners and experienced fishermen alike.

Sadly again, no paddle included however.

3. Ascend FS10 Sit-In Angler Kayak

best sit in kayaks for fishing - ascend FS10

I have chosen this final one based on the fact that even though it is a sit in model, it is almost a hybrid with some other inclusion most often found on the sit on top vessels as well. It is the perfect fishing model with protection from the elements with all of the manoeuvrability and comfort required for a long day on the water. Specifications as follows:

  • Construction: High density linear polyethylene
  • Length: 10 ft
  • Rod Holders: 2 flush mounted with mounting rails on side as well
  • Dry Storage: 1 small on a front of cockpit
  • Bait cavities: 1 cavity and 1 drink holder
  • Netted Storage: 1 at back with well storage for coolers, crates etc. and 1 at front

Other inclusions:

  • “V”-style hull design – extended keel with aggressive strakes and performance rocker
  • Deluxe removable seating system
  • Elastic paddle holders on both sides
  • Hands-free, adjustable foot braces
  • 325lb capacity

Why have I chosen it?

Quite simply, this is a great option with all the advantages of the sit on top models incorporated into a sit in kayak. It is perfectly suited to many locations such as estuaries, lakes and running rivers alike as well as being easily manoeuvrable with a lot of extras not usually found on a vessel of this type. All in all it is a good, solid kayak for beginners and experienced fishermen alike.

02/18/2024 04:37 am GMT Lasso Brag


And there it is – my 3 best sit in fishing kayaks to slide into this year. I hope it has been helpful and as usual, please let me know of your experiences with them.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time

Have fun


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Hi, I'm Paul

I am a passionate fishing, camping and four wheeled driving hobbyist who researches, tests and educates around issues and equipment relevant to them.

I am by no means a professional however my passion is to assist you in making informed decisions about buying and using awesome gear that will give you the best chance of success at whatever you are doing for the best price.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.