3 Best High End Fishing Kayaks

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Hey there my fellow fishing enthusiasts and welcome to my post discussing my 3 best high end fishing kayaks for some quality action in 2021. These are the kayaks that have it all making them suitable for those either looking to upgrade, or simply want to get started with the best from the beginning.

To be honest, there are some kayak options that do not cost a fortune and definitely do what they are needed to do in both a river and ocean environment. However if you want something with all the bells and whistles right from the start, then grab yourself a nice cold beverage and a snack and let’s see if we can present some good high end kayak fishing options to you here…

My 3 recommended high end 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:

 High End Fishing KayakPriceGet it
high end fishing kayaks - BKC RA220BKC RA220 11.5Ft Solo Angler Fishing Kayak$CURRENT PRICE
high end fishing kayaks - BKC PK13BKC PK13 13′ Pedal Drive Fishing Kayak$$CURRENT PRICE
high end fishing kayaks - Old Town Sportsman AutoPilotOld Town Sportsman AutoPilot Kayak$$$CURRENT PRICE

What should you be looking for?

high end fishing kayaks - pedal kayak

Ok, so when it comes to base model fishing kayaks, there are a number of inclusions that I have always discussed that are an absolute necessity. Firstly, to be considered a fishing kayak, in my opinion it needs to have rod holders at the very least. Additionally, I would really like to see storage slots (usually by way of elastic nets) and dry pockets as well. In terms of a top end kayak then, we are going to rightfully assume that these are there (in numbers) as standard – I mean why would you pay top dollar for it otherwise?

However, in those base fishing models, we often add a number of modifications to our vessels to increase usability and make things just a little easier when out on the water. It is these modifications and inclusions that should come as standard on a high end model. So let’s run through these below…

The basics

I am not going to run through these in great detail however if I am going to pay extra for a fishing kayak, I would be wanting to make sure that the following basics are covered:

  • Rod holders – Flush mounted rod holders are a must – I like 4 but at least two with options for more is good.
  • Dry storage compartments – Again, most fishing kayaks contain some dry cavity storage sections. On high end models I would like to see at least two or three with at least one of larger size that can be converted to a bait holder etc.
  • Deck storage – These are the elastic/bungee strap covered sections that can hold larger tools and tackle boxes etc. On the higher end models these need to be large enough to hold such requirements as a live bait well, cooler or the like as well.

Length

Kayaks, like most other floating devices, come in a range of lengths starting at around 8 ft up to 13 – 14ft. However if you are looking at a high end model, the fact that they are designed to include extra additions as standard, we can expect them to be a little longer. Expect then for your high end model to fit into the following:

10 – 12ft – This length 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 11 – 12ft models are the perfect length for those looking to fish in a number of areas and/or environmental factors.

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13ft+ – 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. Longer models often come with foot pedals with the ability to hold a bit more gear which can definitely come in handy if the conditions change quickly – which, as mentioned above, is what we are looking for in a high end model.

high end fishing kayaks - man with kayak

Extra Additions

Ok, so here is where we start to look at the bells and whistles that we can expect in a high end fishing kayak model. These are the options that I was referring to above that many of us add to our base models and include:

  • Seats – Whilst this is an inclusion in many basic models, the high end models should include a good ‘picnic’ style seat that is mounted onto rails on the side allowing for adjustment and removal if needed. These seats provide extra comfort and dryness as they are elevated out of any water that may sit in the seat mould underneath. Some seats also have extra rod or tool holders on the back as well.
  • Rudder – Rudders on a fishing kayak provide extra steering capabilities and reduce the need for corrective paddling whilst the rod is in your hand. In addition, if you are on a waterway with strong cross currents and/or winds, a rudder will assist in keeping the kayak on course as you move about.
  • Foot pedals – Foot peddles provide an alternate method in which to propel the vessel forward without the need to paddle. This is great for those who like to troll a lure or move around a bit whilst fishing as you can continuously do so without having to put the paddle in your hands. And of course, foot pedals are way more effective if you need to cover long distances to get to your favourite fishing spot.
  • Trolling motor – These are small battery powered motors that can be attached to kayaks and are designed to provide slow, steady and silent movement. In short, kayak trolling motors provide the following advantages for kayak fishing:
    • Faster movement to fishing spots (especially against gentle currents).
    • Remove the need to constantly paddle.
    • Can allow for greater trolling abilities (specially if chasing larger, faster moving surface fish with lures).
    • Good for those with injuries or disabilities.
  • Bait/fish keeper 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 however on a high end model, I would like to see at least one area where I could keep all of this stuff.
  • Space for a fishfinderFish finders are extremely effective for kayak fishing however most base models don’t have the space or mountings to install them. Larger models should often have unit and sensor mounts built in as well.
  • Mount rails – As with the fish finder above, one distinct advantage for a high end kayak is the inclusion of mount rails on each side. These allow for extra accessories to be added simply without the need for extra drilling such as:
    • Fish finder mounts
    • GoPro mounts
    • Extra rod holders
    • Bait holders
    • Cutting trays
    • And so on…
  • Standing platform – One advantage of the extra length included on a high end kayak to fit in the above is the extra length meaning they can also often incorporate a standing platform too. This is of particular interest to Bass fisherman however the ability to stand on the vessel is great for those cast and retrieve motions as well.

My three recommendations broken down

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

1. BKC RA220 11.5Ft Solo Angler Fishing Kayak

This first one is a good step up from a basic model that would work well for those looking to fish in both estuaries and on the ocean. It doesn’t have the features of some of the others however in the high end category however its lightweight design and stability make it perfect for fisherman of all levels. Specifications as follows:

  • Length: 11.5 ft
  • Rod Holders: 2 flush mounted and 1 single articulating in centre
  • Storage: 3 Water proof hatches and bungee cargo tie down at back
  • Seat: Raised seat on aluminum base
  • Rudder: Pedal operated rudder
  • Foot Pedals: For rudder only
  • Trolling Motor: No
  • Fish finder: No – but has space for mounting
  • Mount rails: Yes – on both sides
  • Standing Platform: Not specific but study enough to stand in

Other inclusions:

  • Dual paddle holders – elastic
  • 34 inch beam for stability
  • Supports up to 550lb
  • Space for cooler/rod box at back

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 or upgrade from their current model. At 11.5ft it is definitely suited to both open water and estuaries with great stability and tracking. Its 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 corally areas as well.


2. BKC PK13 13′ Pedal Drive Fishing Kayak

Whilst this next one probably doesn’t have the storage and live bait capabilities of the first model above, it is foot pedal powered giving it the advantage of cast and retrieve whilst moving around or getting to fishing grounds a bit further afar. It does however add extra stability and non-slip surfaces to allow for stand up angling with a hand controlled rudder to keep things running straight. Its seat is also adjustable to maintain paddling comfort with space at the back that could easily hold a cooler box as well. Its specs include:

  • Length: 13 ft
  • Rod Holders: 3 flush mounted
  • Storage: 1 large waterproof hatch and bungee cargo tie down at back
  • Seat: Raised, adjustable seat on aluminum base
  • Rudder: Hand operated rudder
  • Foot Pedals: Yes – with instant reverse
  • Trolling Motor: No – but has space for mounting
  • Fish finder: No – but has space for mounting
  • Mount rails: No – Plates for addition on both sides however
  • Standing Platform: Moulded deck to allow for support when standing

Other inclusions:

  • Paddle holder with elastic cord
  • Supports up to 550lb
  • Space for cooler/rod box at back
  • Front hatch includes drainage hole with plug to allow for ice/bait holding
  • Elastic on side for anchor attachment

Why have I chosen it?

This is a good, well-equipped kayak that will handle most environments for a fairly good price. Its UV-Protected High-Density Polyethylene moulded bottom design makes it a master of stability suited to many locations whilst still maintaining good tacking for longer distance travel should the fishing grounds be a little further away from the launch point. This is a kayak suitable for beginners and experienced fishermen alike and could also work in larger estuaries and lakes too.


3. Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot Kayak

high end fishing kayaks - Old town side view

With my last choice here we are going to look at a higher end model that not only includes foot pedals and a rudder but a Minn Kota trolling motor as well. These additions are great for those who wish to ‘drift’ around on a large lake, coral reef or rocky shelf as they can move back and forth without having to constantly pick up a paddle. It also contains a larger storage and mounting options to easily accommodate a fish finder with slip proof standing capabilities as well. Specifications as follows:

  • Length: 12 ft
  • Rod Holders: 4 flush mounted
  • Storage: Under seat tackle box, bungee storage at back, small dry hatch at very front
  • Seat: Raised, adjustable seat on aluminum base
  • Rudder: Foot operated rudder
  • Foot Pedals: Yes – for rudder only
  • Trolling Motor: Minn Kota Trolling motor with Spot-Lock, AutoPilot, and I-Pilot remote
  • Fish finder: No – but has space for mounting
  • Mount rails: Four x 18″ on front and back
  • Standing Platform: Nonslip EVA foam deck pads

Other inclusions:

  • Shallow-water anchor mount
  • Supports up to 400lbs
  • Custom tackle box included
  • Elastic water bottle holders behind seat
  • More than enough room for cooler box and rod box

Why have I chosen it?

From my research and experience, this is the Rolls Royce of kayaks. The fully installed trolling motor and rudder control make it a perfectly suited to any fishing location such as estuaries, lakes and the ocean as well. It is perfect for standing with the ability to attach any other accessories you may need with ease. This is a great, solid kayak for beginners and experienced fishermen alike. Perhaps the only downfall here is the lack of dry storage space however in terms of all round use, this is definitely outweighed by everything else.

Conclusion

And there it is – my 3 best high end fishing kayaks for some quality action in 2021. 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

Paul

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Hi, I'm Paul

I am a passionate fishing hobbyists who researches, tests and educates around issues and equipment relevant to fishing.

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

Please get in touch if you have any questions.

Paul

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