Kayaking has a long-standing history with fishing, dating back to the ancient times when it was essential for survival. Today, kayaking is more of a recreational activity, enjoyed for leisure and fitness purposes. If you are looking for a stable and functional kayak that can serve as your companion on the water, an inflatable fishing kayak is a great option. But, with so many great models available, it can be challenging to choose the right one for your needs.
Fishing kayaks are very similar to regular kayaks, but they offer some additional features that set them apart. They come in various designs and styles, allowing anglers to explore remote areas that were once inaccessible to larger motorized boats.
Best Inflatable Fishing Kayaks of 2023：our choice
|Best Overall||Sea Eagle 385FT FastTrack|
|Best Value||Sea Eagle 350FX Inflatable Fishing Explorer Kayak|
|Best Budget||Elkton Outdoors Steelhead Inflatable Fishing Kayak|
For those who plan to spend extended periods of time on the water, fishing kayaks are a great option for comfort and convenience. However, they can be challenging to transport. That’s where inflatable kayaks come in. They require minimal storage space and are easy to transport in a car. As a result, an increasing number of fly fishermen and women are choosing inflatable kayaks over traditional hard-shell kayaks.
1.Sea Eagle 385FT FastTrack
- Extremely durable
- Walls and floor inflate to an impressive 3.2psi, which helps to create a rigid, but flexible hull
- Provides plenty of room onboard to handle small coolers, tackle boxes, and a couple of fishing rods.
- Optional pole holders are readily available and can be mounted in several convenient places for easy access.
- One of the higher-priced boats in its class.
- Doesn’t include a host of fishing accessories, so you’ll need to individually purchase other angling-related gear.
If you’re looking for an inflatable kayak that’s both light and speedy, the 385FT FastTrack Deluxe Solo Inflatable Kayak might just be the perfect choice for you. Not only is it stable and responsive, but it also boasts Sea Eagle’s renowned NeedleKnife rigid inflatable keel, which provides an added boost to its buoyancy and maneuverability on the water. With this kayak, you can expect exceptional performance that will make your time out on the water even more enjoyable.
2.Sea Eagle 350FX Inflatable Fishing Explorer Kayak
- Highly durable 2000D fabric
- Plenty of gear storage space
- Includes built-in rod, tool, and lure holders
- Can be used in Class IV whitewater
- Very stable in flat water
- Tracking could be better
- Pretty slow in the water
If you’re searching for a kayak that delivers great performance on the water, the Sea Eagle 350fx is definitely worth considering. Thanks to its wide, rounded hull, it’s incredibly stable even in flat water, giving you the ability to stand up straight and cast your line with confidence. What’s more, it’s even rated for use in Class IV whitewater rapids, making it a versatile option for all types of waterways.
To further enhance your fishing experience, Sea Eagle has included a variety of handy features on this kayak, including built-in rod, hook, tool, and lure holders, as well as a 40″ patented FishRuler. There’s also plenty of storage space beneath the comfortable seat, as well as ample lash-down spots for larger gear items like your fish cooler.
It’s worth noting that the 350fx is a bit slow in the water due to its weight, and its tracking abilities aren’t as good as some other models, despite the built-in skeg. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a kayak that can handle a wide range of conditions and activities, the Sea Eagle 350fx Fishing Explorer is a solid choice.
3.Elkton Outdoors Steelhead Inflatable Fishing Kayak
- The Elkton Outdoors Steelhead Fishing kayak has a rigid floor for improved stability.
- Your gear will remain dry in the front storage area as it is protected by a spray shield.
- There are seven mounting points for rods, fish finders, and bait trays.
- Both of the EVA seats can be adjusted and removed.
- The kayak comes with a complete package.
- It’s expensive.
- The storage areas are fairly small once there are two people in the kayak.
Towards the front of the boat, you’ll discover a bungee storage area along with a spray shield that helps keep you and your belongings dry. The cockpit also features multiple mounting points that allow you to attach various accessories like rod holders, bait trays, and fish finders. Additionally, there’s a separate storage area behind the back seat that can accommodate your larger gear.
The hi-rise EVA seats on the Steelhead are fully adjustable, allowing you to move them forwards, backwards, or even remove them entirely. For added comfort during those long hours on the water, the seats come equipped with removable footrests.
4.StraitEdge Angler PRO Inflatable Kayak
- Accessory frames on both ends offer great attachment options
- Great seat position provides extra stability
- Excellent lacing options in the stern and bow
- We found the seat to be a bit uncomfortable if you spend a whole day on the water
5.ADVANCED ELEMENTS StraitEdge Angler
- Equipped with a very comfortable, high back seat.
- Features reliable stainless steel D-rings and a web of sturdy bungee lacing to keep things organized onboard.
- The removable accessory frame allows you to customize the ways you access your boat.
- An optional rail mount is also available.
- Can accommodate a fish finder, rod holders, and other necessary equipment.
- The mounting bar can be difficult to reach when sitting.
- It can take longer to dry off after use than other inflatables.
The ADVANCED ELEMENTS StraitEdge Angler is an inflatable kayak that is designed for fishing and other water-based activities. It is made of durable materials and features a wide, stable design that makes it easy to maneuver in a variety of water conditions.One of the unique features of the StraitEdge Angler is its aluminum rib frame, which adds strength and stability to the kayak’s overall structure. This allows for greater control and precision while navigating through the water, especially when fishing.
The kayak also comes equipped with a variety of convenient fishing-related features, including built-in rod holders, paddle holders, and a mesh pocket for storing your gear. It also has a high-back seat that is adjustable and padded for added comfort during those long days on the water.ADVANCED ELEMENTS StraitEdge Angler is a versatile and reliable inflatable kayak that is perfect for those who enjoy fishing or other water-based activities. Its unique features and durable construction make it a great choice for both beginners and experienced paddlers alike.
6.AQUAGLIDE Chinook 90 Inflatable Kayak
- Highly affordable
- Lightweight and very packable
- Includes built-in rod holders
- Lots of gear storage space on the deck
- V-shaped hull provides improved tracking
- Low maximum weight capacity
- Seat is very low to the water for an inflatable kayak
The Chinook 90 inflatable kayak is equipped with convenient features for fishing, such as built-in rod holders and paddle keepers to secure your gear while you cast your lines. It also comes with plenty of deck-top cargo bungees to keep your equipment safe as you paddle.
However, it’s important to note that the Chinook 90 has a relatively low maximum weight capacity of 250 lbs, making it more suitable for smaller paddlers who don’t plan on carrying a lot of gear. Additionally, some paddlers may find the seat placement, which is located low on the waterline, uncomfortable.Despite these drawbacks, the Aquaglide Chinook 90 is an affordable and practical option for those on a budget.
7.Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak
- It is on the more adorable end of the price scale.
- It is kitted out for fishing with paddle holders, rod holders, and mesh pockets for the smaller tackle.
- Sevylor designed it using premium materials that can take on a range of water conditions.
- D-rings make handy tie-down points for additional gear.
- You don’t receive a complete package with the Coleman Colorado, meaning you’d have to source paddles, a pump, and a bag yourself.
Tandem inflatable fishing kayaks provide anglers with the flexibility to remove the front seat to create more space for casting or storing fishing gear. The Coleman Colorado is no exception, as both seats can be removed and adjusted to suit personal preferences.To enhance its durability, Sevylor designed the Coleman Colorado with multiple air chambers. This feature ensures that if one chamber punctures mid-paddle, you can still safely make it back to shore with the remaining inflated chambers.
While the Coleman Colorado lacks bungee storage areas for larger gear, it does have mesh pocket storage areas on both sides of the kayak for holding smaller items like lures, reels, and snacks. Additionally, D-rings are located throughout the boat, providing attachment points for other equipment, and paddle holders are included to store your paddles when not in use.For a hands-free fishing experience, the Coleman Colorado is equipped with Berkley Quick Set Rod Holders on both sides of the kayak. These holders allow you to secure your rod in place and paddle simultaneously.
8.BOTE Zeppelin Aero Inflatable Kayak
- Highly versatile
- Extra width increases stability
- Seat is also deflatable
- Rod holders have to be purchased separately
The BOTE Zeppelin Aero is an inflatable kayak that offers an outstanding combination of speed, stability, and versatility. Its unique design features a pointed bow and stern, which allows it to cut through the water with ease, making it a great choice for longer paddling adventures.
The Zeppelin Aero’s platform is incredibly stable, making it an ideal option for anglers or anyone who wants to use it for yoga, fitness, or other on-water activities. Additionally, it can accommodate up to two people and has a weight capacity of up to 600 pounds, making it perfect for paddling with a partner or bringing along extra gear.
This kayak is also packed with features to make your experience on the water more enjoyable. The deck pad provides a comfortable standing platform, while the adjustable seat and footrests ensure that you remain comfortable throughout your trip. The BOTE Zeppelin Aero also has multiple attachment points for accessories such as fishing rod holders or coolers.The best part about the BOTE Zeppelin Aero is its portability. It can be inflated quickly using the included pump and fits into a compact carrying case for easy transport and storage. With its combination of speed, stability, and versatility, the BOTE Zeppelin Aero is an excellent option for anyone looking for a high-quality inflatable kayak.
INFLATABLE FISHING KAYAK BUYING ADVICE
Inflatable fishing kayaks are a popular choice among kayak anglers, and for good reason: They provide a blend of functionality, comfort, and performance that’s hard to find in other types of kayaks.
However, with so many great kayaks to choose from, it’s important that you know what to look for as you shop. In this section, we’ll discuss some key features to consider so that you get the best kayak for you.
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty details of what you ought to look for as you shop for a fishing kayak, we want to take a moment to highlight the importance of understanding how you plan to use your new kayak.
Of course, if you’re reading this article, you’re likely interested in using your inflatable kayak for fishing. But, not all kayak fishing trips are the same, so it’s vital that you get a kayak that’s suitable for your preferred style.
For example, if you’re looking to venture out on longer angling trips or even an overnight adventure, finding a boat with plentiful gear storage, like the Sea Eagle 350fx Fishing Explorer, might be a good choice. Alternatively, a highly compact model, like the BOTE Lono Aero, might be the better option for folks who want to travel with their kayak to far-away locales.
Regardless of your preferred kayak fishing style, there’s certainly a boat out there for your needs. The key is knowing your intended use before you start shopping to narrow your search down to viable options right off the bat.
Once you have an idea of what you want to use your kayak for, it’s time to start honing in on the various advantages and features of different kayaks. To begin with, one of the most important things to consider is a boat’s paddler carrying capacity.
Although many folks prefer to paddle solo, some people enjoy paddling in tandem with another person. If this is the case for you, you’ll likely want to invest in a boat like the Sea Eagle 385fta FastTrack Angler Series, which can be paddled either solo, tandem, or with three people.
In addition to understanding whether you want a kayak that you can paddle solo or tandem, you’ll also want to consider an inflatable kayak’s maximum weight capacity before purchasing.
All kayaks come with a stated maximum weight limit, and inflatable fishing-specific models are no exception. But, while a weight capacity might seem like another spec to gloss over, it’s essential to pay attention to this metric as you shop.
For performance reasons, most kayaks shouldn’t be loaded beyond 80% of their stated weight capacity. So you need to ensure that a kayak’s limit is enough to accommodate you and all your gear before hitting the water.
Anglers also have to be particularly wary of overloading their kayaks because you’ll take on more weight (in the form of fish) as you paddle. So, to give yourself a bit more of a margin for error, we’d recommend keeping the weight of you and your gear at just 70% of the kayak’s weight capacity. That way, you’ll have plenty of space for the day’s catch.
Stability & Maneuverability
If you’re heading out onto the water, you need a kayak that’s stable and maneuverable enough for your needs.
Although everyone’s idea of stability and maneuverability is a bit different, most kayak anglers find that they’d like a boat that’s stable enough to stand upright in while on flat waters. As a result, they often search for kayaks with relatively flat hulls, which provide ample primary stability in calm conditions.
As far as maneuverability goes, kayak anglers often paddle into shallow coves and other rocky areas in search of fish. If this is something you’d like to do, opting for a slightly shorter kayak, like the Aquaglide Chinook 90, might be a good option.
This is because shorter kayaks allow for a better turning radius. But, we should highlight that this increased maneuverability also comes at the expense of a decrease in tracking ability as you paddle.
Durability is a concern for any boat, and inflatable fishing kayaks are no exception. However, since these kayaks are inflatable, you must pay close attention to the materials used.
While most inflatable fishing kayaks are more than strong enough to handle the occasional close call with a sharp rock, some are certainly more durable than others.
If durability is a considerable concern for you, opting for a kayak made with thicker fabrics is best. Most inflatable kayak fabrics are measured in deniers (abbreviated “D,” such as 1000D), with higher denier ratings indicating a thicker material.
Of course, fabric thickness isn’t the only factor determining a boat’s durability. But, when it comes to puncture resistance in an inflatable kayak, it’s a critical spec that you should keep in mind.
Portability & Assembly
Although inflatable kayaks are often touted as some of the most portable boats on the market, it’s important to remember that not all models are created equal regarding their weight and packed size.
Indeed, some kayaks are lighter and more compact than others when folded up. This makes them the ideal choice for people with limited gear storage space at home. At the same time, some inflatable fishing kayaks can be rather heavy without sacrificing their portability because they come with nifty rolling carry cases for easier transport.
Additionally, since all inflatable kayaks require at least some assembly before paddling, it’s important to consider the ease of assembly before buying it. For example, some models come with their own electric pumps, while others have hand pumps and multiple chambers to inflate before you hit the water.
In reality, there’s no one inflatable kayak assembly system that’s best for all paddlers. If you don’t mind a bit of an extra upper-body workout when you arrive at the launch point, getting a model that you can inflate by hand might be the more cost-effective choice. Alternatively, people who prioritize simplicity might want a kayak compatible with an electric pump.
Also read:Best Fishing Kayak Under $1,000 in 2023
Rod Holders & Other Fishing Features
Since this is a buyer’s guide for inflatable fishing kayaks, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention some of the most essential fishing-specific features you should look out for as you shop:
- Rod Holders – A fan-favorite among anglers, having multiple rod holders on your kayak allows you to maximize the total number of lines you have in the water.
- Non-Slip Decks – For folks that prefer to stand while casting lines, a kayak deck with non-slip foam padding can make doing so both easier and safer.
- Gear Storage – Since kayak angling is a gear-intensive pursuit, having ample gear storage on your boat is a must if you want to enjoy your paddles.
- Paddle Keepers – Designed to keep your paddle secure while you cast lines, a paddle keeper system is an excellent feature for any fishing-specific kayak.
It’s worth noting that you shouldn’t generally expect to find deck mounts or other similar features on inflatable fishing kayaks. While these features are common on hard-sided kayaks, they aren’t practical for inflatable kayaks.
Before inflating the boat, confirm the recommended pressure rating to prevent over or under-inflating. Remember, overinflating may damage the seams over time.
After using your kayak, clean to remove any sand, body oil deposits, and other forms of debris in the ducts and other areas and rinse the kayak with fresh water, then dry it using an old towel before folding it for storage.
Creasing the inflatable kayak while wet may result in mold and mildew, compromising quality and safety. If you do not have time to dry it by hand, you can let it air-dry in the sun.
When folding inflatable kayaks for storage, avoid folding it the same way every time. Doing so may result in the seams weakening of the fabric tearing prematurely. After folding, place the boat in its storage bag and keep it indoors.Kayak Maintenance: How to Care for Your Kayak Year
How do I patch an inflatable kayak?
First, locate the hole. Running water over the kayak’s surface is a useful tactic, as air will bubble out from the leak. Once located, clean and dry the surface area around the hole. Many inflatable kayaks come with a repair kit, which includes patches. Ensure the patch is big enough to span well beyond the leak before applying. Apply the patch to the dried surface around the hole, smooth the edges, and wait a half hour before using the kayak.How To Repair an Inflatable Boat or Inflatable Kayak
How should I care for my inflatable kayak?
There’s more to caring for your inflatable kayak than just patching holes. Randall emphasizes the importance of using protective sprays and storing in a cool and shaded location to “avoid sun exposure, as UV rays will damage a kayak’s outer shell.” Properly cleaning and drying inflatable kayaks is essential for longer-term storage to avoid mold and mildew buildup. As Randall points out, “the only time your kayak should get wet is when you are in it.”
How good are inflatable kayaks for fishing?
Inflatable kayaks are a great option for fishing for a few different reasons. The first is that they’re extremely comfortable for long days out on the water.
Secondly, a common misconception about inflatable kayaks is that they aren’t durable. This is completely untrue because as inflatable kayaks have evolved, so have the fabrics they’re made from. Many inflatable kayaks are now just as or even more durable than traditional hard shell kayaks because their inflatable properties aren’t susceptible to dents and dings.
An inflatable fishing kayak is also far easier to transport than regular kayaks. They can be deflated and packed into a small duffel bag or backpack, which can then be carried to remote waterways that aren’t accessible to larger boats.
Is it worth buying an inflatable kayak?
Inflatable kayaks are a fantastic investment. If you take proper care of an inflatable kayak, it can last for many years and still remain in excellent condition.
One of the many and most favored perks of inflatable kayaks is the fact that they can be deflated and packed into a small backpack or duffel bag. Once deflated, they can be stored in small storage spaces like under your bed or in a closet.
If that wasn’t enough, inflatable kayaks are also extremely durable and are typically a fraction of the price of regular kayaks.Are Inflatable Kayaks Any Good?