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It comes as no surprise that an Old Town fishing kayak leads this list, with this next-gen kayak/motor combo.
The famed Sportsman series includes top-quality craft in their own right, but when you add a Minn Kota trolling motor, you’ve got a serious fish hunting beast.
Saltwater ready, this 10-foot kayak is packed with features, with a powerboat-style throttle for intuitive forward and reverse, a built-in battery meter, rod holders, accessory gear tracks, and anchor mounting inserts.
The fully removable seat is super-comfortable, UV resistant, and easy-to-clean, as well as being naturally breathable for moisture-wicking relief. And the non-slip EVA deck allows you to enjoy those glorious standing casts and reels.
Name to trust.
Premium build quality.
In hull storage.
Custom tackle box included.
Bow storage hatch and stern tank well.
On the pricey side.
As a ten-foot fishing kayak, it doesn’t get much better than this. The Sportsman 106 comes with all the bells and whistles you need, and that built-in trolling motor gives you the ultimate in hands-free fishing.
If there was one kayak fishing brand that could rival the Old Town Sportsman, it was always going to be Hobie.
The Mirage Passport is a world-class compact kayak that includes their famed pedal drive system with kick up fins that retract when encountering obstacles.
This version is their 2021 upgrade, and aside from the improved drive system, also includes a wealth of practical features to keep anglers happy.
Bow and stern cargo wells with bungee cords, a central storage hatch, two gunwale accessory tracks, and a fully adjustable frame seat come as standard.
And there’s even a vertical accessory tube should you wish to add a sail. But let’s not beat around the bush here, the main attraction is the fins and pedal drive – which Hobie does better than anyone.
Name to trust.
Best-in-class fin drive system.
Flush mounted rod holders.
Steering and stowable rudder.
Stackable hull design.
Choice of colors available.
While all the money goes in the pedal drive, the kayak itself is comparatively basic.
Easily one of the best pedal fishing kayaks on the market, the compact Mirage Passport offers you total freedom to access just about any fishing spot you desire, powered by the often copied, never duplicated kick up fin system.
As far as top-quality, affordable, and accessible fishing kayaks go, the Perception Pescador Pro 10 is up there with the very best of all time.
It’s been beautifully designed with simple, but effective features, cutting out all the fluff, keeping the costs down, and ensuring you can get out on the water in no time.
The lawn-chair seating offers an excellent field-of-view with two position adjustment, so you can fish all day without the discomfort you might get from inferior kayak seats.
The stern tank well provides generous storage space with bungee webbing, and a bungee tie-down at the bow keeps extra gear close to hand. And there’s plenty of scope for upgrades, with two gunwale tracks at port and starboard.
Affordable price point.
Durable, single-piece construction.
Lightweight and portable.
Flush mounted rod holders.
Scupper holes for drainage.
Built-in buoyancy aid.
Popular and highly rated.
None to speak of, although it’s often sold out.
A terrific kayak for beginners, the Pescador Pro is just as suitable for anglers of all skill levels and abilities. And the fact that it’s offered at this price point ensures it’s highly accessible to all. Follow this link for more of the best budget fishing kayaks on the market.
Native Watercraft continue to impress with their environmentally friendly mantra and top-quality fishing kayaks.
Claiming to be the lightest pedal drive kayak on the market, this compact 10-footer still packs a punch with some premium features and construction.
It’s super stable, with a very comfortable seat, and a spacious, clutter-free cockpit. The pedal drive offers forward and reverse, so you can have total control of your hands-free fishing, and hunt down the best spots with ease.
A hand control rudder system improves directional ability, while groove tracks are available for accessory mounting.
Capable of up to 3.5 MPH, when you’re done fishing for the day, you can enjoy a relaxing cruise back to home base, sipping a cold one by adding an awesome fishing cooler in the stern tank well.
Multiple rod holders.
Ability to do standing casts and reels.
Padded carry handles.
Choice of stylish colors.
Sharp bow for improved tracking.
This kind of quality doesn’t come cheap, but then again, you are getting one of the best 10-foot pedal kayaks on the market for your cold, hard cash. And there’s plenty of aftermarket accessories available for this range, so you can customize your Slayer for maximum slayering.
Vibe happens to be one of my favorite kayak manufacturers, largely thanks to their stylish designs and affordable price points.
The Yellowfin is a great example, purpose built to be a budget-friendly, “throw-and-go” kayak to get new anglers out on the water ASAP.
Lightweight at just 57 lbs and offering a maximum capacity of 375 lbs, it’s designed for use by paddlers of all shapes and sizes, complete with a Vibe Hero seat for ultimate, day-long comfort.
Featuring two storage hatches at the center and bow, respectively, and a large bungee tank well to the stern, there are plenty of options for stashing your gear and catch.
Four flush-mounted rod holders come as standard, but the two gunwale accessory tracks let you add more if required.
Great price point for what you get.
Stylish, one-piece design.
Adjustable foot braces.
Versatile use for fishing and recreation.
Tackle tray holder and toss tray.
None to speak of.
The next time I compile a list of the best kayak fishing brands, Vibe is a shoo-in to be included (and I’ve no idea why I left them out in the first place).
Either way, the Yellowfin is a wonderful kayak that’s highly accessible and affordable, offering a marriage of style, performance, and practicality. As one of the best fishing kayaks under $1000, there’s a lot of bang-for-buck, here.
The Elkton Outdoors Steelhead is never too far away from my reviews, because it deserves to be here. With a super-stable drop-stitch floor for standing casts and reels, it was specially designed to be a fishing inflatable, with a compact, go-anywhere ethos.
Made with a 1000 Denier reinforced PVC, this baby can tackle up to class III whitewater, so it’s perfect for anyone looking to fish rivers with a bit more pep, and has plenty of scope for aftermarket accessories and upgrades.
Tough, durable construction.
Pump, paddle, and backpack included.
Easy to inflate and deflate.
Multiple hard-mounting points.
Bow and stern storage.
Adjustable foot brace and padded seating.
No rod holders included.
One of the most versatile and portable fishing kayaks out there, the Steelhead 130 continues to impress with what it can do and where it can go. Okay, so it’s a little over 10 feet, but who’s counting?
When it comes to exciting, capable, adrenaline-fueled fishing craft – look no further. I wouldn’t think twice about taking this on whitewater.
If a review of compact fishing kayaks doesn’t include an offering from Pelican, then it’s not a very good review. This time, I’ve gone for the efficient Basscreek 100, but the slightly shorter Sentinel could easily have been included.
This is a smart, well-designed fishing kayak with all the features you need and nothing you don’t, and comes with an articulated rod holder in the center console.
The multi-chine bottom improves tracking and stability, so you can confidently stalk those bass spots, while ample on-board storage includes a lockable bow hatch and large stern tank well with bungee.
Six accessory eyelets are on hand to attach extra gear, and the spacious cockpit is uncluttered and comes complete with an Ergofit G2 seating system for all day comfort.
Ideal for beginners.
Solid, durable construction.
Adjustable foot braces.
Two flush-mounted rod holders.
Attractive camo-style finish.
No accessory tracks built in.
If you just want to get out there and fish without all the distractions, bells, and whistles, then this boat could be the one for you. Compact, versatile, with practical features and decent performance – those bass don’t stand a chance.
How to Choose the Best 10-Foot Fishing Kayaks
Choosing the right kayak for your needs can be a challenge, especially if you’re new to paddling.
Below, you’ll find a handy buyer’s guide to get you up to speed on the things you should be looking out for – and none of the fluff.
Fishing Kayaks – Does Size Matter?
Let’s examine the all-important question that’s on everyone’s lips when in the market for a new kayak.
Does size matter?
Well, yes it does, actually.
But with a caveat – there isn’t a great deal of difference between, say, a 10-foot kayak and a 12 footer.
Or even an eight-foot kayak and a nine-foot model.
However, you will start to see differences in performance and specifications when comparing longer kayaks to much shorter ones.
When it comes to kayak length, shorter kayaks are more maneuverable, whereas longer craft are built for speed and distance.
That’s why you’ll see adrenaline-junkies piloting short, stubby boats on whitewater, and touring yakkers piloting slim, 14-foot darts in large lakes, coasts, and open water.
For most kayak fishing purposes, the sweet-spot tends to be around the 10-12 foot range, which are perfect for most common fishing environments – slow rivers, quiet lakes, calm inlets, and coves.
In this length range, you’ll find excellent stability, with a good balance of speed, maneuverability, and overall performance.
As such, they’re commonly chosen as beginner kayaks, as well as being the most suitable for recreational play boating, and use in warmer weather.
Ten foot kayaks also tend to be easier to store and transport, so they make an ideal choice if you’re short on space.
And speaking of storage, this is another important consideration when it comes to kayak size.
The larger the kayak, the more space for stashing your gear and equipment it’s going to offer, as well as how much legroom you’ll have when you’re sitting in the cockpit.
Size isn’t always about performance – it’s about practicality, too.
What About Width?
Kayak width is commonly subject to its length – and it’s not as easy to specify exactly how wide you want your craft to be compared with how long it is.
As mentioned above, longer kayaks tend to be slimmer and built for distance and touring, whereas shorter models tend to be wider, and are ideal for fishing and general recreational use.
Wider kayaks have better primary stability, and are more suitable for standing casts and reels – depending on the model and how the deck is set up.
Either way, when it comes to these 10-foot kayaks, you’ll find there’s not a great deal of difference in the width of each craft.
Just bear in mind that the wider it is, the more stable it’s going to be on calm, flat waters.
Remember, though – this isn’t a good thing if you want to fish in tidal or choppy conditions. See below for more information.
Water Courses and Conditions
When choosing the right kayak type for your needs, you need to pay attention to where and when you’re going to be kayaking.
Different kayaks are designed for different conditions, and it’s important for your safety that you choose the right craft to suit when and where you’ll be kayaking.
For calm rivers and lakes, or quiet coastal inlets, a sit-on-top kayak is ideal, and a 10-foot fishing kayak is the perfect choice for this environment.
However, if you want to fish more challenging, peppy waterways or choppy conditions, you might run into some difficulty with this type of craft.
On the coast, these awesome ocean fishing kayaks are designed to handle waves and tidal areas more successfully than a flat-bottomed recreational kayak, with improved secondary stability to help prevent flips.
Whatever you decide, just remember to always wear a good-quality fishing PFD – and you can follow that link for some great examples.
Kayaks come in a variety of different styles and types, and choosing the right one can be a mission. Let’s briefly take a look at your options.
Sit-Inside or Sit-on-Top? Inflatable or Hardshell? Solo or Tandem?
Sit-on-top kayaks are generally the preferred choice for anglers, as they offer more room for gear and equipment, as well as more space for your own comfort and nonrestrictive fishing.
For the most part, 10-foot fishing kayaks will offer plenty of space to include a top-quality seating system.
For the ultimate in all-day-comfort, look for kayaks with fully adjustable frame seating – similar to a lawn or camping chair.
Remember, though, a significant amount of the manufacturing cost will go into the kayak’s cockpit – and high-end seating designs will cost you a lot more.
However, I would highly recommend you don’t cut corners when it comes to your comfort – especially if you’re of advancing years. It’s well worth spending a bit more in this department.
Fishing from an awkward position can make life miserable, and it will likely cause you pain, discomfort, and possibly even injury.
And don’t forget to keep legroom in mind – look for kayaks with adjustable foot braces, so you can be sure it works well with your height, and how much space you need should you wish to stretch out.
Another figure you need to take into consideration when buying a kayak is its weight capacity.
This is the maximum weight the kayak can hold before it will get into difficulty, begin to take on water, and/or start to sink.
The higher the weight capacity, the more gear/equipment/people/animals/kitchen sinks you can safely carry on your kayak.
This figure is particularly important when kayak fishing, as you’ll likely be carrying more weight when angling than you will for any other type of kayaking.
Not to mention the weight of anything you might catch.
As a general rule of thumb, you should add 150 lbs to your own weight to determine the lowest weight capacity a kayak needs at the very least.
I would also heartily recommend you don’t even try to come close to a kayak’s maximum capacity – just to be on the safe side.
Never overload your kayak, and always be sure to distribute weight around the craft, so you’re evenly balanced when you’re on the water.
Fishing Friendly Features
10-foot fishing kayaks are perfectly sized to add a great selection of fishing-friendly features, that basically make the difference between a normal recreational boat and an efficient fish-hunting craft.
Look for something that offers plenty of rod holders – be they flush mounted, articulated, or otherwise.
Stuart is passionate about travel, kayaking, camping and the great outdoors in general. He's not quite as enthusiastic about angling as his father was, but out of the two of them, he's yet to hook his ear lobe while fly-fishing, which he sees as an absolute win.