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The Money is Burning a Hole in My Pocket!
A kayak is an investment and there are many choices to sift through, but there are some clear winners in their fields. I’ll go ahead and tell you right now that my number one fishing kayak is the Vibe Sea Ghost 110. It’s the best bass fishing kayak out there for the money: easy to stand on with a ready-to-go rudder system.
If a Vibe is too rich for your blood, I’d look hard at the Pelican 10 ft Fishing Kayak for your basic bass fishing needs. The storage on this boat is clever, and it’s light as a feather. Throw this thing in the back of your truck and go catch some fish!
I’ll cover these more thoroughly below, along with the best big-budget and low-budget bass kayaks, tandems, and more.
Why Bass, Bob?
There are a couple of reasons an angler would aim for Bass from their fishing kayak over another species of fish.
A kayak can be more difficult to position on a river or move long distances looking for the perfect hole, but it is a quiet machine.
Bass are more plentiful than trout, catfish, or pike and often exist where other fish do not, meaning the travel distances can be shorter even though the need for stealth is high.
Bass are a great middle groud fish. They take bait faster than carp but still put up a decent fight compared to a trout. They may not taste better than trout, but they are easier to filet and cook and are arguably more fun to reel in. They are certainly tastier than a catfish, though they don’t fight as hard lb for lb.
They’re a perfect compromise in my mind, great for beginners and ideal to fish for from your fishing kayak.
Why did You Choose These Kayaks for Bass Specifically?
My first consideration is that bass have wonderful eye sight.
A priority for a bass fishing kayak is maneuverability with the least amount of noise and visual movement.
While bass are plentiful, you’ll often need to get into position to cast. I don’t want to spook them before I even pull one in. Added bonus: most of these kayaks have a camo color option.
The second consideration is what a joy sight fishing bass is, and what hard fighters some of the big fish can be. For this a bass angler needs a balanced boat. Depending on the price range, many of these are so balanced they allow standing while spotting, casting and reeling.
Let’s kick this list off with the cream of the crop with the price tag to match. The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 is one smart ride and a great pedal fishing kayak. Hobie is known among anglers for its quality and ingenuity and they have not rested on their laurels.
A great example on this kayak is the MirageDrive preinstalled pedal system. Their kick-up fins keep you out of trouble, rotating upward as you encounter shallow obstacles under the kayak. The Anger 14 has the turbo fins preinstalled, putting even more speed under the hull. At well over one hundred pounds, this boat is heavy, but remains graceful in the water.
There’s not a better kayak for bass fishing. Switching between forward and reverse is as simple as pulling a lever on the MirageDrive pedals. While they don’t outright call it a hybrid, the nonskid deck makes standing up and sight fishing bass a smooth transition.
Stock with rod holders and great storage.
Serious price tag.
Heavy out of the water.
Bass are smart with great eyesight, if you’re on this article you’re already trying to keep a loud motor out of the mix. Consider how dangerous you’ll be without a paddle either. This thing is built to keep you silent and deadly. The only thing to cry about is the price tag, this kayak is the ultimate fishing machine.
For sight fishing enthusiasts there is new innovation on the market. Old Town saw your problems and manufactured the Sportsman Autopilot 120 to be the solution, for a price.
While there are several challenges to standing up on a kayak, there are several that remain once you have made it up. One of the main one being staying in position once you’re up. I, personally, always thought the water would be the biggest issue, until I got out there. Once standing, your body begins to act like a sail, and the wind will blow you right off a great bass hole.
The “AutoPilot” in its name might have already given you a hint that this is a motorized kayak. This kayak comes equipped with a trolling motor to keep you directly in the cast zone, even while standing. You can either lock yourself in position or control the motor via Bluetooth.
Best of all, with the dual hull design the motor rests in the highest portion of the center. This allows much more clearance in shallow water than on a motor on a single hull design.
Shipped with a shallow water trolling motor.
AutoPilot keeps angler over the fish.
Bluetooth control of trolling motor.
Top loading track for more gear, plenty of features stock.
Pricey, but fair.
This boat weighs 152 lbs!
While this bass fishing kayak does cost a pretty penny, anglers get a lot of bang for their buck. Of course, this kayak is equipped with plenty of other angler features, gear and gadgets (to be expected for the price tag). The AutoPilot innovation could cruise this bass fishing kayak straight to the top of some angler’s lists.
Vibe comes in swinging with a line of affordable, quality fishing kayaks. My choice from their selection also tops this list: The Sea Ghost 110. This boat features a well-balanced hull, comfortable seat and most importantly, room for growth.
The toe-controlled rudder system makes an already easy to maneuver kayak even easier. Though pedaling sounds convenient, I find it to be a nuisance in shallow water (of course I’ve yet to try Hobie’s MirageDrive). Having a rudder to help guide backwaters looking for bass is ideal for me.
Vibe’s seat is about as comfortable as they come, and easy to remove for storage. They go with a top-loading gear track system and there are tons of toys to add. A fish finder transducer port is ready to go once you’re ready to hunt the big bass! You’ll be easy to shop for come Christmas for at least a couple years.
Most importantly, I find Vibe is true to their name. Their focus on balance is what makes this yak worth the money, and why it’s the best bass fishing kayak for your buck. Stand right up and spot fish a big bass hole, reel straight into the boat or get a smarter view to scout a new location.
Toe-controlled rudder system (easy to use).
Well-balanced and easy to stand on.
Top loading track system for gear add ons.
Light and mobile.
No pedal system, no ability to add.
This is a great all-around bass fishing kayak. She’s only 62 lbs unloaded, a real compromise on weight, value and function!
If you’re looking for those deep lake bass and want a comfortable ride for a comfortable price, why not consider the BKC PK13. This bass fishing kayak has all the gears and gadgets but will fit nicely in your angler budget.
The PK13 is already equipped with forward and reverse pedaling capabilities. This system is removable, giving you flexibility in shallow water. Combine this with the hand-operated rudder and you’ve got a really versatile ride.
At 13 feet and 80 lbs, it is cumbersome for a single-person kayak, but is ideal for comfort. The peddling features may make it less suited for creeks and rivers, but the option to add a trolling motor puts it right at home on the lake!
Equipped with pedal and rudder system.
Prefitted for trolling motor addition.
Very affordable for all that comes stock.
Heavy, potentially awkward.
I’m recommending this bass fishing kayak for budget lake bass fishers or paddle through several day anglers. This boat cruises once it’s in the water and has tons of storage.
My most budget-friendly recommendation is the Pelican Bass Creek 100 XP. The features list is short on this 10 ft bass fishing kayak, but it’s got everything you need to catch a fish. It tops my list of budget-friendly kayaks for bass!
Storage is simple with a bungee area and a dry bag compartment. A pre-installed swivel rod holder combined with a paddle holder will allow the bass fisher to position themselves, switch to casting and back more easily than a recreation kayak. At 50 lbs this boat is easy to maneuver, load up and get in and out of the water!
Lightweight and easy to maneuver.
Easy to transport.
Some angler-specific storage and rod holder.
Less balanced, standing isn’t advertised.
Less durable construction.
Drill/DIY any gear additions.
Where this little guy really shines is its affordability and size. I’ll tell you right now there are rivers where my buddy’s Pelican 10 ft kayak is much more pleasant to deal with than my 13ft monster. Even on long paddles with packing in and out and camping involved, a lighter kayak can be a blessing.
Man these inflatable boats have come a long way! Next time you’re in a big box store go kick the tires on one, it’s truly incredible. I’ve chosen the Bote’s LONO Aero Verge inflatable kayak for this list. You can’t worry about snags and scrapes when you’re bass fishing and Bote makes a reel tough boat.
There is something that captures the imagination about being able to strap a boat to your back. Hiking out to a mountain lake and having the ability to kayak fish it with what you’ve carried in on your back is incredible. There’s really nothing that can compare to that even though there are, of course, some downsides that come with an inflatable bass fishing kayak.
Bote is known for its paddleboards, so I can only imagine the balance on this thing is on point. This would be a huge boon for stand casting and spot-fishing, which is particularly helpful for bass. The Lono Aero series includes pre-rigging for a pedal/rudder system along with other angler-specific gear.
Carry the whole boat on your back.
Well-balanced (easy to stand-cast).
Ready for pedals or a rudder, or both.
Durability, though Bote does send patches.
Comfort and maneuverability.
I’m excited for this industry. Inflatable boats are here to stay!
For those of you looking for a tandem fishing kayak, there’s some great news: kayak manufacturers have caught on that tandem anglers are a great idea. I’ve chosen Vibe’s Yellowfin 130T Tandem fishing kayak as my top choice for fishers with friends. It’s my personal kayak and I couldn’t be more pleased with it.
After the initial, often painful, learning curve, it sure is nice to have help paddling all that gear around. We’ve also already established that with all these features, bass fishing kayaks can be heavy boats. For a tandem, it’s pretty light, at only 77lbs. Keep in mind you’ll have two people to load and unload, making it even easier than larger solos to deal with.
The Yellowfin comes rudder ready and is well-balanced for stand casting. Take it from me, you’ll want to practice with your partner before you do any big throws off this thing. The top-loading tracks make adding gear a breeze and the Vibe ecosystem is a good combination of quality and budget-friendly.
In addition to its core nature as a tandem, it’s actually very easy to convert to a single-person configuration. On long paddle trips, my Yellowfin is the gear mule, carrying over 500 lbs safely on its 13 feet.
It’s a fishing tandem!
Light for a tandem.
Well-balanced for standing and moving.
Top-loading gear track for gear add-ons.
Easy to switch to single person.
It’s a fishing tandem!
Storage could be smarter, no console due to middle seating option.
No water-tight storage.
No pedal system, no ability to add.
For the money, and all features considered, it’s a great bass fishing kayak. Grab the spouse and kids, let’s paddle!
While we’re not talking about the same level of comfort or angler-specific gear as the Yellowfin, the Tribe Tandem will do the trick for two anglers looking to get out on the water and fish some bass.
There are several good storage areas on this bass fishing kayak. Secure your tackle in both front and back bungees, with dry storage areas in front of both seats.
While it doesn’t come stock with rod holders, Perception provides prepped attachment spots for adding later.
Very affordable tandem.
Attachment spots for angler-specific accessories.
Doesn’t ship with any angler specific features.
No advertised standing.
With two people paddling, you’re sure to get to the fish holes faster. The Perception series may not have all the bells and whistles, but that shouldn’t stop a couple of serious anglers from getting a big one on line.
Maybe the tandem life isn’t for you. Maybe you know better. While researching other bass fishing kayaks from Brooklyn Kayak Company a couple years ago I ran across this hard-to-beat deal. TWO FK 184 Kayaks in a bundle for two serious bass anglers.
I like what they’ve done with this two-pack, choosing one of their affordable models with the perfect amount of features to get you and your friend out on the water. There are rod holders, dry storage areas and bungee storage areas.
BKC even throws in the paddles on this bundle, which are generally sold separately.
I like these especially for bass fishing because, at only 9ft, you’re sure to be able to maneuver both you and your buddy into the casting zone. They are also already prepped for a trolling motor, moving them up a notch on the features list.
Great deal on two kayaks.
Rod holders, dry storage and bungee storage areas.
Prepped for trolling motor.
No rudder or pedal features or ability to add.
No advertised standing.
Lures are expensive and beverages aren’t free, so if you’re shopping two singles, why not go with a great deal?
Good luck on your search!
If you’re a bass fisher in the market for a kayak, you’ve got a lot of decisions to make. I hope my search for a bass fishing kayak is a helpful addition to yours. If you see me out, I’ll be in my Vibe Yellowfin 130T Tandem.
As not everyone is looking to paddle with a partner, I chose Vibe’s Sea Ghost 110 as my favorite all-around bass fishing kayak. It may not have all the bells and whistles, but it is a great boat for the right price.
My best budget bass fishing kayak would have to be the Pelican 10 ft Fishing Kayak. My best bass fishing buddy has one and it really makes me question how much I’ve put into mine. Sometimes you just want to grab a boat and go!
Tell me below which bass fishing kayak you’re leaning towards. I’d love to know what your top considerations are and how you like to fish.
What make it a bass fishing kayak to you? Is a peddle system a must, or overkill? What about a rudder? Each angler has their own priorities, just like the bass they’re after!