The 7 Best Inflatable Fishing Kayaks in 2022 (You Don’t Need a Boat!)

Kayak fishing has become one of the fastest growing sports over the last few years. Along with bowfishing, it has seen a steady rise in popularity as more folks get involved.

That’s largely due to how accessible it’s become – in no small part thanks to the improved technology of inflatables.

Portability and storage need no longer be a concern when you have one of the best inflatable fishing kayaks in 2022.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at what’s currently on offer in our review, with a full buyer’s guide to follow.

Our Top Inflatable Kayak Picks

If you’re in a hurry, then here’s our choices for what we believe to be the market-leading inflatable fishing kayaks.

The Sea Eagle FastTrack range are some of the finest inflatable fishing kayaks ever made, and the swivel seat 385 model is arguably the best of the bunch.

For budget-friendly fishing, look no further than the Intex Excursion Pro, which has an astonishing amount of quality reviews, at an equally astonishing price point.

And if you really want to push the boat out, so to speak, then you simply must have a look at the new Bote LONO – which takes inflatable fishing kayak technology to the next level.

See all of them and more in the review, below.

The 7 Best Inflatable Fishing Kayaks in 2022

Sea Eagle 385fta Fasttrack Inflatable Kayak

It wouldn’t be a review of inflatable kayaks without a Sea Eagle option – one of the best in the business at recreational inflatables, famed for their durability, longevity, and features.

You can even watch a YouTube video of someone driving over one of their products in an SUV.

The FastTrack Angler is a super-lightweight and portable fishing kayak that is capable of carrying up to three people, or a load-bearing 635 lbs weight capacity.

With four inflatable chambers, it offers superior durability and peace-of-mind, with electronically welded seams and an inflation time of just seven minutes.

Rated to class II whitewater, this is a versatile inflatable that will take a beating and then some – but I wouldn’t expect anything less from Sea Eagle.

Not just one of the best inflatable fishing kayaks, but one of the best fishing kayaks, period. Follow that link for more.

Pros

  • Durable, rugged construction.
  • Stainless steel D-rings.
  • Two rod holders.
  • Raised, swivel seating.
  • Non-slip EVA floor.
  • Customizable spray skirts.
  • Compatible with trolling motors.
  • Fish ruler.
  • Paddle, pump, and carry bag included.

Cons

  • Pricey.

Takeaway

Yet another premium inflatable from Sea Eagle, this is an excellent fishing kayak that is packed with quality features and built to last.

Wear a pair of these practical fishing shoes, and you’ll feel even more comfortable standing on that solid EVA deck for casts and reels.

Intex Excursion Pro Tandem Inflatable Kayak

Intex are synonymous with quality inflatable products that won’t break the bank, and the Excursion Pro is a tandem fishing kayak that offers a lot of bang for your buck.

Made from a super tough laminated PVC with a durable polyester core, it’s a rugged craft that is protected against punctures, scrapes and abrasions, as well as resistant to UV rays.

It comes with two removable seats, adjustable footrests, two rod holders, and two removable skegs for improved tracking through the water.

And Intex have also added a nice touch with a removable and adjustable accessory frame system, so you can be free to add extra fishing features and accessories if you so choose.

Pros

  • Great price point.
  • Paddles and pump included.
  • Spring-loaded valves.
  • Bow and stern storage.
  • Durable construction.
  • Recessed fishing rod holders.
  • Available in solo and tandem models.

Cons

  • No paddle parks.
  • Seating isn’t the best.

Takeaway

Easily the best inflatable fishing kayak under $500 (and one of the few) this is a great option if you’re on a budget, and you want to get out there as fast as possible.

And as much as it’s protected from UV rays – so should you be – so try one of these awesome fishing hats for keeping the sun off when you’re exposed.

Bote LONO Inflatable Kayak

Bote LONO Inflatable Kayak

When I first laid eyes on this entry from SUP specialists BOTE, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Namely – a genuine inflatable recreational kayak that was compatible with a pedal drive.

And while it isn’t a fishing-specific kayak, there’s plenty here to keep avid fishermen and women happy. Absolutely packed with features, it’s drop-stitch, AEROBOTE technology ensures it offers peak rigidity and performance, so you can feel confident with those standing casts and reels.

With more storage space and options than most inflatable kayaks, and a genuinely comfortable inflatable seat and cockpit, we could well be looking at some next-generation inflatable sh*t right here!

And there’s even a strong magnetic connection pod to keep tools and equipment firmly in place right where you need them.

Pros

  • A pedal drive inflatable – need we say more?!
  • As tough and durable as they come.
  • Four air chambers.
  • Highly versatile use.
  • Rudder attachment point.
  • Accessory mounting points.
  • Velcro paddle straps.
  • Anchor point.
  • Striking design.

Cons

  • Expensive for an inflatable.
  • Trickier to set up than most other inflatable kayaks.
  • Certain features are only compatible with other BOTE products – all sold separately.
  • Pedal drive add-on is very pricey.

Takeaway

Yes, there might be a few downsides to this incredible versatile kayak from BOTE, but the quality of the vessel and features more than makes up for it – not least because it’s a genuine inflatable kayak that you can use with a pedal drive. And they said it couldn’t be done…!

Aquaglide Blackfoot Angler 130 Kayak

Aquaglide Blackfoot Angler 130 Kayak

Aquaglide have been making waves in the inflatable kayak market over the past couple of years, and their Blackfoot Angler 130 is the culmination of a re-design for an improved angling experience.

Made with a Duratex high-pressure drop-stitch floor, this is a rugged kayak that is super stable, with EVA trackpads for standing casts and reels.

Offering plenty of options for gear storage, a fishing cooler is included, as well as several universal accessory mounts for extra fishing equipment, tools, and tech.

The stadium-style frame seating is fully adjustable, and there are webbing tie-downs, so you can secure extra stuff. And as far as aesthetics go, the Blackfoot looks badass, and will turn heads on your next fishing trip.

Pros

  • Super lightweight design.
  • Weedless fin.
  • Map case.
  • Spray skirts.
  • MOLLE plates.
  • Five scupper drains.
  • Adjustable footrests.
  • Hook and loop adjustment strips.
  • High weight capacity.
  • Rod holders on the integrated cooler.

Cons

  • Expensive.

Takeaway

If you’re looking for a tough, durable inflatable kayak for all your outdoor adventures, then the updated Blackfoot Angler from Aquaglide should be well worth your consideration.

Not least because it’s one of the most comfortable inflatables around, with an abundance of space and options for gear storage.

Elkton Outdoors Steelhead Fishing Kayak

The Steelhead fishing kayak from Elkton Outdoors is one of my personal favorites, and I love reviewing this versatile little package.

A durable and solid design, it features a drop-stitch floor for extra strength and stability, so you can be sure of rock-solid standing casts with no fear of falling in.

The kayak comes with multiple hardware mounting points to kit the craft out to your preference, and it’s been designed to tackle rougher waters, with self bailing ports that are well-positioned in case you’re excessively splashed.

Made with a 1000 Denier, reinforced PVC, and with solid plastic nose and tail cones, this little yak will handle just about anything you or the environment can throw at it.

Pros

  • Durable construction.
  • Paddles, pump, and backpack included.
  • Front, rear, and side carrying handles.
  • Super lightweight.
  • Bungee storage.
  • Adjustable EVA seat.

Cons

  • No actual rod holders included.

Takeaway

Easily one of the most portable inflatable fishing kayaks on the market, this is a great little yak that will get you out on the water in no time.

It’s also highly versatile, so even if you wanted to try a spot of whitewater, or simply a leisurely day on the lake – this is a great choice. You can also go here for more of the best stand-up fishing kayaks on the market.

Advanced Elements StraitEdge Angler PRO Kayak

Advanced Elements StraitEdge Angler PRO Kayak

Advanced Elements is another company at the top of their game when it comes to cutting-edge inflatable boats.

It stands to reason they should have an offering here, and it comes in the form of this Straight Edge Angler Pro kayak.

Designed for unbeatable tracking and stability, it features a durable, drop-stitch floor for standing casts, and comes with two aluminum accessory frames – so you can easily add extra rod mounts, GPS, fishing finders, or anything else you fancy.

Two flush mounted rod holders come as standard, and the AirFrame Pro seat is fully adjustable, with a high back for extra comfort, so you can fish like a king or queen.

  • Aluminum rib frame technology.
  • Bow and stern carrying handles.
  • Paddle parks.
  • Removable deep fin.
  • Bungee webbing for storage.
  • Duffel bag with shoulder straps.
  • Stainless steel D-rings.

Cons

  • Reports of the seat needing some work.
  • A more attractive color would have been nice.

Takeaway

Advanced Elements are famous for their inflatables that use cutting edge tech and frame systems to give you the most sturdy, yet lightweight and portable yak experience possible.

This model is no exception, and with those ingenious accessory railings, just might be one of the best inflatable kayaks for fishing out there.

STAR Rival Fish Inflatable Kayak

STAR Rival Fish Inflatable Kayak

We finish with the STAR Rival inflatable fishing kayak, which is actually more of a hybrid between kayaks and paddle boards.

This is a solid angling platform that offers unbeatable field-of-view for sighting fish, with a rigid, drop-stitch floor for higher inflation pressure.

A super-comfortable, aluminum-frame seat is also included, which is fully adjustable and collapsible for easy transport.

There are no less than five YakAttack Switchpad flexible surface mounts, so you can fully customize until your heart’s content with fishing rod holders, a fish finder, GPS, and more.

And at just 31 lbs, it’s one of the lightest fishing kayaks out there – and you can follow that link for other great examples. There’s a choice of two colors, and with a maximum weight capacity of 300 lbs, and generous deck space, there’s plenty of room for you, and all your fishing gear.

  • Tough, durable construction.
  • Bow and stern daisy chains.
  • Bungee rigging.
  • Screened drain deck.
  • Stern fin plate.
  • Three air chambers.
  • Air pump and carry bag included.

Cons

  • The SUP design won’t be for many serious anglers.

Takeaway

I always think that hybrid SUP/kayaks are better suited to the younger fishing kayak crowd, but that doesn’t make them any less awesome. There’s a lot to like about the STAR Rival, and you can go check out more of the best fishing SUPS at that link if that floats your boat.

How to Choose an Inflatable Kayak for Fishing

Selecting the right inflatable fishing kayak isn’t a straightforward task – there are lots of things to consider before you take the plunge.

To help you out, I’ve included an in-depth buyer’s guide below that will hopefully point you in the right direction and get you out on the water as soon as possible.

inflatable fishing kayak on river

Why an Inflatable Fishing Kayak? The Pros and Cons

Here’s a quick, bite-sized guide to the pros and cons of an inflatable.

PROS

  • Highly portable.
  • Easy to store.
  • Generally cheaper.
  • Remarkably tough and durable.
  • More buoyant.
  • Super-lightweight.
  • Higher maximum weight capacity.

CONS

  • Inflating and deflating takes time.
  • Packing up can get messy – (always take an old towel with you).
  • Still a (small) chance of puncture.
  • Hardshells perform better in the water.
  • Hardshells also last longer.

There’s a lot more to it than that, and we have, in fact, written a dedicated, in-depth article on the differences between hardshells and inflatables, so follow that link for more on this fascinating head-to-head.

In short, though, inflatable technology is getting better all the time, and should be on your radar for on-the-go fishing kayaks you can take anywhere, anytime.

fisherman on inflatable fishing kayak with fishing tackle

Sit on Top vs Sit Inside

Almost all inflatable fishing kayaks are of the sit-on-top variety. In fact, the most popular fishing kayaks are of this style anyway.

Sit-on-top kayaks tend to offer more onboard storage space, with wider, flatter hulls that improve stability.

That’s not to say sit-inside fishing kayaks are obsolete, and you can see some great examples at this link.

And read this article comparing sit-on-top kayaks to sit-inside models in detail, which will help you choose the right type for your needs.

Performance

While inflatable fishing kayaks aren’t as good as hardshells for performance, they’re steadily catching up, and there are some models available that can give them a run for their money.

For fishing, wider hulls are preferable to V-shaped hulls, as you probably don’t need to travel great distances, or tackle class IV rapids.

That said, you’ll still want a modicum of tracking ability (how straight a kayak travels through the water), otherwise it’s going to take a lot more effort to get from A to B.

Look for inflatable kayaks with a more hybrid-style hull, with rudders and/or removable skegs (tracking fins) that can help keep the boat straight when paddling.

Materials and Construction

Do you remember those flimsy seaside dinghies you splashed around in as a kid?

Modern inflatable kayaks have come a long way since then.

Now made from high Denier, durable, reinforced PVC, these things can take a beating. You can watch someone attack some inflatable kayaks with a claw hammer, and it just bounces off.

Which means you don’t need to freak out when you drop fishing pliers onto the deck. Still, if you’re wearing some decent fishing gloves, this might not happen in the first place!

More advanced, higher-end inflatable fishing kayaks will be made from fabrics like nitrylon, or hypalon – which are preferred by the US Military and Coast Guard.

Some inflatable kayaks might also include an aluminum frame – which helps achieve similar performance levels to that of hardshells.

Electronically heated seams keep things durable and watertight, with many kayaks guaranteeing not to leak as a result

In short, you can rest assured these things are built to stay afloat, and won’t let you down when you’re on the water.

red inflatable fishing kayak on the autumn river and fishing rod

Size, Weight, and Maximum Weight Capacity

As with all kayaks, size matters.

So does how heavy or light the craft is.

And its maximum weight capacity.

The sweet spot for most fishing kayaks is between 10-12 feet in length.

Are you looking at solo or tandem inflatable fishing kayaks?

Even if you do just want to fish on your own, don’t dismiss a tandem kayak out of hand.

Most are capable of being piloted solo, and they offer a lot more room for storage, which allows you to bring along a nice big fishing cooler to store your food, snacks, beer, or keep anything you catch on ice.

As well as a good saltwater tackle bag – if you’re fishing in such conditions.

For a more detailed look into this, check out this article, which explores what kayak size you need.

When it comes to how heavy the craft is, you’ll find that inflatable fishing kayaks are some of the lightest models you can buy – which makes it easy to get to and from the water.

Don’t forget about the kayak’s weight capacity, either. The more people and/or stuff and/or animals you’re taking with you, the higher this will need to be.

And thanks to their increased buoyancy/multiple air chambers, a typical inflatable fishing kayak is going to have a much higher weight capacity than a hardshell.

two fisherwomen on inflatable kayaks fishing at lake

Comfort and Seating

It used to be that the cockpit and seating were the worst things about inflatable kayaks – particularly for long paddling trips.

Today, we’re seeing more and more inflatables including super-comfortable, stadium-style chairs, adjustable seats, and more spacious staging areas.

Lessons have clearly been learned.

Fishing Friendly Features

To my mind, a fishing kayak isn’t a fishing kayak unless it has some dedicated accessories that are designed to help catch fish.

And although hardshells generally offer more scope and space for “FFFs”, the best Inflatable fishing kayaks aren’t far behind.

Look out for some or all of the following fishing features when shopping for inflatable boats/kayaks.

  • Articulated rod holders.
  • Flush mounted rod holders.
  • Bow and stern tank wells.
  • Cargo pockets.
  • Stainless steel D-rings.
  • Sturdy bungee lacing.
  • Lure holders or staging area.
  • Tackle trays.
  • Accessory gear tracks for fish finders, sports cameras, GPS, etc.
  • Scotty mounts.
  • Paddle parks for hands-free fishing.
  • Anchor mounts for a good kayak anchor.
  • A fish ruler.
  • Mesh storage pockets.
  • Other useful fishing accessories.

Customization

Now we get to the really fun part.

Just because a fishing kayak is sold as seen, doesn’t mean you can’t modify it to suit your needs.

If the kayak you’re interested in appears to have everything – but is still missing a key ingredient – then why not add it yourself?

If you want to customize your inflatable, then look for models that are capable of doing that.

You might want to add somewhere to stash one of these awesome kayak fishing nets – if the yak doesn’t have this feature already.

You might even want to build a platform to accommodate extra tackle boxes – or even a furry friend.

Just check out what this guy did in the video below for inspiration – and the kayak he used isn’t even a dedicated fishing kayak!

Safety

It might not be the most fun topic, but safety should always be a concern when choosing the right inflatable fishing kayak for you.

Obviously, you’ll want something that is suitable for the conditions you’re going to be fishing in.

Most inflatable fishing kayaks are designed for calm, flat water, but many are capable of handling choppier conditions. Check the whitewater rating before purchasing.

It’s all well and good protecting yourself from the elements with the best fishing jackets out there, but if your kayak isn’t rated or safe to tackle rougher waters or tricky swells – then you could be in trouble.

Look for kayaks that have solid handles and/or grab lines, so you can easily cling on should an accident occur.

Kayaks that come in brighter colors aren’t just for making a fashion statement – they can be much easier to locate in an emergency.

And don’t forget to wear an approved fishing PFD whenever you venture out on the water. A good fishing headlamp is also a recommended addition if you enjoy fishing in lower light conditions.

Cost

Traditionally, Inflatable fishing kayaks tend to cost less than hardshells.

But with the technology improving all the time (coupled with the rise in popularity of the sport), they are getting more expensive.

That said, you can still find some great deals – especially if it comes in a kit, with paddles, hand/foot pump, and carry bag included.

Advanced inflatables can easily cost more than $1000.

Stick to your budget, your skill level, and take into account how often you’re actually going to use it. If you’re fishing all day every day, then a more expensive kayak will be a sound investment.

For a look at the more budget-friendly end of the scale, check out this review of the best fishing kayaks under $800.

woman fishing from yellow inflatable fishing kayak

FAQs

Can you fish from an inflatable kayak?

You most certainly can. Inflatable kayak fishing is a great way to get out onto the water quickly and conveniently, and I highly recommend it – particularly if you don’t have the money or space for a boat or hardshell.

Are inflatable kayaks good for fishing?

Yes, they are. They’re every bit as good for fishing as their hardshell counterparts – and sometimes, they even outperform them.

Check the review above for some great examples.

Alternatively, you could always go a different route and try one of these fishing float tubes instead.

Or, a pair of good, old-fashioned fly fishing waders should do the trick, if you’re not quite comfortable with your sea legs.

Are inflatable kayaks stable and safe?

Providing you’re getting a good-quality inflatable – then yes.

Look for tried and trusted brands, and don’t buy knock-off products; as while they might save you a bit of money, they’ve probably cut a lot of corners when it comes to quality control and safety.

All the kayaks in this review have been certified safe to use on the water. If in doubt, check with the manufacturer, and buy something else if you’re not convinced.

Can inflatable kayaks be used in the ocean?

It depends on the kayak and the conditions. Ocean going kayaks (both hardshell and inflatable) tend to be longer and have a more V-shaped hull, which actually makes them more stable in tides and waves.

Fishing kayaks, by their nature, will have flatter, wider hulls to make them more stable in calmer waters.

I would err on the side of caution here, but there’s absolutely no reason you can’t take a good inflatable kayak out onto the ocean if the conditions aren’t too wild.

What to do if an inflatable kayak gets a hole?

Great question. While holes are rare in good-quality inflatable kayaks, accidents do happen. The good news is they are quite straightforward to repair. It’s not too dissimilar from fixing a bike tire puncture.

Check the video below – from inflatable boat legends Sea Eagle, for some expert advice on how to repair an inflatable boat or kayak.

What are the advantages of an inflatable kayak?

In a nutshell – portability, price, convenience, versatility, and storage. Next question.

What is the best inflatable kayak for fishing?

A question that’s almost impossible to answer, as there isn’t one inflatable fishing kayak that beats out all others.

Personally, I like the Sea Eagle, The Advanced Elements, and the Elkton Outdoors models.

But all the yaks in the review above are great fishing options. Make your own mind up and let me know in the comments.

Do inflatable kayaks pop easily?

No. Banish that thought from your head. These things aren’t cheap, blow-up pool toys for the kids.

They’re professional-level fish-catching beasts, capable of reaching fishing spots you can usually only dream about.

Are inflatable kayaks worth buying?

Love water?

Want to get out on the water to fish?

Don’t have the budget for a boat?

Short on space?

Would you like a convenient, versatile, recreational craft for fun?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then an inflatable kayak is absolutely worth it – for fishing or otherwise.

What is the best inflatable fishing kayak under $500?

That’s actually one of the easiest questions to answer – it’s the Intex Excursion Pro.

Which is also available in a solo version.

Mainly because I believe it’s the only dedicated inflatable fishing kayak below $500!*

*At the time of writing.

Summary

Fishing and kayaking go hand in hand, and it’s even more convenient and accessible if you’re using an inflatable.

There are a lot of options out there, and loads of factors to consider, but I hope this article has helped you choose the best inflatable kayak for fishing in 2022.

Let me know which model you’ve gone for and why – or if I’ve missed a product off that should be included.

Stay safe out there, tight lines, and happy kayak fishing!

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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