Ocean’s 11 – The 11 Best Ocean Fishing Kayaks in 2021


Kayak fishing isn’t just all about calm lakes, slow rivers, and still, meandering waterways.

The real thrill and excitement is out there in the ocean.

But that doesn’t mean getting lost at sea.

Bays, coves, beaches, inlets, mangroves and any inland or protected water courses will still be tidal – and you’ll need the right kind of craft to tackle them.

That’s why we’ve put together this review of the best ocean fishing kayaks in 2021.

Let’s go on an adventure.

Disclosure: At BonfireBob, we recommend products based on unbiased research, however, BonfireBob.com is reader-supported and as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases if you shop through the links on this page. For more information, see disclosure here.

The 11 Best Kayaks for Ocean Fishing

Ocean Kayak Trident 15 Angler Kayak

While some of the craft in this review might be more of a hybrid-style kayak, what we have here is a true ocean-going vessel.

This you might well expect, considering it’s manufactured by Ocean Kayak – the Maine-based premium kayak company.

This is their Trident model, a 15-foot, slimline beauty that’s been specially designed for fishing on the ocean.

It’s bursting with fishing-friendly-features, including two flush-mounted rod holders, gunnel accessory tracks, an oversize tank well with bungee and cooler options.

And if that wasn’t enough, there’s plenty of scope for adding your own, after-market accessories to customize until your heart’s content.

Pros

  • High load capacity.
  • Excellent storage options.
  • Comfort seating.
  • Fully customizable.

Cons

  • Pricey.
  • Might be a little on the large side for some.

Takeaway

Altogether one of the best fishing kayaks for the ocean there is. This has been designed and put together with one purpose in mind – catching fish in the sea. Go get ‘em, but don’t forget your saltwater fishing pliers when you do.

Old Town Predator Pedal Fishing Kayak

I gotta say I love this kayak, and if I didn’t already have a decent fishing set up I’d be very tempted to save my dimes for this.

Old Town have been making kayaks for over a century, and their Predator model is one of the very best fishing crafts out there.

Pedal powered for full hands-free fishing, the propulsion system is up there with the most advanced on the market – but that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what’s on board here.

With a QuickSeal storage hatch, six accessory plates, an internal battery case and built-in transducer scupper, non-slip EVA foam deck, and one forward facing and two rear-facing flush mount rod holders – this thing is like a kayak tank designed for catching fish.

Sod it, I’m just going to ask the wife if I can get one.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • World-class design and technology.
  • 500 lbs weight capacity.
  • Rudder control.
  • Steering lock.
  • Adjustable comfort seating.

Cons

  • Very expensive.

Takeaway

You wanted the best ocean fishing kayaks – you’ve got the best ocean fishing kayaks. Old Town has knocked it out of the park and over the horizon with this beast.

They don’t call it the Predator for nothing.

Perception Pescador Pro 10 Fishing Kayak

Perception is another top-drawer kayak company manufacturing kayaks that are designed to go places and enjoy epic adventures.

The Pescador Pro is a popular and affordable sit-on-top fishing model that features a fully adjustable lawn chair seat for maximum comfort on the waves.

Ideal for beginners or anyone just dipping their toes into ocean kayak fishing for the first time, the leak-proof construction has a built-in aid for added buoyancy and is relatively compact and lightweight for its class.

Large storage sections to the front and rear can hold all your equipment, and it features integrated accessory rails on each gunwale for fish finders, rod holders and other accessories.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Breathable mesh seating.
  • Bow and stern bungee cords.
  • Hull skid plate.
  • Affordable price.

Cons

  • Limited storage.

Takeaway

One of the best fishing kayaks for beginners, this is a great option from Perception – and it won’t cost as much as other craft in this class.

Still, remember that you should have a good level experience with kayaking before venturing out on the ocean – no matter what you’re piloting.

Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler Fishing Kayak

Here we have another offering from Ocean Kayak, this time the smaller Prowler model.

Coming in at just over 13 feet, it’s a more compact design, with a weight capacity of 325 lbs.

A spacious seat well includes comfort seating, while the large, easy-to-open front hatch offers plenty of bow-to-stern storage should you wish to bring along multiple rods.

An oversized storage well to the rear can easily accommodate one of these excellent fishing coolers, tackle boxes, milk crates or anything else you fancy bringing along.

Flush-mount rod holders and a transducer-compatible scupper adds some nice, fishing-friendly touches, and paddle holders are located at both sides for convenience.

Pros

  • Designed for the ocean.
  • Fully customizable.
  • Able to handle rougher waters.
  • Cup holders.
  • Great storage options.

Cons

  • Not the most comfortable seating.

Takeaway

Another top-quality ocean-going craft from Ocean Kayaks, offering loads of storage, this is ideal for anyone who likes to bring along the kitchen sink – or a four-legged-friend, at least.

There’s plenty of space to keep your tackle, and you might want to add a good fishing knife to your set up before you go.

Third Coast Avalon 120 Angler Kayak

Offered at a price that isn’t going to break the bank, the Avalon 120 sit-on-top kayak is another nice, entry-level fishing kayak for ocean-going adventures.

The seat is fully adjustable, with a deluxe seat back for additional comfort, and on deck there’s an abundance of storage options, including two clamshell hatches that come with removable bags for extra protection, and a rear tank well with bungee cord webbing.

It offers good carrying options with cushioned handles on four sides, while eight-inch yak-attack mounts on the gunwales allow for additional accessories.

The foot brace system is adjustable, as is the rod holder positioned in easy reach of the pilot.

Pros

  • Affordable price point.
  • Compact and lightweight design.
  • Paddle holder.
  • Two additional rod holders.
  • Self bailing system.

Cons

  • Bungee cord hooks aren’t the best.

Takeaway

This is a charming fishing kayak that has some truly well-thought-out features. I particularly like the carrying options (which can often be overlooked), and the storage is very practical. Pack one of these tackle bags for saltwater, and you’re good to go.

Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130 Fishing Kayak

The Sea Ghost from Vibe Kayaks regularly features in reviews like this one – and for good reason.

It’s probably the best ocean fishing kayak under $1000 on the market (so get it before that’s no longer the case).

Offering a practical marriage of speed and stability, it’s a beautiful craft with some well-designed features that are ideal for fishing in any conditions.

It includes two flush-mount rod holders and four integrated gear tracks for customized rigging, a pre-installed, toe-controlled rudder system for taking on windy days and stronger currents, and a premium-comfort chair for fishing until the sun goes down.

You might want one of these fishing headlamps if you’re going to do that.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Highly rated.
  • Excellent storage options.
  • High load capacity.
  • Slip-resistant, super-stable deck.

Cons

  • Center console hatch can be a little loose.

Takeaway

As an all-around fishing kayak, this is a winner – especially considering the price point. Get it while you can, as it’s rare you get this quality and technology for under $1000, that’s for sure.

Wilderness Systems Radar 135 Fishing Kayak

Another premium kayaking company, it was only a matter of time before Wilderness Systems entered the fray.

Famed for their world-class kayaks that truly inspire adventure, this is a sit-on-top fishing version that hears the ocean’s call.

Compatible with a pedal drive system (not included), it provides a versatile and powerful kayak that can tackle just about anything.

With a stable, stand-on deck, you can have total freedom-of-movement and improved casting range, while the AirPro Max seat is super comfortable when you’re ready to take the weight off.

The choice of colors is a nice touch, too.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Accessory railings.
  • Front paddle park.
  • Plenty of storage options.
  • Padded footrests.
  • Removable seat.

Cons

  • Expensive.
  • Pedal drive sold separately.

Takeaway

I would expect nothing less than top-quality from Wilderness Systems, and this ocean-going kayak does not disappoint.

Just make sure to wear some decent fishing shoes if you’re going to be standing on deck – they’ll help you stay out of the drink.

BKC TK181 Tandem Kayak

You might not think a manufacturer called the Brooklyn Kayak Company and based out of New Jersey could come up with some top-drawer fishing vessels, but they most certainly do.

And this is a great example of one, a tandem, sit-on-top fishing kayak with no less than seven rod holders located in convenient positions around the craft.

Absolutely jam-packed with features to keep anglers happy and with two paddles included, for the price, this could well be one of the best deals out there when it comes to ocean fishing kayaks.

Pros

  • Great price for what you get.
  • Rod holders galore.
  • Ample storage options.
  • Ergonomic seating.
  • High weight capacity.

Cons

  • Not the best kayak for choppy waters.

Takeaway

Not a bad effort at all from the BKC, especially considering the price point. For more of the best tandem fishing kayaks, follow that link, and see if you can agree on which one to buy – you should be fine to pilot a boat together.

Elkton Outdoors Steelhead Fishing Kayak

I realized at the last moment this review was all about hardshells, but there’s absolutely no reason inflatable kayaks can’t be good for fishing ocean waters, too.

Of those, the Elkton Outdoors Steelhead is one of the best, another tandem kayak that is versatile for touring, fishing, and recreational purposes.

With that all-important drop-stitch floor you’re free to do comfortable standing casts, while the self bailing drains can be used if you happen to take on too much water in rougher chop.

A long waterline with two skegs improves tracking, and it’s made from a highly durable 1000D reinforced layered PVC – so it won’t let you down.

Pros

  • Bag, pump, and paddles included.
  • Multiple Scotty mount points.
  • Front and rear bungee storage.
  • Adjustable comfort seating.
  • Protective cones at bow and stern.
  • Paddle parks.

Cons

  • Not the most comfortable kayak out there.
  • A little light on storage compared to a hardshell.

Takeaway

As far as inflatables go, this is one of the very best for fishing, as well as being suitable for multiple other uses, too. There’s a strong chance you’ll also find it in this review of the best inflatable fishing kayaks – along with many more options if that’s the style you’re looking for.

BKC PK11 Angler Solo Fishing Kayak

Another BKC kayak now with this solo, sit-on-top craft that comes with an instant reverse pedal drive and rudder system.

Loaded with features, it has ergonomic comfort seating with a steel frame, aluminum paddle included, three rod holders, and plenty of storage with a stern tank well with bungee cord, and bow watertight hatch.

It’s also compatible with a trolling motor upgrade, so even if you’re not satisfied with pedal power, you can easily upgrade.

Capable on all types of waters, this is a quality fishing kayak that’s offered at a great price considering the technology it comes with.

Pros

  • Versatile use.
  • Paddle parks.
  • Choice of fun colors.
  • Accessory railings.
  • Hand-operated rudder.

Cons

  • Might be a little short for an ocean kayak.
  • Tracking isn’t the best and can be a challenge.

Takeaway

An affordable pedal drive system that offers plenty of features to keep ocean anglers happy. Don’t forget to use a pair of good fishing gloves – which will help with handling your catch as well as protection from paddling blisters.

Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak

We finish with the hugely popular Tamarack Angler fishing kayak from Lifetime.

Made from a high density polyethylene, this kayak can take a beating and then some, as well as being fully UV protected for when you’re out exposed to the sun.

With two flush mounted and one top mounted fishing rod holder, two six-inch storage compartments, and bungee webbing at the bow and stern, there’s plenty of on-board fishing-friendly features.

Multiple footrests accommodate anglers of all sizes, and front and rear T-handles assist with transport and storage.

Pros

  • Great price.
  • Simple, effective design.
  • Adjustable seating.
  • Water bottle holders.
  • Paddle park.

Cons

  • As basic as they come.
  • Not the most comfortable seat.
  • Low maximum weight capacity.

Takeaway

If you’re looking for the most affordable ocean fishing kayak, then you’re looking right at it. While it’s not going to light up the community with the design, it is a great budget-friendly craft to get you out on those calmer waters with minimum fuss.

How to Choose the Best Kayak for Ocean Fishing

It’s not easy choosing the right fishing kayak, let alone one that’s right for fishing in the ocean.

Below, you’ll find a handy guide to help you navigate the jargon, and select the best craft for your needs.

orange fishing kayak on blue sea on summer

Kayak Type

Generally speaking, there are two main types of kayak – sit in, and sit-on-top.

After that, you can choose from several more variants, including touring kayaks, fishing kayaks, whitewater kayaks, recreational kayaks, and so on.

Obviously, for this article, we’re exploring the fishing variety, and as you can probably tell from the reviews above, you’re best suited to a sit-on-top version when you’re out in the ocean.

It’s up to you to decide if you want a single or tandem craft – depending on if you like piloting a craft solo, or feel you would enjoy having a buddy around/there’s safety in numbers.

Finally, you still need to make the choice between an inflatable or a hardshell – which would take up a whole article itself just to explore. Watch this space, we might do one in the future.

Hull Design

What makes a kayak good for fishing in the ocean?

Your first port of call needs to be the hull design.

You might think that the wider and flatter a kayak’s hull, the more stable it is? Well, that’s only true in calmer waters.

That’s known as primary stability – how stable the kayak is when you first step into it.

Secondary stability is how “tippy” the kayak is in rougher waters. This is where a more V-shaped hull is actually more stable.

However, V-shaped hulls aren’t usually the best for fishing – as it would be tricky to reel in a fish without capsizing. A sort of compromise has to be reached – a hybrid, if you will.

When it comes to fishing kayaks, most of them are designed with a flat hull, so finding a good hybrid for fishing in potentially choppier waters – aka the ocean – can be a bit more challenging.

Most of the kayaks in this review are versatile for multiple conditions, and I’ve tried to include kayaks that have been specifically designed for fishing coastal waters, that are perfectly capable of handling a bit of chop.

Remember though, unless you’re rocking a professional, ocean-going kayak, you shouldn’t be fishing in really rough conditions, or going further out to sea than is comfortable.

Either way, regardless what type of craft you’re using, you should always be wearing an approved fishing PFD. Follow that link for more information.

And if you’re interested, check out the video below for a visual guide to how kayak hulls perform in choppy conditions.

Seating

A very important part of your kayak is the seating. Again, this is where sit-on-top kayaks come into their own for fishing purposes.

Most fishing kayaks worth their (sea)salt will have fully adjustable comfort seating, but the quality can vary.

Some seats will be simple padding with backrest mesh, while others will have practically taken a lawn chair and put it on board.

The seating position of a sit-on-top kayak will also give you a better field of view of the surrounding water – especially if you’re in an elevated position.

You get what you pay for, and this is especially true with fishing kayak seating. A lot of money goes into this part of the craft, because it’s important you get the most comfortable and practical fishing experience possible.

Storage

On-board storage is another important consideration – especially when it comes to fishing kayaks. It’s likely that you’ll be carrying a lot of gear and equipment – so you’ll need somewhere to put it.

Look for kayaks with storage tank wells. They can be at the bow or stern, and often come with bungee cord webbing to hold their contents in place.

Water-tight hatches are very useful, particularly if you want somewhere to stash valuables, or anything you don’t want getting wet.

If you’re not practicing catch and release, you’ll also need somewhere to keep your catch. Generally speaking, the more on-board storage a kayak has – the better.

Fishing Accessories

It’s not just all about rod holders – although they are key to having a functioning not to mention successful fishing kayak.

Good fishing kayaks have articulated rod holders that can be fully adjusted, as well as having rod holders mounted flush on the gunwale.

But equally important, is the option to upgrade and improve your craft for fishing with after market accessories.

So, look for fishing kayaks that have accessory rails already built in, so you can add extra rod and net holders, GPS systems, fish finders and transducers, flashlights, or anything else that takes your fancy.

You might even want to pimp your ride with some of these awesome bowfishing lights to keep you out after dark.

And you can’t be piloting the best saltwater fishing kayak without bringing along the best saltwater fishing rods, so follow that link to pick one up.

fisherman floats on a white fishing kayak in ocean along the coast

Propulsion and Rudder

How a kayak is powered is key – especially if you’re in the ocean.

While owning a good quality paddle is essential, for ocean-going kayaks, you could do with a bit more ‘oomph’ under the hood.

Having a kayak that offers pedal power is highly recommended when you’re in open bodies of water, or anywhere you’re likely to experience stronger currents than you would on a lake or lazy river.

Aside from giving your arms a rest and allowing hands-free fishing, a pedal drive and rudder system can be a life-saver if your paddle somehow happens to float off.

Rudders are not common in kayaks, but they can be extremely useful for anyone venturing out in tidal or choppy waters with stronger currents.

The best pedal kayaks for ocean fishing will also help you track fish, cover distances faster, and get you out of tight spots if required.

We’ve all seen those kayak versus shark encounter videos on YouTube…

Safety Features

While you can still drown in a puddle of water, fishing in the ocean presents some additional challenges to that of still lakes and rivers. It’s a good idea for your craft to have some extra safety features as standard.

Look for kayaks with good carrying handle options – or with grab points along the edges of the kayak. Apart from helping you with transportation, they can be life-saving to cling on to should you tip over.

Don’t completely dismiss the color of a kayak either. Apart from looking cool, bright colors can aid location in low-light or poor visibility conditions.

If a kayak doesn’t have a particular safety feature, you could always add it yourself at a later date.

Either way, regardless what type of craft you’re using or where, you should always be wearing an approved fishing PFD. Follow that link for more information.

Also, if you are choosing a kayak with pedal drive (or even if you’re not) be fully aware of your own physical limitations. You need to be in pretty decent shape to use these craft in anything more than calm waters.

And don’t forget about sun damage when you’re out exposed under those harmful UV rays. You could always try installing a kayak canopy, but a good-quality fishing hat will do just as well – and for a fraction of the cost.

Cost

Unfortunately, fishing kayaks aren’t cheap – and ocean-going fishing kayaks will push the price point up that little bit higher.

Especially when you start to factor in hybrid hull designs, advanced seating, and pedal power drives.

You’re not going to be getting much change out of 1-3K.

There are two things you should consider here.

Personal budget is the first – you should always buy the best you can afford without breaking the bank or getting into a row with your other half.

But perhaps more important, is suiting the craft to your own skill level. It’s unwise to throw thousands of dollars at something you’ve never tried, or you’re not ready for.

And you should have at least a modicum of experience before purchasing the best offshore fishing kayaks in the first place.

There’s nothing worse than negative reviews from people who can’t handle the craft.

man fishing from stand up paddle board in ocean

FAQs

What is the best kayak for ocean fishing?

It might be a subjective question, but if I were backed into a corner and had to give my honest answer, I would go for the Ocean Kayak Trident, the Old Town Predator, and the Perception Pescador as my top three.

Which, coincidentally, happens to be the first three kayaks in this review. Honorary mention to all the others listed here, too.

Joking aside, the best kayaks for ocean fishing are going to be stable, sit-on-top kayaks with comfortable seating and a hybrid hull shape.

Are sit on top kayaks good for the ocean?

For fishing kayaks, yes. However, if you’re looking to travel and explore, then sit-in kayaks are much better for venturing out onto the ocean.

For staying closer to shore, in calmer waters, then sit-on-top fishing kayaks are the best option. Check out the video below for a comparison between sit-on and sit-on-top kayaks.

Can you stand up in an ocean fishing kayak?

Most ocean fishing kayaks are designed to allow for standing casts and reels, but check with the individual product to make sure.

Look for kayaks that have a special deck/foot sections for standing. When in doubt, ask the manufacturer directly, or read reviews where successful standing casts have been made. I certainly don’t want to be responsible for you falling in.

Aside from that, you can always try a good stand up paddle board for fishing – which by their nature are designed for just that purpose.

Just don’t go out in rough swells and strong currents. If you are fishing in wet weather, with a kayak or otherwise, you should try one of these awesome fishing jackets to keep you protected.

What size kayak for ocean fishing?

A good size for an ocean fishing kayak is 12-15 feet. Anything shorter than that, and you might get into difficulty with tracking and attempting to get anywhere.

Longer kayaks are designed for touring, not turning. As with most fishing kayaks, having a happy medium is the way to go when it comes to their overall length.

Do you need a special kayak for the ocean?

It’s highly advisable, yes. You need a kayak that is going to handle the waves – which means something that has a more V-shaped hull.

As mentioned, when it comes to fishing kayaks, V-shaped hulls aren’t that common. A hybrid design is preferable.

Of course, if you’re not fishing, and you just want to get out there and explore, then a sit-in touring sea kayak would be more suitable.

Are pedal kayaks worth it?

Yes. Pedal kayaks give you a huge advantage when it comes to power and control, but aside from that, you don’t have to constantly be picking up and putting your paddle down, and you can enjoy hands-free fishing.

Sure, they might cost a bit more, but trust me – it’s so worth it. Give it a go – and you won’t go back.

Summary

There you have it fellow fishers – the best ocean fishing kayaks in 2021. I hope this article has helped point you in the right direction for choosing a craft suitable for your needs.

Let me know in the comments which model you’ve gone for and why, or if I missed your favorite.

Happy 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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