Are you one of those anglers who are keen to try kayak fishing but is a little apprehensive about stability?
You’re not alone. Tipping over, falling out, or capsizing are some of the biggest fears for anyone new to kayaking.
And while it’s understandable – it certainly shouldn’t stop you from getting out there – especially with the right craft and comfortable conditions.
So, I’ve put together a list of the best stand-up fishing kayaks in 2021 – the most stable kayaks out there for anyone looking for that extra peace-of-mind.
Or, if you just simply want to enjoy the benefits of standing casts and reels – you’ve come to the right place. Read on!
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Table of Contents
- TOP 11 Best Stand Up Fishing Kayaks in 2021
- Hobie 2020 Mirage Pro Angler 12 Kayak
- Old Town Predator MX Angler Fishing Kayak
- Wilderness Systems ATAK 120 Fishing Kayak
- Elkton Outdoors Steelhead Fishing Kayak
- Lifetime Triton Angler 100 Fishing Kayak
- Perception Pescador Pilot 12 Fishing Kayak
- Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 110 Fishing Kayak
- BKC TK122U Tandem Fishing Kayak
- Emotion Stealth Pro Angler 118 Fishing Kayak
- Sea Eagle FishSUP 126 Fishing Stand-up Paddleboard
- Old Town Sportsman BigWater PDL 132 Kayak
- How to Choose the Best Stand-Up Fishing Kayak
TOP 11 Best Stand Up Fishing Kayaks in 2021
How to Choose the Best Stand-Up Fishing Kayak
There’s plenty of features to consider when you’re in the market for a fishing kayak you can stand up in.
Let’s take a look in our handy buyer’s guide below.
Why Choose a Stand-Up Fishing Kayak?
There are several reasons why you might intentionally seek out a kayak that has been specially designed to accommodate a standing pilot.
And they don’t always have to do with fishing.
Kayaks that you can stand in will offer the best possible stability – which is often an essential requirement – particularly for anyone new to kayaking, or a little apprehensive about trying the sport.
Due to the deck design, they can be roomier than other kayaks, and you might not feel as restricted as a result – especially around your feet and the foot braces.
But for most anglers, the primary reason for choosing a stand-up kayak is that standing gives you more control over your casts, and the ability to manipulate lures, as well as setting the hook when you snag a bite.
Any angler will tell you – fighting a monster fish is much easier from a standing position.
And for fly-fishing especially, you’re not going to achieve the same results if you’re stuck sitting down. Alternatively, you could always go back to using some quality waders – but kayaking is more fun.
Read on to discover what makes the best stand-up kayaks – and what you should look out for.
Type of Kayak
There are many styles of kayak available – all designed for different recreational or professional purposes.
But they can be boiled down to two distinct types – sit-in and sit-on-top.
When it comes to choosing the best kayak for standing casts, then there’s no question you need to go for the sit-on-top version. That is the only type I’ve included in this review.
But for a more detailed explanation, check out this article on sit-in vs sit-on-top kayaks and find out which one is better for fishing overall.
Additionally, you need to consider if you’d prefer a solo or a tandem craft.
Remember that most tandem craft can be piloted alone, so they’re still well worth considering for extra stability and more space even if you’re kayaking by yourself.
A tippy kayak might be outstanding in whitewater, or cutting through the waves on an ocean-going adventure.
But it’s going to be no good if you want to stand up in the thing.
So, when it comes to the best kayaks for standing, you need to first look at the hull design.
Flat, wide hulls offer the best “primary stability,” which is how stable you feel when you first get into the craft.
They’re more suitable for use on calmer waters, quiet lakes and slow rivers, and they make ideal kayaks for standing up in.
V-shaped hulls are totally unsuitable and should be avoided at all costs for this practice. You’ll need the balance of a tightrope artist for successful standing casts in this type of craft, so choose flat hulls all the way.
It’s not just about how wide and flat the hull is for standing casts.
Allow me to let you into a little secret for how I narrowed down and chose the kayaks in this review.
Examine the footwells.
More often than not, the space and design of a kayak’s footwell will give you clear indication of whether the craft is suitable for standing up or not.
Look for kayaks with plenty of room around where you place your feet. A good standing kayak will have a dedicated deck that is spacious and molded to allow freedom of movement.
A non-slip covering or finish may also be included, which is another clue that the kayak is designed for standing casts.
And some kayaks might even have a foot-shaped standing zone – just to make it even more obvious that it’s suitable for getting up off your butt.
Although our primary concern is finding a kayak that is suitable for standing, let’s not overlook how important the seating is.
It can often be the difference between a good kayak and a great one.
High-end kayak manufacturers put a lot of money into high-end seating – in order to make your experience as comfortable as possible.
Look for kayaks that offer seats with metal frames – raised to offer the best field-of-view over the water.
Don’t forget, the better the seating, the easier it will be to stand in the first place – and the more comfortable it will be to sit back down.
Also, check for seating that is fully adjustable, as well as offering the ability to be removed and placed elsewhere on the kayak if required. Some anglers require more space when it comes to standing up.
Stand up fishing kayaks tend to offer more storage room as standard – considering the wider shape of the hull.
It’s simply up to you to decide what kind of storage you would most benefit from.
Look for kayaks that have large tank wells at the bow and stern – they’re great for tackle boxes and bags, coolers, or even customized milk crates decked out to your liking.
Waterproof hatches are ideal for keeping valuables protected. They can be found in a variety of locations around the craft, depending on which kayak you choose.
And underseat storage can be a great place to stash extra rain gear for fishing – just in case the clouds start to form.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – a fishing kayak isn’t a fishing kayak unless it’s got fishing-friendly-features.
Rod holders are perhaps the most important and practical, but you should also look out for accessory mounting rails, so you can add more equipment and gear at a later date.
Installing fish finders, transducers, GPS, flashlights, and other gadgets and gizmos is a lot easier if the kayak already has the hardware to mount them.
Then you don’t have to go drilling any new holes.
And instead of mounting lights, you could always try the old school route of using a decent fishing headlamp if you’re out after dark.
Size and Weight Capacity
The more you want to put on board your kayak, the higher the weight capacity will need to be.
This is why many people often choose a tandem kayak – even if they’re still flying solo.
Larger kayaks will offer more space, and will be able to carry more gear.
But the trade-off is going to be the overall weight of the kayak – and you might struggle to get it to the water’s edge without help.
And it’s certainly not going to win awards for performance, as heavy, bulky kayaks will be slow and cumbersome in the water – and can be difficult to maneuver if you’re not used to it.
Pedals and Paddles
Which brings me nicely to how you’re going to power the thing.
Fishing kayaks tend to offer two types of propulsion – pedals and/or paddles.
For the most part, paddles are non-negotiable. Look for kayaks with paddle parks, so you have somewhere to store them when you’re using your rods.
But if you want extra control, power, and speed in the water, then buying a kayak with a pedal drive system is a must.
The toe or hand operated rudders will also make life much easier – particularly in choppier conditions.
They might be pricey, but experienced kayak anglers swear by them.
Some kayaks are also compatible with trolling motors – so look out for those models for all but effortless kayaking.
A Word on Safety
While all the kayaks featured in this review have been designed to accommodate standing, there’s no accounting for freak conditions, unforced errors, or humans simply larking about.
Accidents can happen, and falling in is still a possibility.
As such, you should always, ALWAYS wear a certified kayak fishing PFD when out on the water.
No excuses – especially if you want to stand and move around while on board, or you’re attempting to land a huge beast from the deep.
Super-stable kayaks for standing tend to have a bit more to them, and as such the price can increase as you’re purchasing more kayak for your money.
Pedal drives and superior seating will drive that price up significantly.
But there’s still no reason you can’t get a budget-friendly kayak, and there are plenty of affordable options out there – especially if you’re not interested in all the bells and whistles.
Buy the best you can afford – and one that suits your skill level, and how often you’re going to use it.
Can you stand on a fishing kayak?
Providing the kayak has been designed for standing – then yes, you can comfortably stand up in one.
You still need to have a modicum of balance, and don’t overextend yourself when you’re casting, or moving around on the kayak.
Watch the video below for tips and advice on how to fish from your kayak standing up.
What are the advantages of stand-up fishing from a kayak?
The advantages with stand up fishing in a kayak are numerous.
First, you have a more commanding view over the water, which will help you locate the best spots, and see where you need to cast. It’s also useful for identifying hazards.
Casting is much easier, and you have more control when standing. You’ll be able to cast further and with more precision – which is essential if you want to hit that trout on the nose.
Manipulating lures is easier when standing, which will help you catch more fish.
Accessing your gear is more straightforward if you can move around on your kayak.
Finally, standing is a lot better for your back, especially if you’re using a kayak that doesn’t have particularly good seating.
What is the best kayak to stand up in?
It depends on what you’re looking for and what’s important to you. There’s no one kayak out there that is the “best” kayak to stand up in.
All the kayaks in this review are good for standing casts, but if I were to choose one, I’d go for the Old Town Sportsman. That kayak is simply a fishing beast.
What is the most stable fishing kayak?
Again, there isn’t a clear winner, and you’d have to test them all to find out. That said, you should look for kayaks with the widest hulls for the best possible primary stability.
Do fishing kayaks capsize?
While it is possible, fishing kayaks tend to be so stable that capsizing is very rare.
It’s also a lot easier to climb back on board a stable fishing kayak, as you shouldn’t have to flip it back over unless it’s a freak accident, or you’re out in dangerous conditions.
That said, it can and does happen – particularly if the kayak has been poorly loaded, you’re inexperienced, or the weather and waves are kicking up.
I would advise you to practice in shallow, calm waters, and take care loading your kayak, so it’s nicely balanced.
How do you stand up in a fishing kayak?
Great question. There are several ways you can accomplish this, but I think the video below outlines the easiest way, so you don’t end up in the drink.
Of course, you can always add a standing strap to make it that much safer and more comfortable. And don’t forget to wear a pair of good fishing gloves which will make things easier all round.
There’s no reason you can’t enjoy the same control standing in a fishing kayak than you can when you’re standing on the bank or shore.
Especially if you choose one of the best stand-up fishing kayaks in 2021.
Let me know which kayak you’ve gone for and why.
Stay safe out there, and happy kayak fishing!