When life gets on top of you, fishing can be just the tonic.
And while it’s great with one, it can be just as good with two.
Providing you get on, of course.
So, if you have a friend or loved one you could happily spend time with on the water, we’ve got the best tandem fishing kayaks in 2023 coming right up.
They say that two’s company – and when you’re literally in the same boat – you’d better hope that’s true!
Table of Contents
- The Best Fishing Kayaks for Two – Our Top Picks
- Tandem Fishing Kayak Reviews 2023
- How to Choose the Best Tandem Fishing Kayak
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The Best Fishing Kayaks for Two – Our Top Picks
If you’re looking for a quality tandem fishing kayak, but don’t want to scroll through the whole article, here’s our top three choices.
For the best tandem fishing kayak overall, look no further than the Vibe Yellowfin 130T – which packs in so many features, and can be paddled tandem or solo.
For a pedal kayak, you can’t beat the BKC PK14, which is one of the most affordable pedal drive kayaks on the market – especially considering it’s for tandem kayak fishing.
Tandem Fishing Kayak Reviews 2023
How to Choose the Best Tandem Fishing Kayak
Read on for our handy tandem kayak buyer’s guide, and we’ll find you some awesome two person fishing kayaks in no time.
Type of Kayak
So, you have established that you want a fishing kayak, and, since you’re already reading this article, you would like it made for two.
Now you need to decide between a hardshell and an inflatable; and a sit-inside or sit-on-top kayak.
Hardshell kayaks are faster and more maneuverable than inflatable versions. They also offer more storage and customization possibilities.
However, they’re usually much heavier, cost more (everything being equal), and can be difficult to transport.
The major advantage with inflatable kayaks is the portability factor. Simply throw it into the back of your vehicle, and you can be on the water at a moment’s notice.
You might be surprised to learn that they can also be harder to damage and more durable than a hardshell. Prang a rock with an inflatable kayak, and it will most likely bounce off, but prang it with a hardshell, and it will leave a nasty mark, dent, or other such damage.
A whole article could be written on the pros and cons of each, and as luck would have it, that’s exactly what we’ve done! Check out the hardshell vs inflatable debate in more detail at that link.
For the most part, tandem kayaks are of the sit-on-top variety – with one or two exceptions. A sit-on-top kayak is generally the preferred choice for most anglers, but sit-inside models are not without merit.
This article on sit-on-top versus sit-inside kayaks will tell you everything you need to know.
Paddles, Pedals, or Power?
One of the best things about tandem kayaking is that you can fish while your fishing partner pilots the craft.
Taking it in turns can be a really enjoyable part of the experience, whereas when you paddle solo – you need to do everything yourself.
Having a pedal drive can also be a huge advantage, as it will make things so much easier for both paddlers, which means more time and energy spent on catching fish.
That said, a good set of paddles is still a must, and it’s nice when a kayak comes with them included – so look out for such offers in the review.
Regardless, paddles that come with a kayak package are rarely any good, and you’ll want to upgrade in the future. Check out this article on the best kayak fishing paddles on the market.
You might also consider adding a motor at some point, so make sure the kayak you choose is compatible with this kind of technology.
And bookmark this link when you’re ready to shop for a quality kayak trolling motor.
Comfort and Seating
One of the most important considerations – particularly when it comes to a two-person fishing kayak – is the seating arrangements.
Obviously, you’re going to want the most comfortable seating available, but that’s not always possible depending on how much space you have, whether it’s an inflatable or hardshell, and how much you’re willing to pay.
Better quality seats = a higher price.
Kayaks that have lawn-style chairs with metal frames offer the most comfortable options – riding in one of those is like floating down a river in your armchair.
Consider the height of the seating, too, as you’ll want the best possible field-of-view over the water.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and upgrade if the seating a kayak comes with isn’t to your liking. Most tandem fishing kayaks will be customizable, so you can improve it with after-market accessories if you choose.
A kayak’s maximum weight capacity is there for a reason – so you don’t overload your kayak with occupants and fishing gear – including the weight of a potential catch.
Recently, an angler hooked a whopping 500 lbs marlin in a kayak, and it dragged him 15 miles out to sea.
He needed a backup boat to finish the job, but imagine if he’d tried to “land” it on a kayak with a 300 lbs weight capacity!
And this figure is arguably even more important when it’s a two-person fishing kayak.
In a kayak that’s carrying two people, possibly a child or pet, and a lot of fishing or camping gear – the weight can soon add up.
And overloading a kayak is one of the most dangerous things you can do – especially if you’re fishing or paddling in rough/deep waters – far from the shoreline.
Like when a 500 lbs marlin takes you for a ride!
So, don’t dismiss a kayak’s maximum weight capacity, and never even try to come close to it when you’re organizing your next outdoor adventure.
Double the occupants, double the equipment. With two people on board – you’re likely going to be carrying a lot more stuff.
So, it stands to reason that you’ll need enough storage space in which to put it.
However, given the fact that there’s now an extra body on board, a typical tandem kayak doesn’t always have more room than a solo version.
Humans tend to take up a lot of space.
Still, keep a look-out for the kayaks that attempt to offer additional storage for two people, or at least maximize the space available in the most efficient way.
In an ideal world, you’ll both have plenty of room to stash your own gear, extra clothing, saltwater fishing pliers, ham sandwiches, or anything else you might like to bring along.
And perhaps the most important storage feature is room for one of these awesome fishing coolers for all your beer.
Remember, just because it’s a two-person kayak doesn’t necessarily mean that you need two people to pilot it.
The best tandem kayaks can be paddled solo, which means even more storage space for all your fishing gear.
Fishing Friendly Features
It always amazes me when some review websites attempt to pass off a non fishing kayak as a fishing kayak.
Sure, you can catch fish from almost any craft, (including these awesome float tubes) but it’s not going to be as good as a kayak that features dedicated fishing features and accessories.
Of course, you can always pack one of these telescopic rods and call it good – especially if you’re short on space.
But keen kayak anglers should be on the lookout for kayaks that come with rod holders, tackle trays, deck mounts for additional accessories, gear tracks, and other useful fishing perks.
It’s also worth noting how customizable a fishing kayak is, as you might want to add GPS devices, fish finders, or similar tech at a later date.
And for tandem craft, you both need to be able to access these features, otherwise someone might not be happy.
A tandem fishing kayak with only one rod holder, for example, isn’t really a tandem fishing kayak.
From a safety perspective, it’s well worth thinking about the kind of waters you’re going to be fishing in, and the weather conditions on the day.
With tandem kayaking, it’s doubly important, not least because you both need to be in sync when it comes to navigating, paddling, and moving on board.
Don’t try to use kayaks that are unsuitable for the conditions. A cheap kayak isn’t going to cut it for fishing in open water, for example.
Last, but by no means least, both occupants must be wearing an approved fishing PFD – no matter the conditions.
Not strapped to the boat, not left back at home, and not tied around your waist.
Tandem fishing kayaks tend to cost a little more than their solo counterparts.
That said, there are bargains to be had, and with some models there’s not a great deal of difference.
Inflatable models usually cost less than hardshells, but the price skyrockets if you’re choosing something with a pedal drive system.
It’s up to you to choose a kayak that fits your budget, but I always say don’t run before you walk.
Purchase something that’s suitable for your skill level – and how often you’re actually going to be using it.
If anyone has a $3K fishing kayak gathering dust in the garage, then that’s sacrilege to the fishing gods.
What is the best 2-person fishing kayak?
Any kayak in this review can lay claim to this title, but the best tandem kayak for you might not be the best for me.
Just look out for something that’s comfortable and spacious, with enough storage options and fishing-friendly-features to keep both paddlers happy.
Which is better, a single or double kayak?
Both have their pros and cons, and in the end it’s really up to your personal preference anyway. There is no “better” option.
It basically comes down to whether you prefer to pilot the craft alone (with more room for all your gear) or with the company of a buddy.
Can you fish from a tandem kayak?
Of course! Using a tandem kayak is great because it allows one person to fish while the other pilots the craft.
You can switch things up so you both take turns, and there’s a strong chance you’ll have more success as a result.
Tandem fishing kayaks are often preferred by the solo kayak angler, as without the extra body on board, they offer unrestricted freedom for those epic casts, and much more room for tackle and gear.
Can one person handle a two-person kayak?
For the most part, yes. A small caveat here is you need to double-check with a particular tandem kayak if it is possible to pilot solo.
The real difference is when you’re using a canoe – as they’re more suited for at least two people, minimum.
What makes a good tandem fishing kayak?
I would say plenty of space is essential.
There’s nothing worse than getting a dead leg, cramp, or fatigue in a kayak when you can’t stretch out. It’s meant to be a relaxing day on the water, not a trip to the physio.
Primary stability is important – which is how stable a kayak feels when you first step into it. You want something with a wide, flat hull. The ability to fish standing up is ideal, too.
Fishing rod holders and accessories within easy reach is another key feature. And there has to be enough for both users – it’s no fun if there’s only one rod holder in a tandem kayak, for example.
Paddle rests are also non-negotiable. You need somewhere to dock your paddles when you’re fishing, as the last thing you want is your paddle floating off down the river.
Are tandem kayaks hard to use?
Not much more than a solo kayak, but you need to make sure you’re in sync with your paddle partner for efficient performance.
Watch the video below, which offers some great advice for tandem kayaking for beginners.
Perhaps the only thing better than fishing alone is fishing with a good friend or loved one, and with the best tandem fishing kayaks in 2023 – you can do just that.
Just make sure that you’re not going to fall out, literally and figuratively.
Let me know which model you’ve gone for and why, or if you have any tandem-related fishing tales you’d like to share with the community.
Stay safe out there, tight lines, and happy kayak fishing!