best sit on top fishing kayaks

Best Sit On Top Fishing Kayaks of 2023 (Ultimate Guide)

Hi there. I’m Rob. I’ve been fishing for decades, so I know a few things about fishing kayaks. My friends always come to me for advice, so I want to write this article for everyone who wants a good fishing kayak can find one. There are many low-quality options on the market, so please read first so you don’t end up disappointed with your new kayak.

Let’s reveal the best sit-on-top kayaks for fishing!

Quick Guide to the Best Fishing Kayaks

  • Best Fishing Kayak: The Perception Pescador Pro 120
  • Best Value Sit-on-Top Fishing Kayak: Perception Outlaw 11.5.
  • Most Stable Sit-on-Top Fishing Kayak: Wilderness Systems ATAK 120 is the way to go for high-end stability.

What is a sit-on-top fishing kayak?

You use a fishing kayak for kayak fishing. Fishing from a kayak provides stability, portability, and easy access to your equipment. It is also a quiet way of drifting across the water without scaring the gills out of the fish. A boat engine is loud, and the fish will hide and not hunt your bait for a long time. With a kayak, you’re like a stealth ninja gently paddling and gliding silently across the surface, and to the fish, you’re not any scarier than a rotating log moving downstream.

A sit-on-top fishing kayak does not enclose you inside the kayak’s hull. Those are good for some things, like paddling long distances in changing weather, as it protects you more from the elements. But they don’t give the same freedom from the cockpit to turn around, stand up, store items in accessible reach, and so on. There are many fishing kayaks, such as paddle kayaks, inflatable kayaks, pedal kayaks, ocean kayaks, motorized kayaks, and touring kayaks. But we’ll focus on sit-on-top kayaks here.

Best sit on top fishing kayaks on the market

The sit-on-top kayak is perfect for fishing and provides excellent stability and easy access to your gear. But with so many options, how do you choose the best sit-on-top kayak? Let’s do a breakdown of some of the best fishing kayaks:

The Perception Pescador Pro 120 (Best Overall)

The Perception Pescador Pro 120 is an excellent fishing kayak for fishermen of all skill levels. It has plenty of space for goods at 12ft long and 32.5 inches wide while remaining lightweight at 65 pounds. You may bring all the gear you need for a full day on the water with a weight capacity of 375 pounds. The kayak has various accessory attachments, allowing you to attach fish finders and other gadgets. The padded high back seat provides comfort on extended trips, and the changeable skid plate makes repairs simple. The sole disadvantage is the lack of dry storage, which makes it lightweight and easy to maneuver. Overall, it’s a tough, comfy, and convenient kayak ideal for serious anglers.

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The Perception Outlaw 11.5 (Best Value)

The Perception Outlaw 11.5 is an excellent choice for fishermen looking for a great deal on a fishing kayak. It has sufficient storage for all your gear (you can even place a cooler on it), with a length of 11 feet and 6 inches and a width of 35 inches. It weighs only 77 pounds despite its size, making it easy to carry from and to the water. With a weight capacity of 425 lbs, you’ll have enough room to bring all essential fishing tackle. The kayak provides ample storage room, with cup holders and pole holders, allowing you to bring in big fish while your hands are free. Also, it has a place to mount a fish finder, which makes it even easier to locate the shy and scared fish. The kayak is also sturdy enough to stand on the top, and the deck pads keep things quiet, so the fish don’t get spooked. One drawback is the lack of dry storage, so pack a waterproof bag to protect your valuables from the weather. Overall, the Perception Outlaw 11.5 is an excellent choice for people searching for a versatile fishing kayak at a reasonable price.

Wilderness Systems ATAK 120 (Best High-End)

The Wilderness Systems ATAK 120 is the king of high-end fishing kayaks. With a length of 12ft 3 inches and a width of 35 inches, it offers plenty of room for all your gear and a weight capacity of 400 pounds. It’s solid and sturdy, making standing and fishing from the comfortable, padded, and adjustable seat a breeze. The manufacturer built the standing deck for mobility, and the traction pads provide a firmer grip while remaining quiet, making it ideal for stealthy fishermen. Though it is hefty and difficult to travel, its functions make it worthwhile. For dedicated fishermen searching for the best of the best, the ATAK 120 is an excellent choice.

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Old Town Topwater PDL Angler (Best Pedal-Drive)

The Old Town Topwater PDL Angler is the kayak for the free-handed angler. The dimensions are 10ft 6 inches long and 36 inches wide. It’s enough to hold all your gear but weighs 101 pounds. It can carry up to 450 pounds (you and your fishing gear), and the steady kayak has a pontoon hull. The pedal drive system frees your hands to cast your rod and reel in fish while your friends are busy paddling. A non-slip deck makes you stable when you stand up and fish while your buddies are seated and scared of slipping or tipping over. The smaller size is easier to transport but heavy to carry, but the only negative is that it’s cumbersome. It’s the perfect fishing kayak for anyone who wants to up their game and becomes more efficient with their time on the waters.

Bonafide SS127 (Most Comfortable Seat)

The Bonafide SS127 is the ultimate kayak for comfort. It’s 12ft 7 inches long and 33.75 inches wide, so it’s big enough to store all your gear. It’s also highly stable, so you can stand up and fish without problems. It’s got some deep storage space, so you can bring all the gear you need for a successful day on the water. But it’s 94 pounds heavy, to be precise (85 without a seat), and it might be a bit of a workout to paddle. But the real kicker is the seat, oh baby; the seat is so comfortable you’ll want to spend the whole day on the water just sitting in it.

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What to look for in a fishing kayak

Here’s what you should consider before you buy a fishing kayak

  • Stability: you want to avoid falling over when fighting a stubborn bass. Inflatable fishing kayaks won’t be as steady as heavy ones.
  • Storage: gotta have space to store your tackle, a cooler for your drinks, and at least a bucket for the fish you’ll be catching.
  • Maneuverability: What are the dimensions and weight, and how are you navigating it? There are pedal-driven, tandem fishing kayaks and regular paddling kayaks.

It depends on your preferences, but a sit-on-top kayak allows for easy access and decent stability. But depending on the type of fishing you focus on, you may be OK with the perfect, most expensive fishing kayak, but just a decent one for once-in-a-while fishing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best sit-on-top fishing kayak?

Perception Pescador Pro 120 and the Wilderness Systems ATAK 120.

Are sit-on-top kayaks more stable than sit-in kayaks for fishing?

Yes, because they have a broader base and a flat bottom. Sit-in kayaks are better for faster paddling and protect you from the weather. 

Can you use an inflatable sit-on-top kayak for fishing?

Yes. The selling points for an inflatable kayak are its low weight and ease of transport. Less robust than hard-shell kayaks but still sturdy on wavy waters.

Can you fish from a lightweight sit-on-top kayak?

Yes. Lightweight kayaks aren’t only for the speed paddlers in the Olympics; you can fish from it as long as it’s a fishing kayak. 

Should I choose a sit-on-top or sit-in kayak for fishing?

Ultimately you are the decision maker, but a sit-on-top kayak gives you more convenient access to your equipment, and sit-in kayaks protect you more from the weather. Whichever is essential to you, I don’t know.