Best Fly Fishing Kayak in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide


Fly Fishing is the best way to live the thrill of a hunt in the water. Although it takes some dedication, it brings great satisfaction when you finally catch the fish. 

The main issue that anglers face is that it requires a wide range of movement. Only a well-designed and highly stable fly fishing kayak will allow you to maintain your balance.   

With all that being said, let’s take an in-depth look at the 8 best fly fishing kayaks on the market! 

Comparison Table:

KayakTypeDimensionsWeightMaterialMax Capacity
Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130Hardshell Sit-on-top156 x 33 x 15 in.75 lbs.Single Piece Rotomolded Polyethylene500 lbs.
Lifetime 10 Foot KayakHardshell 
Sit-on-top
120 x 36 x 19 in.75 lbs.High-Density, UV-Resistant Polyethylene  500 lbs.
Perception Pescador Pro 12 KayakHardshell 
Sit-on-top
144 x 32.5 x 14.6 in.57 lbs.High-Density, UV-Resistant Polyethylene375 lbs.
Sevylor Coleman ColoradoInflatable
 Sit-in
120 x 36 x 19 in.41 lbs.18-Gauge PVC with a tarpaulin bottom470 lbs.
Hobie Mirage Compass Hardshell Sit-on-top 144 x 34 x 13.5 in.68 Ibs. Rotomolded Polyethylene400 lbs.
Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler Hardshell  Sit-on-top156 x 28 x 13 in.56 lbs.UV-resistant, High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) 325 lbs.
Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10 FootHardshell Sit-on-top120 x 30 x 11 in.44 lbs.High-Density Fortiflex PolyethylenE250 lbs.
Wilderness System Tarpon 100Hardshell Sit-on-top120 x 30.5 x 15.25 in.  55 lbs.Rotomolded polyethylene325 lbs. 

The 8 Best Fly Fishing Kayaks in 2020

1. Vibe Kayak Sea Ghost 130 – Best Stability 

Vibe Sea Ghost 130

The Vibe Angler Sea Ghost 130 is a robust, high-quality kayak. It maintains high levels of stability, which makes it a great option for fly fishing. 

In addition, it’s an affordable option for hobbyists who can’t afford expensive kayaks.

Regarding the design, it features a wide hull and a central console for storage. Besides, the extra storage that accompanies the lid allows you to mount any additional equipment you might need. 

It can handle up to 500 lbs., which is great considering it’s a single-person vessel that weighs 75 lbs. The strong construction contributes to its ability to withstand rough waters even at higher speeds. 

Moreover, there are 4 coordinated gear hacks incorporated for customized rigging.  Also, it features a transducer port that you can use as a fish finder. 

The seat is comfortable and safe. Many anglers spend hours in the water sitting in this kayak without having any issues. 

Pros: 

  • Sturdy construction 
  • Excellent storage space 
  • Affordable 
  • Features a rudder system to locate fish 
  • Extremely stable

Cons: 

  • A little too heavy 
  • The central console interferes with your movement inside the kayak 
  • Average speed 
  • Moderate maneuverability

Bottom Line 

The Vibe Angler Sea Ghost 130 is a kayak that suits every angler. It’s an excellent fly fishing kayak thanks to the wide hull and the exceptional stability. 

2. Lifetime 10 Foot – Best Tandem 

Lifetime 10 Foot

Next, we have one of the widest kayaks that’s great for paddling and angling trips. It’s known for its dependability and security. 

As the name implies, the Lifetime Foot angler is 10-feet long. It has a width of 3 feet. Being such a spacious kayak makes it a great choice for fly fishing. You can freely move around while tackling your fish. 

Although it’s a tandem, it can fit a third person as well. Perhaps you can take your child with you on a recreational family outing. 

The maximum capacity the Lifetime 10 Foot can handle is 500 lbs. It features 2 comfortable, cushioned seats. The cockpit includes a scupper to drain the water from the boat. The scupper gaps allow the transducer to go through when you’re using the fish finder. 

Furthermore, it comes with many additional accessories, including 2-double-sided paddles with paddle clips. 2 backrests and 3 fishing pole holders. A storage hatch is included in the package as well. 

The vessel is resistant to cracking and peeling. It’s made from thick roto-shaped polyethylene (HDPE), which explains the reason behind its sturdiness and stability. 

Pros: 

  • Large capacity 
  • Withstands harsh weather and water turbulences 
  • Spacious with excellent storage 
  • UV resistance to prevent cracking, peeling, and puncture 
  • Comfortable seating with footrests 
  • 5-year extended warranty 

Cons: 

  • Poor quality of the included accessories 
  • Heavy 

Bottom Line 

The Lifetime 10 Foot has what it takes to make an outstanding fly fishing kayak. It’s roomy and stable. Not to mention, it can withstand strong currents. 

3. Perception Pescador Pro 12 – Best for Professionals

Perception Pescador Pro 12

This kayak is a superb option for serious fly fishing anglers. It’s fast, stable, and comfortable. This makes it ideal for such fishing purposes. 

The Perception Pro features an extra comfortable, removable seat with adjustable foot braces. There are 2 flush-mounted bar holders for standard fishing bars as well as landing nets. 

It has a capacity limit of 375 lbs., which is pretty decent considering that it’s designed for a single person. Also, such capacity makes it a convenient kayak for those who spent prolonged hours in the water. 

Maneuvering with the Pescador Pro 12 can be a bit of a challenge for beginners. However, professionals will find it easy to control. 

The Perception Pescador is made from UV-resistant polyethylene. As mentioned earlier, it makes it a durable and strong vessel. The exceptional performance of the kayak makes it ideal for many conditions, especially that it has a built-in buoyancy to ensure safety. 

Pros: 

  • High stability 
  • Excellent build quality 
  • Rigged compartments
  • Durable and sturdy 
  • Ample storage

Cons: 

  • Relatively heavy 
  • Average maneuverability 

Bottom Line

The performance of the Perception Pescador Pro 12 is what makes it unique. It’s not only good for fly fishing, but it can excel with other fishing techniques as well.

4. Sevylor Coleman Colorado – Best Inflatable Fly Fishing Kayak

 Sevylor Coleman Colorado

Unlike the solid kayaks we talked about earlier, the Sevylor Coleman Colorado is an inflatable boat. This gives it the advantage of being lightweight.

Many anglers try to avoid inflatable kayaks while fly fishing. There seems to be a misconception that these kayaks aren’t strong or stable enough. However, that’s not necessarily true. 

For instance, this kayak has exceptional construction. It’s made from high-quality 18-gauge PVC that’s covered with dense tarpaulin. This makes it capable of withstanding the sharp rocks of rivers and lakes. It’s stronger than some average quality hardshell kayaks for that matter. 

Although it’s not the best option for ocean fishing, it’s brilliant in coastline fishing conditions. Actually, it’s NMMA-certified for being a safe fishing kayak

Regarding the design, the adjustable Berkley Quick Set fishing rod holder supports hands-free fishing. It features multiple airtight systems to prevent leakage. 

Moreover, it’s one of the most stable fishing kayaks that you can currently find. The high stability comes at the expense of speed. Yet, it’s a key feature when it comes to fly fishing. 

To add more to the value of the boat, the company includes many extras in the package, including trolling motor fittings, carrying handles, and paddle holders. Also, Sevylor guarantees a 1-year limited warranty. 

Pros: 

  • Robust construction and puncture resistance
  • High capacity of 470 pounds 
  • Lightweight and easy transportation 
  • Supports hands-free fishing 
  • Excellent stability 
  • Comes with many extras 

Cons: 

  • The extras don’t include an inflation pump 
  • Not suitable for ocean fishing 

Bottom Line 

Despite what some anglers think, the Sevylor Coleman Colorado is one of the best fly fishing kayaks. It has an amazing performance, rugged construction, and large storage capacity. 

5. Hobie Mirage Compass Kayak – Best Tracking Capabilities 

Hobie Mirage Compass

The Hobie Mirage Compass has been used for fly fishing ever since it came out. It features the MirageDrive Paddle System that allows the angler to control the kayak while keeping their hands free. The entire driving frame of the vessel is one of the quickest on the market. 

Furthermore, the seat of the boat offers extra comfort. It’s an adjustable Vantage seat for lower back support. What makes this kayak standout is the retractable rudder system that makes tracking a good as it can get. Also, it’s equipped with 4 rod holders to cover more surface area. 

The kayak features multiple storage compartments, including extra cargo hatches to store as much equipment as you may need. The storage capacity is 400 lbs., so you’ll find it pretty convenient. 

Pros: 

  • Stable 
  • Ample storage space 
  • Extra comfortable seat 
  • Large weight capacity 
  • Features the MirageDrive Paddle System 

Cons: 

  • Expensive 

Bottom Line 

The Hobie Outback Mirage is a high-end fly fishing kayak. It has enough space for installing a fish finder whilst; it features a top-notch rudder system. 

6. Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler – Best Speed for Ocean Fly Fishing 

The Ocean Prowler 13 is an outstanding selection for fly fishing. You already know that stability is one of the major factors when choosing a fly fishing kayak. While there are many stable options on the market, they all come at a price, which is almost always the speed. 

However, this kayak has high stability with excellent speed as well. Although it has a narrow hull, the design helps it glide across the waves of the ocean. 

The seat of the Prowler 13 has a padded back that enables all-day fishing. In terms of storage, there’s a round hatch with bucket storage. Also, it features another waterproof hatch at the rear. 

Although it’s not the lightest fly fishing kayak on our list, it’s definitely lighter than other options. It has a weight capacity of 325 lbs., which is not bad, considering it only weighs 56 lbs. 

Last but not least, the kayak comes with a lifetime warranty on the hull. It entails how much the company is sure about the quality of the unit.

Pros: 

  • Unique striped design 
  • Lightweight
  • Large storage 
  • High speed and stability 
  • Comfortable seating 
  • Lifetime warranty on the hull 

Cons: 

  • No gear rails 
  • Features 2 rods only 

Bottom Line 

The high stability makes the Ocean Prowler 13 a good fly fishing kayak. It shows its true capabilities while fishing in the ocean; yet, it’s suitable for sea fishing.  

7. Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10 Foot – Best Value For Money

Sun Dolphin is a well-known kayak manufacturer that’s trusted by many anglers. 

This model is one of the lightest hardshell options on the market weighing only 44 lbs. This makes it easy to paddle and control in the water. 

It features a sealed storage hatch at the front of the kayak. It’s only convenient for small items. However, the design of the kayak allows you to store as many items as you like at the back of the boat. Yet, you should keep in mind that the maximum weight capacity of the boat is only 250 lbs. 

Being an affordable option, you should expect some compromise. Fortunately, such a settlement doesn’t come near the performance in any means. Although the unit is quite sturdy, it’s prone to scratching and peeling. 

On the other side, it’s highly stable, which gives you a chance to stand-up while fishing without worrying about tipping or taking a dive into the deep water. 

The maneuverability is great despite the slow speed. It’s comfortable with an open cockpit that’s easy to climb into and out of. It comes with protective thigh pads and foot braces.

And finally, it comes with paddle holders and a deck rigging. No rod holders included, but that’s really okay considering its price. 

Pros: 

  • A stable unit 
  • Roomy and allows you to stand up 
  • Easy maneuverability 
  • Affordable 
  • Vivid colors 
  • Comfortable seating 

Cons: 

  • Prone to scratching 
  • Low weight capacity 
  • Slow 

Bottom Line

The Sun Dolphin Bali SS is stable enough to allow you to stand up and balance yourself while fly fishing. It has the lowest storage capacity, but if you’re an occasional angler that doesn’t use many fishing gears, then it’s not a problem.

8. Wilderness System Tarpon 100 – Best Secure Fly Fishing Kayak

Wilderness System Tarpon 100

This kayak makes a convenient option for those newly experimenting with fly fishing. It was designed for comfort. The Phase 3 AirPro seat is cozy and easy to fiddle with. 

Moreover, it features a secure paddling system, the Keepers XL Foot Brace System, to ensure your safety while you’re out on the waters. The self-bailing scupper holes make the kayak even safer and get rid of the extra water to keep the unit dry. 

It offers ample storage of 325 lbs. maximum weight capacity. The Orbix dry storage hatches aim to keep your valuables and electronics away from the water.

It has a beautiful design with flaming colors that are quite catchy. The lightweight and easy maneuverability make it suitable for lakes, rivers, and even bays. 

Pros: 

  • Lightweight 
  • Feature a high-quality seating area 
  • Secured paddles 
  • Orbix storage hatches are waterproof 
  • Self-bailing 
  • Stable

Cons:

  • Slow
  • No rod handles

Bottom Line

The Wilderness System Tarpon 100 is a secured unit. That’s why it’s always recommended for inexperienced anglers. It makes an excellent fly fishing kayak that’s comfortable and easy to control. 

How to Pick a Fly Fishing Kayak 

Stability 

Stability is a crucial factor when choosing a kayak for fly fishing. The style requires frequent moving to cast, retrieve, and land the fish. 

There’s no way for any angler to get this done without moving around and standing up, something that you’ll never achieve if your vessel keeps tipping over. 

It’s better to settle for a length of 10 feet or more. However, it’s important to keep the length of the beam at the back of your head. 

If the length of the kayak is 12 feet or more, make sure that the beam is more than 30 inches. This is essential to ensure that the kayak is still stable with that significant increase in length. Otherwise, things will turn around. 

Deck 

A flat deck will give you more room to move around. Also, it’s better to go for models that are free of clutter. This minimizes the chances of snagging and tripping over. Ideally, kayaks that are designed for standing while fishing feature a sort of a traction pad. It makes them safer to walk over even if the top is wet. 

Another thing to notice is that sit-on-top kayaks offer a better deck space. There’s no cockpit, to begin with, and there’s plenty of space for moving and storage. 

Storage and Weight Capacity 

Any professional angler knows that this is a key when choosing any kayak. It doesn’t make sense to buy a vessel that won’t allow you to take all your necessary fishing equipment. Instead, settle for a large capacity that enables you to haul all your gear with multiple tackling boxes and poles.

Also, when thinking about the capacity of the kayak, consider the weight of the fish you’ll catch and where to keep it. Some kayaks feature a large tank that can be filled with water. Others need a separate storage system.

Lastly, it’s good to have a watertight area where you can keep your valuables without worrying about the water reaching them.

Comfort 

Despite the type of fishing you decide to go with, it’s important to make sure that the kayak that you’re using is comfortable. This is because you’ll probably be spending many hours on the boat. 

Ideally, an adjustable seat will be more comfortable than its counterparts. Padded seats and cushioned ones are the best. Some kayaks come with removable seats that you can replace with any other seats that you find more comfortable. 

Having a good leg space and supporting seatbacks are other specifications that make your experience much better and ensure your comfort. 

Sit-on-Top vs. Sit-in Kayaks 

Generally speaking, sit-on-top kayaks are more suitable for fly fishing. Their main advantage is that the casting is much easier since you’re at a higher level than the water. 

Regardless, sit-in kayaks are faster and more secure than their sit-on-top counterparts. They’re more suitable for stronger currents. 

The fishing conditions that you fish in have a great influence on the type of kayak you should buy, so let’s talk about that next! 

Fishing Conditions 

The conditions that you fish in can dictate using certain kayaks more than others. This applies to aspects like whether to go for a sit-in or sit-on-top kayak and also applies to the dimensions of the vessel itself.

It can significantly help you narrow down your choices. So, let’s say you go fishing in open water or places where you need to surf a little, you’d need a kayak that can handle the waves. Options like the Ocean Prowler 13 or Perception Pescador Pro 12 would be perfect. 

On the other hand, fishing in calm rivers and slightly moving water makes longer and wider options a smarter choice. You’re not prioritizing safety here because there isn’t much to worry about. On the contrary, comfort is your ultimate goal in such conditions. You need a spacious kayak that’ll allow you to move freely.   

Maneuverability 

Maneuverability is another thing to think about before making any purchases, especially if you’re new to kayaking. You don’t want to exert your efforts on trying to get the kayak to a good fishing spot then have no energy to actually fish. 

The traditional way is to go with pedaling kayaks. This will save you some energy whilst it gives you the chance to maximize the fishing time because your hands will be free. On the other hand, paddling kayaks consume time and energy. They’re more convenient for kayaking as a sport, but not when you intend to fish too. 

Weight 

It’s important to think about how you’ll transport the kayak to the water. If it’s too heavy, things aren’t going to be easy, especially if you have to walk for some distance while carrying it. 

In such circumstances, an inflatable and lightweight kayak should be at the top of your list. 

Meanwhile, if your favorite fishing spot is near to where you live and it goes right into the water without walking through a muddy path, then a heavier option won’t be too disabling. 

Final Thoughts 

There’s a lot to think about before deciding which of these 8 models makes the best fly fishing kayak. It’s safe to say that it’s a different kayak for each angler, depending on the factors we discussed earlier. 

However, if there’s one kayak that stands out when it comes to performance and tracking capabilities, it would be the Hobie Mirage Compass. 

On the other hand, the Vibe Kayak Sea Ghost 130 and Wilderness System Tarpon 100 are more affordable options that’ll get the job done. 

Also, the Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler is an outstanding option when it comes to speed and stability. You should seriously consider it if you’ll be fishing in the ocean, especially that it comes with a lifetime warranty on the hull. 

Categories Kayaks