Best Stand-Up Fishing Kayak in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide


Kayak fishing started to gain a lot of recognition among anglers, and it’s more accessible than ever thanks to the wide variety of kayaks you can choose from that suit different fishing styles and techniques.

There are many advantages to fishing while standing, like having a full range of movement for better control over your fishing rod and accurate casting, plus enjoying a more comprehensive view of the water around you.

Kayak manufacturers are building models from the ground up, aiming at giving you enough stability and room to stand on top. Moreover, some of the traditional sit-on-top kayaks enable a seamless transition between seated and standing positions.

In this guide, we considered both ends of the spectrum and compiled a list of the best stand-up fishing kayaks that has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a solo kayak or you’re after one that enables your fishing buddy to tag along, we got you covered. 

Stick to the end to check the internet’s most asked questions answered, so you have all the information at your disposal to make an informed purchase decision.

Comparison Table:

Product Name LengthWidthKayak Weight Capacity
Lifetime Tandem 10 feet36 in.60 lbs.500 lbs.(2 or 3 people)
Hobie Mirage Outback12 feet 1 inch33 in.99 lbs.400 pounds(1 person)
BKC UH-TK181 Sit-on-Top 12 feet 5 inches34 in.68 lbs.440 lbs.(2 people)
Lifetime Lotus Sit-on-Top 8 feet30 in.38 lbs.250 lbs.(1 person)
Wilderness Systems ATAK 12012 feet 3 inches35 in.86 lbs.400 lbs.(1 person)
Perception Pescador Pro12 feet32.5 in.64 lbs.375 lbs.(1 person)

The 6 Best Stand-Up Fishing Kayaks

1. Lifetime 10 Foot Tandem – Best overall

Lifetime 10 Foot

Lifetime 10-Foot Kayak is one of the most versatile options on the market. The cockpit has many grooves along its length, which allows you to install multiple seats anywhere, giving you full control over the kayak’s balance. The body is long enough and has room for up to 3 people, which makes it perfect for fishing with a company or just paddling around to enjoy a day with your family on the lake.

When it comes to durability, the kayak is a real beast. It’s molded out of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) that is resistant to UV radiation. You can enjoy sunny days on your kayak without the fear of it cracking, peeling, or fading off.

Many of the tandem kayaks on the market are guilty of losing their stability and being more difficult to maneuver when you’re on your own. This is not the case here, as you can always change your seat’s position to put your weight right at the center for maximum control.

Moreover, the kayak features multiple footrest positions which can accommodate paddlers of different sizes. It won’t be a stand-up fishing kayak if it doesn’t allow you to actually “stand-up” and start casting your lures. The sleek design makes it significantly stable under your feet and gives you the confidence to just focus on your catch.

In addition to nailing all the basics, Lifetime 10-Foot Tandem Fishing Kayak has some bells and whistles that make it unique. It comes with three fishing pole holders for you and your buddies to cast multiple lines all at once and also give you some freedom as your hands don’t have to be always occupied with the fishing rod anymore.

The kayak also features a 6-inch storage hatch that offers decent space no matter how large your fishing gear is. For added value, Lifetime bundled tons of accessories at no extra charge. The kayak comes with two padded chairs, two double-sided paddles, and paddle clips.

Pros:

  • Versatile design 
  • Offers comfortable footwells 
  • Great stability
  • Three fishing rod holders

Cons:

  • Offers only one storage hatch 

Bottom Line

Lifetime 10-Foot Tandem Fishing Kayak offers one of the best, well-rounded packages for kayak fishing. It gives you a lot of options to customize your boat’s setup and provides maximum stability, whether you’re alone or with a company and whether you’re sitting or standing.

2. Hobie Mirage Outback – Mirage Drive System

Hobie Mirage Outback

Hobie made it possible for anglers to cast and have full control over their fishing rod while navigating the kayak at the same time. The foot-powered Mirage Drive system allows you to pedal through the water thanks to its fin-operated technology.

What makes or breaks a stand-up kayak is its stability, and Hobie doesn’t disappoint in this regard. With its 33 inches wide-body, it gives you enough room to stand comfortably. Moreover, the interior of the kayak has a clean design without any protrusions, so your legs are not crammed together.

When it comes to comfort, the kayak features a Vantage CT seat that allows you to sit down and relax from time to time. The chair has a compact footprint that doesn’t take away from the kayak’s standing area.

The sleek design manages to incorporate multiple storage stashes where you can put your gear. You can pack all the equipment that you need without compromising as the kayak comes with a maximum weight capacity of 400 pounds. 

In addition to its ease of navigation, stability, and large storage capacity, Hobie still has some surprises under its sleeves. Tech-savvy anglers can bring along their sonar-powered fish catchers as the kayak offers a dedicated Lowrance ready system for mounting.

That’s not all, Hobie Mirage Outback Kayak has four molded-in holders for multiple fishing rods, giving you four times the chance to get bites around your baits. In addition to the rod holders, the kayak has a cup holder for you to enjoy your favorite beverages while fishing.

It’s not all pink and roses, all those features and systems make the kayak heavier than other entries on our list. At 99 pounds, the kayak can be challenging to move around when outside water. If you have a trailer at your disposal, the extra weight can be less of an issue.

Pros:

  • Pedal-powered reversible Mirage Drive system
  • Vantage CT comfortable seat
  • Lowrance ready system that allows you to mount fish finders

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Heavy body

Bottom Line

You can treat yourself with one of the easiest to navigate kayaks on the market if you can look past the heavier form factor. Hobie Mirage Outback Kayak aces all the basics, whether it’s stability, comfort, or storage capacity. Moreover, the kayak enables you to mount fish finders and be more efficient on your fishing trips.

3. BKC UH-TK181 Sit-on-Top – Best Tandem Kayak

BKC UH-TK181 Sit-on-Top

If you have a buddy who wants to tag along on a fishing adventure, you’re in luck as BKC’s stand-up fishing kayak offers room for two anglers with their full set of fishing gear.

The kayak offers two conveniently located water-sealed compartments to store your stuff. The two hatches are always accessible as they are located between each paddler’s legs. You can store your electronics, wallet, or keys and make sure your valuables are safe and dry.

In addition to the water-proof hatches, the kayak is designed with a system in mind that allows the water splashing into the kayak to be quickly drained.

Whether you’re docking in your favorite spot and having your lures in water or paddling around, you don’t have to always worry about your fishing rod or paddles. The kayak features a total of seven-rod holders, allowing you to have multiple lines in the water all at once to get more bites.

Moreover, the kayak comes with two secure paddle rests, enabling you to reach out for your lures and clippers without risking losing your paddles. Such quality of life features take your attention away from unnecessary distractions to make you focus on the water.

BKC tailored its design for the best experience inside and outside water. The kayak features four carrying handles for easy transportation from your car to the lake and vise versa.

The kayak is designed around delivering the best tandem option on the market; this comes with the downside of being a little bit harder to maneuver around in some situations while you’re on your own.

Pros:

  • Two water-sealed hatches
  • Rod and paddle handles
  • Camouflage body design

Cons:

  • Harder to handle when solo

Bottom Line

BKC UH-TK181 Fishing Kayak offers the best value for anglers looking for a tandem boat. It features a secure cargo area where you can fit your fishing gear in addition to water-sealed hatches to keep your valuables safe.

4. Lifetime Lotus Sit-on-Top – Most Portable

Lifetime Lotus

If you’re one of the anglers who don’t carry around tons of gear and find yourself fishing on calm lakes and creeks more often, you’d be pleased with what Lifetime Lotus is offering, especially if you’re looking for a kayak that favors portability.

The kayak features a small, compact, lightweight body that is super portable. It comes bundled with its paddle, so you’re ready to go out of the box without the need to buy extra accessories.

Lifetime Lotus Kayak implements a lot of comfort features for the optimum experience, whether you’re sitting or standing. It features multiple footrest positions for comfort. Moreover, the adjustable backrest lets you customize its slope in order not to end up with backaches at the end of your fishing trip.

However, the foot braces, being molded in the kayak’s body, can limit your standing positions. You have to work around them and find comfortable spots for your feet.

Novice kayak anglers might lose their balance while standing as the body is short and light. That’s why we recommend going for Lifetime Lotus Kayak only if you have some experience in kayak fishing, and you’re good at maintaining your balance already.

As for storage compartments, the kayak comes with a dedicated large well where you can place your fishing gear, together with bungee cord lacing for added security. 

In terms of durability, the kayak is made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) body that can withstand UV radiation without peeling or changing color. For extra peace of mind, Lifetime offers a 5-year limited warranty with its kayak, which shows how good the build quality is and how the company is confident in the durability of its product.

Pros:

  • Lightweight for easy transportation
  • Self-draining
  • Customizable backrest 
  • Multiple foot braces

Cons:

  • Maintaining balance while standing can be a little bit tricky
  • The short body makes it slower and harder to handle while paddling
  • No rod holders or other fishing-specific features

Bottom Line

Lifetime Lotus Kayak delivers a compact, lightweight body for ease of transportation while maintaining most of the basic features you’d expect from a fishing kayak. Though it handles the seated experience better than standing, experienced kayak anglers who don’t have problems in keeping their balance can overlook all the shortcomings for its exceptional portability.

5. Wilderness Systems ATAK 120 – Motor Drive Support

If you believe that pedals and paddles are not good enough and you want to move through the water swiftly and as quickly as possible, Wilderness Systems ATAK 120 is made just for you.

The kayak offers compatibility with the Helix MD motor drive, which opens the door to applying a motorized propulsion system to your kayak. Keep in mind that the motor is sold separately and that it’s another investment you have to make for the complete experience.

Wilderness Systems kayak implements SMART hull technology that makes it live up to its name. The radar system allows you to navigate through the “wilderness” and find your way in almost any water pool in different weather conditions.

The kayak is famous for its wind-shielding deck, which enables it to achieve unmatched stability. It offers a customizable open space that you can tweak to accommodate all your gear.

Wilderness Systems is always innovating to set new industry standards. This is evident in its patented suspension-style seat, which can be switched into high, low, or reclined positions giving you better visibility while retaining comfort and stability.

A comfortable seat is complemented by padded, large footrests. Continuing with the customizability theme seen in every aspect of the kayak, the foot braces have adjustable locking levers to keep your feet secure without compromising the comfort aspect.

The obvious omission from the kayak is the rudder system that is required for steering. It’s sold separately, so you have to do your math and consider the extra cost.

Pros:

  • Supports Helix MD motor drive technology
  • Customizable storage space 
  • SMART hull technology 

Cons:

  • Rudder system not included

Bottom Line

Wilderness Systems ATAK 120 delivers a kayak that can be personalized to your taste, starting from the customizable storage area, to the optional motor you can mount to make navigation through water a breeze.

6. Perception Pescador Pro – Best Value

Value and functionality don’t always go hand in hand, but this is not the case with Perception Pescador Pro. It managed to deliver the right set of features that define a great stand-up kayaking experience at an affordable price.

The kayak features a breathable mesh seat that keeps you cool in hot weather. Moreover, it supports two-plane adjustments, which means you can move the seat forward or backward, in addition to up or down. When the seat is raised, you get the optimum casting, and on lowering it, you lean into a more relaxed paddling position.

Perception Pescador Pro takes safety very seriously. It’s molded from a leak-proof one-piece body with built-in buoyancy properties.

Though it doesn’t come with a built-in rod holder like other entries on our list, it incorporates a rail in its design that allows you to mount different accessories like rod holders, fishfinders, and GPS devices.

The kayak doesn’t compromise in terms of offering storage areas. It comes with wide front and rear compartments that can accommodate your different fishing equipment, tackle, and cooler where you can store the fish you catch.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Integrated accessory rail
  • Built-in buoyancy for added safety

Cons:

  • The seat’s quality is not the best

Bottom Line

Though Perception Pescador Pro might not be the cheapest, it managed to strike the right balance between value and features. The kayak integrates safety and comfort at its core design. It comes with an accessory rail that allows you to mount your different tools for ease of access.

How to Choose a Stand-Up Fishing Kayak

Stability

The selling point of a stand-up fishing kayak is its stability. Keep an eye on kayaks with a flat hull that favors stability instead of going for the rounded or triangular ones that are built with speed in mind.

There are very light options on the market, but those are more likely to wobble around and lose their stability when hit by waves or wind. You’d be more confident with a heavier, more substantial kayak that can’t be easily knocked off, especially when you’re still getting started.

In terms of size, we recommend getting a manageable size that you can easily control. Long kayaks are around 10 feet long, and those require some experience to navigate, especially in tight spaces. We recommend you opt for a shorter but broader kayak, that is substantially more stable on the surface of the water.

Portability will obviously be dictated by the weight of the kayak and its size. If you’re a professional who goes on fishing trips more often, you should consider getting one of the lightweight kayaks, which will make your life from and to the lake a lot easier. 

Weight Capacity

Before investing in a kayak, you have to consider its maximum carrying capacity. You need to put in mind your own weight and whether you’ll be taking someone else with you. Moreover, your fishing equipment and how much fish you can store will also affect your purchase.

Make sure you future-proof yourself by getting a kayak with weight capacity above what you need right now, so there is room to grow your fishing gear or go after heftier fish.

Comfort

This is probably one of the overlooked factors that you need to keep an eye on when you’re in the market for a stand-up fishing kayak. You might spend all day long on the river, and you want to be comfortable enough to just focus on the water and get the most out of your fishing trip.

Some kayaks have a strapping system, which helps keep your balance while standing. Others come with a high seating option, allowing you to sit down once in a while without compromising your wide view on the water.

The best stand-up fishing kayaks come with more comfort features that enable you to take a break when you feel like it and relax for a bit in your cockpit. Thigh support, dedicated sections for your feet, and cushions are among some of the few comfort features that will make your life on the lake much easier. 

Design

The market for stand-up fishing kayaks has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a futuristic or an old-school design, you can easily find what you’re after.

Keep in mind that the retro-looking kayaks might be missing in terms of features when compared to their modern counterparts. Nevertheless, some anglers want an old-school nostalgic experience, and they would be happy with the package they get.

Storage

Before buying an expensive, high-end kayak, you want to make sure that the product is durable and that you can look after it in order to ensure the longevity of your investment. 

Generally speaking, before storing your kayak, you want to make sure that it’s clean and dry. Afterward, you can safely put it in a suitable storage bag. Lightweight kayaks are, of course, easier to handle, which makes transporting and storing them more convenient than the heavier ones.

So, before you make the final purchase decision, check the instructions on how to clean and store your kayak, and see whether they are convenient enough for you to follow.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are the Benefits of Kayak Fishing?

Kayak fishing allows you to reach water pools that are otherwise inaccessible without a boat. So, you don’t have to be limited to the shores. Kayaks are affordable and accessible to more anglers as boats remain a niche to own and an inconvenience to rent.

Why Opt for a Stand-Up Fishing Kayak?

You can’t be as efficient if you’re restrained to your seat. Standing allows you to have more room to freely move your arms for optimal casting techniques enabling you to achieve longer casting distances at higher accuracy.

Is it Likely to Fall in the Water?

No! As stand-up kayaks come with a strapping system in place that keeps you docked onto the kayak while standing. This system makes the chance of slipping into the water really slim. However, even if you do fall, the kayaks are easy to climb back into.

As long as you follow the safety instructions like wearing a life jacket, you don’t have to worry.

Final Words

stand-up kayaks can vary in how you navigate them through the water. Some come with paddles, others implement a foot-powered fin system via pedals, and finally, there are options with motor support for swift traversal.

If you enjoy fishing with a friend or you want to venture on your own, there is a dedicated kayak for you. 

It’s evident that there is no shortage of options, so instead of tweaking your fishing experience around your kayak, you can get a kayak designed specifically for your needs. 

If you’re still torn apart between the various options and you’re not sure which kayak can be a good investment in the long term, we recommend you stick to Lifetime 10 Foot Tandem Fishing Kayak, as it nails all the basics and allows both paddling with a friend or going solo without any impact on stability or ease of use.

Categories Kayaks