The 6 Best Fly Fishing Kayaks for 2018 – (Top Reviews & Guide)
Fly fishing is more of an art than a sport. It requires a significant amount of hand eye coordination and balance. That being said, many fly fishermen prefer to fish from shore or from a few feet into the water.
To fly fish from a kayak, the kayak must be incredibly stable to allow the kayaker to stand, must be comfortable, and must have a large open deck.
These kayaks must also have a decent weight capacity, so that the kayaker, gear, and caught fish are safe.
Table of Contents
- 1 The 6 Best Fly Fishing Kayaks
- 1.1 Why the Hobie Mirage Is Our #1 Pick
- 1.2 Further Review of the FeelFree Lure
- 1.3 More on this Kayak
- 1.4 More on the ATAK 140 Kayak
- 1.5 How to Buy a Fly Fishing Kayak
- 1.6 Our Final Review the Best Fly Fishing Kayaks
6 Top Fly Fishing Kayaks 2018
Hobie Mirage Outback Camo Kayak 2018
12 feet, 1 inch
Pedaling, reverse and forward Sit on Top 400 pound weight capacity 4 rod holders
FeelFree Lure 11.5 Kayak w/ Sonar and Electronic Pod Blue Camo
11 feet, 6 inches
Electronic Pod Standing bar and platform 2 rod holders
Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 13 Fishing Kayak 2016
Pedaling, reverse and forward Three rod holders
WILDERNESS SYSTEMS Tarpon 100 Kayak
30 ½ inches
SlideTrax System Waterproof storage Large Day Well
Ocean Kayak Prowler Big Game II 2018
12 feet 9 inches
Very customizable Ocean friendly
Wilderness Systems ATAK 140 Fishing Kayak 2016
14 feet 1 inch
Traction Pads for walk space Excellent Storage
Again, many fly fishermen prefer to wade into the water or stand on shore or in a boat to fish. This just allows them the ease of standing up in a safe environment and gives them the freedom to fish as needed.
However, most fishing boats or waders simply will not allow the fishermen to get to all the nooks and crannies on the lake where they fish. For that reason, a kayak which excellent balance, a large open deck, and a lot of comfort can revolutionize a fly fisherman’s journey.
The 6 Best Fly Fishing Kayaks
1. Hobie Mirage Outback Camo Kayak 2018
If you have been fishing or kayaking for a while and have not heard of Hobie kayaks, allow us to introduce you. Hobie is an incredibly kayak company which has designed their kayaks to be hands free. That is right--you do not have to paddle if you do not want to.
The way the makers have made these kayaks hands free is by including pedals in the bottom of the kayak. The Mirage is especially unique because it allows the kayaker to move forward and backward, all by using his or her feet.
This is a sit on top kayak, which means that there is plenty of room to stand on top of the kayak. Sit on top kayaks also provide an extra level of safety, as kayakers can easily escape the kayak should it tip.
Why the Hobie Mirage Is Our #1 Pick
So, there’s room to stand on top of this kayak--but is it safe too? Let’s take a look at the beam on this boat. With a length of over 12 feet, the width of 33 inches provides exactly the amount of stability needed to safely stand up in this kayak.
The seat on this kayak is extremely comfortable, and allows maximum breathability. If you are in this kayak all day, you will not get stuck to this seat, as it is not plastic. Additionally, there are foot pegs which are adjustable too.
Finally, for those who struggle holding poles or carrying lots of equipment--never fear! The Mirage allows for 400 pounds of gear to be stored inside of it. It also has four rod holders and is designed to afford fly fishermen the best experience.
As you can see, the Hobie is absolutely the best kayak for fly fishing.
- Can be pedaled forward and backward
- 400 pound weight capacity
- Sit on Top
- 4 rod holders
- Two waterproof storage compartments
- 1 storage compartment without waterproofing
- Can clean fish in kayak
- Sail mount option
- Easy to install a fish finder
- Weighs 99 pounds
This kayak is not as popular as the Hobie Mirage Outback, but it has some very unique features to it, which makes it extremely beneficial for fishermen.
To begin with, the Lure is a little shorter than the Mirage Outback. It measures just at 11 and a half feet.
However, the width on this fly fishing kayak is 3 inches wider, making it 36 inches in width. This makes it perfect for standing on top of the kayak.
Standing is additionally easy in this kayak, because it is a stand on top, so there is plenty of room. It also comes equipped with a standing bar, which allows kayakers to pull themselves up with ease and keep themselves balanced safely.
Further Review of the FeelFree Lure
Aside from the standing bar, there is also a standing platform in the bottom of the kayak. It is safe to not only fish from a standing position, but to paddle from a standing position as well.
The biggest feature on this kayak is the sonar pod. This pod is a small, waterproof container on the inside the kayak. You can place electronic devices, such as a fish finder, in the pod and then lower the pod into the water.
Finally, this kayak has maximum comfort with a Feelfree Gravity Seat. The seat can be adjusted in four directions. Not only can it be adjusted, but it simply needs to be moved with the push or pull of a lever. This makes it simple to use.
Unfortunately, the Lure 11.5 has a weight capacity of 425 pounds. This certainly does not leave much storage room for any kayakers who weigh more than 250 pounds. Keep this in mind, certainly, as you consider how much gear you would need to bring with you on your kayak. If you are a fly fisherman who likes to be out fishing all day long, the Lure is probably not the boat for you.
- Sonar pod
- 36 inch beam
- Standing platform
- Standing bar
- Adjustable seat
- 2 Rod Holders
- 2 Storage Hatches
- Difficult tracking
The Slayer Propel 13 by Native Watercraft boasts the ability to be completely customized. For many fishermen, this is the major draw.
The length of this kayak is 13 feet and the width is 33 inches. This is a fairly stable kayak and should allow those with good balance to stand easily.
Keep in mind that the width is the same as the Hobie, but the length is a bit longer. This means it is a little less stable than the Hobie Mirage Outback.
However, as this is another sit on top kayak, it should be decently easy to stand on this kayak. The only issue that may get in the way of standing is the pedal system, as it probably takes up a decent amount of room.
The Slayer Propel 13 is very similar to the Hobie Mirage Outback. It has a pedal system which moves forward and in reverse. It also has a rudder, with controls in the right hand. There are also three fishing rod holders on this kayak.
This kayak has a weight capacity of 500 pounds. This should be enough weight capacity, even for larger kayakers, and all of their equipment. Feel confident bringing whatever gear you need with you in your boat as you spend all day fly fishing on your local lake.
- Pedal System
- Three fishing rod holders
- Beam of 33 inches
- Length of 13 feet
- Less stable
The Tarpon 100 is a kayak designed by Wilderness Systems. It is another sit on top kayak, boasting lots of storage and even waterproof options.
As far as stability goes, this kayak only measures 10 feet in length and 30 ½ inches in width. This provides quite a bit of stability for kayakers. Additionally, because there is no pedal system in this kayak, it is easy for kayakers to stand up.
The Tarpon 100 has lots of comfort features as well. The seat is not molded into the kayak or even resting on the base of the kayak. Instead, the seat is a full seat which provides comfort for the kayaker. It is mesh covered preventing any sort of stickiness from hot weather. Additionally, the seat is a Phase 3 AirPro, which is the most comfortable seat Wilderness Systems creates.
This kayak has a SlideTrax system which allows you to choose which accessories you hope to have. You can choose extra rod holders or other accessories which are ideal for fly fishing.
Additionally, there is an immense amount of storage on this kayak. There are two waterproof hatches, one in the bow and one in the center of the seating area. There is also a very large day well, which allows for a lot of storage in the rear.
One drawback on this kayak is the weight capacity. At only 325 pounds, if you are a larger kayaker, this may not provide enough support for you, your gear, and your catches. Be cautious with how much you bring with you!
- Sit on top kayak
- 10 feet long
- 30 ½ inches wide
- Very stable
- Mesh covered Phase 3 AirPro seat
- Two waterproof compartments
- Rear day well storage
- No pedal system
- No rod holders included in kayak
- 325 pound weight capacity
This kayak is another sit on top, but this one is designed for the ocean. Catching large fish should be no issue in this yak.
With a length of nearly 13 feet and a beam of 34 inches, this kayak is stable as can be in the water.The Prowler Big Game II is perfectly prepared to balance in difficult waters and handle ocean currents.
That being said, comfort is not as significant in this boat as others on this list. The seat is molded in, which means that it sits fairly low in the kayak. This can be a negative for some kayakers, as it does not provide maximum comfort.
There are, however, adjustable foot rests and the seat is adjustable as well. This provides a few extra areas of comfort.
Additionally, this kayak has multiple options for customization. There is a rather large molded in holder, which is perfect for your drink, a sonar, or other small gear you may need close by.
The Prowler provides the optimum experience for any fly fishermen, in part to its incredible storage area. THere is a small waterproof storage compartment in the bow. In the stern you will find a decently sized day well.
The Prowler Big Game II is the gem of Ocean’s eye. It is also a kayak which has a massive weight capacity--600 pounds! You will never want for storage or weight in this boat.
- 13 feet long
- Beam is 34 inches
- Very stable
- Ocean friendly
- Adjustable foot rests
- Adjustable seat
- Decent storage
- Seat sits low
- Stern day well is smaller
Another kayak designed by Wilderness Systems, the ATAK is a 14 foot kayak specifically designed for fishing. This means its sit on top features are exceptional when it comes to fly fishing.
This kayak is a bit shakier than the others in the water, as its length of over 14 feet meets a beam of only 34 inches. However, it still stay fairly sturdy in the water.
It is certainly easy to stand in this kayak, especially considering the open deck walk space. This walk space has traction pads to help kayakers stay steady, but since this kayak is so long it is also easy to move about.
More on the ATAK 140 Kayak
Comfort is not lost on this yak. It has an AirPro seating system with ease of adjusting. THere is also a paddle park, which allows kayakers to rest their paddle while fishing. Two other benefits are the utility tray and the FlexPod OS. The FlexPod allows for mounting--of electronics, storage options, etc.
Other benefits with the ATAK come in the form of storage. There is bow storage which is enclosed, but not waterproof. There is also a small hatch in the middle of the seating space, allowing you to keep special items close at hand.
This hatch is waterproof, which allows you to keep items safe. Finally, there is a large rectangular hatch in the back, which is covered with bungee.
The weight capacity on this kayak is 550 pounds. This amount allows for quite a bit of gear to come with you, which means you should not have any sort of issue keeping fish or bringing the equipment you need.
- Extensive storage
- FlexPod OS
- Utility Tray
- AirPro Seat
- Sturdy in the water
- 14 feet in length
- Traction pads on the walk space
- 34 inch beam
- Not as sturdy as other kayaks
When purchasing a kayak for fly fishing, you must ensure that the kayak allows you to stand up. Other kayak features are of secondary importance.
For instance, if the kayak allows you to stand comfortably, you want to ensure that the seat is comfortable for the time you do spend paddling, or pedaling.
It is also significant to make sure the kayak has a large enough open deck to provide adequate room to fly fish.
Finally, you must consider the weight capacity on your kayak. If the weight capacity is too low, you, your gear, and your fish may not be able to be safely carried in the yak.
Choosing a kayak with stability is another important choice for fly fishermen. To choose a kayak with stability, you must not only consider the width of the kayak, but also the length.
For many fishing kayaks, the length will be greater than 10 feet. This helps accommodate all of the gear and weight capacity that a fisherman needs.
Once the length starts reaching 12 feet, the beam simply must measure more than 30 inches. If the beam is more narrow than this, the kayak can lose a significant amount of stability.
To feel confident standing up in the kayak, it is important to have a beam of 33 inches or more. Other features which allow fly fishermen to stand in their kayak are standing platforms and standing bars.
Not many kayaks actually come equipped with these platforms or standing bars, so it can be incredibly beneficial to find a kayak which incorporates this into the design.
Comfort is crucial for fishing kayaks, as most fishermen do not fish for an hour or two, but for an entire day. When considering comfort, the primary concern is the seat.
Ensure that the seat is mesh covered, allowing for breathability. This prevents the kayaker from getting stuck to the seat.
Another feature to look for on your kayak is an adjustable seat. It is important to have a seat which adjusts in four directions if at all possible.
This allows the seat to be raised, lowered, and moved front and back. Ultimately, this provides maximum comfort for varying heights of kayakers and those with back issues.
Storage is key for any fisherman, as is weight capacity. The best fly fishing kayaks will always have a large day well or other space which can function as a place to keep fish. Day wells are ideal for this, as they can be filled with water and the water can typically still be oxygenated by the air.
Boats like the Hobie on this list often have an actual live well in the boat--this is clearly superior design. That being said, however, it is also extremely important to have at least one waterproof storage compartment.
Fishing is a sport which involves lots of small pieces. If these pieces are left out where they can become wet, they can get lost more easily. The waterproof storage, such as is found on the ATAK by Wilderness Systems, provides adequate storage for these small parts, such as hooks and flies.
Weight capacity is also incredibly important on a fishing kayak. Again, it is very rare to find a fly fisherman who is only out for a few hours at a time. Most fishermen spend an entire day on the water, which means they need to be able to bring enough food and water for the day.
They also need to be able to haul all of their gear, which may mean multiple tackle boxes and certainly means multiple poles.
It can also mean they will need extra space or weight for any catches which they hope to keep and clean or have mounted. All of this being said, an excellent fly fishing kayak should have more a weight capacity of at least 450 pounds.
The most ideal deck for fly fishing is found on a sit on top kayak. Sit on top kayaks have no cockpit to speak of, instead the kayaker sits right on top of the kayak. This often allows for extra storage and extra room for the kayaker.
Other deck benefits are the ability for the kayaker to stand. Ideally, the deck on a kayak where standing is an options will have some sort of traction pad available. These traction pads keep kayakers safe by giving them sure footing, even if the kayak top is wet.
The first feature to look for in a kayak meant to be used for fly fishing is the ability to stand up. Make sure the kayak you purchase has an incredibly wide beam, and ensure that it is stable enough for you to move around safely.
Other features you must consider are the size of the deck and the comfort of the seat on the kayak. These features allow for an optimal fly fishing experience in the best fly fishing kayak for you and your loved ones.