5 Best River Fishing Kayaks Every Angler Should Know

Best River Fishing Kayak

Anyone would want to experience the fun of river fishing. Such activity provides different layers of enjoyment and thrill. The peaceful natural ambiance mixed with the pursuit of some angling action simply produce moments deemed irreplaceable.

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But of course, you cannot get such kind of adventure if your gears are practically incomplete. You need to prioritize your tools, such as the best river fishing kayak before you can head out in an expedition. Otherwise, you will really miss the opportunity of being able to fish and kayak at the same time.

The right kayak for river fishing will allow a person to reach points or junctions where other vessels cannot. Since kayaks can offer excellent maneuverability, they became a tool for anglers who want to dominate various fishing spots in rivers.

In this guide, I will show some of the top fishing kayaks that you can use in rivers and streams. You will definitely enjoy this selection of fishing kayaks because of their exceptional ergonomics and design. See them now!

Product Name

Image

Quality

Our Rating

1. Driftsun Teton 120 - Editor's Pick

Driftsun Teton 120 Hard Shell Recreational Tandem Kayak, 2 or 3 Person Sit On Top Kayak Package with 2 EVA Padded Seats, Includes 2 Aluminum Paddles and Fishing Rod Holder Mounts

A+

Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T 12 Foot Tandem Angler and Recreational Two Person Sit On Top Fishing Kayak with 2 Paddles and 2 Seats + Flush Rod Holders

A

3. Driftsun Voyager - Budget-Friendly Pick

Driftsun Voyager 2 Person Tandem Inflatable Kayak, Includes 2 Aluminum Paddles, 2 Padded Seats, Double Action Pump and More

A

Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 130T 13 Foot Tandem Angler and Recreational Two Person Sit On Top Fishing Kayak (Caribbean Blue) with 2 Paddles and 2 Hero Comfort Seats - Journey Paddles

A

BKC RA220 11.6' Single Fishing Kayak W/Upright Back Support Aluminum Frame Seat, Paddle, Rudder Included Solo Sit-On-Top Angler Kayak

A

Driftsun Teton 120 Hard Shell Recreational Tandem Kayak, 2 or 3 Person Sit On Top Kayak Package with 2 EVA Padded Seats, Includes 2 Aluminum Paddles and Fishing Rod Holder Mounts

I do believe that fishing is more fun if there are a lot more people on the board. It is precisely the reason why I prefer a tandem kayak when it comes to fishing applications. The Driftsun Teton 120, for instance, is an excellent candidate for river fishing because of its structural durability and stability. This one was built to last for a lifetime.

Moreover, the kayak has an extensive weight capacity. It can lift to 500 pounds of weight. It can carry up to two to three passengers because it has a middle seat where a child or an animal can sit. You can also adjust the seats to convert this boat for solo kayaking.

This kayak can secure the balance of its users. It remains afloat and buoyant even on rough conditions. When it is not moving, the kayak becomes an excellent platform for anglers to cast their rods. Four rod holders are strategically placed on the boat for hands-free fishing. There are also two mounts that you can use for your fishing accessories.

Pros

  • Comes with dual watertight storage cargos
  • Offers stability and balance to its users
  • Designed for fishing and other recreational activities
  • The rotomolded design makes it rugged and resistant to impact
  • Carry handles were integrated into its body for easier transport.

Cons

  • No known issues.
Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T 12 Foot Tandem Angler and Recreational Two Person Sit On Top Fishing Kayak with 2 Paddles and 2 Seats + Flush Rod Holders

The Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T is another tandem kayak worth checking out. It is designed to tackle rivers, lakes, and other freshwater regions. It is highly maneuverable without losing its speed when moving on straight directions. Same as the first kayak that I have featured, the Skipjack 120T can handle up to 500 pounds of weight. It can carry the paddlers and their tools with ease.

Multiple hatches are present on the body of this kayak. This is to ensure that you have all the storage space that you need where you can put your kayaking essentials. Interestingly, the hull of the kayak has built-in cup holders where you can place smaller amenities. Bungee tie-down straps are also included so that you can secure your larger fishing gears.

This kayak has rod and paddle holders on its body. It makes the kayak as an ergonomic choice for every angler out there. Furthermore, it has a flat hull that enhanced its stability. Because of this design, the Skipjack 120T became a good fit for those anglers who want to ensure the efficiency of their catches.

Pros

  • Retains buoyancy even while carrying heavy loads
  • Improved storage space and cargo compartments
  • Paddle and rod holders are properly placed to prevent disorganization
  • Offers a balance between speed and maneuverability
  • Comes with mounting platforms for fish finders.

Cons

  • This one is a heavyweight.
Driftsun Voyager 2 Person Tandem Inflatable Kayak, Includes 2 Aluminum Paddles, 2 Padded Seats, Double Action Pump and More

Inflatable kayaks are already accepted in the world of kayak fishing. After all, there are a lot of inflatable units out there that possess the essential features and functionalities that make them a perfect boat for angling. A good example of that is the Driftsun Voyager. Again, this vessel is a tandem kayak that has proven its merits already.

One of its main selling points is its undisputed durability. Even if sharp branches and other sharp objects puncture it while you are cruising a river, it will never get damaged easily. It has excellent maneuverability as well. Amateur paddlers will be able to use it proficiently. Moreover, it has a compact design which improves the way you can control it.

Noticeably, the hull of the boat has a rocker design. It has a flat body, but its nose is elevated and pointed. According to the manufacturers, this construction ensures that the boat can perform well in both calm and choppy waters. It does not lack the stability that you need to catch trophies in your favorite fishing grounds.

Pros

  • Heavy-duty construction for durability and resistance to punctures
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Can be inflated and deflated for as quick as five minutes
  • Seats can be reclined and adjusted
  • Features deep fins to optimize its tracking.

Cons

  • No rod holders.
Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 130T 13 Foot Tandem Angler and Recreational Two Person Sit On Top Fishing Kayak (Caribbean Blue) with 2 Paddles and 2 Hero Comfort Seats - Journey Paddles

I would not have completed this list without the Yellowfin 130T from Vibe Kayaks. This one is an impeccable vessel as it used by many anglers and paddlers alike. As a tandem kayak, the Yellowfin 130T offers comfort and space to its users. It comes with multiple compartments and storage space for your gears and other kayaking amenities. The front and back compartments have waterproof hatches to keep your belongings dry all the time.

Ergonomically, the Yellowfin 130T provides all the necessary amenities that fishers can use. It features multiple rod holders and paddle mounts to keep things convenient on your part. You can also install fish finders here through its accessory mounts. Carry handles are also present so that you can transport it on your favorite rivers and streams.

The durability of this kayak is something that I cannot question. It is tailored from a single piece rotomolded polyethylene so that it can resist corrosion and other physical damages. It is made to last long. It has been painted as well so that it can have a decent resistance against UV rays. Structurally, this kayak is really made for heavy-duty adventures!

Pros

  • Made to be rigid and durable
  • Interior hull is spacious and filled with storage compartments
  • Comes with rod holders and paddle mounts
  • Highly stable without compromising its maneuverability and speed
  • Seats and foot braces are all adjustable.

Cons

  • No known issues.
BKC RA220 11.6' Single Fishing Kayak W/Upright Back Support Aluminum Frame Seat, Paddle, Rudder Included Solo Sit-On-Top Angler Kayak

The Brooklyn Kayak Company or popularly known as the BKC, is also a premier manufacturer of kayaks for touring and fishing purposes. Their BKC RA220 Single Fishing Kayak, for instance, offers a variety of features that will benefit river anglers. It can provide a stable platform so that you can do solo fishing with ease. The stability is so great that you can stand here without any problem.

This kayak comes with an internal cut-out where you can install your fish finder. It also has a set of rod holders and mounts to provide the optimal level of fishing experience. You can operate multiple rods at the same time even if you are just alone here. Your paddle is also safe while your hands are busy because of the highly-secure paddle mounts integrated on the hull of this vessel.

You can remain comfortable even for an entire day without experiencing discomforts and body strains. The seat has adjustable foot braces and backrest so that you can find the best position for fishing and relaxing. Storage space is not an issue with this kayak either. You can rely on its storage compartments to place your gears and other kayaking amenities.

Pros

  • Highly stable fishing kayak
  • Can handle heavy loads without losing its buoyancy
  • Sufficient storage space
  • Provides comfort to its users
  • Durable and rugged.

Cons

  • The number of scupper holes is too excessive.

How To Choose The Best River Fishing Kayak

How To Choose The Best River Fishing Kayak

Compared to lakes, fishing in the rivers provide awesome thrill and adventures. It is a rich environment that can house different types of freshwater species such as bass, trout, and so on.

Many anglers consider river fishing a relaxing leisure. Unlike commercial-type of fishing, angling on rivers and lakes can provide enjoyment. That's something that no fisherman can disagree.

But of course, when it comes to fishing, a person has to wield a different kind of tools and amenities. Even the simplest personal floatation device proves to be downright essential.

However, the fishing vessels are indeed the most pivotal consideration that you have here. Kayaks, for instance, have to be built in such a way that they are suitable for fishing. Otherwise, you will never find them useful at all. Just keep in mind that not all kayaks you see are made for fishing. The same thing applies to other activities like touring and racing.

So how do I choose a kayak that I use for fishing? Honestly, there's no such thing as standards when it comes to this aspect. But throughout the years of my experience in kayaking and fishing, these following factors prove to be essential when it comes to vessel selection.

Sit-On-Top Kayak and Sit-In Kayak

Whenever you are choosing a kayak, you will be immediately asked this question: do you want a sit-on-top or sit-in kayak? Well, on a regular basis, any of these variants are great. I have both of them in my garage, and I have no qualms on using them.

The only issue right now is whether or not these kayak variants are suitable for fishing. To be blunt, sit-in kayaks are not the best choice if you are gearing to catch some underwater trophies. The best option will always be a sit-on-top kayak. But why?

Stability is one of the biggest factors here. Compared to sit-in kayaks, sit-on-top kayaks will never make you feel scared or concerned. They don't wobble, especially if their hulls have been designed flat. They don't also confine you, which is a great thing. Anglers require extreme mobility, even if they are fishing on the water. That's the very reason why in my previous blogs, I listed the best standing kayaks that can be used for fishing.

Let me give you a summary of why sit-on-top kayaks are better than sit-in kayaks when it comes to fishing. Check it out:

  • They are extremely stable
  • They provide ample space for anglers to move
  • They come with various storage compartments
  • Rod holders and paddle mounts are common to them
  • Maneuvering them is not a problem even if you are still an amateur paddler.

Perhaps, the only disadvantage of sit-on-top kayaks is that they can make you get wet quickly. Because of their open design, the splashes of water can easily come inside the boat. Fortunately, rivers are not that turbulent so you can pretty handle the wetness. But at this point, getting wet is already a trivial concern.

Here’s a short breakdown between a sit-on-top kayak and sit-in kayak.


Consider The Size

The size of the kayak is not only about the availability of space where you can store your gears and other fishing amenities. You need to understand that the kayak size can directly affect the level of comfort that you feel while you are kayaking.

A kayak that is too big for you is quite challenging to control. You will exert a lot of effort to paddle or maneuver it. It would prove a burden to you, especially if you haven't trained your body to muscle out these burly and large kayaks.

Meanwhile, small river kayaks are not fit for individuals that are too big. After all, they will not be able to stretch their legs in a limited room. Such a situation is really stressful, especially if you still have to fish.

The right kayak size is a subjective matter. It really actually depends on the paddler. Therefore, before buying, make sure that you know the preferences of your body so that you can match it with the appropriate kayak dimension. Don't purchase the kayak immediately if you haven't checked its size.


Hull Shape

Interestingly, the shape of the hull of the kayak is also a pivotal consideration. Right from the start, your aim as an angler is to find a stable ground to fish. No stability, no fishing. That's my motto. How can you fish if your kayak keeps on moving or shaking anyway?

Fortunately, kayak manufacturers have solved this problem already. The key here is just by looking at their hull. Once the hull is wide and flat, you can expect that the kayak can hold by itself. It will remain unmoving and unfazed by the movements of water. Even if you move too much, these kayaks are not susceptible to being toppled over.

Compared to kayaks that have rounded and V-shape hulls, flat hulls provide impressive control whenever they are not moving. The other hull designs will tend to wobble, especially if you don't paddle them. Whenever you are fishing on rivers, your kayak should have a flat bottom hull.

Bottom Line

The best river fishing kayak can change the dynamics of hunting trophies on freshwater applications. Having the boat on any of your fishing trips on rivers will give you an inexplicable sense of advantage. After all, they have been designed to maximize your performance and ensure that you can get your trophy.

That's it for now. For other questions related to kayaking and fishing, just drop them in the comment section below.

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