A successful journalist and news reporter in the past, George is now focused on freelance work to be able to dedicate more time to the most important things in his life: family, friends, his dogs, and fishing.
John is an avid traveler, hiker, and RVer. Moreover, it seems like he knows everything when it comes to fishing and hunting: his father started sharing all the tips and tricks he knew when John was a kid. No wonder we trust his opinion every time a new article is being created.
Last updated: May 14, 2021
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Ocean fishing kayaks are specialized pieces of equipment which are suitable for taking to the open seas and doing all the things required to catch fish – and maybe even some sun too. If you are looking forward to buying your best ocean fishing kayak, then you have come to precisely the right place, and if you are a seasoned sea kayak user, this article will still provide you with some insights and a great review section to help you out.
We’ve reviewed dozens of the ocean fishing kayaks and came to the conclusion that Perception Pescador Pro 12 is the best choice for such most important features like weight capacity, lengths, rod-holders, and stability. And we also gathered and reviewed seven other popular ocean fishing kayaks that all offer superior quality and features needed to go out fishing in the ocean.
Our team spent hours reviewing and testing best sea fishing kayaks, paying special attention at the type, weight capacity, built-in rod holders, dimensions and weight of the products and, of course, extra features that each model has to offer. So, instead of trawling around the internet, put your feet up, grab a coffee, and get the full information in our detailed reviews and buying guide, which will definitely help you to make the right choice and catch the biggest fish out there, in the deep waters!
Number One on our list of the eight best ocean fishing kayaks is the Perception Pescador Pro 12 – and this kayak gets the nod from our Editor, based on its all-around great performance and design. The first thing you will notice when you look at this kayak is how very stable it appears. That fact is not based on some optical illusion either. It’s short, low in the water for a sit-on vessel, and extremely wide to give excellent casting and fish fighting experience.
When you opt for the Perception Pescador Pro 12, you get a great mesh-style seat which has two-level adjustment and breathes very nicely to keep you cool when you’re in a fight with the fish. You can lower the seat, for when you start paddling and raise it back up if you want to cast from a seated position – which makes for a great fishing experience and is a really great touch. It shows that some thought has gone into the design of this kayak.
The Perception Pescador Pro 12 features large open storage spaces at the front and the rear. You’ll be able to carry plenty in this kayak, and the maximum weight capacity of 375 pounds will support that.
Overall, this is a great kayak, it’s got enough going for it to make it an excellent option for many people out there.
The Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130 is quite literally a boat for all seasons – and for all conditions. Just looking at this thing is a pleasant experience and the build screams of excellent stability. One of the best things about this watercraft is that the deck is extremely customizable. You get to mess around with configurations until the kayak is set up just right for the way you fish. This vessel wouldn’t look out of place in a competition event.
The Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130 is a one-person kayak, and you’ll be sitting on top of the hull. It’s thirteen feet in length and weighs in at 75 pounds. That sort of build is going to give you an excellent combination of speed and stability all of the time, in every condition.
The hull of this kayak has two flush-mounted rod holders to cut down on snags, and you get four integrated gear tracks for making the boat your own. Storage on the Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130 is literally everywhere, and you’ll have no trouble stowing everything you need to have a successful fishing trip. The whole deal is topped off with one of the best seats on the market. The dual position ‘Vibe Hero’ seat will make you the hero when it comes to the evening barbeque. It’s adjustable, comfortable, and makes it easy to fish. All in all, this is a great kayak.
The excellent Brooklyn Kayak Company BKC UH-TK181 is a boat that is made for versatility, without compromising on any aspect of fishing in the ocean. It’s got great agility and is long enough to get some speed up on the open water, but you won’t lose too much in terms of stability when you get down to the business of fishing.
The Brooklyn Kayak Company BKC UH-TK181 features an amazing seven rod holders, so this kayak will be a dream for those people that insist on taking every rod they own out on the water – because you just never know what you are going to find lurking in the deep!
If you are the type of fisherman or woman who likes to keep your gear – and your lunch – dry, then the Brooklyn Kayak Company BKC UH-TK181 comes equipped with handy waterproof storage hatches, positioned in convenient places, and great for keeping your car keys dry.
Overall, this kaya has good equipment levels, good stability, and good stowing. It’s a decent option for many people in the market for a good sea-going fishing kayak.
When you’re out fishing, you want to ensure that the kayak you’re in is steady and stable. Fortunately for you, that’s exactly what you’ll get with the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak.
This sit-on-top kayak is a perfect kayak to fish for anglers in as it’s known for its stability, thanks in large part to its chine rails, which is made of durable high-density Polyethylene materials. It has a weight capacity of up to 275 pounds and comes in at a length of 10 feet.
Users of this kayak love its two flush mounted built-in rod holders that definitely helps to take the stress of your arms and back while fishing. Owners of this kayak also love the multiple footrest positions that’s available. This helps you to get into a better position and one that is more comfortable for you as you’re fishing for long hours. The extra comfort touches also extend to your back as well as this comes with an adjustable padded seat.
The vast majority of owners love this kayak, however, among the few that had a bad experience with it, they did mention that the adjustable seat can become loose after a while, and it can even get dislodged.
Next up on our list of the eight best ocean fishing kayaks we could find is the very handy little Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler. This kayak combines some tremendous technical elements with typical sea fishing kayak stability and flair to result in a product that will catch the eye of many fishermen and women out there. It won’t catch the eye of or spook those fish, however – because it comes in a very nice camouflage design that will ensure you maintain the element of surprise at all times.
The Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler features a fast, stable, and very quiet hull, which will be great for creeping up on those fish. The four-way adjustable comfort seat will be music to many people’s ears, and there’s a waterproof front hatch for storing sensitive items. This boat has enough room for coolers, tackle, bait and anything else you can think of bringing on your fishing trip. It weighs only 56 pounds and has a generous weight capacity of 325 pounds. Overall, this is a great little kayak for sea fishing.
You definitely won’t miss the WILDERNESS SYSTEMS Pungo 120 Kayak because it comes in the brightest orange shell that you’re likely to see out on the water, which might be an excellent option for those of you out there who tend to fish around busier waterways and channels most of the time.
The WILDERNESS SYSTEMS Pungo 120 Kayak Comes fitted with a very nice seat which is fully adjustable and designed with a mesh fabric, which will provide increased airflow when you fish and stop you from getting too overheated on trips.
The WILDERNESS SYSTEMS Pungo 120 Kayak is a full 12 feet in length, which is not too small to reduce speed significantly, but small enough to aid stability and maneuverability out there on the open water.
This is a very portable kayak and weighs in at just 49 pounds, so you will be able to take it anywhere you want, easily and quickly enough. You still get an excellent overall weight capacity of 325 pounds, however, which will be enough for 90% of fishermen and women out there.
Next to come on our comprehensive list of the best sea fishing kayaks on the market is the Ocean Kayak Malibu Two. This is a tandem kayak which means you and a mate will find fishing a fulfilling experience when you opt for this kayak. There is plenty of room for two in the Ocean Kayak Malibu Two, so it’s one to consider if you tend to fish more often with a buddy.
There are a pair of seats in this hull and they each have four-way adjustability which will give you more ability to fish the way you want to. There are handy footwell braces to give support for when you’re paddling hard to catch up with that elusive prey too, so all in all, this is a well thought out boat.
The Ocean Kayak Malibu Two is a classic sit-on-top hull sea fishing kayak, and you’ll find it easy to embark and get back off this kayak. Additional usability is provided by a pair of molded handles.
With a maximum capacity of 425 pounds, this kayak will be able to carry you, a friend, and all of your fishing gear easily and there is even a lifetime warranty on the hull. All in all, this is a very nice model that will suit a lot of fishermen or women – or both!
Last, but certainly by no means least on our list of sea fishing kayaks is the Ocean Kayak Frenzy – and this kayak gets our best budget option tag because it provides a way to get safely out on the water without having to part with a great deal of cash. That makes this kayak a great model for those who are starting out on their sea kayak journey and are waiting to see if they take to the activity before they spend too much money. It also obviously suits more experienced sea kayak fishermen or women who are constrained by their available budget.
This is a pretty sparse vessel, as the price reflects. There are basically no significant design features to mention, and we see no rod holders or clever storage options here. What this kayak will do well, however, is to get novice fishermen or women out there actually learning to control their gear – because the boat does nothing to aid that. Learn in the Ocean Kayak Frenzy, and you will very probably have learned for life.
You do get an adjustable seat on the Ocean Kayak Frenzy, which is an excellent feature on a budget kayak. This vessel is light and portable too, and a weight capacity of 325 pounds is ample for most people’s needs. A great budget option.
Why is it special?
What are the flaws?
Very basic design and equipment
Things to Consider
So, it’s time to take a look at what goes into making the best kayak for ocean fishing. The following buying guide is designed to give you the low-down on what makes a great kayak and to save you the chore of scooting around the internet. We’ve put all the information you need in this concise guide and we’re sure this article will help you discover the best ocean kayak for fishing to suit your own unique needs.
What makes an ocean fishing kayak different
Ocean fishing kayaks tend to be purpose-built within dimensional and design limits which are proven to be able to cope with the business of rod fishing out at sea. These kayaks are typically broader and shorter than other kayak versions because stability is a required feature when you are fishing in any tidal waters. Speed and agility are not the priorities with a sea fishing kayak, and you will need to be able to cast and sight fish efficiently and quickly – without capsizing.
Features to consider choosing an ocean fishing kayak
Unlike when we kayak rapids or rivers, and when we get competitive in terms of speed and maneuverability on the water, a great sea fishing kayak needs to have different attributes. In bigger waters, you might want to prioritize the width of the hull, for more lateral stability when casting in waves and higher seas. So think about the type of water where you generally fish? If you tend to head for calmer places, then stability won’t be as important as it will be if you head for whiter, choppier seas more frequently.
Also think about the things you do while you are fishing and consider whether or not you will be able to get them done when you are in that specific kayak. Can you cast easily from your new purchase and is it stable when you do so? Is there room on board to store the fishing gear in your own particular arsenal? If you’re a bare bones fisherman or woman, then this won’t be a massive deciding factor, but if you tend to carry all the latest gadgets and tackle, you may want to look at storage.
And don’t forget about the speed, it is a factor when fishing, but not as important as when you are racing, so look to all the features that are going to keep you dry out there, and which will aid everything you need to do in order to have a great fishing experience.
Type of kayak: sit-on-top vs. sit-in
One of the most significant deciding factors, when you are choosing your very own sea fishing kayak, will be the cockpit type. As well as pedal kayaks, the two types of cockpit you will need to consider are sit-on versions and sit-in versions.
It is generally accepted that sit-on kayaks, like Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130, are far less stable on the water. This is due to the fact that you sit on top of the hull with one of these boats, and therefore you have a higher center of gravity, so you will be more prone to flipping over when you make a wrong move or get caught broadside by a big wave. However, sit-on kayak versions also offer way more in terms of access to gear and are usually the best option when it comes to stowing fishing gear that you want to access rapidly when you are trying to catch those elusive fish. It is worth noting that sit-on hulls offer far fewer storage options than their sit-in counterparts. Your gear is going to get wetter, and it is very true that you are going to get wetter as well. Sit-on models don’t provide the same protection from the elements as sit-in versions. However, if you are a bigger person, sit-on kayak hulls offer way more room to spread out and move around, and your legs certainly won’t be as constrained in a sit-on kayak.
If you decide to go for a sit-in version, you will need to get more practiced at boarding and disembarking your kayak, as sitting within the hull makes it harder to get in and out of your boat. You will be rewarded with greater stability at sea, however, and sit-in kayaks keep your gear and yourself drier. Sit-in kayaks are also far better in terms of performance in choppier waters, as you achieve a lower center of gravity, sitting right on the waterline.
Just before you do make that choice, however, remember that generally, you will pay a higher price for a sit-in kayak because the design and build for such vessels is more complicated than it is for sit-on versions. If budget is a significant factor for you, you may want to look only at sit-on versions. In fact, many novice kayak users opt to go for a sit-on version to start with, and reselling a kayak is reasonably easy if you want to upgrade later down the line. A great budget kayak like the Ocean Kayak Frenzy might be a good place to get going on your own sea kayak fishing journey.
Seats and weight capacity
Again, as with many things, this factor is going to come down to your personal requirements and the way in which you will use your new kayak day-to-day. Figure out how many people will be using your new kayak at once, and that will determine how many seats you are going to need, like for instance Ocean Kayak Malibu Two is the optimal tandem ocean kayak variant – and ultimately, the size and weight capacity of the vessel you are going to end up buying.
Length and width
Length and width are massive elements to choosing the right kayak for you. It all depends on your style of fishing, and on whether or not you need to prioritize certain things. Longer boats, like Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler, are quicker in the open water, but they are far more difficult to make tight turns in and control direction while you are fishing. Shorter kayaks are generally considered to be a more comfortable option for the novice kayak user, but they are slower.
Width is where fishing kayaks really come into their own.
In all cases, the wider the hull of your vessel, the more stability you will be provided with. This is one of the most important features to consider when you are choosing your new boat, so look carefully.
When you are buying a sea fishing kayak, you are essentially purchasing something that needs to be a fishing platform – sometimes in rougher waters. When a manufacturer makes a kayak to market for fishing, they will prioritize stability over speed and agility – and so should you when you look for the perfect sea fishing kayak.
Comfort: seats and adjustability
Comfort still matters a heck of a lot to some of us when we fish, to varying degrees. Manufacturers do provide a range of kayaks to suit most needs out there. You’ll find seats to suit everyone from the die-hard bare-bones fishermen and women out there to the folks who don’t take it all too seriously and want contoured or padded seats to fish from. Different kayaks also feature different – or zero – options for adjusting seats and backrests. If you are older and ache more, then you may want to keep an eye on how many options for comfort a maker has built into their kayak.
Fishing rod holders
Fishing rod holders always make for a more comfortable fishing experience. Does the kayak you are looking at have rod holders built into the hull? Some manufacturers incorporate rod holders into the design of the boat from the very beginning, and these options will generally be flush mounted to the hull, which makes for a sleeker design and less snagging lines and gear when you are fishing out there on the open water. Other versions are bolted onto the hull, and if you are a novice, you may experience a trickier fishing experience when you get out there. The final thing to consider with rod holders is how many there are. Make sure there are enough holders to accommodate all the rods that you and any fishing partners carry, and obviously Brooklyn Kayak Company BKC UH-TK181 will be the best choice for you if you plan to take plenty.
Structure and build
You will want to look into how your new sea fishing kayak has been put together, and it is definitely important to make sure that you consider this one significant factor when it comes to assessing the build method of your particular model. Namely, you will need to once again determine how you intend to use your new kayak and consider whether the hull is inflatable or made up of a solid hard-shell. Although this isn’t a major difference when it comes to getting out on the water – both versions work exceptionally well, and inflatable can be very convenient when it comes to storing and transporting your vessel from place to place – when going for the solid hard-shell option, it’s important to consider how many air chambers the hull is made up out of.
Multiple inflation chambers mean pretty much exactly what they sound like. There are several separate air compartments, and if you get a puncture in one of the chambers, you will keep on floating because the remaining compartments will remain unaffected and inflated. For safety and peace of mind, this is an essential consideration in an ocean fishing kayak, and one aspect of selecting your kayak that you might want to give serious thought to.
Weight and portability
These two factors are going to define how practical your new kayak is for you. Giving thought to how and where you are going to put your new kayak to use is an excellent idea before you buy it. Getting this part right means assessing how often you are going to be moving the kayak, and what your method of transport will be. If you need to fit the kayak on the back of a truck, for instance, then length and weight will come into play, and you will need to be careful to make sure that you stick to a strict length limit. The same goes if you intend to vary your kayak on the top of a vehicle. So it makes Ocean Kayak Frenzy the best option for being that compact.
Set out your requirements and stick to them when it comes to looking around for the best kayak. You will find that many great kayaks will catch your eye when you are searching – there’s a lot of amazing kayaks out there – but, remember that you won’t get much enjoyment from a kayak you don’t have the means to transport.
Kayaks come with a whole range of add-ons and optional extras that are designed to make fishing from and using your kayak more comfortable and more enjoyable. Some kayaks have far more internal storage than others, so it’s a great idea to work out how much storage you need. How much gear do you generally take on a trip? If you tend to fish in warmer climates, then you may want to look at the many kayaks that feature an onboard cooler.
As always, look for what you need day-to-day and think carefully about how you will use your kayak. If you need to lug it around a lot, do the models you are considering have carry handles?
If you’re on a budget, do the models you are viewing come with paddles, or will you need to buy them too? There’s a whole host of included extras available out there, so choose wisely.
As with all products, caring for a fishing kayak properly is very important, and will extend the lifespan of the vessel when done correctly. All kayaks are built differently, and it’s therefore essential to follow the maintenance, transport, and storage guidelines for your own specific vessel.
Ocean kayaks are generally built wider than other kayaks and provide enough stability to stand up and cast. In the best open ocean fishing kayak, you will feel confident enough to gauge the roll of your vessel and will soon get used to casting and fighting fish without feeling you are going to capsize.
Scupper hole carts are an ingenious invention that can make moving your kayak around a breeze. Essentially, what they are is a two-wheeled trolley that fits your kayak by utilizing the scupper, or drain holes that keep the vessel from filling with water out in the ocean. A scupper cart has two prongs that slot into your scupper holes and keep the kayak in position while you wheel around. If you tend to do a lot of lone fishing, this might be a great feature to look out for.
Well. There we have it. We’ve taken a comprehensive look at the best ocean kayaks for fishing that we could find, and we have put together a list that has something for everyone out there. The kayak that topped our list was the excellent Perception Pescador Pro 12, and it was difficult to find any faults with it. If you’re after an all-around great ocean fishing kayak, then you will be hard pushed to discover a better one than the Perception Pescador Pro 12.
Coming in second place, but certainly no slouch by any means at all was the brilliant and versatile Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130. This kayak has a lot of what makes up some of the ultimate sea fishing kayaks out there – without the hefty price tag. If you have been searching to find a functional and exciting kayak, then the Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130 might just be for you.
In third place on our comprehensive list of the best eight sea fishing kayaks we could find was the Brooklyn Kayak Company BKC UH-TK181 – which ticks many of the boxes that your average fisherman will be looking hard to tick. This kayak and the top two models on our list were difficult to separate in terms of quality and features. The Brooklyn Kayak Company BKC UH-TK181 is well worthy of its place here, and it will please many hobbyists and professional fishermen.