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 16, 2021
Outdoorsly is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Fishing with a friend can be a better experience than fishing alone. One way to incorporate two people in a fishing trip is through the use of a tandem kayak. Finding the best tandem fishing kayak for you can make or break your experience, so be sure to identify what features you’d find necessary to have.
One of the most important features to identify when looking to purchase a tandem kayak include its weight. If the kayak is too heavy for both people to carry, this can pose difficulty during transportation. A second feature to consider is the kayak’s weight capacity. Make sure that the tandem kayak can hold you and your partner as well as any equipment needed and fish you may catch. If the weight capacity is lower than the actual weight, this can cause a sluggish kayak or even lead to sinking. A third aspect to look for is if it has fishing pole holders and how many they have. This is important because you may have multiple fishing poles you want to use, but only one or two holders, meaning you have to sacrifice potential fish opportunity. Lastly, look into how large the dimensions are. Some locations may have boat size restrictions, so it is important you keep this in mind. Knowing the dimensions can also help understand storage requirements when not in use.
To make your tandem kayak purchase experience easier, we have spent time analyzing the best ones. Considering product reviews from customers and experts, as well as specs of each kayak, we determined the best tandem fishing kayaks on the market. This article will highlight a comparison table of with model, detailed reviews of them, and a buying guide to accelerate your purchase of a tandem kayak.
The BKC UH-TK181 is overall the best tandem fishing sit-on-top kayak currently on the market. Measuring over 12 feet long, the kayak can take you, your gear, and a friend on an adventure of a lifetime. There is a weight capacity of up to 440 pounds, so you can easily hold two adults and plenty of fish and gear. Fish comfortably for hours in the best tandem ocean fishing kayak with the two included kayak seats. You won’t be limited to your seat in this tandem kayak, though, as it has a 34-inch beam to provide stability, balance, and structure. This means that even on your most windy and wavy of fishing days, you can stow the included 86-inch aluminum paddles on the two, fully secure paddle rests, and stay afloat and up straight when casting your line.
Once your line is flawlessly casted, place your rod in one of the seven built-in fishing rod holders. Of these, three are adjustable, while four are flush-mounted, so you can choose your preferred method. If you’re catching a big fish and water gets into your boat, you won’t worry about your valuables getting wet or damaged, as there are two waterproof compartments within the tandem kayak.
There are two pre-installed threaded holes to mount a trolling motor. This is great for those long days spent on the water when your arms get tired of rowing. After you get the fish, you can drain all of it through eight scupper holes. You’ll be able to meticulously enjoy your adventure with a friend and have many more to come, as its variety of features and durability ensures that this tandem kayak will last a lifetime’s worth of fishing.
The Elkton Outdoors Tandem Kayak is great for all types of fishers. Whether you enjoy fishing in the waters of the open ocean, down currents in rivers, or across various calm and still lakes, this two-person kayak will suit your needs. This boat comes with two included kayak seats making for a perfect day of relaxation. If you’re a morning fisher, you can even bring along your daily cup of coffee, as these seats have added cupholders. No matter how much gear you bring, the Elkton Outdoors Tandem Kayak can hold them in the two additional storage sections at either end of the boat. With the ability to hold an impressive 650 pounds, you can keep two full-sized adults and still have plenty of fish and gear on board.
If you have any valuable items you want to bring on your trip but don’t want them to get wet, have no fear. This tandem kayak has a built-in waterproof storage area. This location is perfect for holding smaller items you don’t want to lose like your keys, cellphone, rings, or wallet. After casting your line, you can lay your rods in one of the two adjustable rod holders. These will allow you to let go of your rod while relaxing and save your hands from pain and cramping. Since the Elkton Outdoors Tandem Kayak was made with rotationally molded material, you can guarantee the boat will last a long time. Enjoy many fishing trips to come with a friend in the Elkton Outdoors Tandem Kayak, the best tandem fishing kayak for the money.
Inflatable kayaks are perfect for individuals looking for some adventure but don’t have enough storage or transportation space. The Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak is the best tandem inflatable fishing kayak currently on the market. This kayak, being inflatable, only weighs about 40 pounds. This makes for easy transportation and inflation at the location you are fishing. Fish in a lake, down a river, or wherever floats your boat. As this boat can be punctured, avoid rocky bottomed areas. If the kayak does get punctured, though, it was designed with multiple air chambers. This means that if one pops, the others can still remain inflated, allowing you to stay afloat. Popping is unlikely if you care for your boat properly, as the Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak is made with thick tarpaulin and nylon, as well as PVC.
Float throughout a lake with you and another adult, as the boat can hold up to 470 pounds. Being just over ten feet long, there is not much extra room for storing extra equipment, so keep this in mind when purchasing. There are, though, mesh storage pockets to hold your waterproof valuables in one spot. You can sit in the included adjustable seats comfortably while paddling. If paddling isn’t your style, there is room for an added Sevylor trolling motor, as well as a location to stow your paddles. For a relatively hands-free fishing experience, connect your fishing rods to the Berkley Quick Set Rod Holders and relax your day floating on the water. The Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak is a great kayak for those looking for an easy-to-use tandem boat.
Perfect for exploration, the Pelican River Gorge 130X is a great tandem fishing kayak for various water types. Freely fish around in lakes, rivers, and even surf tides without trouble due to it being strong, rotomolded polyethylene. No matter how choppy the water, your kayak will stay stable and afloat allowing you a great fishing experience. If water gets into the boat, the four built-in scupper holes will release the water buildup. The weight capacity of the boat is 500 pounds which means two adults can fit comfortably.
The Pelican River Gorge 130X is one of the larger kayaks on this list. It is just over 13 feet long and 34 inches wide. Because it is large, there is plenty of space for added storage. If you have valuables you want to keep safe or avoid water damage, there are two waterproof compartments. These are best used to fit smaller items like your phone, wallet, or keys. In addition to this, there is a location for extra cargo in the stern. You can bring plenty of gear along with you with the kayak’s large weight capacity. The Pelican River Gorge 130X two-person kayak is the best value tandem fishing kayak on the market.
Why are we impressed?
Durable and heavy-duty
Four scupper holes, easy water drainage
Middle seat space available for a child, great for families
What negatives must you be aware of?
Scupper holes lay close to water, so make sure they’re plugged when in use
If you’re looking for a smaller kayak with just as much stability as larger and heavier ones, the Lifetime 10-Foot Tandem Fishing Kayak is a great option. This kayak has a unique hull design which prevents your boat from tipping over. This, coupled with the ability to support up to 500 pounds, ensures your kayak is stable and secure. You can fit two full-sized adults in this kayak. If you’re looking to solo or if someone cancels plans with you, you can move a seat to the middle section and sit comfortably. If you need some extra space, this kayak comes with a rear waterproof storage section. The Lifetime 10-Foot Tandem Fishing Kayak is designed ergonomically where the center where the seats are raised higher than the rest of the boat. This creates a dryer ride because all the water that enters your boat remains below you. When water does get in, you can drain it using scupper holes in the cockpit of the kayak.
When you’re ready to cast a line to catch a fish, the Lifetime 10-Foot Tandem Fishing Kayak is prepared to help. Stow your included paddle in the paddle clips on either side of the boat and cast your line. When casted, you can leave your fishing rod in one of the three built-in fishing rod holder clips. This gives you a relaxing, handless approach to the art of fishing. After your long day, you may not want to paddle home. This kayak gives you the ability to add an electric trolling motor so you can save your arms from further strain. The Lifetime 10-Foot Tandem Fishing Kayak is one of the best small tandem fishing kayaks on the market.
Why is it special?
Small but roomy
High center of gravity making for low tipping rate
What are the flaws?
Not a lot of cargo space, can only hold small essentials
Purchasing a tandem fishing kayak can be a difficult task if you are unsure of where to begin. You may have various questions regarding these kayaks as well. There are many things you should keep in mind when purchasing one, so we will go over the key factors to pay attention to and why. There are many different kinds of kayaks on the market, so you should understand what makes your prospective kayak unique and all of the specific benefits it gives you. Make sure you purchase the best tandem fishing kayak for you by getting all of your questions answered and buyers’ tips covered.
Are kayaks we use for fishing different than other kayak types?
While all kayaks keep you afloat and let you row with a double-ended paddle, they are not all the same. Different kinds of kayaks are on the market. Examples include touring kayaks, day recreational kayaks, long term recreational kayaks, inflatable kayaks, and many more. Kayaks used for fishing are designed with extra features. These features include places to stow your paddles, removable and changeable seats, fishing pole rod holders, and plenty of other characteristics. When you’re going fishing, you want to make sure you’re properly prepared and have the best equipment possible. Use a fishing kayak to have all of your essentials together in the manner that you need it.
Why get a tandem fishing kayak, and can you use it alone?
Tandem kayaks are great for people who love to fish with other people. It can get lonely on the water by yourself, so having someone to keep you company can help your mental state and improve the quality of your time. Purchasing a tandem kayak is more financially beneficial than it is to purchase two separate kayaks. Tandem kayaks also offer many benefits that solo kayaks cannot. This includes the ability to spend quality time with friends and others and having access to a larger boat. Besides, if you decide you want to paddle solo, you can. Just set the removable seat to the middle section and now you have a solo kayak, while with solo kayaks, you can’t magically turn them into a tandem boat. Tandem kayaks are beneficial in many ways.
Types of kayaks
Different types of kayaks determine how it functions and the best uses for them. Plenty of different kinds of kayaks are on the market. The most common kayaks you’ll find are closed recreational kayaks, longer touring kayaks, and sit-on-top kayaks. Each has different benefits and times to use. For example, closed recreational kayaks are best for open lakes and rivers, yet they may not be great for rapids, long trips, or waves. Touring kayaks give you more control when maneuvering due to its large length. Sit-on-top kayaks are great for cruising on open water. Some are even made for ocean waters. The type of kayak you purchase solely depends on what you need to use it for.
Hardshell or inflatable?
When looking to purchase a kayak, the first thing you should pay attention to is the material it is made of. The two most common general materials are either hard shell or inflatable. Hardshell kayaks are very durable, yet are heavy and can be difficult to transport if only doing so with one person. Storage is also a big issue with this. If you don’t have a shed or location to keep your kayak when it’s not in use, the size of the hard shell can pose an issue for you. Alternatively, inflatable kayaks, like the Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak mentioned above, are lighter, easier to carry, and simpler to store. With that, inflatable kayaks can puncture, rip, or pop on the water with damage like rock scraping. This could pose a danger. If you care for your inflatable kayak properly and stay alert, this should not be an issue. Think about if you need to conserve space or wouldn’t mind lifting a heavy load, or if you’d rather have a long-term boat than one that damages easily.
Sit-in or sit-on-top?
The next thing you should consider is choosing between a sit-in or sit-on-top kayak. Sit-in kayaks enclose your legs and shield your legs from cold air and water temperatures. For fishing, though, sit-in kayaks can be detrimental. Since many fishers aren’t expert kayakers, you may not know the safety behind exiting a sit-in kayak in emergencies. If your boat tips or fills with water, you need to execute an emergency roll and remove the possible spray skirt you have attached. If not, you can be lodged in the kayak dangerously. For this matter, sit-on-top kayaks, like all of the products mentioned above, are more beneficial for fishermen. They are open, have plenty of room to store your gear and any fish you catch, and they have safety mechanisms within them. For example, if you get water in your boat, just unplug the scupper plugs and drain your boat. Additionally, if you tip accidentally, you don’t have any extra procedures to follow, just swim. Sit-in and sit-on-top kayaks have their own benefits, but sit-on-top kayaks are much better for fishers.
Important features to consider before you buy a kayak
When purchasing a kayak, many things should come to mind. The characteristics of your desired kayak matter based on what you’re using your kayak for and what kind of storage will support it. If you are unsure of the features to look out for when beginning to shop for a kayak, the list below will recommend some characteristics and explain why they are important to consider.
Depending on how much space you have in your home, or what regulations your local fishing or recreational sites allow, the dimensions of your kayak should matter. Additionally, if you are taller than the average individual, you may be more comfortable in a longer boat like the BKC-UH-TK 181 measuring over 12 feet long. If you are dealing with size restrictions and need a smaller boat, consider a kayak around ten feet long like the Lifetime 10-Foot Tandem Fishing Kayak. Keep in mind shorter boats may handle differently than longer ones.
If you are carrying your boat to a launching dock, you need to be able to lift and maneuver your kayak in and out of the water. This means that if you cannot handle the weight yourself, try considering a lighter boat. Inflatable kayaks like the Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak are much lighter than standard, hard shells, and can be easier to carry. If you are strong and can carry a heavy kayak or have someone else to lend you a hand, a kayak like the Elkton Outdoors Tandem Kayak will be great for you.
Depending on your weight and how much gear you expect to carry, you should consider how much your kayak can hold. If you are purchasing a tandem kayak, think of how heavy the combined weight of you and your rowing partner will be. It’s important you don’t over-estimate how much you’ll be carrying with you just to be safe. If you determine you need a kayak with higher weight capacity, consider the Elkton Outdoors Tandem Kayak, as it can hold up to 650 pounds. If you don’t need something with that high of weight capacity, the Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T can hold about 500 pounds.
If you are going to be sitting in your kayak frequently, or if you have a bad back, consider getting a kayak with a strong, comfortable seat. Kayak seats can be temperamental, so make sure to try the one you want out first. The Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Kayak has some of the best seats for a kayak on this list. The cushions will relieve back pain and keep you upright for as long as you need them to.
Features for fishing
When you purchase a kayak solely for fishing, you may need to make sure there are additional features. These include fishing rod holders, extra cargo space, and space for a mounted motor. Rod holders make for an easier, more comfortable hands-free approach to fishing. Extra cargo space ensures you have room to store all of your supplies, including anything you may catch. A mounted motor can save your arms for strain after a long day of fishing and paddling.
Many kayaks come with warranties for their functionality. If any manufacturing defects occur, it is helpful to be covered and not have to worry about replacing or buying a new kayak. If warranties are important factors to you, both the BKC UH-TK181 and Lifetime 10-Foot Tandem Fishing Kayak come with 5-year warranties. Other ones listed may only have a limited warranty.
The best way to transport a kayak is with the use of either a kayak rack or a trailer on your car. You can attach these racks to your vehicle and secure your kayak on it so it won’t slip or fall off while moving. If you don’t have a vehicle or transport is difficult, an inflatable kayak like the Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Kayak, may be useful to you.
For fishing, it is helpful to have a kayak with fishing rod holders. These are already installed when you purchase your kayak so there is no extra work to put together. When you use any other kayak, you won’t have a spot to hold your rods when your hands begin to hurt. For fishing, it is vital to have a kayak with fishing rod holders included.
Purchasing a kayak is a very personalized experience. You must consider what features and characteristics you are interested in having included with your kayak. Out of the five kayaks reviewed above, based on extensive research and reviews, we believe the top three are the Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak, Elkton Outdoors Tandem Kayak, and BKC UH-TK181. These made the top of the list because of their overall great features and ease of use.
We liked the BKC UH-TK 181 because of the amount of storage it had, its stability, and the ability to take it into the open ocean.
Find the best tandem fishing kayak for you by reading through this guide and creating a list of all of the characteristics you may need or want in your kayak. Remember, as long as you have a safe, enjoyable time on your fishing trip with a friend, you won’t regret your purchase.