Best Fly Fishing Kayaks

Fly Fishing Kayaks - Reviews & Guides For 2024

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Fly Fishing Kayak Buyers Guide

Are you looking for the best fly fishing kayaks? There is a wide range of fly fishing kayaks available in the market. Hence, it is not easy to visit the market and pick any kayak. But you don't have to worry!

This guide will help you by simplifying the fly fishing kayak selection process. There’s no need for you to fall into the marketing scheme. Get the kayak that suits your requirement. Maybe you don't know the type of kayak you need for fly fishing. It's alright. This guide covers those questions as well.

Furthermore, if you're consumed about whether you really need a fly fishing kayak or not, those questions are answered as well. In simple words, this is the ultimate guide to fly fishing kayak that helps you make an informed decision.

However, before we begin the consideration for the kayak and its factors, let's start by asking the right questions:

How is fly fishing kayak different from regular kayaks?

Fly fishing is a technique that requires you to cast bait on shallow waters. Most of the time, it is on the surface of the water, even if the water could be a little deep. More importantly, it requires you to perform a certain maneuver for baitcasting and shooting it in the distance.

Once you catch a fish in the bait, you have to perform certain maneuvers to pull it out. Now, a boat is an obvious preference for many people. However, the qualities you need in a boat are higher stability, cross narrow passageways, and less noise.

As most of the boats require a motor engine to work, it discards the silence requirement. Thus, making the boats a less preferable choice for fishing, especially for fly fishing. Fly fishing requires you to keep fishes on the surface. However, the sound of the motor from the boat can drive fish away.

A fly fishing kayak is a better choice for a solo fishing trip. It has to be highly stable and subtle to not disturb the fishes. The fly fishing kayaks manage to provide you with perfect stability to fish solo. Additionally, it can allow you to travel to narrow passageways where the boat will fail to go to. You still get better speed and a complete manual experience.

When you compare a fly fishing kayak to a standard kayak, the primary difference is the requirement. You need the fly fishing kayaks to be more stable. Thus, you can compromise on the size, width, and other factors.

Standard kayaks have better speed and acceleration. They also require you to balance them often. There are different types of models, as well. However, a fly fishing kayak might also come with added features such as a rod holder and extra storage space, like a hatchet for bait, and other requirements.

Reasons to use fly fishing kayaks

Are you wondering about whether it's really worth investing in fly fishing kayaks or not? Well, it primarily breaks down to what do you require. How serious are you about fishing? For any seasoned angler, it is a must-have. However, even for a casual fishing enthusiast, it can prove to be a valuable asset. How? Well, for the following reasons:

Perfect for a solo trip

If you’re looking for a boat or something to have a solo trip and embark on a fishing journey, a fly fishing kayak is perfect. It is stable, it can help you cover the distance, and it makes you self-sufficient. You don’t have to depend upon anyone or anything. All you have is yourself in the serenity of the waters.

A better choice

A rowing boat requires you to have another person. Otherwise, you won’t be able to steer or move the boat correctly. It is more exhausting as well. A motorboat is out of the question as it will produce too much sound and might require investment in fuel.

However, a kayak is easy for you to steer as you can face the direction. You can use paddles to get anywhere. It has apt pickup and speed. More importantly, it is sufficient for a single person. You don’t need to invest in gas or other fuel either to power it.

It is quiet

As other boats can produce too much disturbance in the water due to the motor, or their size, kayaks cut through the water. They are silent and don’t cause any disturbance in the water. This should be the primary reason to consider a fly fishing kayak.

As fly fishing requires you to cast a bait on the surface, you mustn’t drive the fishes away. A kayak won’t produce much noise or disturbance. Most of the time, a kayak with the right colors looks like it is part of the water, like some animal or obstacle.

Thus, you can attract fishes without any problem as they won’t mind hanging around the kayak. Kayaks are much quieter, and you can attract fish better. These qualities are boosted when you consider an actual fly fishing kayak.

Factors to consider when buying fly fishing kayaks

Now that you’re sure about buying a flying fishing kayak, it’s time to get down to the main objective. There are countless things that you might want to look for—more than the design or color, the performance of the kayak matter. However, none of that matters for fly fishing kayaks.

Remember that you aren't looking for a better kayak in speed and performance to cover the distance. That shouldn't be on the priority list at all. Your aim is to get a highly effective and stable fly fishing kayak. For choosing the right fly fishing kayak, here are the factors to consider:

Stability is the key factor.

Fishing requires a lot of patience and a firm stance for a catch. You have to be quiet and stable. More importantly, if you get a fish in the lure, you will have to move around and perform various maneuvers. Therefore, the stability of a kayak plays a vital role.

Your fishing kayak has to be stable to withstand these abrupt movements. It shouldn't flip over, especially for a fly fishing kayak, as it requires you to fish on the surface. Here are some considerations you can make for better stability:

Hull design

There are two different types of stability in any kayak. Initial stability determines how easily you can get in and out of the kayak, which is important but not too much for fly fishing kayaks. Secondary stability determines how well your kayak handles the fishing, paddling, and other movements.

For this, there are four different types of hull designs available in kayaks. We will discard the V-shaped kayak as they are least stable and meant for speed and acceleration hard to control. A flat hull is great for beginners as it provides fantastic initial stability. Meanwhile, a rounded hull is remarkable in secondary stability and could be a great choice for fly fishing.

However, it would be best if you aimed for a pontoon hull. This is a fusion of the flat and rounded hull to provide you impeccable stability. As it is primarily focused on stability, you don't get as much speed or acceleration. Therefore, it is perfect for a fly fishing kayak.

Skeg and rudder

If you want to boost your stability further, especially when fishing, skeg, and rudder can be a valuable addition. Winds and waves from the water can lead to high displacement and imbalance in your kayak. A skeg or rudder is technically a fin attached to the kayak.

It helps you by dropping down and leveling the kayak, almost like a stand of your cycle. A skeg is good for singular direction balance, while a rudder is more adaptive. Correlatively, whichever you choose will affect the overall cost of your fly fishing kayak.

The rudder is more adaptive and directional. It is easy to change and such. However, skeg can also get you by just fine if you don't want to invest too much. But remember, stability is the key factor for a fly fishing kayak.

Sit on top kayak vs. sit-in kayak.

While stability is the key factor, first, you should determine the model of the kayak. To help you choose a 'type of kayak,' you will find water considerations below. However, seating is the most vital part since fishing may require you to sit for prolonged hours.

More than that, sitting determines how easy it would be for you to get in and out of a kayak. It also determines your freedom of movement and such.

Sit-in kayaks

These are great if you're looking for a more performance-oriented kayak, which is a big no for a fly fishing kayak. You are not looking for speed or acceleration. These are more restrictive in movements as you have to sit inside. In simple words, it will make your fishing uncomfortable as hell.

For fly fishing, you need freedom of movement. The only reason a sit-in kayak would be worth considering is if you don't want restriction or if you're a short person. Apart from that, these are a terrible choice as a fly fishing kayak.

Sit on top kayaks

These are the best choice as they provide you with apt height and freedom to use your gear. You can move freely, and it is more breathable for you. However, there is a considerable drawback to it. Sit on top kayaks won't protect you from the sprinkles of the water. So you will inevitably get wet.

These are not as cold-resistant, so these are not suitable for a cold climate. However, you can wear an extra jacket and layers to make up for that. In the long run, and for fly fishing activity, this is still the right choice.

Type of kayak

There are countless models available for a range of purposes. Touring kayaks help you cover long distances faster. Surf kayaks are better for wavy white waters and such. Similarly, you will find a scuba diving kayak that could also work great as a fly fishing kayak.

However, these types of kayaks have more to do with the hull design and the kayak size. Therefore, you need to break through these preset categories and consider the following factor for the best fly fishing kayaks in the market:

Size of a fly fishing kayak

Longer kayaks are more suitable for acceleration. In other words, they cover the distance faster and tend to have better speed. That's not the quality you're looking for specifically in a kayak. Shorter kayaks tend to be easier to move or steer for your convenience. That can prove to be a great choice for hard water.

However, as you're looking for more stability, there's no point in getting a narrow kayak. A narrow kayak also cuts down on resistance and provides better speed. However, you won't need too much speed for a fly fishing kayak. Therefore, you can go for a wider kayak.

A wider kayak will provide you better stability and even space to store your rod and other belongings. Therefore, it is a good idea to get a wider and shorter kayak. However, you can still get a medium-length kayak with apt width to maintain that kayaking appeal.

The material of the kayak

Carbon should be out of the question. That is the material more suitable for professionals who are into competitive kayak racing and other endeavors. However, if you want something similar in durability and longevity, you can get a fiberglass kayak.

A fiberglass kayak is considerably more expensive than other materials but still significantly less than carbon. It will be long-lasting and prove value for money. Plastic kayaks could be a good choice for entry-level or if you're unsure about using fly fishing kayaks.

However, plastic kayaks are more prone to wearing out from external elements, especially UV rays and saltwater. You can provide them with anti-UV polish or coating, but that would last for so long. Fiberglass kayaks have a better time holding the polish and have naturally better resistance to external elements.

Foldable kayaks vs. inflatable kayaks

You should aim for a hardshell kayak. It means that inflatable kayaks are out of the question. There's no reason to buy inflatable kayaks as they are more suitable for emergencies or kids. They won't provide you stability and slack drastically in performance.

However, if you lack the space of storing a full-fledged kayak in your house or apartment, you can opt for a foldable kayak. A foldable kayak is more space preserving while it brings you the benefits of a hardshell kayak. Since that's what you're looking for, it would get the job done.

However, it's still better to get a full-fledged kayak if you're serious about fly fishing.

Storage and weight support

From all of the above considerations, you can get stability. However, the second most important requirement is storage capacity. If you don't have enough space to store your gear, bait, possibly lunch, and other essentials, there's no point in having the kayak.

A clear deck

It might come as a surprise, especially for this factor to be in the storage requirement. However, many anglers integrate GPS, Fish tracker, rod holder, and other things on their deck to have more storage. It would be best if you didn't do that for a fly fishing kayak.

For a fly fishing kayak, you need a clear deck so that you can fish better. Too many obstacles on the deck will backfire for anyone who loves fly fishing. You need a flat deck that is spacious for a clear view and better movements.

Storage options

As a clear deck is vital, you can't overwhelm it with too many storage additions. However, fishing demands a lot of gear. So you can get a hatchet for you. It should be waterproof and close tightly for it to hold your belongings.

Apart from this, you have to depend on the space in your cockpit to store other items. If you want a rod holder, get it integrated into the cockpit, away from your seat. Similarly, some kayaks offer you space to carry a pet or a child. You can use this space in a solo kayak to store your item. This would work very well to fulfill your storage requirements.

Features for comfort

As mentioned earlier, fishing is a sport that requires a lot of patience. However, to maintain impeccable patience, you need better comfort. To help you with better comfort, there are a couple of things you can have.

Backrest and support

A sit on top kayak allows you to have back support and other similar stable additions to the kayak. This will help you sit for longer periods without worrying about the health of your back. Whether you have a back problem or not, this is a great addition to get in the kayak.

Foot paddles

Instead of classic manual paddles, there are kayaks available with food paddles for acceleration and steering. As speed is not your requirement, you can benefit greatly from these. Furthermore, it can give you a good workout, and you will be using your powerful leg muscles. Thus, you can paddle for a longer time.

These are often easier to steer as they have a level attached to a directional fin for your convenience. So this could be a great option to get.

Understand your preference

Finally, it all breaks down to your preference and skillset. It is a better idea to lean more towards the recreational kayak styles for fly fishing kayaks. However, you can find a better balance as well. The color and design of the kayak can make an impact, as well.

It would be best to try for more natural colors for the kayak to look like it is part of the region. For that, it is vital for you to understand the waters.

Understand the water

There are different types of water, from flat waters to white waters. Colors, temperature, and several other factors also play a vital role. Now a freshwater fly fishing kayak won’t require too much resistance or protection. However, a saltwater fly fishing kayak would require you to have a proper coating and the right material to resist corrosion and oxidation, among other things.

These are some important factors to consider. However, these are minor considerations in comparison to the other primary requirements. So you can prioritize as more like a perk or extra benefits if you have bucks to spare.

FAQs: Best Fly Fishing Kayaks

Q: Should paddle be considered for the fly fishing kayak?

A: Yes, paddle plays a vital role in your fly fishing kayaks. You would have to consider its material. Some paddles come with extra support like hook retention and so on. More importantly, as you have a rod to take care of, you might need a paddle ring or holder to prevent yourself from losing it.

Q: Is tandem kayak a good option for a fly fishing kayak?

A: Fly fishing kayaks are better for a single person. However, a tandem kayak implies that you will be traveling with a partner. Unless you have a fishing companion to assist you, there's no reason to get a tandem kayak.

More importantly, a tandem kayak will only cause too much imbalance and displacement, as both of you would be moving too much. Therefore, a tandem kayak is not the right choice.

Q: What other essentials should I carry with my fly fishing kayak?

A: As you're most likely going to get a sit on top kayak, it is vital to have a waterproof jacket. You're prone to getting wet sitting on top kayaks for fly fishing. Other requirements might include proper floating devices for safety and emergency food supplies that are essential for survival.


That’s all you need to get the best fly fishing kayaks from the market. You can look for a warranty, guarantee, and price. Of course, all of these features will significantly impact your price. As kayaking is primarily a speed sport, you might save a lot if you don’t focus on that factor.

Distribute the speed requirement to storage and stability that will help you get the right kayak. How long does a kayak last? That depends on your maintenance and proper protective measures. Once you jolt it all down, it is fairly simple to get a fly fishing kayak.

Hopefully, this guide helped you in making the right choice. / - © Copyright 2020