Kayaks are insanely effective, compact fishing vessels, but what if you yourself aren’t so delicate?
Whether you resemble Schwarzeneggar in his heyday, or you’ve gone up a few belt sizes these last few years (who hasn’t), you may have given up on the idea of gracefully gliding across a lake to find that fishing hot spot.
Exceeding the weight-bearing capacity of a kayak is never a good thing. You’ll be lucky if you can paddle without capsizing let alone standing and sight casting. Best case scenario, you and your gear get drenched; worst case, well...let’s not mention the ‘D’ word.
Don’t worry though, buddy. We’ve got your back. After days of research, we’ve found five of the very best kayaks you can buy that prove that big guys don’t need big boats. So, pack your bags. You’re goin’ fishin’!
OUR TOP PICK
Able to support 550lbs of pure body mass, the ATAK is boat enough for almost anyone, and don’t worry about being gentle with it either.
Crafted from a highly durable molded polyethylene, it’s designed to do battle with pointy rocks on the daily, so you’re no threat to its structure.
The Phase 3 AirPro seat features sturdy suspension technology, keeping you supported no matter how long you intend to be on the water.
What’s more, it’s fully adjustable and upholstered with mesh material that, combined with 3D vented foam, keeps you nice and cool. The cherry on top is the padded XL footrests that give your size 13s a place to rest comfortably.
The walkable, extra wide, flat hull offers tons of stability, giving you the perfect platform to reel in those big bites. It comes with a detachable console for mounting electronics, and the ample bow and stern storage can accommodate a full pack.
Should you want to conserve energy, you can even mount a trolling motor and get by without lifting a finger. Awesome, right?
- Spacious - Loads of storage and breathing room.
- Comfort - Best chair in the game combined with padded XL footrests.
- Stability - Wide, flat hull refuses to tip you overboard.
- Weight Bearing - 550lbs, so don’t bother packing light.
- Price - It’s a lot of boat, so it doesn’t come cheap.
Though the Excursion is an inflatable kayak, it’s by no means a soft touch. Built using a sturdy polyester core embraced by heavy-duty vinyl layers, neither you, nor rocks, nor icebergs are going to take this thing down. Even if you puncture one of the 3 air chambers, the other 2 keep you afloat until you get back to dry land.
Capable of accommodating 400lbs, you’ll slot right into this kayak without so much as a dip in the water. The chairs are super comfortable, and they span the full width of the kayak, so even if you’ve got some serious junk in the trunk, you’ll be sittin’ pretty.
With such high pressure inflation technology, the I-Beam floor becomes incredibly rigid which makes moving around while you’re on the water a total breeze, and once you’re ready to pack up, the spring-loaded valve deflates in seconds.
Use the integrated dual rod holders to cast multiple lines and double your yield, and fit your other gizmos such as a fish finder or GPS to the mounting bracket. You’ll never come home empty-handed again!
- Weight Bearing - 400lbs of supportive power, so jump aboard!
- Comfort - Adjustable chairs and footrests.
- Durability - 3-ply, triple chamber construction is both UV and abrasion resistant.
- Front and Rear Storage - Load it up, guys!.
- Accessories - Carry bag and oars aren’t great quality.
The NuCanoe Frontier may look like a lean fishing machine, but with a maximum weight capacity of 650lbs, it’s prime for taking the biggest and tallest of us out for an adventure on the water.
Designed for maximum stability, the 41” hull width keeps you high and dry during those tough battles with stubborn fish, so you don’t have to worry so much about weight distribution. Just focus on reeling it on in!
The mesh seating is built on a sturdy, sliding rail system, so you can adjust the position to suit any height. There’s even enough space to use it as a tandem, so why not invite a buddy along with you and crack a few cold ones.
It does have a mount for a trolling motor, but we’d recommend you only use a gas motor once in a blue moon as the fixture isn’t all that strong. Besides that, this is a monster of a kayak that couldn’t care less what you weigh. It just wants to hunt!
- Weight Capacity - 650lbs for a rigid kayak is truly insane.
- Stability - 41” width makes capsizing nigh on impossible.
- Comfort - Rail system seat can accommodate any height.
- Weight - 77lbs isn’t bad for a 12-foot hardshell.
- Motor Mount - It’s pretty flimsy, so try not to rely on it.
- Bare-Bones Purchase - Doesn’t come with any accessories.
Designed to accommodate 3 people and up to 500lbs, there's no doubt this 10-foot Lifetime fishing kayak was created with larger anglers in mind.
The hull is a hybrid of flat and pontoon designs, making it one of the most stable kayaks on our list. Sitting nice and high in the water, paddling is easy, and you always have good visuals on the situation.
Despite the comfortable back rests, the seating is mostly just molded plastic, so you’ll benefit from fitting an aftermarket chair or simply bringing a couple of cushions along with you on your fishing trip. On the other hand, foot rests line the entire length of the kayak, keeping your ankles and feet feeling fine.
Made of blow-molded high-density polyethylene, it’s no biggie if you graze a few obstacles in the shallows. It’s made to withstand a lot more, so cast on, folks! Featuring three rod holders, why not go hands-free for a while and take in the scenery while you wait for a bite?
It’s not much to look at, and definitely needs reflective strips to improve visibility, but this tandem kayak is loaded with all the essentials a heavy angler needs to pull in some heavy fish.
- Weight Capacity - 500lbs accommodates you, a friend, and your gear.
- Foot Rests - Molded foot rests make standing and sitting much easier.
- Durability - Heavy-duty polypropylene can roll with the punches.
- Stability - Hybrid hull and 10’ scale all make for a super stable fishing platform.
- Comfort - No proper seat bases.
- Visibility - The mossy green will be hard to see in poor lighting and weather conditions.
Our final fishing kayak for the giants among us is a fantastic budget option with a ton of nifty features for making your fishing trip more fruitful, and ultimately, more fun!
The deck is wide open, offering immense freedom of movement, which is essential for big guys on small boats. There’s also a huge walking platform, so you can get on your feet and engage in some big-game fishing.
Featuring an ergonomic seat designed to make the transition between sitting and standing as smooth as possible, you’ll prefer it to the couch in your living room. It also offers the highest vantage point of any other fishing kayak, so you never have to struggle for eyes on the water.
The Outlaw can hold a whopping 425lbs, and even when pushed to that limit, the 35” hull ensures stability is never compromised.
Haul 4 rods completely hands-free in the double-barrel holders, saving you platform space to stretch out and get comfortable.
Use the integrated tackle trays to manage all your delicate equipment - the Outlaw provides a highly organized and stress-free platform, so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy some quality time on the water.
- Feature Rich - Tackle trays, rod holders, mounting stations...it’s full of handy fishing utilities.
- Comfort - Elevated seat enables easy seated-to-standing transitions. Your knees will thank you.
- Stability - Large walking platform enables a wider variety of fishing techniques.
- Price - We can’t believe how cheap this thing is!
- Storage - Plenty of storage in both bow and stern.
- Speed - You won’t be winning any races in the Outlaw.
Best Fishing Kayaks for Big Guys Buying Guide
As you’ve seen on our list, it really doesn’t matter if you’re a big guy; there’s a kayak out there for everyone, but before you choose, consider these important aspects.
If you’re a heavier person, the first thing you should consider is the weight capacity of a kayak.
Most fishing kayaks can hold a significant amount more than traditional kayaks, so it’s not hard to find one buoyant enough to accommodate you, but do remember that you’ll have to factor in your gear and any refreshments you take with you onto the water.
Weight-bearing capacity isn’t the only ‘big guy’ concern when it comes to kayaking. Accommodating those sizable buns of steel is no cakewalk. To keep you comfortable during those long stints on the water, your kayaking throne needs to be something special.
Adjustability is key in this situation. You’ll need to be able to customize the seating to receive the support you need during those long fishing sessions.
An elevated chair is even better as it reduces the strain of moving from a seated to a standing position, something you’ll be doing a lot of to snag those monster bites.
A rail system essential if you’re a tall angler. It allows you to slide the seat backwards, so you can fit your legs in without your knees coming up to your ears.
Kayaks are incredibly compact boats. If you're a big guy, even if you fit in fine, it’s easy to feel claustrophobic and restricted which is no good. Fishing’s about patience, focus, and meditative relaxation. If you’re feeling trapped, it’s going to ruin the whole trip.
To remedy this, it’s important to look for a kayak with an open design, by which we mean, there aren’t any obstacles that limit your movement. You’re going to be loaded up with tons of gear as it is, so every inch of open space in a kayak is valuable.
Unless you plan to practice your breast stroke over the course of your fishing expedition, your new kayak needs to have ultra-stability.
A highly stable vessel doesn’t require such even weight distribution, so you can stand up and move around your kayak without it capsizing. Let’s run over the fundamentals of stability, so you know exactly what you’re looking for.
The general dimensions of a kayak determine how it behaves in the water. Longer, thinner kayaks are the speed demons, but they’re handling isn’t great, nor is their stability, so avoid these like the plague.
Wider, shorter kayaks are far more stable, have great maneuverability, but they like to take things nice and slow. A boat with a wide beam is a must for big captains.
A Quick Note on Initial and Secondary Stability
Before we move on, you’ll need to know the difference between initial and secondary stability. A kayak with good initial stability copes well with paddler movement, so for example, you could stand up and do a little dance and the kayak won’t capsize.
A kayak designed to exhibit good secondary stability is able to withstand the movements of water, making them the best option for bodies of water that have a flow or bite to them.
As fishing requires a lot of movement and is usually done in calm waters, a kayak with advanced initial stability is the one to go for.
Now we can think about hull design. There are four main shapes, but you can discount rounded and V-shaped designs as they provide secondary stability.
Flat hulls are the most common for fishing as they imbue the craft with a large amount of initial stability. They’re fairly easy to maneuver too. The other option is a pontoon hull. These are essentially inverted V-shaped hulls. They offer the most initial stability of any other shape, but they can be tricky to maneuver.
Chines, the transitional section between the kayak wall and base, can be ‘soft’ or ‘hard’.
Soft chines are rounded, enhancing secondary stability. Hard chines or more angular, used to enhance initial stability, so stick with them, folks!
Frequently Asked Questions
How Wide Should a Kayak for a Big Guy Be?
A wide kayak is essential for big guys. It boosts stability, reducing the risk of capsizing. We’d recommend any kayak with a beam upward of 30 inches.
That should be plenty wide enough for any angler to bring their A-game.
Are Inflatable Kayaks Suitable for Big Guys?
Inflatable kayaks are definitely suitable for big guys. In fact, inflatables tend to have higher weight-bearing capacities, so in many cases, they may be more suitable for big guys than rigid kayaks.
What Happens if You Go Over the Weight Limit on a Kayak?
It’s never a good idea to exceed the weight capacity of a kayak, especially if you plan on staying on the water rather than in it.
When you overload the boat, you’re likely to take on water, increase the chances of a puncture or dent if you hit an obstacle, and drastically reduce stability.
Can You Be Too Fat to Kayak?
Eventually, yes, but that’s only in extreme, isolated cases. For the most part, it doesn’t matter if you occupy more space than someone else. Most kayaks these days are designed to accommodate any body type.
As long as you know your own weight and buy a kayak with a larger weight capacity, you’re all good, buddy!
Can One Person Ride a Tandem Kayak?
Yep! In fact, as a bigger guy, you may prefer the space that a tandem kayak affords you.
As long as you don’t mind lugging it around on your lonesome, using a tandem kayak for a solo mission should be fine.
There you have it my big and tall sisters, brothers, and non-binary fisher fam! These kayaks have all you need to enjoy the water like anyone else.
Simply heed the advice in our buyer’s guide, let go of any lingering anxieties you have at the water’s edge, hop in, and do what you do best, snagging tons of tasty fish.
Just remember to leave some for us, please.