Whether you’re an ocean fishing beginner or just looking to treat yourself to a new kayak, you’re going to need to choose one that can adapt to the elements and keep you safe.
In calm waters, a basic kayak will do the job. However, once you venture out into rougher waters, like the ocean, you’ll need something capable of handling surf, strong winds, and current, not to mention all those huge fish you’ll be reeling in!
When it comes to ocean fishing it is very tricky to find a kayak that is both narrow enough to cut through waves and wide enough to keep you stable. Smaller waves can be easy to navigate, but when facing much larger breaking waves, it can be extremely difficult to maintain control – often leading to being capsized and put in danger.
The ocean can be a very intimidating place but, with the right kayak, fishing in the ocean can be an awesome way to experience the beauty of the open water in peace, without the disturbance of a noisy boat motor.
But, with so many options out there to choose from, picking your new kayak can feel like a real up-hill struggle. Luckily, we’ve done all the hard work for you!
Keep reading to find the best ocean fishing kayaks on the market right now. Plus, we’ve included a handy buyer’s guide that is packed with information to help you choose the perfect kayak for you.
OUR TOP PICK
This high-spec kayak has plenty of features to keep every fisherman happy out on the ocean. What really separates this boat from the more basic models is its two integrated fishing rod holders so you can switch set-ups at any time.
It also comes complete with a removable and adjustable mounting bracket for additional accessories such as GPS systems, fish finders, and extra rod holders etc.
The Intex Excursion Pro ensures high-impact and abrasion resistance while remaining lightweight and portable. Made from a super-tough laminate material and a polyester core this kayak is all about strength and durability.
Moreover, its 3-ply super tough construction means it is unaffected by gasoline, oil and salt water – great for ocean fishers!
It also permits more air pressure to provide you with extra rigidity and stability so you can feel confident that you will be kept as upright as possible even in rougher patches. With high-pressure spring-loaded valves for easy inflation and fast deflation you can get out on the water with ease.
This pro kayak also includes two specially designed removable skews for optimal maneuverability through deep and shallow waters as well as two floor mounted footrests and adjustable bucket seats for optimum comfort and adjustability.
It can hold up to two people and has a maximum weight capacity of 400 lbs. Weighing around 43 lbs itself, it isn’t the most lightweight option but is still very portable.
Plus, the super useful storage space can hold any supplies you may need and its stainless-steel ‘d-rings’ allow you to tie down dry bags and gear.
- Impact control – highly resistant to abrasion, impact and sunlight damage
- Accessories – 2 fishing rod holders
- Stability – high pressure inflation provides extra rigidity and stability
- Agility – removable skegs for optimum manoeuvrability
- Storage – space in both bow and stern
- Durability – some users have found it cannot withstand excessive use in very rough conditions
The Pelican Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak is designed specifically to meet the most demanding needs of an ocean fisherman. With its flat bottom, it ensures stability particularly when casting lines and reeling in large fish.
Its unique manufacturing process includes additional flotation inside the hull (bottom of the boat) to meet ABYC standards (American Boat & Yacht Council). This makes it extra solid and buoyant, just what you want to hear if you plan on taking on the ocean.
It’s also very comfortable, seating includes a padded seat cushion and an adjustable backrest to provide you with even more support. Plus, adjustable footrests and secure foot bracing.
What really makes it stand out from the rest, though, is the fishing accessories and storage included. Benefit from a swivel rod holder and two flush mount rod holders, a bottle holder, and a paddle tie-down to store a paddle.
Not to mention, six accessory eyelets to attach gear on your kayak!
It has great tracking, ideal for those looking to cover long distances with minimum force and is very agile, perfect if maneuverability is important to you.
This sit-on-top kayak is lightweight and comes with two retractable carrying handles making it easy to carry. It also features an open cockpit for easy entry.
However, with a maximum capacity of 325 lbs this kayak is built for one person only (and a light one at that).
- Tracking – great for anyone wanting to cover long distances with minimal force
- Stable – a good option for beginners, fishers, and those who are looking for stability over speed
- Agility – excellent maneuverability in quick-changing environments
- Fishing accessories – excess storage and plenty of room for extra gadgets
- Capacity – some users have found it struggles to remain stable with heavier weights onboard
The BKC PK13 13' Pedal Drive Fishing Kayak includes an advanced pedal drive system built for excitement. Bicycle-style pedals turn a high efficiency propeller, allowing you to tuck your paddle into the kayak’s paddle keeper and go hands-free – perfect for those who enjoy speeding and cruising in equal measure.
This kayak is beautifully crafted for stability. No matter the conditions, it can ride currents, slice through the chop, and effortlessly glide over still water.
The material is up there with the best inflatable kayaks on the market and can withstand all terrains including the ocean, lakes or rivers.
Hand-operated rudder control will keep you tracking on the move so you can stay on course and enhance your steering capabilities, even when up against a sweeping force. This will also help in minimizing your chances of capsizing.
It is a great option for those requiring lots of storage. The BKC will support up to 550 lbs and comes complete with a large storage space. It also features a watertight hatch at the front of the boat as well as a rear cargo area with bungees to tie down cargo.
Not only is this kayak super safe and manouverable, it is fully loaded with accessories and exceptional fishing features!
These include three rod holders to keep multiple baited lines in the water at one time or to keep unwanted rods out of your way.
A super handy feature is the front cover storage which can also double as an ice chest. So, you can spend the whole day relaxing on the water while keeping your catches fresh on-ice.
- Comfort – aluminum frame seats designed for comfort and support
- Stability – crafted for stability on lakes, rivers, and ocean water
- Durability – impact and abrasion resistant, plus contains UV protection
- Spray skirts – to avoid destabilizing and letting water in
- Safety – superior stability from the wide, flat bottom creates a vessel that will not flip
- Steering – while the BKC is often praised for its hand-operated rudder control, some have found the steering quite tricky to control at times
This inflatable portable sport kayak is as lightweight as it gets but don’t let that put you off, it is still super stable and durable – perfect for withstanding larger waves. It can hold up to three people plus gear or the equivalent of 650 lbs.
The Sea Eagle 370 also features an extra thick 38-millimeter Polykrylar hull (bottom half of the kayak), so you can even bring your dog out on the water as it is tough enough to withstand dog paws and claws.
Weighing only 32 lbs itself, this kayak can be carried by one person alone. Plus, it packs down to fit in a storage bag (included) and has cargo space for fishing gear and other supplies. Moreover, this kayak can be assembled in just 10 minutes so you can get stuck in straight away!
A great option in terms of versatility, the SE370 can be used for a variety of activities including paddling, fishing and yacht tending.
You can even take it on the river as it can handle whitewater up to class III (able to withstand waves and rocks etc). This kayak is a great option for beginners and experienced ocean fishers alike.
If you don’t need all three seats you can remove the front and rear seats as well as the front and rear rope handles.
It comes complete with a self-bailing drain valve – a very useful feature in ocean surf. Plus, inflatable sprayskirts help to keep the boat stable and prevent water getting in and potentially swamping it.
It also features two molded kegs for tracking and speed to track smoothly across the water, and high-frequency welded seams that fuse the material into one solid piece.
- Lightweight and portable – can be carried by one person alone
- NMMA Certified – meets standards set by the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC)
- Spray skirts – to avoid destabilizing and letting water in
- Tracking – 2 skegs on the bottom for better tracking and speed
- Inflation – while this kayak is super easy to inflate, some users have found some aspects of the boat such as the seats and the sprayskirts to deflate a little
Best Ocean Fishing Kayaks Buying Guide
When it comes to finding the best kayak for ocean fishing, there are a number of important elements to consider. In order to handle ocean conditions, ocean fishing kayaks require particular design features so that they can handle stronger winds and choppy waters.
Below, we’ll look at some of the key things to look into when you begin your search. By following this simple buyer’s guide, you will be able to make the perfect choice the first time around.
The first thing you need to decide on is the shape of your kayak, this is called the ‘hull’. Depending on what shape you go for, the hull design of a kayak will determine what type of activity and/or terrain it best suits.
‘U-shaped’ hulls are the most stable option and best suit moving water such as the ocean and rivers etc, whereas ‘V-shaped’ ones are more suited to flat water.
If you’re looking at a ‘sit-on-top’ model then it will most likely have a ‘tri-form’ hull which offers a combination of the U-shaped and V-shaped hulls, stability-wise. This option does compromise on speed however, so it really depends on what your individual needs are.
A fishing kayak that’s ideal for ocean fishing should be stable in windy and wavy conditions. This will enable you to move around the boat, easily access your gear and supplies, and even stand up without putting yourself at risk of capsizing.
Finding a kayak that is both narrow enough to cut through waves and wide enough to keep it stable isn’t easy. Generally wider options are better for calm waters so if you’re planning on taking on the elements you should definitely consider going for a more V-shaped option as it is much narrower and better at cutting through the waves.
After all, it’s all well and good having a wider hull if stability is your main concern but if it can’t cut through choppy waters you’re definitely putting yourself at risk of capsizing.
Storage is vital when it comes to fishing kayaks in order to ensure all your gear survives the surf. The right ocean kayak will have ample storage and even a small cockpit to minimize the risk of water swamping the boat.
Search for kayaks with sealable, waterproof hatches and storage compartments to keep your belongings safe and dry. If you want to keep your paddles out of your way, we recommend looking at kayaks with paddle holders mounted on the hull. Rod holders are also a massive plus because they enable you to switch set-ups at any time.
Some kayaks will come with a built-in keel, others may have a removable one, and some don’t come with any at all. A keel if the fin-shaped bit underneath your kayak. It’s purpose is to stick down into the water to better its tracking and speed.
If you’re going to be fishing in deep, open water, like the ocean, a kayak with an integrated keel or at least a retractable one. This will help you to paddle easier and more efficiently.
The length of a fishing kayak will affect its performance on the water. For ocean fishing or on big lakes and rivers, we recommend you get yourself a longer model. You do need to also consider your body size, however.
If you’re 6 ft. 5 and above and/or weighing around 250-300 lbs or over, you’re going to need a kayak that’s at least 10-12 ft. otherwise you will struggle with stability which can be pretty dangerous in rough waters.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a sprayskirt and do I need one?
A sprayskirt is a flexible waterproof insert which covers your kayak. It will have a hole for you to sit in and will fit around your waist.
They are used to minimize water from entering the kayak when cutting through waves etc. This will keep you dry and much warmer, particularly during the winter months.
Which is better, a sit-in or a sit-on-top kayak?
Sit-in kayaks are generally more comfortable and supportive as they often come with a built-in backrest.
Sit-in kayaks are also enclosed and can come with a sprayskirt that will keep you dry, whereas a sit-on-top kayak leaves you vulnerable to backsplashes and crashing waves, making your fishing trip a lot wetter and colder.
However, sin-on-top kayaks are better suited to beginners and due to the fact they have no holes they are virtually unsinkable.
What size kayak should I buy?
It depends why you need it. If the kayak is long and narrow, it will go faster and straighter. But, if you need it to be more stable and agile then it needs to be shorter and wider, although this will force you to compromise on speed.
It’s worth noting that if you are a beginner a wider kayak will be a good choice to help you as you get used to being on the water. If you want to use your kayak specifically for fishing, then a longer, sit-on-top style kayak is the best option for you.
This will have a dramatic impact on how it works on the water and how it keeps you safe from large crashing waves.