Best Ocean Fishing Kayak for 2021

Kayaking is one of the most thrilling forms of angling. Your ‘yak will be tested whether you’re standing tall while fighting sharks beyond the breakers or hunting reds in a salt marsh.

You will need to have unmatched stability and seaworthiness, as well as the best storage options. Additionally, you might consider a pedal drive, or an electric motor.

Long paddles, sudden storms and large fish are all the norm!

Are you ready? We are here to help. Below, you will find a comprehensive buying guide as well as reviews of our top sea fishing kayaks.

Here’s a quick look at the top ocean fishing kayaks.

  • Old Town Predator PDL
  • Wilderness Systems Radar 135– Best Motor Drive Ocean Fishing Kayak
  • Jackson Kayaks Big Rig FDThe Most Stable Ocean Fishing Kayak
  • Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14– The fastest paddle drive ocean fishing kayak
  • Vibe Sea Ghost 130– Best Paddle Only, Ocean Fishing Kayak

Best Ocean Kayaks Reviewed

Old Town Predator PDL

Length: 13′ 2″.

36″ Beam

Weight: 117 lbs.

Maximum capacity: 500 lbs.

Old Town’s reputation was built one canoe at time. The Predator PDL is a capable, confidence-inspiring, angling-centric kayak that really demonstrates Old Town’s enviable real-world experience on the water.

The Predator PDL’s stability while seated is outstanding. It would only take very rough surf or a large wake to cause any problems. This kayak is a great choice for anglers who fish in bays and estuaries. It’s easy to stand and you have plenty of space to move your feet and get in the right place.

The non-slip surface enhances traction underneath the foot even when it is wet, slimy or bloody.

Although the storage is ample, it’s not as user-friendly for me as I would like. A small, water-tight compartment is located in front of the chair. There’s also an integrated electronics pod and a larger hatch at its bow. Wilderness Systems is the best for hatch storage.

A transducer scupper is included to accept Humminbird electronic devices. There are also two rod holders built into the back of the chair. You can slide a few tackle boxes out of the way from the rear well, which is large and offers plenty of options for tackle.

Old Town provides a comfortable seat for the Predator, so you won’t have any problems.

Old Town’s PDL drive equips this ‘yak. It’s powerful and reliable, and will get you there in no time. The Predator has enough power to overcome wind and current, cuts water well and tracks straight. It also comes with an easy-to-use, effective rudder.

This is an excellent combination of thoughtful engineering and elegant design that will not disappoint.

Pros

  • Stable and exceptional
  • Non-slip deck
  • There are many storage options
  • Removable, modular electronics pod
  • Good hatch design and placement
  • A comfortable seat that maximizes storage
  • Excellent pedal drive

Cons

  • Hatch design is a little behind the rest of the competition

Wilderness Systems Radar 135– Best Motor Drive Ocean Fishing Kayak

Length: 13′ 6″.

34″ Beam

Weight: 95 lbs. (Without drives)

Maximum capacity: 475 lbs.

Wilderness Systems engineers have probably forgotten more about kayak design that most people will ever realize. Their solid experience and keen eye for detail are evident in Radar 135.

As you would expect, stability is great and this ‘yak will stay upright even in the most difficult conditions. It’s a confidence-inspiring ‘yak that feels like it’s sitting on a heavy, deep keel in normal swells. The ATAK 140 is stable enough to sight fish from your feet but not strong enough for standing.

It’s all about deck design and space.

The Radar 135’s hatch design and placement is where it shines. A large rectangular hatch is located right in front of your seat. It’s both easy to use and secure. You can use the hatch to store your radio or cell phone, and you can rely on the gasket’s design to keep it dry even when you drink water from a wave.

Further forward, you’ll find another hatch at the bow.

There are many options with two pod systems. Both systems can be used to carry electronics such as fish finders. This makes sense for paddle-minded anglers. Each can be swapped with a drive system. The Helix PD has the smaller switches, while the Helix MD has the larger ones.

The other pod can be used to mount electronics, so it’s a versatile system with clear design.

The Helix PD pedal drive is a propeller-driven, pedal-driven unit that delivers plenty of power and easy-to-use. The Helix PD will turn your Radar 135 into an amazing rocket. It is almost essential for long trips against wind and current. The Radar 135 can be paired with an excellent rudder system that is actuated by a hand lever to the left. It’s very easy to track in any conditions, even the most severe.

The Helix MD motor is propeller-driven and has an onboard battery. This motor has the power to propel you as fast as a 1 HP outboard. The Helix MD can reach speeds of almost 6 mph with maximum running time of 8 hours.

Let’s take a closer view.

The forward pod can now be replaced by the Helix MD. You can expect to charge the battery from zero to full in 12 hours. All-day power can be achieved with reasonable throttle settings. However, engineers warn that wind, current and tide can cause battery life to decrease by making the motor work harder than you might think.

The Helix MD is quiet enough to use in big water, but a bit louder than a trolling motor. I am a huge fan of this unit.

But…This is huge! This motor is almost 40% more expensive than the kayak! The Helix PD motor is about the same price as this boat.

This is a huge sticker shock but the price of the ‘yak and these options keep it in line with the Old Town, Jackson Kayak and Hobie prices. Bottom line: If you are looking for a pedal drive, it will cost you roughly the same price. The price goes up if you go for an electric motor.

The Radar 135’s seat is extremely comfortable and provides all-day comfort. This system is known for its versatility and ease of adjustment.

The rear well is large and offers plenty of storage options.

Overall, the Radar 135, I love it. It is well-thought out, thoughtfully designed, and packed full of features that are useful in real life. The pedal and motor drive work well and there are no complaints other than the cost of the additions.

Pros

  • Stable and exceptional
  • There are many storage options
  • Removable, modular electronics pods
  • Good hatch design and placement
  • Easy to adjust, comfortable seat
  • Excellent pedal drive
  • Excellent motor drive

Cons

  • Drive options that are extremely expensive! These are the best!

Jackson Kayaks Big Rig FD – Most Stable Ocean Fishing Kayak

Length: 13′ 3″.

Beam: 40″

Weight: 145 lbs.

Maximum capacity: 550 lbs.

Jackson Kayaks is a leading manufacturer of high-end boats. You can be sure that you will get the best quality from stem to tail. The Big Rig FD is specifically designed for anglers. It can be used on saltwater or large lakes and will maximize your fishing opportunities.

This ‘yak is unstable, and it would be impossible to flip it. The engineers at Jackson Kayaks clearly spent a lot of time designing the hull. Given the huge beam, I would trust this boat for sight-fishing without any second thought. You’d feel confident rocking to the side in rough swells.

Two rod guards on either side are a great detail. This is an example of real-world experience you won’t see often, and it allows for easier launching in surf, where a roll could mean broken tackle. They are a great “docking system”, for changing and holding rods.

The two excellent hatches (one fore and one behind) provide plenty of access to the deck below, which will keep your gear dry no matter what. A removable bin is included in the front hatch that can be used to store phones, radios, and lunches high up.

This ‘yak’ is powered by the Flex Drive system, which is an extremely powerful pedal drive. It’s smartly designed and reflects real world experience, just like the rest of Big Rig. It is powerful and efficient, and it can swivel upward to allow you to access tight spots and shallow draughts.

The rudder control is on the right. This combination makes it easy to track in currents or winds.

The Flex Drive E motor option is available, just like the Wilderness Systems Radar 135 but it’s much more expensive.

You must choose either the motor or pedal, unlike the Radar 135. This is my opinion, but it’s not the best option.

The Flex Drive E can draw power from any 12 or 24 V lithium marine batteries. This cost is not included in the price of the drive. This will add an additional cost to your already costly purchase if you are not familiar with battery technology. You will also need to locate the space needed for the battery and connect the cables to it.

Contrary to the Helix MD this means that there is less space, more weight and more hassle.

There are many factors that affect the charging times and discharge rates. This is where you mileage will differ. The battery that you use to power this motor is just as important as the battery used to power a trolling engine. Your battery will also run down faster at higher throttle settings, with more current and wind, and with more tide to fight.

The Big Rig’s seating system is amazing. It feels almost like sitting in a comfortable chair on dry ground.

This kayak is a great choice. The Wilderness Systems’ competitor’s motor option is a bit more expensive than the standard model, but it’s still a great choice for anglers. It’s a great choice for big water because it’s fast, easy to steer and loaded with features.

Pros

  • Stable and exceptional
  • There are many storage options
  • Amazing rod protection system
  • Excellent hatch design and placement
  • Easy to adjust, comfortable seat
  • Excellent pedal drive

Cons

  • Drive options that are extremely expensive! These are the best!
  • The Flex Drive E is dependent on an additional aftermarket lithium battery

Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14, – The Fastest Peddle Drive Ocean Fishing Kayak

Length: 13′ 8″.

Beam: 38″

Weight: 144.5 lbs.

Maximum capacity: 600 lbs.

The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler is a unique combination of real-world performance and innovative design. It’s well worth the high price. This ‘yak will cost you a few hundred more than the Jackson Kayaks Big Rig.

The Mirage Pro Angler is a great choice for sight fishing from your feet. The Mirage Pro Angler’s wide beam and stable hull contour provide remarkable stability. Standing casting and fighting are easy. You have plenty of room to move your feet and the deck is covered in non-slip matt that improves traction.

These reasons make the Hobie the best choice for sight fishing among all these big-water kayaks. The Big Rig, however, is more stable overall. The Hobie is capable of handling large swells, it’s obvious.

The MirageDrive 180 pedal drive from Hobie is a great choice. It offers more torque and speed than the competition, and folds easily to handle shallows and obstacles. This is a powerful pedal-driven drive and worth considering if you make long trips to reach your destination for fishing.

The storage is excellent, with hatches fore- and aft that can be used easily and are water-tight. A built-in tackle organizer is located in the hatch directly adjacent to your seat.

Accessory rails run from the cockpit to each side. They offer plenty of places for electronics and rod holders. There’s also plenty of space at stern for a cooler, tackle, and any other items you might have in your mind.

This ‘yak’ seat is very comfortable and you won’t need a chiropractor for all day excursions.

The Hobie Mirage Pro angler 14 is a great big water kayak that can withstand the tides, currents, and wind. It is stable, well-equipped, and extremely capable in saltwater or freshwater.

Pros

  • Stable and exceptional
  • Non-slip deck
  • There are many storage options
  • Great hatch design and placement
  • A comfortable seat
  • Amazing pedal drive

Cons

  • It’s expensive!

Vibe Sea Ghost 130– Best Paddle Only Ocean Fishing Kayak

Length: 13″

Beam: 33.5″

Weight: 92 lbs.

Maximum capacity: 550 lbs.

For big water, a motor or pedal drive is not necessary. Many anglers can’t afford to buy a kayak with these options. Vibe understands this and the Sea Ghost 130 is an excellent option for fishermen who don’t have the funds to purchase a nice ‘yak.

Vibe has carefully designed this boat for angling enthusiasts. You’ll be able to find everything you need for your next adventure.

Although stability is excellent, it’s not quite as good as the Big Rig or Hobie. This is fine in my opinion because you will be paddling the ‘yak and would find it difficult to widen the beam.

Although this boat is smaller than others, it offers excellent storage options. The seat has a dry-storage console that can be hinged and with electronic mounting options. This is a great feature that I love. There are mounting rails for your fishfinder, space for a radio or phone, a cup holder and additional spots for other essentials such as a knife or pen.

You can even use the magnetic tackle holder to open it with a lure or two!

This console is a must-have for every fishing kayak. You’ll be amazed at how common it is. It is almost game-changing.

Just behind the seat, there is a larger, watertight hatch in front and one in the back. These allow you to access the below decks for dry storage. However, I love the bungee-secured tackle boxes slots either side of this chair.

Accessory rail slots run down both sides, giving you plenty of mounting options. There are two rearward-leaning rod holders built into the seat.

Sea Ghost’s seats are very well-designed, making them easy to adjust and providing all-day comfort. There are no complaints.

The included rudder system is controlled by the foot braces and keeps you on the right course in wind, tide, current, or both.

This kayak is a great choice for those who are experienced paddlers. The Sea Ghost 13 is an effective, stable fishing platform, whether you are looking for reds inshore, or hunting bass on your local lake.

Pros

  • Very stable
  • Amazing seat
  • Amazing storage options
  • Excellent hatch design and placement
  • There are many accessory mounting options
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • There are no drive options–paddle is all you have

Buying Guide: What to Look For When Buying an Ocean Fishing Kayak

Stability

It’s important to think about stability when buying a kayak. However, for angling it is the best place to start. Fishing requires a lot of you and your ‘yak. You’ll have to prove your stability if your line breaks or your fish throws your lure out during a fight.

  • Stability is crucialA fishing kayak is a platform that allows you to do more than just paddling. You will be casting, retrieving gear from hatches and fighting fish. Fly fishermen and some anglers prefer to sight fish, or to cast while standing. You can see how your kayak will be challenged by all this movement and a high center-of-gravity.
  • Expand your expectationsBecause they are hydrodynamically efficient, sea kayaks can be long and sleek. For fishing however, a wider kayak is better. This may slow down your kayak and make it more difficult for you to paddle, but the extra beam will give you greater stability.

The purpose-designed angling kayaks are often a little prickly, but they can be used to tackle any situation.

Comfort

Comfort is important, so you want a kayak seat that will keep you comfortable all day. There are many opinions, so it is a good idea that you try the seat before making a purchase. You can try out several cockpits to determine if they are comfortable for you. You should give the model a pass if the padding is not adequate or you feel the sore spots immediately.

Many fishing kayaks are now equipped with comfortable, but heavy, seating systems. They can be adjusted for casting or paddling and are multi-position. They are more stable than other options, but they can be a problem if you’re higher above the water.

Storage

It is almost always more! You might underestimate the amount of gear you will need if you are new to fishing. You will need line, lures and rods as well as fishfinders, fishing lines, bait, fishfinders, batteries. Also coolers, coolers, livewells, sunscreen.

You want kayaks with plenty of storage space, easy access hatches, and ample stern wells. Many kayaks have removable trays or other useful features that make it easy to store and organize your gear.

Propulsion: Paddle or Motor? Pedal vs. Motor

Although any angler can paddle a long distance to get to their fishing spot, it’s almost impossible to do so on large water. Speed is essential when conditions turn sour, such as in bad weather.

There are three options for propulsion available for kayaks. Each has its strengths and weaknesses.

  • Paddles –Paddles offer many benefits.
  • It’s affordable –Although paddles come in a variety of prices, they are easy to find affordable, reliable options.
  • They require little to no maintenance – You can just grab them and go.
  • Indispensable –A kayak paddle is more than a tool to help you get your kayak moving. A paddle can be used as a push pole, lure retriever or anchor if you know how to use it.
  • Stealthy –Although not all fishermen agree, many fishermen believe that a paddle can be used to sneak up on fish.

They also have their downsides. You will need to be able to move your rod in the wind and current.

As needed, paddle. It has happened to me on breezy sunny days.

If you aren’t strong enough to paddle hard, it can be really difficult to escape a storm and fight the tide.

Don’t ask me how I know!

Remember that a paddle, regardless of your propulsion system is vital equipment. Motors and pedal drives fail, but paddles work.

Take a paddle with you to ensure safety.

  • Pedal drives – These are an option for some premium kayaks and, unsurprisingly, don’t come cheap.
  • Expensive A pedal-driven kayak will cost you more. This is a premium option and will come at a high price. You might be disappointed by the price of pedal-driven ‘yaks if you are looking for an inexpensive way to fish your local river, lake, or estuary.
  • It is powerful and efficient A pedal drive is a simple rotary pedal system that uses your legs to power your kayak. It transfers power to either a prop or pair of fins that propel your kayak forward. Some even offer reverse! A pedal drive makes kayakers more agile and can be used to propel them forward, whereas a paddle would limit their ability.
  • Hands-freeThis advantage is not to be underestimated. This advantage can make the difference between casting or paddling.
  • Minimum routine maintenance – Even if it’s just a quick wash after each fishing trip, you will need to look after your drive.
  • Motors Some kayaks have an option for an electric motor to mate with the pedal drive’s prop or fins, allowing for sustained, fast propulsion.
  • Very Expensive –These systems can be quite expensive, as you would expect, especially when they are added to the already high-priced pedal drive.
  • Very effective. These systems are extremely efficient and can generate far more thrust than you can manage. The battery can last quite a while, so it’s durable.
  • Heavy –These systems can add weight to your ‘yak and, while it won’t make a big difference on the water surface, it will make transporting your boat and gear around the waterway more difficult.
  • Maintenance –You can expect some maintenance on the motor and battery, as well as the need to keep the battery charged.

Portability, weight, and encumbrance

Every time you go to the water, you’ll have to lift and load your ‘yak, which can be quite strenuous for many of us. You must be able to lift the weight.

  • Transporting While you won’t feel the extra weight on the water, when you lift and transport a kayak, you will feel every ounce. Remember, too, that the heavier your ‘yak, the less it will be able to carry at a given weight.
  • Portaging –Sometimes you will need to get out of your ‘yak and transport it over firm ground or shallow water. Portaging is a process that can be dangerous for your entire body. If this is something that you are concerned about, keep in mind the extra weight you will be adding to your boat by hauling gear.
  • Before you buyTo get an idea of how you handle a given length and weight, we recommend you lift and load a few kayaks. You can get a good idea of how much you can handle and what your fitness level is by starting to experiment now.

Last Thoughts

Once you catch your first fish out of a kayak, the salt will quickly become ingrained in your body.

Salt water fishing is something I enjoy, and so will you. This is why I hope you found this article helpful in narrowing down your options and choosing the right boat to suit your needs.

As always, I’d love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below.

Lewis
Lewis Mark is a vastly experienced fly fisher. His encyclopedic knowledge of fly tying has led to start blog on fishing. He also review Fishing equipment based on his knowledge and experience.