How to Choose a 2 Person Fishing Kayak

Kayak fishing is an exciting activity. But sometimes, being on your own out in the water for hours can feel lonely.

A tandem kayak allows you to bring your friend, partner, or child. For the experience to be smooth and enjoyable, you want to get the best 2 person fishing kayak.

So how do you pick one out of the hundreds of options? Here are the factors you should use to narrow down.

1. Purpose

There are two types of kayaks that would work for angling: a recreational kayak and a fishing kayak.

A rec kayak is simple and lacks many of the useful features that you will find in a fishing kayak. However, it is cheaper and that may be reason enough for some people to buy it. 

If you opt for a recreational boat, you’ll probably have to rig it for it to be suitable for fishing. It’s a lot of work though.

I recommend getting a tandem fishing kayak made specifically for that. Angling kayaks come with awesome features like rod holders, mounts for your accessories, and paddle holders. Fishing while trying to hold on to your paddle at the same time is not fun.

Most fishing boats have comfortable adjustable seats. You can raise or lower them depending on your preference.

They also have sufficient storage. This is not something you will get with many recreational kayaks. And a two-person angling kayak will have even more storage.

So get a fishing tandem kayak. It may cost more but it will be worth it for angling.

2. Performance

a. Speed

Fishing kayaks are not the fastest boats out there. To get speed, you have to sacrifice stability and vice versa. This is because they are both determined by a kayak’s width. A wider yak is more stable but slower. A narrower one will be faster but less stable.

We will talk more about stability later.

Exceptional speed is not important for many anglers. But if you’d like a fast tandem kayak to cover more distance faster, look for a long and narrow one. Not all fishing boats are 36+ inches wide.

Instead of getting a 10’ x 36” tandem boat, opt for something like 12’ x 32”. Or longer. This is good for speed. It may not be as fast as a touring yak but you will not be disappointed.

Another option would be to get a pedal kayak. Your leg muscles are stronger and you can, thus, propel the boat faster. Alternatively, add a trolling motor to your kayak.

Also read about the pros and cons of a kayak vs canoe for fishing.

b. Tracking

Tracking is the ability of a kayak to maintain a course. When paddling to your fishing spot, you want a boat that will travel in a straight line and turn when you want it to. Generally, a longer kayak will track straighter.

If you prefer a faster 2-person fishing kayak that tracks well, look for the longer and narrower models. Or get a pedal kayak.

3. Stability

As mentioned, better speed, more often than not, means less stability.

The stability of a kayak depends mainly on its width. A wider kayak will be more stable than a narrower one. There are other factors but the width is the main one.

Now, when it comes to the stability of kayaks, there are two aspects involved: primary stability and secondary stability.

Primary stability or initial stability is the stability of a kayak when it is sitting flat on calm water. 

Secondary stability, on the other hand, is the stability of a kayak when it is leaning on one side.

For kayak fishing, initial stability is important. The activity is typically done on calm water.

Primary stability keeps your kayak in place when you or your paddling partner is moving around or standing up.

You will also need secondary stability while fishing. Sometimes, you may be forced to lean too much towards one side. This may happen when fighting a fish or in case of an unexpected event. Secondary stability keeps the kayak from tipping over.

If you would like a super stable tandem fishing kayak, get a wider one. You will even be able to stand and cast as your paddling partner controls the boat.

You should also look at the hull design. A pontoon hull is the best for fishing because it offers both primary and secondary stability. Flat hulls have outstanding initial stability and will be fine for fishing in calm waters.

4. Weight Capacity

When choosing a 2 person fishing kayak, you have to remember that it is not only your weight that matters. You have to consider your paddling partner’s weight and all the gear the two of you will bring.

Just because it is a tandem kayak for angling doesn’t mean that its weight capacity will be great. 

Some can only handle 450 pounds. 

That may be enough for some paddlers. But if you and the other person are on the bigger side, you should find something else.  

Always try to remain around 130 pounds under the given weight capacity. For instance, if the kayak has a capacity of 500 pounds, the total weight of the paddlers and gear should be around 350 to 400 pounds.

It will be easier to control the kayak and it won’t sit very low in the water.

5. Storage

Storage space is not usually a problem with fishing kayaks. But some anglers like to carry more stuff than others.

In this case, there are two paddlers so a lot of storage is necessary. First, think about how long the fishing trips will last.

Longer trips require more stuff and, therefore, more space. And then there are some things that you have to bring on a fishing trip like a kayak cooler. Where else will you store your drinks and the fish you will catch?

It would also be nice to have a dry hatch or two for your valuables.

Before buying a kayak, look at its storage and see whether it will be enough for you and the other paddler.

6. Weight of Kayak

Fishing kayaks are not light and those made for two people are even heavier.

The weight of an angling kayak matters, especially when transporting or portaging it.

The biggest determinant of a kayak’s weight is the construction. And most angling boats are made using polyethylene. It is the heaviest of all kayak materials.

To be honest, you will be lucky to get a good tandem fishing kayak that weighs less than 60 pounds. It’s up to you to choose what you can deal with. 

But at least your paddling partner can help you carry the kayak.

If you are not willing to deal with the weight of polyethylene, you can always go the inflatable way. There are many awesome inflatable tandem fishing kayaks. They are sturdy, stable, and easy to transport.

7. Other Features

In addition to the above factors, there are other things that you cannot afford to overlook.

One of them is comfort. The seats should be wide, adjustable, and breathable. You will be sitting in them for hours and you want to be comfortable the entire time.

You should also look for carry handles— you will need them— and a slip-resistant deck that offers traction.

2 Person Fishing Kayak Q&A

Q: Can One Person Handle a 2 Person Kayak?

A: Yes, most kayaks will work just fine with a solo paddler. Some allow you to remove the front seat and move the back seat forward for balance.

But a tandem kayak is best paddled by two people, as intended.

Q: Can I Use a Tandem Kayak Solo?

A: You can. But controlling it will not be easy, especially if you can’t move the back seat forward. If you want a kayak for solo use, it is better to get a single-person kayak.

Q: Where Should the Heavier Person Sit in a Kayak?

A: The heavier paddler should sit at the back in a tandem kayak. If they sit at the front, the tip of the kayak will dig into the water, interfering with speed and tracking.

Q: Are Tandem Kayaks More Stable?

A: Most 2 person kayaks are more stable because they are longer and wider, hence a more balanced platform.

Q: How Do You Fish from a Kayak?

A: First, you need to sharpen your kayaking and angling skills separately.

Fishing from a kayak is not hard. Check out this video explaining the process.

Here are a few beginner tips for you too.

Q: Why Are Fishing Kayaks So Expensive?

A: Angling kayaks come with many convenience features that you won’t find in other kayaks. They have rod holders, accessory mounts, more storage, gear tracks, premium comfortable seats, etc. All these things come at a price.

Q: How Much Weight Can a 2 Person Kayak Hold?

A: This depends on the weight limit of a specific kayak. Some can hold 700 pounds while others only have a 400-pound capacity. The weight limit is usually indicated.

Conclusion

Sharing your kayak angling experience with a partner is wonderful. It is a good way to bond while doing something amazing. The right tandem fishing kayak has to be stable and include enough storage space for your gear. Ensure you check the weight capacity to see whether it can hold you and your friend. Lastly, remember to have fun and take beautiful photos.

Do you have any questions about 2 person fishing kayaks? Feel free to ask us below. Also read our article with 25 kayak fishing tips!

Happy kayaking!

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