12 Best Inflatable Fishing Kayaks – Which One Should You Get In 2022?

Think inflatable boats and fishing hooks are a recipe for disaster?

Think again. Quality inflatable fishing kayaks are tough enough to withstand hooks, fins, and anything else you want to prod them with. They come with everything you need to go fishing and pack down small enough to fit in your trunk or under your bed.

bote-lono-aero

My pick for the best inflatable fishing kayak is the BOTE Lono Aero. It’s made from top-quality materials and has lots of customization options to create the perfect fishing kayak for your needs.

The BOTE Lono Aero is a premium fishing kayak with state-of-the-art technology and features. A high-pressure drop-stitch floor makes it feel more like a hardshell boat than an inflatable, it’s stable enough to stand up on and you can even convert it to a SUP.

If your budget doesn’t stretch to the BOTE Lono Aero, then there are plenty of other great fishing kayaks to choose from. In this article, I’ll give you the low down on 12 of the best.

Let’s get started.

Best Inflatable Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak – NRS STAR Challenger Fish

nrs-start-ch-fish

A raised seat is a must-have for sighting and casting. Sit-on-top kayaks give you a higher seat position than sit-in kayaks, but the NRS STAR Challenger Fish goes one step further. Its raised frame chair positions you well above the water.

The 60-inch drop-stitch deck is rigid as a board and forms a stable platform to cast from, whether you’re sitting or standing.

The STAR Challenger has a simple design compared to many fishing kayaks. This makes it extremely lightweight and gives you plenty of flexibility to customize your fishing rig.

Best Tandem Inflatable Fishing Kayak – Sea Eagle 385fta FastTrack Inflatable Fishing Kayak

sea eagle 385 fst

Tandem kayaks are great if you want to give your kids a taste of fishing or take your partner out with you, but sometimes you just want a bit of alone time. The Sea Eagle 385fta FastTrack kayak gives you the option to paddle solo or with a passenger or two.

The 635-pound weight capacity means you don’t have to worry about the weight of your gear (or your partner!). There’s plenty of space for your tackle and catch, and built-in rod holders at the bow and stern.

Inflatable kayaks can be prone to yaw as they sit high on the water compared to hardshell kayaks. The Sea Eagle 386fta combats this with its unique keel design and tapered bow that helps the boat move efficiently through the water.

The Best Inflatable Fishing Kayaks Compared

Inflatable Fishing Kayaks
#People
Sizes
Weight
Capacity
My rating
1. Bote Lono Aero
1. Bote Lono Aero
1
12’6 x 35.5″ x 20″
51 lbs
400 lbs
4.8
2. Sea Eagle 385fta
2. Sea Eagle 385fta
2/3
12’6 x 3′
44 lbs
635 lbs
4.8
3. Aquaglide Blackfoot Angler 130
3. Aquaglide Blackfoot Angler 130
1
13′ x 38″ x 13.5″
41 lbs
650 lbs
4.7
4. NRS Star Challenger
4. NRS Star Challenger
1
10’8 x 38″
27 lbs
275 lbs
4.6
5. NRS Star Pike
5. NRS Star Pike
1
12’8 x 38″ x 10.5″
48 lbs
375 lbs
4.6
6. Intex Excursion Pro K2
6.  Intex Excursion Pro K2
2
12’7 x 3’1 x 1’6
39 lbs
400 lbs
4.6
7. Bote Zeppelin Aero
7. Bote Zeppelin Aero
2
12’6″ x 38″ x 9″
41 lbs
600 lbs
4.6
8. Elkton Outdoors Steelhead
8. Elkton Outdoors Steelhead
1
10’10 x 39.5″ x 13″
40 lbs
400 lbs
4.5
9. Elkton Outdoors Cormorant
9. Elkton Outdoors Cormorant
2
10′ x 35″ x 16″
27 lbs
450 lbs
4.5
10. Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2P
10. Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2P
2
10’6 x 3’3
32 lbs
470 lbs
4.5
12. Advanced Elements Angler
12. Advanced Elements Angler
1
10.5′ x 38.5″ x 13″
45 lbs
400 lbs
4.4

The 12 Best Inflatable Fishing Kayaks Reviewed

If you’re looking for the best fishing kayak, these are the models you should consider.

1. BOTE Lono Aero Inflatable Fishing Kayak – Best Inflatable Kayak for Fishing

bote lono fish

The BOTE Lono Aero stands head and shoulders above its competition in terms of design, construction, and trendy looks. Everything about this kayak screams state of the art, from the wheeled travel bag to the magnetic cup holder.

With a few quick adjustments, you can transform this versatile kayak from a fishing machine to a SUP or a recreational family kayak. The composite drop-stitch floor makes it feel like a rigid board, and the military-grade PVC skin means you don’t have to worry about damaging the kayak. 

The stable construction makes the BOTE Lono Aero a kayak that you can confidently stand on to cast.

To get a fully decked-out fishing rig, you’re going to have to add some extras to the basic package. Top of the list is the optional pedal drive, which gives you a hands-free way to power the boat.

The well-designed Rocket Rac has space for four rods, with two of the rod holders angled for trolling. Unlike many flush-mounted rod holders, there’s no risk of your rods pinging out when a fish bites.

There’s plenty of storage space, with a dedicated port for a KULA 5 cooler in the stern. You get paddle straps on both sides of the kayak, giving you the flexibility to stash both your paddle and a Sandspear. The Sandspear is a useful anchoring tool for shallow water and is compatible with the electric Power-Pole Micro Anchor.

The BOTE Lono Aero is a pricey boat and with all the extras, you’re looking at an expensive package. What you get for your money is a top-quality, stylish boat that’ll make you the envy of your friends. 

Check Price of the Bote Lono Aero Fishing Kayak

2. Sea Eagle 385fta FastTrack Inflatable Fishing Kayak – Best Tandem Fishing Kayak

sea eagle series 385fst

The Sea Eagle 385fta is a dedicated inflatable fishing kayak that you can configure for one or two-person use. It’s a great choice if you want to be able to take your partner, friend, or child fishing with you.

It has a unique keel design and a removable skeg that helps you track straight. This makes it a great choice if you’re paddling on open water or windy lakes, as inflatables are particularly susceptible to yawing.

A high-pressure drop-stitch floor adds rigidity to the construction. The reinforced side walls and non-slip protective floor pad offer extra protection from sharp fins, hooks, and other fishing tools.

The 385fta has rod, tool, hook, and lure holders built into the front and rear spray skirts. You can use the area underneath the spray skirts for storage, though the rods can get in the way of access.

For more accessible storage, there are bungee cords on top of the spray skirts, plus 18 D-rings, which you can use to tie down a tackle box or cooler. The 385fta even comes with a built-in fish ruler to measure your catch.

You can buy a raised swivel seat and motor mount separately to further customize your kayak.

Check Price of the Sea Eagle 385fta series

3. Aquaglide Blackfoot Angler 130 Inflatable Kayak – Best High Capacity Fishing Kayak

aquaglide blackfoot angler 130 kayak

This kayak wins the top prize for weight to capacity ratio. The Aquaglide Blackfoot Angler 130 is a 13-foot kayak weighing just 41 pounds. It has a massive 650-pound weight capacity, which makes it a great option for large people and those who have too much fishing gear (if such a thing is possible!).

The Blackfoot is one of the most customizable fishing kayaks I’ve seen. It has universal mountain plates on the tubes, floor, bow, and stern, so you can fix accessories exactly where you want them. Webbing loops on the floor allow you to adjust the position of the seat and secure coolers and gear. MOLLE plates and mesh pockets give storage options for small items.

The framed seat has two height positions. Keep it low for paddling in rough conditions or set it high to give you a better position for casting. Behind the seat is a soft cooler with 4 rod holders and pockets for tackle and gear.

As you’d expect for the price, the Blackfoot Angler 130 has a rigid drop-stitch floor. The wider-than-average floor and side tubes make it exceptionally stable. It’s not a cheap kayak, but you get a lot for your money.

Check Price of the Aquaglide Blackfoot Angler 130

4. NRS STAR Challenger Fish Inflatable Sit On Top Fishing Kayak – Best Sit-On-Top

nrs star challanger kayak

The NRS STAR Challenger kayak has a deceptively simple sit-on-top design that’s lightweight and ultra-stable. It weighs just 27 pounds, making it easy to carry to and from the water.

Unlike most fishing kayaks, there’s no real cockpit. The comfortable framed seat sits on top of a drop-stitch platform that has a pair of 9-inch side tubes for stability. This places you high above the water, making it easy to sight and cast.

One downside of the minimalist design is that there’s not much storage space. You’re also going to have to buy some extra gear before going fishing. Five YakAttack flexible mounts give you rigging options for rod and paddle holders, a fish finder, and other accessories. You can use the daisy-chain webbing to secure other fishing equipment.

If you’re looking for a stable sit-on-top kayak without a pile of features that you may not need, the NRS STAR Challenger is your perfect match. As it’s so light, it’s also a great choice if you want to take your kayak on public transport.

Check Price of the NRS Star Challenger Fish Kayak

5. NRS STAR Pike Inflatable Fishing Kayak

nrs star pike

The NRS STAR Pike is a sturdy, stable kayak with a simple design that gives plenty of scope for customization.

The aluminum-framed seat is an upgrade to the previous iteration of the kayak. Its elevated position gives you better visibility and makes it easier to move from a seated to a standing position. Adjustable foot braces provide extra support when paddling or reeling in a fish.

There are 5 YakAttack mounts on the side tubes and deck, plus 20 D-rings that you can use to customize your setup and tie down tackle. There’s plenty of space in the cockpit for a cooler and all your tackle.

The STAR Pike may not have as many features as other boats, but its stable, robust design gets the job done.

Check Price of the NRS Star Pike Kayak

6. Intex Excursion Pro K2 Inflatable Fishing Kayak – Best Budget Fishing Kayak

intex excursion k2

This budget kayak comes with oars, a pump, seats, and a mounting bracket – everything you need to get started – for less than half the price of most inflatable fishing kayaks.

As the name suggests, the Excursion Pro K2 is a tandem kayak. It comes with two inflatable seats that you can boost for a higher seating position. The seats are okay for a couple of hours paddling, but they’re not designed for all-day comfort.

The flat bottom makes this a slow boat to paddle, but the deep-water skeg does help keep it on track in flat water.

The Excursion Pro is constructed from tough laminate PVC with a polyester core. The I-beam floor is firm enough to sit in, but I wouldn’t recommend trying to stand up. For the price, it’s relatively durable, but you’ll need to look after it if you want it to last more than a couple of years.

Although it comes with two in-built rod holders, for some bizarre reason, these are angled inwards. This means that your fishing rods cross in front of you. A better solution is to attach a rod holder to the included mounting bracket.

This kayak lacks the mounting plates and D-rings that adorn specialist fishing kayaks, making it harder to customize. While this isn’t the best fishing kayak by a long way, it’s a great choice for anglers on a budget. 

Check Price of the Intex Excursion K2

7. BOTE Zeppelin Aero Inflatable Kayak – Best Family Fishing Kayak

Bote zeppelin aero

Like the Excursion Pro K2, the BOTE Zeppelin Aero kayak is a general-purpose kayak that you can configure for one or two people. In terms of quality, the two kayaks are worlds apart.

The Zeppelin has a composite drop-stitch floor for rigidity and stability, with a self-draining floor to keep your feet dry. The seats are higher than the side tubes, giving you a good view out over the water.

A pair of slide-in Aero Rac Receivers gives you the option to add the Rocket Rac set of rod holders or a Bucket Rac, for use with a five-gallon bucket. You can use the D-ring attachment points to tie down a cooler or other gear. On top of the kayak, there are accessory mounts for your camera or phone.

Unlike the Lono Aero, the Zeppelin isn’t specifically designed for fishing. It doesn’t have all the features sported by its big brother, but it’s cheaper and will suit you better if you want a multi-use kayak. With a huge 600-pound capacity, it’s big enough for the whole family to jump aboard.

Check Price of the Bote Zeppelin Aero Kayak

8. Elkton Outdoors Steelhead Inflatable Fishing Kayak – Best Compact Fishing Kayak

elkton outdoors kayak

At 10 feet 10 inches, the Steelhead is short for a fishing kayak but surprisingly roomy. You can move the adjustable seat forward or back in the cockpit depending on how much legroom you need.

The shorter length makes the Steelhead more maneuverable than longer kayaks. It performs well on flat water and is suitable for up to class III rapids.

The drop-stitch floor makes the kayak stable enough to stand up in. Spray skirts at the bow and stern provide some covered storage, and you can fit a large drybag under the bungee cord on the front spray skirt.

Five mounting points allow you to add rod holders, a fish finder, and other accessories. You’ll want to check the screw size before attaching any mounts, as some of the screws you get with generic mounts are long enough to puncture the kayak.

The Steelhead comes with a pump and paddle and you can fit all the accessories into the storage bag.

Check Price of the Elkton Outdoors Steelhead Kayak

9. Elkton Outdoors Cormorant 2-Person Inflatable Fishing Kayak

elkton outdoors cormorant

This tandem inflatable kayak measures just 10 feet in length and weighs 27 pounds. Although it’s designed for two people, you’d struggle to have two people fishing out of it, particularly if you want to fit a cool box or tackle in as well.

The two gel-padded seats have comfortable high backs. You’re stuck with the position of the seats, which is a bind, particularly if you’re paddling solo. They also sit low in the kayak, so you may want to boost them up with a foam pad.

The Cormorant comes with 6 built-in rod holders: 2 vertical, 2 angled, and 2 full motion. Unfortunately, the rod holders and paddle clips sometimes get in the way when you’re paddling.

There’s a generous mesh storage bag in the stern, but no bungee cords or other storage. As there are no mounting plates, you’ll need to get creative to attach a fish finder or camera to the kayak.

On the plus side, the Cormorant is reasonably priced and comes with everything you need to go kayak fishing. If you want to take your kid or partner out fishing, it’s a good starter boat.

Check Price of the Elkton Outdoors Cormorant

10. Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak

sevylor coleman

This tandem fishing kayak sits at the budget end of the market but offers some useful features for your money.

It comes equipped with fully-adjustable Berkley Quick-Set rod holders, fixed rod holders, and paddle holders. D-rings on the side of the kayak give you plenty of attachment points. You also have the option to attach a Sevylor trolling motor.

One thing I love about this kayak is the mesh storage pockets which allow you to stash snacks and small items of gear close to hand. The larger storage pockets attached to the seat backs are big enough for your water bottle and lunch.

Now for the downsides.

The seats sit low in the kayak, which makes it awkward to paddle. Worse, the rod holders are perfectly positioned to catch your paddle or your hands when paddling. A lot of users have opted to remove the rod holders for this reason. If you’ll be in the kayak for any length of time, I’d suggest investing in a pair of stadium seats for comfort.

A fair number of users have reported issues with leaks along the seams – this seems to be a common manufacturing defect with this model. Leaks are repairable, but they’re not something you want to deal with on a regular basis. Whether it’s a risk worth taking will depend on your budget and priorities.

Check Price of the Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2P

11. Hobie Mirage i11S Inflatable Fishing Kayak with Pedals – Best Pedal Drive Fishing Kayak

Is it a kayak or a paddleboard? Actually, the Hobie Mirage i11S is both. It also offers a feature found on only a few fishing kayaks – hands-free propulsion.

The i11S comes with Hobie’s Mirage 180 pedal drive that allows you to switch between pedaling backward and forwards at the pull of a toggle. You can set up the rudder for right-handed or left-handed control, depending on your preference. There’s also an optional fin to help with tracking.

The Mirage i11S has a rigid drop-stitch floor that’s stable enough to walk about on. The Vantage CTi seat is height adjustable, and you can adjust the lumbar support as well as the angle of the seat back.

The platform design means you’ll need to secure your gear on the kayak using the D-rings and bungee cords. You’ll have to get creative to figure out a setup that works for you, but if you’re after some ideas, this guy has filmed his fully decked-out fishing rig.

The price of the Mirage i11S may send your eyebrows shooting up. Whether you feel it’s worth the money comes down to how much you prioritize comfort and the convenience of a pedal drive system.

12. Advanced Elements StraitEdge Angler PRO Inflatable Kayak

advanced el angler pro

Most fishing kayaks come with Scotty or YakAttack mounting points for you to attach rod holders and other accessories. Advanced Elements takes a different approach.

The StraitEdge Angler Pro comes with two accessory frames, one in the bow and one behind the seat. These give plenty of room for rods, cameras, a fish finder, and other accessories, without getting in the way of your paddling.

There’s plenty of space in the kayak for a cool box and other gear. It comes equipped with paddle holders and you can use it with a motor. This flexibility is one of the big advantages of the StraitEdge Angler Pro.

A traction pad covers the drop-stitch floor to improve grip. It also has a handily-placed fish ruler.

Advanced Elements uses aluminum ribs in the hull to define the bow and stern. Along with the deep fin, this helps the boat track straight in the water. This kayak is definitely worth a look, particularly if you prefer the frame setup for mounting accessories.

Check Price of the Advanced Elements Angler Pro

Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Inflatable Fishing Kayak

If you’re not sure which of the models above is best for you, read on to find out what you need to consider when buying an inflatable fishing kayak.

Why Choose an Inflatable Fishing Kayak?

Most people choose an inflatable kayak over a hardshell because they’re more portable, but there are other pros and cons.

Pros of Using an Inflatable Kayak for Fishing:

  • They’re easy to transport.
  • They don’t take up much storage space.
  • Most fishing inflatables have mounts and D-rings, so you can customize your setup.
  • You’re more likely to stay dry as they sit on top of the water.
  • They often have a higher weight capacity than hardshells and are more stable.
  • Higher seats give you more visibility and space to cast.

Cons of Using an Inflatable Kayak for Fishing:

  • It takes longer to set up and pack away your kayak.
  • They’re more likely to be affected by wind, as they’re more buoyant.
  • There’s no built-in dry storage.
  • They have a shorter lifespan than a hardshell kayak.
  • They can be harder to customize as you can’t drill extra fittings onto the kayak.

Features to Consider When Choosing an Inflatable Fishing Kayak

In this section, I’ll cover some of the features you want to look for when shopping for a fishing kayak. Our guide to inflatable kayaks has more information on choosing a multi-purpose inflatable kayak.

Robust Design and Materials

Inflatable kayaks are constructed with multiple air chambers. If you get a leak in one chamber, the others should keep you afloat until you can get to shore.

As fishing involves sharp, pointy things, you need an inflatable that’s made from tough, durable materials. High-quality inflatables will be difficult, if not impossible, for you to puncture.

For maximum stability, you want a kayak with a high-pressure drop-stitch floor. This creates a rigid deck that’s stable enough to stand on. The downside is that these boats aren’t cheap. A kayak with a drop-stitch floor will set you back around $1000. The cost is worth it for the durability and performance, but not everyone has that kind of money to spend.

Integrated Fishing Rod Holders 

Some fishing kayaks come with built-in rod holders, others have mounting plates or rails that you can attach rod holders to. There are pros and cons to both systems.

If the kayak has built-in rod holders, you don’t have the hassle and expense of having to buy separate rod holders. The downside is that integrated rod holders don’t always secure your rods as snugly as you might like. If they’re poorly positioned, they can also get in the way when you’re paddling.

Mounting plates give you more flexibility in where you locate your rods and other accessories. Most kayaks aimed at experienced anglers come with mounting plates rather than integrated rod holders.

Mounting Options for Fishing Accessories

In addition to rod holders, you may want to mount a fish finder, camera, GPS unit, or other accessories on your kayak. Mounting plates on the side of the kayak are useful, but if you’re prone to clumsiness, a mounting point inside the cockpit carries less risk of accidentally drowning your phone.

Hands-Free Operation

Unless you’ve grown a couple of extra arms, you can’t paddle and hold your fishing rod at the same time. If you’re fishing on a calm pond or lake, this might not be an issue. You paddle to the area you want to fish, stash your paddles, and get on with the job.

But what if your kayak doesn’t stay in one spot?

Wind and underwater currents can pull your boat off course. An anchor line can keep you in one spot, but once deployed, it’s a hassle to move. 

If you want to be able to control your kayak and fish at the same time, you have three options:

  1. Use oars
  2. Fit a motor
  3. Fit a pedal drive

While you can use an oar to maneuver your kayak one-handed, it’s not particularly easy. A motor also allows for one-handed operation, but it creates noise and disturbance in the water.

You operate pedal drive boats with your feet. This leaves your hands free to bait lines, sort out your tackle box, and cast from your seat. They’re not a cheap solution, but they can make a huge difference to your fishing experience.

Trolling Motor Fittings

Trolling relies on a bait being towed behind a moving kayak. If this is your preferred method of fishing, then a motor will save you a lot of arm work.

You can fit a trolling motor to most inflatables if you have a bit of DIY know-how. However, if you know this is a feature you want, it’s worth choosing a kayak that has a built-in mounting option.

Ability to Change the Position and Height of Seat(s)

A high seat helps with visibility and casting. That’s one reason why sit-on-top kayaks are so popular for fishing. You also want a comfortable seat as you might be sitting in it for long periods.

The best fishing kayaks have a height-adjustable seat. Some also allow you to adjust the position of the seat in the kayak. This gives you more flexibility if you’re carrying lots of gear or a dog. Frame seats tend to be the most comfortable.

Flexible Storage Options

Fishing involves a lot of gear. At a minimum, you’re likely to want space for a cooler, your tackle box, spare clothes, and food and drink. Bungee cord rigging is useful for securing dry bags and other soft items. For coolers and larger items, D-ring attachment points are your best bet.

FAQ

Are Inflatable Kayaks Okay for Fishing?

Inflatable kayaks are an excellent choice for fishing.

Quality fishing kayaks are constructed from durable, puncture-resistant PVC. They’re more stable than most hardshell kayaks, making them a better choice if you want to fish standing up. Inflatables are slower and more cumbersome to paddle, so are less suitable for long fishing trips.

What Is the Most Stable Fishing Kayak?

If you want a stable fishing kayak, look for one with a drop-stitch floor. This adds rigidity to the base and provides a solid, stable platform to stand up on. The BOTE Lono Aero is exceptionally stable. You can even use it as a stand-up paddleboard.

Is It Worth Buying a Kayak for Fishing?

If you’re a serious angler, then it’s definitely worth buying a kayak for fishing. They give you access to deep waters and make it easy to explore different parts of a lake or bay.

A kayak is cheaper and more portable than a fishing boat, and you can launch it from almost anywhere.

Q: Can You Put a Trolling Motor on an Inflatable Kayak?

Yes, you can put a trolling motor on an inflatable kayak. Some inflatable fishing kayaks have attachment points that make it easy to attach a trolling motor. If there are no fixing points, there are various DIY solutions you can try.

Conclusion

The BOTE Lono Aero sits at the top of our leaderboard with unrivaled versatility and features. It’s an excellent fishing kayak for beginner and experienced anglers.

If you’re after a tandem kayak, the SeaEagle 385fta FastTrack performs well in the water and has plenty of space for you, your fishing buddy, and all your gear.

While there are plenty of quality inflatable fishing kayaks with drop-stitch floors and mount points for accessories, the Lono Aero also has an optional pedal drive for hands-free fishing. Find out more in our detailed review.

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