Best sit on top fishing kayak

With the traditional sit-in kayaks, the paddler sits inside, but the sit on top fishing Kayaks feature a molded-in depression on top where the paddler sits. Simply put, you won’t be in an enclosed space. …

With the traditional sit-in kayaks, the paddler sits inside, but the sit on top fishing Kayaks feature a molded-in depression on top where the paddler sits. Simply put, you won’t be in an enclosed space.  Most of the sit on top (SOT) fishing kayaks are made of tough molded plastic, but you will also come across some made of fiberglass. And, there are other types of sit on top kayaks other than those designed for fishing including touring, surfing, scuba diving, etc.

Sit in vs. sit on top kayak for fishing

Sit on tops, just like sit insides come as singles or doubles so you can go by your needs. Again, they are available as inflatables or hard shells so you choose one based on your preferences. The top of these kayaks is the deck, the bottom the hull, the front is called the bow while the back is referred to as the stern.

The SOTs are user-friendly because they are very comfortable especially for people with long legs, larger body types, and those with limited flexibility. They are also easy to paddle and also to get in and out.

Again, with SOTs, you can do a self-rescue as they have an open deck so you are less likely to be trapped in them if they tip over. This might not be so easy with an enclosed deck. The sit on top types are not enclosed so you won’t feel confined in them.

the best fishing kayak
the best fishing kayak

SOT fishing kayaks are wider than the sit insides and as such they are more stable. The only downside to this is that they are slower thus might not appeal to people who like speed. This is not, however, to say that there are no fast SOTs. Some models are very fast, but not as sit insides.

Again, you are not limited on the type of water that you can use your SOT on. They can be used in various types of water including lakes, canals, salt water and rivers. This appeals to most adventurous paddlers.

There are, however, some features that are only in a sit in fishing kayak.  A sit in fishing kayak is better at preventing water from reaching the paddler. They have a spray skirt so you don’t get a wet ride as it is the case with a SOT. Also, with a SOT, you get no protection from the wind but the good thing is that they are self-bailing as they have scupper holes to allow the water to drain through.

Sit in Kayaks

  • They have an enclosed siting area/cockpit
  • Most have spray skirts thus keep you dry as you paddle
  • They shelter you from the wind because you sit lower thus getting a warmer ride
  • They are also narrower thus faster
  • The only downside with them is that if flipped, they get a lot of water and thus tough to recover

Factors to consider when buying a fishing kayak

Where will you be paddling? At the beach or a sheltered lake? You have to consider this because of the winds. The sit insider fishing kayak will at least shield your lower body from the winds thus feels a little warmer. However, the sit on top type offers no shielding so if you have problems with too much exposure to wind them you might want to trade carefully.

How will the water be? Warm or cold? Remember that the sit on top fishing kayaks are not enclosed and so you will be paddling wet. However, a sit inside fishing kayak keeps you dry throughout and thus if you fear that the water will be too cold for you they are the best option.

How much speed do you want? For a kayak to be fast, it has to be narrow. However, speed is a matter of preference and different models will have different speeds. Also, keep in mind that a wider kayak will be slower, but stable.

The Kayak’s Length

The length of your kayak will determine how fast it can go and also how stable it will feel. Longer and narrower kayaks travel faster, and wider types are slower, but more stable. In your search you will notice that most sit-on-top fishing kayaks are wider and this is why they are often referred to as recreational kayaks as they are slower and ultra-stable.

The seat

You have to sit on a comfortable seat especially for long fishing trips. Ensure that the seat is well cushioned and the backrest should be comfortable as well.

Other factors

Storage, durability, ease of getting in and out, weight, stability, etc.

Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler Fishing Kayak

This is a very sleek and fast sit-on-top fishing kayak. It is also very sturdy so even the heavy people will be comfortable using it. It is also smooth and has plenty of storage space so you can easily store and also access your gear. Its paddle holders work perfectly well and also has fantastic built-in rod holders. You will also like the seat because it is well made and very comfortable. You can actually sit on it for a long time without any discomfort.

Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler Fishing Kayak
Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler Fishing Kayak

Another thing, it’s designed to drain the water well for a comfortable fishing environment. The built-in foot rests are not adjustable, but they are way comfortable than anything you have used in the past. Again, the pre-drilled holes are dependable plus the carrying handles are sturdy and comfortable.

It has a strong build thus takes any abuse well and you won’t have to worry about rocks or scratches. You can actually use it in any type of water whether they are little or big rivers, ponds, lakes, or wherever. It is also very easy to transport thanks to its lightweight and strong handles. With proper care and maintenance, this kayak can be used for very many years. It tracks the water easily


  • It’s worth the price
  • Lightweight thus fast and easy to move around even by one person
  • It’s very stable for any body types
  • Includes fishing rod holders for convenience when fishing
  • Very stable and fast
  • Great tracking
  • Made of high-quality materials

⛔️ Cons

  • As much as the seat is comfortable, it might feel uncomfortable after sometime because it’s not well cushioned. However, you can choose to either upgrade/replace it or add some cushion if you will need to sit on it for several hours.

Hobie Pro Angler 12

The Hobie Pro Angler 12 is a real and the best fishing machine that you are yet to use. The most impressive part about it is the quality of workmanship. It looks and feels strong, very stable and you won’t have to fight a paddle when fishing. The kayak weighs 98 lbs. empty weight, 120 lbs. when fully rigged and has a 500 lbs. capacity. Thus, it’s very lightweight and you can easily lift it to the top of your car without any help. Another thing to like about it is how everything is within arms-reach thus fully functional for both fishing and sports. And, it’s a very technical kayak, perfect for all ages.

The most important feature about this boat is the Mirage Drive. It’s very fast and effortless at cruising speed. You use your legs, not hands, to propel it forward and this is because it features fully adjustable pedals that help propel the fins making a criss-cross motion. If you love a kayak that leaves your hands free as you maneuver to cast, this is the deal for you. Again, the seat is adjustable at two level heights plus it is vantage thus looks so cool. It also has a great storage for your fishing needs as well as any weather. It might seem expensive compared to other models, but it’s worth every dollar.

Hobie Pro Angler 12
Hobie Pro Angler 12

You will also like the H bar which to many is a great plus compared to other models. If you like to stand when fishing, this is the right yak for you as you can do so even when the wind is kicking. And, it only takes one seconds to anchor or cast. If you want the best sit-on-top fishing kayak experience, get yourself this one. It is fully customizable and you can have various add-ons to get the best fishing experience, thanks to the H-rail system. You can use it for casual paddling, but it’s specifically designed to meet the needs of serious fishermen in various water conditions.


  • Reliable and powerful Hobie Mirage Drive
  • Has a broad beam thus very stable
  • Very roomy thus more comfortable and enough storage
  • The seat is comfortable/ Vantage seating system
  • Great built ins: ice chest, hidden tackle boxes and four rod storage
  • Fully customizable and allows various add-ons to better your fishing experience
  • It’s designed to handle various water conditions
  • Allows free hands kayaking

⛔️ Cons

  • Quite expensive, but worth it
  • It might be heavy for some people especially in the first few uses, but you can get someone to help you carry it.

BEST UNDER $500 – Sun Dolphin Journey 10 SS

Sun Dolphin are mostly known for their great sit-in fishing kayaks, but they also have several sit-on models and the Sun Dolphin Journey 10 SS is the smallest at 10” in length and 30” width and weighting just 44 lbs. It’s quite compact, but offers a 250 lbs. capacity which is enough for most fishermen. However, because of its size, 10”, anyone taller than 6” might find it uncomfortable especially if they use it for a long time. But, you can get the next model which is 12 SS. Anyone at or below 6 feet will find it very comfortable.

For its size, this kayak has a decent tracking and it has every feature that you will need for a perfect fishing experience. They include two flush mount rod holders, a swivel rod holder, a large and comfortable seating area and great thigh protective pads that come in handy when going on longer trips. It also has a paddle holder and adjustable foot braces for easy fishing.  The storage area is enough for all the necessary fishing stuff though accessing the very secure rear storage can be tricky, but only when on water.

Sun Dolphin Journey 10 SS
Sun Dolphin Journey 10 SS

The only thing to be cautious about after buying this fishing kayak is the scupper holes. There has been some isolated complaints from people who have bought and used it about the holes letting in a lot of water, which is a common problem with most budget kayaks. However, you can correct or prevent this by resealing the screws and buy some scupper plugs to have a better fishing experience. Overall, this is a great fishing kayak and as much as it is an entry level type, it lasts long and gets the job done well.


  • Great budget priced kayak
  • Tracks well, paddles with ease, and it’s very versatile
  • Very stable, but not enough to allow you fish while standing
  • Has enough storage
  • Comfortable seating area
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Great workmanship for durability

⛔️ Cons

  • As much as the Journey 10 SS is very stable, it cannot offer enough stability for one to fish while standing up.
  • The rear storage can be a hassle to access once on the water, but it’s very secure.
  • It’s also not the best for extended trips, has a low load capacity and it’s not that fast.

BEST 10ft SIT ON TOP FISHING KAYAK – Lifetime Tamarack 10ft Angler Fishing Kayak

The Lifetime Tamarack 10ft Angler Fishing Kayak is a very stable with big rear and front storage hatches. It’s also a great choice then on a budget because despite the affordable price it’s made of high quality materials for durability. Again, it’s from a reputable company when it comes to kayaks and their 5-year warranty adds some confident on the quality.

Lifetime Tamarack 10ft Angler Fishing Kayak
Lifetime Tamarack 10ft Angler Fishing Kayak

When you look at the construction and design, the first thing that you will notice is the well-designed Hull that gives the kayak a great stability while enabling it track well. And, it features some stability chine rails that keeps smaller people comfortable when they fish while standing. The storage is also enough for everything that you will need while out there fishing and also has hatches where you can store various smaller items including phones, lures, etc. It also has three rod holders and this makes it a perfect fishing kayak. It also comes with a paddle and this is a huge bonus for the price. It also features side and front bungees that come in handy when you need to hold your paddle in place.

It’s a lightweight kayak at 56 lbs. so carrying it is super easy which is advantageous for solo paddlers. Generally, the kayak is comfortable, but you might need to add some padding on the seat as some people don’t find very comfortable for longer trips. Again, it has a pair of 5” well grooves to keep your feet comfortable when in the kayak.


  • Lightweight fishing kayak
  • Spacious enough for a comfortable fishing experience
  • Very stable thanks to the Rail Chinned Hull
  • Paddle included
  • Gives a great value for the money
  • Has a solid tracking ability

⛔️ Cons

  • As much as it’s stable, it’s not the fastest option
  • The seat needs extra padding to be comfortable for longer trips. However, the padded backrest adds some comfort when on long paddling adventures.
  • Fishing while standing is not a great idea for taller individuals as the stability might not be enough
  • Because of its size, it might not be comfortable enough for taller people

Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 110 and Ghost 130 Fishing Kayak

These two sit-on-top fishing kayaks, Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 110 and Ghost 130 Fishing Kayak, have so much in common the only major difference being their sizes. And, for the price, they are probably the best that you will come across. If you love to fish while standing on your boat, these two will offer enough stability for that. The only thing that you should be aware of before purchasing is that they both take some momentum to get them moving, but not so much to get you exhausted. You will also find the rudder helpful when you want to turn your kayak.

They both have great front hatches that allow you to add several rods down inside. You also get a fish pod which is easy to buckle and unbuckle. The Sea Ghost 110 weighs 62-pounds while measuring 11-foot and the Sea Ghost 130 weighs 74-pounds while measuring 13-foot. As such, they are both lightweight and perfect as 1-person SOT fishing kayaks. They also have enough carry capacity for your fishing needs as well as enough storage.

Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 110 and Ghost 130 Fishing Kayak
Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 110 and Ghost 130 Fishing Kayak

Again, the seat is very comfortable. In fact, it’s better than most expensive models. If you go for long fishing trips, this seat will provide the needed comfort. You will also find the gear tracks on both very helpful, but you have to be careful with the scupper plugs because they can sink. Also, the kayaks have tackle storages on their sides which are helpful for storing stuff like fish grips or anything else that can fit. They also have flush mount rod holders that offer some convenience for anchors, landing net, or rods. They also have a back hatch and a tank well. They are great kayaks for just anyone who loves SOT fishing kayaks.


  • Very stable
  • Plenty of storage
  • They have plenty of fishing features
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Features a rudder for easy turning
  • Comfortable seat
  • Feature hatches with bags

⛔️ Cons

  • The front hatch in either can be tricky to reach once on water, but you can easily reach the back one.

What are the most famous brands?

The most famous sit-on-top fishing kayak brands include: Hobie, Ocean Kayak, Vibe Kayaks, Sun Dolphin, and Lifetime. They also have sit in models so you can check them out too if interested.

Final thought

Fishing can be adventurous, fun, and enjoyable, but only when you have the right fishing tools. The first fishing item to consider should be a fishing kayak and the two major types are the sit-on-top and sit in. We have highlighted the major differences between the two and also reviewed the best sit on top fishing kayaks in bid to make your search easy. We have also listed the most famous fishing kayak brands to help you know where to begin your search.

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