Best Stand Up Fishing Kayak

Many people think of kayaking as a sit-down activity, but when you want to take a kayak fishing, at times, particularly when you get a bite, it’s much easier to stand up.  But there’s a caveat, you’ll have to have a kayak where you can comfortably stand up without toppling over.

There are several sit on top kayaks out on the market today that are perfectly safe to stand up in.  They generally have a seat, as you might expect, but are also designed for standing, thanks to special platforms at either side in the center of the deck.

There are a few different alternatives to stand up kayaks, such as traditional boats, stand up paddleboards (SUPs), or just going right into the water in waders, for example.  In the interest of brevity, however, for the purposes of this article, we’re going to concentrate on stand up kayaks.

So to that end, we’d like to show you our Top 3 stand up kayaks that are currently out on the market today, and after that, we have a buying guide for you which covers the advantages of stand up fishing from a kayak, what to look for in a stand-up fishing kayak, and then at the end, we look at how using a paddleboard compares with using a kayak when you want to go fishing.

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Best Stand Up Fishing Kayak - Reviews

Now, this Topwater 106 kayak from Old Town, is one that’s designed with stand-up fishing in mind.  It’s very wide for one, with the width coming in at a nice 34.5 inches, and there’s a stable platform in place for you to stand.  There are also EVA foam deck pads that provide traction and comfort while standing.

And when you are ready to sit, there’s it’s special Element Air seat designed to keep paddlers comfortable for a full day out on the water.

The other characteristics that make it great for stand-up fishing are the ultra-stable double-u hull design, which provides not only unparalleled stability but also precision handling too.

Besides all that, there’s also an oversized stern tank well which is great for storing gear or your catches.  And you can catch as many big heavy fish as you like since this kayak can take a weight capacity of a whopping 400 pounds.  And there’s carefully-placed rod and tackle storage.

We also love the kayak's universal transducer mounting system which makes it super easy to mount your favorite fish finder.

  • Length: 10 foot 6 inches
  • Width: 34.5 inches
  • Weight: 73 pounds
  • Capacity: 440 pounds
  • This fishing kayak from Lifetime is one of Amazon’s bestsellers for the category and the Amazon customer feedback has been incredibly positive, with an average customer rating score of an impressive 4 and a half stars out of 5.

    It meets the criteria that we set out in our buying guide, in that it’s over 30 inches wide, and has a flat hull.  And to increase the kayak’s stability further still, there are also deep hull tracking channels, and chine rails.

    It has a good durable build, constructed of UV-protected high-density polyethylene.

    It’s designed with long stints spent fishing in mind, with 3 rod holders positioned in place, and with adjustable seating arrangement for extra comfort, specifically Multiple Footrest Positions and an Adjustable Padded Seat.

    There are two 6 inch storage compartments, for stashing your fishing gear, specifically one at the back and one in the center.

    • Length: 10 foot
    • Width: 31 inches
    • Weight: 52 pounds
    • Capacity: 275 pounds

    Now, this is a kayak that’s great to take fishing!

    This Pro Angler 14 from Hobie has a dedicated standing deck, complete with a lean bar, so you have something to hold onto for resting or alternatively to assist with casting.

    We love how much storage there is.  You can store your catch in the hatch at the front which features a removable bucket.  There’s also a covered console in the cockpit, which is handy for storing bait, open storage at the rear stern end, and a small open area under the seat.

    There are loads of rod holders too, 6 in fact.

    And you don’t even have to bother with paddles if you don’t want to - this is a kayak that you can propel with your legs.  This is really handy if you want to keep hold of the rod and move at the same time.  And there are dual controls at either side of the seat to steer left or right.

    And when you do want to use the seat, it’s fully adjustable, enabling you to adjust both the height and the lumbar support.

    • Length: 13ft 8 inches
    • Width: 38 inches
    • Fitted Hull Weight: 120 pounds
    • Fitted Rigged Weight: 145 pounds
    • Weight Capacity: 600 pounds

    Best Stand Up Fishing Kayak - Buyers Guide

    Now, this is a kayak that’s great to take fishing!

    This Pro Angler 14 from Hobie has a dedicated standing deck, complete with a lean bar, so you have something to hold onto for resting or alternatively to assist with casting.

    We love how much storage there is.  You can store your catch in the hatch at the front which features a removable bucket.  There’s also a covered console in the cockpit, which is handy for storing bait, open storage at the rear stern end, and a small open area under the seat.

    There are loads of rod holders too, 6 in fact.

    And you don’t even have to bother with paddles if you don’t want to - this is a kayak that you can propel with your legs.  This is really handy if you want to keep hold of the rod and move at the same time.  And there are dual controls at either side of the seat to steer left or right.

    And when you do want to use the seat, it’s fully adjustable, enabling you to adjust both the height and the lumbar support.

    Advantages Of Stand Up Fishing From A Kayak

    As I think we’ve already covered, and as we’re sure you already know, it’s possible to fish from a kayak both sitting down or standing up.  But standing up on your kayak while fishing has several advantages that we’ll touch on now.

    Better Views Of The Fish And What’s Going On

    The main reason for standing up in your fishing kayak is to better see into the water.  You can see a lot more when you’re looking down into the water as opposed to across the water.  Not only can you see further away, but you can also see deeper into the water too.  If the water’s really clear you could do away with any fishfinders altogether.

    When you’re stood up you can better spot bountiful fishing spots, or areas or might want to avoid, or any obstructions that might be blocking your route.  When you’re sat down you may well miss all of these due to your more limited view.

    Depending on the lighting conditions you may even be less likely to find yourself blinded by sunlight reflecting off ripples on the water.

    Better Positioning

    Again perhaps we’re stating the obvious, but when you’re stood up you can cast so much further than you otherwise would, sitting down.  Stood up you’re more likely to see your intended catch, and you can cast more easily, with more confidence, and your accuracy should be improved too.  

    When casting stood up on your kayak though, we recommend that you cast using the strength of your arms as opposed to swinging your whole body.

    Another benefit of standing up on your kayak is that you may be able to access your gear more easily since you’ll be better positioned to access your storage areas.  You could even multitask!  (Don’t feel like you have to though, you should only move around according to how comfortable you feel doing so.)  And that leads us onto our next section.

    Better Balance and Core Strength

    We in no way want to put you off, but we’re going to level with you and say that standing on a kayak can take a little practice.  

    Fishing from a kayak can take some getting used to, but as you spend more time practicing it, the better you will become, and you can develop your flexibility, balance, and core strength.  

    For novices who are just starting at standing up on a kayak to fish, we recommend that you first hone your skills on waters that are both shallow and calm, and preferably close to solid ground.  You should also ensure that you have a good life vest for kayaking, check out this link, which is an important piece of kit, whether you’re sitting or standing.

    Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be a stand-up fishing ‘pro’ in no time.

    If it’s not already occurred to you, there is actually a happy medium between sitting and standing, and that’s kneeling.

    Kneeling can certainly be preferable to sitting but unfortunately is not quite as advantageous as standing would be.  Whilst kneeling can provide you much more confidence in your stability in the yak, it can compromise your all-round flexibility.

    Can be really comfortable if you’ve been sat down too long

    Fishing is usually an activity spread out over several hours, and if you don’t change position during all that time, you may get unnecessarily sore, numb, or uncomfortable.

    Standing up once in a while can really give your back a break, help you enjoy your fishing experience more and enable you to stay out fishing for a longer period of time.

     What Features Make A Kayak Good For Standing Up?

    There are two main factors that contribute to making a kayak good for standing up in, and they are a nice width and a flat hull.

    Width

    If you want to stand up in your kayak, we strongly recommend that you go for one with a width of at least 30 inches, though 32 to 25 inches would be ideal.  When your kayak is nice and wide, you can distribute your body weight more easily, and this should ease any anxiety you may have with regards to any potential wobbling, or worse still toppling.

    That way instead of focusing solely on your balance, trying not to fall into the water, you can concentrate on your actual fishing.

    Flat Hull

    The next thing to look out for is a flat hull.  Having a flat hull bottom can really improve the yak’s stability, and when this is combined with a wide beam, it makes for the incredibly stable stillness/movement that’s perfect for stand up fishing.

    And here’s a quick tip for you - you need to ensure that you have a suitable paddle for when you’re standing up.  A hybrid paddle might be ideal.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    SUP Fishing vs Kayak Fishing

    If you’ve already looked into stand up fishing, you may well have come across the idea of using a Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) board.  It’s certainly something to consider if you intend to spend very little time sitting down or if you want to spend the majority of your time standing up.

    You can sit down on a paddleboard however if you wanted to, and some SUPs can on occasion come with seats in place, or you could adapt the SUP to add one if you really wanted to.

    SUPs are no real substitute for a traditional fishing kayak, however, which are better suited to those who want to sit down for the majority of their time on the water.  It’s not as comfortable to sit on a SUP, as when they do feature seats, they don’t offer any back support.

    So, in sum, paddleboards do have some advantages over kayaks, such as their more affordable price, but many fishers are usually more than happy to pay that bit extra money and invest in a kayak instead.

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