10 Best Fishing Kayaks for Rivers Buying Guide for 2020

You’ve dreamt about having your very own fishing kayak over the years. Now that the time is ripe to fulfill your dream, here’s a basic checklist of the necessities you need for safe and successful kayak fishing:

To start with, you obviously need a kayak. You should stick to your budget and do stretch yourself beyond the point of your affordability. Yet, don’t go for those best fishing kayaks for river under $1000 either. It’s perfectly alright to go for an old one, just make sure it’s made for fishing. Kayaks have different uses and they come in different designs. Those meant for fishing, usually come with larger storage and are also more stable on the water.

Best Selling Fishing kayaks for River

Apart from the kayak itself, you also need some accessories. Just go through this list below.

  • You also need a good-quality paddle to facilitate your movement on the water. Go for the best variety that you can afford. Costlier paddles are normally lighter, have more long-lasting blades, come with a flexible shaft and are, thus, better. A lighter paddle will help to keep your fatigue away. Moreover, it’ll prove to be easier on your arms and shoulders in the long run. There’re many high-quality varieties available in the market. Just pick your choice a little carefully.
  • Any time of the year you need to carry a comfortable personal flotation device or PFD, safety whistle, light – in case you’re out in the dark and visibility flag. Along with all that, you also need proper sun protection. It’s a good idea to include a knife, a length of rope and a flashlight to combat unforeseen emergencies. Veterans are also known to carry snacks to munch on during the extended hours of fishing along with coolers and enough amount of drinking water.
  • As far as the tackle crate is concerned, usually, a standard milk crate is used on the back of a kayak to hold tackle bags and other necessary stuff. In addition to that, you can also consider including some rod holders to the crate to hold your rods. These rod holders are very reasonably priced. Though there’re high-end crates widely available in the market, yet for your budget river fishing kayak, any milk crate will be sufficient.
  • Kayak fishing has its own challenges. One of the most difficult things to ascertain is what you can afford to fit on the boat once it goes on the water. Choose your pack carefully, as there’s no room for everything to dump in the boat. Make sure that you’ve included your basic requirements for fishing.
  • Some fishing enthusiasts looking for a tool to help them hold a position in situations of a storm or light current. There’s a very effective tool, known as Angler Optimus. You may also need an anchor and a drag chain.
  • If you want to keep a visual memory of your sporting adventure along with fishes that you catch, a camera is the most obvious choice. Your time on the kayak will invariably expose you to observing various species of animals living in the water. You can capture all these thrilling memories in a camera.

Fishing kayaks have increased in popularity these days most people prefer fishing using these comfortable boats than the average kayaks. If you are all set to buy a fishing kayak under $1000, we have got the most suitable list for you! There are terrific options to choose from but we have got the best of the best models, right here.

Best River Fishing Kayaks Review

1. Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 9 Foot Angler

Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 9 Foot Angler and Recreational Sit On Top Light Weight Fishing Kayak (Jam...
97 Reviews
Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 9 Foot Angler and Recreational Sit On Top Light Weight Fishing Kayak (Jam...
  • KEY FEATURES | 1-person sit on top fishing kayak - 9ft, 42lb, fishing and rec kayak perfect for throw and go fishing
  • MOUNT FOR ACCESSORIES | Includes 4 flush-mount rod holders.

BEST FOR: Solo fishermen casting a line in flat water

WEIGHT: 46 lbs


PADDLERS: Single person kayak

  • It can handle almost 350lbs of weight
  • Offers good stability
  • Durable
  • Sufficient space for gear and tackle
  • Bulky centre console

Although not very cheap, the Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 9-Foot Angler Sit On Top Fishing Kayak could offer you good value for your money among the various best kayaks under $600. The single-person kayak highlights great features that have ranked it at the top position in the market.

This kayak is best suitable for flatwater fishing or kayaking. It has a 2-position removable seat for providing better comfort and the YakAttack Gear Trac system enables you to attach several paddling and fishing equipment. The rigging feature can be personalized which is indeed a popular feature among fishermen and anglers. If you are into casual fishing, this is a good choice.

2. Wilderness Systems Aspire 105 Kayak

Wilderness Systems Aspire 105 | Sit Inside Recreational Kayak | Adjustable Skeg - Phase 3 Air Pro...
64 Reviews
Wilderness Systems Aspire 105 | Sit Inside Recreational Kayak | Adjustable Skeg - Phase 3 Air Pro...
  • Great on flat or slow moving water - this kayak combines easy handling and maneuverability with great stability
  • Sized for medium to larger sized paddlers

If you are looking for an easy-to-transport and light model, Wilderness Systems Aspire 105 Kayak is at the top in our list. This model from Wilderness Systems weighs only 48 lbs securing a place amongst the lightest fishing kayaks listed in this article. You can easily take it into and out of the water without the help of a vehicle.

Also Read  Best Fishing Kayak Under $700, $1000 Buying Guide for 2020

Highlighted Features

Length: 10′ 6″ / 320 Cm
Width: 29″ / 74 Cm
Boat Weight: 48 Lbs. / 22 Kg
Deck Height: 15.5″ / 39 Cm
Cockpit Length: 51.5″ / 131 Cm
Cockpit Width: 23.5″ / 60 Cm
Max Capacity: 400 Lbs. / 181 Kg

To think of this Wilderness model, imagine having a Porsche, Lamborghini or Maserati because this one is FAST! It is a Swede Form, hull, multi-chined and a sit-inside cockpit kayak. You can take it when in a hurry without getting wet on the way and staying safe from the elements. Let us have a look at some of its typical characteristics:

  • The kayak offers ergonomic comfort and smooth adjustability
  • It has a specially contoured seat and backrest, making it the Mercedes Benz of kayaks.
  • The seats are designed with multiple-sized holes incorporated in the foam padding, providing cushioning for your spine and inner thighs and legs.
  • The cockpit has to offer a removable Kayak Konsole that attaches the cockpit rim easily, giving easy access to the gear while fishing.
  • The cockpit rim features a mesh pocket, a universal cup holder, gear trays to hold the Scotty rod mount and dry storage for your daily utility elements.
  • Enough storage space
  • Has a rigging ability at the top despite its clean design
  • Easy access to dry gear through the console system
  • Not a comfortable option of taller anglers

3. Old Town Predator 13 Angler Fishing Kayak

Old Town Predator 13 Fishing Kayak (Brown Camo, 13 Feet 2 Inches)
3 Reviews
Old Town Predator 13 Fishing Kayak (Brown Camo, 13 Feet 2 Inches)
  • Experience the perfect platform for fishing and on-water sporting with the Old Town Predator 13 Fishing Kayak.
  • The Predator 13's Element Seating System with high/low positioning, keeps paddlers comfortable for a full day on the water.

The Predator 13 model from Old Town is one of the latest kayaks ranked amongst the best fishing kayaks of 2018 under $1000. It is a popular model among anglers. Designed by a fisherman for fishermen, it was built by one of the Old Town pro staff to give support to manage larger water bodies such as bays, lakes and coastal areas.

Highlighted Features

Length: 13’2″
Width: 33.5″
Weight: 86 lbs.
Type: Sit-on-top
Capacity: 425 lbs.
Rigged For Fishing: Yes
Propulsion: Paddle

Have a look at some of its outstanding characteristics:

  • The prominent keel at the bow and stern help tracking when combined with the Tri-hull design
  • Its design offers greater initial stability
  • It offers two handy features in addition – molded paddle rest and side-mounted paddle storage, the former renders a suitable place to park your paddle and the latter provides a place to park the paddle when not used.
  • The Predator 13 model consists of a large, dry storage compartment in the bow area, accessible through a large hatch.
  • There is a center console consisting of a “mod pod” cover that enables you to personalize the gear arrangement along with the six mounting plates (removable, strategically installed and high-strength).
  • Reasonably stable and fast
  • The complete combination makes it an ideal choice for fishing
  • Easily compatible with extras like outriggers and stand-up bar, when looking for better stability
  • Sufficient dry storage
  • Heavier kayak model with a weight of almost 86 lbs.

4. Wilderness Systems Ride 115X Fishing Kayak

If you are in search of a fishing platform providing maximum maneuverability and stability, Ride 115X is the perfect pick for you.

Highlighted Features

Length: 11’6″
Width: 33″
Weight: 79 lbs.
Type: Sit-on-top
Capacity: 500 lbs.
Rigged For Fishing: No
Propulsion: Paddle

Check out some of its typical characteristics:

  • It has a contoured seat and backrest specifically designed for improved comfort and luxury while you are on the fishing hunt.
  • You will have extra cushioning along the spine and inner thighs, with extended support to your buttocks.
  • The removable electronic console allows mounting a transducer and fishfinder as the battery is stored inside the console.
  • Additionally, it has Slide Trax equipment to mount rails installed on the stern, bow and below the electronics console for easy mounting of rod holders, safety flags and camera mounts.
  • A lot of storage space provided with the Wilderness Systems Ride 115X along with sealed hatches in the amidships and bow.
  • The stern also consists of storage compartments with an open “tank well”.
  • Adjustable foot braces
  • The smooth balance of maneuverability and speed
  • Well-planned overall outfitting
  • Sufficient storage at midship, in the front and stern
  • Available with the rudder system
  • The centre console comes in way of the confined standing space.

Choose from these most popular fishing kayaks ranked as the best cheap kayaks at an affordable price.

5. Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 Fishing Kayak

BEST FOR: Kayakers like photographers or fishermen looking to explore flat water with a lot of gear

WEIGHT: 63 lbs

LENGTH: 12’3”


  • Sufficient storage space
  • Enables smooth turns on the water despite being large in size
  • Comfortable seats
  • Uncomfortable foot pocket area (for some people)

If you are in search of a multi-purpose fishing kayak, be smart and choose the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120. Regardless of your use, be it photography, fishing or paddling on the waters, it is undoubtedly the river fishing kayak suitable for you.

Also Read  10 Cheap Fishing Kayaks Buying Guide 2021

Its sufficient storage space makes it appropriate for multi-purpose use, giving you a chance to get as many equipment and utilities you want on the water. It consists of 2 hatches, multiple storage pockets and a stern tank well. The stability, speed and maneuverability for the kayak’s size are impressive.

6. Riot Kayaks Escape 12 Fishing Kayak

BEST FOR: Kayakers who dive, fish, and explore

WEIGHT: 66 lbs

LENGTH: 12’0”


  • Great tracking feature despite its length
  • Stable
  • Fast
  • Available with rudder
  • Comfortable seating

A little too long for navigating through narrow waterways like streams and rivers

A fantastic recreational kayak, the Riot Escape 12 can serve as a diving kayak, casual kayak or a fishing kayak. The model proves to be really fast and stable on flat water like lakes. It has a front hatch with a drain plug, cup holder, dual-density cover, a bottle, rear shock cord storage and a custom-fit seat. It is worth the investment. Buy it today to experience smooth kayaking.

7. Driftsun Teton 90 Hard Shell Recreational Fishing Kayak

BEST FOR: Kayakers of all abilities and hobbies wanting a great value kayak

Kayak Length: 9′
Kayak Width: 32″
Kayak Weight: 47 Lbs.
Recommended Weight Limit: 300 Lbs.
4 Flush Mount Capped Rod Holders
2 Sealed Dry Storage Hatches

  • Great price
  • Suitable for divers, paddlers and fishermen
  • Sturdy
  • Fits in larger people
  • Difficult to speed up the kayak

If you want a fantastic all-around kayak despite the limited storage space, Driftsun Teton 90 Hard Shell Recreational Kayak is just what you want. This fishing kayak is suitable for both young beginners and trained kayakers.

Although it is a little slower as compared to other SOT kayaks, the short length of 9’3” doesn’t cause major disadvantages. In fact, it is a lightweight, high-quality kayak with great stability. These alluring features make it a pretty good deal. It serves different purposes such as fishing, recreational paddling and even scuba diving.

In the paragraphs above, we’ve discussed some of the basic necessities for your best budget fishing kayaks. In course of time, you’ll discover the necessity of many other tools to make your kayak fishing experience even more colorful. As of now, you may start with these and gradually keep adding on to this list with the flow of time.

8. Eddyline C-135 Fishing Kayak

No products found.

BEST FOR: Fishermen who want a very tailored and top-of-the-line kayak

WEIGHT: 69 lbs

LENGTH: 13’6”


  • Very comfortable
  • Stable for stand-up fishing
  • Sufficient storage space
  • A little expensive

It is among the demanded fishing kayaks for its exceptional stability, low weight and speed. In addition to these, it also provides good space giving room to larger people and lots of other stuff and equipment.

It is a perfectly-designed sit-on-top fishing kayak with several useful features. For example, its seat has 4 different adjustable positions based on what activity you are involved in – relaxing, paddling fast or simply taking a nap while floating on the water. Not just this, the seat is removable, foldable, so you can easily stand while fishing. Adjustable bungee straps and 4 hatches make it a spacious kayak for storing accessories and other utilities. If you are a regular water rider, this one is a must-have for you.

9. Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 Fishing Kayak

Wilderness Systems 9750105054 Tarpon 100 Kayaks, Mango, 10'
23 Reviews
Wilderness Systems 9750105054 Tarpon 100 Kayaks, Mango, 10'
  • Versatile sit-on-top offers stunning performance for surf play, ponds, lakes, and bays
  • Larger tankwell offers more capacity than previous 10-foot models

This model of the fishing boat moves really fast cutting water. You can have comfortable fishing with good stability on this fishing kayak.

Highlighted Features

Length: 10′ / 305 Cm
Width: 30.5″ / 77 Cm
Boat Weight: 55 Lbs. / 25 Kg
Deck Height: 15.25″ / 39 Cm
Max Capacity: 325 Lbs. / 147 Kg
Other sizes: The tarpon family of kayaks includes: Tarpon 130X, 100, 100 Angler, Tarpon 120, 120 Ultralight, 140, 160, 135T

Some of the peculiar traits involve:

  • It has a slide traxTM accessory system and new Phase 3 AirPro sit-on-top seating system offering great comfort and complete adjustability.
  • It offers self-billing scupper holes, cup holder, paddle holder and gear storage pockets.
  • The seat is raised slightly from the bottom of the boat.
  • Its angler package comes with 2 mighty mounts – VisiCarbon and Zooka Tube that cuts the water brilliantly; fast and quick turning.
  • It is considered as the best river fishing kayak of 2020 for its versatile nature.
  • Adjustable leg length
  • Comfortable back support and breathability
  • Accepts rudder system
  • In-built draining scuppers to drain the water inside the boat
  • The rudder system doesn’t come included in the price but is to be added separately.

10. Sea Eagle Inflatable 2 Person Fishing Kayak

Sea Eagle 465FT Fasttrack Inflatable Kayak Two Person Pro Package
1 Reviews
Sea Eagle 465FT Fasttrack Inflatable Kayak Two Person Pro Package
  • Exterior: 15'3" x 36" / Weight: 44 lbs. / Interior: 14'2" x 18" / Deflated: 30" x 19" x 9"
  • Capacity: 3 Persons or 795 lbs. / Tube Diameter: 9.5"

The Pro Package features upgraded seats, upgraded paddles, a waterproof bag, and bow and stern storage bags. Interior: 11’7″ x 1’3″, Exterior: 12’6″x3′, Deflated: 31″ x 19″ x 8″, Tube Diameter: 10″, Capacity: 2 Persons or 635 lbs., Weight: 35 lbs., Chambers: 4, Port, Starboard, Keel and Floor, Material: 1000 Denier, Reinforced Seam: Quadruple Overlap, Air Valves: Recessed One Way, Inflation & Assembly time: 7 min., Whitewater Rating: Suitable up to Class III.

Here are other specifications about the fishing kayak:

  • NMMA Certified
  • 6 D-rings to secure seats for one or two person use, Bow/Stern Grab Handles, Front and Rear Spray Skirts with storage and lacing
  • Hull material completely resistant to sun & saltwater, Nylon carry bag, repair kit & Printed instructions
  • Separate inner High-Pressure Drop Stitch floor for greater rigidity, Outside drop stitch high-pressure keel at bow for true tracking
  • Large removable skeg at the rear to control yaw and improve speed, 2 High capacity self-bailing drain valves
  • Great storage space for your personal items and equipment
  • It is also suitable for large people, as it stands the capacity of holding 420 pounds at maximum
  • The backrest is highly comfortable despite its simplicity
  • Extremely stable
  • Can be maneuvered easily and supports easy tracking
  • It is a tough kayak
  • Paddle rests hold the paddle safe
  • Not really a fast boat
  • No seat padding
  • Heavy for a single person to move or carry


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