Best Ocean Fishing Kayaks in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

Buying a fishing kayak is tough. So is buying an ocean kayak. Mix both up, and you’re in a pretty tough spot. However, you shouldn’t worry. In this article, I’ll list the best ocean fishing kayaks you’ll find on the market.

Kayak fishing is a superb and affordable way through which you can enjoy the beauty of nature up close as well as gain some nutritious benefits. With a kayak, you can reach areas that other vessels can’t reach.

And in order to be a reliable fishing kayak, those have certain design elements that enable them to handle higher winds and rougher waters in a more controlled way.

After reading this guide, you’ll be able to make up your mind regarding which kayak to get.

Our Top Picks

Ocean Kayak Prowler 13
Best for Speed
56 lbs.325 lbs.
Sea Eagle SE370
Best for Rough Waters
32 lbs.650 lbs.
Hobie Mirage Outback
Best Value for the Price
103 lbs.425 lbs.
Perception Pescador Pro 12
Best for Comfort
57 lbs.375 lbs.
Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem
Best Tandem Ocean Fishing Kayak
57 lbs.425 lbs.
Ocean Kayak Frenzy
Best Budget Option
43 lbs.325 lbs.
BKC UH-TK181
Best Bang for Your Buck
68 lbs.450 lbs.
Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100
Best Affordable Ocean Fishing Kayak
51 lbs.275 lbs.

The 8 Best Ocean Fishing Kayaks in 2020

1. Ocean Kayak Prowler 13Best for Speed

CHECK PRICE AT AUSTIN KAYAK

Ocean Kayak Prowler 13

The Prowler 13 is a simple kayak with a stripped-back design and decent storage and performance.

It has a long waterline and narrow hull that enhance its performance, especially in rougher water. It also offers great tracking and high top speed in an impressive combination.

At 56 pounds, it’s not too heavy to be transported by a single person, and it’s pretty light for its size. Yet, it can accommodate up to 325 pounds. It’s equipped with a comfort seat plus which has an adjustable backrest and can easily be removed for replacement.

There’s a large tank well system in the stern that enables you to pack bulky gear without it being at risk of water damage. If you’re packing valuables, you can seal them in the bow-mounted waterproof hatch.

Moreover, this hatch also offers access to bow and stern internal storage for fishing rods, so you can safely carry them inside the kayak. Finally, there’s a bungee storage on-deck that is the cherry on top when it comes to the storage options on the Prowler 13.

Finally, the hull features a transducer mounting where you can put a fish finder and two-rod holders. There are no gear rails, however, and no option to add additional rod holders.

Pros

  • Excellent performance
  • Top speed with good tracking
  • Internal storage and external bungee storage
  • In-hull rod storage
  • Not too heavy

Cons

  • Lacks gear rails
  • Only two rods

Bottom Line

The Prowler 13 is a great kayak for ocean fishing. It can handle rough conditions, has good tracking, and is relatively lightweight. However, you’re a bit limited with the lack of gear rails or the option to fit more rod holders. So, if you want a kayak on which you can pack plenty of gear, you should check something else out.


2. Sea Eagle SE370Best for Rough Waters

Sea Eagle SE370

The Sea Eagle SE370 is both strong and convenient. Fully-packed, it can measure 31 x 19 x 8 inches and weighs only 32 pounds. This is a very lightweight and compact combination.

Yet, it can accommodate up to 650 pounds, which means you can go kayak fishing with two other friends.

The Sea Eagle SE370 is an inflatable kayak and can be fully inflated in under eight minutes, which is pretty quick. However, due to the nature of inflatable kayaks, there isn’t much storage space. It does come with a multi-purpose storage box with two-rod holders.

On top of that, inflatable kayaks are also known for inferior tracking capabilities. However, the Sea Eagle SE370 comes with two plastic skegs that counterbalance the natural tendency of inflatable kayaks to be moved around by high winds.

Finally, it’s level III whitewater rated, so it can handle rough waters, especially if you’re paddling with a friend, and has a high rocker that keeps it maneuverable.

Pros:

  • Extremely portable and lightweight
  • Equipped with two skegs to enhance tracking
  • Capable of handling rough waters
  • Can fit up to three people

Cons:

  • Doesn’t offer much storage
  • Only has two-rod holders

Bottom Line

If you like to go on fishing trips without too much planning, the Sea Eagle SE370 is the ideal kayak for you. It can easily be inflated in under eight minutes and is super portable. Its maximum capacity goes up to 650 pounds, which beats most options. However, if you’re looking for plenty of storage space, you might want to opt for another kayak.


3. Hobie Mirage OutbackBest Value for the Price

Hobie Mirage Outback

 

The Hobie Mirage Outback is an amazing offshore fishing kayak that gives you plenty of value for the price with multiple excellent features.

It’s equipped with a highly adjustable Vantage CT-W seat, which provides great lumbar support no matter how you prefer to sit when you’re paddling around or fishing.

Moreover, its hull is made of highly durable materials to enable it to endure saltwater conditions and guarantee longevity.

To make it even more suitable for ocean fishing, it features decent stability through the patented MirageDrive paddle driven system. This system allows anglers to control the craft by paddling rather than rowing to keep your hands free for fishing.

What’s more, it has a retractable rudder that facilitates tracking and enables you to paddle your kayak easily no matter the water conditions.

It’s also equipped with four-rod holders, which is good for most anglers out there. It also has multiple storage options to allow you to bring all your gear. There are also smaller accessories like cupholders of different sizes, extra cargo hatches, and long-running shelves that maximize convenience.

At 85 pounds, it’s not very light or easy to carry from one place to another. It does have the capability of carrying 425 pounds, though, which is a high average.

With no bells or whistles, this basic saltwater fishing kayak does what it does pretty well.

Pros:

  • Great weight capacity
  • Comfortable seat
  • A very adjustable Vantage seat
  • Equipped with four-rod holders

Cons:

  • Pretty basic

Bottom Line

More than anything, the Hobie Mirage Outback is a fruitful investment. With comfortable seating, easy navigation, and many convenience options, it’s one of the best ocean fishing kayaks.


4. Perception Pescador Pro 12Best for Comfort

Perception Pescador Pro 12

 

The Perception Pescador Pro 12 is a pretty recommendable ocean fishing kayak thanks to its all-around great design and performance. It’s pretty stable in both how it looks and performs.

It’s relatively short and low in the water for a sit-on kayak, but it’s enormously wide to provide you with great casting and fish-fighting experience.

Moreover, it features a mesh-style seat to regulate temperature when you’re caught up in a fish fight. It also has two-level adjustments to make you feel comfortable.

When you start paddling, you can lower it, and when you want to cast from a seated position, you can raise it back up. I think this is pretty thoughtful design and provides security for when you’re fishing in rougher waters.

Furthermore, it comes with large, open storage spaces, one at the front and the other at the rear. This is to enable you to pack as much gear as you want. This is also made possible with the 375-pounds maximum capacity limit. It’s also a good ratio relative to its 57-pound weight.

Pros:

  • One-piece construction
  • Built-in buoyancy for added safety
  • Integrated accessory rails

Cons:

  • Some issues with quality control and delivery

Bottom Line

While it’s true that the Perception Pescador Pro 12 isn’t the highest quality kayak or the most durable, it’s still one of the safest and most comfortable ocean fishing kayaks out there. It also offers a decent weight to maximum capacity ratio.


5. Ocean Kayak Malibu Two TandemBest Tandem Ocean Fishing Kayak

Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem

 

Next on the list is this superb tandem fishing kayak, the Ocean Malibu. With a 425-pound maximum capacity, it easily accommodates you, a fishing partner, and plenty of equipment or fishing gear.

Although it’s a 12-foot long vessel, it has great stability with a comfortable center of gravity and minimizes any chances of going overboard. There’s also a skid plate that makes it durable and provides protection against rocks.

In the hull, there are a pair of seats that feature ComfortPlus padding and have four-way adjustability, and that provide you with plenty of comfort to fish in whatever position feels most convenient to you. It even comes with a smaller center seat that enables you to bring a child aboard.

In addition, there are footwell braces that provide you with support when you’re paddling to catch up with a fleeting pretty.

Moreover, the molded handles and 57-pound weight make transporting this kayak from one place to another quite easy.

Finally, the Ocean Malibu comes with a lifetime warranty on the hull, which is super impressive and speaks volumes of the quality of its construction.

Pros:

  • Can be configured to suit solo or tandem kayaking
  • Decent weight capacity
  • Stable and steady

Cons:

  • Packaging issues

Bottom Line

With a bright red and orange design, the Malibu is pretty visible besides being stable and smooth on the water. It offers decent storage space, plenty of stability, and comfort. It’s an ideal offshore fishing kayak if you’re going with a friend.


6. Ocean Kayak FrenzyBest Budget Option

Ocean Kayak Frenzy

Coming at a very affordable price, the Ocean Frenzy still provides plenty of great features. It’s the perfect option for those who are starting out on their ocean kayak fishing and want to explore their wants and needs without breaking the bank.

Still, it’s also a great option for experienced kayakers that are constrained by their budget.

Evidently, it doesn’t have any design features that stand out. There aren’t rod holders or any clever storage options. But it’s a good option for those who are looking to gain better control over their gear.

It does come with an adjustable seat, which is an impressive feature for a budget kayak. It’s also lightweight and portable as it weighs 43 pounds, yet it can accommodate up to 325 pounds.

Pros:

  • Lightweight design
  • Adjustable seat
  • Ample capacity
  • Great for advancing your kayak fishing level

Cons:

  • Basic design
  • Doesn’t stand out

Bottom Line

Whether you’re a beginner or a well-versed kayaker on a budget, you’ll definitely enjoy this affordable yet efficient ocean fishing kayak. Despite being a budget option, it offers plenty of great features like a lightweight design and stability.


7. BKC UH-TK181Best Bang for Your Buck

BKC UH TK181

The BKC UH-TK181 is another budget-friendly kayak that ticks all the right boxes. It gives a lot of attention to the tandem aspect and is equipped with seven fishing rod holders –a lot more than normal fishing kayaks.

It also features two secure paddle parks where you can store your paddles when not in use.

The BKC UH-TK181 wastes no space from its large size as it has plenty of space for storage compartments where you can keep all your valuables without worrying about them getting wet.

Moreover, the 34-inch beam enhances its tracking and stability, making its performance on water superb. Even on choppy waters, it’s very steady and enables you to stand up without any risk of tipping over.

It’s not very light as it weighs 68 pounds, but you can still move it from one place to another on your own. Plus, it has a decent maximum capacity of 450 pounds, which suits two adults with plenty of gear.

Finally, it comes with two aluminum paddles and deluxe seats that provide you comfort throughout your fishing trip.

Pros:

  • Equipped with multiple carrying handles
  • Decent storage
  • Quite stable even on choppy waters
  • Quick speed
  • Well-built and looks good
  • Comes with a 5-year warranty

Cons:

  • Seat battens are prone to break

Bottom Line

This well-built ocean fishing kayak is a great choice for those who are looking for an amazing bang for their buck. It’s easy to move around despite its weight, offers plenty of storage, and provides stability in choppy water conditions.


8. Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak – Best Affordable Ocean Fishing Kayak

Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak

The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 is an affordable fishing kayak, yet it has a lot to offer. 

Firstly, it’s a very durable kayak made of high-density UV-protected polyethylene, which guarantees longevity and long-term usability.

In terms of inner construction, the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 is equipped with comfortable padded seats that can be adjusted. They also have back support to extend the duration of your fishing trip.

Moreover, there are two flush-mounted fishing rod holders and a top-mounted one to facilitate your fishing experience and make it more convenient.

It has front and rear shock cord straps that prevent any emergencies as well as a 6” storage compartment where you can store all your essentials and needs without worrying about water reaching them.

Weighing only 51 pounds, the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 is quite easy to transport. This is even enhanced by the deep hull tracking channels. However, its maximum capacity reaches only 275 pounds, which is quite inferior to other options.

Finally, the kayak comes with stability chine rails and a stable bottom that provide maximum stability during rugged conditions. However, this comes at the expense of speed as the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 is relatively slow.

Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • Decent storage space
  • Flat bottom for extra stability
  • Adjustable, padded seats with back support
  • Plenty of leg space

Cons:

  • Doesn’t suit choppy waters
  • Common hull cracking issues

Bottom Line

The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 offers incredible stability and durable construction, easily making it one of the best ocean fishing kayaks for anyone that’s looking for an affordable yet efficient option.

With durable construction and incredible stability, this sit-in kayak is an amazing choice for anyone who’s going to fish in small water areas.


What to Look for When Buying an Ocean Fishing Kayak

If you’re going to go fishing in open waters like oceans or seas, you need to be very prepared for the upcoming trip. One of the most important aspects of preparation is having reliable equipment, so if you need to learn how to pick a good

1. Inshore or Offshore Fishing

You should know what kind of water you’ll be fishing in before you make your purchase, whether it’s tamer inshore waters, in other words, coastal waters with a maximum depth of 70 feet or offshore waters with a minimum depth of 71 feet.

This is because there are some crucial differences in design between general fishing kayaks and sea or ocean kayaks. The latter are slim, hard-chined, and offer incredible tracking, speed, and secondary stability.

2. Type: Sit-on-Top vs. Sit-in Kayak

Fishing kayaks are divided into these two types, and making your choice depends on where you’re going to fish.

An ocean fishing kayak should be a sit-in one as these are more secure and tight. They come with small compartments where your legs go to ensure that the kayak remains attached to you. This is why they’re ideal for open waters that are challenging and need a stable vessel.

They also come with compartments where you can store your fishing gear and personal belongings. The main difference between them and Sit-on-Top kayaks is that they have cockpits.

3. Cockpit

A wider cockpit is a good choice if you’re a novice or if you’re not well-versed with kayaking as it gives you plenty of space to move around and experiment with how your different body movements impact the stability of the kayak.

On the other hand, if you’re more experienced, you might want to look into something that’s more tight-fitting as it would give you better control over the paddles.

4. Stability and Tracking

When you get a fish hooked onto your bait, you’ll definitely stand up to cast your rod. That’s why you need a kayak that offers plenty of stability, and that enables you to keep your balance effortlessly. However, it’s worth mentioning that more stable kayaks are typically harder to paddle and maneuver.

Stability also involves tracking, which is the extent to which your kayak can hold its course when underway. Good tracking means that the kayak will stay on track even when a turning force like a sweep stroke acts on it.

5. Paddling Experience

Paddling is a very important aspect to consider, especially if you’re a beginner or an intermediate kayaker, in which case you’ll want to get something that doesn’t turn too quickly when you give it input. This results in more stability and gives you more confidence when it comes to navigating your kayak.

6. Weight and Portability

Despite all the advances that are taking place in the world of kayaking, kayaks are becoming heavier.

So, if you want to load your kayak with gear and accessories, make sure that it’s going straight from the means of transportation and into the water.

However, if you’re going to have to drag it through dirt paths or anything of the sort, you should opt for a lightweight model. This would typically be a sit-in model, which is great for ocean fishing, or an inflatable one.  

7. Weight Capacity

A rule of thumb is that the kayak you buy should have a weight capacity that is 100 pounds more than your body weight and the weight of all your equipment and gear combined.

So, for example, a 400-pound weight capacity would be quite suitable for two people.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Long Should a Sea or Ocean Kayak Be?

Generally, to fish in the ocean with a kayak, you want to get something that’s long and wide with a flat bottom.

It should be around 15 to 20 feet in length. A longer kayak can cut through waves with more ease without losing stability.

However, this is not to say that shorter kayaks can’t be used for ocean fishing, as long as you can work with it.

Are Sit-on-Top Kayaks Good for the Ocean?

It’s worth mentioning that fishing kayaks and ocean kayaks are entirely different things. But if you want to buy an ocean fishing kayak, it has to combine features from both.

If you’re going to be fishing in an area where the conditions aren’t particularly rough, a sit-on-top kayak would be a good choice.

However, if you’ll be faced with lots of waves and uneven waters, you should opt for a sit-in kayak instead.

Where Can I Store My Catch?

If you’re going to take your catches back to consume them, then you should bring a cooler along with you on your fishing trip. You should make sure that you have a fishing kayak that’s able to carry the cooler beforehand, however.

Most fishing kayaks come with decent storage options, including a rear tank well in which you can place a cooler.

Can I Buy a Cheap Ocean Fishing Kayak?

You definitely can. An effective, quality ocean fishing kayak doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. All it takes is some good research and a realistic view of the limits that your budget will set for you.

Final Thoughts

While all the options I’ve listed above can easily be considered the best ocean fishing kayaks on the market for what stability features they have to offer.

For one, the patented MirageDrive paddle driven system on the Hobie Mirage Outback highly contributes to how stable this high-value kayak is.

If you’re looking for a really budget-friendly option, though, you should opt for the Ocean Kayak Frenzy.

The Perception Pescador Pro 12 is an excellent choice for those who intend to spend a lot of time in their kayak and on their fishing trip. This is because it offers plenty of comfort and convenience.

Finally, the Sea Eagle SE370 is a solid choice for anyone that’s looking to bring company with them on their fishing trip as it can accommodate up to 650 pounds -suitable for three people to be on-board.