Buying Guide: Best Fly Fishing Kayak Models and Features
Kayaks aren’t exactly ideal for fly fishing. A fly line can snag on just about anything you can imagine, so a boat with a lot of accessory items is not a perfect solution. Plus, they require you to stand up straight, and with a certain amount of force, hurl your lure. Because of this, you’ll need the space inside the cockpit to stand, as well as enough stability to help you maintain control while casting and reeling in your fish. This is very niche, however, there are a few kayaks with the attributes that you are looking for. Here is my list of the best fly fishing kayaks, but pay special attention to the attributes I mention, just in case you want to do some investigating on your own.
Attributes to Look For When Making Your Purchase
Sit on Top versus Sit In: There is a balance here when it comes to fly fishing kayaks, between comfort and stability. Sit in Kayaks tend to be a bit more stable because it is below the water line, however the sit on versions are more comfortable because your standing on a flat surface.
Cleanliness: When fly fishing, you need a lot of slack on your line, which means you will need extra room for control. A kayak with too many areas for the hook to get tied up on, Is not ideal, so find the cleanest model that you can.
Hull space: You need extra space inside the hull, compared to your standard kayak.
Top 4 Models
Native Watercraft Slayer 14.5
From all of the fishing kayaks on the market, this may be the only one that looks like it was built specifically for fly fishermen. It has a very comfortable high/low seat, you could literally take it out and lounge away the day on land with it. The cockpit is also very clean, while also having plenty of cargo space. When shifting your weight around, the kayak remains very stable, and the wheel on the back makes it easy to transport items if that is your thing. If I was to list one negative, it is that it doesn’t come with scuppers for the bow/stern.
Cobra Marauder Ultimate Fishing Machine Kayak
The Marauder is nice and long and supports plenty of weight. It has a flat layout and very nice hatches, which is very important when fly fishing. However, I’m not entirely thrilled about the seating arrangement, the tunnel hull looks like it would be extremely uncomfortable if you are forced to stand on it for an extended period of time. Additional features include all of the bells and whistles, 4 rod holders, a lifetime warranty, and a dry storagearea. In addition, it only weighs 55 lbs, and for a 14.3” length kayak, that is awesome.
Wilderness Systems – Ride 135 Advance
Wilderness is known for the amount of effort they put into their kayaks, to make them comfortable to sit on, and its no different in the Ride 135. There is plenty of room and stability for fly casting, supports a weight capacity of over 500 lbs, it has basically everything you would want. However, before you can cast you have to push back on your seat in order to give you the room to stand and cast, which can be a major hindrance.
Native Watercraft Ultimate 14.5 Solo Kayak
This Kayak is like the ugly step sister of the Slayer, with the biggest difference being that the slayer is a sit on top kayak, and this is a sit in version. The Slayer has a more efficient hull design which allows for faster tracking, and has an amazing seat versus this particular model, with better lumbar support. In terms of standing, the ultimate is more stable to stand in, due to the fact that your under the water, however the slayer is more comfortable to stand on for longer periods of time because it has a flat deck. Other benefits of the ultimate over the slayer include a bit more hull space due to the design, and the fact that it’s cheaper and weighs about 10 lbs lighter.