Choosing The Best Inflatable Kayak For Fishing | Great Days Outdoors

Choosing The Best Inflatable Kayak For Fishing

The world of fishing kayaks has come to be a very wide one, and to be honest, there is probably a kayak to fit the needs of just about any angler in any sort of fishing situation. Lately, an entirely new and exciting variety of kayaks have been added to the mix. To take portability and storability to new levels, many kayak makers have spent considerable time, effort and experimentation in developing kayaks that can be inflated for use and deflated for storage, while still offering all of the advantages of traditional hard-shell kayaks. So how do you choose the best inflatable kayak for fishing?

Inflatable Kayak Points To Consider

There are a number of considerations any angler who is thinking about an inflatable fishing kayak needs to keep in mind. Not every make and model of inflatable kayak offers the same accessories and elements, and each angler will have different personal wants and needs.

Lots of information is present online and that’s a good place for inflatable kayak research to begin. However, there’s nothing like hands-on exposure to various inflatables, and most local kayak shops which offer inflatables as part of their stock will allow potential buyers to try out their lines of inflatable kayaks.

Here are some important points for a potential inflatable kayak buyer to keep in mind.

  • Increased Seat Height- many inflatable kayaks have fully adjustable seating, and most offer raised seating for easier fishing. Comfortable seats are not an option for a good fishing kayak. Good seating makes all the difference between a good trip and a time of misery. 
  • Motor mounts – a number of modern inflatable kayaks have built-in motor mounting or this can be added after the boat has been purchased. Some inflatables can use trolling motors or even small gas motors.
  • Rod and lure holders- Many inflatables offer rod holders and many of these kayaks have track mounting for rod holders and other accessories.
  • Accessory pouches and tie down straps for additional fishing accessories an angler wants to install on the boat (such as fish finders)
  • Ability to stand in the kayak makes casting and landing fish simpler, and many inflatable kayaks are perfectly capable of allowing the angler to stand and cast.  Some kayaks are better at this than others, and if standing is important, make sure any kayak under consideration is built to allow standing and fishing.

Durability Of Inflatable Kayaks

Modern inflatable kayaks are remarkably tough and resistant to puncture and other damage. 


However, sharp objects such as knives and other very pointed things can puncture an inflatable.  Also, overinflating a kayak can cause seam failure, so anglers who use inflatable kayaks need to make sure they properly inflate their boats, and to be careful to not put too much air in. And in hot summer, an overinflated kayak can quickly become dangerously overinflated if the boat is left in the hot sun.

inflatable kayak for fishing

So, for maximum durability of all inflatable kayaks, the idea is simple: keep very sharp objects away and keep the inflation to the right level. If this is done, inflatable kayaks can provide years of good service with no damages.

Inflation of kayaks can be done with hand pumps, but most anglers choose to use small low-volume 12-volt inflation pumps which can be plugged into auto accessory plugs.  These little pumps can bring an inflatable boat up to needed pressure quickly.  Just be sure to not overinflate- that’s a bad thing to do.


The days of puffy, flat-bottomed horrible to handle inflatable boats are long gone. Modern inflatable kayaks are made with a wide range of underwater hull structures which allow much easier paddling or pedaling, and good turning and control. Using skegs or keels (or both) to keep the kayak tracking straight when it is paddled is a necessary component of a good inflatable fishing kayak..

Weight And Portability – A Major Selling Point

Here’s where inflatable kayaks really shine. Most modern inflatable fishing kayaks will weigh around fifty pounds, and nearly all will roll up into a very compact bundle when deflated. This makes it possible to take a very good fishing boat to places full-size kayaks can’t go. And some inflatables can even be taken aboard commercial airlines as part of luggage- a boat on a plane- what a great idea!

Best Budget Inflatable Kayak

StraitEdge Angler inflatable kayak

The StraitEdge Angler for Advanced Elements offers a lot of bang for the buck.  Smaller than some other boats, this kayak is perfect for a single angler in smaller waters.


Best Inflatable Kayak With Pedals

Hobie Mirage iTrek 11 inflatable kayak

The Hobie Mirage iTrek 11 is a top of the line kayak, and it comes with all of the expertise Hobie has garnered through the years. The Mirage pedal drive works very well, and it offers forward and reverse power- very nice in close quarters fishing.

Best Inflatable Fishing Kayak With A Motor

BSK 370 from BRISBOAT inflatable kayak

A very interesting inflatable fishing kayak which is designed for use with either trolling motor power or small gas motor is the BSK 370 from BRISBOAT.  This boat provides standable stability, and has 485 pound carrying capacity. 

Best Two-Person Inflatable Fishing Kayak

Blackfoot Angler 160

A nice looking tandem inflatable kayak is the Blackfoot Angler 160 from Aqua glide.  At sixteen feet , this boat has adjustable seats and has 800 pound carry capacity. The boat itself weighs only fifty pounds.

Best Inflatable SUP For Fishing

Creek Osprey Paddleboard

And if we want to take the portability, light weight, and ease of use to its extreme, we need to look at stand up paddleboards as part of the inflatable fishing kayak choices.  The Creek Osprey Paddleboard is quite stable and has a wide deck for easy movement.  This inflatable paddle board is eleven feet, six inches long, six inches thick when inflated, and has 400 pound carry capacity. Seating is provided by a deck mounted ice chest, and a wide range of accessories can be added.

Inflatable Kayak FAQs

 How durable are inflatable kayaks?

A properly maintained and carefully inflated kayak can give many years of great service. With the much tougher PVC plastics used and the drop-stitch seams of modern inflatables, anglers can be confident that their inflatable boat will serve them well for a long time.

How do I patch an inflatable kayak?

This is not rocket science.  First locate the leak- there may be a hissing noise or bubbles.  Most small leaks can be sealed well with liquid adhesives made for the job.  Aquaseal FD and AquaPro PVC Stitch are good.  Larger leaks may require adhesive and a patch.  Scuff the surface lightly, apply glue to patch and surface, and apply the patch with pressure.  

How do I maintain an inflatable kayak?

Be careful of high temperatures either on the water or off- this can overinflate a kayak and cause seam failure. Don’t drag the inflatable kayak to the water.  Be careful of sharp objects.

 Are inflatable kayaks safe?

Modern inflatable kayaks have multiple sealed chambers, so even if a leak develops in a certain place on the kayak, there will be plenty of flotation in other parts of the kayak to make a safe return possible. There are no special requirements for paddling or pedaling an inflatable kayak- operating an inflatable is just like operating a traditional hard- hull kayak.

Final Thoughts On Inflatable Kayaks

There’s a lot to be said for a sturdy, reliable, affordable boat which gets an angler on the water. Inflatable kayaks provide all of these necessary points, and in many ways, inflatables are superior to traditional hard-hulled kayaks. Especially for anglers who operate on limited travel space, a boat in a bag inflatable kayak can provide years of fishing adventures in a way that no other boat can.

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