The best ocean fishing kayak will be able to take you places you never thought possible. Fishing offshore in the open water will give you a new perspective on life. The ocean will hold larger and more variety of fish than that of smaller freshwater lakes. The best saltwater fishing kayaks will be comfortable and have features such as ample storage to get you and your gear to your weekend campsite.
The best ocean kayaks are versatile to be functional in surf and flat water. We have done the research so you don’t have to. Here are our top 5 kayaks for fishing in saltwater.
How To Choose An Ocean Fishing Kayak – Buying Guide
There are a few key things that you will want to pay attention to when looking for the best ocean kayak for you. These can seem small and not important but can become magnified on longer trips.
Ocean kayaks are some of the fastest in the water. They have a long sleek shell which allows them to cut through the water with much less resistance than a traditional boat. When this is coupled with a more narrow width ocean kayaks will outpace nearly every other type.
Speed becomes vastly important when you’re traveling long distances for your fishing spot. Being able to turn up your speed and get back to shore will allow you to not only travel farther to fish but also get back to the shore before darkness falls. If you are fishing around dusk or dawn be sure to bring along a light so that you can warn other boaters of your location.
Single Or Tandem
If you are planning on paddling with a buddy regularly a tandem is the best option for you. But if this doesn’t sound like you a single seat ocean kayak is the best option. If you are a single person in a tandem kayak it can cause some issues. One is the open cockpit. Without a spray guard, it can cause the boat to fill with water, something you want to avoid.
It can also be hard to handle since they are longer than single options. Tandem kayaks are meant to be ridden by two people. The seats have been spaced out so that nobody is in the direct middle, where you want to be when it’s just you paddling.
This is where ocean kayaks differ from nearly every other type of kayak. These boats need to have enough stability to combat extreme surf and wave conditions that the ocean brings. This can be hard to come by since ocean kayaks also need to be narrower. But this is where secondary stability comes into play.
A more narrow boat will be easier to tip over than a wider one. Companies have figured this out and come up with a way of combating it. Primary stability is when you’re simply sitting in the water. The amount your boat tips is not that much in a traditional boat. But you will in ocean kayaks. What makes up for it is secondary stability. This is what stops you from completely tipping over. It will be a weird sensation, but your boat will catch itself when you least expect it to.
There is an easy way to tell if a kayak has good secondary stability. It’s done by looking at the shape of its hull. A more rounded or sharp hull will be the ones to look at. The hull is the shape of the curve at the bottom of your boat. It is one of the most important aspects of your kayak that will dictate not only how fast your boat will travel but also its overall stability.
Another style you should look for is pontoon or tunnel hulls. This is when the bottom most point is actually inverted. These don’t favor primary over secondary stability and actually offer the best balance of any hull type. This increase in stability makes some boats stable enough to actually stand when fishing.
As with any kayak that you look to buy, you will want to pay attention to the amount of storage that your boat has. This is especially important in ocean kayaks as you will likely be looking to pack a lot of extra gear along with you on your trip. This is largely due to the unpredictable nature of paddling on the ocean. With the currents and tides, you will want to ensure that you come fully prepared and therefore will require a lot of gear.
This becomes even truer when you are fishing. While bungee cords are nice, you will want to ensure your boat offers dry storage as well. Ideally, your boat should have both bow and stern storage compartments as well as bungee cord systems on top. When fishing, it is ideal to store your gear and tackle in the back and reserving the front of your boat for fish storage.
Bungee systems on your boat allow you to attach additional gear to your boat which becomes ideal when planning to enjoy overnight camping. Every single inch of storage becomes necessary when you are planning long weekend fishing trips. You will have to pack in and out all of your gear including tents, sleeping pads and even your food, not to mention your fishing rods and other gear.
The seat of your kayak is one of the most important aspects when it comes to fishing. We all know that fishing takes time and patience. But if your seat isn’t comfortable both of these things will seem secondary to your discomfort. Be sure to ensure your kayak comes with a seat as some don’t. On top of this, ensure it is comfortable. You can do this by making sure it is completely adjustable and has extra padding.
Being able to change positions and adjust it on the go may seem insignificant, but can add another dimension to your fishing. Sitting in one position can cause you significant discomfort through your back and legs. Shifting your seat into a more reclined position can reduce this discomfort and make you able to sit for hours longer.
Companies have also learned the strategic areas to add padding. Some even use specialized materials that make padding more firm or softer depending on which part of the body it’s against.
The vastness of the ocean will undoubtedly make you feel very small especially sitting in a one person kayak. Swells become massive without the cover of an inlet or bay. The length of your kayak will do its best to combat both of these. Look for an ocean kayak that fits in the 15 to 20 foot range. This will make ascending large swells easier and not feel as small in the ocean.
Since you will more than likely be traveling longer distances than in fresh water ample storage is necessary. Dry storage is that which keeps your items free from water, even if you overturn your kayak. Bungee systems are also a key feature that will ensure you have quick access to your most needed items such as water and snacks.
Comfort is the most important thing to consider when purchasing an ocean kayak. Traveling long distances in a cockpit you feel claustrophobic will not translate into a fun trip. Try to find a kayak where you can sit comfortably and move your feet around easily. Being able to travel with blankets around your legs will make the early morning or end of season trips that much more enjoyable.
Most kayaks are made out of a polyethylene material. This is a lightweight, durable plastic that does a good job resisting dings and dents caused by the shore. It can be warped if left in the sun for a prolonged time so we suggest storing this type of kayak undercover.
High-end fiberglass is another common building material. It is more lightweight than its plastic counterpart but is more susceptible to damage. That being said, fiberglass is exceptionally easy to repair which gives it a lifespan of up to a decade.
Kevlar and carbon are the highest end materials you can get for kayaks. They are ultralight and super durable. Expect to pay for this type as the material used is vastly more expensive than that of fiberglass and plastic.
Q: Should I Go For Sit-In Or Sit-On-Top?
A: Each of these types has their pros and cons. A sit inside style is great for things like rivers and white water. These will allow you to also go in high surf conditions without getting wet (with an addition of a spray guard). Most of these kayaks have some dry storage for your sensitive electronics or extra gear. They may not have a bungee system which can leave them lacking in the storage department. This style is also ideal for beginners as they allow you to have a lower center of gravity and therefore a more stable ride.
A sit on top type kayak will have a more open deck. In fact, your legs will be completely exposed. This can give you more open storage in the way of bungees and deck space. But it may lack dry storage like hatches.
Globo Surf Overview
The best kayak for ocean fishing will allow you to paddle for prolonged periods of time in comfort. Lots of storage space, a comfortable cockpit and a durable frame are key aspects that you should factor into your decision. The best ocean kayaks can maneuver through the unpredictable surf of the ocean as well as being reliable for a straight ride through the lake.
Have an ocean kayak on our list? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
New to kayaking or have a kayak on our list? Let us know how you like it in the comment section below.
Globo Surf Ocean Fishing Kayak Review