Best Kayak for Rivers 2018 – River Fishing Kayaks

Best Kayak for Rivers 2018 – River Fishing Kayaks

Kayak fishing became a very popular activity in the last couple of years. Kayak angling is practiced in rivers, lakes and even in the open ocean water. And, this trend could be easily justified with the convenience which most of the modern kayaks give to the anglers. The kayaks nowadays are maneuverable, stable and versatile in the water. So, the kayak angler could easily access spots, which are unreachable another way. This last fact is especially relevant for river fishing. That’s why we have made a research for the best kayak for rivers in 2018.

Choosing the Best Kayak for Rivers in 2018:

  1. Malibu Kayaks Stealth 12

  2. Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 Angler Kayak

  3. FeelFree Moken 12.5 Kayak

  4. Malibu Kayaks X-Caliber Fish and Dive Kayak

In case you are not sure that these kayaks match your needs, check out our Buying Guide for the Best fishing kayaks under 1000 USD in 2018. You can find plenty of other fishing kayaks there.


What to consider when buying a river fishing kayak?

There are so many kayak types and different models available on the market. They are produced by a variety of manufacturers and have different features. With such a variety of options, it could be really challenging to focus on the most important characteristics of the best river fishing kayaks.

Let’s find out some of the important considerations when choosing a kayak for rivers:

Length and width

The dimensions of each kayak are one of its essential characteristics. The length of the kayak is important for its speed and maneuverability. However, shorter yaks are not so fast, but their maneuverability is better. On the other side, the width is crucial for the stability of your boat.

Furthermore, we should pay attention to the kayak dimensions as they directly impact how we will transport and store our yak.

Stability

One of the most important considerations when choosing a river fishing kayak is its stability. You don’t want to tip over in a strong current or in case you need to stand up in the boats. So, it is preferable to look for a kayak with a wider beam, which will provide you with the stability you need while angling. That’s why in our list for the best kayak for rivers in 2018, we have selected kayaks with very good performance in relation to stability.

Maneuverability

While you are fishing from a kayak, the speed of the boat is not the most important consideration. However, you should look for a kayak that enables you to maneuver as easy and fast as possible. As stated above the shorter boats are generally better in maneuvering than the longer ones. There is no general rule how long should be the best kayak for rivers, but we believe that a length of more than 13 feet is not needed.

Weight capacity

Another essential feature that you should look for in the best kayak for rivers is its weight capacity. It is important to look for a boat that is suitable for the weight of the paddler. Bear in mind that you will also have fishing gears. So, add their weight to the calculation.

Storage space

The storage space is one of the essential features of the fishing kayaks. When you will use your kayak for fishing you need storage space for all your fishing gears and essentials – tackles, baits, rods and many other. So, bear in mind that it is better to look for a kayak with waterproof storage hatches and a cargo area secured by a bungee system.


Best Kayak for Rivers – Our Picks


1. Malibu Kayaks Stealth 12 Fish and Dive

Malibu Kayaks Stealth 12 - best kayak for rivers

The first kayak presented in our selection is Malibu Kayaks Stealth 12. As you can imagine from its name, this kayak has a length of 12 feet. And, it has a 33-inch wide beam, which promotes superior stability and maneuverability on the water.

The body of the kayak is made of high-quality polyethylene and has a weight of 60 lbs. Although it is not a lightweight kayak, the transportation will not be a significant problem as the boat is equipped with bow and stern carry handles.

It is also important to note that Malibu Kayaks Stealth 12 has an excellent maximum weight capacity of 450 lbs. The spacious open cockpit and adjustable foot braces offer great comfort for the paddler. So, it is made for ultimate convenience even for big guys and their fishing equipment. Unfortunately, although the Stealth has a molded-in seat, it is not equipped with a padded seat.

When we are talking about the fishing gears, we should pay attention to the storage spaces and the typical extras for a fishing kayak. Malibu Kayaks Stealth 12 has 2 rear and 2 front rod holders, paddle holders and a molded cup holder. At the bow of the kayak, there is a storage hatch with plastic cover. A small kid could sit in front of the paddler in the molded seating area on the cover. Additionally, there is a live bait tank well in the center of the kayak and 2 small hatches on both sides of the tank. They are really suitable for your tackles and some gadgets. Last but not least, there is a large rear cargo area with bungee system, which can be used for a dry bag or other larger items.

Reading the above, you probably understand why Malibu Kayaks Stealth 12 is one of our pick for the best kayak for rivers in 2018. Just summarizing, it is a durable and stable kayak, which provides excellent convenience for the paddler. And, it has so many useful features for a river fishing kayak.

PROS

  • High-quality and durable kayak
  • Stable and maneuverable
  • Spacious open cockpit and adjustable footrests
  • 450 lbs. weight capacity
  • Included 4 rod holders – 2 rear and 2 front
  • Spacious rear cargo area with bungees
  • Live bait tank well with 2 small hatches on both sides

 

CONS

  • A bit heavy at 60 lbs.
  • No padded seat included
  • No paddle included

>> Check Price on Amazon <<


2. Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 Angler Kayak

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 - best kayak for rivers

The next river fishing kayak we are going to review is Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 Angler Kayak. It is a durable sit-on-top kayak with a length of 10 feet and width of 30.5 inches. And, its maximum weight capacity is 325 lbs. These dimensions make it a really exciting boat. Although it is not one of the widest kayaks, it provides very good stability. On the other side, it has excellent performance in relation to maneuverability and it is unexpectedly fast considering its short length.

The body of the Tarpon 100 is made of high-density rotomolded polyethylene, which promises to last for years. Although it weighs 55 lbs, the yak is easy for carrying due to the comfortable bow and stern handles.

Although it is a relatively small kayak, Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 is surprisingly spacious and comfortable. It has adjustable footrests, which offer great comfort for paddlers of all sizes. Additionally, the boat comes with Wilderness Systems Phase 3 AirPro seat, which is specifically designed to provide extra cushioning along the spine and support for the back.

If you are looking for storage space, Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 definitely will not disappoint you. It has 2 Orbix dry storage hatches in the center and the bow of the kayak. The smaller one in the middle is suitable to keep dry your valuable items. In the larger 8-inch compartment could be stored some snacks or dry clothes. In addition, there is a large rear storage area, where you can put a dry bag, tackle boxes or a small cooler. To be honest, a minor drawback here is that there are no paddle keepers. But the Tarpon 100 comes with a dual Slide-Trax rail system, which enables you to attach to it accessories like GPS or a fishfinder.

All at all, Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 is a sturdy kayak with excellent performance. Furthermore, it comes at a really reasonable price considering all of its features.

PROS

  • High-quality and durable kayak
  • Stable and maneuverable
  • Spacious sit-on-top kayak with adjustable footrests
  • Comfortable Phase 3 AirPro seat
  • 325 lbs. weight capacity
  • 2 Orbix dry storage hatches
  • Spacious rear cargo area with bungees

 

CONS

  • No paddle rests
  • No paddle included

>> Check Price on Amazon <<


3. FeelFree Moken 12.5 Kayak

FeelFree Moken 12.5 Kayak - best kayak for rivers

Looking for the best kayak for rivers in 2018 we could not miss FeelFree Moken 12.5 Kayak. It is a sit-on-top kayak with a length of 12.8 feet and width of 32 inch. The body of this yak is made of sturdy polyethylene and it is designed with stability in mind. And, it performs really well in relation to stability. Furthermore, it has a stand-up leash and standing pad for the optimal convenience of the kayak angler when he needs to stand up.

FeelFree Moken 12.5 Kayak has a maximum weight capacity of 419 lbs, which is more than enough for an angler with fishing gears. However, this kayak is also spacious and comfortable for the paddler. It comes with King Fisher seat that allows you to feel comfortable during the long fishing trips. Therefore, the kayak also has adjustable footrests. Actually, this boat is heavier than the other kayaks on our list – 72 lbs. But at the same time, it has molded handles and wheel in the keel, which makes the transportation to the water easier.

Of course, as most of the fishing kayaks, the Moken 12.5 has plenty of storage spaces. There are storage hatches in the bow and in the center console of the kayak. However, there are also side pockets in the cockpit and a large open cargo area with bungee cords in the stern.

Furthermore, every kayak angler will recognize as an important feature the front and rear Uni Track rails. They allow you to mount GPS or a fishfinder. Additionally, there are fishing rod holders and molded paddle rest.

PROS

  • High-quality and durable kayak
  • Very stable kayak
  • Spacious sit-on-top kayak with adjustable footrests
  • Comfortable King Fisher seat
  • 419 lbs. weight capacity
  • Good storage space
  • Rear and front Uni Track rails
  • Stand-up leash and standing pad
  • Wheel in the keel

 

CONS

  • A bit heavy at 72 lbs.
  • No paddle included

>> Check Price on Amazon <<


4. Malibu Kayaks X-Caliber Fish and Dive Kayak

Malibu Kayaks X-Caliber - best kayak for rivers

Malibu Kayaks X-Caliber Fish and Dive is one more kayak that deserves its place in our list for the best kayak for rivers in 2018. Made of polyethylene, this 12.5 feet river fishing kayak offers excellent quality and durability. However, due to its 31-inch wide beam, the X-Caliber performs really well in relation to stability and maneuverability.

Actually, this kayak is quite lightweight at only 52 lbs. and it is equipped with bow and stern carrying handles. Additionally, it has side bungee carry handles with paddle holders. On the other hand, Malibu Kayaks X-Caliber Fish and Dive allows maximum buoyancy of 400 lbs, which is very good for a fishing kayak.

Although the X-Caliber has a molded-in seat in the cockpit, the package does not include a padded seat. However, the kayak has adjustable footrests for optimal comfort.

The Gator hatch at the bow allows you to store your snacks or some clothes. And, when it is closed it provides an extra seating for a child just in front of the paddler. Also, the kayak has a central rectangular hatch where you can store your valuables or some fishing tackles. Of course, there is a large rear bungee storage for waterproof dry bags, coolers or tackle boxes.

Therefore, Malibu Kayaks X-Caliber Fish and Dive also has other extras that every kayak angler will like. It comes with 2 rear rod holders and a transducer mount for a fishfinder or GPS. And, a cup holder, to have a drink on hand.

Concluding on the above, we can say that the X-Caliber is a kayak that comes at a really reasonable price considering its high quality and the available features. So, if you are looking for an excellent river fishing kayak, you should give it a try.

PROS

  • High-quality and durable kayak
  • Stable and maneuverable
  • Lightweight at only 52 lbs.
  • Spacious open cockpit with adjustable footrests
  • 400 lbs. weight capacity
  • Included 2 rear rod holders
  • Spacious rear cargo area with bungees
  • Gator hatch at the bow and center rectangular hatch

 

CONS

  • No padded seat included
  • No paddle included

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

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