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Kayak fishing is a great activity to get you out on the water, enjoying nature and giving a fresh spin to one of the world’s most loved sports. But do you know how to make kayak fishing even better? Load up a tandem fishing kayak with a friend and share the experience!
Because everything in life is better when it is shared with a good friend, right?
Before you get your tackle box and rods ready, make sure you choose wisely from the best tandem fishing kayaks available. We have done the research and compiled a buyer’s guide to this epic tandem adventure to help you choose the best kayak for the job. From what to look out for to essential kayak fishing accessories, we’ve got you covered.
Table of Contents
“Tandem kayak fishing” is pretty self-explanatory. It is fishing from a tandem kayak with two people. Two people mean twice the fun! That is definitely how it works, right?
With the best tandem fishing kayak, you can invite a fishing buddy along for the day. It is important to make sure the boat has specific features to keep up with the adventure. These include:
You can go tandem fishing in lakes, reservoirs, and out to the open ocean – local regulations permitting. With the correct set-up, you will be sure to have the best fishing kayak adventures.
Before you rush off and buy a two-person fishing kayak to add to your garage, check out some of the key factors you need to consider. From the overall size down to the included fishing rod holders, the details matter!
When buying kayaks, a simple rule of thumb to remember is shorter kayaks are more manoueverable and longer kayaks are faster. This is true in terms of fishing kayaks as well. However, when you are thinking about two kayak anglers in one boat, you need to accommodate more paddler weight and more fishing gear.
Ideally, a tandem fishing kayak needs to be between 12 feet and 14 feet in length. This will give you a good balance between handling and speed. Pair the longer length with reasonable width and the kayak will be super stable, perfect for compensating for two people’s balance.
For tandem fishing, the kayak needs a large weight capacity to not only take two passengers but also all your fishing gear. Weight capacity is determined by three things:
If your kayak is overloaded, you will struggle with paddling and stability while also being at a higher risk of capsizing. All manufacturers will state the weight capacity for their kayaks along with the length and dimensions. Most tandem fishing kayaks will range between 450 lbs and 650 lbs in weight capacity.
When you are shopping for tandem fishing kayaks the purpose is clear: it needs to carry two people and all of the fishing gear to go with it. With this clear purpose, you can start to look for specific features that a non-fishing kayak may not have.
Rod holders, waterproof storage hatches, well-padded seats, and reliable bungee deck storage areas are just some of the purpose features that you will want to be included in your tandem fishing kayak.
Comfort also plays a huge part in the purpose element of choosing a kayak. You may need to also add kayak seat pads and supports to make the paddling experience more comfortable.
One of the most important factors to put into consideration when choosing a tandem fishing kayak is the durability of the vessel. Durability comes from materials used, build quality, and the general kayak care you uphold after purchase. Having decent durability means you will not be limited to where you can take your kayak for adventures.
Most kayaks are made from hard-wearing plastics (more on this next). This material is perfect for keeping up with life’s greatest fishing trips. It can handle bumping off rocky bottoms and riverbanks.
There is a variety of materials used across two-person fishing kayaks. The materials used will have a direct impact on not only the performance but also the budget of the kayak.
Plastic is the most commonly used material for recreational kayaks – tandem fishing kayaks will fall into this category. Rotomolded polyethylene or thermoformed ABS, acrylic and other plastics provide excellent durability. These rigid plastic materials are hard-wearing and the most affordable option.
Other materials you could consider are:
In order to decide between a pedal or a paddle kayak, you need to think about where you are going to be doing most of your fishing trips.
Pedal kayaks have an additional propeller that is located under the hull. This is powered by the kayaker’s legs on foot pedals. It is however difficult to find a tandem pedal kayak that is appropriate for fishing excursions.
While sit-inside kayaks are more comfortable for colder conditions, they are extremely limiting when it comes to fishing. So whether you are looking for a solo kayak or tandem kayak, sit-on-top kayak types are always the way to go.
With a sit-on-top kayak, paddlers can move around more on the kayak to access equipment. The storage capacity is extensive so you can take all the fishing gear needed. They are also super easy to get on and off, making it a good option for tandem kayaking.
As tandem fishing kayaks tend to be bigger than your average kayak, it is necessary to consider where you are going to store the boat and how you are going to transport it.
Traditional hardshell kayaks require a lot of storage space. There are some storage solution wall or ceiling racks that may help you utilize otherwise redundant space under decks or in garages. If you are limited in space, an inflatable tandem kayak may be a good solution.
The same goes for transporting the kayak on roof bars. Inflatable kayaks are super easy to travel with. Simply deflate, pack away, and stow away in the back of your vehicle along with the rest of your fishing gear.
When you are planning your next fishing trip with a buddy, make sure you remember to pack all of the essentials!
We have done a round-up of the best tandem fishing kayaks on the market. Here are the top eight for you to compare and pick from!
It is no secret as to why the BKC TK122U Tandem Sit On Top Fishing Kayak is our best overall top pick. This fishing kayak ticks all the boxes. It is comfortable, stable, and durable meaning it performs exceptionally well for fishing excursions.
The seats are aluminum frame chairs with padded seats and backrests that have multiple adjustment points and allow for ideal comfort and support. This means they are good for shorter paddlers as well.
The BKC TK122 has multiple fishing rod mounts allowing you to troll for fish and leave your hands free for paddling, eating, or folding behind your head as you and the gang relax and enjoy the day.
If you are searching for a decent tandem fishing kayak on a low budget, the Intex Excursion Pro Kayak Series is a good place to start. This is a super affordable tandem fishing kayak, only costing around $300 USD, and does an alright job at the same time.
Sure, it is not as stable or durable as traditional hard kayak types. But for the low cost, it is a compromise some kayakers may be willing to make!
If you do go for this option, do not be tempted to overload the weight capacity. With the kayak being inflatable, it will not be able to handle the excess weight or fishing gear.
Looking for the best of the best? The Elkton Outdoors Hard Shell Fishing Tandem Kayak takes it to the next level. This kayak has been designed with anglers in mind. The storage compartments are well thought out and will make your fishing experience super easy.
The middle of the kayak features a platform that fits coolers and ice chests so you can keep your catch cool or bring your favorite beverage with you. As we said, this really is the premium option, going above and beyond!
A perfectly optimized tandem kayak designed to make anglers happy! All of the finer details are tuned to make your experience even better.
The Sevylor Coleman Colorado edition is an affordable fishing kayak option. As an inflatable boat, it is great for saving space and easing transportation. However, this may have its drawbacks for the more serious anglers that require more weight capacity.
If you are on the lookout for an inflatable tandem kayak for fishing, this is a good option to consider. It is perfect for families that want to dip their toes in the waters of kayak fishing.
Ocean Kayak’s Malibu Recreational Kayak is a great choice for those that want a versatile kayak to do all of the activities. This sit-on-top kayak can be used for most avenues of kayaking, including fishing. Sure, it has not got all the added extras that other fishing kayaks have. But by keeping it basic you can also hit the whitewater rapids or simply enjoy a comfortable cruise.
If you are looking for a basic sit-on-top kayak that can double up as a tandem fishing kayak, the Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Recreational Kayak is a good option to consider.
Don’t be put off by the shorter length of the Lifetime Tandem Fishing Kayak. The 10’ length of this lightweight and compact kayak means it is super easy to handle, both in and out of the water. It is also wide which gives superb tracking and stability whilst in motion.
For the smaller and slighter paddlers, the Lifetime Tandem Fishing Kayak is a great choice. The inbuilt rod holders are useful and so is the rear dry storage cubby hole compartment.
A premium and completely unique kayak – the Oru Tandem Foldable Kayak really is one of a kind! This is an alternative to buying an inflatable kayak. It folds down to a compact origami package and takes less than 5 minutes to put back together. It is stable enough for beginners to cruise along, yet fast enough for pro-paddlers to have some fun too.
If you have the budget to meet the high price tag, why not venture into the unique world of foldable kayaks? This quirky piece of kit may be the best thing you will ever buy!
And finally, we have the Driftsun Almanor Inflatable Kayak. This is a premium high-end option for those searching for the benefits of de-flatable gear. It is long, it is stable, and it has a whopping 600 lbs weight capacity making it the best inflatable tandem fishing kayak.
We struggle to find anything wrong with this kayak from Driftsun. Grab yours today and have some fun!
There is another option for those wanting to get out for a spot of fishing but do not want to add another vessel to their collection. If you already have a stand-up paddle board, you can look into getting your hands on a conversion kit.
Where To Buy: GILI Sports
Add some accessories to your SUP and make yourself a kayak! With an adjustable seat, attached at the D-ring points, and a second blade for your paddle, there is no stopping you. This is a great set-up for SUP fishing as it gives you a more relaxed seat on the board while still allowing you to have a higher vantage point.
With all GILI Sports SUPs, you can also add on fishing rod holders and secure down any tackle boxes using bungees and D-ring points.
Our GILI Manta Ray Multi-Person SUP is the best option for getting the group out on the water and joining in with the fishing action. You can still make use of a SUP to Kayak Conversion Kit while also benefitting from the huge deck space.
This SUP comes in two lengths: 12 feet or 15 feet.
You can easily fish from a recreational two-person kayak. There are also specifically designed tandem fishing kayaks that are ideal for the job. Ultimately, the kayak just needs to be big enough to carry two passengers comfortably along with the fishing equipment.
As long as your regular tandem kayak has a high enough weight capacity, there is no reason why you cannot convert it to a fishing vessel. You may want to consider installing rod holders and securing cool boxes and other gear in place for your trip.
Tandem kayaks may come across as less stable due to having two people balancing and paddling. However, most models are wider than solo kayaks, therefore, giving you more stability to compensate for the dual passengers.
There is nothing stopping you from paddling and fishing from a tandem kayak solo. This just means that you will have heaps of space for your haul and fishing gear!
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