What’s The Difference Between A Fishing Kayak And A regular Kayak?

People can make their own kayaks but it’s time consuming and requires expertise. What makes a fishing kayak different is stability, ease of movement and cargo space.

If you’re new to kayaking, it may be difficult to understand the difference between fishing kayak and a regular kayak. The key differences are usually that a fishing kayak has more room for storing equipment and they often have a system installed in them that allows you to determine the depth of water below you.

While fishing kayaks are similar to other kayaks, there are some key features that set them apart. Such features may include more stability while paddling and the ability to use the entire body to brace oneself during a turn.

We’ll help you make a decision about whether or not you should buy a fishing kayak. For example, it has been shown that owning a fishing kayak is the best way to catch fish.

We’ll now discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of fishing kayaks as they compare to regular kayaks. We’ll also provide some key considerations to help you choose a kayak that will suit your needs for the foreseeable future.

Learn the difference between fishing kayaks and regular kayaks

In general, fishing kayaks are larger and heavier than regular kayaks. However, even the best fishing kayaks can differ in size depending on their designs.

Different kayaks are designed for different purposes. Fishing kayaks work best on ponds, lakes, and river while fly fishing kayaks are designed to work in much different ways than another type of fishing kayak that’s out there.

The major differences between fishing kayaks and regular kayaks can be found when you look at their specifications on width, weight, seat design, and the ability to attach additional accessories to the kayak’s deck.

We should also mention that there are large differences in cost. For instance, fishing kayaks cost much more than normal kayaks. But if we estimate the difference between a fishing kayak and a normal one, we can dig into some specifics like the shape of the hull or certain safety features.

Fishing Kayaks

Fishing kayaks come with many bells and whistles that are perfect for fishing.

Notable Features

When buying a kayak make sure it includes the features you need, as not every kayak will have the same features. Keep in mind that you’ll likely find different features on different models.

While fishing kayaks come in all sorts, here are a few key features most kayaks may share:

Elevated Seat

Fishing kayaks include an elevated seat, which is unique to fishing kayaks. This seat is  helpful when you have to have a good vantage point when on the water.

Physical training can increase your casting distance and help you spot obstacles in the water.

Trolling motors attach to back of kayaks, so if you want a trolling motor and are using a fishing kayak, you can use one.

Fishing Kayaks can be used for long periods of time because of the elevated seats that are more comfortable. This also prevents knees from being cramped and hips from tightening up.

Furthermore, you can use an elevated fishing kayak to store your items so that they’re right by your reach when you need them.

Rod Holders

Fishing kayaks are designed with the intention of making it easier for fisherman to fish more and for longer. However, fisherman often need to switch outfits throughout the day as changing conditions require alteration in bait and tactics.

A rod holder will allow you to set up your desired fishing rods before even getting on the water. This is one reason fishing kayaks have those.

Levels of rod holder fitment vary depending on the kayak and its features.

Tracks For Mounting Accessories

Fishing kayaks usually have tracks for attaching fishing accessories. These tracks are typically located on either side of the boat.

Unique anglers can create customized fishing setups with a variety of kayaks. Tracks allow them to do this.

One of these tools might include a small, clamp for holding your rod during a fight.

Some fishermen might prefer their fish locate on the left because it give them more freedom to cast off the right side of their kayak.

Every good fishing kayak will have tracks so you can add a fishing accessory of your choice.

Large Stern Tankwell

Large stern tankwells provide open storage space. The major use of large stern tankwells is to hold stored items like fishing cooler or tackle box.

These well tanks include drainage so that water is forced out of the holes on the sides if you’re fishing or it rains. Bungee ropes also secure what you store inside.

Fishing kayaks often have tankwells that you can use as a compartment to keep your trolling motor battery while it is being charged.

This will support your need for hands-free fishing and help you explore spots a little further away from your boat launch area without having to spend your whole day paddling.


Advantages of Fishing Kayaks

Fishing kayaks have many design features that regular kayaks do not. Let’s look at the advantages they offer:

Storage Space

Fishing kayaks offer more space because they’re used to store more supplies and accessories than most other kayaks.

There is plenty of storage space to store fishing gear, such as coolers and bags, on the boat.

If you go on fishing trips with a regular kayak, it will be difficult to bring all your necessities.


Fishing kayaks are among the most stable kayaks because they need to remain stable and afloat after you’ve hooked into that record-breaking marlin. Stability is a key feature of the design of the body and hulls, which means paddlers won’t be sent overboard accidentally if they lose their balance or do a 360 in rough water.

Standing and sitting positions are both stable because they are wider than regular kayaks.


Fishing kayaks can be adapted and do not have to be used for fishing. They are also more versatile than regular kayaks.

It’s okay to go paddling with a fishing kayak as long as you make sure you have the right set of skills, knowledge and equipment.

This is one of the few kayaks that allows you to attach a trolling motor.

Disadvantages of Fishing Kayaks

While the benefits of buying a new fishing kayak are many, we must be honest and say this isn’t for everyone. Here are reasons why:


Fishing kayaks don’t tend to be light because they have more features and accessories than other kayak types.

Making moving a canoe difficult unless you have a kayak cart.

A trolling motor can be used with a kayak to make it easier. Avoid being frustrated by not knowing the basics of kayaking and instead learn all you can before hitting the water.


Fishing kayaks tend to be larger than other types of kayaks, like canoes. This is because there needs to be more space for storage and stability on the water.

That said, those looking for storage should think about the size of their kayaks.

If you live in a second or third-floor apartment, it’s difficult to store a kayak outdoors because there isn’t enough room.


A disadvantage of fishing kayaks is their high price.

You can find some fishing kayaks that cost less, but not all

Price, what you bargained for, and whether fishing kayaks are something you would consider when purchasing a kayak, largely determine which one is appropriate.

Regular Kayaks

This article is mostly referring to regular kayaks, which are used for kayaking activities other than fishing. This includes whitewater kayaks or ocean touring kayaks.

Regular kayaks don’t need a specific type of advantage because they don’t specialize like fishing kayaks do. Disadvantages include the cost, storage, and comfort.

Advantages of Regular Kayaks

These advantages may not apply to every regular kayak out there. But they will help you decide what right for you is a fishing kayak.

Easier to Transport

Fishing kayaks are heavy, but for fishing purposes, they are the most appropriate readily available equipment. For general use, there are several lighter models that would be easier to transport.

An inflatable kayak may weigh less than 20 pounds.

Fishing kayaks are often heavier than regular kayaks, and they’re made to hold more fishing equipment. If you know that you’ll be portaging the kayak, opt for a lighter regular kayak, or else you might over-exert yourself.

Fewer Moving Parts

Fish-catching kayaks come with more moving parts, and due to that, may break with time.

Regular kayaks have a basic design without many repairs over the lifetime of the kayak.

Kayaks for fishing often require more repairs, since they have more moving parts.


One reason why regular kayaks are cheaper is because they are smaller and have less features.

You can find a kayak for even more price than a fishing counterpart, depending on the company. Every company differs in the price.

Disadvantages of Regular Kayaks

Many fisher-people have created new kayaks, and these are designed for fishing. Here are some reasons why they don’t use regular boats:

Storage Space

Kayaks for regular use often don’t offer enough storage space to keep your gear dry in the water. Fishing kayaks have enough space to hold all of your gear, which is why they are ideal for long days on the water.

Obtaining a special kayak that has a system in place for attaching accessories is more difficult than with traditional kayaks.


The wider base of the fishing kayak is what makes it stable. These are usually wider and more stable than recreational kayaks. Mining is usually only possible with a wider base, otherwise you might tip over the boat.

Some kayaks are made for speed and ones that are more maneuverable in rapids.

Fishing kayaks are unsuitable for sitting still on flat water, because they are designed with a different purpose in mind.


They’re made for kayaking on rough sea water and long days of paddling.

A whitewater kayak is designed specifically for challenging rivers that a normal kayak may struggle to navigate. This means, while fishing kayaks (designed as all-purpose boats) are more versatile, they are not optimal to navigate turbulent waterways.

Additionally, fishing kayaks are one of the few types of kayaks that can adjust to accommodate a trolling motor. Regular kayaks lack this ability. Fishing kayaks are one of the most versatile and desirable kayak types available.

Which Is Best For You?

Ask yourself if you ever want to learn how to fish from a kayak before buying one. Kayaks are designed for different purposes, and you should choose the right one based on your demands.

If you want an alternative to a fishing boat, consider purchasing a fishing kayak.

All fishing kayaks have a similar purpose, which is to go fishing. However, people usually need differing models for different types of water like lakes, ponds and coastal waterways.

If you are absolutely not interested in kayaking, you can find some of the best options for recreational kayaks on the market today in our reviews.

Final Thoughts

Fishing kayaks will maximize your fishing success by remaining comfortable and optimizing the size of the watercraft.

Over the long-term, an expensive model may be more cost-effective than a less expensive model. However, you can eventually get to the same quality with a less expensive model over time.

When considering a new kayak, it is important to consider how you will grow into the kayak either in size or skill level. Spending more now will mean you have a useful kayak for years to come.

We hope that you’ve enjoyed learning about the major differences between fishing kayaks and regular kayaks. As always, we want to wish you the best of luck on all of your future kayak fishing adventures!

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