Stand-up fishing kayaks are all the rage these days — and for good reason. It’s no denying standing while fishing offers you a host of opportunities. You'll be able to see better when navigating in marshes and other trickier waterways, sight fish and land your hook more precisely.

Stand-up fishing isn't for everyone, but if you think you have the balance and coordination to do it, there are a few questions you should ask to help you find which vessel will make standing the easiest.

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  1. How is your balance?
  2. What kind of balance aids would you like?
  3. Do you want a sit-on-top or hybrid?
  4. What will you need to bring along and store?

How is your balance?

In order to stand up on a fishing kayak, you have to have good balance. How well you balance yourself will go a long way towards determining what kind of kayak you should invest in. Generally, the wider the stand-up fishing kayak, the easier it will be for you to get up and down. However, the exact width you should be looking for will depend on what your balance is like to begin with.

If you are short, fit and mostly proportioned, it will be much easier for you to balance in a kayak. Your center of gravity will be lower and your compact frame will allow for greater stability. When shopping for a kayak, look for one that is as least 32 inches wide, which should provide you with about 28 inches of floorspace.

If you are taller or heavier, you may find it difficult to stand and stay standing in a kayak. If you have a beer belly, a bad knee or another condition that can affect your steadiness, you'll want to be careful about which watercraft you choose.

The widest you can afford to buy will offer the greatest stability, but it will come with its drawbacks. The wider a kayak is, the slower it will move. This means you'll exert a lot of energy paddling. However, if you will be fishing in a small pond or relatively close to shore, the trade off will be worth it.

No matter your athletic prowess or body type, look for these things in a stand-up fishing kayak:

A wide body
Choose one that allows you to stand with your feet shoulder width apart.

A flat floor
The flatter the floor and the fewer obstructions, the easier it will be for you to stand and find your balance.

A flat hull
The flatter the hull of the kayak, the less it will tip as you are moving around and standing.

What kind of balance aids would you like?

The first time you try to stand in a kayak, you may find yourself reaching for handholds to heft yourself up, and once you're up, you may grab for anything that will keep you upright.

Generally, these feelings of wobbliness disappear with some practice. However, if you suffer from a condition that can cause fatigue or difficulty standing and staying up, there are a variety of accessories that can help out.

A lifted chair, for example, will help any fisherman get to his feet while in a stand-up fishing kayak. A chair that is raised even a couple of inches is easier to get in and out of than trying to stand from the floor of the vessel. If you need more help or just want greater comfort, look for a kayak that's outfitted with an adjustable seat. Some have settings for low and high, while others allow you to set your height anywhere between the two. Adjustable seats allow you to raise your seat while you are fishing and lower it to a safer height when you are ready to move.

A strap attached to the vessel and positioned within reach of your hands allows you a way to grab on and pull yourself up from a sitting position. With this kind of strap, you won't have to clutch the sides of the boat to shove yourself up and worry about tipping one way or the other.

Once you are standing, you may find it easier to maintain your balance if you have something to hold on to. A sway bar or handrail is a convenient tool that you can latch onto if you unsteady or if the boat begins to sway due to wind, waves or a spirited cast.

Do you want a sit-on-top or a hybrid?

There are three main styles of kayak: sit-inside, sit-on-top and canoe-kayak hybrid. Due to the nature of their construction, sit-inside kayaks don't generally make good stand-up fishing kayaks. These stand up units usually have small cockpits that are impossible to maneuver around. Plus, they tend to be narrower than what's necessary for standing. For this reason, if you want to stand in a kayak, you'll need to look at sit-on-tops and hybrids.

In a sit-on-top kayak, as the name suggests, you sit right on top of the vessel's floor. These units have no cockpit, so there is nothing that you need to climb in and out of. They make excellent stand-up fishing kayaks because there's nothing to impede you as you stand up. All you need to do is get your feet under you and stand up.

Sit-on-top kayaks are an excellent choice for most people. They are stable, difficult to tip and offer plenty of room to move around. However, if you are taller or bulkier than most, you may have difficulty maintaining balance in one of these watercraft, either standing or sitting.

A canoe-kayak hybrid has the looks of a canoe but performs like a kayak. The walls of a hybrid are taller than most kayaks, but they're not as tall as those of a traditional canoe. A hybrid's extra width offers greater stability, and their sidewalls give you something to brace your leg or knee against while you are standing. By “leaning” on the side of the canoe, you can improve your stability.

Canoe-kayak hybrids are the better choice for larger fisherman or those who feel unsteady on their feet. They offer a lot more real estate for moving around and standing up, and they're extremely steady. When you use a hybrid, it will feel a bit more like being in a traditional boat.

What will you need to bring along and store?

Depending on your plans, fishing can be a day-long event or a week-long excursion. No matter how much time you spend out on the water, you will need to bring various supplies: your kayak will need to hold those supplies.

At the very least, you'll need a stand-up fishing kayak that can store paddles, fishing rods, a tackle box and other small necessities, such as food or a phone.

The longer your vessel, the more room you'll have for storage, which is typically located at the stern, the bow and/or directly in front of you. Most kayaks have at least one dry storage container, so you'll have a place to keep clothing, electronics and other items you may need for an extended trip.

If you'll be using your stand-up fishing kayak for short trips, massive storage areas aren't of great concern to you. However, you will want to find a vessel that has plenty of storage for smaller items that you'd like to keep within reach, such as your cell phone, maps, a radio or a drink.

There are plenty of reasons why you might want to look into a stand-up fishing kayak, and they're all good ones. By taking the time to carefully learn about the pros and cons of stand-up kayaks, as well as what you can do to make standing easier, you're sure to find a vessel that fits your needs and comfort level.

Let’s be clear. There are no “stand up” fishing kayaks. There are fishing kayaks that are more suitable to stand in and some that are very difficult to stand in. Our top three picks share one particular element in common: they all have casting platforms designed specifically to reduce slipping when standing to fish or cast.
Additionally, they all have excellent stability with a 33” width to reduce the chances of the yak tipping over while you are getting up from the seat and to increase the leverage beneath your feet when you are dragging a big fish on board – seated or standing.

Prices of our Top 3 Stand Up Fishing Kayaks range from approximately $2500 to just under $1000. Can you find yaks that you can stand up in at a cheaper price? Of course. Are they comparable to these? Not likely.

When manufacturers and the NMMA certify weight capacity, the weight is assessed by how much the Kayak carries while floating as designed on top of the water without dipping below that level.

Top 3 Stand Up Fishing Kayaks
Stand Up Fishaing Kayaks #1: Hobie Mirage Outback #2: Malibu Stealth 14 #3: Malibu Kayaks Stealth 12
Storage Available Bow & Stow hactches,open hull w/ bungee cords, netted pocketss Bungee cord open tank well at stern, open deck on Gator Hatch plus Gator hatch Gator hatch,center bait tank, open well with bungee cords, 3-hatch system
Max Support Weight 400 lbs. 550 lbs. 450 lbs.
Seating Adjustable, high back, padded with lumbar support Seat not included on this on top fishing kayak Seat not included
Width / Stability 33”/ excellent stability 33”/ excellent stability 33”/ excellent stability
Power Method Mirage Drive Pendal and optional Paddle Paddle only Paddle only
Unique Features Twist & stow Rudder 2-piece paddle w/ on hull storage, sail mount Center bait Tank, casting platform, 4 rod holders, drain plug Center bait tank, casting platform, 4 rod holders, drain plug
Price Check Price Check Price Check Price

#Number 1

Hobie Mirage Outback Kayak

Hobie brings it home again with first place – but barely! It just eeks out the lead because of the pedal option that an angler has over the other two models. The fins and rudder of the unit are both removable for storage and transport, by the way.

And, for those who live in countries outside the continental U.S.,Hobie will be able to sell and ship their kayaks to you,if you contact them directly.

  • Weight capacity 400 pounds
  • Length is 12-feet
  • Adjustable, high-back Padded Seat with Inflatable Lumbar support
  • 3-hatch storage system
  • Mirage Drive pedal system
  • Rudder included

Even though the Hobie Outback appears to have a lower weight capacity, it really doesn’t if you consider some of the extra features that are included with this unit.

The 12-foot length is the same size as one of the other leaders on our list. The unit also allows for excellent steering, plus the 33” width is ideal for stability. The Adjustable seat with a high back and inflatable lumbar support of this kayak allows you to pedal and paddle comfortably as well as fish for long hours effortlessly.

Pros:

Quality, stability, maneuverability, extra storage, rudder, pedal and paddle options

Cons:

Price can be inhibitive for many, weighs 81 pounds

With an Amazon perfect customer rating of 4.9 stars (out of 11 reviews), the Hobie Mirage Outback is worth the big dollar price.

#Number 2

Malibu Kayaks Stealth 14 Fish and Dive Package Sit on Top Kayak

The Stealth 14 is slightly more than 14-feet long. The hull design of this unit allows for sliding through the currents while maintaining good tracking. This entry allows you to get into the weeds and rougher areas where fish love to hide without fear of damaging your yak. Weighing only 60-pounds, it can be handled by a single person fairly easily.

  • Weight capacity 550-pounds
  • Transport Weight 60-pounds
  • 4 rod holders – front and rear
  • Patented casting platform
  • Patented center bait tank system
  • Excessively large Gator hatch
  • Open well and open deck bungee storage

The patented casting platform that Malibu products incorporate into their kayak design give the angler a larger space to stand in safely while casting or fishing. And, the excessively large Gator hatch gives you plenty of room to stash extra gear such as clothes, towels and plenty of sandwiches, drinks and snacks. With 2 rod holders at each end of the yak, you will always have a place to set your rod down nearby.

With an Amazon perfect customer rating of 5 stars (out of 7 reviews), the Malibu Stealth 14 is worth the price tag.

Pros:

Quality, stability, maneuverability, storage, large casting platform, 4 rod holders, length of 14-feet +

Cons:

Paddle only, no seat included, length may require a small tow trailer

#Number 3

Malibu Kayaks Stealth 12 Fish and Dive Package Sit on Top Kayak

Malibu does it again! Malibu is truly becoming a tough contender for Hobie among Amazon buyers! This is identical to the Stealth 14 – except it is 2-feet smaller!

  • Weight capacity 450-pounds
  • Transport Weight 60-pounds
  • Patented casting platform
  • Patented center bait tank system
  • Excessively large Gator hatch
  • Open well and open deck bungee storage

With only 2-feet less than the other model on our list, if you primarily go fishing alone then you’ll love the ability the unit affords you— to wrangle this yak onto the top of your car or back of your truck without waiting for someone to show up to help you.

The patented casting platform is one of the most appreciated elements that Malibu Kayaks have delivered to fishing enthusiasts. The center bait tank system of the unit is designed to circulate water through the bait bucket and keep your little guys awake and ready for the hook.

If you like to fish when you go camping or if you are into fishing contests, this stealth is ideal for ease of maneuvering, the ability to get into shallows and brush, and have whatever extra gear you might want to pack – don’t forget the extra food!

With an Amazon perfect customer rating of 3.8 stars (out of 14 reviews), the Malibu Stealth 12 justifies the price tag.

Pros:

Quality, stability, maneuverability, storage, large casting platform, patented circulating bait system

Cons:

Paddle only, no seat included