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5 Best Kayaks for Bass Fishing

person holding a bass they caught

Bass fishing is great however and wherever you do it. Doing it from a kayak though gets you closer to the action, and connects you to the fish in a way that’s unique.

person holding a bass they caught

But there are kayaks and kayaks. There are simple pleasure kayaks and there are fishing kayaks. There are general fishing kayaks and there are kayaks that will give you an edge when fishing for bass.

These are all of the top bass fishing kayaks on the market, so check them out and you won’t be sorry!

Top 5 Bass Fishing Kayaks

  1. Intex Challenger Kayak Inflatable Set with Aluminum Oars
  2. Intex Excursion Pro Kayak
  3. Pelican Sit-on-Top Kayak – Sentinel 100X – 9.5 Feet
  4. Perception Sound 10.5
  5. Wilderness Systems ATAK 120

Intex Challenger Kayak Inflatable Set with Aluminum Oars

You can spend $500 on a bass fishing kayak. You can spend more. If you’re new or new-adjacent to bass fishing, you’re not going to want to do that, though. In that case, you’re going to want to check out the Intex Challenger.

a green intex challenger inflatable kayak

There are several reasons why this is a great buy for relatively new kayaking bass fishers. One we’ve touched on – the moolah.

But also, if you’re relatively new to the idea of bass fishing in a kayak, you may not yet have picked up any prejudices against inflatable kayaks.

People who have grown to be long-term kayaking bass fishers in years gone by have every right to be suspicious of inflatable kayaks.

They used to be a kayak of last resort, prone to punctures, tears and acting like Scooby Doo seeing a ghost whenever they encountered anything even mildly troubling, like a sharp twig.

This is not that kind of inflatable kayak.

This is an inflatable kayak made of vinyl for a rugged construction, with durable welded material over top to give you an inflatable kayak that can go where previous generations of inflatable wouldn’t have dared.

As a first bass fishing kayak – one to let you learn the ropes, find out what you like, and find out what you’ll pay extra for next time (and what you won’t), the Intex Challenger is like a great first car.

Pros

  • A lightweight kayak, this is easy to transport
  • The price is right for beginners taking their first paddle into kayak-aided bass fishing
  • Rugged construction means this kayak will go where you want without giving you unnecessary worry
  • Inflatable seating and a comfortable deck means it encourages you to keep fishing
  • Inflation pump included

Cons

  • Pump included is manual, rather than mechanical, so you have to personally inflate the kayak before use
  • Weight restrictions and storage limits mean you can’t take a lot of equipment with you

Intex Excursion Pro Kayak

After a very popular entry-level model, let’s go up-market, shall we? The Intex Excursion has almost everything you could think of in a two-person kayak, and more besides.

Intex excursion 2 person inflatable kayak

If the Intex Challenger didn’t convince you about the merits of inflatable kayaks, don’t panic – it’s fairly certain the Intex Excursion Pro will.

You have plenty of storage, mounting brackets for your accessories, adjustable seating, stability, and wide flooring for standing, and everything you need to go along with it. 

Adjustable (or removable) bucket seats with added booster seating and adjustable floor-mounted footrests mean you’re never too cramped or building up aches and pains, and two removable skews help make you feel at home in both shallow or deep water.

There’s storage space in both the bow and the stern in this two-seater, including d-rings for tying down bags of kit you need to keep dry.

And in preparation for all the equipment you could need, it also comes with a removable, adjustable mounting bracket for the likes of GPS, fish finders.

It even includes two integrated, recessed rod holders that help you go properly equipped into the kingdom of the bass.

Pros

  • Super-tough laminate PCV means this is a kayak you can trust in rougher waters
  • High-pressure inflation and handy valves mean less work at the start and end of any fishing trip
  • Lots of storage space in the bow and stern mean you can take more equipment with you
  • Comfortable seating and adjustable footrests mean you’re never driven ashore by discomfort before you’re ready to quit fishing
  • Mounting brackets for high-tech equipment mean your GPS is very unlikely to end up in the water. 

Cons

  • Doubles the crew of the entry-level model, but less than doubles the maximum capacity, which means you still have to be selective in the equipment you take along

Pelican Sit-on-Top Kayak – Sentinel 100X – 9.5 Feet

It is a truth universally acknowledged among anglers that flat-bottomed kayaks make the fishing world go round.

Pelican Sit-on-Top Kayak

Meet the Pelican Sentinel – it’ll rock your world, rather than your boat.

Adjustable footrests mean you can pilot the Sentinel irrespective of your leg length, and it also comes with carrying handles, because nobody wants to physically manhandle a kayak at the end of a long fishing session, lightweight as it might be.

Clever storage? Oh yes, it has that too. Specifically, it uses the ExoPack removable storage compartment, fitted into the tank well, along with flush-mounted rod-mounts and eyelets for accessories and a smartphone holder.

What’s more, the Sentinel comes with a maximum capacity of 275 pounds, meaning you can afford to take more equipment with you.

The Pelican Sentinel is a one-person kayak that offers a lot and doesn’t charge you the earth for the privilege.

One thing to note though – buy a paddle separately, as it’s a thing not supplied as standard with the Sentinel.

Pros

  • Impressible stability through the flat-bottomed hull means you’ll feel very confident in this kayak
  • Clever storage solutions mean you can be sure your essential equipment is safe and sound
  • A higher maximum capacity means you can take more equipment with you to increase your chances of a great day’s fishing
  • A rugged but lightweight build means it’s both easily portable and strong in the water

Cons

  • No paddle supplied, which means an additional cost

Perception Sound 10.5

There’s less that’s stand-out special about the Perception Sound 10.5 than there is about some other kayaks on our list.

Perception Sound 10.5 sit in fishing kayak

But what it does, it does efficiently, fuss-free and well.

The headline here is that it’s a one-person kayak with a maximum capacity of 335 pounds. That makes it ideal for larger anglers.

This is not by any means a speed demon. But its tri-keel hull gives you trustworthy stability and smooth steering.

Storage? There’s a large space at the back of the kayak, within easy reach of the cockpit. And it also comes with carrying handles for that extra helping hand when you have to transport your kayak to and from the water.

If there’s one failing on the Perception Sound it’s that it doesn’t have anywhere to clip your paddle.

That’s easily remedied, but it is an extra expense which bass fishers could do without.

Pros

  • An impressive maximum capacity makes this a favorite for heavier anglers
  • An extremely stable kayak makes for higher confidence and better fishing
  • Lightweight and easy to transport, this is a minimum-hassle kayak

Cons

  • No paddle-clip, which means searching for the right part to add on

Wilderness Systems ATAK 120

Part of the decision of which kayak to buy for bass fishing is understanding the prey fish and its habitat.

wilderness systems atak 120 stand up fishing kayak

If you’re fishing for backwater largemouth bass, for instance, you’re going to need a kayak that can thrive in shallow waters, and tackle longer distances.

If that sounds like you, you’re looking for the ATAK 120.

In terms of storage, you have a huge covered cargo area in the bow, and a hatch gives you access to hull storage for rods and other fear.

Bottom line, it may be the last of our bass fishing kayaks, but if you need something that’s both stable, maneuverable, and comfortable, with lots of storage space, the ATAK 120 has you covered.

Oh, and did we mention? This is a one-person kayak with a maximum capacity of 400 pounds. Sure, we buried the lead, but give us a break here – the ATAK 120 comes with a lot of leads.

Pros

  • A maximum capacity of 400 pounds in a one-seater kayak lets you take lots of gear on your bass fishing trip
  • A Smarter Stability keel means you can stand up in the ATAK 120 with no fear at all
  • The kayak is angled for speed and responsiveness, making it ideal for shallow water bass fishing
  • There’s an enormous amount of storage space for all the equipment you need
  • Ergonomic seating and adjustable foot braces give you a comfortable ride – there and back again

Cons

  • The price, which is many times more than some on our list, may put some bass fishers off

Final Thoughts

When it comes to bass fishing, having a good kayak can make all the difference. Don’t buy a fishing kayak without doing your research though, and make sure you go with the best bass fishing kayaks available. Make sure you get the right size, too!

Rocco Smith

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