Tandem fishing kayak buying guide
Tandem fishing kayaks offer the opportunity to fish with friends and family in a small boat. In a tandem kayak, one person sits toward the bow and another person the stern. Most tandem kayaks are propelled by double-bladed kayak paddles, but some models use a pedal propulsion system and there are a few motorized two-person kayaks for fishing.
The most popular tandem kayaks for fishing are sit-on-top models made of rotomolded plastic with scuppers to drain water. The boats have space for two seats and room for fishing gear and accessories.
Consider the size
Remember, tandem kayaks for fishing are longer, wider and heavier than a tandem recreational kayak or a single seat boat. For example, an average rec tandem kayak is 12 feet long and 30 inches wide. For greater stability to cast and fight fish and more capacity for fishing gear, the best tandem for fishing is 40 inches wide and over 13 feet long.
A large fishing tandem is more difficult to transport and requires more space to store. With some effort, and help from a buddy, you can wrestle a fishing tandem onto a sturdy roof rack. We recommend carrying the two-seater in a pickup truck with a bed extender or a small trailer.
For folks with limited storage and transportation options, we recommend an inflatable tandem kayak or a recreational sit-inside tandem. These boats are lighter and easier to move, but they don’t have as much space as a full-size fishing tandem.
Consider how you will use it
Before searching for the best two-person kayak, consider how you will use the boat. If you plan to take another adult kayak fishing, look for a full-size tandem kayak with elevated frame seats and plenty of space to fish.
To accommodate a child or pet, check out a smaller, lighter tandem that is easier to paddle solo and still has plenty of space for smaller guests. A narrower and shorter tandem is lighter and easier for a single paddler to paddle.
The best two-person fishing kayak is a fully featured machine with plenty of space for casting and retrieving lures. At over 14-feet long, 40-inches wide with more than 400 pounds of capacity, a full-size tandem fishing kayak is a powerful platform for serious fishing.
This may seem like a lot of boat, but the extra space and capacity will be appreciated on the water. With two people paddling or pedaling, the effort is shared.
Look for a tandem kayak with elevated, adjustable frame seats. Frame seats resemble a folding lawn chair elevated off the kayak deck on four short legs. A higher seat makes it easier to cast a fishing rod and work a lure. These seats are also wider and more adjustable than a low-profile seat, so they are more comfortable for long days on the water.
A full-size, two-person kayak has plenty of space for fishing. Look for a large tankwell in the stern and a bow well or hatch in the front of the boat. The tankwell is a molded space behind the seat to hold a gear crate and vertical rod holders. A bow well is a molded space in the bow with room for a couple of tackle boxes and a dry bag, usually secured by a mesh cover or bungees.
A bow hatch, on the other hand, provides access to the inside of the hull to carry more gear or rig the boat with electronics and battery. It boils down to this: a bow well is great for quick access to gear you need most often while a bow hatch carries more stuff and protects it from the elements.
The seats should be spaced far enough apart to allow for casting, rigging, working a lure and fighting a fish. With two anglers swinging fishing rods and sharp hooks, space is at a premium to avoid tangles and injury. Each boat has different dimensions, so there’s no equation for seat spacing. The best bet is going with the longest, widest kayak for fishing.