Kayak fishing alone is great fun; reaching spots that aren't accessible by boat or on foot. However, you know as they say: "the more, the merrier!" Whether you are looking to share some laughs with a friend or just a witness who can attest to that monster fish you tried to pull in, fishing is more fun with two people.
Tandem kayaks can help you do exactly that, letting you enjoy a beautiful day on the water with a friend or family member with ease. If you're looking to find the absolute best tandem fishing kayak available today, then keep on reading this comprehensive guide!
Tandem Fishing Kayak Styles
Pros/Cons of Tandem Fishing Kayaks
Why should you get a tandem fishing kayak? What are the downsides? Let’s take a look at each so you can make an educated decision.
Having company when you go fishing is a great way to spend quality time with someone else, aside from being just pure fun. Even if you’re not serious anglers, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy paddling on the water and taking in the views and nature.
It’s safer having more than one person on the water at a time. While we’re sure everything will go smoothly, it’s never a bad thing to take precautions.
If you do happen to be passionate about fishing, then you’ll appreciate the added efficiency that comes with two people working to catch more fish! Positioning, reeling, netting, and more is all much smoother when you have 4 hands instead of 2!
If you are the only one who's paddling, then transporting two people is going to be more complicated than just one. However, if both of you are paddling, that doesn't mean it will be much easier. You have to work cohesively together, learning how to maneuver in a way that works well.
Many people purchase 2 person fishing kayaks intending to use the extra space for more cargo. Sure, you'll have more space, but it's also going to be notably heavier and more likely to slow you down.
Choosing Top Quality Tandem Fishing Kayaks
Usage/Primary Fishing Location
Where are you planning on using your new kayak? It's essential first to figure this out so you can choose a model that suits your preferred environment. If you plan on staying close to the shore, then smaller models are perfect. Controlling these are easier as they're so lightweight, making them easy to maneuver.
If you want to use your tandem kayak for traveling vast distances or for use out in the open ocean, a lengthier and tougher model is necessary. Not only will they move quicker, but they give you more room to stretch out. They'll provide more stability which is required for reeling in bigger catches and for handing ocean waves and sea currents.
Kayak Style/Cockpit Design
There are two main types of cockpits: sit-inside and sit-on-top. There is no "better" one, as it all comes down to your individual needs.
Durability, Design & Comfort
As you know, fishing requires a lot of patience, which means you’ll likely be sitting in the same spot for hours on end. That means comfort is going to be crucial in your experience. Try to make sure your back and hips are properly supported, so you don't feel as crampy or sore. If you want to really stretch out, then sit-on-top styles may be best but not if you’re going out in cold water or windy conditions.
The hull shape has a direct effect on how your tandem kayak performs in the water. There are three main types: V-shaped, rounded bottom, and flat bottom.
Material is also an important subject to tackle, as it essentially determines how tough and lightweight your kayak.
Size/Dimension, Speed & Weight Capacity
What size of tandem fishing kayak should you get? While longer models may offer extra storage space or room to stretch out, they're going to be harder to turn while in the water and more challenging to transport and store. You’ll find most models land somewhere between 12 and 16 feet, so you do have a few options in this regard.
Also, consider the total weight of your kayak and the maximum weight it's capable of supporting. Most tandem kayaks are going to weigh somewhere within 70 to 100 pounds, with the heavier models typically coming packed full of more features. If you're able and don't mind lifting and transporting a heavier kayak or using a kayak trailer, then you may enjoy them more.
Weight capacity varies greatly; anywhere from 350 to 800 pounds. To realistically have an idea of how much you’ll require, take into consideration the weight of you and your partner, along with the weight of the equipment you’re planning on taking along.
Storage & Portability
Since you’re going to be fishing, you need to have enough space for your tackle box, nets, food, catch, and more. With sit-on-top models, you’ll often find hatch and shock cord lashing for storage purposes, while sit-ins use shock cords and deck lashing. As previously mentioned, longer kayaks are going to have more storage space, typically featuring a dedicated storage area between you and your partner.
You'll want transportation and storage to be as simple as possible, too. Overall, inflatable models are going to be the easiest to transport as they deflate down into a small, space-saving design. If that's not your thing, at least find a kayak that has a few carrying handles, so you're not awkwardly struggling to carry it!
Just make sure you have the space to store your kayak. Exposing it to the elements and leaving it outside will shorten the lifespan and wear it down quicker.
Most of the tandem fishing kayaks are propelled by the use of paddles, but some models come with pedals! These are perfect for fishing, as you can have your hands free for fishing or just relaxing. As most of us have stronger legs than arms, even if you don't plan on using the tandem kayak for fishing each time, it may be the better option.
Rigged or Unrigged
Rigged tandem fishing kayak models come with a built-in fishing rod holder or let you put one in yourself. These are the most convenient model as you can keep your rod safe should you want to relax and cruise with your hands-free. Each model will vary in how many rod holders it has and will come with either adjustable or flush mounts. Unrigged models do not come with these but are often much less expensive.
While they may not be the main selling points for you, they could help sway your decision between one model or another.
Some 2 person fishing kayaks come with multiple footrests, which give you more versatility and help you gain more leverage to assist in pulling in bigger catches. Another handy tool or extra are fish finder attachments. Having a fish finder and GPS on board is essential, especially if you're going on a longer trip.
Make sure that if you're planning on using one, that your kayak of choice has a built-in GPS mount and a scupper transducer mount. Along with this, multiple rod holders will also make your trip more convenient, allowing you to have more fishing lines in the water or keep your hands free if you need to do something else.
Ease of Set-Up/Inflation
Setting up a non-inflatable kayak takes just mere seconds, as there isn’t really any preparation necessary except packing it with your required gear. Inflatable models, on the other hand, do take minutes of prep time and can be a bit of an annoyance if you’re eager to get out on the water and catch some fish!
Price & Warranty
Finally, you need to come up with a budget for yourself and try to set a price range that you feel comfortable purchasing in. The price goes up as extra features and comfort are added, so keep that in mind.
Also, pay attention to the included warranty of the fishing kayak. Some feature only a 1-year warranty, while others come with lifetime coverage. If you have the latter, this means that you'll overall be spending much less money as you won't need ever to purchase another model! It is also a way of the manufacturer attesting to the quality of their product.
6 Best Tandem Fishing Kayaks Reviewed
Best Tandem Fishing Kayak (Top Pick)
Max Load Capacity
Body Type (Material)
Sit on Top
120 x 36 x 19 inches
Yes, 5 years
What better way to start this product guide than with one of the best rated tandem fishing kayaks on the market, today? The Lifetime 10 Foot, Two Person Tandem Fishing Kayak features a unique tunnel hull design which is incredibly versatile. You'll be able to sit side-saddle and let your legs hang in the water without it tipping over or stand up and fish with ease.
Lifetime says, “The tunnel hull design boasts 500 pounds of weight capacity and is incredibly stable, making it nearly impossible to tip over.”
If you’d like, the model can even comfortably fit three passengers if you all happen to fit within the weight capacity! Including three flush-mounted fishing rod holders, each one of you will be able to fish hands-free if you’d like!
A huge, 6-foot storage hatch comes conveniently located in the rear and is capable of holding just about anything you could ever need on a fishing trip, and more. Ditty trays and shock cord straps also work to secure loose items.
No one wants to have their legs or back cramping up while they're trying to enjoy a nice day on the water. That's why I love the seating and footrests. "High and Dry" seating keeps you off the floor of the kayak, so you're not sitting in the water. Each seat is ergonomically designed to help keep your spine correctly aligned, while padding will ensure comfort all day long. The footrests can be moved into different positions to accommodate each paddler best, too.
Made of UV-protected linear low-density polyethylene, this is an incredibly durable model. The Lifetime 10 Tandem Fishing Kayak w Paddles & Backrests Camouflage resists against fading, cracking and peeling, so you can count on many years of use. Lifetime has made excellent use of the entire 10-foot length, simultaneously providing excellent tracking and easy transport/storage. To help facilitate this, they’ve even added in a molded front carry handle.
If that’s still not enough, they’ve even thoughtfully included a kayak paddle and a 5-year limited warranty, so you’re not risking anything by trying it out!
We review more kayak options from Lifetime in this article.
2. BKC TK219
Best Tandem Fishing Kayak (Runner Up)
Max Load Capacity
Body Type (Material)
Sit on Top
148 x 35 x 18 inches
Yes, 1 year for accessories, 5 years for hull and deck
The BKC TK219 Tandem Fishing Kayak is the best alternative out there if you’re not too keen on the last product. The 12-foot long boat is an excellent option if you’re looking to have up to 3 passengers instead of just 2. Just remember that the weight capacity is 440 pounds, so all 3 of you and your necessary equipment will need to weight under that!
Whatever you're trying to store, the TK219 makes it easy for you. With multiple storage options, including two waterproof hatches, you'll have plenty of room while also keeping your belongings safe from the weather and water.
If you're someone who always has to be "plugged in," you'll love that you can bring your smartphone and other electronic devices along without them getting wet. On top, there's also a bungeed cargo area to help tie down larger equipment like a cooler.
Including 4 flush-mount fishing rod holders and an additional 2 adjustable rod holders, you’ll just be reeling in fish non-stop! Each person will be able to use two rods at once, to maximize results while being able to keep your hands free!
Made of high-density polyethylene, it's not only lightweight but very durable, with UV protection to keep it from cracking or fading under frequent use. Coming in a range of interesting colors like Green Camo, Sky Blue, Yellow/Orange and more, you have some say in how yours looks.
The kayak comes with 2 soft, padded seats with adjustable straps to allow for multiple seating positions. Though in my opinion, I didn't find these to be the most luxurious out there.
3. Elkton Outdoors
Best Tandem Fishing Kayak Under $1000
Max Load Capacity
Body Type (Material)
Sit on Top
148 x 36 inches
“The Elkton Outdoors Tandem Sit On Top Kayak is the perfect fishing kayak for lakes, rivers, and the ocean. When designing this tandem kayak we made sure to keep anglers in mind by optimizing this kayak for fishing," says Elkton themselves.
I agree that it’s one of the most versatile out there making it one of my favorites.
Featuring a super durable rotomold injected body/1000 Denier PVC, you never have to worry about it getting punctured or cracked, even if it hits hard objects like rocks or logs. Expect it to stay in excellent condition for many years to come. While it is slightly heavier than the kayaks above, it also features two carry handles which facilitate transportation. The design is still relatively narrow enough to easily fit in the bed of a truck or kayak trailer.
While you can definitely fit 3 passengers on this model, I enjoyed it more when there were just 2 with the more bulky gear in the center space. This area works perfectly for coolers and other items that you’d like to have within arm’s reach when on your fishing adventures.
However, if you decide on 3 passengers, there’s no need to worry about this one not being able to support your weight. With a max load capacity of 650 pounds, it’s one of the most sturdy out there. With 4 built-in fishing rod holders, each one of you will be able to use multiple lines at once!
Speaking of storage, this one comes with 2 dedicated gear storage areas along with a watertight dry storage compartment where you can safely keep your smartphone and other delicate items. They didn’t skimp on comfort, either. The kayak comes with 2 EVA-padded, high-back seats which feel great even after hours on the water. The backs are strong and offer excellent support to the entire spine, as well.
4. Intex Excursion Pro
Best Inflatable Tandem Fishing Kayak
Max Load Capacity
Body Type (Material)
Sit on Top
151 x 37 x 18 inches
Yes, 1 year
Quite possibly the best 2 person inflatable fishing kayak available today, the Intex Excursion Pro Kayak is perfect if you’re on a tight budget or tight on space! In fact, if you’re tight on cash, there’s really no better option here.
While it does require a few extra minutes, set up is super simple – anyone can do it. As it comes with a high-output pump and pressure gauge, you have everything you need to inflate it perfectly. When it's deflated, storage and transportation couldn't be easier. You won't require any special trailers to take it to and from the water as it will fit nicely inside your vehicle.
Aside from the sheer convenience of the Excursion Pro, my favorite characteristic is the plush kind of comfort it comes with. As it is inflatable, each part of the kayak has a bit more “give” to it, ultimately feeling like you’re floating on a sturdy air mattress!
The two seats are both adjustable, featuring an ergonomic backrest. As they're entirely inflatable, as well, they move with your body, making for some of the most comfortable kayak seats I've had the pleasure of using. Coming with an optional seat booster, you can raise the seat to your comfort level while also adjusting the footrests to your liking.
“There’s also a waterproof bag you can latch onto the front for anything you need to carry out onto the water with you,” says Intex.
Comfort means nothing, however, if your tandem fishing kayak isn’t reliable. While I will take a moment to complain a bit about the paddle quality, the vessel itself is comprised of high-strength, 30-gauge vinyl, laminated with a polyester core to protect against wear and tear. Even using it in the sun and saltwater continuously will not affect it.
Including two removable skews, you’ll be able to maneuver and track easily through both shallow and deep waters. If you’d like to use a fish finder or GPS system, you’ll also find removable and adjustable mounting brackets! While it does come with 2 integrated, recessed fishing pole holders, I would have liked to have seen a couple more.
5. Vibe Skipjack 120T
Best Sit on Top Tandem Fishing Kayak
Max Load Capacity
Body Type (Material)
Sit on Top
146 x 35 inches
“The Vibe Skipjack 120T Tandem Kayak is a stable kayak that performs well in surf, rivers, and flat water and is easy to paddle for any age or experience level,” informs Vibe.
With that being said, this model is ideal if you’re just beginning or if you’re going with younger people. Featuring 3 different seating spaces, you can go fishing out on the water with another adult and a child with no issue.
If you read tandem fishing kayak reviews, you’ll often see the Skipjack 120T ranking near the top of the list for the best sit on top models. Made with two completely adjustable seats with straps on the side, they’ll make sure anyone is riding comfy. Each backrest is ergonomic, working to support your entire spine, while also featuring very luxurious cushioning. 2 cupholders are conveniently built in to ensure you never go thirsty.
Onboard, you’ll find 4 different mounting points to make attaching anchor locks and other accessories a breeze. You’ll find extra dry storage in the front of each seat, too, which are perfect for keeping your valuables safe. In between 2 flush mount rod holders, 2 bungee paddle parks and 2 paddle rests, you’ll be able to hang out completely hands-free no matter where you are.
The entire unit is crafted with rotomolded, single-piece polyethylene, which is very sturdy and easy to repair. Sharp fishing hooks are no match for this material. This resistance, along with built-in buoyancy, will ensure you never even think about leaks. The sleek hull not only makes it easier to transport but provides fast and precise tracking, too.
6. Sevylor Coleman Colorado
Best Rated Tandem Fishing Kayak
Max Load Capacity
Body Type (Material)
Sit on Top
130.1 x 11.6 x 19.2 inches
Yes, 1 year
While I'll admit that it's not the fastest nor the best at tracking, the Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak is perfect if you’re looking for an easy-to-transport model with excellent storage capabilities and silent operation. You’re even able to upgrade the trolling motor if you feel the need for more power!
I know that many people are a bit skeptical when it comes to inflatable kayaks and have fears of them popping or leaking. Keep in mind that the Coleman Colorado is made of ultra-durable 18-gauge PVC, which practically ensures neither of those things is going to happen.
Not only is the model resistant to punctures, but it is also resistant to saltwater and harmful UV rays. As it’s easy to inflate and deflate, transportation will be super fast and seamless, without the need for lugging it around nor carrying it around on your vehicle.
With a 470-pound weight capacity and two included softback seats, you’ll be able to stretch out and appreciate your time with a partner. Each seat is fully adjustable and thickly padded to ensure you’re feeling great from the beginning to end of your adventure.
As each is conveniently located near storage compartments, you’ll be able to grab a snack or your smartphone without fear of scaring the fish away! To keep your hands free, take advantage of the 2 rod and paddle holders.
Tandem vs. Single Person Fishing Kayaks
So, what’s so great about tandem fishing kayaks? Should you just get two single-person models, instead? Ultimately, the choice is up to you, but let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each.
Inflatable vs. Hard Shell Tandem Fishing Kayaks
At this point, you may be having a hard time deciding which of the two to select. This is a hard choice for most people, as each offers its own set of pros and cons. Let's dive into both.
Inflatable models are generally more stable and less likely to capsize due to how buoyant they are. They vary in strength, and while there are many weaker models, many can hold up just as well as hard shells. When it comes to transportation, inflatables can't be beaten. They're super lightweight, and when deflated, can easily be packed into a backpack or be stored in your car. If you happen to be on a tight budget, inflatables are your best friend. They're insanely affordable and can be stored away without needing much space at home.
Hard shells have been around longer, but there’s a reason why many people still prefer them. If you’re going to be fishing in inclement weather or rougher waters, rigid kayaks are the way to go, due to their added durability. While they generally weigh around twice that of an inflatable kayak, they’re not really that heavy. However, loading them up to take to the water can be a hassle, and will need to either be towed or placed on roof racks. They are more expensive most of the time, than inflatable models, but will often last longer.
Paddling with a Tandem Kayak
When first starting out, let the front paddler jump on first. Let’s say, for example, that you’re the strongest or more experienced of the two of you. As you’re more comfortable with maneuvering in the kayak, you’ll be able to help them out should they need extra support. Before this, make sure you’ve checked your kayak thoroughly to ensure there are no holes, punctures, or loose fittings.
If you have an inflatable model, make sure you know how to fill it! Your model will typically come with one of the following:
Foot pumps are probably the easiest to use, as you don’t have to bend over and can always switch feet if you get worn out. They pump air quickly and area easy to bring along.
Hand pumps are probably the most common, though require you to bend or kneel over which can be rough on the back and knees.
Electric pumps are more expensive but still relatively affordable. They're super easy to use and frequently come with a pressure gauge, so they do all the work for you.
While at first glance, paddling with a tandem fishing kayak may seem like a difficult feat, it's often straightforward. They're ideal for people of all ages, and if you need to take a break, your partner can lead the way. However, it's most efficient to paddle in unison. You'll need to synchronize your movements, so paddles don't crash together.
If you have one person stronger than the other, place them in the rear seat. To turn a tandem kayak, you’ll need to use some more teamwork. The front paddler will take a forward sweep on one side, while the stirring paddler does a reverse sweep at the opposite side. Let the front paddler set the pace, while the rear paddler does course correction.
For a more in-depth guide to paddling and stroke overview, click here.
Kayak Fishing Safety Tips
Safety is of the utmost importance when it comes to being out on the water. Before you do anything, make sure you have the right clothing for your environment. If you are in the cold, try bringing a hat and coat to help keep you warm. Also, wear your personal flotation device and never take it off – especially in turbulent waters.
Make sure to tell someone where you’re going, how many people are going with you, and how long you’re planning on being gone. Make sure you also stick to this plan!
While you should always stay hydrated, never drink alcohol while out on the water. This can inhibit even the best paddlers/swimmers and make for unnecessary dangers. Also, make sure to never go over the weight capacity of your particular kayak, and also check your equipment for wear and tear.
To prevent your kayak from tipping over, learn the high support stroke. If you're paddling and see potential obstacles coming your way, try not to touch them and never push off of them. Try to lower yourself in the kayak which will, in turn, lower your center of gravity.
If you happen to be sideways when heading downstream and you see a substantial obstacle in your path, lead downstream right away. This will help counteract the water's force.
Taking Care of Your 2 Person Fishing Kayak
When it comes to maintaining and caring for your kayak, you'll probably find it quite effortless. Usually, all your kayak will need is a freshwater rinse. Make sure to also rinse the rudder, rudder cables, and foot braces to get rid of any salt. If you happen to scratch it, try using a marine boat polish made for polyethylene hulls. Always store it in a dark, cool, and dry environment when it's not in use, to avoid any UV and heat damage.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you steer a tandem fishing kayak?
While yours may very likely come with rudders, two humans working together will more quickly and efficiently turn a kayak. The front paddler will use the forward stroke as the rear paddler uses a backward stroke on the opposite side!
Is it easy to transport a 2 person fishing kayak?
If you select a high-quality kayak, yes. Inflatable models are generally the easiest to transport, as you can simply deflate them and store them inside your vehicle. Non-inflatables are going to require you to mount them on top of your car or use a kayak trailer to carry it along. Try to look for a product that comes with at least a couple well-placed carry handles so that you're not awkwardly trying to lug it under your arm.
Is it possible to paddle a 2 person fishing kayak solo?
Yes, it is. Just keep in mind that some models weigh more, and may be notably more difficult to paddle on your own.
How much weight can a tandem fishing kayak hold?
This will vary, depending on the model you select. However, a normal weight range is typically anywhere from 350 pounds to 600 pounds. While it’s not a rule, typically inflatable models can hold a bit less.
Now that you’re practically an expert when it comes to the best 2 person tandem fishing kayaks, which one will you be taking out on your future adventures? If you’re still not sure, allow me to reiterate how amazing the Lifetime 10 Foot model is. With a 500-pound weight capacity, you can easily let up to 3 people on your kayak without worry.
The wider design is surprisingly stable, even in rougher waters. The storage is very ample and comes with watertight areas to store electronic devices and other valuables, while the seats are all adjustable and very lux feeling. No matter which one you select, just remember that these are all the best tandem fishing kayaks on the market today!
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