Finding the right tandem kayak for all your angling adventures isn’t always as easy as it might seem. With so many excellent models out there to choose from, whittling down your options to find the perfect boat can be as challenging as reeling in that major catch.
The good news? We’re here to help.
We’ve reviewed the best tandem fishing kayaks so you can get the perfect boat for your needs. That way, you can spend more time enjoying the water and less time researching your gear.
Our Top Picks
If you’re in a hurry, here are our top picks. Or continue scrolling to see our full list with in-depth reviews.
- Best Overall: Jackson Kayak Big Tuna
- Best Value: Ocean Kayak Malibu Two XL Angler
- Best Inflatable: Sea Eagle 385fta FastTrack Angler Series
- Best Modular: Point 65 Tequila! GTX Angler
- Best Pedal: Hobie Mirage Compass Duo
Best Overall: Jackson Kayak Big Tuna
Length: 14’2″ | Width: 35″ | Weight: 102 lbs | Capacity: 500 lbs
The best overall tandem fishing kayak in our review, the Jackson Kayak Big Tuna is a do-anything boat for avid kayak anglers.
It’s a relatively long-length kayak and the wide, stable hull, makes it a solid choice for a range of adventures. It’s even designed to be paddled either tandem or solo, making it suitable for folks that want one kayak that can do it all.
With the Big Tuna, you get plenty of angling-specific features. For example, the kayak comes with the company’s proprietary Tuna Tank system, which provides you with ample dry storage or tank well area in the kayak’s center. It also has a unique deck layout that allows for safe rod storage throughout your paddles.
Simultaneously, the Big Tuna features other superb accessories, such as a small bow day hatch and a large stern hatch for stashing away gear. Each seat on this kayak even has a MOLLE system on the rear, allowing you to quickly attach MOLLE-compatible gear, such as water bottle holders, while on the go.
That being said, the Big Tuna is quite heavy for a kayak, which is something to keep in mind if you anticipate having to transport your kayak frequently. It also doesn’t have pre-installed gear tracks, which is a bummer. But when it comes to overall versatility and quality, this boat is hard to beat.
Best Value: Ocean Kayak Malibu Two XL Angler
Length: 13’4″ | Width: 34″ | Weight: 68 lbs | Capacity: 500 lbs
If value for the money is what you seek, the Ocean Kayak Malibu Two XL Angler is the tandem fishing kayak that you want to have with you on the water.
With a weight capacity of 500lbs, the Malibu Two XL is an excellent choice for most paddlers. It’s engineered to be paddled either tandem or solo, making it the perfect fit for folks that need one kayak to do it all without breaking the bank.
As far as fishing-specific features go, the Malibu Two XL has four deck mounts and two Scotty rod holders to easily transport all your essential gear. Plus, the Malibu Two XL has a large rear tank well for a cooler as well as a center hatch to keep your gear safe and sound on the water.
Meanwhile, this kayak also comes with a set of paddle holders on either side of the kayak for added convenience while you cast your lines. It also has a unique footwell design that lets both paddlers brace themselves properly while kayaking, regardless of your height.
However, if there’s one area where the Malibu Two XL doesn’t impress, it’s its relatively simple seats, which don’t provide a lot of support as you paddle. However, they can be replaced. It’s also somewhat slow on the water, though most anglers won’t find that this affects them too much during their paddles. Nevertheless, for a kayak with an affordable price point, the Malibu Two XL Angler is worthy of your consideration.
Best Inflatable: Sea Eagle 385fta FastTrack Angler Series
Length: 12’6″ | Width: 36″ | Weight: 45 lbs | Capacity: 635 lbs
Sleek, simple, and oh-so-versatile, the Sea Eagle 385fta FastTrack Angler Series kayak is a must-have for casual angling day trips.
Crafted using Sea Eagle’s proprietary 1000 denier reinforced PVC fabric, this kayak is tough enough for regular use in rocky waters. It offers enough carrying capacity for up to 635lbs of people and gear, so it’s a solid choice for the majority of kayakers.
As an added bonus, the Sea Eagle 385fta FastTrack comes with a host of different fishing-specific features. This includes a set of built-in rod, hook, and tool holders, as well as an integrated fish ruler for convenience on the water.
For extra functionality, this kayak also has a non-slip Crocodile Hide EVA foam padding fabric on the floor. That way, you can comfortably stand up to cast your lines from an improved vantage point.
Of course, since this is an inflatable kayak, you will have to spend some time pumping it up before each outing. This kayak is also slightly more challenging to maneuver than others on the market because of its very wide, flat hull. But, the Sea Eagle 385fta FastTrack is a sure bet when it comes to portability and versatility.
Best Modular: Point 65 Tequila! GTX Angler
Length: 13’6″ | Width: 29.5″ | Weight: 77 lbs | Capacity: 530 lbs
Want the portability of an inflatable kayak without sacrificing the performance of a hard shell boat? Enter: the Point 65 Tequila! GTX Angler.
Bringing innovative modular kayak technology to the world of tandem fishing kayaks, the Tequila! GTX Angler Series is an incredibly versatile and functional option for a range of angling adventures. It features Point 65’s proprietary modular design system, which allows you to assemble and disassemble the kayak into small pieces for storage as needed.
The kayak’s modular design allows it to be paddled either solo or tandem. If you want to paddle with a partner, you can quickly attach the Tequila! Mid-Section, which instantly transforms the boat into a tandem kayak. Alternatively, you can remove the middle section of the boat for solo fishing adventures and get a fully functioning one-person kayak.
When it comes to fishing-specific features, the Tequila! is ready to impress. It has two flush-mounted rod holders, one deck-mount rod holder, and multiple deck mount locations for adding other pieces of equipment to your boat. This kayak also has Point 65’s supremely comfortable AIR seat for lumbar support on the water.
Despite all these superb features, we should mention that the Tequila! doesn’t offer much gear storage due to its lack of dry hatches. It’s also quite bulky in transport when compared to an inflatable kayak. But, as far as versatility and performance go, the Tequila! is a quality modular kayak to have with you while casting lines.
Best Pedal: Hobie Mirage Compass Duo
Length: 14’6″ | Width: 22″ | Weight: 127 lbs | Capacity: 550 lbs
Are you looking to get out on the water but hoping to swap your paddle for a set of pedals? The Hobie Mirage Compass Duo just might be what you need.
A unique take on the classic kayak design, the Mirage Compass Duo uses Hobie’s Kick-Up Fin technology to effortlessly propel you through the water just under the power of your own two feet. Therefore, it’s a solid choice for paddlers who’d like to continue maneuvering on the water, even when they have a rod in hand.
The Mirage Compass Duo features don’t stop there, though. It also comes with an industry-leading Vantage CT seat, which is fully adjustable and breathable for improved comfort at all times.
For longer days out on the water, this boat comes complete with a whole slew of gear storage options. It boasts a number of covered hatches, deck bungees, and storage pockets so you can stay organized during your adventures.
However, it is worth noting that the innovative features of the Mirage Compass Duo don’t come cheap. Plus, the boat is one of the heaviest on the market, with a total weight of 127lbs. But, when convenience and comfort are key, it’s hard to top the Mirage Compass Duo.
Tandem Fishing Kayak Buying Guide
Buying a tandem fishing kayak is a significant investment, so it’s essential that you know what to look for as you shop. Here are three key things to keep in mind when researching your next fishing-specific kayak:
By design, all boats need to strike a balance between stability and maneuverability. However, for most kayak anglers, stability is generally the most essential feature to look for in a boat.
That’s because you need a stable platform in the water for casting lines and reeling in your catch. Therefore, a kayak with poor primary stability is only going to hold you back.
So, we recommend looking for a tandem fishing kayak with a broad, mostly flat or pontoon-esque hull design rather than a V-shaped or rounded hull. Doing so will help provide you with more stability and comfort when out on the water.
However, we should mention that boats with mostly flat hulls, while stable in calm waters, don’t offer much by way of secondary stability. That means that they’re not stable in choppy seas and windy conditions. Of course, most kayak anglers prefer calmer waters for their adventures, but this is something to consider as you shop.
Fishing is a gear-intensive pursuit, so it’s imperative that your boat come complete with different features to support you on the water.
One of the most essential features to look for in your kayak is a set of rod holders. Many kayak rod holders are flush-mounted, which means that the holder is built into the deck of the boat itself. As their name suggests, these mounts are designed to be flush to the deck of your kayak, so they tend to be quite durable.
Your other option is a deck-mounted rod holder, which mounts to the top of your kayak’s deck. Although these holders tend to be a bit pricier (so you’ll find them mostly on premium-priced boats), they often allow you to adjust the positioning of your rod for maximum flexibility on the water.
Additionally, it’s often important to prioritize gear storage in your tandem fishing kayak. Since most of us hit the water with tackle boxes, live bait, and coolers in tow, having somewhere to put all that gear is critical. Most fishing kayaks come with features like dry hatches, tank wells, and deck bungees to help you store your equipment on the water.
Finally, it’s also worth looking for a boat that has gear tracks. Gear tracks are effectively sliding tracks that you can mount onto the deck of a boat for propping up GPS units, fish finders, and phones for quick access as you paddle. What could be better?
Maximum Weight Capacity
Your kayak’s maximum weight capacity is important, regardless of what type of boat you’re looking to buy, and tandem fishing kayaks are no exception.
Nevertheless, the maximum weight capacity of a tandem fishing kayak is particularly important. That’s because you’ll likely have two people and a lot of gear in your boat at any given time. So, ensuring you stay under the weight limit is important.
As a general rule, you’ll want to avoid loading your boat beyond about 80% of its stated weight capacity for ultimate performance. So, if you, your partner, and all your gear weigh 400lbs, a 500 lb capacity kayak is ideal.
A kayak is no use to you if it’s too unwieldy to transport to and from the put-in. Therefore, searching for a tandem fishing kayak that’s portable enough for your needs is essential.
That being said, we should note that tandem fishing kayaks tend to be both heavy and long.
Since these boats have to accommodate you, your paddling partner, and all your gear, they need to be reasonably burly. As a result, most tandem fishing kayaks are at least 12’ long, and the majority weigh at least 60 lbs.
Of course, you can find two-person fishing kayaks that are shorter and lighter than the specs that we’ve listed above. But, small fishing kayaks aren’t as common, so you should expect to have a fairly large boat with you on the water.
While having a relatively large and heavy tandem fishing kayak can seem a bit daunting, it’s worth remembering that you’ll generally have another paddler with you on your adventures. So, you’ll usually have help when it comes to transporting your kayak.
Inflatable tandem fishing kayaks are often quite affordable. They even pack down to a small size for transport, so you can often stash them in the back of your car instead of transporting them on a roof rack.
Meanwhile, modular kayaks tend to be a bit pricier and bulkier. Despite these drawbacks, they let you retain many of the benefits of a hard shell kayak while also making it easier for you to transport and store your boat.
So, whether you’re okay with a heavier tandem fishing kayak or you’d prefer the enhanced portability of a modular or inflatable model, there’s a boat out there that’s right for your needs.
With so many excellent tandem fishing kayaks on the market, selecting just one boat isn’t easy.
After reviewing the best tandem kayaks for fishing available today, one model stood out above the rest: the Jackson Kayak Big Tuna.
In particular, we like that the Big Tuna provides a superb mix of stability and performance on the water. It also offers ample gear storage and the ability to be paddled tandem or solo as your adventures demand, even if it is a bit heavier than most other models.
That being said, there’s no one tandem fishing kayak that’s right for everyone. As a result, what’s important is that you get the boat that’s perfect for your needs, whether that’s a pedal boat like the Hobie Mirage Compass Duo or a modular kayak like the Point 65 Sweden Tequila! GTX Angler.
At this point, you know exactly what to look for as you shop for your next kayak. We hope that this article helped you find the best tandem fishing kayak for your adventures, and we look forward to seeing you on the water!