Many people who love kayaking are beginning to talk and learn about the inflatable fishing kayaks that are available. They are versatile boats that can be carried in a backpack wherever you want to take them. Most are durable and can venture into areas that most people would avoid. The simple fact that inflatable also means more affordable has opened the doors to a variety of people. Those who were interested in kayaking, but were never able to afford to purchase a hard-shelled kayak now have other options.
Many people have doubts about whether a kayak that is inflatable can truly be as good as a traditional kayak or boat, especially for fishing. People also wonder if they can actually have sure footing on a kayak that is inflatable when fishing.
Is it better to purchase an expensive inflatable fishing kayak or will any inflatable work? Instead of a fishing kayak, should you purchase an inflatable fishing boat? These are all great questions. We will try to help you figure out which is best for you in the battle of inflatable fishing kayak vs inflatable fishing boats.
With either type of watercraft, choosing an inflatable is touchy. There are inflatable kayaks and inflatable boats that cost only $100. Expect these to be made with cheaper materials that may puncture easily. Many people want these inflatables so they can go places that normal boats are unable to go. Make sure you take a very close look at the material that the vessel is made from. Purchasing an inflatable that gets punctured the first time you hit something with it will be very bad.
You also do not necessarily need to spend a $1000 or more on one either. Regardless of whether you choose an inflatable fishing kayak or boat, you should expect to spend at least $200- $700. Inflatable boats will be somewhat cheaper so we’ll give them the nod in this category.
When looking at an inflatable fishing boat, you have a variety of sizes to choose from. If you are a fisherman who generally goes out solo, you can buy use a dingy sized boat. Often, the smaller boats that are not “rafts” are between 8ft-14ft long. If you want a multi-person boat, a full sized inflatable fishing boat will be more preferable. The larger inflatable boats can carry 5-6 people but that would not be ideal for a fishing trip.
There are a variety of sizes to choose from when looking at an inflatable fishing kayak as well. Often, a single person kayak will be between 9ft-10ft. A tandem or a large fishing kayak can be up to 15ft long. The width of these boats can be up to 3ft wide in some cases. Most are going to be around the 2ft wide range.
If you are curious about the maximum weight limit that can be on board the inflatables, you will have to look at each individual boat or kayak. Some single person, small kayaks are only able to hold 300-400 pounds. Larger inflatable kayaks and boats may be able to handle up to 1000 lbs. Depending on your weight and how many people you hope to have on board, you should have enough of a weight maximum that you can carry all of your supplies without worry.
Due to inflatable boats being a little larger they tend to weight more when deflated. If you are looking to fish alone we think the kayak is a better solution. They are generally lighter and have more than enough room. If you plan on fishing with one or two other people we would recommend the inflatable boat. The extra hands can help carry the boat since they tend to be heavier.
Ease of Transport
When you choose a traditional boat or kayak, you have to deal with hauling it. Most will require a trailer, but some kayaks are able to fit on a roof rack on your vehicle. The roof rack can cause scratches and other issues on the roof of your vehicle and therefore, it is not something most people enjoy.
The appeal of inflatables is that they fit anywhere in your vehicle. All inflatables can be carried inside of a backpack. They are designed to be very easy to move and take along with you. Many of the inflatable boats weigh between 30-40 pounds with some weighing more or less than that average. Inflatable kayaks tend to weigh less and many come with a backpack or storage back so we’ll give them the nod here.
Inflatable fishing boats are designed to be flat on the water. A traditional boat will most often have a V-shaped hull. The flat bottom increases the stability of the boat, even when you are standing up to fish from it as long as it is properly inflated.
An inflatable fishing kayak is less stable than an inflatable fishing boat because they are not as wide. This means that most people have to learn how to balance them a little bit especially when standing. The key here is to read our reviews and choose a kayak that owners claim to be very stable. We will give inflatable fishing boats the nod here.
How Maneuverable Are They?
Inflatable kayaks are very maneuverable, according to most. However, it does depend on the setup you have on your kayak. If there are tracking fins and a V-shaped hull, you can expect more maneuverability than if you venture out without fins.
An inflatable fishing boat is not as easy to maneuver when just using paddles. If you get one that has a motor it will be faster and more responsive when driving it out on the water. They are able to glide over the water since they are relatively light. Turning is easy and getting into tight areas is also very doable.
Based on just using paddles we’ll give inflatable kayaks the nod here.
One major concern for people who want an inflatable fishing boat or kayak is how low in the water they will sit while they are in it. Most kayaks are going to sit lower in the water, but there are some that have high sides on them. The buoyancy of it will be revealed by the maximum weight limit of the inflatable and how close you are to max it out. If you have a fishing boat that is able to carry 1,000 pounds and you only have 500 pounds on board, you can expect the boat to be more buoyant.
The more air chambers your boat or kayak has, and the maximum weight limit of it, are two things that you need to pay close attention to. Luckily, most inflatable kayaks and boats will have 3-4 air chambers in them. Since this depends on the numbers of fishers, their gear and the size of the watercraft we’ll make this a push.
Durability is one thing you should never overlook when choosing an inflatable. If you have an inflatable that does not have multiple air chambers and uses low-quality materials, you are setting yourself up for a failure. Look for high-quality materials that are coated with neoprene or Hypalon. The one downside to inflatables is that some of them will have issues at the seams. You do not want to have to deal with an inflatable that leaks through the seams. This is also another reason to avoid cheap inflatables. Boats or kayaks can both be made out of high-quality materials so we’ll make this a push.
The biggest downfall of an inflatable fishing boat, or inflatable raft, is that they are very hard to paddle. Having a trolling motor will help with this issue. You Do Not want to be worn out once you reach your favorite fishing spot on the lake or river. The only exception to this rule would be if the lake was kind of small or you didn’t want to venture out very far.
On a large lake or situations where you do not want to have a trolling motor, you may need to stick with an inflatable fishing kayak. They are easy to paddle and you can get them to go anywhere you want for them to go. As long as you know how to paddle softly, you do not have to worry about scaring the fish away. They are also the most versatile inflatable boats on the market. Many can handle white waters and all other types of water if you choose carefully enough. We’ll give inflatable fishing kayaks the nod here.
If you are wondering about the motor size that you can put on an inflatable, you should know that you can go larger than a trolling motor. Some dingy tenders can use an outboard motor that is anywhere up to 15hp.
Speed on an inflatable depends on the boat and the motor you have backing it. The larger inflatable fishing boats can go a maximum speed of 50mph before most people start to worry about how easy they are to handle. Fishing kayaks use smaller motors than fishing boats. Therefore they will not be able to go as fast.
Most boats and kayaks can with rod holders and netting to hold down your gear. Having rod holders is essential especially if you plan to fish with multiple rods or have more than one person on board. The netting also helps hold down your gear in choppy water.
Some inflatable fishing boats also come with a canopy option. This means that you do not have to worry about being in the sun for an entire day on the water. Most kayaks do not have a canopy option. If you plan to fish in a place with lots of sun and high temperatures we strongly recommend buying an inflatable kayak or boat that has the canopy option.
Inflatable kayaks and fishing boats both come with grab lines/handles. While the watercraft is inflated using these will make carrying it a lot easier. If you are in the water and the boat flips over, you have something to hold on to when flipping it back right side up. Grab lines are also used to secure personal items to the boat so that nothing on board will end up overboard.
Both types of inflatable require a good air pump. Foot pumps are preferred over hands pumps because they inflate faster. Some people also have pumps that work off their vehicle. Due to being smaller inflatable kayaks tend to inflate quicker.
Since inflatable boats tend to have more things such as motors and canopies we’ll give them the nod here.
Inflatable Fishing Kayak vs Inflatable Fishing Boat Conclusion
In trying to decide between an inflatable fishing kayak or an inflatable fishing boat, your personal preference should be the main thing you consider. Fishing boats tend to be larger. Some will come with a canopy that you can place over them. If you have a motor (extra cost) they can go faster than a kayak. If you are just looking at paddling, an inflatable kayak will be a lot easier to paddle and will not tire you out as quickly.
Fishing from an inflatable kayak provides a unique fishing experience according to most people who have given it a try. Their smaller size makes them easier to backpack to remote locations and since they sit lower in the water it’s normally easier to cast under trees near a bank. You should consider your personal preferences, your needs, and where you plan to go fishing. If you plan to fish alone an inflatable kayak is likely a better choice. If you plan to fish with others out on a big lake then an inflatable fishing boat may make a better choice.
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