The Top 2-Person Fishing Kayaks That Won’t Break The Bank

by John Wren

Two-person fishing kayaks are an excellent choice for couples or groups of two looking to get outside and explore the water together. These kayaks provide plenty of room for two people and all their gear, so you can enjoy a comfortable, enjoyable adventure without feeling cramped or crowded. They also offer excellent stability, plus the ability to easily cast and reel in your catch. Additionally, two-person kayaks often come with plenty of cargo space, so you can bring all your fishing gear and any other essentials with you. With two-person fishing kayaks, you and your partner can explore the water together in comfort and style.

Nevertheless, there’s one piece of gear that any good fisherman needs to incorporate into his repertoire: the tandem fishing kayak.

The main problem inherent to tandem fishing kayaks is that a lot of people who are great at fishing aren’t so great at operating kayaks. Nevertheless, it’s well worth the effort to learn, as kayak fishing boasts a number of advantages:

  • Kayaks are portable and easier to deal with than traditional fishing boats
  • Kayaks are cheap and you won’t have to pay much for upkeep
  • If you keep things simple (which is a good thing in the great outdoors), everything you need will easily fit in your kayak
  • Finally, a tandem kayak will allow you to bring a friend, your partner, or your dog on your fishing trip

Convinced? If so, there are a few essential factors to consider when browsing some of the best tandem fishing kayaks:

Sit-on-Top vs. Sit Inside?

Kayak Fishing Supplies offers a good visualization of the distinction:

While Sit-On-Top kayaks offer increased mobility – crucial if you want to wade while you fish – there will be times when you’ll get soaked, which can be tough on frigid days. Sit Inside varieties also generally have more room for storage as well as a handy storage compartment.

However, as mentioned, your mobility is limited. Most anglers go with Sit-On-Top kayaks, but if you’re braving inclement weather, the best tandem fishing kayaks are Sit In.

Rigged or Unrigged?

This decision comes down to a simple question – do you want a built-in holder for your fishing rods (rigged) or do you want to put one in yourself? This is in essence what separates a “fishing” kayak from a normal one. 

Some kayaks will have the option of a cheaper unrigged variety or a “the works” rigged version. The best tandem fishing kayaks are the ones that fit your needs.


Be sure to decide how you’re planning to use your kayak, as dimensions will play a big role in your vessel’s pace, handling/maneuverability, and stability.

In general, the longer the kayak, the faster it goes and the wider the kayak, the more stability it provides.

For more information on how to choose the right kayak, you can read this article: Best Sit On Top Kayaks.

Now that we’ve oriented ourselves, we’ll explore a few of the best tandem fishing kayak models from the past few years:

The Price Performers ($400 – $1000)

Reasonably priced kayaks that get the job done for a great price, though in some cases performance may leave the tiniest bit to be desired.

1.Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak

Sevylor Colorado 2-Person Inflatable Fishing Kayak, Complete with Paddle & Rod Holders, Adjustable Seats, and Carry Handle; Kayak Can Fit Trolling Motor
  • 18-gauge PVC Construction: Rugged and lake-use friendly
  • 1000D Tarpaulin Bottom and 840D Nylon Cover: Provides durable puncture protection
  • Multiple Air Chambers: Allows another chamber to stay inflated if one is punctured
  • High-Quality Inflatable Kayak: Ideal for fishing and lake adventures
  • Adjustable Seats and Carry Handle: For comfort and easy transport
This tough, rugged inflatable option is constructed from reinforced PVP that can take bumps and bruises on any variety of water surface. Its wide base gives it great stability, and its Airtight System insures that it won’t spring any leaks, lest it’s dinghy-like appearance turns off some consumers.

Dimensions: 10’9” x 39”

Variety: Sit-On-Top

Multiple reviewers have described the Colorado as “handy” and “easy,” and those are this kayak’s two main selling points.  It’s a snap to inflate and deflate, so it’s ready to go and ready to leave in a matter of minutes, and its multiple air chambers insure that leakage is never a problem.

If you’re looking for something to get the job done – nothing more, nothing less – without a lot of bells and whistles, the Colorado is the perfect pick.

2.Lifetime 10-Foot Manta Tandem Kayak

Lifetime Tandem Sit on Top Kayak with Back Rests, 10 Feet, Green
  • Versatile Design Allows for Solo or Tandem Paddling | 500 lb. Capacity
  • Self-Bailing Scupper Holes Drain Cockpit Area of Water
  • Molded Front Carry Handle | 10-Foot Compact Length for Easy Transport and Storage | 36 in. wide
  • Hull Design Provides Ultra Stability and Great Tracking
  • UV-Protected Linear Low-Density Polyethylene (LLDPE) Rotational Molded Construction
A streamlined design capable of holding up to 3 people (if that third person is a pet or a small child), the Manta’s central features are comfort and safety. It offers multiple foot positions to make sure that you’re comfortable throughout the day, and the seatbacks are extremely pleasant.

Dimensions: 102” x 36”

Variety: Sit-On-Top

Furthermore, the “high and dry” seating makes sure that you’re staying out of the surf as much as possible, and tunnel hull feature means that you’d almost have to be trying to capsize this kayak to make it tip over.

All of this combines to make the Manta the ultimate “family friendly” tandem kayak. Its versatility – it’s great for tandem riding or solo riding – only adds to its functionality.

Though it’s not the sleekest model and you won’t be maneuvering or handling it with the greatest of ease, it’s a safe, solid, dependable option, the steak and potatoes of tandem kayaks.

The Middle Class ($1000 – $2000)

A step up from the price performers, usually performance and variety of features (and, of course, the price tag) are what separate these options from the class below.

3.BIC Yakkair Fishing Inflatable Kayak

BIC Yakkair Fishing-2Hp Inflatable Kayak
  • Room for 2 adults and comes standard with 2 fishing backrests with rod holders
  • Proprietary high pressure floor and integrated keel system offer the performance and tracking of a traditional kayak with the convenience of an inflatable
  • Complete system including hull, pump, backrest, footrests,and transport bag
  • Total weight is 42 pounds (includes boat, bag, footrests, backrest, and pump.Lightweight, transportable, performance inflatable kayak
  • can easily be used solo by only mounting one of the seat / stretcher units in the centre of the kayak, where the appropriate fittings have been incorporated in the design.
Another inflatable option, the BIC Yakkair, offers a slick camouflage design that fits right in in the backcountry out on the lake.

Dimensions: 13’5” x 37.8”

Variety: Sit-On-Top, but almost a hybrid

The innovative design tries to capture the best of the inflatable and solid kayak worlds, boasting a high pressure floor and keel system that simulate the performance and stability of a rigid kayak while also offering the practicality and portability of an inflatable.

The Yakkair also boasts a surprising number of features for an inflatable, including rod holders, footrests, and safety grab lines. All of this likely contributes to its heftier price tag, which is its main downside.

It may be a pretty penny to pay for an inflatable kayak, but the engineers at BIC did their best to simulate the performance and feel of a hard kayak while still allowing you to inflate and deflate it wherever you please. As far as convenience is concerned, this is one of the best tandem fishing kayaks on the market.

The Upper Echelon ($2000 and above)

The best tandem kayaks money can buy, these options are beautiful, run perfectly, and offer a number of impressive features; however, to get one of these bad boys, you’ll need to be ready to pay up.

4.Hobie Mirage Oasis Tandem Kayak

Boasting five bright-hued varieties, the Mirage Oasis is truly a beast of a kayak that commands attention. Slim, sleek, lengthy, and lightweight, the Mirage Oasis cuts through the water with ease, essentially a sports car variety of kayaks, boasting superior maneuverability and speed.

Dimensions: 14’6” x 33”

Variety: Sit-On-Top

However, none of this comes at the cost of functionality, as the Mirage Oasis offers three storage compartments, multiple height settings for its seats, and dual steering and “Mirage Drives” in front of each seat. In terms of pure performance, this among the best tandem fishing kayaks out there.

Not surprisingly, its drawbacks are similar to the drawbacks of actual sports cars: it’s heavy, it’s extremely pricey (probably a bit overpriced), and it’s not as stable as wider kayaks.

However, if you’re a serious kayak fisherman looking for la crème de la crème, look no further than the Rolls Royce of tandem kayaks.

Which are the best tandem fishing kayaks?

As with all purchases, finding the best tandem fishing kayaks comes down to a question of priorities. As with many outdoors purchases, it also comes down to a question of experience.

Before you even begin looking for a kayak, you should ask yourself, what do I want to use my kayak for, how often do I want to use it, and how much does fishing from a kayak mean to me?

If you have a great deal of experience – if you crave the smoothest of handling and the cutting edge – and you’re comfortable investing in your hobby of choice, you may want to consider the Hobie Mirage Oasis.

If you’re looking for a casual fishing kayak that doubles as a vessel in which to take the family and the dog out on the water, the Lifetime Manta is for you.

It’s all a question of what you want and what you need, and if you ask yourself the right questions, you’ll have no trouble snagging one of the best tandem fishing kayaks.

If you’re looking for a single person kayak, come checkout the ESEE 3 Review.

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