Best Tandem Fishing Kayaks of 2018 & Buying Guide

Many folks enjoy fishing alone but a lot of people like company when they fish.  Tandem kayaks are not for everyone however.  You have to really like the person you’re sharing your kayak with.  You may want a tandem to take a child out on the water with you for some bonding teachable time.  

You can really create some great memories out on the water.  To successfully tandem you need to have patience and cooperation for fishing with a pal. You will have to learn how to paddle together and learn how to enter and exit the craft together.  Together with being the key word.


What are the advantages of tandem kayaks?

One of the best advantages of tandem kayaks is the fact that you have a partner to help you paddle and load.  One can paddle while the other rests or fishes.  It’s a great bonding opportunity for two people to spend some time together out on the water learning and cooperating together. You will also have someone to help you load and unload the kayak onto and off of your vehicle.

Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak

Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak

Often the stability is greater than that of a single kayak since they are reinforced to handle the increased weight of two passengers.

Tandem kayaks are built for teamwork and relationship building.  Conversation flows easily with a tandem and it’s always nice to have someone to talk to.

Which is better – sit on top or sit inside?

Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T Tandem Kayak Package

Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T Tandem Kayak Package

For fishing, the sit on top kayaks are tops!  This type of kayak offers much greater range of motion than the sit in kind.  If you have any claustrophobia, these would be the way to go. Without high sides or a skirt, it’s inevitable you will get a little wet.  Don’t worry, it’s not that bad.

You will be able to enter and exit the kayak much easier with a sit on top model.  You may even want to dangle your feet over the sides.

Will I be able to take my tandem out comfortably without a partner?

You can but it’s imperative that you shop around and choose one with reviews that you know it will not be a problem to take out on your own. Tandem kayaks tend to be heavier and longer than singles so be aware of how much weight you can comfortably handle on your own.  Be aware also of the length when loading it into or on top of a vehicle.  

Malibu Kayaks Pro 2 Tandem Fish and Dive Package Sit on Top Kayak

Malibu Kayaks Pro 2 Tandem Fish and Dive Package Sit on Top Kayak

How important is the material used to build my Tandem kayak?

Hobie Mirage Outback Camo Kayak 2017

Hobie Mirage Outback Camo Kayak 2017

It’s pretty important as far as weight and maneuverability.  Some materials are heavier and/or lighter than others and should play an important role in your decision making.

The most commonly used materials are plastic, fiberglass, carbon fiber and Kevlar. Carbon fiber and Kevlar are very light weight, however, they are much more costly.

Fiberglass is commonly used and because it will be little stiffer it can make the kayak easier to handle. Some fiberglass models are heavier than others depending on the company which is manufacturing it.  

Some manufacturers tend to make more layers than others which then in turn will make the kayak heavier.  The fisherman will need to take caution around rocks and other objects in the water which can damage the fiberglass.

Plastic would be the cheapest material available to use.  It is however, the heaviest. There are different varieties of plastic which would require you to investigate costs, materials and other factors when choosing a vessel.

You must also take into consideration when choosing the material from which your kayak is made is where you will be launching the kayak from.  If you are launching from a rocky area you are going to want a kayak made from more durable materials.

This is also a consideration if you will be handling the kayak by yourself and transporting it on the top of a vehicle to take it to the water in the first place.  You will need the strength to get it loaded on your vehicle and a good kayak carrier and roof rack to protect your kayak.  Weight is an important consideration in all of this.

Should I research and pay attention to a kayak’s internal storage?

This is definitely an important point to ponder.  Everyone has cell phones now and no one leaves home without it.  You will need storage for that phone or other electronic devices so this is absolutely something to consider.

Watertight storage would be the best option to go for of course.  Check the seals around the watertight areas.  They should be solid with no cracks or peeling around them.  If yours starts to leak after the warranty expires you should be able to seal with some silicone.

It would actually be better to check these areas and read reviews prior to purchase.  Should you choose to purchase a tandem kayak without watertight storage areas just take particular care of your electronics and wallet, etc.

 Sit in or sit on top?

Sit in versions of kayaks will be wider and give the kayak more stability. This type of kayak will actually keep you dryer since most of you will be inside the vessel.  The drawback will be when attempting to exit the craft.  It is more difficult to get out of.

The sit on top versions are popular with fishermen since you can more easily attach your equipment to the top of the craft.  You will be in closer contact to your equipment and can get to it more quickly. You can also just jump right off and wade if you need to. The downside to the sit on top version is you are more likely to get wet.

Most tandem kayaks are the sit on top type.  Whoever you are asking to fish with you will have to be comfortable in the same type of kayak you are.  The majority of the time it mostly has to do with freedom of movement and how dry you are likely to stay.  Most fishermen or any people out on the water really don’t mind if they get a little wet.

What are some of the different parts of a Tandem kayak?

  1. Seats– If you have children, are they going to be using the kayak as well? Then maybe you should try and get a seat that moves back and forth. That way many people of many lengths can use your kayak!
  2. Hatches– These are storage areas at the front or back of the kayak. If you need to store a lot look up the amount of space in your kayak’s hatches.
  3. Rudder– The rudder is on the back of the kayak and it helps it turn faster and easier. Pay close attention to this if you are wanting to do a bit more extreme kayaking.
  4. Cockpit– The cockpit is where you sit. If you are snug then you have more freedom to turn quickly and sharply, but if you or people using the kayak are a little bit bigger or taller, then you may want to get a big cockpit. Plus, a big cockpit makes it easier to get in and out of.
  5. Hull Rocker– The hull rocker is the curve at the bottom of the kayak. A rocker that is more curved makes it easier to turn. If you are going to be in strong waters then you may want to get less of a rocker so it is hard to turn and stays straighter.
  6. What accessories do I need for my Tandem kayak?

    Some of these accessories are absolutely necessary for kayaking while others are not. It’s important to know which is which!

    1. Paddle– This is a must! You want to be able to move when you are in the kayak, don’t you? There are “general” paddles out there that are helpful for the beginner. Some kayaks come with a paddle, which is a plus.
    2. Car rack: If you have an inflatable then this is not totally necessary, but you are going to have to get your kayak to the water somehow. If you can’t fit it in your car then you may have to get a car rack.
    3. Spray skirt: This goes on the cockpit and fits around you while you’re in the kayak. It helps keep the water out, which is almost necessary for rough conditions, but if you are in cool waters then you probably do not need one.

    Does it matter what my Tandem kayak is made of?

    Yeah, it does, but one material may be best in one case and another material in another. Most of the kayaks listed below will probably be made of the same material, plastic, but it is still worth noting.

    There are two types of plastic kayaks: polyethylene and thermoformed ABS.

    Polyethylene is the most popular material for kayaks. It’s very inexpensive and impact resistant. The lifespan is shorter than other materials, but it is a good beginner material. Thermoformed ABS is more expensive than polyethylene but it is light and more durable.

    Kayaks made from composite are in the high-end category, which includes fiberglass, Kevlar and carbon blends. Composite boats are strong, but can still be damaged. Though, unlike the plastic kayaks, these can be repaired.

    Soft shell kayaks are the last assortment of material used for kayaks. These are the inflatable kind that are made from plastic and cloth-like materials. These are usually durable, but they usually come with puncture kits if something bad does happen.

Related Post:  Best Inflatable Kayaks of 2018 & Buying Guide

Best Tandem Fishing Kayaks Reviews

1.  Hobie Mirage Outfitter Kayak Review

Although able to hold two people, this tandem is easily piloted by one.  Constructed of polyethylene it’s easily handled coming in at 100 pounds.

Included are two twist and seal hatches to keep your valuables water tight   There is a sail mount, rudder control with twist and stow rudder and two piece paddles.  Sit comfortably all day with adjustable high back padded seats with inflatable lumbar support.


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    – Easy to pedal
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    – Ability to add accessories
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    – Durable and well made
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    – Plenty of rod holders and storage
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    – Reversible Mirage Drive 180


  • – A bit heavy for one person to lift.
  • – Not designed for rough water
  • – Can be pretty slow in choppy water

This is an awesome kayak for tandem use.  It’s a little pricey but well worth it for two and some bonding time.  This one should last for years and give your legs a great workout.  Invest in some of the accessories for even more fun.

2Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 120T Tandem Kayak Package Review

This tandem kayak comes complete with two flush mount rod holders and four mounting points to add more. It features two covered hatches to store supplies and a rear storage area with bungee tie downs.


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    – Choice of color
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    – Performs well on all types of water excluding white water
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    – Easy to paddle
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    – Three seat positions for two adults and a child
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    – Easily paddled by a single person from the middle seat
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    – Weight capacity 500 pounds
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    – One paddle included
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    – Great stability


  • – Doesn’t track straight
  • – Buckles on seat break easily
  • – Seats are too flexible

3. Malibu Kayaks Pro 2 Tandem Fish and Dive Package Sit on Top Kayak  Review

This tandem kayak is designed for all types of water excluding white water. This particular model has dual use for diving as well as fishing.

It includes a center hatch and a rear hatch with a bucket. This particular kayak also features 6-rod holders and bow and stern handles for transporting.


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    – Lightweight
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    – Good tracking
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    – Lots of storage
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    – Accommodates 500 pounds easily


  • – Takes on a bit of water which makes it heavy when taking it out of the water
  • – Seats are molded plastic which are not the most comfortable
  • – Can be unstable in choppy water
  • – The 6-point hatch is difficult to open

This tandem is sleek and glides through the water without difficulty.  It’s easily affordable for lots of family fun. You may have the added expense of more comfortable seating and an extra paddle.  With a choice of three colors you will be pleased.

4. Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak Review

This tandem kayak is lightweight made from high density polyethelene.  It has a great weight capacity at 500 pounds. There are a few different foot pedal positions to accommodate different size riders.  

This is a sit on top model to allow extra space for all riders to have a great amount of room to move.  This model includes three contoured molded plastic seats and three rod holders.


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    – Great stability and tracking even for larger people
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    – Easy to paddle
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    – Easy to stand in
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    – Comes with two paddles
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    – Built in tie down points
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    – Paddle clips
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    – Molded hole in the rear for a motor mount


  • – Can be a little heavy for one person to haul around
  • – Not fast due to its width
  • – Uncomfortable seats
  • – Storage areas are not watertight
  • – Single handle which makes it difficult to load onto a car

This is a great kayak for a day out on the lake or river with a friend. You may want to bring something extra for storing your things or fishing equipment though as the only storage is actually in the hull of the boat.  You will need to reach around inside trying to get to your belongings.  While it may not have the capacity for three full grown adults, two can ride all day comfortably and perhaps bring the dog along.