- Tandem Fishing Kayaks Pros And Cons
- Types of Tandem Kayaks
- Our List Of The Best Two Person Fishing Kayaks
- Final Thoughts
How much do you like your friend?
How much do you love your partner?
The reason I ask this is because your relationship may be put to the test when you buy a tandem fishing kayak.
Not enough space, no way for you to coordinate and different fishing styles can add up to a long day on the water.
That is unless you get yourself the right tandem kayak to actually enjoy the company and have a blast fishing with your buddy or wife.
In this article I am going to give you the information you need to make an informed decision. Read the buyer’s guide and then the reviews to see which is going to be the best 2 person fishing kayak for you.
Tandem Fishing Kayaks Pros And Cons
There are obviously going to be advantages and disadvantages to using a 2 person, or even a 3 person fishing kayak so you’ll have to weigh the benefits and see if it is even going to be worth it for you in the long run.
I think it’s a lot of fun fishing with somebody else, so when you get the best 2 person fishing kayak or 3 person fishing kayak, I think the pros will outweigh the cons.
- Social time – If you love spending time with others then fishing with friends is probably how you roll. Getting a tandem fishing kayak is a great way to spend some quality time with your friend or partner instead of the loneliness and solitude some people struggle with when they can’t share a hobby.
- Easier to paddle – Think about two people paddling (or pedaling) instead of one and you get the idea that have an extra person can be a huge benefit. If you see a bunch of birds feeding a half mile from the launch and want to get there fast then two people are going to get you there in no time.
- More time with hooks in the water – If you have to tie your line, or cut some bait or whatever it is that is keeping you from paddling or fishing, then having another person with a line in the water or to paddle while you do those chores is a great way to give yourselves more fishing time.
- More space for solo trips – Not all 2 person fishing kayaks have to be used by two people all the time. You can take a seat out in front and use it alone and enjoy the extra legroom and even be able to stand up and fish in some cases.
- Coordinating is hard – You may get lucky and be totally in synch with your tandem partner right off the bat. But, more than likely you’re going to need some time to gel as a team. This means struggling to keep the kayak straight, feeling like you could tip at any moment and even missing some fishing action while you figure things out.
- Increased risk of accident – Having another body in the kayak is also having another safety risk. Whether it’s because you tip the kayak and end up in the water or you have an errant cast end up hooking your friend or vice versa. You’ll have to be extra diligent to follow kayak safety precautions when you have two people in a kayak and fishing at the same time.
- Extra expenses – If your only kayak is a 2 or 3 person fishing kayak, then expect to pay more. It will be nice if your friend chips in, but then you get into ownership issues and maybe even scheduling conflicts. Likely you’ll be paying for it yourself and spending more as a result.
- Harder to manage solo – If you like having the extra room when you end up on a solo trip, you’ll equally hate how hard it is to load, transport and paddle your kayak. Not to mention it is hard to turn and keep your tacking straight when you are alone.
Types of Tandem Kayaks
Just as any type of fishing kayak, two person fishing kayaks come in different types. Which one is better is always going to be subjective as it depends on how you plan to use it and what your circumstances are.
To better understand what you should be looking for here are some different kinds to choose from.
Sit On Top
These 2 person fishing kayaks are hollow inside molded hulls that literally float on top of the water and you sit on top of it.
I highly recommend going with a SOT (Sit On Top) as they are very safe and easy to use. This is especially important when you have two or more people in your kayak. Let’s say the kayak tips over and you both end up in the water. It’s a simple matter of turning the kayak upright and sliding back on top.
There is generally much more room on the deck for rigging so you have way more options to customize your kayak. Plus with everything being open you can easily access your stuff since you can move around more freely.
Then there is the fact that you can stand up in some models which makes for easy casting long distances if you fly fish or sight fishing if you want to fish the flats.
These are your traditional kayaks where you sit inside a cockpit. The non fishing ones that work in the sea can have skirts to keep you totally dry and if you flip you have to learn how to right yourself while underwater.
Obviously these very traditional ones are not the kind I mean.
Now, you can rig these for fishing, but you are much more limited than you are with a SOT. Moving around inside the cockpit is not easy and space is obviously limited.
The benefit is speed and very good tracking. Since you are sitting under the surface of the water, your paddling is extremely efficient. You’ll be far less tired and achy after a day paddling on a SIK (Sit Inside Kayak).
And if you need to make good time then you’ll also see better speed from a SIK.
One other downside, though is that they aren’t as safe for a beginner to use. If you tip over then you have to right the kayak and use a bilge pump to remove the water before you can get back in. Which in itself is very tricky. It’s easy to keep flipping it as you try to enter it again. If you have experience with SIKs then this is less of an issue, but with two people inside it could be tricky.
The last type available for two person fishing kayaks is the pedal propulsion system kind. These use pedals to move instead of you paddling. You pedal with your feet which frees your hands up to do other things like cast and land a fish.
There are tons of benefits to using one of these that are all the Sit on top variety.
Speed is obviously a big one as the propellers or fins, depending on which brand you buy, can move a lot of water and can see you reach speeds of up to 6 knots or more.
If you need to cover a lot of area then this is going to be your best bet.
Not needing to paddle also frees up a lot of room on the deck. You can pretty much put your rod holders or fish finders wherever you want since they won’t be getting in the way of a paddle.
Now the best part is you can be moving while you fish. I love to troll a line behind me with the rod in my hand while I pedal. I can also cast while I pedal and bounce some bait for bottom fishing while I slowly pedal around too.
It is an extremely efficient way of fishing that even beats fishing out of a boat in many ways.
Our List Of The Best Two Person Fishing Kayaks
BKC TK122 12.9′ Tandem Fishing Kayak
One of the best overall 2 person fishing kayak is from the Brooklyn Kayak Co. especially in terms of comfort.
The two stadium seats are an unexpected, yet welcome, surprise. You don’t have to feel like you are sitting on top of each other while sharing the same kayak. And the length is just about 13 feet so it isn’t like you have to have a monstrously long kayak to fish together in comfort.
The deck has a good amount of space in front of each angler including their own rectangular hatch for tackle and other gear. Then there are two horizontal rod holders on each side of the kayak. You can both be trolling at the same time without too much risk of tangling each other’s lines.
What’s nice is that each cockpit has rail guides to be able to mount a fish finder or other rod holders. There is a lot of customization that can be done this way. If you have a different partner for outings then this is an ideal two person fishing kayak since whoever happens to be fishing with you isn’t stuck with mountings positioned somewhere they don’t like.
Speaking about storage, the one downside is that there isn’t a hatch in front to access dry storage inside the hull. The back well is also a bit too small to handle a milk crate, but a dry bag can be stored there under the bungee cords.
At 77 pounds it is not even as heavy as some of the single person kayaks out there. The right person could lift it up to load on the roof rack and possibly even carry it to the launch. Though it may be heavy for some.
I think the price is just right for this kayak. Between the design and the features, I think you could expect to pay more for a 2 person fishing kayak.
BKC TK219 12.2′ Tandem Fishing Kayak
If you need to fish in a 3 person fishing kayak then let’s go right back to BKC kayaks. Now, this is really mainly a 2 person fishing kayak but has room to add third seat in between.
You really have to pay attention to the weight limit on this one if you plan to fish in three and use a 3 person fishing kayak. In fact at 440 pounds, I don’t see how three adults would be able to all fish safely in this one. I think two adults and a child could probably work and I think that’s the idea with the design of this one.
Unfortunately there are not many choices when it comes to 3 person fishing kayaks. I think most kayak brands feel that there aren’t enough people fishing in three that warrants a specially designed kayak for that scenario.
If you do either have a child and two large adults or three small adults or teens then you should look into the Brooklyn Kayak Co. tandem kayak for three people.
It has two decks that already have a horizontal rod holder plus two flush mount ones for each. The middle section has a space with a sort of seat molded into the hull but is not an actual deck and doesn’t have any fishing stuff mounted there. There is always the possibility of adding some rod holders to the rail if you are committed to having three fishing cockpits.
There are also two round hatches to stow away your dry goods or add a tackle box. Two people can easily handle loading and carrying this kayak as it weighs 75 pounds. All in all it is a good buy if you really want a 3 person kayak, but it doesn’t measure up to the other tandem fishing kayaks on this list if you are only planning to fish with two people.
Elkton Outdoors Steelhead Fishing Kayak, Inflatable
If you are short on space either where you would store your kayak, or when transporting it in your car, then there is always the option of using an inflatable.
I find that when looking for a 2 person fishing kayak, your best bet is sometimes one that can be folded up.
The thinking is that it is likely to be a second or back up kayak that you will use when you have a friend or partner that wants to fish with you. Then, you have another principal fishing kayak when you are out alone, which is usually the case for most people.
This way you can have a very convenient way to get out on some fish when your friend does actually come through and is committed to fishing with you.
I like this one by Elkton as it is very easy to set up and already has some additions to make it a good two person fishing kayak.
In fact, it has six mounting connections already set up. They are four screw mountings so anything that has the right layout of the screws can be mounted. For example, you can easily mount some Scotty rod holders to troll or for transport. Plus plenty of space for a fish finder if you can find a way to get the transducer into a scupper hole.
There is even one set up in the front cockpit on deck for another rod to mount.
It is ideal for stand up casting as it is drop stitched. This means that it is reinforced so it has a more solid stability. Standing up won’t push the air to another area of the kayak and cause pressure problems.
At 13 feet long, you get great tracking while still offering some nice stability. And it is lightweight, too as it only weighs 44 pounds.
The only negative is the lack of a rudder but this is fairly common with inflatable kayaks.
Hobie Mirage Compass Duo Tandem Kayak
If you love the idea of having somebody to fish with but don’t love the idea of having to paddle with another person, then having a Hobie Compass is the way to go. There is no need to coordinate your strokes to paddle efficiently when you are using pedals to get around. And you can get a much longer day of fishing when it is easier to pedal around with an extra set of feet.
I love Hobie kayaks overall and this compass is no exception.
It is not already rigged for fishing, but it does give you some rails to mount your rod holders and fish finders easily without needing to drill into the hull. There aren’t any flush mounts for rod holders for example.
If you like the idea of keeping your rig simple then you can do that but it also can be as rigged as you like if you are a DIYer.
At 13 feet 6 inches there is a good amount of room on deck with two round hatches to store your dry gear or tackle. The rear well has enough room for a milk crate or a small cooler with a bungee tie down.
The kayak is wide for really nice stability and the hull is designed for exceptionally straight tracking. Plus the spring loaded rudder is easy to steer to keep you on your trajectory.
For added comfort the stadium seats are angled nicely to give you a smooth pedalling experience. Plus they are made out of mesh and are very breathable.
There isn’t much to not like aside from the price tag. Though it is about the same price as many of the single person kayaks in their lineup.
I have to admit that I haven’t done a ton of fishing on a two person fishing kayak. I like to have the place to myself. But, for those that like the company, this 2 person fishing kayak can be a very fun and exciting way to fish.
Any one of these best 2 person fishing kayaks will fit the bill as far as usability and comfort to make sure that you get the most out of your day out on the water.
The only downside is that you can’t make up any fish stories about the one that got away because you will always have a witness!