Sit-In Vs Sit On Kayak For Fishing: Which Is Better?

Sit-In Vs Sit On Kayak For Fishing: Which Is Better?

Kayak Fishing

Abigail ScottByAbigail Scott
Updated on 6/23/2022

Anglers are no longer loading up their aluminum boats, puttering over to a set of lily pads, and dropping anchor. The fishing vessel industry is undergoing a significant shift.
Over the past few years, kayak fishing has become increasingly popular. This is because they are easier to transport, more durable, and there is no yearly registration fee.
They also allow you to approach spots that larger vessels cannot reach, and you can do it quietly, which was not possible with the old aluminum boats.
However, you'll notice two different types of kayaks on the market. Sitting in a kayak (SIK) and sitting on top (SOT).
Novices may not notice much of a difference. We will discuss the pros and cons of each may be below.

What's the point of fishing out of a kayak?

Let's look at why a kayak is even worth fishing from. We are experiencing the current boom for several reasons, many of which have contributed.

Kayak fishing is a cheap sport.

From $180 to more than $2000, kayaks can range in price. So, if you're tired of fishing from the shore but can't justify buying a boat, then a kayak is a great alternative.

Easier to maintain 

Maintenance is limited to washing off any dirt or mud that may have splashed on the surface. Your kayak has a good chance of lasting for a long time if treated well and not thrown around.

Strike hard-to-reach spots

If you want to go somewhere, a kayak will get you there. It can easily be rolled down a river, paddled in saltwater marshes, cruised on the back of small creeks, and taken offshore to catch the big game. No matter what kind of fishing you want, there is a kayak for it.

Silent and deadly: stealth

You can sneak up on spooky fish with this. If you paddle silently into an area, you can drift towards the fish without scaring them. It is okay to bang your paddle against the side of the boat as long as you are careful not to knock it against the side.

Stows easily

The kayak doesn't occupy as much space as a Jon boat, so that you can store it almost anywhere. This is because kayaks are lightweight and slender. Sheds, basements, garages, or even back porches are perfect places to keep it. Ideal for those with limited space.

A SIK vs. a SOT kayak: What's the Difference?

There are two obvious answers to the question: one allows you to sit in the hull (SIK), and the other allows you to have a skirt on the outside, which protects your lower body from the water and the sun. You are exposed to the elements because the SOT has no shell outside of you.

The SIK would be especially useful during cooler and windier parts of the year, and the extra protection of the hull will keep you warm during the day. Additionally, you can rest the cockpit on your shoulder, making them easier to carry than its counterparts.

The SIKs have the potential to sink if something goes wrong and the boat flips. As a result, you've lost your kayak and all of your gear.

Getting in and out of the SOT is much easier. You can even stand on the majority of them and cast.

As well as ample storage space, they also have an area directly behind and in front of the paddler that can hold either a cooler or a fishing bag.

Kayak Fishing

Buying a SIK or SOT: What To Look For

Before purchasing a fishing kayak, there are several factors to consider.

Do you bring only the items you need when fishing?

Do you prefer having a tackle box full of lures, three different rods, electronics, wading staffs, and anchors?

There is likely a kayak for whatever you need.

Equipment Storage

In most SOTs, either the front or the back of the space is designated for storage purposes. Because a SOT is stable, you can quickly turn around to reach your tackle box, cooler, or bag.

Two storage areas will be provided in the SIK: one behind the angler and one behind him. Depending on the model, you typically use one to hold anything you don't want to get wet, while the other is an elastic band that can have a tackle box or something smaller.


Compared to their counterparts, SOTs are much more stable. The design of these boards is similar to that of a surfboard, and they are often made with anglers in mind.

The durable design allows you to stand up and have a better look at the water before casting - perfect for both fly fisherman and spin cast fisherman alike.


While you're in the water, you can easily roll them back if they flip over.

Moreover, you won't lose all your gear if the water fills up the boat. Thanks to the scupper holes, the water drains instantly, and with your bag tied down, you'll be able to get back to fishing right away.

SIKs may not have the stability to cast and stand, but they are more maneuverable and controllable when paddling.

Anglers can use these to move quickly and efficiently around the lake, covering a lot of water quickly.

SIKs that flip over could pose a severe problem for you. If you find yourself on moving water, like a river, you will need to flip it over quickly.

A SIK has the additional disadvantage that it's harder to get back in than a SOT.

Before taking a SIK out onto a river or lake, you should practice climbing back into it in a controlled environment.

SOTs are more stable than their counterparts.


This is dependent on what the angler wants in a kayak. There are several options of both SIK and SOT that offer a wide range of comforts.

For instance, if you want to be able to move your body freely and have the ability to sit or stand in multiple positions, then the SOT wins easily. You can either cross your legs, dangle one or both feet in the water, stand, kneel, or even sit side-saddle comfortably.

Because of the design, the SIK is limited in space, which means you are essentially stuck sitting in one position for the day.

Sit on Top Kayaks: The Clear Choice For Kayak Fishing

There are advantages and disadvantages to both SIK and SOT. In terms of fishing, however, the SOT takes the crown.


  • Because it is more stable.
  • Gear storage is more convenient.
  • Unsinkable.
  • Gear is easier to access
  • so you can hop in and out easily

Kayak anglers will have different needs, but the SOT seems to improve over the SIK in all categories.

It could be argued that a SIK is advantageous during the cooler months as it provides extra protection from the elements like wind and water. Fortunately, a few additional layers, as well as waterproof pants, can help fix this problem.

It's much more important than you think to be able to exit your kayak to stretch your legs or to wade a piece of water while you're fishing. It is incredibly tiring and uncomfortable to spend a whole day in a SIK without having the option of getting out.

In addition, since there is extra space for gear storage, you can pick and choose exactly how you want to use it. Similarly, you can choose what to include in the SIK, but your options must be narrowed with such a limited area.

SOTs often provide space for a crate filled with gear. There are several accessories you can attach, from rod holders to sonar. Alternatively, you could use the other open area to store more oversized items, such as a cooler or live well.

The Perception Pescador Pro makes an excellent SOT kayak.

There are two storage areas, rod holders, and a removable mesh seat to help keep you cool during those hot summer days.

SOTs can be found in the Perception. By doing so, you will be able to find kayaks with the features you need that fit your budget.

What Are the Benefits of Sitting Inside When Kayak Fishing?

Benefits of SIK include:

  • Better maneuverability and control
  • Quicker
  • Protection against the elements

SIKs are faster and more maneuverable than their counterparts, so if you only have time for an hour of fishing, this boat will allow you to retrieve all the hot spots efficiently.

Due to their maneuverability, these are ideal for narrow, windy, and whitewater rivers.

Realistically, you aren't supposed to use a SIK for fishing if you're going through rapids fast enough to need it.

Cold and windy weather makes it crucial to protect anglers from the elements. Due to the extra protection provided by the hull, this kayak can be your best option if you'll be fishing in these conditions.

Keep in mind, though, that kayaking is an aquatic sport. Be prepared to purchase a skirt for the hull if you do not want to get wet. This will then roughly halve your gear storage capacity, and you might be better served by purchasing a different kind of vessel at that point.


The great thing is that many outdoor companies make gear and electronics specifically for kayak angling. It's no longer necessary to buy an expensive bass boat or clunky jon boat just because you want sonar and a trolling motor.

You also feel more in tune with what's going on around you because of how close you are to the water. Fish rise to the surface when insects settle on the surface. It also gives you access to areas that most anglers could not reach by boat or on foot.

This would be an ideal boat for someone who is short on time and needs to get access to areas of the lake or river faster or needs to navigate whitewater.

However, how much faster will you actually get to your favorite spot on the lake? What are your chances of encountering whitewater? Consider these factors when buying.

Since kayaking is a water sport, you might be better off getting a boat instead of a SIK if you don't want to get wet.

SOT kayaks would be a better choice if you want a kayak to fish from. With a lot of gear storage and good stability, this kayak does everything you need.

Shop around and consider what is most important to you before selecting your fishing SOT.

Would you like more space for gear storage?

Is it more important to you to have a wider model for better stability?

You are guaranteed to find a model within your budget if you look around and ask questions.

*Disclaimer: Board and Kayak earns a commission from qualifying purchases.

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