Sit In Vs Sit On Kayak For Fishing (Updated 2023)

Sit-In Vs Sit On Kayak

Sit-In Vs Sit On Kayak

Abigail Scott

Abigail Scott
Mother, Professional Kayaker, and Software Engineer

Updated on 12/6/2022

Anglers are no longer loading up their aluminum kayak, puttering over to a set of lily pads, and dropping anchor. The fishing kayak industry is going through 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 no yearly registration fee exists.

Kayak Fishing also allows you to approach spots that larger kayaks cannot reach, and you can do it quietly, which was not possible with the old aluminum boat.

BKC FK184 9' Single Sit On Top Fishing Kayak W/ Seat
Value for money9
Value for money
Light weight6.2
Light weight

However, you'll notice two different types of kayaks in the market. Sit types: 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 type below.

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.

1- Kayak Fishing Is A Cheap Sport.

Kayaks can range in price from $180 to more than $2000. So, a kayak is an excellent alternative if you're tired of fishing from the shore but can't justify buying a fishing kayak.

2- Easier To Maintain 

Fishing Kayak

Fishing Kayak

There is no need to do complicated maintenance on the surface aside from washing off any dirt or mud that may have accumulated there. Your kayak can last long if treated well and not thrown around.

3- Strike Hard-To-Reach Spots.

If you want to go somewhere, a kayak will get you there. No matter your kayak fishing style, you can carry it down a river, paddle it in saltwater marshes, cruise in small creeks, or take it offshore, wherever your kayaking adventure takes you.

4- Silent And Deadly: Stealth.

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

5- 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 the kayak is lightweight and slender. Sheds, basements, garages, or even back porches are perfect places to keep them, and they are Ideal for those with limited space.

A Sit-In Kayak vs. a Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak: What's The Difference?

One obvious answer to the comparison between (sit in kayaks vs. sit on kayak) is: one allows you to sit in kayak (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, or sit-on-top kayak, has no shell outside you.

The SIK would be extremely 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 it easier to carry than its counterparts.

The SDKs, or sit-in kayak, have the potential to sink if something goes wrong and the kayak 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, SIK has an area directly behind and in front of the paddler that can hold either a cooler or a fishing bag.

Kayak Fishing

Kayak Fishing

Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayaks

Sit-on-top kayaks have been the most popular option, even though sit-in kayaks may provide anglers with certain distinct benefits. Sit-on-top kayaks offer unparalleled simplicity of usage compared to other types of kayaks.

The cockpit of a sit-on-top kayak is open and spacious, allowing you to paddle while seated. In contrast to a sit-in kayak, this type of kayak does not contain your legs inside the vessel. Everything, including the foot braces, is positioned on top of the kayak.

Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayaks Pros

Kayak for paddling in warm weather A sit-on-top kayak is an excellent choice for swimming in warm weather since it enables the paddler to get wet without the need to fill the kayak with water. There is a good chance that you may get wet while you paddle because water will frequently splash up over the deck and onto you. There is also the possibility that the scupper holes will cause a small amount of splashing.

Sit-on-top kayaks contain scupper holes that allow water to drain off the deck, making them capable of self-bailing. They make scupper plugs and valves, which can be used to prevent water from splashing up through the scuppers, although they are typically left open in warm weather. Scupper plugs and valves can be purchased online.

Check out "The Ins And Outs Of Sit-On-Top Kayak Scupper Plugs" to learn about the different scenarios in which it is appropriate to plug the scupper holes.

The learning curve for competency and safety in sit-on-top kayaks is shorter than in other kayaks.

Compared to sit-in kayaks, sit-on-top kayaks are far more straightforward to enter and exit than their traditional counterparts. This is true whether you're getting in and out of your kayak in open water to cool off, avoid obstacles, or wade fish.

Stability is becoming increasingly important in the design of fishing kayaks, which are increasingly moving toward broader, more extensive, and more stable boats than in the past.

Stand up when fishing: If you have a wider kayak, you can stand up while fishing; nevertheless, broader kayaks move more slowly than their narrower counterparts. If you don't plan on standing while fishing from your kayak, if you value the ability to get to the fish more quickly, or if you want to cover more water in a day, you probably don't want a boat that is broad and slow.

Selection: Depending on how you choose to fish, you can choose from various sorts and designs.

Accessories for fishing and cost savings: most sit-on-top fishing kayaks come standard with many additional fishing gear, which will save you money compared to purchasing kayak fishing accessories separately and installing them. You can personalize your kayak by equipping it with specialized fishing gear if that is something you want.

More room to store your gear and quicker access to it: The fishing equipment, kayaking gear, electronics, and other goods you plan to bring with you on your kayak fishing excursion can be stored in a sit-on-top kayak's ample storage space. When shopping for a kayak, some storage options that you should look for include watertight hatches, tiedown locations on the hull, and a designated area below the seat.

There is a much wider variety of kayaks and alternatives to pick from: The market has been driven chiefly by consumer demand for sit-on-top fishing kayaks. When it comes to choosing a sit-on-top, fishermen now have a great deal more options at their disposal.

Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayaks

Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayaks

Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayaks Cons

Wet: Sit-on-top kayaks can be a wet ride. Being wet when the temperature is warm isn't always negative, but becoming hypothermic from being wet when the temperature is frigid outside or in the water can be dangerous. You may need a dry suit to keep warm.

Exposition to weather conditions and temperatures of the water: If the temperatures of the air or the water are cold, you will be chilled if you aren't wearing a dry suit. This is because the dry case traps heat inside of it. There was wind, rain, heat, and snow... Compared to sit-in kayaks, sit-on-top kayaks expose paddlers to the elements to a greater degree.

In conditions where there is a lot of wind, sit-on-top kayaks are more difficult to steer than other types of kayaks. Having an anchor or anchor stake in windy conditions is a good idea.
Increased height of the center of gravity: The center of balance is higher in a sit-on-top kayak compared to a sit-in kayak of the same width, which makes it simpler to flip. However, wider kayaks compensate for this difference in the center of balance. On the other hand, wider equals heavier.

Sit-on-top kayaks typically weigh more than their sit-in counterparts, making them the heavier of the two types of kayaks. You'll need a kayak cart from Sea to Summit to transport a heavier kayak overland for any significant distance.

Related Kayak Types, Best fishing kayak for the money

Sit-In Fishing Kayaks

Sit-in kayaks are the most conventional type of kayak that most people picture in their heads when they think of a kayak. It has a cockpit where you may enter and control the vehicle from.

The regions of the country that experience colder temperatures tend to be the most avid users of sit-in kayaks. The cockpit of these kayaks can be sealed off with the help of an optional kayak skirt, which wraps around the paddler and extends over the opening of the cockpit. This helps to keep water out of the kayak.

Sit-In Fishing Kayaks Pros

Sit-in kayaks give you more incredible speed, control, and maneuverability than other types of kayaks. This allows you to go more quickly.

Less strain is placed on the paddler's body because of these boats' design, making them simpler to maneuver even during extended fishing trips.

Sit-in kayaks weigh less than sit-on-top kayaks, which makes it simpler to get them to the put-in point and easier to attach them to the kayak carrier of your vehicle.

Sit-in kayaks are designed to be carried on the shoulder, making them easier to transport than other kayaks.

Sit-in kayaks have a lower wind exposure than sit-on-top kayaks, and as a result, they are less likely to be tossed around by the wind. There is a reduction in the total area open to the air.

Being seated in the cockpit of a sit-in kayak decreases the time you spend exposed to unfavorable weather conditions and water temperatures. Keeping yourself comfortable when paddling using a kayak skirt will further limit the time you spend exposed to the elements.

Warmer rides: Sit-in kayaks are warmer, making them great if you like to fish in cooler weather. Using a kayak skirt will help trap your body heat inside your kayak's cockpit, keeping you even warmer while reducing the likelihood that you will need to use your bilge pump. This makes sit-in kayaks an excellent choice for anglers who like to fish in cooler weather. A sit-in model might be the one for you if you are seeking a fishing kayak that can be used in more conditions throughout the year.

More waterproof storage space: A sit-in kayak provides more waterproof storage space than a sit-on-top kayak.

Sit-In Fishing Kayaks

Sit-In Fishing Kayaks

Sit-In Fishing Kayaks Cons

You are now farther below the surface of the water: A sit-in kayak puts you at a lower angle than a sit-on-top kayak. This presents a challenge for a significant number of anglers.

More advanced skill levels are necessary: More advanced skill levels are required while using sit-in kayaks, such as how to evacuate and reenter the water if the kayak tips over.

Sit-in kayaks are notoriously challenging to get out of and back into once you've been paddling in the water with them since it's easy to capsize the craft.

If you're not going to be utilizing a kayak skirt, you're going to need a bilge pump since water is going to get into the cockpit. If you want to get rid of the water, you'll need a bilge pump or a sponge.

There is very little ventilation for your lower half when you're sitting in a sit-in kayak, and there is none when you're wearing a kayak skirt, so it can get hot and stuffy when the weather is warm.

There is less space for fishing gear in sit-in kayaks, and the available area can be difficult to access when the kayak is moving through the water.

There are a much less number of kayaks and alternatives to pick from: The decrease in demand for sit-in fishing kayaks has led to a reduction in the number of prebuilt sit-in versions available to anglers.

Related Best river fishing kayaks

What To Look For In Fishing Kayaks?

Before purchasing a fishing kayak, sit-on-top kayak, or sit in kayaks, 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.

kayak fishing

kayak fishing

1- Equipment Storage

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

The SIK will provide two storage areas: 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 be used for a tackle box or something smaller.

2- Stability For Lifetime Kayaks

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 look better at the water, making it perfect for fly and spin-cast fishers.



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 kayak. 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, quickly covering a lot of water.

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

A SIK has the additional disadvantage of being harder to get back into 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.

3- Comfort Inside

kayak fishing

kayak fishing

The kayak must feel comfortable to the angler, which depends on their preferences. There are several options for 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-In Kayaks: The Best Choice For Kayak Fishing

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


  • SOT is more stable.
  • Its gear storage is more convenient.
  • It is Unsinkable.
  • You can access the gear easily.
  • You can also 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 and stretch your legs while 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 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 kayak accessories and kayak fishing accessories you can attach, from rod holders to sonar. Alternatively, you can 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.

You can easily find SOTs in Perception. By doing so, you will be able to find a kayak with the features you need and of course fit within your budget.

Benefits of Sit-Inside Kayak When Fishing

The benefits of SIK include:

  • SIK has better maneuverability and control
  • SIK is much quicker
  • It has protection against elements

Sit-inside kayaks are faster and more maneuverable than their counterparts, so if you only have time for an hour of fishing, SIK 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 are fishing in these conditions.

kayak fishing

kayak fishing

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 kayak at that point.

Paddling Buyer's Guide

Here is a trusted paddling buyer's guide: Sit-on-top kayaks, in particular, often call for a more extended stroke length than sit-in kayaks do. This is because most sit-on-top kayaks place you above the water compared to their sit-in counterparts. If you have a sit-on-top kayak, it is recommended that you "size up" your paddle so that it is more comfortable to use.


The great thing is that many outdoor companies make gear and electronics specifically for kayak fishing. 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 kayak 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.

kayak fishing

kayak fishing

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

A SOT kayak would be better if you want a kayak to fish from. This kayak does everything you need with a lot of gear storage and good stability.

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 kayak model within your budget if you look around and ask questions.

Frequently Asked Questions