2 person fishing kayaks

2 Person Fishing Kayaks, The Ultimate Guide

If you are looking for a more interactive fishing activity, tandem kayaking should be on the top of your list. It’s especially a great way to bond with your partner, friend, or even your kids! If you’ve tried solo kayak fishing in the past and loved it, tandem kayaking fishing adds a whole new layer.

Instead of exploring the lake by yourself, why not spend the day with another and have a ball whilst making memories. In this article, we’re covering all the basics of 2 person kayaking (known as tandem kayaking); the very anatomy of a tandem kayak, comparison of solo and 2-person kayak fishing, and what you should consider if you do decide to buy a tandem kayak.

The Anatomy of 2 Person Fishing Kayaks

There are various kinds of fishing kayaks in the market today. While it is important to purchase the right one for the specific activity you need it for, let us introduce to you the basics. Knowing the right terminology used will help out a lot with your research in buying the best tandem kayak.

Let’s start with the main features that are seen in all kinds of kayaks regardless if it is built for one or two people.

Main Parts

  1. Bow – It is the front part of the kayak.
  2. Cockpit – It the opening where the seats are placed, and where the paddler sits.
  3. Deck – It is the top-most part of the kayak.
  4. Hatch – The hatch is the storage area below the deck. It is often used to stow-away gear while on the go. Most hatches are waterproof, this way your things are safe and dry even in rough waters.
  5. Hull – It is the bottom of the kayak which is directly in contact with water. There are different hull shapes that either prioritizes speed or manoeuvrability.
  6. Keel – The keel is the centre of the hull which provides its shape. The deeper the keel is, the more water is displaced. It basically contributes to the kayak’s speed.
  7. Stern – It is the opposite of the bow or the rear end of the kayak.
  8. Grab-Handle – The grab handle or toggle is attached to the bow and stern of the kayak. This makes it easy to carry, launch, tow, and transport.

Optional Parts

Not all kayaks have these specific parts, but they are convenient upgrades any novice fisher would appreciate. After all, fishing should be a relaxing activity and not a stressful one.

  1. Bulkhead – The bulkhead is the internal wall that separates the kayak into different parts. This part is watertight to make sure your gear doesn’t get wet and to create buoyancy with the use of air pockets. The bulkhead also adds stability to the kayak in general.
  2. Cockpit Coaming – The cockpit coaming is the rubber seal that is attached to the edge of the cockpit.
  3. Drain Plug – The drain plug, is a small hole at the base of the kayak. It is used to drain out water that may have entered.
  4. Foot Pegs – Some kayaks have footpegs already built-in, or you can simply add them by screwing it to the sides of your kayak. These braces are quite a comfortable addition to your fishing kayak.
  5. Knee Padding – The knee padding provides you with the extra comfort you would need. These can easily be added or maybe built-in to your fishing kayak.
  6. Rocker – The rocker is the term used to describe the shape of the kayak’s hull. The steeper the curve, the easier it is to control.
  7. Rudder – The rudder is the fin installed at the rear of your fishing kayak that aids in steering and control.
  8. Skeg – The skeg is the fin attached on the keel of all 2 person fishing kayaks. This helps with moving in a straight line, otherwise, it would be difficult to keep your kayak on track.
  9. Rod Holders – Most tandem fishing kayaks have multiple rod holders, but you may also add more as needed. These help out a lot if you’re planning to bring more than one rod on your trip. Rod holders come in different styles for your need.
  10. Paddle Holders – Having a paddle holder handy lessens the chances of you losing a paddle in the middle of fishing. Paddle holders keep them safe and secure while you’re busy fishing.

Tandem Kayaks

Let’s talk about the pros and cons of tandem fishing, this way you will know if tandem kayak fishing is the best outdoor recreation for you. Starting with the pros, here’s what we have:

  • Tandem kayak fishing is an excellent way to bond with a friend, partner, spouse or your kids.
  • You get to talk and engage with the person you are with and able to create a memorable experience you will treasure.
  • With enough practice, paddling in sync will be such a breeze! If not, you can always install a trolling motor.
  • Speaking of paddling, you and your partner can take turns to avoid burnout.
  • You spend less than buying two solo kayaks. A tandem kayak is a great investment for any fishing hobbyist.

With every pro, there are cons or disadvantages to getting a tandem fishing kayak:

  • The biggest concern most people talk about is the lack of freedom. Especially when you’re a novice kayaker, partnered with someone less experienced, this can be quite a challenge in terms of paddling direction. Which is why most would be completely opposed to the idea of tandem fishing.
  • The process of tandem fishing itself seems to be quite problematic for most, especially anglers. Space is cramped making it difficult to cast especially when one or both of you is a beginner. Makes you wonder if kayak fishing is indeed a two-person sport.

At the end of the day, tandem fishing is not for those who have no patience. It takes a lot of getting used to, but with the right kayak and the right attitude, you are bound to have loads of fun!

What is the Best 2-Person Fishing Kayak?

Now that we already know the main parts of an ordinary kayak, and know the pros and cons as well, let us get into details on what we think the best tandem fishing kayak is. We’ve completed a buyer guide for you and our top pick is the Brooklyn Kayak Company’s TK219. Now here’s why chose this model instead of those high-end Hobie kayaks known to be the best tandem fishing kayak in the market;

The 12 feet 2 inch BKC TK219 has a width of 34 inches which makes it quite stable in any kind of water condition. The padded seating is also quite comfortable which makes long fishing hours bearable compared to other kinds of models. Now, in terms of quality – the TK219 is expertly built to last. It has a weight capacity of 440 pounds. The polyethylene hull can withstand scrapes and scratches from rocks too.

This particular tandem kayak has several waterproof storage compartments that are easily accessible even when you’re already on the water. Larger hatches are secured with a twist-lock lids, and you also have several bungee cargo holds that are great for coolers and other gear boxes you may have. In addition, this kayak also includes various accessories like rod holders and paddles too.

When we chose our top pick, we didn’t just consider the features and quality of the kayak itself. We took into account the price as well. For a mid-range price, you are definitely high-end quality with the TK219. It is well-designed, easy-to-use, and definitely a great value for your money.

Can 1 Person Use a 2-Person Fishing Kayak?

When we talked about the pros and cons, we mentioned the fact that buying a tandem fishing kayak is economical, since you don’t need to buy two solo kayaks when you plan to fish with someone. Having said so, you can actually fish solo with a tandem kayak.

There are some models like the Advance Elements Convertible, that allow you to easily switch modes between a three, two, and a one-seater. Yes, some kayaks can accommodate 3 adults without compromising weight capacity.

Then you have kayaks like the Coleman colorado 2-person fishing kayaks that can comfortably be used as a solo kayak with just adjusting the position of the seats.

Before you head out into the water, it is important that you balance yourself well if you are using a tandem kayak. Be sure that your weight is evenly distributed that way you don’t capsize. If you are unable to move or adjust the seating, it is best to sit closer to the stern or the backseat of your two-seater kayak.

It would be more difficult to manoeuvre a kayak with its nose digging the water while you are moving, as opposed to having it in the air.

What Size Kayak is Best for Fishing?

Tandem fishing kayaks come in various shapes and sizes. Choosing the best one for you is quite important in order for you to be safe and enjoy the time you spend fishing.

First we need to identify the following factors:

  1. Where are you planning to fish? Lakes, rivers, or on the ocean?
  2. Will you be exposed to strong winds and waves?
  3. What’s the temperature of the place you plan to fish at?
  4. What is more important to you? Speed or stability?
  5. How tall or big are you?

By knowing the answer to these questions you can further narrow your decision making by figuring out if you want a sit on top or a sit-inside kayak. The main difference between these two is the length of the paddle. With a sit-inside kayak, you are close to the water which means you would just need a shorter paddle.

As opposed to a sit on top model, you would need a longer one. Sit on top kayaks are more stable since the centre of gravity is much higher compared to the prior.

In terms of size and shape, here’s what you need to know: a long and narrow kayak will be faster but least stable. The shorter yet wider kayak will compensate speed for stability. If you’re looking for something that has ample speed and the most stability, you can opt for long yet wider models.

Now let’s talk about transportation. Two of the reasons people opt to choose inflatable or foldable options is the fact that they prefer easier storage when it is not in use and easy transportation from their home to the lakes.

The thing is, you can easily mount a standard solo or even a 2 seater kayak on top of a sedan with a rack and cables. Just be sure it is securely fastened before you leave.

Advanced elements convertable inflatable kayak

What is Better for Younger Children?

If you plan to take your kids with you, it is important to consider the width of your kayak. Those that are wide are more stable and can easily accommodate children or pets. Though canoes are sit inside types, a kayak is the best tandem fishing option between the two. Some models may even be able to accommodate 2 adults and a child as well, or an adult and 2 children, since some storage spaces can be converted to seating.

The point is, if you plan on fishing – a kayak is the best choice.

While we’re on the topic let’s talk about seating as well. If you are out with a beginner, the more experienced paddler should be the one to take the back seat. Between you 2, the stronger paddler should have more control sitting in the back rather in the front. If you find yourselves going in circles, you 2 are probably not synchronized. It is best to practice near the bank before heading off.

What Should You Consider When Buying a Tandem Fishing Kayak?

Aside from the size and shape, you must take into consideration these other factors before making your purchase and keep in mind that you need to balance out function and design at a good price. After all, we’re in search for the best tandem fishing kayak for you and your partner.


When choosing the material of your tandem fishing kayak, you must think of three things: durability, weight, and maintenance.

  • Wooden – There are dozens of DIY kits that allow you to actually build your very own 2 person fishing kayak. You also have the option to have someone custom make this for you thus making the length and width custom to your need. Most wooden kayaks are sealed with fiberglass, resin and varnish to protect the wooden layer from water damage. These kayaks are actually as durable as synthetic fishing kayaks in the market. However, they do not fair well on rapids.
  • Composite Glass – Fishing kayaks made out of fiberglass are fast and easy to maneuver. The stiff and durable hull makes it more versatile in terms of strength when wading through rougher waters. Composite glass kayaks 2 fish with, are pretty common. You have three options under this category; fiberglass, aramid, or graphite. They are quite light but they are also quite expensive. This one is definitely a best seller for novice kayakers.
  • Rotomolded – Of all the kayaks on our list, the rotomolded ones are the least expensive, but are also quite heavy. The quality of the plastic is quite good which truly affects the weight of the tandem fishing kayak. However, these kayaks are more resilient on rough water and even rocky rapids. One major problem though, is that it is easily damaged with exposure to UV light, you would need to apply a protective coating onto the deck and hull as a preventive measure. Rotomolded ones have multiple storage options including watertight hatches and attachments.
  • Thermoform – The thermoform kayak has the best features of both the composite and rotomold. It quite light, but is robust and durable at a lower price tag compare to the first two. They come in a variety of colors and shapes, and is the top pick of various fishing enthusiasts. In addition, they are pre-UV protected. The only problem is that it has the tendency to deteriorate over time, but unlike it’s heavier counterparts, these kayaks are recyclable.
  • Inflatable or Folding – Inflatables are quite popular with most travellers. They are easy to carry and store considering it is a full length kayak. It is made up of good quality nylon with an aluminum frame, built to manage through different kinds of water conditions. Inflatable kayaks can carry the weight capacity of 400 to 600 pounds despite it’s light material. Though they may cost more than regular kayaks, it is a great investment. One of the best tandem inflatable kayaks in the market would be the coleman colorado 2-person fishing kayak.


As mentioned there are two kinds of seatings for kayaks. The best tandem fishing kayak should be a sit on top style. These kayaks have wider widths and are more stable especially for anglers and is most advisable between the two.

Though sit inside kayaks are more comfortable, and was built for long term comfort and speed, it is not ideal for fishing. You can easily find the best tandem fishing kayaks with comfortable seating and padding that helps solve the ergonomics issue most sit on top models have.

Storage Space

Most recreational kayaks won’t have that much storage space, but with a tandem fishing kayak, manufactures go out of their way to provide you with multiple options like a watertight storage hatch, bungee cargo holds, and more. Storage is a must when you’re fishing.

Just think about it, where do you put your tackle box? Your rods? Not to mention other necessary gear you would need. You would also need to consider that you are packing for two. Having enough storage space makes your trip a lot more comfortable.

There are definitely plenty of storage space in a BKC TK219 or even a Coleman Colorado. Figure out how much cargo space you need before adding that kayak into your amazon cart! If you accidentally choose one that doesn’t provide much storage options. You can easily add one or two add-on storage containers to manage.

Added Accessories

Before buying your own kayak, make a list of things that you usually bring on a fishing trip. How many rods will you be using? Do you have paddles with the kit you buy or do you need to purchase them separately? How do you plan to transport your tandem kayak from your car to the river bank? Here are some of the common accessories you may want to add on to your kayak.

  1. Fishing Rod Holders – The first thing you need to consider is the position of the rod holders you plan to install. Most tandem fishing kayaks have a few rod holders pre-installed, but you can add more as needed. You can easily choose between two; a deck mount or flush mount. Either one should be a convenient addition to a great kayak.
  2. Paddle Holders – Depending on the material of kayak you have, you can install fixed kayak paddle holders, the hanging style kayak paddle holders, or even the clip-on paddle holders. Each has its pros and cons, but the important thing to take note of is how favorable it would be to have one on your fishing trip.
  3. A Trolling Motor – If you’re not a fan of manual paddling, acquiring a trolling motor is a must-have. It is basically a self-contained electric motor equipped with propellers and a control. It can easily be installed and works well with a coleman colorado, or even the best tandem fishing kayak on our list.
  4. Rudders – When we think about regular rudders, like the ones on a large vessel, we think of steering. On kayaks, a rudder keeps it moving in a straight path rather than zig zagging on the water. Not all kayaks are equipped with a rudder, and you may not need it too. If your kayak is above 10 foot, or you are planning to fish in open water with wind and waves, a rudder is one necessary addition you would need to consider.
  5. Paddings – As discussed, sit on top kayaks are not as comfortable as sit inside ones. But, we can definitely install padding kits to make your fishing kayak more ergonomic.


Whenever you decided to make a big purchase, you must work within a specific budget. At this point, with all the things you have learned about fishing kayaks, you’re bound to make the right decision. When you come across one of the best tandem fishing kayaks at a mid-range price, don’t hesitate!


If you are in the market for a two person fishing kayak, it is important to check and recheck your list of needs and do your research well. Know what you want and work within your budget. The best tandem fishing kayak is the one that provides you with all your needs, is of excellent quality, and comes at a great price. Don’t forget you can easily add-on accessories like rod holders, motors, extra storage compartments, and whatever suits your fancy.

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