Are Fishing Kayaks Slow or Fast? Important Info to Know Before Purchasing a Kayak

Are Fishing Kayaks Slow - A Woman standing on a kayak

Fishing kayaks are gaining popularity among adventure seekers. You might have tried fishing on traditional boats, and now you might want to see what it feels like fishing on kayaks. So you are wondering if you would be able to fish on a kayak and match the speed of a boat. How speedy would a fishing kayak be? Would a kayak be slow or fast?

Are Fishing Kayaks Slow? Fishing kayaks are usually slow, wide, and stable. So, you can easily set up your fishing gear and cast long distances without wobbling. However, each kayak has a unique design that makes it different from the other. Some are slow and stable, while some are fast and efficient. Choosing the speed of a kayak depends on your choice and desire.

There is more to know about fishing kayaks, about their speed, and design. Ahead, I will give a detailed account of fishing kayaks and the elements that alter their speed, what makes kayaks slow or fast. If you want to know all this, then keep reading!

Related: With These Best Fishing Kayak Under $500 Be More Comfortable on Your Next Fishing Trip


Below is a list of our favourite fishing gear that you check quickly if in hurry. Scroll down to read the rest of the article.

  1. Best Fishing Reel: Penn Squell Level
  2. Baits For Rainbow Trout: Berkley Power Bait 
  3. Best Indore Fishing Rod: Royale Legend
  4. Best Ultralight Fishing Rod: KastKing Perigee II
  5. Best Spinning Reel Under 100: Daiwa BG Spinning Reel
  6. Best Walleye Trolling Lure:  Original Floater Fishing Lure
  7. Best Pike Lure:  Jerk Bait Fishing Lure from Rapala
  8. Best Fishing Kayak under 1000: Intex Explorer K2 Kayak
  9. Best Fishing Kayak under 300: Sun Dolphin Journey 10
  11. Best Fishing Gloves: BERKLEY FISHING GLOVES
  12. Best Fishing Cooler: AO Coolers Sportsman Vinyl Soft Cooler
  13. Best Portable Fish Finder: Reel Sonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Sonar
  14. Best Inflatable Fishing Boat: Sea Eagle Green
  15. Best Fluorocarbon Line: KastKing FluoroKote Fishing Line

Detailed Information About Fishing Kayak

Kayak fishing seems like an exciting outdoor activity. Kayaks bring out the adventurous side of catching fishes in the lakes and rivers. The freedom of moving around in a kayak feels great and it adds the distances where you can go.

Fishing kayaks come in various designs that fit the different needs of the anglers. Whether you want to do kayak fishing in flat water or rapidly flowing water, your use case is important in selecting the right model of a fishing kayak.  Also, your individual specific needs, preferences, and choice matters too in the purchase of the fishing kayak.

Some standard fishing kayaks are:

  • Sit-on-top fishing kayaks
  • Sit-in fishing kayaks
  • Pedal-drive fishing kayaks
  • Tandem fishing kayaks
  • Motorized fishing kayaks
  • Inflatable fishing kayaks

Each fishing kayak has a specific length, width, stability, speed, weight capacity, and storage. These features determine the performance and efficiency of a kayak. Additionally, factors like the quality of the material and the layout of the kayak impact its capability.

A fishing kayak is cheaper in comparison to fishing boats. Fishing kayaks are lighter with more stability to cast distances for fishing. You can also access shallow spots and narrow streams with a kayak.

Now, if you seek a thrilling experience and want to trek in open water, then you need a faster kayak.

What makes a kayak fast? Which factors determine a kayak’s speed?

Let’s get into more details.

How Speed And Design Of The Kayak Are Related?

The speed of the kayak depends on its design and construction. The hull’s shape and structure, and the length and width of the kayak, all affect the speed. If a boat can cut through water easily, it would move faster. How would that happen?

The design makes the fishing kayak capable of gliding and slicing through the water with less drag.

A hull with a flat and wide bottom will be more stable and manoeuvrable. However, it will not have incredible speed. In comparison, a V-shaped hull will be faster and will track better than the flat bottom hull. V-shape will help in making way through the water.

Moreover, the kayak’s length, width, and keels also come into the picture when it comes to speed. That is how the speed and design of the kayak relate to each other.

Related: Wanted By The Season Anglers: These Are The Best Tandem Kayak

Length Vs. Speed Of A Kayak

Length is yet another factor that can affect the speed of a kayak.

The better a kayak can slice through the water, the more momentum it would have. A wave system forms in the water due to the movement of the boat. If a vessel moves more water out of the way, it can push itself further.

A longer kayak will have a high hull speed; it would have less drag and resistance in the water. That is why longer kayaks can cut through the water and gain momentum. A longer kayak with a narrow bow front can move more water and push itself easily. Thus, longer and narrower kayaks are mostly fast and efficient in the water.

But, this does not mean shorter kayaks would be slower. Shorter kayaks are mostly light and easy to paddle. Short length with a flat bottom can slow down kayaks but ensure stability. However, a better design of slightly short fishing kayaks can enhance their speed.

Does Length Of The Kayak Matter?

Dimension, including length and width of a kayak, plays a role in its performance. Stability, balance, speed, and manoeuvrability of the kayak depending on its size.

Longer fishing kayaks are mostly easy to paddle, fast, and carry a heavy load. They glide smoothly and quickly than shorter kayaks, with less effort. Longer kayaks perform more efficiently than shorter kayaks. However, sometimes it becomes a hassle to balance their speed.

Shorter fishing kayaks are lighter, stable, and portable than longer kayaks. They can take quick turns, and the short hull helps in maneuvering through narrow streams. But, it is a less efficient performer and requires more effort to glide through the water.

Do Longer Kayaks Track Better Or Go Faster?

Speed means how fast a kayak can move through the water. In contrast, tracking refers to the ability of the kayak to continue moving in a straight line. If a kayak moves well in a linear direction, then it can track well.

Longer and narrow kayaks can move fast as well as track better. Length favours both tracking and speed. However, kayaks that are great at tracking usually have less manoeuvrability.

Stability Vs. Speed Of The Kayak

You can call a kayak stable when it endures a massive weight without tipping over. You can stand, cast, or perform many activities on a stable kayak. Most stable fishing kayaks have a large surface area to accommodate anglers as well as their gear.

You can see the speed of a kayak when it glides over the water. Kayak’s ability to move forward when the paddler has stopped paddling shows its speed on still water. The distance it covers gives an idea of the kayak’s initial velocity and water resistance.

When it comes to stability and speed, kayaks designed for stability are generally slower. It happens due to their design; they usually have a wide hull, flat bottom, and more surface area to resist side-to-side tipping. That’s why most fishing kayaks are stable yet slower because of their large design and weight.

On the other hand, kayaks with a thin, narrow, and nimble style are generally faster.. Such kayaks tend to be less stable and are more prone to flipping over.

However, a fast kayak does not always need to be less stable. Some kayaks have construction that does not compromise stability at a rapid speed.

Related: Affordable and The Best Inflatable Fishing Boats For An Accomplish Trip

What Are The Best Kayak In Terms Of Speed And Stability?

A kayak that is best for balancing speed and stability is Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 Kayak This kayak is light to handle and transport with ease. Its hull shape allows it to glide through the water with fast speed while maintaining stability.

It has a stern hatch for dry storage that gives ample space to store your gear. A fully adjustable seat and durable thigh and knee padding will provide you comfort in the cockpit. The kayak length is almost 12 feet, which is good enough for fast movement and tracking.

Pungo kayak tracks in a straight direction and manoeuvres easily in rapid flowing water. Its construction is durable and sturdy, which endures weight while offering stability.

This Pungo kayak will make your money worth it. You can trust this kayak for efficient performance.

What Is The Average Speed Of A Kayak?

A kayak’s speed depends on many factors, including the paddling technique, paddler’s power, wind speed, endurance, swell, current speed, length, load, and kayaks’ design. All these factors also influence the average speed of a kayak.

Suppose we calculate an average speed of a moderate-level kayaker with medium strength. In that case, an intermediate kayaker can reach the mean speed of 5-6 kilometers per hour. Moreover, a beginner might cover 3-4 kilometers per hour while an experienced kayaker might get 7 kilometers per hour.

Usually, lighter, narrower, and longer kayaks have fast speed. The length of the boat can determine the rate of it, called as hull speed. Theoretically, you can calculate the kayak’s speed by this formula:

“Multiply the factor of 4.5 with the square root of the length of the kayak at the waterline.”

However, only experienced kayakers can sustain the maximum hull speed of the kayak. Approaching the full speed of shorter boats is much more achievable than of longer boats for kayakers.

Related: Travel Far and Long with These Best Trolling Motor Batteries For Blissful Trip

Can Kayaks Flip Over Easily?

Can your Kayak Flipover easily? No, the kayaks are not prone to flipping over easily. Construction and design of the kayaks make them stable and prevent them from capsizing. However, it is a probability for fishing kayaks to flip. A few factors cause the risk of overturning. The main elements are the type of water you will paddle on and the kayak’s design or style.

If you plan to use a sit-on-top or sit-in kayak on calm waters for fishing, overturning chances are rare. But, if you use an ultralight kayak on rapid flowing water, the possibility that the kayak can flip over is higher. Usually, capsizing happens when you make a mistake.

You can reduce the chances of flipping over by preparing yourself. You can practice a few strategies to prevent overturning. They are:

  • You should pick the right weather conditions for kayaking
  • Learn the techniques to balance the kayak
  • Consider using the high brace method
  • Use of the low brace method


When you want to go kayaking, the speed of the kayak depends on your needs. Fishing kayaks can be slower or faster. It depends on various elements, such as design, shape, and size. If you want a slow-moving but stable fishing kayak, you can get Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 Kayak.. But, if you want a faster kayak for an adventure, you can check Wilderness Systems Tsunami 145 . So, go and search for a kayak with your desired speed level and enjoy kayaking!

Steve Hudson

I have been an outdoor activities enthusiast from teenage. I have been going out with my parents on different outdoor activities such as camping and hiking. After moving to a town surrounded by three well known fishing spots, I started fishing and started using all kinds of tricks and equipment to make the most out of each adventure I pursued. Over the years I have been camping outdoor, hiking and following my passion of enjoying life at full. Few years ago, I started writing about my thoughts, experiments and ideas about outdoor, fishing, hiking and more. This blog is a compilation of that plus tips, ideas and products that can make life more meaningful, enjoyable and a pleasant.

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