Are Inflatable Kayaks Good For Fishing? [Pros & Cons]

Inflatable kayaks are more durable than they used to be. It’s not unusual to see people taking their inflatable kayaks in rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water. But are inflatable kayaks good for fishing?

Are Inflatable Kayaks Good for Fishing?

Inflatable kayaks are extremely versatile, lightweight, compact, and easy to set up, making them good for fishing. That said, they should only be used on small ponds, large lakes, or any body of water that isn’t too rough. There are several types of rugged inflatable fishing kayaks on the market designed for this specific reason.

Unfortunately, when fishing from an inflatable kayak, you risk the chance of sharp objects and no scupper holes, especially if you’re not using one designed for fishing.

Not every inflatable kayak will be great for fishing. So let’s take a closer look at why inflatable kayaks don’t make the best fishing boats. And how to ensure you’re using one that is made specifically for anglers.

What Is An Inflatable Kayak?

Inflatable kayaks are watercraft vessels that need to be inflated and deflated before and after use. 

They are becoming more popular with anglers and recreational use because of how lightweight they are compared to hardshell kayaks. 

However, there are some pros and cons to using an inflatable kayak, so let’s take a look at what they are. 

The Pros

Size & Weight

Inflatable fishing kayaks are much lighter than hardshell fishing kayaks. Some people think that because they are so much lighter, they are cheap and can’t be used for fishing. 

The weight difference is due to the difference in sturdiness and reliability, which we’ll discuss below. 

Some inflatable kayaks come in an easy-to-carry backpack or duffle bag, making them easy to transport from your car to the water. In addition, most will have a self-inflatable pump, meaning you don’t have to worry about taking an extension cord or putting air in it before you go on your fishing trip. 

When you get to your destination, you use either a foot pump, hand pump, or electric pump that makes it quick and easy. 

Durability & Stability

Hardshell kayaks are constructed from wood, plastic, or fiberglass, making them highly durable.

Today’s inflatable kayaks are made of Hypalon, PVC, and Nitrilon. All the materials are designed for durability and to withstand punctures easily. If you do decide to get an inflatable fishing kayak, go one constructed of nitrilon. 

Nitrolyon consists of synthetic rubber and natural rubber over a 1200 denier. It is more durable than the other types and is also eco-friendly. 

That said, if you get a hook snagged on the boat or hit a sharp rock in shallow water, you’ll likely puncture the inflatable kayak even if you’re in one that is designed of nitrylon.  

The Cons

As with anything in life, there are always downsides to something, no matter how good it sounds. 

Inflating & Deflating

Unlike a regular fishing kayak that is ready to be used, an inflatable kayak needs air before you can use it. The process of putting air in an inflatable kayak won’t take very long, especially if you’ve done it before. 

However, most people don’t want to spend 3-5 minutes putting air in their kayak before using it. Not to mention, if you have to use a hand pump or a foot pump, you’ll need to take it back to the car or carry it on the boat with you. 

You Get What You Pay For

Most people choose an inflatable fishing kayak because they don’t want to spend as much money as a hard shell. However, today’s inflatable kayaks can be just as expensive or more than a hardshell. 

For example, the Zeppelin Aero inflatable kayak will cost you over 1000.00 dollars, which is not cheap. But, of course, it has several features such as; removable floor chamber, an optional second seat, and a self-draining hull. 

You should never choose an inflatable kayak because you think that it’s going to be cheaper. Do your due diligence and make sure you understand the differences between a hardshell and inflatable kayaks. 

It’s easy to pay as much or even more for an inflatable kayak when you could buy a hard shell one. Don’t be quick to choose an inflatable one, until you know everything you’re getting and how much it’s going to cost you.

Storage Space

Most inflatable kayaks won’t be able to hold as much fishing gear like a hard shell. When shopping for an inflatable fishing kayak, make sure you consider the weight limits and storage space. 

If you don’t heed the weight restrictions, you run the risk of the boat riding lower in the water and hitting the rocks or sharp objects at the bottom. 

Puncture Easily

As mentioned above, inflatable boats will puncture easily. However, this isn’t something you have to worry about when using a hardshell boat. As a fisherman (or woman), you face many sharp objects, such as; hooks, anchors, submerged objects, hooks, etc. 

Today’s boars are built with thick materials to withstand sharper objects, but you still run the risk of it puncturing when fishing from an inflatable kayak. 

Always check the boat before taking it on the water. This will ensure that it doesn’t have a puncture hole from the last time you took it out. 

If it does have a hole, you can use a patch kit to get it fixed. 

Also, avoid boating in bodies of water where it’s easy to come into contact with logs or rocks. 

Harder to Stand Up

You may find it harder to stand up in an inflatable kayak than a hardshell kayak because they are built differently. If you’re using an inflatable kayak designed for recreation, you’ll notice it’s nearly impossible to stand up without flipping it. 

Today’s inflatable fishing kayaks are nearly impossible to tip. They usually have a super rigid floor that makes it easy to stand up. But, of course, it takes practice to stand up in a kayak, no matter what is designed from. 


Because they are lighter than regular fishing kayaks, they can be harder to control. If you’re caught in rough waters, extreme temperatures, inflatable kayaks can be dangerous, especially if you’re not skilled.

That said, many technological advancements have been made than in the past. And inflatable kayaks are becoming more effective in all sorts of water conditions. 

If the weather gets too rough, it doesn’t matter if you’re in a hardshell or inflatable kayak. You’ll likely lose control of the kayak. That’s why it’s essential to check the weather conditions before taking any boat out on the water. 

Before buying any type of fishing kayak, do your due diligence to find one that handles better in different water conditions, especially if you’re a beginner. 

Final Word

Inflatable kayaks can be suitable for fishing if you’re using one designed for that specific purpose. That said, it will differ from a hardshell variety as you’ll likely have less storage space, less durability, and may not be as stable, making it harder to stand up. 

If you decide to use an inflatable kayak for your next fishing trip, make sure you’ve chosen the most durable. Don’t use one that is designed for recreation, as it will likely puncture more easily, and you won’t be able to carry all your gear or stand up in it. 

Also, stick to a body of water that won’t be difficult to maneuver and isn’t too shallow that your water vessel will puncture easily. 

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