Get There Fast

Belly boats had their dayand still do on small stillwaters across the West. Drift boats are king on big rivers, but only if you have a friend who can do his share of the rowing, and adequate boat launches to get in and out. If you want a solo fishing craft that moves swiftly on the ocean or large stillwaters, navigates even steep, churning rivers with ease, and doesn't require a trailer or an improved boat launch, a kayak makes more sense than the U.S. Mint. Here are our four favorite boats.

1 Diablo Adios $1,500

You can't accessorize your Diablo Adios with a stand-up bar. That's probably because you don't need one. The wide, narrow hull design of Diablo kayaks make them a hybrid between a kayak and a stand-up paddle board. Not only is it easy to stand, but easy to lean to one side or another (and land a fish) without tipping the boat. Our favorite "accessory" for this boat is the Larry chair which gives you 10" of extra elevation for spotting fish and easier paddling, and still lets you lounge all day on your butt. The traction pad in front of the chair gives you no-slip grip, and a pull-up strap attached to the bow makes it easy to stand up and sit down. Standard with the Adios are adjustable foot pegs, wet storage areas front and back with tie-downs in the stern and bungees on the bow, molded drink holders, and a 13"x24" cockpit-accessible front dry storage. Smooth, flat surfaces allow for suction-mounted rod-holders and electronics.


Length: 12'5"

Width: 36"

Weight: 56 lbs

Capacity: 450 lbs

2 Hobie Pro Angler $2,500

When our testers first saw the Hobie Mirage Drive, they were skeptical of the two pedal-powered "flippers" but when testing these boats at Chapin Beach against lighter traditional kayaks, the Hobie Pro Anglers got to the diving birds first every time, and after a 7-mile-round-trip tour of North Dennis, Sandy Neck, and deeper water offshore, made it back to the beer cooler early as well. The Mirage Drive not only moves you efficiently from place to place, it leaves your arms free (and less fatigued) to fish. The downside is that you need at least two feet of water to operate the drive. Our testers dragged the boats at low tide while other kayaks were still afloat. The Pro Angler has storage for six rods plus bow and stern dry lockers, and a between-the-knees tackle locker. Scupper holes can be used to add an H-Bar ($190)a stand-up bar for easier casting and sight-fishingor a wheelbarrow attachment for portage.


Length: 13'8"

Width: 38"

Weight: 88 lbs

Capacity: 600 lbs

3 Outcast Commander $1,000

At 35 pounds, the OSG Commander is the best kayak for hard-to-access rivers, and for long road trips into unknown territory. You can take this kayak on the plane as checked luggage, and even with a pump stay way under the weight allowance. While shaped like a kayak, the commander comes with an oar systemnot paddlesso you can pick your way slowly through serious whitewater. The open bottom means you can stand up, stop, and fish at midriver gravel bars, seams behind islands, and long sweeping inside bends. You can also use fins to fish while you float. It's a great boat for West Coast steelhead and Rocky Mountain trout streamsparticularly ones without traditional boat ramps. It's also suitable for small stillwaters, but don't expect to cover a lot of water. The Commander has adjustable foot rests, and cargo straps to secure your gear behind the mesh-back seat.


Length: 10'

Width: 46"

Weight: 35 lbs

Capacity: 500 lbs

4 Freedom Hawk Pathfinder $1,400

Trapper Rudd is insane. That's the conclusion "normal" people would come to when they see him dragging his Freedom Hawk kayak through mangroves and mosquito-infested creeks in God-forsaken locations from roadless Mexico to Africa. I prefer to think of him as a genius. His E=MC2 is taking his fully equipped kayak to places nobody else goes. He paddles there under his own power, pops out the two stability outriggers, and then stands up where he can spot bonefish and other flats species. He catches fish as if he were the patron of a $4,000 per week lodge, when actually he's a DIY maverick with the credo "have kayak will travel." Search youtube.com using his name and you'll see his Freedom Hawk kayak in action. The new Pathfinder is a larger, pimped-out version of the original Freedom 12. It has a standard lean bar, two watertight compartments, self-bailing scupper holes, and adjustable foot braces.


Length: 14'2"

Width: 31"

Weight: 79 lbs

Capacity: 450 lbs

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You

The Kamikaze Sculpin is easy to tie, versatile, and smartly designed to get the job done. Fly Tying

Tying the Kamikaze Sculpin

Charlie Craven

The Kamikaze Sculpin is easy to tie, versatile, and smartly designed to get the job done.

Modern methods for catching smallmouths on topwater flies. Bass

How to Catch Smallmouth Bass on Topwater Flies

Dave Karczynski and Tim Landwehr

Modern methods for catching smallmouths on topwater flies.

How an Atlanta craft brewery is helping to save Georgia's most important trout stream. United States

Saving the Chattahoochee River

Ross Purnell - April 23, 2019

How an Atlanta craft brewery is helping to save Georgia's most important trout stream.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Breaking the Surface

Breaking the Surface

Attack of the Bass continues as Breaking the Surface attacks bass with fly and lure 12:30pm ET Sunday, April 17th.

Casting Backhand in Tight Quarters

Casting Backhand in Tight Quarters

A backhand cast is when you use your backcast to deliver the fly.

Bahamas - Bonefish

Bahamas - Bonefish

Conway casts for his personal best bonefish while fishing the Grand Bahama islands.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Read about Colorado's backcountry fly fishing in United States

Indian Peaks Wilderness Area Colorado

Steven B. Schweitzer - May 03, 2016

Read about Colorado's backcountry fly fishing in " Indian Peaks Wilderness Area Colorado."

Best Panfish Flies Fly Tying

Best Panfish Flies

Skip Morris - October 17, 2016

Best Panfish Flies

American River California United States

American River California

MIchael Wier - March 23, 2017

American River California

See More Stories

More Accessories

Finding the Spine Of The Rod every time. Accessories

Spine Of The Rod

Ross Purnell, Editor - November 20, 2017

Finding the Spine Of The Rod every time.

Breathable, water resistance, and ridiculous packability. Accessories

Orvis PRO Insulated Hoody

Fly Fisherman - January 29, 2020

Breathable, water resistance, and ridiculous packability.

The Cloud Camo Solar Flex Armor Shirt is the perfect top for fishing in the tropics. Accessories

SIMMS Cloud Camo Solar Flex Armor Shirt

Ross Purnell

The Cloud Camo Solar Flex Armor Shirt is the perfect top for fishing in the tropics.

See More Accessories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.