Whether on a kayak or a pontoon boat, there’s nothing quite like being out on the water. With the wind in your hair, the sound of the waves, and a drink in your hand, it’s tough not to love the experience.

Fishermen and women looking to head out on the rivers might have difficulty choosing between a fishing kayak or an inflatable pontoon boat.

Buying an inflatable pontoon or kayak is about personal preference, but you may find one that’s better for you. There are pros and cons to each:

Kayak Pros

Quick setup

Kayaks do not require much setup. Once you get to the water, just slide it in, hop in the kayak and start paddling. These are great for those annoyed by a long preparation phase before fishing.

Storage Options

Kayaks have plenty of storage options. With the option to strap items to the side using ropes or utilize compartments in the front, back, and under seats, there are plenty of spots to keep your gear. Many kayaks have been optimized to hold substantial storage space for such a small boat.

Sit-in or Sit-On

A nice feature with kayaks is you can buy either a sit-in or sit-on-top option. Sit-in kayaks travel faster than sit-on-top, but sit-on-top kayaks are more stable and usually cheaper.

No Upkeep Is Necessary

Kayaks have very little maintenance to keep them in the water from season to season. Just give it a good clean every year to keep the grime off, and you are good to go fishing. It is not required to do expensive maintenance or take it to a boat repair shop.


Kayaks are just faster than inflatable pontoons. The way they are shaped to cut through the water efficiently allows you to get to your fishing spots more quickly. They are also quite maneuverable for skilled kayakers.

Kayak Cons


Wind affects all boats, but maneuvering a kayak in windy weather is particularly challenging. Their lightness and shape make them susceptible to being blown drastically off course. Winds above 17 knots (19 mph) are considered dangerous for kayaking.

Needs Extra Accommodations for Transport

Traditional kayaks need a pickup truck, trailer, or at least some sort of rack on the top of a car to transport them. This adds extra cost to the initial cost of the kayak. The transportation of a traditional kayak keeps many people from owning one.

Lays low

Kayaks lie lower in the water than inflatable pontoons. This makes it harder to keep yourself and the boat’s inside dry. Being so low also makes it more difficult to scan your area for ideal spots.

Pontoon Pros

Hassle-Free Casting

Since inflatable pontoons have a broader base than kayaks, they are much easier to cast from. Fishers on pontoons can sit and stand up without the same worry of tipping their boat as they’d have in a kayak. Pontoons are explicitly tailored for fly fishers as they make it easy to cast in calm or wavy waters.

Sit Up High in the Water

See everything from your high vantage point in the water. Avoid getting soaked in choppy waters or while paddling. The pontoon sits much higher in the water than a kayak.

Easy Break Down and Pack

Perhaps the best thing about an inflatable pontoon is its ability to be broken down and transported easily.

Since inflatable pontoons can be deflated, they can be folded up and fit into smaller compartments such as the trunk of a car. This is much easier than a kayak, which needs special accommodations and space to transport.

Pontoon Cons


Any sort of inflatable boat has a chance to get a hole popped in it. It can happen, whether it be from running into a rock, some structure, or just trying to load it up in the car and getting caught on something. Unfortunately, popping is a real possibility with inflatable pontoons.


Pontoons are not that fast, especially with a well-made kayak. Particularly in the waves, it can be tough to move quickly. They are simply not shaped for speed with their ‘box-like’ design.

More Setup

Pontoons take longer to set up than kayaks. Kayaks just need to be set in the water, and you can head out. Pontoons take time to be unfolded, filled up, and set up before you can start your fishing trip.

When buying your first or next boat for fishing trips, there is a lot to consider. There are clear pros and cons to each option. However, specific pros and cons can depend on your choice of kayak or inflatable pontoon.


Kayaks and inflatable pontoons can range in price dramatically; understandably, motors and other accessories can add significant cost. The cost advantage could go to either kayaks or inflatable pontoons.

Nice inflatable pontoons with a motor can quickly go over a thousand dollars. However, kayaks, in the same way, can go over thousands with motor capabilities. For this issue, it really depends on the boat’s make, model, and features that fit your needs.


Comfort is another classification that could go either way. Both pontoon boats and kayaks can have hard plastic seats. Similarly, kayaks and pontoon boats can have soft-cushioned seats.

In an inflatable pontoon, some people might feel less restricted as they are higher up out of the water and can stretch out a little more. Kayaks have a cozier feel, and seats can often be adjusted to lie back and lounge.


If you’re considering buying a kayak or an inflatable pontoon boat, congratulations! You really can not go wrong either way. Whatever you buy will give you a permanent ticket to great, relaxing days out on the water.