Fishing Kayak vs Jon Boat: Choose the Best Platform for Angling

Thomas Krik

Written by

Thomas Krik

Marc Lowe


Marc Lowe

fishing kayak vs jon boat

Anglers have vessel preferences when fishing and two of the most popular choices are kayaks and Jon boats. Both are excellent for angling. However, each has distinctive qualities that may enhance your fishing experience.

This post will dive deep into the age-old debate of fishing kayak vs Jon boat. Get ready to explore the pros and cons, differences, and the sheer thrill of choosing each watercraft!

Before we jump into details, here’s a quick comparison table between jon boats and kayaks:

  Kayak Jon Boat
Stability Stable in most fishing situations Stable only on flat water
Usage versatility Versatile to various scenarios Limited to shallow waters
Ease of use Easy for beginners Demands skill and experience
Gear storage Limited, built-in storage cubbies More but open storage space
Carrying capacity Higher weight capacity Lesser capacity
# of passengers Solo or tandem fishing One or more passengers
Convenience More convenient Less convenient
(average range)
$300 – $1,300 $500 – 3,000

What are Fishing Kayaks?


A fishing kayak is an incredibly versatile and common choice among anglers of all skill levels. This sleek watercraft is specifically designed for fishing purposes and well-suited for saltwater and freshwater.

Anglers can fish from their kayak while sitting or standing, making them a flexible option for various fishing styles and techniques. Additionally, these boats are easier to maneuver because of their narrower and longer profiles.

There are several kayak variations in the market. For example, you can find an inflatable boat kayak, a sit-in or sit-on-top kayak, and a sea kayak. Each has unique features that cater to specific preferences and fishing conditions.

What are Jon Boats?


When it comes to aluminum fishing boats, nothing is more prolific and popular than a Jon boat. Sometimes spelled as John boats, these flat-bottomed vessels have unique square-like hull designs.

Many anglers often interchange a hunter bass boat and a Jon boat. However, the former is dedicated to fishing, while the latter is an all-rounder watercraft.

If you go shopping, you can discover many types of Jon boats. They’re available in multiple sizes ranging from 8 to 24 feet. They can be paddled, rowed, or motorized with an outboard engine.

Comparing Fishing Kayaks and Jon Boats

The following section will explore various aspects of these two fishing platforms. You can consider these differences when choosing the perfect watercraft for your hobby.

1. Equipment storage


Fishing kayaks have tight space on their decks for storage but have dedicated room for storing equipment. Their hulls have closed hatches to keep your items safe and dry.

Meanwhile, Jon boats provide more deck space to accommodate large items, such as coolers or tackle boxes. While most don’t have storage compartments, some may have built-in storage under the seats.

2. Capacity


Typically, large Jon boats can hold more weight than kayaks of similar size. Also, this boat type can accommodate two or more people, making them a better option when fishing with friends or family.

Oppositely, most kayaks are designed to provide comfort and ease of use for a solo angler. Due to their smaller profile, they carry lesser capacity than their Jon boat counterparts.

3. Speed


When talking about speed, Jon boats are champions. With outboard motors, these boats can take you swiftly to your honey hole.

You can attach a trolling motor to a kayak, but Jon boats are still faster. A 14-ft kayak can only hit around 5 mph, while a Jon boat of the same size can travel at 25 mph.

4. Stability


Both boats can offer superior stability on flat water. However, kayaks are clear winners in navigating choppy oceans and rapids. They boast a low center of gravity, which helps reduce the likelihood of tipping in rugged waters.

A semi-V or modified-V hull Jon boat is better for rough seas. However, they may not offer the same stability on still waters.

5. Applications


Jon boats are the workhorse of shallow, calm waters. They have flat bottoms perfect for fishing, hunting, transportation, and leisure.

However, if you plan to fish in deep and rough waters, fishing kayaks are the ideal choice. Most of them are designed for ocean fishing or navigating different water conditions.

6. Cost Comparison


These boats are available in various sizes, brands, and materials. As such, prices can vary per model. A typical kayak can cost between $400 to $600. On the other hand, Jon boats’ price increases as the size gets bigger.

To give you an overview, here’s a cost comparison table:

1. Typical kayak prices

Kayak Type Price Range ($)
Inflatable 100 – 300
Sea 1,000 – 3,000
Recreational 300 – 1,200
Touring 1,000 – 3,000
Fishing 700 – 3,000
Tandem 400 – 1,500
Pedal 1,500 – 5,000

2. Typical Jon boat prices

Sizes (ft) Price Range ($)
10 500 – 800
11 – 13 600 – 1,000
13 – 14 800 – 1,200
15 – 16 2,000 – 3,000
17+ 5,000 and above

7. Pros and Cons of Each Fishing Vessel

Knowing the benefits and limitations of each watercraft can also help you make an informed decision. Read them below:

1. Kayaks

  • Versatile than any other fishing boats
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Much stable in choppy waters
  • More comfortable framed seats
  • Less likely to spook fish
  • Minimal maintenance
  • Easier to transport and handle
  • More physically demanding
  • Less space for storage
  • Limited to solo or tandem fishing

2. Boats

  • Higher carrying capacity
  • Can accommodate more passengers
  • Faster than fishing kayaks
  • Used for multiple purposes
  • Not suitable for rough waters
  • Fairly heavy and bulky
  • Uncomfortable bench seats

Which is Best for Anglers?


There’s no perfect answer to this question. Instead, your choices will depend on your preferences and several factors and situations. For example, you may decide based on:

  • Intended use: As we noted, Jon boats are suitable for general purposes. Thus, it’s a good choice if you’re into an all-rounder watercraft.
  • Fishing location: Your choice also depends on your fishing environment. Kayaks can navigate different water conditions, while Jon boats perform well in calm, shallow inland waterways.
  • Budget: Although kayaks can be pricey, they’re known to be the best boat for the money. Before buying, we suggest researching to get the best deals in the market.

In addition, here are some scenarios to consider:

  • If you prioritize maneuverability, versatility, and ease of transport, fishing kayaks are a better fit.
  • If you’re into a boat with ample space and the capacity to hold larger gear and more passengers, Jon boats might be in your alley.
  • When you enjoy solo fishing, a kayak is a suitable option. Jon boats are best for group


Choosing between a fishing kayak vs Jon boat can be challenging. Both options offer unique features and benefits that can enhance your experience on the water. Now that you know the differences between these two watercraft, you’re ready to purchase your next fishing boat.

Whether you prioritize nimble navigation or a faster platform, we’re sure you’ll have the best time on the water, reeling in the catch of a lifetime. Happy fishing!

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