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Best Kayak Fishing Seats for 2022: Pain Free Fishing

Written by: Pete D
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Most fishing kayaks these days come with excellent seating options, and from cushy bottoms to plenty of back support, they’re designed for all-day comfort.

But not every kayak is outfitted with a great seat, and for plenty of anglers, the simple molded plastic seat and (maybe) a backrest is all they’ve got. And while that can be great for an hour or so of paddling around a pond, fishing from before sunrise to mid-morning can feel like torture.

If your back is telling you to get a new seat, we’re here to help! Below, you’ll find reviews of the best seats for kayak fishing, as well as a complete buying guide to help you pick the right option for you.

Quick glance at the best kayak seats:

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Best Kayak Fishing Seats Reviewed

WOOWAVE Kayak Seat

WOOWAVE Kayak Seat Padded Deluxe Canoe Seat Adjustable Boat Seat Cushioned Fishing Seat High Back Comfortable Backrest Support with Detachable Back Storage Bag for Universal Sit

Amazon 

WOOWAVE’s kayak seat is an inexpensive, effective solution to your aching back, and for anglers looking for a high-backed seating option, this one’s hard to beat.

As with most kayak seating solutions, you simply drop this seat in place and secure it, via four metal clips, to the D-rings or eyes on either side of your ‘yak. Once in place, you adjust the backrest position by tightening or loosening the side straps.

This system is easy to use, although the metal hardware is decidedly low-end. Some people find that it wears quickly, and it tends to jam when it gets sandy.

The exterior fabric on WOOWAVE’s seat is a durable 210D polyester that’s soft to the touch but still tough enough for repeated sun exposure. Inside, they use a pliable EVA foam to cushion the seat and backrest.

Be aware that this polyester fabric isn’t waterproof, and the internal foam will absorb water, becoming drenched. That’s not a huge issue in a kayak, but you’ll want to dry out this seat between uses to prevent mildew.

Comfort is pretty good, and back support is excellent when properly adjusted.

This seat doesn’t impede casting or fighting, and it doesn’t get in the way or cause any issues when paddling or fishing. Hooks can get caught in the fabric, but that’s just a reality with any material other than hard plastics and other solids.

WOOWAVE equips this seat with a removable storage pocket on the back. That’s a nice feature, though it can be a bit tough to reach. And despite what they say about waterproofness, I wouldn’t count on it to provide true dry storage.

Overall, this is a nice seat that will protect your back without breaking the bank.

Pros:

  • Good price
  • Easy to install and remove
  • Excellent back support
  • Plenty of cushion
  • Reasonably durable

Cons:

  • Will absorb water
  • Metal hooks are poor quality

KERCO Angler-X - Most Comfortable Kayak Fishing Seat

Kerco Angler-x Adjustable Sit on Top Kayak Seat w/Back Pack Extra Thick Seat Pad

Amazon 

KERCO ups the ante on cushion, offering a more padded seat than WOOWAVE. For anglers with tender backsides or heavier body weights, that’s a winning detail.

KERCO’s Angler-X seat installs via the typical strap and hook system, and if your kayak has D-rings or eyes on either side of the cockpit, it’s ready to go. Setting the Angler-X up takes just seconds, and adjusting the backrest is simple and intuitive.

What you’ll notice as you take a seat is that KERCO took padding seriously. There’s generous, thick foam on the seat section and a center strip of the same cushy material up the backrest. The result is a very comfortable fishing seat that promises all-day comfort.

The exterior is a tough nylon fabric that can take a fair beating. I wouldn’t expect miracles, of course, and hooks and other sharps will penetrate it easily. Like the WOOWAVE, it will absorb water, becoming soaked and sodden.

I’d recommend drying this seat carefully between uses if it gets wet; don’t just toss it in a dark garage!

This seat is stable, offering a steady platform for paddling, casting, and fighting.

For anglers who find that their backsides just can’t take hours on hard plastic, KERCO’s excellent Angler-X offers plenty of highly-cushioned support.

Pros:

  • Easy to install and remove
  • Excellent back support
  • Excellent seat and back cushion
  • Reasonably durable

Cons:

  • Will absorb water

SKWOOSH Expedition Kayak Seat - Best Back-Supporting Kayak Fishing Seat

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SKWOOSH carefully thought through the design on the Expedition kayak seat, fixing problems other products just accept as inevitable. For instance, if you like a high, dry ride in your kayak and hate sitting on water-laden EVA foam, the Expedition is the seat for you.

Like all seats of this kind, you simply drop it in place and attach the included metal clips to the eyes or D-rings on your kayak. A few pulls on the straps will have the backrest adjusted properly.

The seat is filled with a waterproof gel that offers firm comfort. For anglers who really want a soft seat, the WOOWAVE and KERCO are better options, as this gel simply won’t compress like foam. But it also won’t get waterlogged, which is a really nice tough for anglers who launch in heavy surf or take a wave over the side.

The backrest is very supportive, using two fiberglass battens to reinforce the structure, as well as a winged design that keeps you centered and upright. SKWOOSH includes a lumbar support that Velcros into place, though this seat sometimes ships without it.

On the rear, you’ll find a bungeed section for storing essentials, as well as two built-in water bottle holders. That’s a really good idea, and I’d like to see other seat manufacturers doing the same thing.

Durability is on par with the other offerings on our list, and this seat doesn’t cause any problems while paddling or fishing.

If a wet bottom is something you hate, and you want the ultimate in back support, SKWOOSH’s Expedition kayak seat is the right option for you.

Pros:

  • Easy to install and remove
  • Excellent back support
  • Excellent seat and back cushion
  • Waterproof gel seat
  • Reasonably durable

Cons:

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BKC Kayak Seat - Best Budget Kayak Fishing Seat

BKC UH-KS222 Universal Sit-On-Top Soft Padded Kayak Seat and Backrest with Water Bottle Pouch for Fishing/Kayaking/ Rafting / Canoeing by Brooklyn Kayak Company

Amazon 

Kayak anglers on a budget should take a second look at BKC’s kayak seat. While not as well cushioned as its competitors, it’s a simple, no-nonsense, no-frills seat that won’t cost an arm and a leg.

Installation is a snap via four brass clips that are perhaps the highest quality of any of the models we review today. That’s something of a surprise at this price point.

The backrest supporting straps can be adjusted quickly and stay put, too.

Slipping into this seat, you’ll notice that it’s not designed to maximize comfort, though it’s a substantial upgrade from hard plastic! But for anglers looking for all-day cushioning, this is not the way to go. Instead, the Angler-X is the right pick, albeit at a little more than twice the price.

BKC’s kayak seat should prove durable enough, but it will be vulnerable to sharps - and it does absorb water like a sponge. Drying this seat between uses is essential to prevent mildew.

BKC equips the back of this seat with a small zippered pocket. That’s a nice idea, but it’s very hard to reach from the seat and too small to be terribly useful.

Lighter anglers or those who only need a bit more cushion than the standard plastic seat on their kayaks will be impressed with what they get for the money with this seat.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive!
  • Easy to install and remove
  • Good back support
  • Reasonably durable

Cons:

  • Not much cushioning
  • The zippered pouch on the back is hard to reach

Yakpads Cushioned Seat Pad - Best Kayak Fishing Seat for Sit-Insides

Yakpads High Back Cushioned Seat Pad, Gel Seat Pad for Kayaks, Portable Seat Cushion for Outdoor Watersports and Recreation - Cascade Creek (High Back)

Amazon 

For anglers fishing from a sit-inside, aftermarket kayak seats can be a tough fit. Yakpads offers an awesome solution, and their gel-filled seat pad is all but guaranteed to work.

Instead of the usual strap and clip system, the Yakpad drops into place and can be secured with bungees via the fabric loops at the front and rear of the seat cushion. If you don’t take the time to do this, it can slip and slide under you.

Two sturdy nylon straps provide back support, holding the rear rest in place.

The gel used for cushioning is pretty good, generally preventing the bunching that can cause discomfort on longer fishing adventures.

The lycra and neoprene exterior is comfortable but not terrifically durable, and I’d hesitate to use this on a standard fishing kayak where it’ll be exposed to constant UV degradation.

It’s not waterproof, however, so you’ll need to dry this seat between uses if it gets wet.

Overall, for sit-insides and rec kayaks, this is a great pad that will substantially increase your comfort while fishing.

Pros:

  • Easy to install and remove
  • Good back support
  • Reasonably durable

Cons:

  • Can slide around if not properly secured

What You Should Look for in a Kayak Fishing Seat

Comfort

The number one reason people add an aftermarket seat to their fishing kayak is comfort.

Most modern fishing kayaks come with great seating.

Most - if not all - modern fishing kayaks come with ultra-comfortable seating systems that are designed around the needs of anglers.

But for those of us not fortunate enough to own one of these fishing machines, the standard plastic seats and backrests can quickly turn torturous over the course of a morning’s fishing.

Plenty of kayaks don’t come with any cushioned seating.

A standard sit-on-top or rec kayak won’t come with much in the way of seating beyond molded hard plastic. And sore bottoms and aching backs aren’t going to make fishing fun.

What you need, then, is some cushion under your bottom as well as back support to prevent lower back pain.

Exactly how much cushion gets the job done depends on a number of factors, including your weight and body shape, so these things can be very subjective. Generally, though, more cushion is better than less.

Keep in mind, however, that bunching and water absorption can be problems as the amount of cushioning foam increases.

Ease of installation

A seat that’s hard to install or insecure is just a different kind of pain!

Most of the products we review attach via corrosion-resistant clips to the sides of your kayak, fastening to eyes or D-rings that have been placed there for just this purpose.

If your kayak lacks these attachment points, don’t worry! They’re easy to install.

But for sit-insides, these systems may not work, and a drop in seat like the Yakpads is the best option.

Adjustable back support

Comfort and proper back support depend on your ability to get the angle of the seat rest just right - and keep it there.

Every product we review uses durable nylon straps with adjustable buckles to ensure a good fit for you.

Why not inflatables?

Inflatable seats are comfortable, no doubt about it. But they’re also very tall, raising your center of gravity relative to your ‘yak.

Sea Eagle’s inflatable seats are awesome for inflatable kayaks that won’t be used for fishing.

That may not seem like a big deal as you paddle around a quiet pond, but when you’re casting, fighting big fish, or reaching out with a landing net, a high center of gravity is a recipe for disaster.

The risk of falling out of your kayak or overturning is much higher, and we can’t recommend this seating system for kayak fishing.

Final Thoughts 

Aftermarket seating for your kayak can make fishing a lot more fun.

For anglers who need the best padding, KERCO’s Angler-X is definitely the way to go. Offering more cushion than the competition, it puts plenty of EVA foam between your bottom and your kayak’s hard plastic.

If your back, rather than your bottom, is the issue, SKWOOSH’s Expedition Kayak Seat provides outstanding support and a lumbar pad that really makes a difference after an hour or so. Most anglers find that back pain is a thing of the past with this kayak seat, and that can open opportunities for lots of middle-aged anglers to hit the water more often.

For anglers on a tight budget, BKC Kayak Seat offers a no-frills system that increases comfort without leaving your wallet empty.

And finally, for kayak fishermen who own a sit-inside, Yakpads’ Cushioned Seat Pad will transform your hard seat with gel padding, changing the way you fish.

As always, we’d love to hear from you, and we’re more than ready to answer any questions you might have.

Please leave a comment below!

About The Author
Pete D
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Pete grew up fishing on the Great Lakes. When he’s not out on the water, you can find him reading his favorite books, and spending time with his family.
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