Tandem Kayak Fishing


Tandem kayak fishing is sweeping the kayak fishing community. What is it? Tandem kayak fishing is a type of fishing that takes place when you and your partner fish from the exact same kayak. Unlike the fisherman pictured below, you and your partner aren’t constrained with the limits of being located in two different kayaks.

Take advantage of the benefits offered by kayak fishing in tandem! Before we get into all the reasons why tandem kayak fishing might be the best choice for you, be sure to check out our Tandem Fishing Kayak Ultimate Guide!

Tandem Kayak Fishing

Tandem Kayak Fishing: Overview

Tandem Kayak Fishing

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This KFC post contains everything you need to know about tandem kayak fishing for you to decide whether it is the right style of kayak fishing for you! To make sure we don’t leave out any of the important details, we’ve organized this post into a number of separate categories. We begin by going over the basics of tandem kayak fishing. What is it? How is it different from other types of kayak fishing? And more. Next, we’ve created a short checklist that you can reference for purposes of learning how to get up and running with a tandem fishing kayak in no time!

After that, we’ve listed a number of the most critical features that you’ll want to find in whatever tandem kayak you decide to move forward with. Then, we’ve added a link to one of our favorite models of tandem fishing kayak where you can click the link to visit the product page to see if this particular model is right for you. Finally, we’ve added a short story about our own experience with tandem kayak fishing and we make a recommendation about whether we think this particular style of kayak fishing could be right for you. Ready? OK, let’s get started!

The Basics

Tandem Kayak Fishing

Please note: This post contains affiliate links. An affiliate link means that we may earn advertising/referral fees if you make a purchase through our links. 

Shortcut to the Tandem Kayak Fishing Review

The word “tandem” is not familiar to some people. So, what does tandem mean? The word tandem can be defined as having two things arranged such that one is directly in front of the other. In the world of kayak fishing, this means that one of the seats is directly in front of the other. We’ve added an image of this concept below:

Tandem Kayak Fishing

Have no fear, the average tandem kayak is much longer and wider than the average fishing kayak. If you think about it, this increased size is critical, otherwise the addition of a second kayak fisherman would create an unworkable, not to mention dangerous, situation! You’ll find that tandem kayak fishing usually involves a kayak reaching 12 to 13 feet in length, and 35 inches or so in width. The increased size also helps provide a more stable platform. After all, the kayak will be balancing the weight and movement of two kayak fishermen, not just one!

How to Do It Properly

Tandem Kayak Fishing

Tandem kayak fishing is an absolute blast. But, to make sure that you stay safe, and that you and your partner have the best luck possible on the water, you’ll need to make sure to educate yourself on some quick tips for proper use. KFC has prepared the short checklist below after reading testimonials from a number of our readers informing us where they went right and where they went wrong in their own tandem kayak fishing experiences! Take a look:

  • DO always make sure that you and your partner are mindful of one another’s location when you are casting. You want to make sure to avoid tangling lines with one another or even worse, inadvertently snagging one another with your fishing hooks during a cast!
  • DO be aware of one another’s movements. Make sure that you don’t suddenly jerk to one side of the tandem fishing kayak or the other without warning your partner. These kayaks, especially the one we link to below, are very stable. That said, no tandem kayak is totally free from the risk of an overturn, and you need to keep your partner informed of your movements so they can help you balance!
  • DO discuss what gear you and your tandem fishing partner are going to bring on board. Much of the fishing gear you might bring along can be shared, eliminating the need for you to bring two of any such items on board and thus saving space!
Tandem Kayak Fishing
  • DON’T bring too much kayak fishing gear on board. While most tandem kayaks have been wisely designed to maximize storage space, you want to make sure you use this most precious commodity wisely and don’t bring along items that aren’t critical!
  • DON’T wait until the last minute to decide who will sit where while tandem kayak fishing. You’ll want to pick our your seats in advance so you can locate your gear in the storage locations nearest to your seat. Otherwise, you and your partner will always be reaching across one another!
  • DON’T work against one another while steering. Most tandem fishing kayaks are designed with a rear control rudder system allowing the kayak fishermen sitting near the stern to control the direction of the kayak. It is important that the kayak fisherman near the bow of the kayak not paddle against the direction that the rudder is aimed. If the paddling and rudder are not aligned, you won’t make much progress in directing the tandem kayak, if any at all!

Side Note: Powering a tandem kayak can be tiring! Look into whether the Minn Kota Terrova can help give you a boost! Just make sure that you use a high quality Trolling Motor Battery!

Important Features

Tandem Kayak Fishing

Rod Holders. Be sure that your tandem kayak comes with plenty of rod holders, saving you from having to buy them on the after market. Look for “articulated” rod holders, which are sometimes referred to as “deck mounted”. It’s also great to find flush style rod holders. You can see the different types in the image below.

Tandem Kayak Fishing

The more lines that you have in the water, the more likely you are to catch more fish! Rod holders are great because they essentially give you an extra pair of hands. This is great for when you are using a kayak trolling motor, or even kayak paddles.

Paddle Holders. Find a tandem fishing kayak that comes with paddle holders. The more the better, but at least two. One for the left side and one for the right side. We like these paddle holders that accommodate paddles of nearly any shape or size. Most accomplish do this by using a rope and hook system, as opposed to a clamp system. Check out the image below to see how this is done.

Tandem Kayak Fishing

Paddle holders are great for space maximization. Space is a treasured commodity on fishing kayaks, regardless of whether they are solo or tandem models. Kayak paddles are bulky – there is no way around it! Paddle holders keep a strong grip on the paddles, yet they give you ease of access in case you need to grab hold of your kayak paddle quickly!

Waterproof Storage Hatches. KFC highly values waterproof storage hatches, especially on a tandem fishing kayak. This keeps one partner from splashing water onto the valuables of the other partner. If you’ll notice in the image below, the waterproof storage hatches have been located in a convenient spot, just in front of the kayak fisherman’s seat!

Tandem Kayak Fishing

Waterproof storage hatches are designed to protect sensitive belongings. There are a number of after market water proof bags on the kayak fishing market these days, but some are quite expensive! Save some money by buying a tandem fishing kayak that has high quality storage hatches already included!

Cargo Area. Look for a tandem fishing kayak that has deep and smartly located cargo holds, particularly ones that feature bungee strap tie downs. Bungee tie downs and cargo areas can safely store any number of things – camping gear, a cooler, a tackle box, and even a picnic basket, the bungee tie down cargo  is a very beneficial feature. Look at the image below and notice the depth of the cargo hold. See how the bungee system has been designed to criss cross for added holding power?

Limit the items you store in the cargo hold to those that can get a little wet from time to time. Remember, the cargo holds (unlike the storage hatches) will  be exposed to splashing water and the other weather elements! If you are low on space, you can always consider use of dry bags or even basic tarps within with to insulate your water sensitive gear. Once you’ve secured your gear into the bungee tie down cargo hold, you’ll have a nice degree of assurance that it won’t bounce out!

Carrying Handles. A tandem fishing kayak is going to be quite heavy, given its extra size. While you could use a kayak cart to help assist you, often times its easier to simply carry the kayak with your friend – after all you are tandem fishing! But what if you can’t get a good grip? That’s why it is so important to find a tandem fishing kayak that comes with high quality (and ergonomically designed) carrying handles.

We like when the carrying handles are bolted directly into the frame (or hull) of the fishing kayak. The ergonomic design will make them easier on your hands after a long day on the water. There are other types of handles known as “T Handles” which also allow for a great grip when carrying from front or back, rather than the side.

 Which Model is Best?

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Kayak Fish with a Friend!

It is so important that you choose a model of tandem fishing kayak that fits the needs of you and your partner. Tandem fishing requires that you consider the needs of not only yourself, but an additional kayak fisherman altogether! Some people try to accomplish this by buying a basic tandem kayak, and then trying to outfit it with after market accessories. This is not a good idea. Take our word for it when we say that it is much easier to buy a high quality tandem fishing kayak, like the above, that has already added the features required for kayak fishing for you! This takes away the guess work and the extra expense!

We’ve been very pleased with the tandem kayak that we’ve linked to above. It comes standard with all of the features we mention in this article (and way, way more). It is basically ready to go, right out of the box. This was great, because we were able to get out on the water quickly plus, neither of us are very handy, so the pre-installation was great. The best part? My fishing partner and I didn’t argue about which kind of after market products we needed! Everything was already included and we didn’t have to spend any extra money or time buying additional kayak fishing gear!

My Experience

I have had a blast tandem fishing. At first, I was concerned that having an extra person on board with me might take away from the kayak fishing experience, but I was wrong. It enhanced the experience more than I would have thought possible. Why? A number of reasons, but I think the main one was the extra excitement created by doubling your odds and pulling twice the amount of fish from the water.

Also, for those competitive types, tandem fishing does not take away from a little friendly competition. Instead of fishing from two separate kayaks, you are fishing from the same one! Now there is no excuse for you to not out catch your partner, or vice versa. You are on a truly level playing field! One additional tip. If you and your partner have a hard time moving in harmony, you should look into buying an inflatable kayak stabilizer to help reduce the risk of an accidental overturn!

Have you ever thought about competing in a kayak fishing tournament? They are a blast!


I hope that this KFC article has helped you learn more about the sport of tandem kayak fishing. Tandem kayak fishing is a blast and is perfectly appropriate for kayak fishermen of any skill or experience level. If you have questions about tandem kayak fishing and whether it is the right style for you, please comment near the bottom of this page. We’d love to help you evaluate the pros and cons of tandem kayak fishing and we think the others in the kayak fishing community would benefit from seeing the discussion and may even want to comment themselves! One other thought – if you are interested in tandem kayak fishing in the ocean, make sure you read our post on the Best Tandem Sea Kayak! Learn other ways to exercise with a partner!


Do you know any helpful tandem kayak fishing tips or tricks?  Did you have a good experience the first time tandem kayak fishing?  How did you perform? Any features on a tandem fishing kayak that you find to be important? Remember, if you have any questions, we’d love to discuss them with you! Please share your knowledge with the KFC Community by posting a comment below.  I read and reply to all comments, and I love interacting with our readers!

2 Replies to “Tandem Kayak Fishing”

  1. Good idea about finding a tandem Fishing Kayak with a water tight hatch. I’m always worried about my wireless speaker getting splashed on!!

    1. Thanks for the comment, Whet! Those wireless speakers are definitely expensive, and you don’t want to lose your fishing tunes!

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