Unsure which jet ski is the best for fishing? We’ll make your life a bit easier with our guide to the top models on the market right now!
One of the most frequently reoccurring questions in the PWC world right now is “What is the best fishing jet ski?”. Fishing from a PWC (or Personal Water Craft) is becoming increasingly popular, but a lot of fishermen who want to change their vessels don’t know what to look for. Should it be Yamaha, Sea-Doo, or maybe Kawasaki?
This guide will go over some of the top fishing jet skis on the market right now and explain what makes them so good.
*The term ”jet ski” technically refers to Kawasaki’s personal watercraft. A “WaveRunner” is the term Yamaha uses for their personal watercraft. Throughout this post, the two terms will be used interchangeably.
What to look for in a PWC for fishing
For starters, it’s important to know what to look for in a WaveRunner with which you intend to go fishing. Modern jet skis and WaveRunners come with all kinds of bells and whistles. How many of these extra features you need is up to you to decide.
When it comes down to it, there are 5 main things to look for in a fishing jet ski.
1) Storage: The more room available, the better. Large storage capacity is essential for jet ski fishing. It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
2) Efficiency: Any watercraft used for fishing should be fuel-efficient. On top of having a good fuel economy, a large fuel tank should come standard as well. As you’ll see in a moment, the reviewed Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Sea-Doo aren’t equal in this regard.
3) Seating: Personal watercraft with extra seating provide more room to move around. Typically a 3-seater jet ski will work better for fishing because it allows for more cast positions than a 2-seater.
4) Hull: The type of hull will determine how a jet ski rides. Deeper hulls are usually more practical for fishing. A deep hull will ride more smoothly over choppy water. This is useful when riding a heavy PWC, weighed down by equipment and the catches of the day.
5) Price: How much jet ski costs may be the single greatest factor in figuring out which model is best for you. Of course, there are affordable options available, but you may find yourself wanting more advanced features. Even though there are considerable differences between Yamaha WaveRunners, Kawasaki ski jets, or Sea-Doo boats, a significant number of potential customers will look at the price first.
What’s the Best Fishing Jet Ski?
Currently, there are 3 major PWC manufacturers, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Sea-Doo. Each one of them has its own advantages and disadvantages, but ultimately it’s up to you to decide which one fits you best (with our help of course!). While all three manufacturers offer great models, some outshine others.
As of now, the best fishing jet ski is the Kawasaki Ultra LX. There are a lot of great jet ski models that match the criteria mentioned above, but none of them go as far as the Ultra LX.
Keep in mind that almost any PWC will work for jet ski fishing – no matter whether we are talking about a Yamaha, Sea-Doo, or Kawasaki boat. Most models have enough room for the proper attachments needed, so there is no wrong choice. However, based on the criteria, Kawasaki fairs slightly better in this case.
Here are the reasons why:
1) Storage. Kawasaki’s Ultra LX has 56 gallons of storage, which is more than enough for just about any jet ski fishing excursion you can imagine. Sea-Doo comes in second with the Fish Pro’s 40 gallons, and Yamaha finishes last with the FX’s 33 gallons.
2) Fuel. Currently, the LX offers a class-leading fuel capacity of 20.6 gallons. Yamaha’s FX has a capacity of 18.5 gallons, and Sea-Doo’s Fish Pro has 18.5 gallons too. The overall fuel economy of the 3 can be argued, but the LX has the biggest tank.
3) Seating. All the manufacturers – Sea-Doo, Kawasaki, and Yamaha, offer 3 seater models. The deck space available on each varies slightly, but they’re relatively the same. The Fish Pro (from Sea-Doo) is optimized for ease of movement around the entire watercraft, and for complete stability while fishing.
4) Hull. At 22 degrees, the LX has the deepest hull out of all 3 brands. Although this is somewhat a preference, a deeper hull is recommended. Having a deeper hull makes choppy water much more manageable.
5) Price. When it comes down to the MSRP of all 3 models, the Kawasaki LX wins again with a price tag of $11,199. Sea-Doo’s Fish Pro starts at $14,999, and Yamaha’s FX comes in at $13,199.
The Other Top Jet Skis for Fishing
Although Kawasaki has the best fishing jet ski (in our opinion!), there are other great options out there as well.
Yamaha WaveRunners are worthy of your consideration as well.
Here’s how the other market leaders stack up.
Sea Doo Fish Pro
Sea-Doo has the largest line up of PWC, as well as some of the most affordable options. Their low starting prices leave room in most people’s budgets for add-ons, allowing people to customize their jet ski to fit their needs.
If you’d rather choose a Sea-Doo as your fishing jet ski, here is our review on the Spark, and here is a review on the Wake Pro 230. Those are two of their best selling models, and both offer tons of affordable features. Their hull design and storage space may not match Kawasaki’s, but the number of upgrades available makes up for it.
Sea-Doo has recently released the Fish Pro, which is their new fishing specific PWC for 2020 and beyond. It’s got some awesome features to make fishing on a PWC that much more practical. It’s not exactly cheap, but you might feel some of the special features are worth paying for. It comes as standard with a Garmin Fishfinder, for example.
You can check it out in all it’s glory here.
For years people have made Yamaha WaveRunners into fishing jet skis. That’s because older Yamaha WaveRunners had a large amount of storage, and ample deck space, making them great candidates for a makeshift fishing vessel.
A great benefit of Yamaha WaveRunners is their dependability. The engines rarely break down, and when they do, they’re incredibly easy to work on. If you’re interested in exactly why Yamaha makes the most reliable PWC, check out this post.
Yamaha WaveRunners are dependable, but they’re also one of the more expensive manufacturers out there.
You can check out the Yamaha Waverunner FX in more detail here.
Transforming your watercraft
Once you choose which model to go with, it’s time to make some modifications. There are three main accessories you need:
1) Rod Holder. An excellent rod holder can be found here. This is probably the best jet ski fishing rig out there. It has 6 rod holders and can also fit a cooler. Some people would rather make their own out of PVC pipe, but it won’t be as durable. Mind you; the Yamaha model comes already equipped with a rod holder.
2) Cooler. A cooler for storing catches, food, and whatever else you might need is essential. Yeti makes some of the best coolers out. The 45 quart Yeti will fit perfectly in the rod holder mentioned above.
There are other additional accessories you may like, such as a canopy, but it’s best to order that from the manufacturer.
However, regardless of whether you decide upon Kawasaki, Sea-Doo, or Yamaha boat, you should consider what are your priorities – you might not necessarily need the best specs available on the market.
For a more detailed list of jet ski fishing accessories, check out this post.
So, which fishing PWC should I choose?
In reality, the best PWC for fishing is going to vary from one person to the next. It’s kind of like asking what the best fishing rod is. That all depends on the person using it, and what they’re using it for. While no one can say for sure exactly what make or model is the best, the list can definitely be narrowed.
Almost any PWC can be used for fishing, and it certainly applies to the Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Sea-Doo models we have just reviewed. Find a jet ski with a good hull, large storage capacity, and good fuel economy first, then do any necessary modifications. The accessories on the list mentioned above are the main ingredients in creating the ultimate fishing jet ski.
If you’ve got the budget, then you can save yourself a lot of time and effort by splashing the cash on the SeaDoo Fish Pro. If reliability is your top priority, we recommend choosing a Yamaha WaveRunner. Otherwise, go for the much cheaper Kawasaki model and make it more of a project.
Do you go jet ski fishing? What PWC do you use? Is it perhaps one of those that we have described – a Sea-Doo, Kawasaki, or Yamaha? Tell us about it in the comment section below!