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The Best Fishing Jet Ski (+ Accessories)

Unsure which jet ski is the best for fishing? We make your life a bit easier with our guide to the top models on the market right now!

fishing jet ski

One of the most 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 wanting to change their vessel don’t know what to look for.

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

best fishing jet ski

For starters, it’s important to know what to look for in a PWC you intend on fishing with. 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: Large storage capacity is essential for jet ski fishing. The more room available, the better. 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.

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 a 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.

What’s the Best Fishing Jet Ski?

jet ski fishing

Currently, there are 3 major PWC manufacturers, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Sea Doo. Each 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. 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 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.

A new offering from Sea Doo is definitely worth your attention.

Here’s how the other market leaders stack up.

Sea Doo Fish Pro

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 amount off upgrades available make 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.

Yamaha FX

yamaha jet ski fishing For years people have made Yamahas into fishing jet skis. Older models had a large amount of storage, and ample deck space, making them great candidates for a makeshift fishing vessel.

A great benefit of Yamaha’s is its dependability. Their 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’s are dependable but they’re also one of the more expensive manufacturers out there.

You can check out the FX in more detail here.

Transforming your watercraft

Jet Ski Fishing Accessories

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.

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.

3) GPS. It’s important to have a good GPS on your jet ski. The Garmin 64ST is one of the best GPS for a jet ski out there. This post goes over the features of the Garmin 64ST.

There are other additional accessories you may like such as a canopy, but it’s best to order that from the manufacturer.

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. Find a jet ski with a good hull, large storage capacity, and good fuel economy first, then do any modifications you see necessary. The list of accessories 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. 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? Tell us about it in the comment section below!

13 Comments
  1. That rod holder is all I really needed. It’s not as expensive as I thought it would’ve been.

    Thanks for the post.

    -Tom

  2. Thanks for the article on Jet Ski Ski Fishing.

    Please take the time to properly credit copyrighted images. The pictures of the two rigged Yamaha FXHO’s and the three rigged Sea Doo’s are my Copyrighted pictures. No permission was asked and proper credit not given. Brian Lockwood, “Jet Ski Brian”.

    • Thanks for the comment Brian. Both images have been removed. We’re glad you found our site and brought it to our attention.

  3. No one talks about the MAX. weight capacity limits that the jet skies can carry, that should be one of the first things, I have been looking at both, the Yamaha FX CRUISER HO, and the SEA DOO GTX 300, the FX CRUISER HO is said to do 63 MPH,use reg. 87 octane fuel, BUT has a MAX. weight capacity of 530 LBS, and the SEA DOO GTX 300 is said to do 55 MPH,use 87 octane fuel BUT 91 octane is recommend.( I was told by a few people in runs bad on the 87 octane, so that means $ 15.00 more at each fill up ) and has a MAX. weight capacity of 600 LBS.the FX CRUISER HO holds 18.5 gals, (18.5 gals at 6.3 lbs. per gal =116 LBS in fuel ) and the SEA DOO GTX 300 holds 15.9 gals, (15.9 gals at 6.3 lbs per gal =100LBS in fuel ) As a fisherman and look at all we (fishermen0 take/need with us on a trip out, now lets add up ALL the weight involved, fuel,all safty equipment,small ancor,rope,rodholders/fishingrod arches,large cooler (100-150 qts) bait well (5-7 gals),4-6 fishing rods,gaft landing net,tackel (hoohs,lures,pliers,line,weights,and other things)fishfinde/gps,vhf radio antanna,spare battery for all electronics,ice for cooler(to ice food,drinks, fish catch)ice is 12-20 lbs,and Icatch 100-200 lbs of fish to bging home ,filet and stock up the freezer,allow200 lbs for ONE person. NOW start to add it ALL up and WITH JUST one person the FX CRUISE HO is MAX OUT and 30 lbs over its MAX weight limit, and the SEA DOO GTX 300 does have about 50-70 lbs still to max. BUT the FX is much more reliable, is faster,carrys more fuel,and said to do better MPG.The SEA DOO is slower, coast $ 15.00 more at each fuel up, holds less fuel,not as good MPG, not as reliable. Fishing off shore, 15-25 MILES all these things do matter. I think all of them should be made with 25 gal fuel tanks we don’t allways need to fill them full but we could decide if we need that much in tank,they should BY LAW be made fully foamed filled making them 100 % unsinkable and carry a much heavier load. I seen on YOU TUBE a lot of jet skies sink FAST. some times you would like to take someone with you ,you can’t with all the above gear. they need to make a real fishing jet ski that is for all the fishermen out there and easily carry all the above list and 2 ADULTS ,and do 65 MPH,and acan run out 30 + milse (80-90 total mile round trip from ramp ) . To every one reading this please put some comments in ,people should look at MAX weight load limit, I seen on YOU TUBE some people buy the smaller much $ cheaper jet ski ,and not fishing, they are just out trying to ride with 2 LARGE ADULTS and it keep flipping over on them, he was 250 lbs she was 250 lbs then fuel . I looked up the jetski they were on and with just them they were over the LBS limit with out fuel ,A lot of ADULTS buy the jet skis and a lot of ADULTS are 200 + LBS each. the guy was by himself when he bought the jet ski and wated to take his wife on it (bought it for the both of them) the sales man had to know he was going to be over the max load, this is another reson they need to make them with heaver max load limits . please leave some feed back comments a bout max. weight capacity limits .

  4. I’m looking at a 2011 Kawasaki ultra lx jet ski to setup for fishing any suggestions and what to look for first purchasing a ski.

    • Truth be told, almost and pwc can work as a fishing jet ski. However, Kawasaki models specifically tend to do really well. They generally have an abundance of storage, and their deep V hulls handle exceptionally, even in choppy water. That being said, try not to get too caught up in any specific make or model.

      The best advice for new buyers is to simply make a list of some things they would like their pwc to have, and then find the model(s) that match the description. If possible, try doing some test rides. Ask some friends about the pros AND cons of their watercraft, and use that to help your buying decision.

      At the end of the day, a jet ski is a jet ski, and it’s hard to not have fun while riding it. When it comes to fishing specifically, just keep in mind that the more deck space and storage, the better. All the other bells and whistles are nice, but those are the biggest factors for fishing from a jet ski.

      Good luck on your first buy! Be sure to let us know how it goes!

  5. Does anyone fish with a supercharged jetski or strictly N/A?

    • If there’s a jet ski that runs, chances are there’s someone out there who will fish with it. The benefits of fishing from a jet ski are pretty universal regardless of year, make or model. That being said, some models are simply more tailored to the needs of fisherman than others. Things like fuel efficiency, storage capacity, and deck space are just some of the more important criteria. So although a supercharged engine might not be ideal, if it floats, it can still be a great option.

  6. Call me im really interested in the lx jetski its priced @$11,000 way over my budget of $7,000but we can talk.

  7. Hi guys and girls. I do deep sea fishing from a SeaDoo . I can tell you now that if you have a bit of swell and fall into the drink , how are you going to get back on . The weight of the esky , plus laden with rods etc stopping you from getting back on the rear end . If you go to the wrong side with the swell you can roll the jet ski . Nobody thinks of these problems until confronted with it . I had to get on the sea would side . I have since put on a lighter , smaller esky with nothing across the back. The esky also has a large grip handle so you can now climb over the esky from the rear . Be careful when selecting what you put on the rear ? Cheers

  8. I fish my 2012 Yamaha vx cruiser out of Destin Florida. I have one of the 5 pole racks. Understand this when you put that rack on with a cooler you change the dynamics of how that ski handles and not for the better With that said. I pick my days and have gone around 7 miles off shore with no issues. As long as you have good GPS numbers. You can get by without a bottom machine. You will know if the fish are there when you drop on em.

  9. I fish from a svho 2018 waverunner I keep my cooler low with just leveler feet on the roto molded cooler , everything is attached to this cooler including rid holders, cut bait station,ect. Keeping the center of gravity low..I fish lake Superior and need to get off the lake fast as 30 to 60 miles out, supercharged is the key…and fast and low…fish on.T

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