This Product Has Been Discontinued

Similar Kayaks for You:

Kingfish Description

The Kingfish is a kayak brought to you by Mainstream Kayaks. Read Kingfish reviews or submit your own review to share with the paddling community. Check out a few other kayak recommendations below or explore all kayaks to find the perfect one for you!

Mainstream Kayaks
Kingfish Reviews

Read reviews for the Kingfish by Mainstream Kayaks as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!

Embed these reviews on your site


I bought this kayak about 20…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/24/2019

I bought this kayak about 20 years ago for $300 . 12 ft. light weight. easy to load I my pu truck and I live on the water and It's easy to load up and drag across the lawn to the water with 1 hand. It has a flat bottom for good stability and won't tip on it's sides like a v bottom when dragging and spilling your gear . I have gotten my money's worth out of it over and over again. am 70 years young and hope to get many more care free years out of it. I did buy a tall back seat for better back comfort .


I have had this kayak about…

Submitted by: sscooper1 on 5/26/2016
I have had this kayak about 15 years. Great yak for the price was short on tie down points for rear area, but was easy to add some. Stability is great. You can sit sideways with feet in water and not tip. Trade off is it is relatively slow because of the width. You can use scupper plugs and stay dry as long as you don't bring in paddle water. As a side, I use the cheap foam golf balls you can buy at walmart etc for scupper plugs. They work great.

I have owned this kayak for…

Submitted by: GBR on 9/8/2015
I have owned this kayak for about 4 years and love it. Tracking is not the best, but I wouldn't expect it to be great on a boat of this length. It's primary stability makes it great for small lakes or areas without a ton of wind. I have taken it out on very windy days and you have to fight pretty hard to keep going to direction you want.

Used for over 5 years and…

Submitted by: paddler235641 on 7/2/2014
Used for over 5 years and still going. Lakes, rivers, some mild white water and rocks and the Texas Gulf so it has lots of scratches on the bottom hull but no leaks. I weigh about 250 and the scupper holes are at the water line so I use plugs. I tested other boats before buying this one. I found it superior in stability to the Pelican SOT and to the Old Town sit in style. It is wide, a bit of a tri-hull, and thus stable. Never flipped except when trying to surf with it in the Gulf - and that was almost intentional due to the foolish fun attempted.

Easy to walk into the boat from the front with just the nose on shore. My weight flexes the hull material slightly but only for the moment. I bought two more of these for my kids to grow into due to the stability. We have recently build V sails for all three and they sail well due to the wide stable hull. Turns well because there is not a strong keel but tracking suffers a little but acceptable. I made temporary rudder to experiment with and decided it was not enough difference to justify it.

Boat was $450 5 years ago, 300 clearanced later at Gander Mountain. If you find one used for the right price, it will make a good stable fishing boat or sail boat too. Much like the Wilderness Systems Ride model...wide and stable.


I got my Kingfisher in '04…

Submitted by: paddler234526 on 5/14/2012
I got my Kingfisher in '04 and have no complaints. It is my first kayak so I have nothing to compare it to. Never any leaks. Seat is comfortable it just has to be adjusted properly. I have spent 4 hours in it without standing and have been comfortable. It's fast enough for fishing. I am 6'2" and 215lbs. and I would say I can push it at a pretty good clip.

I usually fish out of it with a bucket behind the seat with anything I want to carry in it. Considerable storage room in the front compartment. The 2 rod holders behind the seat work great. It's light enough to carry although I wouldn't want to carry it far without a wheel attachment. Paddle stores well on the side (never had probs with paddle bungees'). The inner deck bends when I stand but I have no feeling that it will break under my feet. I have never tried to stand in it on the water but I have leaned over the side with a chainsaw to cut the tops off of 15 stumps or so and I had no indication that it was going to tip. It is very stable. I would guess I have caught more than a thousand bass out of it since I got it. A rudder would be a nice addition.


I work at Gander Mountain,…

Submitted by: paddler234058 on 6/14/2011
I work at Gander Mountain, and I got a Kingfisher for free because it had a tiny hole in it. The hole was from when confluence drilled the scuppers. I bought some stuff to fix the holes and fixed them. I have been out on reservoirs and lakes and I just can't keep it going in a straight line, it just turns one way or another naturally. It is slow and doesn't track good at all. My buddy has a 10 foot kayak and it is faster and it tracks better than my 12 foot kingfisher. But I can't complain it was free and it is a good starter fishing kayak. but with all of that said I would not recommend it for an experienced kayaker, unless you are going to use it for fishing exclusively. However I would recommend it to an entry level kayaker who is wanting to go fishing.

I got this kayak about 2-3…

Submitted by: paddler233724 on 7/28/2010
I got this kayak about 2-3 years ago and have put a lot of hours in it so far. Its definitely got some good pros, and some bad cons, I'll run em down.

Pros, very stable. It is kind of tippy with primary stability i.e. you will have a hard time standing, or even kneeling in this if you want to get off your butt for a few minutes. But you can take a wake, wave, or heavy chop broadside and it wont tip. You can lean way over while grabbing gear from the back storage area and it wont tip. Ive had it in 30mph winds in the river with heavy chop against the sea walls and it stayed upright. It can handle a full size milk crate behind the seat without any fuss. The dry hatch up front is easy to cover and uncover and is quite roomy. I keep my kayak cart with me when I launch, and just tuck it inside the kayak. It has built in rod holders behind the seat and 4 scupper holes for drainage. All of which is good. Also the price was low, under 400 if I remember correctly.

Now the cons. Its slow. Very slow. This means a long paddle i.e. 7+ miles are either out of the question or plan on being the last guy back at the launch ramp. It doesn't track well, if you get a tail wind prepare to do lots of one sided paddling to keep it straight. Its fine in flat calm water, but not so much if its windy. Again it wont tip you, but it wont go exactly where you want either. The seat sucks. Its just awful. It sits low in the kayak, so it gets wet, and stays wet. Its also very low backed, so unless you upgrade prepare for a back-ache. Its also rather noisy. The scuppers are noisy in calm water at speed, making a gurgling noise. And the hull slaps a lot, especially if you are anchored up with your back to the wind. The back end slaps heavily in the chop which makes stealth a fantasy when it comes to fishing. So prepare to anchor a little farther from that snook dock you want to fish.

All in all it's a great kayak FOR THE MONEY. As in, for $400 or less it floats, gets you from a to b, has plenty of room, rod holders, very stable fishing platform and can handle adding some accessories such as a scotty rod holder up front etc. But it simply does not compare to $1000 kayaks when it comes to performance or comfort.


Great kayak especially for…

Submitted by: paddler233418 on 10/14/2009
Great kayak especially for the money. I got it at a scratch & dent sale new, for $300. It had a leak. I put it on saw horses, filled it with water and discovered the leak was in the recessed rod holders; a smear of silicone fixed it. I've had it 4 years now.

I own a Kingfisher for about…

Submitted by: paddler232194 on 7/17/2007
I own a Kingfisher for about a year. All the comments above seem accurate. I would add the stock low back harmony seat is a disaster. I added an anchor cord, to allow me to drift from the front or rear. Also I added a small bungee loop to keep the paddle in place.

It's a neat stable platform, though the cockpit set up is the obvious compromise. It needs a place to put the fishing pole when in the mangroves, and a quick store and platform for lure box.

All those can be added. I am also looking for a canvas canopy. But overall the price for performance are excellent.


I recently got my Kingfish…

Submitted by: paddler232031 on 7/6/2007
I recently got my Kingfish from Academy at a kick butt low price. This is my 4th kayak and it is well worth it even if I had to pay full price. This boat is very stable and the seat area was dry. Access to the front hatch is easy without tipping. The tankwell holds a standard milk crate without modification. Mounting a fish finder was easy to do. I had to put a little longer small diameter bungee cord on the paddle holder as the factory strap was to tight. This is a lightweight boat and easy for me to load and unload. Yes the plastic is thinner than the high dollar boats but this is a good value. For fishing this is a good workable platform.

After using a friends for a…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/25/2007
After using a friends for a day, I thought it was a great kayak, so I purchased my from Dicks Sporting Goods that same day. Since then I have had problems with substantial leakage (location unknown). I returned one after having over 10 gallons in it after a day on the river. The second one had the same problems so I returned it for a refund.

I decided to buy a SOT to go…

Submitted by: paddler232054 on 5/30/2007
I decided to buy a SOT to go on a solo camping / fishing trip in the Quetico / Boundary Waters parks. I had no kayaking experience, so I read a lot of reviews and visited a lot of websites before deciding on the Kingfish. I got a great deal from Gander Mountain (under $400).
I'm 6' tall and 210 lbs. That's about as big as this boat can hold. I loaded it with about 70 lbs. of gear and took off on the trip. Even fully loaded (I think it's rated for about 350 lbs.), it rode the waves well. The boat is very stable and I had no problem fishing. It's not exactly made for portaging, but by the end of the week, I was getting pretty good at carrying it from lake to lake.

This is a good, stable boat. I never had any concerns when I had it on the water even in high winds and waves. It did everything I wanted it to do. For the price, this is a winner.


The kingfish is a great…

Submitted by: paddler231761 on 8/24/2006
The kingfish is a great kayak. I have fished out of a lot of other kayaks and if you are going to fish and have fun this is the kayak for you. The price is just a bonus. The yak is lighter due to a thinner hull thickness, which you will not notice unless you are using it as a lounge chair in your backyard. It is easy to install additional rod holders, fishfinders etc. The forward hatch has more than enough room to put extra gear for you trip.There are a couple of things that need to be changed. The paddle cords are to tight and need to be replaced. The drain and the forward hatch cover are attached with a cord, there is a steel washer attached to each end of the cord that should be replaced with a SS washer to prevent a cover loss. It tracks well under normal paddle with only light tracking problems when you are trying to outrun a liquid twister. It is a little slower due to the textured bottom wich creates more water resistance than the smooth bottomed kayaks. Strong paddlers can keep up with them with out a problem. Stability is not a issue. I have went through some of the best surf, Texas has to offer without coming out of the yak. This not just a starter kayak. It will work for all types of fishing. I have caught bull reds at the jetties to red snapper off of Padre Island.

This past week I bought the…

Submitted by: rert444 on 5/1/2006
This past week I bought the white and blue Kingfish at West Marine. My friend and kayaking partner JM, bought the sand colored one at Boater' World. I own a Twist and he owns a Jazz. We have gone out to Biscayne Bay every weekend for the past two years. Those boats are indestructible. We were looking for something bigger, more comfortable and suited for fishing. To my surprise I found that Mainstream makes the kayak that I was looking for and at a price that undercuts the competition by over $130 dollars. It is wide, tall. The keel is similar to a Boston Whaler. Has a big hatch in front. What can I stow in there? Well enough to spend a weekend camping in a solitary island or key. The seat looked pretty horrendous. I thought that was the first thing I was going to do. Change it. Wrong. I sat in that KingFish six hours today. The seat may not look great but it is extremely comfortable, well padded and has plenty of room. There are two rod holders which work very well and space for a milk crate, 5 gallon bucket, a bungee net for a cooler or whatever. The wind in Miami today was 15-20 knots with 30 knot gusts. Seas of 3-5'. We went to Card Sound Bay which is protected (we thought). It was a wild ride!!! What a Baptism for those boats! The KingFish handled the waves with ease and the ride was drier than what I would have expected. I have read complains about "poor tracking". No way. It goes were you aim it, period. Unfortunately, the paddlers, RT and JM are not as strong as those waves so after having gun for a few minutes we decided to seek shelter in more calm waters. Back in the truck. Did I mention that despite its size the KingFish is very light. I know, it is not as "sturdy", the plastic "bends" or "gives" when you push... Non sense. In the water is as tough and rigid as any other. And those 15 pounds that you save make a big difference when you are lifting it. Second stop at JewFish Creek was perfect. The wind was blowing, the current was strong, the waves were 2-3'. We had a blast. The KingFish is fast, stable, tracks very well and comfortable. It is everything I wanted and more. JM caught five mangrove snapper. Me, I had tuna fish salad for dinner. But that's OK. I will catch some fish next weekend and probably another 520 weekends after that. It is so good I am going to wait for our next hurricane sitting on my Kingfish. Enjoy!

I purchased a Kingfish a few…

Submitted by: paddler231494 on 3/24/2006
I purchased a Kingfish a few months ago & have had it out more than a dozen times so far. I like it myself, that is for the money spent I feel that I have already got my money's worth.

I have been on plenty of trips in other Yak's, some high ender's and some low. It's not to be compared against a Yak that cost 1000.00 +, but rather other Yak's in the 450.00 or less catagory. For what you get (options/rigging) for the cost its a winner in my book.

I find it easy to tote/lift, lots of room for gear and lots of space to move around in. I especially find it easy to get in and out of. Being that I fish more than tour, and need to get out and stretch or wade often. I find this a big bonus seeing as I have seen some other Yak'ers fall or slip while getting in or out sometimes.

As for performance, its not the fastest in the world, but who cares when your fishing!! (Thats whats its designed for) For stability A++, Tracking is ok. The water does not collect like in other S.O.T. 's that I have seen. The drains are nicely placed. The seat is ok, could be better, but for the money its just fine, I personally put HD velcro under the seat to prevent slipping forward, as well as a Skwoosh pad for confort. I can Yak all day and with little to no fatigue.

So to sum it all up, for someone that is looking to fish from a Yak, and be on the water for less than 500$ this is a worry free purchase. Yes there are better Yak's out there for more money. In my opion though, the FISH CAN"T TELL!!!


I have owned the Kingfish for…

Submitted by: CoosaRiverCat on 10/10/2005
I have owned the Kingfish for over a year now and will keep it until it sinks. I use it for large creek fishing and it is great. For the larger rivers I use my Prowler. The king fish is very easy to fish out of and I am letting my grandson learn river fishing in it. I also use it as a loaner for friends to use. For the money and as a beginners kayak it is good.

This kayak is a decent start…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/5/2005
This kayak is a decent start boat. I used mine all summer long last year. It is stable for fishing. I fished in the ocean many times without trouble. It is made a little thinner than regular boats but its not really a problem. The only problem I had was I caught a big wave going off the beach and lost my hatch because the tie at the pug broke. but other than that is a solid boat.

Just bought the Mainstream…

Submitted by: paddler231045 on 4/25/2005
Just bought the Mainstream Kingfisher and have had it out on a few trips. The boat is extremely stable and I feel quite safe in it. I'm 6'1" x #240 and am probably as large a person as this craft can handle. I fill up the seating area and my knees are slightly bent using the last foot holds. It is fast enough as I fish more than I paddle. Plenty of storage, although I'd like to install a deck plate diddy bag to hold my valuables.

The rod holders are useless for trolling, so add-on holders are a must. You'll also need an anchor and/or drift sock to control the boat while fishing. I enjoy the lighter weight (as compared to the t120 or drifter) when loading and transporting the yak. Overall, I'm pleased with the boat and would recommend it to those looking to get into yak fishing and not break the bank.

PS-a decent paddle goes a longgggg way on how a yak goes, so spend the extra money you saved from not buying the WC/OK boat and get a good $100 paddle. Keep it if you upgrade.


I purchased the Kingfish this…

Submitted by: paddler230820 on 9/29/2004
I purchased the Kingfish this summer as my first kayak. I test paddled a OK Drifter, WS Tarpon 120 and 140 first, then settled on the Kingfish, with the over riding consideration being price. I was not sure if I would enjoy kayak fishing, and I knew that I could sell the boat for 75% of what I paid next summer. The Kingfish is very stable, I routinely stand up to flyfish out of it in the backwaters, not in the ocean. It is not very fast, when paddling with other kayakers, I am usually the one playing catch up (when we switched boats - they had to play catch up). Speed is entirely a function of hull design - a trade off for the extreme stability you receive. Molded in well for 5 gallon bucket and milk crate is awesome and a great feature - no modifications needed. Would have liked recessed grab handles vice the larger ones. Immediately upon purchasing, I replaced the bungie cords used for paddle holders to prevent overstressing the rivets. The plastic hull is definitely thinner on top than more "name brand" kayaks - this also contributes to the lack of speed through the water as the kayak is flexing with the waves - not enough to notice but enough to affect speed. I'm 5'9" and on the next to last foot peg - not a kayak for anyone over 6 feet. Nice wide seat area. Replaced the provided seat with a better one after one trip. Do I catch fish out of it - yes! Is it fun - yes! Will I get another kayak next year - yes! Not because there is anything wrong with the boat - just because that is what we do!

What attracted me most was…

Submitted by: paddler230543 on 4/30/2004
What attracted me most was the features you get for the price. I got everything (not cheapie options either); kayak, seat, paddle, for the boat's retail price - the boat comes built in with large front hatch, rod holder, bungies, paddle/rod holder, tacklebox tray, bucket/crate well, 24 inch ruler.

I took it around a lake to fish and paddle around, and it's pretty stable and tracked ok. If you paddle too hard, it might off your tracking. Also, you will turn a bit if you lean - but you can do that with other kayaks.

The cockpit feels roomy and unrestrictive. The boat has rounded side swollen looking gunwales (for stability) and a v shaped underneath, with grooves (for tracking). I also found the rounded sides more comfortable than straight angled sides.

The hatch up front is large and can easily fit my rods - you can slide a 1 piece rod all the way into the back nearly the whole length of the boat - you may have to bend the rod a little to get it to go in, will also fit a small cooler for drinks and lunch, and there's still room for more. I like that this hatch has a raised plastic lip (part of the whole kayak) to keep water out - no need for gaskets.

There are 2 rod holders which are really modified scupper holes that taper down and become smaller toward the bottom. It has a built in tray/tackle box holder in the middle. My Plano 3500 barely fits in it. There's also a drink holder, but I used it to hold a plastic container of bait. There is a bungie in the very rear, I use it to hold the paddle - stick the blades into it. In addition, there's also a 24 inch ruler molded into the side to measure your fish, as well as a flat area just by the front hatch for compass, fishfinder, and or rod holder.

Seat was dry til we put a cushion in the bucket well and put another person there facing the other way, so total weight with 2 people was 260 lbs. Then a bit of water would come up through the seat scuppers once in a while.

Things I didn't like: I had to replace the side and middle (rod/paddle/tackle holder) bungies because the ones the boat came with were too tight and unuseable. Because it was so tight, the hook to hold it on the side got a little loose from wiggling the tight bungie on and off.

The plastic is perhaps just a tad softer and maybe thinner than more expensive brands - I didn't really notice this til I saw other brands up close and saw how hard and really stiff their plastics were. It is not flimsy though, but if you put the Kingfish kayak on hard ground and sit on the area behind the seat and on the bungie way in the back - you can feel the plastic go down a little bit. But it normally doesn't bother me, and you can't notice it once in the water. This may also contribute to the kayak's lightness in weight.

Because of all the built in options, this is a decent kayak for the money. Because of its stability, it's a good kayak for beginners. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to kayak around and maybe even fish.

But you should test drive one, like I did, before buying to make sure it's for you.