Vibe Skipjack 90 Review: The Best Fishing Kayak Under $600
Vibe Skipjack 90 Review
Founded in 2013, Vibe has burst onto the scene as a formidable player in the competitive fishing kayak market, and with well-reviewed kayaks like the Vibe Skipjack 90, it’s not difficult to see why.
Vibe excels in making solid and accessible fishing kayaks for any budget, which is why the Skipjack 90 is such a marvel. Lightweight and extremely portable, the Skipjack doesn’t lose the features kayak anglers rely on — stability, storage, maneuverability and gear compatibility — while keeping at a very reasonable price point.
In fact, the Vibe Skipjack 90 could easily be the best fishing kayak under $500 — with some resellers listing it higher and others lower. For our purposes, we’re confident in calling it the best fishing kayak under $600, but you get the point: this is a very good, cheap fishing kayak.
Video: Live Review of the Vibe Skipjack 90 during bass fishing tournament
The most portable fishing kayak you’ll find
The 9-foot-long sit-on-top Skipjack 90 weighs just 46 pounds, which is almost unheard of for a fishing kayak. At such a light weight, it’s easily handled by even a single paddler, with easy-to-grab hanging grips on all four sides of the boat.
This is a useful feature for fishing tournaments in tree-lined riverways or creeks with obstacles, rocks or waterfalls that require quick portage. Can’t get through a dam? Simply pick up your Skipjack — gear and all — and carry it. Don’t get me wrong: portaging any kayak by yourself isn’t easy, but with the Skipjack, it’s not necessarily a feat of strength.
Another advantage to the Skipjack’s manageable size is its ability to fit in the back of most trucks and large SUVs. This means no fumbling with awkward J-hooks or rooftop kayak racks. It’s also perfect for those who don’t have a garage or basement in which to store it — the Skipjack can even fit on your apartment balcony!
Though really big guys might feel a little cramped, the Skipjack can hold up to 300 lbs, and its wide-open deck offers enough space and multiple foot wells for taller paddlers to feel comfortable. If the Skipjack is a little too small, though, we recommend checking out the slightly larger Yellowfin 100.
Vibe Skipjack 90 Specs and Features
|VIBE SKIPJACK 90 SPECS|
Sit on Top/Fishing
9 feet (274 cm)
32 inches (81 cm)
300 lbs (136 kg)
46 lbs (20.8 kg)
Single-piece rotomolded high-density polyethylene
Deluxe seat, Vibe Journey paddle
- Adjustable deluxe kayak seat
- 4 easy grip carrying handles
- Built-in cup holder
- 4 capped flush mount fishing rod holders
- 2 side bungee paddle parks
- Mounting point for fishing accessories (compatible with Scotty, RAM, Vibe or Railblaza accessories)
- 2 sealed hatches with bag inserts
- Rear tankwell with adjustable bungee
- Rotomolded single piece polyethylene
- 6 scupper holes (plugs included)
Superior performance and stability
On the water, the Skipjack 90 handles like a dream, with maneuverability and stability other fishing kayaks would be hard-pressed to match.
Besides its 32-inch wide beam (which is quite wide for a 9-foot kayak), the Skipjack’s pronounced hull edges make for a rock-solid ride that won’t tip or sway while you’re reeling in that giant catfish — even while standing. And its durable rotomolded single-piece polyethylene construction isn’t about to sustain damage from the next rocky riverbed you encounter, either.
Though it won’t be as fast a 12- or 13-footer, the Vibe Skipjack 90 is remarkably nimble and quick for a shorter boat. Its razor-thin performance keel is perfect for anglers who don’t want to waste time chasing that school of fish or getting to that perfect fishing hole before dawn. It’s even suitable for lighter waves and surf conditions or lower-class moving rivers, thanks to its flexible design and multi-use capacity.
When you’re not fishing, the Skipjack is a great family-use sit-on-top kayak, too, with plenty of onboard storage and great tracking for a relaxing evening paddle with the kids.
Video: Vibe Skipjack 90 review of features and storage
A budget fishing kayak with plenty of amenities
If you’re thinking the Skipjack skipped out — pardon the pun — on its fishing features to make way for a better budget, you’d be wrong. The Skipjack features four flush-mounted rod holders — two in front of the cockpit, two behind it — and an optional fifth mounting location in front of the seat so you’ll never miss an opportunity. Anglers are also able to easily add a GPS, fish finder or GoPro.
Gear storage, then, right? That’s where they compromised? Nope. The Skipjack has two lockable, sealed dry-storage hatches (with insertable dry bags) in the middle of the boat and in the bow, plus a bungee-covered stern tankwell for all the dry bags, drink coolers, tackle boxes and extra clothes you need. Bringing a brewski? There’s a built-in cupholder, too.
For fishing those rushing rivers, the Vibe Skipjack 90 is also equipped with six plug-optional scupper holes to quickly drain excess water, so you’ll never worry about the boat filling while you’re reeling in the catch.
Paddle and high-back seat included
Adding to the budget-friendly nature of the Skipjack 90 is the fact that it comes with a two-piece paddle (which fits nicely in the kayak’s “paddle park” while not in use, by the way) and deluxe high-back seat.
Though the seat back is adjustable and padded and features a rear storage pouch, which is nice, we’d still recommend a seat upgrade if it’s in your budget, because it can get a little cramped after a long afternoon of fishing. Still, even if it’s not, the included seat is serviceable and well-built for a budget kayak.
If you’re color-conscious, the Vibe Skipjack 90 comes in three different options: blue camo, hunter green camo and green/blue sea breeze.
Tl;dr (Too long, didn’t read)
In our opinion, the Vibe Skipjack 90 is the best fishing kayak for the money on the market. It’s cheap, but that doesn’t make it cheaply made. A lightweight, maneuverable and stable fishing platform with several well thought-out amenities designed specifically for kayak anglers, the Vibe Skipjack 90 is perfect for rivers, lakes, tight corners and wide open spaces. Toss in the fact that it’s extremely portable and able to be stored almost anywhere, and you’ve got yourself the best fishing kayak under $600 that we can find.