Best Native Watercraft Kayaks For 2023

Paddling Buyer’s Guide

The first hybrid canoe and kayak, the first frame seat, the first pedal kayak, the first motorized kayak…the lists of firsts from this rootsy kayak company from western North Carolina goes on and on.

Native Watercraft has been inventing some of the most loved fishing kayaks in the sport for more than two decades. In that time, many of their innovations have become standard equipment on kayaks across the sport. The designers and pro staff at Native seem to be always improving their boats for durability and performance.

Today, Native has harnessed their years of experience to design a line of advanced fishing kayaks perfect for expert anglers and novices.

Top picks: Best Native Watercraft kayaks for 2023

The following Native Watercraft kayaks have received the highest star ratings by reviewers in our Paddling Buyer’s Guide. See and review all Native Watercraft kayaks here.

Best Native Watercraft Fishing Kayaks

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Native Watercraft

Ultimate FX 12

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Native Watercraft

Titan Propel 10.5

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Native Watercraft

Slayer Propel 10 Max

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Native Watercraft

Titan Propel 12

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Native Watercraft

Slayer Propel 12.5 MAX

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Native Watercraft

Slayer Propel 10

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Native Watercraft

Titan Propel 13.5

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Native Watercraft

Ultimate FX 15 Tandem

Shop for Native Watercraft fishing kayaks

Follow the links below to the Paddling Buyer’s Guide where you’ll find every Native Watercraft sit-on-top fishing kayak available along with specs, prices, reviews and where to buy.


Shopping for a used Native Watercraft fishing kayak?

Native Watercraft has been making kayaks for two decades. In that time, they’ve added models, dropped models and changed designs. All Native Watercraft boats are high-quality sit-on-top fishing kayaks with premium accessories and unique features. Whether the used Native Watercraft in question is a few years old or from another decade, you are starting with a great kayak.

Since Native Watercraft uses high-quality components and construction, they make a great used buy. Native invented the frame seat and still makes one of the best on the water, but before buying a used Native Watercraft kayak, make sure the hand-sewn seat is free from fading or damage and check the seat hinges and straps for wear and tear.

The most important feature to check on a used Native Watercraft is the pedal drive. The Native Propel pedal drive has gone through many changes since its introduction. These updates have improved the operation and durability of the pedal system. While an older version of the Propel is a solid pedal system, a newer pedal drive will be tougher and easier to use.

All pedal drives suffer from wear-and-tear and can get damaged. Hours on the water, banging around in the back of a truck, dirt, slime and exposure to the elements take their toll on complicated mechanical parts.

When testing a used Propel Drive, check for smooth, easy movement of the pedals and propeller. Make sure the propeller locking pin is intact. All moving parts should be tight without excess wiggling and shaking.

The good news is all models of the Propel drive system fit the same bracket on the kayak. If the old pedal system fails, you can purchase a new system. And, it is possible to repair and replace parts on the Propel system. All pedal systems require periodic maintenance, from rinsing and scrubbing to replacing pins and greasing joints. Before purchasing a Propel pedal unit, try to assess how thorough previous maintenance has been.

There are thousands of Native Watercraft kayaks on the water, if the first used kayak you look at isn’t perfect, wait and another Native will become available.

For more tips on what to look for when selecting a used fishing kayak, read our article How To Buy A Used Fishing Kayak.

Native Watercraft kayak buying guide

Native Watercraft has been a leader in design and construction since the early days of modern kayak fishing. From the Ultimate hybrid kayak to the frame seat and Propel pedal system, Native has never been afraid to tackle a challenge.

The result of decades of experience is evident in the 11 models across five lines that make up the Native stable. While Native offers a diverse range of kayaks, most of their boats are focused on stability and comfort. Two lines, comprising six models, are available with the Propel pedal system.

Slayer

The flagship of the Native line is the newly redesigned Slayer. The Slayer Max is a full-feature pedal kayak available in 10- and 12.5-foot versions with a huge open cockpit, large bow hatch, horizontal rod holders and a wide, flat transom to accommodate a power anchor system or electric motor.

The Slayer 10 is a value-priced pedal kayak with some of Native’s best features like the hand-sewn frame seat and large bow hatch.

Titan

Native’s mothership is the Titan. This large-and-in-charge line is very stable with an impressive capacity. The Titan has become one of the most popular kayaks on the tournament trail with plenty of room to install electronics and carry a ton of tackle and gear. The full-size Titan 13.5 has space in the transom to hold two power anchors and an electric motor.

The Titan 12 and 10 are smaller, lighter versions that don’t require a trailer to transport. Despite the big-boat’s weight and width, the Propel pedal drive pushes the Titan with a large rudder to control direction.

Ultimate FX

After all these years, Native still offers their trademark Ultimate FX canoe and kayak hybrid. The Ultimate FX is still one of the most versatile and convenient boats on the water. The boat features an open cockpit from bow to stern like a canoe and a low, central seating position to paddle like a kayak.

The design makes the Ultimate’s hull stable and quick with a lower weight than a similar-sized paddle kayak. The Ultimate Tandem has two comfortable seats and plenty of room for two anglers to fish.

Falcon 11 & Stingray

Native rounds out the selection with two new models. The Falcon 11 is an affordable paddle kayak with big-money features like a large bow hatch, center console to house a fish finder, battery and transducer, and their famous frame seat.

For an even bigger value, check out the Native Stingray, a recreational kayak with a couple of rod holders, frame seat and large bow hatch. We like the Stingray Tandem with the option for face-to-face seating, great for bringing kids and pets onboard.

To purchase a Native Watercraft kayak, check out your local paddleshop, Native Watercraft dealer, the Kayak Angler Buyer’s Guide or search “Native Watercraft” on Craigslist or Kijiji or another online classified platform.

  • Are Native kayaks good?

    Years of experience has prepared Native Watercraft to make some of the most innovative and high-quality kayaks available. The hand-sewn seat and Propel pedal drive are the result of testing and redesign by professional anglers. The Native Titan and Slayer Max are popular with novice anglers and pros.

  • Native Watercraft dealers

    Native Watercraft are available online and from the best paddle shops. Search for dealers at Native Watercraft’s Find A Dealer page.

  • Native Watercraft warranty

    Register your Native Watercraft at Nativewatercraft.com. Find out more about Native’s warranty at a Native dealer.

  • Native Watercraft forum

    Visit Nativewatercraft.com to keep up with company news and pro staff reports. You can even check out rigged kayaks for ideas to customize your Native.

  • Native Watercraft prices

    Native offers premium kayaks loaded with features. The Titan, Slayer MX and Ultimate are fully-rigged and ready kayaks with a price to match. For a cheaper option, check out the Falcon 11 and Stingrays, which offer a basic fishing platform for a great price.

  • Where are Native Watercraft kayaks made?

    Native Watercraft are made in Fletcher, North Carolina.

  • Is Native Watercraft still in business?

    Native Watercraft is still in business and growing. Parent company BIG Adventures recently added Bonafide Kayaks to the family.

  • Where is Native Watercraft located?

    Native Watercraft is located in Fletcher, North Carolina.

  • Are Native kayaks made in the U.S.?

    Native Watercraft and most components are made in the U.S.

  • Who owns Native Watercraft?

    Native Watercraft is owned by BIG Adventures, which also owns LiquidLogic, Hurricane Kayaks and Bonafide Kayaks.

  • Where to buy Native Watercraft kayaks

    You can buy Native Watercraft kayaks online and through paddle shops and outdoors stores. Native kayaks are also available online and there are many used Native kayaks available. To start looking for a Native Watercraft, check out the Kayak Angler Buyer’s Guide.

Compare Native Watercraft kayaks

  • Native Watercraft vs Hobie

    Native Watercraft and Hobie have been fighting over the same anglers for almost 20 years. Both companies offer premium sit-on-top fishing kayaks focused on serious fishing. Hobie has a more diverse line up of kayaks, but most of their boats fit into the same categories as the Native models. The biggest difference is Hobie’s MirageDrive pedal drive uses fins but the Native Propel uses a propeller similar to a boat motor.

    Hobie’s MirageDrive requires a back and forth movement while Propel uses a circular motion like bicycle pedals. The MirageDrive instantly goes into shallow-water mode while the Propel must be lifted through the boat’s deck. Both propulsion systems have been tested and improved over their history to become the most reliable and efficient pedal systems available.

    Hobie and Native produce great kayaks with smart features. The difference comes down to the pedal system you prefer.

  • NuCanoe vs Native Watercraft

    NuCanoe and Native Watercraft have been in the business since the early days of modern kayak fishing. NuCanoe’s hybrid canoe and kayak hit the water around the same time as Native’s hybrid Ultimate. Both boats are available today, a sign of their popularity as innovative, easy-to-use, easy-to-own sit-on-top kayaks. The most obvious comparison is between the Native Ultimate and NuCanoe Frontier 12. Both are sporty, open-cockpit boats with plenty of capacity and room for camping equipment and fishing gear.

    The Ultimate and Frontier are 12-feet long with a frame seat and flat deck. The Ultimate is lighter and narrower, for a quicker, easier-to-paddle boat while the Frontier is wider for standup fishing. Another comparison is between the Native Titan Propel 13.5 and the NuCanoe Unlimited. These are big-boy boats measuring over 12 feet long and 41 inches wide. To move the Titan, Native uses their proven Propel pedal system or you can install an electric motor to the wide, flat stern.

    NuCanoe’s Unlimited is also designed to accept pedal or motor power. Choose between the Pivot pedal drive or a gas or electric motor. Both boats are well built and full of features. The decision comes down to how you want to rig the power system.

Native Watercraft kayak reviews

There’s no better way to choose a kayak than kicking the tires and taking a test drive. The staff at Kayak Angler, our sister publication, has paddled, pedaled and motored Native Watercraft’s best kayaks. We’ve rigged the boats for fishing, loaded them with gear and hit the water.

Our testing includes miles of paddling and hours of fishing in a variety of conditions and locations. This allows us to evaluate how the boat handles and how it performs for the intended angler and conditions. If you can’t visit the paddle shop or get to demo day, take a test drive with our review of the best Native kayaks.

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