Do you want to go fishing but can’t buy an expensive boat? Instead of settling on the shore, you can still sail through waters using the best fishing kayak. This affordable alternative will expand your angling experience on a budget.
It could be overwhelming to look for fishing kayaks, especially if you have a meager budget. The good thing is that there are a lot of affordable options that you can consider. It may not be as grand as expensive kayaks, but it will give you an excellent experience without dipping into your savings.
Last update on 2021-02-28 at 21:16 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Take note that not all kayaks can be used for fishing. Inflatable ones will pose a challenge since it can easily get punctured by your hook. Meanwhile, some solid kayaks may not have enough space for tackle and other angling equipment. This will make it very difficult to cast a line and retrieve your catch.
It can be challenging to find a fishing kayak within a limited price range. To help you out, I reviewed five of the best picks that you can consider. I swear by the quality and performance of these kayaks out of the 35+ options I’ve tried.
1. Perception Zip Sit-on-Top Kayak
If you’re looking for the best kayak for bay fishing, you should definitely try the Perception Zip Sit-on-Top Kayak. This is a 9.5-feet vessel made for all-around use. It has ample storage and tie-downs so you can fish comfortably.
This has a molded seat and footrests so you can adjust your leg position for optimal comfort. It also suits different paddler sizes. And for easy installation of a kayak seat, there are tie-downs.
Aside from that, this has a large rear open storage where you can secure your tackle. It comes with bungee cord lashes so you can secure all your things. This fishing kayak also has molded handles that are placed well so you will find it easy to carry the kayak around.
Moreover, this kayak has a spacious cockpit complete with a center cup holder so you can sip a cuppa while you wait for a catch. There are self-draining scupper holes, too, so you will remain dry and afloat even if a catch splashes water into the kayak.
Overall, this fishing kayak is 32” wide, 9’6” long, and 45 lbs. heavy. It can support a maximum user weight of 250 lbs., which is more than enough for casual anglers.
- Molded seat and handles
- Large rear storage
- Adjustable leg position
- The seat is not yet included in the package.
2. Perception Flash Sit Inside Kayak
Another Perception kayak I recommend for fishing is the Flash 9.5. This is a sit-in kayak, which is perfect for anglers who want to keep their legs dry. It also offers stability for both fishing and leisurely use.
This kayak has a 10” rear storage hatch where you can stash your gears. It also has a spacious cockpit where you can store other fishing equipment that you want to keep handy.
In terms of performance, this fishing kayak is highly maneuverable, thanks to its dual tracking channels. The kayak is also short so it’s easy to maneuver, even for beginner anglers.
Moreover, this has a zone comfort seating that’s already equipped with a high seatback. This keeps users comfortable even during long periods of fishing. It’s paired with a paddle park so you can keep your paddles safe as you work on your fishing rod.
Aside from that, this has an easy-access dashboard with small gear storage and a cup holder. Also, both the front and rear are ergonomically designed for easy transport.
The Perception Flash is 9’6” long, 28.5” wide, and 41 lbs. heavy. Unlike the Perception Zip, the Flash can support up to 325 lbs. of user weight.
- 10” rear storage hatch
- Complete with zone comfort seating
- Can support up to 325 lbs. of weight load
- I wish there’s a dry storage
3. Lifetime Hydros Angler 85 Fishing Kayak
If you’re looking for a sit-on-top Lifetime kayak, you shouldn’t miss the Hydros Anger 85. This has a combination tunnel hull that offers stability and topnotch tracking. It also comes with multiple footrests so you can position your leg in the most comfortable option.
Aside from that, this fishing kayak has a molded-in swim-up deck complete with a bungee lacing. You can also use this to store your tackle.
The Hydros kayak has an adjustable quick-release seat back so you will remain comfortable on your fishing trips. The front T-handle also makes it easy to carry around and transport.
I also like the flush-mounted rod holders as well as one adjustable rod holder onboard. Overall, this kayak is made of molded HDPE plastic with UV protection and impact resistance.
Overall, this kayak is 8.4” long, 29.5” wide, and 10.5” deep. It weighs 38 lbs. and can handle up to 225 lbs. of user weight. The package also includes a paddle so you can launch it straight from the package.
This is a perfect little kayak for casual anglers who want to take short trips on calm waters like lakes, ponds, and rivers.
- UV protection and impact resistance
- Molded-in swim-up deck
- Comes with a paddle
- Missing seatback straps, but it can be purchased separately
4. Emotion Spitfire Sit-on-Top Kayak
The Emotion Spitfire Sit-on-Top Kayak is a molded kayak with a built-in padded CRS. It also has an UltraLite Seat to keep you comfortable while you fish. Aside from that, this has a rear tank well with cargo net lacing to keep your tackle safe.
Aside from that, this has molded-in paddle keepers as well as side carry handles. The molded footwells also offer secure foot bracing.
Moreover, the hull design provides ultra-stability and topnotch tracking. I also like that both the rear and front have storage spaces with rope webbing.
Overall, this kayak is made of UV-protected and high-density polyethylene construction. It also has self-bailing scupper holes so your cockpit will remain dry and afloat.
This 9’1” kayak offers a lot of space so you can carry your fishing gear and move and work on your rod comfortably. My only gripe is that this one doesn’t come with a paddle so you have to purchase it separately. But considering its price range, it’s one thing that I can let slip.
Lastly, the Emotion Spitfire can support up to 350 lbs. of user weight on its 45-lb.design. You can also get this in orange and glacier blue colors.
- Equipped with an UltraLite Seat
- Front and rear webbed storage
- UV-protected design
- Doesn’t come with a paddle
5. Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak
If you’re looking for the best fishing kayak under 300, you won’t go wrong with the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100. This is made of high-density polyethylene with UV protection. It has a stable flat bottom that offers decent tracking on flat waters.
Aside from that, this has an adjustable padded sea back to keep users comfortable. This is paired with two flush-mounted rod holders as well as a top mount rod holder. You will also enjoy using front and rear storage spaces with shock cord straps. I also like the sharp bow at the bottom which increases the stability and speed of the vessel. It also comes with a skeg to keep you paddling in a straight direction.
For added convenience, this has multiple footrest positions and T-handles so you can easily carry it around. There’s also a 6” storage compartment where you can secure your gears.
Lastly, this comes with a paddle so you can start sailing right after unpacking the kayak. I had several Lifetime kayaks before and it never disappoints in quality.
Overall, this is a great kayak for lake and bay fishing. It’s more stable than most so it’s already a steal for its price range.
- Front and rear storage
- Built-in skeg and sharp bow
- Affordable fishing kayak
- Not the fastest kayak but it works well
How to choose a fishing kayak
Finding the right fishing kayak for your needs can be challenging. But to make it simple, you should check the following aspects:
Size and weight limit
The first thing you should check is the size of the kayak. You have to ensure that it’s long enough to accommodate your body comfortably. However, you should note that longer kayaks are more difficult to maneuver. Still, it offers better stability for mild currents.
Aside from the size, you should also check the weight limit of the kayak. This can range from 250 to 350 lbs., depending on the design and overall build of the vessel. You should only occupy about 80% of the total weight limit to prevent tipping and sinking.
Sit-in vs. sit-on-top
Another important consideration when buying a fishing kayak is its type. You can choose between a sit-in and a sit-on-top kayak.
A sit-in kayak has an enclosed cockpit where you need to slide your legs inside. This works for fishing because it prevents water from splashing into your legs. However, it can be difficult to use for beginners because the lower body can’t be moved a lot.
On the other hand, a sit-on-top kayak offers legroom and convenience. Some units are stable enough for users to stand up. You can also load more tackle on a sit-on-top, including crates, boxes, and bags.
Kayak chair and paddle
As much as possible, look for a kayak that’s paired with a padded seat. This way, you no longer have to purchase it separately. It will also let you use the kayak right away.
I always prefer removable chairs with tie-downs. This is also adjustable so you can set it to suit your needs.
While most fishing kayaks are not bundled with a paddle, you can still look for options that are already paired with one. Some of the best picks with a paddle are Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak and Lifetime Hydros.
The stability of the kayak is largely affected by the design of the hull or other underpart. A flat hull is stable, but it has lower speed and tracking.
If you want the best of both worlds, you should look for a kayak with a skeg and pointed bow. This will improve the tracking of the kayak while keeping it buoyant and stable.
Since kayaks need to turn and twist, tipping is a common concern. So aside from a flat bottom hull, you can also consider a tunnel hull. This will allow water to pass through to reduce resistance, thus less chance of capsizing.
Storage and rod holders
You should also check the space you can use for storage. The first thing you should consider is the rod holders. There should be at least two rod holders so you can keep your hands free while waiting for a catch.
Aside from that, you should consider how much space it is for you to secure your tackle. You surely need some space for a catch container, bait, and a bag.
Extras like cup holders will also add convenience and value to your purchase.
Ease of transport
Lastly, consider how easy it is to transport the kayak. There should be T-handles or molded handles so you can easily lift the vessel. Most of all, it should be light enough to be carried around but still durable to last for years.
Overall, the kayak shouldn’t need a trailer if you wish to carry it at a distance. It should sit comfortably on your car’s roof or at the rear of your pickup truck.
The best fishing kayak under 500 will let you chase the biggest catch on a budget. It’s affordable but useful so you can explore deeper parts of the water where you can hook more fishes. Just make sure that you get the right kayak type, size, features, and price.
What do you think of the kayaks I reviewed here? Which do you prefer? Let us know below!