Kayaking is a fun way to enjoy nature and still get to relax. Although kayaking can be enjoyed by itself, you could make it an even more worthwhile activity by fishing while kayaking. Even if you don’t catch anything, the experience can be fulfilling whether you do it alone or with a friend.
For those who are already into kayaking, adding fishing to their kayaking can make the experience richer and more varied. On the other hand, fishing enthusiasts will be pleasantly surprised that fishing from a kayak might be a better fit for them, compared to other types of boats.
The 8 Best Fishing Kayaks Under $500
There are lots of fishing kayaks to choose from. Finding the best fishing kayak depends on your specific needs and preferences, including your budget. Cost is always one of the primary considerations and a fishing kayak does not need to be expensive. If you are looking for the most affordable ones to get you started, there are fishing kayaks under $500.
1. Ztotop 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set – Best Bang for Buck (Tandem)
When it comes to price, comfort, and capacity, you will not go wrong with the Ztotop 2-Person Inflatable Kayak Set. This fishing kayak is equipped with two inflatable seats which you can adjust and there’s even a storage bag where you can put your fish or other items. Since it can fit two inflatable seats, it can fit almost any body type, including kids, and carry up to 400 pounds of weight.
If you will be using this kayak for fishing, it is ideal for lakes or calm rivers. Once you are done, you can deflate the kayak through its Boston valve and roll it for better storage.
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 400 lbs
- Dimensions: 28.4 x 17.7 x 9.4 inches
- Weight: 30.6 pounds
- Material: Vinyl
- Added accessories: 92 in. paddles x 2, repair kit and instruction manual, high-output foot pump
- Easy to pack and setup
- Larger than advertised
- Seats are adjustable
- Ample storage space
- Great for any passenger size or age
- Not suitable for rough river kayaking
If you want a tandem fishing kayak that is worth the money and cheap, you can never go wrong with the Ztotop 2-Person Inflatable Kayak. It is very affordable, and you get features such as inflatable seats, heavy-duty materials, air foot pump, and a repair kit. It also comes in a variety of colors and as a bonus, it also works for any type of passenger.
2. Sevylor Quikpak K1 – Best Inflatable Option for Beginners
The Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak is the kayak of choice if you want everything set up and dismantled quickly. It will only take you five minutes to set it up and store it when you are done. It has several features included that make it a comfortable kayak to use, such as backrests on the seats, multi-position footrest, and a secured storage area. It is an excellent kayak for lake kayaking.
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 400lbs
- Dimensions: 103x36x30in.
- Weight: 18lbs
- Material: PVC
- Added accessories: backpack seats, air pump
- Easy to set up and deflate
- Has a good weight capacity
- Comfortable to ride
- Stays inflated even if there are punctures
- Responsive to paddling directions
- Faulty materials
The name alone for this fishing kayak makes it a major reason why you should get it if you want something quick and easy. Not only does it set up fast, but it also deflates fast, allowing you to store it easily and quickly. It also comes with quite a lot of good features which include its air chamber interior and comfortable seats.
3. Intex Excursion Pro – Most Popular Fishing Kayak
The Intex Excursion Pro Kayak is a popular inflatable fishing kayak. It is made from high-quality PVC that is resistant to any damage and provides a rigid, perfect, and stable ride. It also comes with all sorts of features such as a mounting bracket where you can put your fishing rods, removable seat boosters, adjustable seats, a backrest, and an adjustable footrest.
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 400 lbs
- Dimensions: 151 x 37 x 18 inches
- Weight: 46.3 pounds
- Material: High-impact and resistant PVC
- Added accessories: 2 paddles, carry bag, pressure gauge and carry bag
- Easy to set up and store
- Comfortable cockpit
- Adjustable footrests
- Has a lot of space for fishing gear and accessories
- Comes with a pressure gauge to determine how much air it has
- Paddles can be short to use if you are a short person
- Legroom is small for a large person
Although this fishing kayak is not the cheapest you’d find, its price is definitely value for your money. For pro-anglers thinking about buying a fishing kayak at an affordable price, it is an investment well-made. It has everything a pro-angler would want in a fishing kayak, like a comfortable cockpit, accessories to hold your fishing materials together and other extra bonuses. It is also certified by the National Marine Manufacturers Association, which guarantees that this kayak is safe to use, and it follows all safety guidelines for fishing kayaks.
4. Intex Challenger K1 – Most Durable Option
The Intex Challenger K1 Kayak is built for people who want a nimble and comfortable kayak for lakes and rivers. It comes with a large cockpit for passenger comfort and you even get an extra beam floor to add stability. You also don’t have to worry about the water getting to you because it has a closed deck. For storage or cargo, it has a cargo net in the front, which holds the items in place. You also get grab lines on both ends for added stability.
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 220 lbs (100kg)
- Dimensions: 108 x 30 x 13
- Weight: 27.2
- Material: Vinyl
- Added accessories: 84-inch aluminum oar, hi-output manual hand pump, repair patch, NMMA-certified U.S. Coast Guard ID
- Good construction and quality
- Easy to assemble/disassemble
- Nice legroom
- The skeg is firmly in place
- Good for cruising
- Hard to navigate
For the benefits that are included with the Intex Challenger K1, you are getting more for what you just spent. It is made from durable material that helps it manage any sort of conditions and still remain comfortable to use. It is also good for cruising speeds, which is a plus if you plan to use it just for kayaking. Like its fellow Intex kayaks, it is also certified by the National Marine Manufacturers Association, which guarantees that this is safe for use.
5. Intex Explorer K2 – Best Tandem Inflatable Fishing Kayak
Need a kayak that works for anyone? The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is the right kayak for you. It is made with heavy-duty vinyl that can resist any damage and passed the National Marine Manufacturers Association guidelines. The cockpit is very affordable and you can remove or adjust the seats that come with this kayak. There are also grab lines at both ends to help you stay secure.
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 400 lbs
- Dimensions: 123 x 36 x 20 inches
- Weight: 23.9 lbs
- Material: Vinyl
- Added accessories: Removable skeg, high-output pump, carry bag and 2 paddles
- Easy to inflate/deflate
- Good for any level of kayakers
- Good for small bodies of water
- Prone to leaks
The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is perfect for beginners because it is made to be stable and comfortable for any type of user. You can see everything clearly once you are seated in the comfortable cockpit of this kayak. If you install the removable skeg, you can control the kayak better. It is also one of the most affordable fishing kayaks and highly durable.
6. Sevylor Tahiti Hunt and Fish – Best for Big/Tall Guys
For people who would like to kayak in calm waters such as small lakes and rivers, the Sevylor Tahiti Hunt and Fish Kayak is here to help. This kayak is one of the most comfortable kayaks under the Sevylor line because you can adjust the seats to fit you and your companion. It is also very easy to set up thanks to the carry handle attached at key points of the kayak.
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 360 lbs
- Dimensions: 124.8 x 34.8 x 24 inches
- Weight: 22.8 lbs
- Material: PVC
- Added accessories: Carry bag, 90-day limited warranty
- Lightweight and easy to store
- Keeps users dry
- Hard to move around
If you are looking for a spacious fishing kayak two people or a larger passenger, this Sevylor Tahiti Hunt and Fish Kayak is good. It can hold up to 360 lbs worth of weight and you don’t have to worry about comfort. You can lean back on the adjustable seats and there are even spray covers to keep you dry as you fish. It is also a very sturdy kayak, which is good if you will use it for tandem kayaking.
7. Vibe Kayaks Skipjack – Most Convenient and Stable
They say you can never judge a book by its cover and it is true with the Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 9-Foot Angler Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak. This is designed to be convenient, easy-to-use, and comfortable. It can be used for a range of water conditions, from lake kayaking to ocean kayaking. The construction is very sturdy and even has a built-in buoyancy mechanism that keeps it afloat.
It comes with waterproof storage compartments in both ends to keep your things dry, paddle parks, fishfinder mounts, and rod holders. There are even a tackle toss tray and cup-holders.
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
- Dimensions: 10 feet in length and 32” in width
- Weight: 57lbs
- Material: Polyethylene
- Very comfortable
- Easy to control
- Can be hard to manage at times
- Hard to transport because of the keel
We recommend the Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 as one of the best fishing kayaks for beginners because it has everything a beginner could want. It has comfortable seats, cupholders, gear mounts, and good storage space for everything you can need. It is made with durable materials and it makes paddling easy.
8. GoSea Glide Single – Best Design
Do not let the name fool you because even though it says “Single Fishing” on the name, the GoSea Glide Single Fishing Kayak has a very wide cockpit. It has a molded seat area, which adds extra comfort, and it is very spacious.
What makes this great for fishing is that it comes with 4 flush-mounted fishing rod holders, a central fishing rod holder, and a large storage compartment. It is made from high-grade polyethylene, making it highly durable.
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 145 kg
- Dimensions: 310 x 76 x 24 cm
- Weight: 22.8kg
- Material: 5mm High-Grade Polyethylene
- Added accessories: One paddle
- Spacious and molded seats
- Great if kayaking with kids
- Versatile for all sorts of use
- Made with high-quality materials
- Comes in all sorts of colors
- Higher price range under $500
If you’re looking for a kayak that looks good and trendy on the water, this is an excellent option. With eight color options, you are sure to find the style that fits your personality. Nevertheless, this is not just good on the eyes. With its host of features, the GoSea Glide Single certainly holds its own amongst other products under $500.
Perks of Kayak Fishing
Aside from the double enjoyment you’d get from combining these two water activities, there are many other reasons why you should try kayak fishing. For those who like to fish, you’d be surprised to discover that doing it from a kayak can be easier and more fun.
- Fishing from a kayak is quieter than from other types of boats. Any fishing enthusiast would know – quieter is better. You’d find that the stealth of a kayak is excellent for not driving away the fish.
- You can reach tighter spots. All other types of fishing boats are wider than kayaks. This means that a kayak will allow you to fish in locations that other boats cannot access. Aside from narrower areas, a kayak also allows you to enjoy fishing in shallower waters.
- They are cheaper. Do you love fishing but do not have the money for a fishing boat? A fishing kayak will solve your problem. There are a lot of good quality fishing kayaks under $500 that will give you the chance to enjoy kayak fishing without breaking the bank. Aside from the smaller initial investment required with a kayak, you do not need fuel to use it (unless you have a motorized kayak).
- They are easier to transport. Because kayaks are more compact and lighter than other types of boats, it is easier to transport them. This allows greater opportunity to kayak in more places.
- Maintenance and storage is easier. Because they are generally smaller, you don’t need a very big space to store your kayak, especially if you have an inflatable one. The smaller size also makes a kayak easier to clean and maintain than a bigger fishing boat.
There are many kayaks available out there and although you may use any kayak for fishing, finding the right one for you will take some consideration.
Buying Guide: What to Look for in the Best Fishing Kayak
When you talk about the best fishing kayak, it must be one that you can rely on to help you explore small bodies of water and keep you above water as you fish. While there are others out there that can also double as a great fishing option, products tailored for this purpose will help maximize your experience.
Kayaks can be mainly categorized as sit-on-top or sit-in. There are also pedal-drive options that let you pedal to move across the water and motorized products that have engines installed.
Sit-on-tops (SOT) allow users to ride in and get out of the vessel easily. It gives you ample height to see the water and lets you sit comfortably as you fish, without feeling confined inside. Any water that gets in is easily drained through the supper holes. You can also add accessories easily without affecting its stability and it has a lot of storage for your catch. Most fishing kayaks are SOT.
Although it is more difficult to move using a sit-in version, using it for fishing has its advantages. When in colder and windier weather, a sit-in will help keep you warm. Using a spray skirt will also protect your lower body from getting wet.
A pedal-driven products have a pedal system like those on bicycles. It is ideal if you are a pro-angler because you can easily move through the water by pedaling. Since you do not need to paddle, your hands are free to fish and hold other items. Aside from these, your arms will not get easily tired and you can move the kayak faster across the water.
Some kayaks have small motors installed and these are used for moving you across the water. Expectedly, they are more expensive than other types but may be a good fit for some people. These are generally not recommended for anglers.
Once you’ve decided on the type you want to use, there are other factors to consider to help you find the right product.
The materials for fishing kayaks are not different from regular kayaks. The manufacturers use either polyethylene, composite, and ABS material. Each material has great benefits for its users.
Polyethylene is often used by brands to build affordable products. The problem with this material is that it is very brittle, especially when constantly under the sun and the elements. If you’ll be getting one, you need to store it in a dry and shaded place.
ABS plastic is stronger than polyethylene when it comes to the elements and if something happens to it, you can easily repair it. However, it is slightly more expensive than polyethylene-made options.
Finally, composite-made products are excellent because they are light, but they are also expensive. They are easy to repair and can withstand exposure to elements.
If you want a fishing kayak that you can easily navigate and move around, getting one that spans 10 ft or less is ideal. If you want a straighter ride, getting a longer option would make sense.
Rider’s Weight and Body Type
Even if they have stability features that help prevent capsizing, your weight and body type can still tip you over. Some come with small seating areas, which can be uncomfortable if you are tall or chubby. Look for products that come with adjustable seating options and work well for your body weight and size.
Kayaks come in different price points. Pedal-drives start at around $1,800 because these have boat-like features that make them perfect for pro anglers. There are also more affordable options that have great features for people who just want to do it for a hobby or to keep an extra kayak on standby.
When getting any type of boat or kayak, you need to consider its stability. This becomes even more important for anglers because you will need to ensure that you can stay still, even if you move around to cast your line and reel in the fish. If you want to be able to stand up, get a kayak that has a flat bottom hull since it will let you balance easily. It is also recommended that you get a longer option because short ones can tip over if there is a wave that hits you.
Accessories and Storage
You need a kayak that can help you carry all your gear without affecting its ride quality and weight. Some products today come with accessory holders and storage that won’t affect the way you go around. You can hold them in place easily since there are hooks in the vessel that keep them there.
Kayak Fishing Tips
Both kayaking and fishing are enjoyable activities but combining them really does take it to the next level. Here are some tips that’ll make your experience even better.
Preventing Tipping Over
Kayaks are designed to not tip over easily regardless of who is using it. This is even more evident for fishing kayaks – they are designed to be more stable, especially when they have a lot of load in them. However, if the water conditions are not right and your product is not made for such conditions, you will capsize easily.
- Go on a day that is calm and tranquil.
- Do not try to move around too much. Keep yourself balanced.
- If you will be getting a sit-on-kayak, use the paddle closer to your body to make it easier.
- Get a sit-on-kayak because it has features that will prevent capsizing and stay stable.
- Stay calm and hold on if you do capsize.
These must be transported carefully to your fishing spot of choice to avoid damage, especially with inflatable options. If you are going alone, you need to ensure it’s easy enough for you to carry and take into your car.
Use a trailer to transport your kayak around and make sure it is top facing down. You must also take care of tying it down because it may dent or crack.
After a trip on the water, dry it to protect it from rust and warping. You can then mount the clean vessel on the wall. If you don’t have adequate covered storage space, keep it under a tarp to protect it from the sun since it can damage it.
Buying a Used Kayak
If this is your first time to buy a fishing kayak and you won’t be using it often, you don’t have to invest in a new one. There are used options available with many dealers which are good quality. Invest in a new one if you will be taking these as a serious hobby – the price difference isn’t all that big.
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