Kayaks are one of the best ways to get away from the shore and out on the water to fish without taking on the expense and work of a large boat that requires gas, service and winter storage. Not only that, Kayaks are environmentally friendly, healthy, and allow you to keep the quiet natural peace of a day on the water without the noise of motorized boats. But they aren’t all cheap. We’ve looked at some of the best fishing kayak on a budget to help you get on the water fishing fast. Where do you start in shopping for the perfect kayak for fishing?
There are so many options available that it’s difficult to know what the differences are, and which models would suit your personal needs best.
Here are the Best Fishing Kayak on a Budget in 2019
One of the first questions to be answered in your search for your personal best fishing kayak is. “do you want to sit inside the kayak and have your legs more protected or would you rather have a kayak that allows you to sit on top and have a little more freedom of movement? When kayak fishing this is an important questions you’ll need to answer before determining the best fishing kayak on a budget for you.
||Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Pro Angler
||Sit on Top
||Sea Eagle SE370 Inflatable Sport Kayak
||BKC TK122 Tandem Fishing Kayak
||Siton Top Tandem
||Lifetime Tahoma 100
||Sit on Top
||Sun Dolphin Camino SS
||Sit on Top
||Vibe Sea Ghost 130 Angler Kayak
||Sit on Top
||Perception Kayak Pescador Pro 10
||Sit on Top
||WDAM Fishing Kayak
||Sit on Top
||Elkton Outdoors Auklet 120 Fishing Kayak
||Sit on Top
||Old Town Predator XL
Legs on Top or Legs Below?
In the kayak world there are two varieties to choose from. Sit on Top models, often referred to as SOT models, and Sit Inside models. While most people think of the sit inside models when they imagine anything called a kayak, the SOTs are extremely popular among anglers.
Both styles come in single and double occupancy and both are made in hard shell and inflatable models. The two different styles offer the angler a different set of positives and negatives. Therefore, a good analysis of your personal fishing habits, likes and desires is the best starting point in determining which fishing kayak model you should look for to buy. Three crucial factors to consider first are:
- What is the water climate where you predominately fish?
- Is the area in which you want to go kayak fishing located in calm and protected waters, or is it a harsher environment?
- Which is more important to you, space or sport?
- Are you looking for fishing and kayaking as a solitary sport or do you always go with friends?
- Are you wanting to try to get into tight spaces and parts of the water that demands a higher level of durability?
Sit On Top Kayaks (SOT)
SOTs offer an open environment which is good for anyone who doesn’t like to be closed in. They are, by far, the more user-friendly type of kayak and because of their stability and ease of access, they make other activities, such as going for a quick swim to cool off, possible. The downside to the SOT is if you normally fish in cold areas or water. With water spray and exposed lower body, a SOT can be quite uncomfortable if you’re fishing in cold conditions, such as the upper lakes in Colorado. If you’re fishing for cold lake trout, try a sit in instead.
Sit Inside (Sit In)
Sit inside models of kayaks offer warmth and some degree of dryness. Many, if not most, come with other attachment areas for water skirts that can be fitted around the cockpit and the angler to keep even more water out of the boat. Sit insides appeal to the angler and kayaker that enjoys the boating as a hobby and sport as well as the fishing. These boats also are very stable, but the angler needs a little more skill in a sit inside because if the boat does flip or roll, it can be tricky to get yourself back upright and drain the boat while on water.
Whether you decide on a SOT or a Sit Inside kayak, length and width should also be considered. Anglers tend to enjoy the wider and shorter kayaks as they offer the most stability. The longer and sharper the nose on a kayak, the more suited it is to cutting through rapids, and not for a day of fishing.
Material and Weight Considerations
Kayaks come in three main types of materials, hard plastic, composite materials such as Kevlar, fiberglass and carbon, and heavy-duty plastics that are inflatable. The Hard plastic and the inflatables are both good options for anglers. The hard-plastic kayaks are very durable and usually light weight, which can be very important if you have to hike a bit to reach that perfect fishing spot. The inflatables are actually really tough and offer a kayak design that is easier to store and travel with. The carbon, fiberglass and Kevlar kayaks tend to be heavy and easily damaged are favored more by kayakers interested in speed and agility, not fishing.
So What Does “Budget Kayak” Mean Anyway?
Kayaks range in price from $100 to $2000, and most first-time buyers don’t know where to start. Here we’ve listed the best fishing kayak on a budget. Most of these kayaks are widely available and have been vetted by anglers from all walks of life. So, without further ado, below are the top fishing kayaks for this season.
List of the Best Fishing Kayak on a Budget
Our Top Pick for Best Fishing Kayak on a Budget
Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Pro Angler Sit on Top Fishing Kayak
The Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 offers a fast, stable and comfortable ride. This SOT kayak has a hull that is stable and fast and can handle both rough and calm waters. The patented Comfort Plus seat offers 4 different options that can accommodate any size angler. The Prowler has a lock and seal front cabinet that makes storing a breeze and allows for a packed lunch on the water. It also offers bow to stern compartments making hauling of rods and reels of varying sizes easy and accessible.
The Prowler has two cup holders and a paddle keep so that everything necessary has a place. Measurements for this kayak are 13 feet 4 inches and it weighs 56 pounds.
Our #2 Pick for Best Fishing Kayak on a Budget
Sea Eagle SE370 Inflatable Sport Kayak
The Sea Eagle SE370 is one of the best Inflatable kayaks available on a budget. Most often used as a sporting kayak, this sit inside inflatable can also serve an angler well, especially if hiking to a remote fishing location or anyone who is completing a trek that involves fishing. At 26 pounds and deflatable, this kayak can conveniently be folded and carried in its travel bag and then easily carried without bulk and weight as an obstacle, most amazingly, this very portable kayak seat 3 people and can carry up to 650 pounds.
The Sea Eagle is rated for both salt and fresh water and comes with AB30 paddles and all necessary accessories, making it a complete purchase, just add water. The seats are movable and allows for removal if you want to ride solo and have more carry space. This inflatable kayak is tough but as is the case with any inflatable, you need to be aware that you must be mindful of your equipment on this boat. No inflatable kayak will stand up to the careless and sloppy angler that might have stray hooks and gear.
The Sea Eagle has 5 inflation/deflation valves and takes about 30 minutes to set up once at the water side. Deflation is a little faster. It has good tracking due to 2 skegs on the bottom. If you like excitement during your fishing trip, this sport kayak is rated for up to Class III whitewater rapids.
Our #3 Pick for Best Fishing Kayak on a Budget
BKC TK122 Tandem Fishing Kayak
For the more fishing specific angler who doesn’t have a need to trek his boat a large distance, the BKC TK 122 is a great option. This kayak holds up to two people and has comfort memory foam padded seats which ensures more comfort for a full day of fishing. Technically a Sit In kayak, the BKC’s seats sit lower in the boat making for a small amount of protection from wind and spray. This kayak holds up to 770 pounds and weighs 77 pounds. It has a flat and wide bottom which gives it great stability and makes operating the kayak the secondary activity and doesn’t take away from the fishing experience.
The BKC has a large capacity storage space and each seat has a secure and watertight storage space and there are storage spaces at the front and rear recessed areas. One last wonderful addition to this great kayak is the attention given to the level 2 ergonomic seating areas that was designed to allow for an extremely relaxed and comfortable day fishing on the water. This kayak comes with 2 paddles and is 12.9 foot long. It has easy to carry handles in the front and rear making carrying this kayak a non-issue with two or more anglers.
Our #4 Pick for Best Fishing Kayak on a Budget
Lifetime Tahoma 100
The Lifetime Tahoma SOT is a fishing kayak favorite. This kayak is great for getting to that special and secluded fishing spot that only you and a few of your buddies know about. It is great for rivers and lakes and holds up to 275 pounds. It is constructed of UV stabilized fortiflex high density polyethylene making it lightweight and easy to carry. The seat is fairly comfortable and comes with a seat back. The Lifetime Tahoma also comes with a paddle and has a paddle storage area onboard. There is also a storage hatch in the cockpit and it has front and back handles.
The deep hull channels make great tracking and the chine rails offer great stability. The seat is adjustable to accommodate anglers of many sizes. The versatility of the Lifetime Tahoma securing its place as an angler’s fishing favorite. The Lifetime Tahoma also comes in at one of the lower price points making it a perfect starter or entry kayak for the angler looking to try something new.
Our #5 Pick for Best Fishing Kayak on a Budget
Sun Dolphin Camino SS
The Sun Dolphin Camino SS is an 8 foot SOT that offers some of the most stability and has the easiest access both, on and off, in the water. This makes this kayak an obvious choice for the angler who also likes to swim, or just won’t leave that special lure behind that is caught up in the weeds.
The Sun Dolphin’s stability is achieved by the square stern design and the ease of access is due to the very large open space topside and the adjustable seat that can accommodate many sizes of anglers and can be moved back to allow even more entry and exit space. The seat has a high back rest which offers comfort and the kayak is self-bailing. There is storage space for both paddles and gear.
The Sun Dolphin is made from UV stabilized fortiflex high density polyethylene and weighs in at 40 pounds. It is 95 inches long and holds up to 225 pounds. This kayak also comes with graduated foot wells. The Sun Dolphin offers all around fun and durability.
Our #6 Pick for Best Fishing Kayak on a Budget
Vibe Sea Ghost 130 Angler Kayak
The Vibe Sea Ghost is specifically made for anglers and, as such, it offers stability and tracking that anglers will find hard to beat. This kayak is designed to take less effort in paddling and reaching your perfect destination. It has a carry capacity of 550 pounds and offers a comfort backed seat and rod holders for a relaxed day of fishing. The stability of the design of the Sea Ghost also ensures standing is also stable so that you can spend some time on your legs.
One of the best highlights of this kayak is its storage space. The deck is extremely customizable. Some of the perks included in its storage options is a watertight hinged console and cargo bags. It also has a magnetic tackle tray and a fish finder mount. There are 2 fishing rod holders, 2 side bungee paddle parks and 6 top loading tracks that allows its immense customization. It also has an over-sized cargo space in front and a very large bungee tie down storage area in the rear.
The Sea Ghost is constructed of rotomolded single piece polyethylene and has a slip resistant deck. The make of the hull design makes this kayak extremely quiet and makes this one of the best kayaks for quiet environments. It does weigh a hefty 75 pounds but offers so much, its worth the extra weight.
Our #7 Pick for Best Fishing Kayak on a Budget
Perception Kayak Pescador Pro 10
The Perception kayak is also specifically made for angling. This kayak is very attractive to look at and its SOT chair can be removed for a fireside cookout of fresh fish. The seat can also be raised or lowered allowing for personal preferences on seat placement. The seat, itself, is made from a breathable mesh and gives the angler a cool break on a hot day.
The footrests are also adjustable and can accommodate anglers of varying sizes. There is ample storage in both the front and rear storage compartments. Rods can be stored upright or laid prone. At 10 feet in length, the Perception is shorter than many other kayaks and makes you able to get into tighter fishing spots than many of your peers. The kayak is also a lighter 57 pounds which makes carrying it easier too. Maximum carry capacity is 325 pounds.
The Perception is great for fishing on lakes and ponds as well as calm rivers and inner coastal areas. It also has a skid plate that takes the worry out of dragging your boat. This skid plate is easily removed and replaced. The Perception has built-in buoyancy and stability mechanics making this kayak steady enough to stand, fish and enter and exit the craft on water. Another safety point for this kayak is that all the Pescadores come with a permanent U.S. Coast Guard compliant hull ID number.
The Perception Pescador is made for extreme durability. It is constructed from a high-density polyethylene roto molded construction. This gives it UV and abrasion protection to ensure it lasts for a long time. All of the hardware is made from stainless steel, giving this kayak saltwater resistance and lasting performance.
Our #8 Pick for Best Fishing Kayak on a Budget
WDAM Fishing Kayak
Another great fishing kayak on a budget is the WDAM Fishing Kayak. This kayak offers maximum comfort and has an airy mesh seat with a back that offers lumbar support for that full day of fishing. The seat is fully adjustable, as well, accommodating anglers of varying sizes. This boat has an adjustable fishing rod holder that gives you a hands free option while continuing to fish. The hatch storage is water tight and ample.
The WDAM has rear control making the boat more easily steered and corrected. The pedals are very durable and easy to use. This kayak is a SOT and is constructed of high density polyethylene. Its carry capacity is 485 pounds and it is 12.96 feet in length. It is a little heavier than some of the other kayaks coming in at 88 pounds. It has dual paddle parks on the sides.
Our #9 Pick for Best Fishing Kayak on a Budget
Elkton Outdoors Auklet 120 Fishing Kayak
The Elkton Auklet is a very good choice for a fishing kayak on a budget. It has all the needs with the only potential negative being its weight. The Auklet comes in a a higher 72 pounds but responds with a 500-pound carry capacity. Still, this boat is compact and easily maneuvered. This SOT combines a nice combination of function and fun at a good price. This boat has the SmartTrack Rudder System that keeps you stable and on track without losing speed. The body style allows the kayak to move silently through the water making it easier to fish in a high fish density area with greater catches.
The key to this kayak is using it for solitary fishing. Everything about the Auklet is designed for a solo rider and angler who desires stealth and comfort. The hull is deep and cuts through water perfectly. The cockpit is modular and customizable providing ample opportunities for customized rigging. There are flush mounted vertical fishing rod holders that allow for a break from holding the rod. The construction is from a solid one-piece roto molded ultra-durable polyurethane material. The seat is an aluminum construction. The Auklet comes in a premium package as well that includes Lightweight Aluminum paddles, 2 active rod holders and 2 vertical rod holders.
Our #10 Pick for Best Fishing Kayak on a Budget
Old Town Predator XL
Rounding out a look at the best fishing kayaks on a budget would be the Old Town Predator XL. This kayak is a favorite in the angling community. With Old Town’s Element Seating System, this boat allows a comfortable ride that will keep you on the water all day. The Predator doesn’t skimp on features either. This kayak offers a slip resistant deck and tank well, scupper holes, rod tip holders, and bungee storage. It also has side paddle storage and a large hatch. It has watertight seals on its under seat storage and, one of its best features, it offers immense stability with its support track foot race system which gives you extra stability and control.
The Predator can be fitted with the widely used Old Town’s Utility Console or the Minn Kota Utility Console. It is 13 feet and 2 inches and has a carry capacity of 600 pounds, living up to its XL name. Old Town has been making boats for over 100 years and the experience and quality shows without doubt.
This list of some of the best fishing kayak on a budget is just a tip of the toe in the wide options available to get you away from the banks and on the water closer to the fish. Important points to always consider before buying your new kayak – what type of climate will you be fishing in? What is more important to you, the kayak’s weight and mobility or durability and carry capacity? Will you mostly be fishing alone or with someone? Do you like to get wet or stay dry? These are all good questions to answer before laying your money down for a new kayak.
Buying a slightly more expensive kayak will save you money in the long run if you are happy and satisfied with your first purchase instead of buying more than 1 kayak due to dissatisfaction and buyer’s remorse. In the world of kayaks, what’s best suited to you may not be the next person’s favorite kayak and that’s okay. Issues such as body size, length and your personal strength will influence your purchasing decision greatly. What type of fish you are angling for also makes a difference as to which kayak is best for you.
Other than analyzing your needs , make sure you buy a boat that offers durability, ease of use for whatever your personal capabilities are and pay attention that the kayak of your choice addresses your personal needs in regards to storage and water management. Once you’ve made your choice, get out there and get on the water!
Cast your line and enjoy the quiet and peace of fishing in a secluded personal fishing patch with tons of potential fish just waiting to be fed. Fishing away from the shore will give you a great peace found only in fishing. In the words of Doug Larson, “If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles. See you out on the water.