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Buyers Guide & Information

Best Fishing Kayaks Under $1000

These are the top-rated brands for your bigger budgets.

by

Buyers Guide & Information

Best Fishing Kayaks Under $1000

These are the top-rated brands for your bigger budgets.

by PITeam

by PITeam

Kayak fishing has been growing in popularity over the years. It is especially popular during the summer months since people want to be on the water. A fishing kayak is a small boat, usually for one or two people. There are many different types, but you can use all of them to cast your fishing line.

You can expect a moderately priced fishing kayak to be comfortable and versatile. It will usually range from $500 - $1,000. It will come with some extra accessories to make your day on the lake easy and relaxing. This review will help guide you to your next adventure in kayak fishing.

***Product #5 is available as a 'used' kayak for under $1000

How Kayak Fishing Works

Fishing from a kayak works similarly to leisure kayaking. The difference is that you take your rod and reel with you. Generally, fishing kayaks are made with the angler in mind. They have specific places for your fishing pole to be placed.

You can cast your line directly from your kayak. It is similar to fishing on a boat but in smaller regions. They are often used in fishing for smaller fish versus large saltwater fish.


Types of Fishing Kayaks

  • Sit-Inside
    This type of kayak is perfect for the angler who likes to paddle. It will feel more like a regular touring or sport kayak, but will still have room to store your fishing gear. The seated area is smaller, but it still leaves enough width for stability.
  • Sit on Top
    This model is similar to the sit inside model. It is much easier to get in and out of a sit on top style kayak. It still creates enough space for your gear while allowing you some moving room.
  • Motorized and Pedal
    These types of kayaks are the latest in innovation. A pedal kayak can be used to propel yourself through the water using pedals similar to a bicycle. A motorized kayak is even more advanced with a motorized trolley attached to the rear. Both of these options leave your hands free for fishing.
  • Catarafts
    This model is similar to a pontoon boat but much smaller. It floats on two rafters and is usually powered by paddles. They can often seat two or more people, depending on the setup.
  • Folding Kayaks
    These units are perfect for taking with you on the go. They fold up into a manageable size for transport. They are great for changing locations if the fish aren’t biting in one area.
  • Inflatable/Hard Shell Kayaks
    These kayaks are inflated with air and contain hard ribs to keep it rigid. Once deflated, they are small and easy to store. They are perfect for reaching those off the trail fishing spots.
  • Single Person/Tandem
    Some kayaks can hold only one person, and some can hold two or more. A tandem kayak is made for two people and is larger than a single kayak.

Benefits of Fishing Kayaks

There are many reasons why kayak fishing is growing in popularity. One of the major benefits is that using a kayak offers you access to places you may never have discovered. Some small waterways and tributaries are difficult to access by motorboat. A kayak is small enough to get to almost any area.

Another advantage is that fishing kayaks are portable. You can load it up and carry it to the lake without a problem. You don't need a trailer or a truck to haul it as you do with a motorboat.

Many people take up fishing to relax and experience tranquility. A fishing kayak is an ideal option for achieving that serene state.  Motorboats are much louder.

Fishing kayaks are also the most economical way to get around on the water. They are inexpensive and low maintenance compared to motorized boats. They are also better for the natural environment that makes fishing so relaxing.


Choosing a Quality Fishing Kayak (Buyer’s Guide)

Design and Comfort

Fishing kayaks come in many different shapes and sizes. You need to keep in mind what kind of fishing you will be doing. Comfort is essential when you’re paddling around all day. The hull type of your kayak will determine stability. If you want one with more stability, you need to choose a kayak with a narrow hull at the bow.

The design of the seat also determines comfort. You need to consider what type of seat will suit your needs. If you would like to relax, then you may want to look into a sit in kayak with a seatback.

Level of Paddling Experience

Since most kayaks are powered by paddling, you need to determine what level you are. A beginner should stick to a wider kayak with more stability to avoid tipping over. An expert will have more flexibility.

The water conditions that you will be fishing in will also determine what type of kayak you need. If the water is rough, then you will need more of a white water kayak. They have storage space that will keep your gear dry.

Kayak Type

You need to determine what type of kayak is going to suit your needs. If you live in a small apartment, you need to consider a folding or inflatable kayak. For stability and comfort, you want to choose a sit in or sit on top kayak. The type of kayak you select will be dependent on what you plan to use it for.

Size and Weight Capacity

All kayaks have a maximum amount of weight that is considered safe. If you are planning to store a lot of gear, then you need to figure out how much weight you can safely put into the kayak. Much like cars, kayaks sometimes have limited legroom. If you are tall, then you need to check the dimensions.

Stability and Safety Features

Different types of kayaks have varying levels of stability. A thinner one will be less stable than a wider one. Narrow ones are faster on the water. Wide kayaks are much less stable and should be used by beginners. Many also come with added safety features. When choosing a fishing kayak, you may have a lot of gear that needs to be kept away from water. One great safety feature is waterproof storage.

Tracking and Fishing Accessories

When you're holding your rod, you don't want to have to worry about maintaining the position of your kayak. You also want the kayak to go where you tell it. The tracking of a fishing kayak is its ability to stay on the course that you set out for it. A kayak with good tracking means that it stays in line with minimal movement or bobbing.

Included fishing accessories are always a bonus on a kayak. Some fishing kayaks come with built-in accessories. Some of them may have a slot on the side to hold your pole.

Storage and Portability

Some models may be quite large. If you live in a small space with no garage, then you have to consider your storage options. You can get a folding kayak, which would be able to fit into much smaller spaces. You also need to determine how you will be transporting it. If your car doesn't carry a large kayak, then you will need to seek out other options.

Propulsion

Most modern fishing kayaks are used with paddles. Some models require you to pedal. Motorized kayaks are the latest in technology. They are generally more expensive and less common. If you want your hands to be free at all times, then you might consider a pedal or motorized kayak.

Budget and Warranty

This buyer’s guide is centered around fishing kayaks under $1000. Everyone has a budget when shopping. If you are looking for something a bit less expensive, then we have a kayak to fit your budget. Since kayaks are made to be outdoors, occasionally something will break. Ensure that you are checking the warranty of your kayak.


7 Best Fishing Kayaks Under $1,000 Reviewed

1. Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 110

Our #1 Choice

Kayak Weight

62 lbs

Type

Sit on top

Dimensions

11ft x 33 Inches

Load Capacity

425 lbs

Body Type

Single piece polyethylene

Warranty

Yes, Limited Lifetime

This model is the best in its class when it comes to budget fishing kayaks. It weighs in at a mere 62 lbs, so it is easily portable. The sit on top design is easy to get in and out of while fishing. It also features two rod holders and four gear tracks. You can put customized rigging on the gear tracks.

One of the great features of the Sea Ghost is the rudder system. It is operated by your feet, which allows you to have ultimate control over your kayak. It features a rear hatch for access on either side of the kayak.

Most customers enjoyed the fact that the Sea Ghost is sturdy when standing up to catch fish, without the worry of tipping over.  

Pros

  • Plenty of storage space
  • Sturdy for standing while fishing
  • Built-in rudder system

Cons

  • Only two rod holders included

2. Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 100

Best Rated

Kayak Weight

52 lbs

Type

Sit on top

Dimensions

10 ft x 32 Inches

Load Capacity

375 lbs

Body Type

Single piece polyethylene

Warranty

Yes, limited Lifetime

This model is surely a winner as the best rated one. It features the classic sit on top design for ease and comfort. It weighs in at only 52 lbs, so it is easy to transport by hand. It is only 10 feet long, so it has great maneuverability.

It boasts four rod holders, which is more than the other models reviewed. It also has four gear tracks. The Yellowfin comes with tons of storage space. There is a large opening in the rear that will fit a small cooler.

Most users found this product to be fantastic, which is why it is the best rated in its class. 

Dani from Vibe Kayaks website exclaimed, "Love this kayak. Especially for my first purchased one, it's easy and comes ready to go!" This model has received rave reviews from both Amazon and Vibe Kayaks website.

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Four rod holders
  • Easy to maneuver through water

Cons

  • May not be big enough for some users

3. Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90

Best Value

Kayak Weight

46 lbs

Type

Sit on top

Dimensions

9 ft x 32 inches

Load Capacity

300 lbs

Body Type

Single piece polyethylene

Warranty

Yes, limited Lifetime

Everyone loves a good value, and the Skipjack delivers exactly that! It is affordable and durable. It weighs only 42 lbs, so it is easy for almost anyone to carry around. It is 9 feet in length, which makes it skip across the water nicely.

It comes with four rod holders, so you can be set for the day with this fishing kayak. It has plenty of storage with a center hatch and two storage wells. It also features a built-in cup holder for long days on the water.

Most customers felt that this kayak was truly the best value on the market. It came ready to go without any hangups.

Pros

  • Four rod holders
  • Stable enough for standing
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Uncomfortable seat

4. Advanced Elements

Best Inflatable Model

Kayak Weight

52 lbs

Type

Inflatable

Dimensions

15 ft x 32 Inches

Load Capacity

550 lbs

Body Type

3 layers of fabric and aluminum ribbing

Warranty

Yes, 1 year

Inflatable kayaks are the best portable option on the market. This one comes with built-in aluminum ribs that help with stability and tracking. It comes with puncture-resistant material for any condition. There are two seats with three different seat positions, so you can paddle solo or in tandem.

It easily folds up into a small carrying case so that you can go anywhere with it. This convertible kayak also has deck bungees for storing items while paddling. It also comes with paddle holders and reinforced rubber handles for getting in and out. 

Many customers loved the stability of this fishing kayak on the water. The steadiness of this kayak, with one or two people, is superb.

Pros

  • Stable in any water
  • Easy to carry
  • Aluminum ribs to help with tracking

Cons

  • Carrying case is not durable

5. Sun Dolphin Bali

Best Tandem Fishing Kayak 

Kayak Weight

70 lbs

Type

Tandem

Dimensions

13.5 Ft x 34.5 Inches

Load Capacity

500 lbs

Body Type

Fortiflex® High-Density Polyethylene

Warranty

Yes, limited Lifetime

***This product is available as a 'used' kayak for under $1000

What could possibly make kayak fishing better? If you get to do it with a friend! Tandem fishing kayaks are a great way to spend time with friends out on the water. It features three covered storage compartments for all of your gear.

It also boasts deck rigging for storing paddles or other items. It has comfortable, deluxe seats that are easily adjustable. It is quite a large fishing kayak at 13.5 feet. The seats can be moved around to accommodate multiple seating arrangements.

Most customers enjoyed the ability to move the seats around and easily accommodate multiple people.

Pros

  • Easily moveable seats for 1, 2, or 3 people
  • Lots of storage space
  • Deck rigging for holding paddles

Cons

  • Storage compartments not completely watertight

6. Perception Pescador Pro

Best Sit On Top Fishing Kayak Under $1,000

Kayak Weight

64 lbs

Type

Sit on top

Dimensions

12 ft x 32.5 inches

Load Capacity

375 lbs

Body Type

One-piece polyethylene

Warranty

Yes, 5 years

This model has taken the best in class for sit on top fishing kayaks. The seat is adjustable with two different positions. It can be lowered for paddling or raised for casting your line.

The Pescador also comes with two large, open storage spaces in the front and rear. It will easily hold all of your tackle. It has integrated rails for adding all of your favorite accessories, such as additional rod holders. It also comes with a skid plate for dragging the kayak to the water.

It is great for first-time kayak anglers. They also enjoyed the fact that it has everything you need to get started on the water.

Pros

  • Integrated rails for adding accessories
  • Skid plate to protect the kayak
  • Comfortable and adjustable seat

Cons

  • Rod holders may interfere with paddling

7. Lifetime 10 Foot

Best Stand Up Model

Kayak Weight

62 lbs

Type

Tandem/Standing

Dimensions

10 ft x 36 Inches

Load Capacity

500 lbs

Body Type

Low-density polyethylene

Warranty

Yes, 5 years

All fishing kayaks need to be able to support standing, but the Lifetime kayak was made for standing. It is stable in any water conditions. It is capable of sitting two people if you change the seating positions. 

It also includes two paddles and paddle clips. There are three built-in fishing rod holders. It also features a 6-inch storage container within the hull. It boasts multiple footrest areas for maximum comfort. Since it is the best stand up kayak in this roundup, it is ultra-stable. It tracks well in the water.

Many people who purchased this product enjoyed the extreme stability. They also liked the fact that there was plenty of storage space. 

Derrick, from Lifetime's website, said, "Could not ask for a better fishing kayak. It's reasonably priced, very stable and has plenty of room for all my gear."

Pros

  • Includes two paddles
  • Multiple footrest areas
  • Ideal for standing up

Cons

  • Heavier than other models

Best Kayak Fishing Brands

There are numerous different brands of fishing kayaks on the market, but some of them really stand out. From our reviewed products, you can see that Vibe Kayaks comes up multiple times. Vibe has been a staple in the fishing and recreational kayak realm. Other top brands include Lifetime, Perception, and Hobie.


Best Kayak Accessories and Gear

  • Paddle - This item is used to propel the kayak forward. Most of them are double-sided.
  • Spray Skirt - You place this around the kayak seating area to keep you dry when paddling in the water.
  • Rod Holders - You can attach this to your kayak to hold your fishing rod while you paddle or sit in the wake.
  • Anchor Trolleys - This allows you to anchor your trolley in windy conditions. It also allows you to change the position of your boat.
  • Dry/Wet Storage - These storage containers allow you to keep your important items dry while on the water.
  • Paddle Holders - They hold your paddles while you are fishing. They are usually on the side of your kayak for quick access.
  • Rudders - These allow you to change the direction of your boat easily. They help when in windy conditions or to keep the track even.
  • Transom Trolling Motors - These are small motors that allow you to propel your boat through the water. It saves you from paddling.
  • GPS Units - This accessory allows you to navigate the waterways and find secret fishing spots. It also allows you to navigate your way back to land.
  • Fish Finders and Batteries - This device allows you to find your next catch quickly and easily. It also helps you see the hotspots.
  • Fishing Gear - This is a wide range of gear, including tackle, rods, reels, and other fishing essentials.

Care and Maintenance of Fishing Kayaks

Fishing kayaks require little maintenance, but you should take a few steps to ensure longevity. Once you take your kayak out, you should drain and ventilate it once you return to land. You should also use soap, water, and a bristle brush to clean it. Vinyl protectant can help extend the life of your fishing kayak.


Kayak Fishing Safety Tips

The most important thing to remember when going out on the water is to be safe. One of the essential accessories we can recommend for your new fishing kayak is a life vest. A life vest should always be worn in any water conditions. You should also bring a safety whistle and a flashlight.


Frequently Asked Questions

What color kayak is best for fishing?

Bright colored kayaks are best for fishing so that other boaters can see you. If you know you’re going to be in a more secluded area away from larger boats, you might want to opt for a camouflaged or darker colored kayak, as some fishers believe these will “hide” you from the fish.

Should I get a sit in or sit on kayak? Which is more stable?

A sit in kayak is more difficult to get in and out of when fishing, but they can be more stable. A sit on kayak offers more versatility when trying to stand and fish. It will really depend on your personal preferences, and what type of gear you intend to bring along/store.

What size kayak do I need?

Depending on your weight and height, you may need a larger or smaller kayak. Kayaks range from around 9 feet long to 15 feet long. Taller people may want more leg room, so a longer kayak will be more suitable.

Is there a weight limit for kayaking?

You should read the weight capacity for the kayak you plan to purchase. In general, most people should be able to kayak comfortably. Some kayaks carry up to 550 lbs. Just keep in mind that the weight capacity includes both yourself and all your gear.

What is the average weight of a kayak?

Kayaks can weigh anywhere between 50 and 100 pounds, on average. Keep this in mind when thinking about how you’ll be transporting your kayak. 

Do fishing kayaks flip over easily?

Generally, they are stable enough to withstand normal to slightly wavy water conditions. When you are in a seated position, the kayak will not be in danger of tipping. Most tipping on calm waters comes from inexperienced users getting in/out.

What is the difference between a kayak and a canoe?

A user normally sits on a step in a canoe. In a kayak, you sit lower on a seat with your legs in front of you.

What should I wear when going kayaking?

We recommend that you always wear a life vest for safety while kayaking. You can feel free to wear whatever clothes make you feel comfortable otherwise.


Conclusion

Next time you are considering going out on the water, give this buyer's guide a quick read. If you are shopping for a fishing kayak, this is the perfect reference to find exactly what you need.

We have sorted through all of the top fishing kayaks under $1,000, and we have found that the winner of this roundup is the Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 110. It is versatile, lightweight, and perfect for a day of fishing.

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