Kayaking is an excellent outdoor activity that guarantees you tons of fun by exposing you to the beautiful nature, and at the same time providing you with an opportunity to relax as well. You can either opt for kayaking on its own or even consider experiencing fish kayaking. Regardless of your skill level or whether you catch anything or not, it can be an amazing experience that you can do either on your own, with a friend, or even in a group.
For experienced kayakers, adding the fishing component to kayaking can lead to a richer and diversified experience. It is like stepping the sport one level up. Similarly, fishing enthusiasts may also find this a refreshing change, and may even get the hang of a kayak that might suit them better than the regular boats that they have been using all this time!
Fishing kayaks, given their design and size, allow you to access remote places that you wouldn’t expect to reach by boat. Kayaks are quiet whilst in motion, and that allows you to relax and connect better with your surroundings. More and more anglers are now turning to kayaks, as the proximity of sighting the fish in the water is much closer to a kayak than a traditional boat.
Kayaks are cheaper than your traditional fishing boats, and also save you costs in the long run as they do not run on fuel, do not require insurance, or any heavy maintenance.
If you have made up your mind on purchasing a kayak and do not want to lose an arm and a leg in doing so, this guide is written for you. In this guide, we have endeavored to compile the 9 best fishing kayaks under the price range of $500, as well as our special pick for the best one out there.
Recommended Cheap Fishing Kayak Models under $500
What is The Best Fishing Kayak Under 500?
As you will notice, there are multiple brands with varying functionalities when it comes to buying a fishing kayak.
Based on our thorough research and multiple reviews from a lot of satisfied customers, we highly recommend to you the ‘SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Bali SS’.
For under $500, this kayak is a steal! It has a spacious seating area, protection for thigh, and adjustable foot braces. For further information, read the full features in the review section below.
Reviews of the Best Fishing Kayaks
In this section, we have shortlisted for you some of the best fishing kayaks that are available in the market that are meant to provide you great value for your money ($500 or less) without compromising on the overall fun and experience.
The options relating to fishing kayaks are many and it all depends on what your specific requirements and preferences are. Budget is also another important consideration but we have got that covered as we are only reviewing kayaks that are worth $500 or less, as we believe that a fishing kayak shouldn’t be an expensive item. Choose one and let the fun times begin!
1. Intex Excursion Pro Fishing Kayak
This Intex excursion fishing kayak has a sturdy laminate material with a polyester core that gives it durability and offers great resistance against high impact, abrasion, or even severe sunlight. It is light-weight and portable, so you can transport it easily to the lake or river and move it around with ease.
High-pressure inflation gives it added rigidity and stability. It has high-pressure spring-loaded valves that allow for quick and easy inflation and equally swift deflation. The 3-Ply construction gives it high strength and gives a high molecular PVC that doesn’t get affected by gasoline, oil salt water, and the like.
It affords the structure with more rigidity if you like by allowing for more air pressure. It comes as standard with 2 specially designed removable skews for maximum flexibility within deep and shallow waters.
Some other features include 2 floor-mounted footrests, 2 integrated recessed fishing rod holders, 2 adjustable bucket seats that are designed for comfort and support. It also provides a mounting bracket for additional accessories (removable and adjustable), for example, navigation systems, fish finders, swivel fishing rod holders, et al. It has great storage well in the bow and also has stern with d-rings (stainless steel material) for fastening bags and gear items. It has a weight capacity of around 400 lbs that makes it suitable for a range of kayakers.
Its dimensions are 151 x 37 x 18 inches and weigh only 43.6 pounds.
2. Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak
This Sevylor Coleman kayak accommodates 2 kayakers and makes it a great choice for those looking for a companion on their fishing expeditions.
It has an 18-gauge PVC, a thick and sturdy tarpaulin bottom and a nylon cover that is designed for toughness. It has a durable structure and designed to ensure that you can reach those excluded fishing spots or holes. If required, it also has multiple air chambers that can assist you in getting back to the shore.
The seats can be adjusted to accommodate the kayaker and allows for a comfortable and fun experience throughout. If you do not intend to put in too much effort, then you can also rely on the trolling motor so you can cruise easily through the water and safely store the paddles within the holders provided for your convenience.
The Berkley Quick Set rod holders allow you to adjust your pole angle for the amazing hands-free fishing experience, allowing you to sit back and soak in the scenery around you. You can also search for items in the mesh pockets or attached D-rings or generally divert your attention to something else you want to do, with complete peace of mind.
Its dimensions are 30.1 x 11.6 x 19.2 inches and weigh around 40 pounds.
3. Sevylor Tahiti Fishing Kayak
Sevylor Tahiti is a renowned name when it comes to comfort and accommodating 2 kayaks.
This kayak has adjustable seating and a super comfortable padded backrest that allows you to take longer trips and doesn’t stresses you out with continuous paddling.
It comes standard with two spray covers that can help you keep dry during those inclement or unexpected weather conditions.
The carry handles are firm and make it easy for the kayaker to carry it within shallow water, or to generally get in and out of water.
It also has double lock valves with two locking points that allow for super quick inflation/deflation.
The 21-gauge PVC construction makes this equipment durable and long-lasting, allowing it to be used for multiple seasons. The Airtight System ensures that there are no leakages inside, and if you do face any issues, the multiple air chambers ensure that you reach the shore back safely.
It comes in a very handy carry bag and the product is NMMA certified to accommodate up to 360 lbs, which makes it a great option for a wide range of kayaks. It also comes with a standard 90-day limited warranty from Sevylor.
Its dimensions are 124.8 x 34.8 x 24 inches and weigh only 19.36 pounds.
4. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak
The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is renowned for being sporty and tons of fun – thanks to its streamlined design that allows for easy paddling.
The bright yellow color and cool graphics enhance its visibility when out in the water. It is an ideal companion for those looking to explore the lakes and mild rivers with another like-minded kayaker, as it can easily accommodate 2 adults.
It can be assembled with ease and easily portable given its lightweight and compact size. It is made from rugged vinyl that gives it a strong and durable feel. It also has an inflatable I-beam floor for optimum comfort and stability.
Another feature that adds directional stability to this kayak is its removable skeg. There are two adjustable seats with cushioned backrests that ensure that paddling is not a hassle and the kayakers are comfortable throughout the journey.
The equipment can be inflated or deflated with ease with the help of a Boston valve on each side of the kayak.
Some other features of this kayak include a grab line and grab handle on both ends for your convenience, a U.S. Coast Guard I.D., and a repair patch kit. Some other added accessories of this Explorer Kayak include two 86” aluminum oars, and a high-output air pump for easy inflation and deflation of the kayak.
Its dimensions are 123 x 36 x 20 inches and weigh only 35 pounds.
5. Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak
This Tamarack angler kayak is made from UV-Protected high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and comes with a 5-year limited warranty. It has a stable flat bottom surface that makes it a sturdy piece of equipment in the water. It comes with deep hull tracking channels and stability chine rails.
There are varying footrest positions to ensure that riders of all sizes can be accommodated. It also comes standard with adjustable padded seatbacks for optimum comfort of the rider.
Some other features of this kayak include front and rear shock cord straps, paddle keeper with shock cords, front and rear T-handles for easy transportation, 2 flushes mounted fishing rod holders, and a top mount fishing rod holder.
The kayak also has two 6″ compartments in the rear and center of the kayak, for storing personal belongings or any other accessory.
Its dimensions are 120 x 31 x 14 inches and weigh only 52 pounds. It has a weight capacity of 275 lbs and hence it can be a great option for a range of kayakers.
6. Airhead Montana Inflatable Kayak
Airhead Montana Inflatable kayaks are an ideal gear for camping, vacationing, accessing remote areas, and as part of cruising yachts.
This kayak can be easily folded and fitted into the trunk of your car, suitcase, or even a duffel bag. That way, you can keep it stored and take it with you wherever you want. You have a ready to use a kayak with you at all times – thanks to its lightweight, compact size and portability.
It is specifically designed for use in lakes and moderate white water. The inflatable seats are adjustable and come as standard with a supported backrest which also has a mesh pocket for storage.
The bright orange color makes it highly visible for safety purposes. It has low drag and a superior tracking due to its 4 bottom fins.
It also has 3 air chambers that are encapsulated by rugged 840-denier nylon that is coated to protect from sunlight and also makes them water-resistant. The tri-laminate reinforcements are visible beneath the kayak making it durable and long-lasting. Its neoprene elbow guards afford added comfort during paddling.
It is super easy to inflate and deflate with the assistance of its 3 Boston valves with nylon covers and stainless steel feature that protects against corrosion.
Some other features include 6 D-rings at bow and stern for securing the gear, stretch net in the bow with low drag, great tracking, grab handles for easy handling before, during and after use, and threaded drain plug.
It is 12 feet in length, weighs 36.3 pounds, and has a weight capacity of 500 lbs.
7. Sevylor Quikpak K1 1-Person Kayak
Getting closer to water and exploring the outdoors has never been easier – thanks to Sevylor K1 Sit-On-Top QuikPak Kayak.
This inflatable equipment works similarly as a traditional sit-on-top kayak. The only major difference is in packing – this one folds up within its integrated backpack that has padded shoulder straps and neatly fits into your car or van. When you intend to use it again, it can be easily set up again within minutes.
Given the spacious design, a rider can sit back and stretch their legs, back, and arms whilst padding. There is a spacious cargo net on the front that allows you to hold your gear, packed food, or any other personal belongings. There is also a cup holder that holds your drink close to you while you ride.
The lift handle makes it super easy to carry the kayak within shallow water or in and out of it, as required.
Some other features of this kayak include rigid floor, flat bottom and three-chamber design (gives the kayak its solid shape on the water and provide improved security in case you get snagged), Airtight System consists of thick PVC and reinforced bottom guaranteeing there are no leaks, double lock fast valves, and mini-double lock fast valves (making inflation and deflation easy), compact storage, and a high-pressure hand pump.
Its dimensions are 103 x 36 x 30 inches and weigh only 18 pounds. It has a weight capacity of 400 lbs and hence it can be a great option for a range of kayakers.
8. Old Town Vapor 10 Recreational Kayak
The Old Town Vapor 10 Kayak is a compact equipment but at the same time offering lots of space to the rider. It is a stable kayak that offers its rider an efficient ride and is made out of sturdy polyethylene.
It is specially designed with a wide cockpit opening that helps a kayaker in entering and exiting and also accommodates paddlers of varying sizes. It has a comfortable seating arrangement, is easy to use and handle and hence, guarantees tons of fun. It has easy-grip thigh pads that ensure optimum comfort to its paddlers, particularly on those long tiring days in the water.
Its dimensions are 120 x 28.5 x 15 inches, has a length of 10-foot, and weighs only 47 pounds. It has a weight capacity of 325 lbs and hence it can be a great option for a range of kayakers. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty, and its paddles are sold separately.
9. Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-on-top Kayak
The Capri 10 SS Sit-On-Top Kayak is a perfect kayak for the adventure you are seeking. It is great recreational equipment that is used on the lake or river. It features a lightweight, easy to carry design, and has an open cockpit that allows for easy entry and egress. It has a compartmentalized storage area for all your personal belongings with an added expandable storage. The adjustable foot braces and a wide seating space (with adjustable padded seat) ensure that you stay comfortable throughout the expedition.
You can easily access those hard to get fishing spots. Its tracks and paddles allow optimum stability to the kayaker.
Some other great features include graduated footwells, storage, and shock cord deck rigging, carrying handles, and a molded-in paddle holder.
It is made out of rugged UV-stabilized fortiflex high-density polyethylene. It is lightweight and hence easy to carry around.
Its dimensions are 120 x 30 x 11 inches and weigh only 44 pounds. It is available in blue and lime colors.
Things To Consider When Choosing A Fishing Kayak
When looking for the best fishing kayak, every angler would want to ensure that he/she can rely on the equipment to efficiently help them explore the water, and keep them stable and secure, whilst they maneuver the rod.
More specifically, there are multiple key factors that every kayaker should consider when choosing a fishing kayak. Let us take a look at those aspects before you make that all-important decision to purchase your kayak.
Sit-in kayaks are designs that allow your lower body to be enclosed within the kayak’s hull. These are meant to sit lower in water and hence, provide a lower center of gravity – enhancing efficiency and rigidity when floating in the water.
Sit-on-top kayaks are ideal for casual usage and are more often used when the weather is stable and clear. It has an open hull design that lets you enjoy a dip in the water and subsequently get back in fairly easily. These types are well-suited to novice kayakers, as they do not have to worry about capsizing, which can be the biggest fear when out in the water.
Inflatable kayaks have just recently grown in popularity. They are constructed out of durable and puncture-resistant PVC material that is meant to withstand most weather and water conditions. An inflatable kayak can be an ideal choice for you, as storage is super easy and convenient when deflated. They are often a practical option for a lot of hikers and campers as it can easily squeeze into their small duffel bag.
A lighter and appropriately sized kayak makes your life bliss when moving around. Always think through as to how you will be transporting the kayak from your home to the lake or river that you need to take it to.
It is also important that you stow away your kayak appropriately after use to give it longevity. If it is a lightweight and reasonably sized kayak, it makes your life a whole lot easier.
Storage is an important aspect to consider, particularly on long or overnight trips. You also need to pack intelligently when fitting things into a storage well or compartment. The bow and stern of a traditional kayak can easily accommodate backpacks or dry bags, sleeping bags, tents, etc.
Sit-in kayaks tend to have more storage space as compared to the sit-on-top designed kayak. There are also watertight storage compartments to keep the gear dry and safe, depending on the model you are purchasing.
Another option for add-on storage is aftermarket kayak crates that can be used in sit-on-top kayaks or a form of bungee lashing system.
Recreational kayaks are usually manufactured from polyethylene plastic that is tough and durable. However, it is heavier as compared to fiberglass kayaks and can be damaged due to prolonged UV exposure.
Another material used for kayaks is ABS plastic. They are lighter and afford greater UV protection to the kayak but more expensive than polyethylene.
Inflatable kayaks are a slightly different breed and constructed from puncture-resistant PVC that is highly durable but still comes with a risk of leakage that can be fixed with the help of a repair kit.
When it comes to size, be mindful of the fact that a longer and narrower kayak should be an ideal choice if you are looking to travel faster and straighter. On the contrary, if a kayak is wider and shorter in dimensions, then it is meant to be more stable in the water, and also turns easily – but at the cost of speed.
For beginners, a wider kayak is a much safer option and will help them grow in confidence too.
Recreational kayaks are meant to be used in small lakes, rivers, creeks, and other still waters. They are usually around 8 – 13 feet long and can efficiently navigate narrow inlets. Touring kayaks are meant to be used in large waves, bigger rivers or lake waters. They are generally around 14 – 18 feet long.
You should also consider adjustable footrests and the length of the kayak in relation to your height, and the overall weight capacity that such size can withstand safely.
Anchoring (besides a sandbar) is a standard method of stabilizing a floating kayak when you want to stay put. Always remember – weight is not the key factor when deciding to buy an anchor, its size is! A lot of people get this wrong so it is important to emphasize this outright.
Do not cut corners by replacing a kayak anchor with any other heavy object. This will only lead to frustration as your kayak will be scooting through the bottom when the water or weather condition changes. This is dangerous as it undermines your safety, and to the kayak as well, as it may cause damage to the bottom surface too.
Some common anchor weights that are routinely used by kayak anglers are either a 1.5 lb or 3.0 lb folding anchor.
Kayaks can range from low to very high, depending upon the material, brand, and add-on features that you are looking for. For example, pedal-drivers are more expensive as compared to the traditional ones without them (close to $1800 or more) as they provide boat-like functionalities and mechanisms that a lot of pro-anglers prefer. Then you have other options that are generally affordable by the masses but can still present you with some great features. These are ideal for kayakers who are beginners, or just want to take it up as a hobby, or even considering a purchase as a second or third kayak for a bigger family or group.
The $500 price point is as reasonable as it gets when it comes to good quality kayaks with all the key features. We think that price mark is a sweet spot for most of the kayakers, and will also serve to promote this sport amongst the masses, who may otherwise not be interested in it due to pricing.
Kayaks are multi-purpose sports equipment and can be used for recreational purposes, for longer trips, and even for some thrilling whitewater expeditions.
Just because these kayaks are priced under $500, doesn’t mean they are lacking in the key features, functionality, and safety in general. You will be pleasantly surprised by the value you extracted out of the price you paid for any of these kayaks that are meant to capture most of the important features as we discussed in the section above. Happy fishing and enjoy the ride!