10 Best Budget Fishing Kayaks

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Most times, better quality also means that you have to pay a higher price for something. Sadly, this is also the case for fishing kayaks. You must be willing to pay top dollar if you want something maneuverable, with pedals, lots of cargo areas, comfortable seats, rod holders, adjustable footrests, gear track. Such a craft could have MSRP well over a thousand bucks, something that only seasoned anglers and few other people can afford. But don’t worry, here we bring you a list of 10 of the best affordable fishing kayaks. 

In today’s piece, you will find prices as low as 350 bucks to nearly 800 dollars. All are suitable options. But if you value our opinion, we suggest you get the Pelican Sentinel 100. It comes with an adjustable footrest, flush-mounted rod holders, and a fairly comfortable seat. It also offers plenty of room for you and your gear. But if you want to keep the cost as low as possible, we suggest getting the Lifetime Tamarack 100. It is simple but gets the job done. And, for those willing to push their budgets to 750, the Perception Pescador offers the performance for the money. 

Keep reading further to find more details about these and other options.

10 Best Budget Fishing Kayaks Reviewed in 2021

Pelican Sentinel 100x Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak

Features: 

  • Length (feet): 9.5
  • Width (inches): 30
  • Weight (pounds): 44
  • Capacity (pounds): 275
  • Number of Seats: 1
  • Polyethylene shell
  • Flush-mounted rod holders 
  • Adjustable footrest

Do you want something light? Do you have at least 500 bucks to spare? If you answered yes to both questions, the Pelican Sentinel 100X is the fishing kayak for you. It has a lightweight polyethylene construction with built-in buoyancy chambers. The entire craft only weighs around 44 pounds and hauls up to 275 pounds worth of cargo. 

The Sentinel 100x is 9.5 feet long and 30 inches wide at the beam. As a result, the craft is easy to maneuver, which makes it perfect to paddle through narrow creeks and rivers. On the other hand, the multi-chine hull offers superior stability to cast and reel the fish while standing. It also makes things easier when getting in and out of the yak.  

In terms of comfort, the Sentinel 100x doesn’t deliver as one would want. The padded seat doesn’t offer enough cushioning. Plus, you can only adjust the backrest. The good thing is that there is plenty of room for your legs, and the footrest helps a lot. 

The Sentinel 100x comes with two flush-mounted rod holders and two cargo areas at either end. 

Pros: 

  • Very manurable
  • Light
  • Somewhat stable 
  • Plenty of room for your legs
  • Roomy deck

Cons: 

  • No watertight hatchet 
  • Uncomfortable seat
  • It doesn’t come with a paddle

Lifetime Tamarack Angler 1000 Kayak

Features: 

  • Length (feet): 10
  • Width (inches): 31
  • Weight (pounds): 52
  • Capacity (pounds): 275
  • Number of Seats: 1
  • Polyethylene shell
  • Flush-mounted and top-mount rod holders 
  • Molded footrest
  • Two 6” storage hatches

The Tamarack Angler is, arguably, one of the best options for those looking for an affordable fishing kayak. It has a UV-resistant polyethylene construction that is 10 feet long and 31 inches wide. 

The design is simple. The hull is flat, something that favors stability. On the other hand, the sharp bow increases tracking and speed. Moving on to the deck, we find several molded footrests, two hatches, a cargo area with bungee tie-downs, and a seat. Neither of the hatchets is watertight. Plus, only the back of the seat is adjustable. The good news is that it sits a little above the deck, making it easier to stand up. 

The three fishing rod holders and included paddles were among the things we liked about the Tamarack Angler kayak. We also dig the cargo area in the stern. It offers plenty of space to accommodate a large tackle bag. 

Pros: 

  • The seat sits a little above the deck 
  • The paddle comes with the kayak
  • Large stern cargo area 
  • Three rod holders 

Cons: 

  • No watertight storage hatchet
  • Little room to fish while standing 
  • The seat takes its toll

Perception Pescador 12 Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak

Features: 

  • Length (feet): 12
  • Width (inches): 32
  • Weight (pounds): 64
  • Capacity (pounds): 375
  • Number of Seats: 1
  • Polyethylene body 
  • Flush-mounted rod holders 
  • Adjustable footrest 
  • Gear tracks 

You might not like the color, but the Perception Pescador 10 is a force of nature. It is 12 feet long and 32 inches wide. The wide beam and flat bottom offer superior stability on slow-moving waters. 

The high-density polyethylene body looks sturdy enough to handle many years of abuse. The main problem with it is the added weight. With 64 pounds, it is among the heaviest fishing kayaks on this list. The good thing is that it hauls up to 325 pounds. Plus, it comes with plenty of storage space. 

The Perception Pescador 10 offers two flush-mounted rod holders, a set of gear tracks for accessories, and adjustable footrests. 

We have mixed opinions regarding the seat. It is comfortable, yes. Plus, you can easily adjust the backrest, which offers some support. But in the long run, it becomes unbearable. 

Pros: 

  • Plenty of room for storage 
  • Very stable 
  • Adjustable footrests 
  • It comes with gear tracks 

Cons: 

  • It doesn’t come with a paddle
  • The seat is not suitable for prolonged use 
  • The hatchet is not watertight

Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak

Features: 

  • Length (feet): 10.9
  • Width (inches): 30
  • Weight (pounds): 41
  • Capacity (pounds): 470
  • Number of Seats: 2
  • PVS shell with nylon coating
  • Flush-mounted rod holders 
  • Inflatable 

When it comes down to tandem fishing kayaks, it hardly gets better than this. The Colorado 2-Person fishing kayak boasts an 18-gauge PVC construction. Sevylor reinforced the bottom with a 1000D tarpaulin. They covered the rest with a puncture-resistant nylon layer. The shell is hard enough to cope with the occasional hit and scratch. 

Nevertheless, punctures could happen regardless of how thick the structure is. That’s why Sevylor Coleman built multiple air chambers. This way, the craft will still float in the event of a puncture. 

The Colorado inflatable fishing kayak comes with two flush-mounted rod holders and another adjustable pair. This way, you can virtually have four lines on the water at the same time. Naturally, you can’t add more since you can puncture the hull to do it. Surprising as it might sound, the craft is suitable with Sevylor’s trolling engines. So you can upgrade later on if you want. 

Storage space is the one thing that the Colorado fishing kayak lacks. Despite having a 470-pound capacity, there is barely enough room to accommodate that much gear. 

Pros: 

  • Decent capacity for an inflatable Kayak
  • Feather-like weight
  • Multiple air chambers
  • Compatible with trolling engines
  • Durable Boston valves

Cons: 

  • It doesn’t have enough room to accommodate many things 
  • Very narrow on the inside
  • It is not that stable 
  • It doesn’t come with a pump

BKC FK184 Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak with Paddle

Features: 

  • Length (feet): 9
  • Width (inches): 33
  • Weight (pounds): 44
  • Capacity (pounds): 330
  • Number of Seats: 1
  • Polyethylene shell
  • Five rod holders
  • Molded footrest
  • Watertight hatches

Most fishing kayaks of quality are well beyond 1000 bucks. Thankfully, the Brooklyn Kayak Company managed to offer one that even beginners could afford: The FK184.

The craft has a high-density roto-molded polyethylene construction. It can cope with UV abrasion and without breaking a sweat. Somehow the FK184 manages to be a light craft, as it only weighs 44 pounds. 

The BKC FK184 frame is stable enough to handle rivers, lakes, and even the open ocean. Naturally, performance is better on calm waters. Another thing worth mentioning is that the BKC has a superb carrying capacity for its size. With 330 pounds worth of cargo, it is among the best ratings on this review. 

The fishing kayak already comes with a paddle. It is a little short for an adult. But it will do the trick until you purchase something better. The craft also features five-rod holders, two waterproof hatchets, and a cargo area with bungee tie-downs. 

The deck barely has enough space for you to cast while standing. Plus, the foam seat offers minimum back support. These are the two main trade-offs of this craft. 

Pros: 

  • Great capacity for the size
  • It comes with five rod holders 
  • The craft has watertight hatches 
  • Five-year warranty
  • The wide beam offers superb stability

Cons: 

  • Not enough back support
  • Not enough space for fishing while standing
  • Not suitable for large anglers or people with thick legs 
  • Slow and it doesn’t track well

Perception Sound 10.5 Sit-Inside Fishing Kayak

Features: 

  • Length (feet): 10.5
  • Width (inches): 29.5
  • Weight (pounds): 46
  • Capacity (pounds): 335
  • Number of Seats: 1
  • Polyethylene shell
  • Two flush-mounted rod holders 
  • Adjustable footrest 

Although most anglers favor sit-on-top fishing kayaks, we couldn’t leave the Perception Sound 10.5 behind. You will see why in just a moment.

As the name suggests, the craft is 10.5 feet long with a 29.5-inch wide beam. As a result, it tracks well and is easy to maneuver. However, stability is not that great. Don’t get us wrong. You won’t be thrown off balance while fishing. But the Sound 10.5 is not suitable for fast-moving waters. 

The Sound 10.5 has a wide cockpit. Inside, you have a comfortable seat and adjustable footrests. There is enough space for anglers of various sizes, which is something uncommon on sit-inside fishing kayaks. 

In terms of fishing-specific features, you only get two molded-in rod holders. Plus, a cargo area with bungee tie-downs and a dashboard where you can keep small items. As you can see, there is not much storage room to get the most out of the 335-pound capacity. 

Pros: 

  • Spacious cockpit
  • Comfortable seat 
  • It tracks great, and it is fairly fast
  • Very stable over calm waters 

Cons: 

  • It doesn’t come with a paddle
  • There is barely enough room for cargo 
  • No watertight storage hatchet 

Sun Dolphin Journey SS Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak

Features: 

  • Length (feet): 10
  • Width (inches): 30
  • Weight (pounds): 44
  • Capacity (pounds): 250
  • Number of Seats: 1
  • Polyethylene body 
  • Flush-mounted rod holders 
  • Adjustable footrest 
  • Watertight hatchet

At first glance, the Journey SS looks like a sit-inside fishing kayak. However, upon closer inspection, you will notice the open deck. While sitting closer to the deck increases stability and maneuverability. It also makes it harder to stand up and get in and out of the yak. So, it might not be the best choice for those who have a hard time standing from a low position. 

With that out of the way, let’s talk about the Journey SS features. The craft is 10 feet long and 30 inches wide. Stability and maneuverability are two distinctive factors of the Journey SS. The deck has enough space to accommodate anglers with large legs. 

Now, the seat is a problem. You only get a padded backrest! That’s why we hardly recommend fixing another seat on Journey 10. You will feel miserable otherwise. 

It comes with two flush-mounted rod holders behind the seat. Plus, a swivel rod holder between your legs. There you also have a watertight hatchet which is barely enough to accommodate some small items. 

Therefore, to take advantage of the 250 pounds capacity, you must rely on the bungee tie-down areas. The one on the stern has a removable lid and is a lot bigger than the one at the bow.

Pros: 

  • Spacious deck
  • The swivel rod holder is a blessing
  • Large rear cargo area 
  • Very stable and maneuverable

Cons: 

  • It only comes with half seat
  • No paddle
  • Poor tracking

Perception Flash 9.5 Sit-Inside Fishing Kayak

Features: 

  • Length (feet): 9.5
  • Width (inches): 28.5
  • Weight (pounds): 41
  • Capacity (pounds): 325
  • Number of Seats: 1
  • Polyethylene body 
  • Flush-mounted rod holders 
  • Adjustable footrest 
  • Cargo hatchet

Compact, easy to paddle with, and stable are three words we would use to describe the Perception Flash 9.5. The multi-chine hull keeps the craft steady even on the ocean. 

Despite being a sit-inside kayak, getting in and out is not as challenging as other models, thanks to the wide and open cockpit. 

Although the seat is slim, we noticed that it is surprisingly comfortable. Naturally, it requires more effort to sit because the seat is so low. But apart from that, we have no complaints. 

The Flash 9.5 comes with adjustable foot braces. The various positions promise to accommodate anglers of all sizes.

The 325 pounds carrying capacity is another high point. Sadly, there is not much room to take advantage of it. You only get a small hatchet at the stern and a dashboard in front of the seat. You might be able to accommodate a small tackle box behind the seat. 

You also get two flush-mounted rod holders behind the seat and nothing else. Unfortunately, we see no room to add a set of gear tracks to attach some extra holders or a fish finder. That’s why we wouldn’t recommend this craft to those with a lot of gear to move. 

Pros: 

  • It is the most affordable kayak until now
  • Easy to paddle with
  • Wide cockpit

Cons: 

  • No room for cargo
  • It doesn’t come with a paddle
  • The cargo hatchet is not watertight

Lifetime Hydros angler Kayak

Features: 

  • Length (feet): 10
  • Width (inches): 30
  • Weight (pounds): 41
  • Capacity (pounds): 225
  • Number of Seats: 1
  • Polyethylene body 
  • Flush-mounted and adjustable rod holders 
  • Molded footrest 

If you want to spend less than 400 bucks, then you should read this one. But don’t expect too many things from it as it has a simple design.

The high-density polyethylene craft is 10 feet long and 30 inches wide. It has a sharp bow and a tunnel-like hull that increases stability and tracking. We were able to paddle straight with the hydros without breaking a sweat. It is also fairly maneuverable. So you won’t face any troubles using it even if you are a first-time paddler.

The Hydros comes with two flush-mounted rod holders behind the backrest. There is also another adjustable holder inside the deck. The latter lacks rigidity. Consequently, your rod might move from time to time. 

Storage-wise, you get two bungee tie-down areas, one on either end. Neither is large enough to accommodate lots of gear. Still, the 225-pounds capacity leaves you with little free carrying capacity after considering your own weight. 

Pros: 

  • Tracks wells 
  • Fairly easy to maneuver
  • The backrest offers decent support

Cons: 

  • Poor capacity
  • The adjustable rod holder gets loose with time
  • There is little room to stand up 

Perception Tribe 9.5 Sit-On-Top Angler Kayak

Features: 

  • Length (feet): 9.5
  • Width (inches): 31.3
  • Weight (pounds): 46
  • Capacity (pounds): 300
  • Number of Seats: 1
  • Polyethylene body 
  • Molded footrest 
  • Seat with mesh backrest

This is starting to look as if Perception was sponsoring us. Sadly, it is not the case. It is not our fault that they offer so many options for less than 800 bucks. 

This time, we will talk about their Tribe model. It is 9.5 feet long and 31.3 inches wide. There is also an 11.5 feet version for those willing to pay a few extra dollars. Both models share the same build and features. 

Stability-wise, the Tribe 9.5 is suitable for slow-moving waters such as rivers and creeks. The craft remains steady as you cast and get in and out. It also offers some room to fish while standing. It is not much. But at least you can.

The lack of rod holders is the major flaw we found in the Tribe 9.5 yak. You can fix one in the middle, naturally. But most other options offer molded rod holders at least. However, what you lose in fishing-specific features, you gain in comfort. The seat on the Tribe 9.5 fishing kayak is remarkably comfortable and offers great back support. 

There are two large storage areas with bungee tie-downs. Plus, a single, waterproof hatchet to keep your essentials close.

Pros: 

  • Superb carrying capacity 
  • Comfortable seat with a meshed back
  • Plenty of room for cargo 
  • Very stable while fishing from a standing position

Cons: 

  • It comes with no rod holders
  • Quite heavy
  • The carrying handles aren’t durable

Choosing the Best Fishing Kayak on a Budget

Choosing something is always hard. But it gets particularly difficult when you are on a tight budget. Here you have to know what compromises can you make and what is absolutely essential. It is not impossible, though it will take time. 

Luckily for you, we are here to help you. We’ve gathered and summarized all the information that you need to make a decision. In this section, we will discuss features, performance, as well as answer some common questions that you might have. So, let’s dive right into it. 

Kayak Fishing Models

Most people only know sit-inside kayaks as they are the most common among recreational kayakers. However, as you start browsing the market, you will notice that there are sit-on-top models as well. But, what’s the difference? Let’s see. 

Sit-Inside Fishing Kayaks

As the same suggests, the seat is inside the deck. Check the picture below. As a result, your legs remain below the deck, making you less likely to get entirely wet. Sitting closer to the water lowers the center of gravity as well. That’s why sit-inside kayaks are inherently more stable than their sit-on-top counterparts.

Additionally, sit-inside kayaks are easier to maneuver since you can use your whole core to do it. But there is a major catch: The lack of space.

Because the deck is closed, sit-inside fishing kayaks don’t offer the same storage capabilities as their sit-on-top brothers. 

Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayaks

Again, the name almost explains itself. Sit-on-top fishing kayaks feature a seat that’s above the deck. As a result, your whole body is exposed to the elements. The main advantage is that you now have more space to keep your gear and rig the kayak to your liking. It is also easier to get in and out of the craft. 

However, sitting higher means that sit-on-top fishing kayaks are less stable. But this doesn’t stop people from standing. 

Fishing Kayak Construction

Before diving deep into features and performance, we need to discuss materials of construction. Most kayaks use polyethylene and PVC. The first is used on single-piece, hard crafts, while the latter is more suitable for inflatable versions. 

Typically, inflatable fishing kayaks are cheaper. However, they also handle less weight, are less durable, and you can’t customize them. So, if you want to fix an aftermarket set of paddles or a new gear track, you won’t be able to do it. 

For fishing, solid kayaks are a better deal altogether.

Fishing Kayaks Stability

Kayaks are inherently less stable than canoes. So, it takes time to learn how to paddle, cast, stand, and get in and out of the craft without compromising stability. 

There are two types of stability: Primary and secondary stability. Let’s talk briefly about each one. 

What’s Primary Stability? 

Primary stability refers to how stable the craft is while sitting still in calm water. But, why is primary stability important? 

Well, primary stability matters when you are getting in and out of the kayak. It also keeps things steady when casting and fighting against fish. Both weight distribution and hull design determine how much primary stability any craft has. 

What’s Secondary Stability? 

Kayaks tip more than canoes. Therefore, it is crucial that once the kayak tips, it doesn’t turn over. That’s where secondary stability comes to the rescue. 

So, in a nutshell, secondary stability refers to how stable the kayak is once it tips. These crafts have better secondary stability than canoes, for example. But less primary stability.

Fishing Kayak Hull Design 

As we said before, stability largely depends on weight distribution and hull design. There are three standard hulls: Round, Flat, and V-shaped. Each one has several pros and cons. Let’s see.

As you might imagine, a flat hull means that the kayak has a flat bottom. Such craft has unparalleled primary stability. But once the kayak lifts a little, it is more likely to turn over. That’s why most brands use a multi-chine hull as a countermeasure. 

Fishing kayaks with a round hull are not common at all. Such craft has little primary stability. But they are the kings of secondary stability. That’s why most whitewater kayaks use such a hull. When gliding through the rapids, primary stability plays a neglected role. 

V-Shaped hulls, as the name suggests, have a bottom that resembles the letter V. Kayaks with such a hull effortlessly glide through the water. In other words, they track better. In terms of stability, they slip the difference between the other two designs.

Fishing Kayak Dimensions

As it couldn’t be otherwise, the craft’s dimension plays a crucial role in performance. Thus, it pays to learn how, so you can make the best out of your money. Plus, it also determines how portable the craft will be, which is also important. Length and width are the two things that you ought to consider. 

Kayak Length

How long should my kayak be? This is arguably the most asked question among beginners. It all depends on your needs. But first, let’s talk about how length affects performance. 

Longer kayaks, let’s say above 10 feet, glide through the water without breaking a sweat. They travel faster as well. That’s why most racing and touring kayaks are long and slim as a needle. 

Length also means that the craft can haul more weight. Naturally, capacity also depends on the width, as we will see in just a moment. But all these gains come at the expense of maneuverability. 

Longer kayaks are also heavier and typically are more expensive. That’s why you should keep around 10 feet if you are on a budget or want something maneuverable or portable. There is no point in going larger unless you plan on fishing with a buddy. 

Kayak Width

The beam is the widest part of any kayak, regardless of the type. The craft gets slimmer as we move towards either end. 

Most fishing kayaks are 30 inches wide as such beams hit the sweet spot between speed, maneuverability, and stability. 

Wider kayaks are more stable, slower, less maneuverable, and have a higher capacity. Conversely, slimmer crafts are faster, less stable, lighter, and with lesser capacity.  

Here we recommend going for something around 30 inches. 

What’s Tracking?

You might notice that we said that longer yaks track better than shorter ones. Well, tracking refers to how prone the craft is to keep a true course. 

Typically, kayaks that track well aren’t as maneuverable and vice versa. For fishing, you should go for something maneuverable, especially if you plan on fishing on narrow rivers. 

Fishing Kayak Propulsion Systems

Sadly, people with a tight budget are stuck with paddles. It is the most basic means of propulsion. But not all options come with paddles. That’s why you must make sure that it does bring one, especially if you don’t own a paddle already. 

Some crafts are compatible with trolling engines or aftermarket pedal systems. They give you the ability to upgrade down the road when you have more cash at hand. 

There is a lot of DIY on how to make your own paddle if you want to cut the prices down even further.

Fishing Kayak Capacity

When looking at capacity, you must consider the weight of the tackle box, rod, reel, snacks, net, and yourself. It is a good practice to roughly estimate how much weight the kayak must handle before making any purchase. This way, you will avoid getting something that can’t handle the strain. 

You can always add a kayak outrigger. This way, you can further increase both stability and capacity. The downside is that you lose some maneuverability. 

Fishing Kayak Storage Options

Kayaks aren’t known for their space. However, it is crucial to find something with enough space to accommodate a small tackle bag, two rods, and snacks.

Most fishing kayaks feature a bungee cord cargo area at either end of the craft. Other options might also come with hatches where you can keep small items near. If possible, try to get a fishing kayak with at least one watertight hatch. This way, you can keep any water-sensitive electronics out of harm’s way. 

Keep in mind that storage and capacity, something we discuss early, are closely related. The bigger the capacity, the more storage capabilities the craft has. 

Kayak Portability

Although portability is not the first thing anyone thinks when choosing which kayak to buy, it does matter. You don’t want to end up buying something too large to store at home. Or something too heavy to lift to the roof of your car. Besides, you have to transport your gear to the water as well. So, try to keep the weight down unless you have a kayak cart.

Best Budget Fishing Kayak: Closing Thoughts

If you’ve read all the way down here, and you still can’t find the yak you like, then allow us to show our top pick. It is the Pelican Sentinel sit-on-top fishing kayak. It is quite portable, stable, and with decent tracking. Plus, it also comes with an adjustable footrest, and the seat is not as uncomfortable as other, more affordable options. 

Stability-wise, the Pelican Sentinel is a great option, especially for beginners. It is 30 inches wide and just 9.5 feet long. As a result, it has one of the highest width-to-length ratios. 

The pelican Sentinel 100x also offers enough space in its deck for you and your tackle. This way, you can make the most out of the 275 pounds capacity. 

The paddle was the only thing we missed. But there are a lot of affordable options out there. 

If we managed to convince you, then click here to get your brand-new fishing kayak.

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Hi! I’m Steven!

I am an avid life long fisherman, having caught over 25,000 fish over the years. My life-long passion for fishing began when my father taught me how to fish at the age of ten. I started luremefish.com to share my extensive knowledge of all things fishing.

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