A good fishing kayak allows you to reach more locations where fish are hiding.
Many of these spots simply aren’t accessible from land or with a motorized watercraft, and a motorized vessel can quickly scare fish away.
Kayaks that are specific to fishing can get expensive really quickly.
There are many kayak features that make fishing considerably more convenient, but not all of those features are absolutely necessary to have a useful fishing kayak.
It is certainly possible to get a great fishing kayak under $1000.
In this article, we’ll give you ten options for the best fishing kayaks under $1000 and provide several important considerations to help you choose the right fishing kayak for you!
- Best Fishing Kayaks Under $1000
- Jargon Buster
- Buying Guide
- Best Fishing Kayaks Under $1000
- Our Pick – Advanced Elements Straightedge Angler
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Best Fishing Kayaks Under $1000
- Sevylor Coleman Colorado
- Sea Eagle 370 Pro
- Lifetime Sport Fisher
- Feel Free Lure 10
- Brooklyn Kayak Company UH-TK181
- Ocean Kayak Prowler 13
- Lifetime Tamarack Angler
- Vanhunks Manatee
- Advanced Elements Straightedge Angler
- Third Coast Avalon 120
There can be a lot of vocabulary and ‘kayak fishing slang’ to get familiar with as a new kayak owner. In this section, we’ll focus on defining a few important terms that are specific to kayak fishing.
These are rails installed on the sides of a kayak that give the angler a place to attach a fish finder and other accessories. They are generally located on either side of the kayak’s cockpit.
Fishing Rod Holders
These are places where you can keep your fishing rods secure while you paddle. They’re also useful if you simply want to keep your hands-free for lunch or to re-rig a rod.
There are generally two types of fishing rod holders. Flush-mounted rod holders are molded into the kayak’s design. Articulating (or swivel) rod holders are mounted on top of the kayak’s deck and pivot so you can fish at multiple angles.
Hatches give you access to a kayak’s internal storage compartments. They are generally responsible for keeping water out of these compartments and can be outfitted with various mechanisms for sealing.
Tankwells are open storage locations on a kayak. They are generally located either in the bow or stern of a kayak and they give you a place to store larger items.
Most tankwells do not keep gear 100% dry and many come with a bungee cord stretched across the top. This allows you to secure any gear that you place inside them.
Choosing a fishing kayak largely depends on the region you plan to fish. But it’s also important to consider the different types of kayaks, how they are designed, and the bottom line on what makes the best fishing kayak.
In this section, we’ll start by providing a breakdown of the various types of fishing kayaks. Then, we will move into the most important considerations on kayak design and what makes a great fishing kayak.
Types of Fishing Kayaks
There are three main types of fishing kayaks. They can be broken down into sit on top kayaks, sit inside kayaks, and inflatable kayaks.
The main advantage of an inflatable fishing kayak is its ease of transport. They are the lightest option and can also be deflated and stored in the smallest area when you’re not using them.
Sit on top kayaks offer plenty of versatility and are also easier to right if you do happen to capsize in rough conditions. The open-cockpit design of most sit on top kayaks is also a great advantage for kayak fishing.
Sit inside kayaks generally offer the driest ride and they are the only kayak type that is compatible with a spray skirt. However, sit inside kayaks can be a little harder to control and are certainly more difficult to re-enter if you do happen to capsize.
Kayak Design And Materials
Most hard-sided kayaks are made from some sort of polyethylene material. Most kayaks will use a high-density polyethylene that is designed to hold up against the environmental conditions they’ll face.
When it comes to inflatable kayaks, tarpaulin and PVC materials are the most common. The thickness (or the ‘denier count’) of the material will play a large role in how durable that kayak will be.
Another important design and material element to look for with inflatable kayaks is some sort of metal or aluminum support. This gives an inflatable kayak more support and greatly improves tracking and performance.
What Makes A Great Fishing Kayak?
Length and Width
Kayaks that are longer and skinnier tend to achieve greater top speeds on the water. However, maneuverability is usually more important when it comes to kayak fishing.
For this reason, you might opt for a shorter kayak. This allows you to spin the kayak and maneuver it more easily in tighter spaces.
Width is really important when it comes to the stability of a fishing kayak. In general, a wider kayak is going to provide more stability and make it easier to remain in your kayak as you fight larger fish.
You should consider the weight of your fishing kayak when you imagine launching your kayak and taking it back out of the water at the end of the day.
Think about how far you’ll need to carry your kayak to get to the water.
The distance you’ll need to cover from your car to the water’s edge will play a role in how comfortable you feel with a kayak’s weight.
If you happen to have a launch location where you can store your kayak, weight obviously becomes less of a factor.
But weight also plays a role in maneuverability once you’re on the water.
A heavier kayak will respond more slowly to your paddle strokes and a lighter kayak will respond more quickly and with less effort on your part.
Fishing-specific accessories are really what sets many fishing kayaks apart from their competition. The accessories that are most important to you are entirely a matter of personal preference.
That being said, it’s hard to imagine a great fishing kayak without at least one fishing rod holder. At some point, while you’re out on the water, you’ll want a place to securely set your pole.
Paddle parks and rod holders are two accessories that every fishing kayak must have. You must be able to securely store your paddle while you fish and, conversely, you must have a secure place for your fishing rod while you maneuver your kayak.
There are plenty of other examples of accessories that improve the kayak fishing experience. This includes cup holders to keep your beverage of choice secure, storage hatches to keep tackle dry, and tracking mounting for attaching a fish finder.
Ultimately, the accessories you choose will be up to you. But, at the very least, you should have plenty of places to secure fishing rods, paddles, and all of the fishing gear you want to bring along.
Best Fishing Kayaks Under $1000
This fishing kayak is compatible with a trolling motor, which allows you to cover more distance without tiring out. It also boasts multiple adjustable Quick Set fishing rod holders so that you can keep your line in the water as you maneuver your kayak.
This kayak is made with multiple internal air chambers. This design element is crucial because it means that the kayak can retain water (and stay afloat) if one chamber is compromised.
It is made with heavy-duty tarpaulin material and reinforced with a thick nylon cover to protect against scratches and punctures. When it comes to gear storage, multiple internal mesh pockets and D-rings give you plenty of places to store and attach your fishing gear.
The Sea Eagle can be deflated and stored in a compact area when not in use and it only weighs a total of 32 pounds when fully inflated. This kayak comes with two skegs on the bottom that significantly improve your ability to gather speed and track straight on the water.
This kayak boasts a drain valve that allows you to easily remove any water that accumulates in the cockpit. It also features lashed-down inflatable spray skirts in the bow and stern that give you a dry location for gear storage.
The Sea Eagle is a 12-foot, six-inch kayak with grab lines in the bow and stern that make it easier to transport. It comes with two break-down paddles, a foot pump, and a convenient carry bag.
This kayak’s high-density polyethylene construction makes it resistant to impacts against rocks on the shoreline. It also features a wide and deep design that makes it more stable and improves its tracking ability.
You’ll be able to keep multiple rod and reel setups at the ready with this kayak because it has a total of three fishing rod holders. Two of those holders are flush-mounted just behind the seat and the other is an articulating holder that’s positioned on the kayak’s right gunwale.
The Tamarack Angler also features multiple footrest positions to provide comfort for paddlers of varying heights. It also boasts two storage hatches for dry gear in the stern and just in front of the seat in the cockpit.
Also Read: Pelican vs Lifetime Kayaks
The Lifetime Sport Fisher is a great fishing kayak for use by a single paddler or a tandem fishing couple. It is ten feet long and offers a maximum weight capacity of 500 pounds.
This short kayak gives you the ability to maneuver in tight locations and can even be adapted to include a third (small) paddler if you’re just out for a recreational paddler. It also includes multiple footrest positions to accommodate paddlers of many different heights.
The Sport Fisher is a wide kayak that gives you plenty of stability so you can focus on fishing. It boasts a total of three fishing rod holders that allow you to keep multiple different fishing setups at the ready as conditions dictate.
This kayak also features a stern storage hatch for keeping some gear dry and it has two adjustable, padded backrests that can accommodate a variety of body types. Finally, the Sport Fisher comes with two kayak paddles and features two paddle parks that lend to hands-free fishing.
The Feel Free Lure 10 is the first hard-plastic rotomolded fishing kayak on our list. It is ten feet long, weighs a total of 69 pounds, and boasts a maximum weight capacity of 375 pounds.
This kayak is made for the self-contained angler who likes to fish multiple spots throughout the course of a day. The design is short enough to make it easy enough to maneuver and still wide enough to provide plenty of stability while you’re fishing.
You’ll be able to keep at least two additional rod and reel setups ready to go with the two molded-in fishing rod holders on this kayak. There are also tracking systems on both sides (gunwales) of this kayak for attaching fishing gear and accessories.
The adjustable footrests on the Lure 10 make this kayak adaptable for paddlers of many heights. This kayak also features a wheel in the kayak’s keel that makes it easier to transport and a flip-up center console that provides plenty of space for storing lures and bait at the ready.
The UH-TK181 from Brooklyn Kayak Company is a tandem fishing kayak that can be adjusted for a solo paddler if you desire. It is a hard-plastic rotomolded kayak that’s 12-feet, 5-inches long and weighs a total of 68 pounds.
This is the ultimate fishing kayak if you have many different rod and reel setups that you like to bring along for an all-day adventure. It boasts a total of four flush-mounted rod holders and three more articulating rod holders that allow you to keep lines in the water as you maneuver your kayak.
This is also a great fishing kayak for long expeditions because it features two waterproof storage hatches in front of each seat. These hatches allow you to keep a cooler, tackle box, or other gear dry while you paddle.
The UH-TK181 also offers two paddle parks on either side of the kayak so you can remain hands-free to fish more effectively. This kayak also comes with multiple carry handles on the bow, stern, and gunwales to make it much easier to transport over land.
The Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler is one of the best fishing kayaks when it comes to internal storage. It features a full bow-to-stern internal storage compartment for keeping extra rods, reels, and other fishing gear safe when you’re not using it.
This kayak is a full thirteen-feet long, which means it has higher top speeds than many of its competitors. The added length does make it a little less maneuverable, however, so it’s best used on calm, flat lakes or mild, slow-moving rivers.
The padded seat back in this kayak is adjustable for multiple body types and there are also several footrest positions to fit paddlers of many heights. There’s a large tankwell in the kayak’s stern for a cooler, tackle box, baitwell, or even a SCUBA tank.
The Prowler 13 weighs a total of 56 pounds and has a maximum weight capacity of 325 pounds. This kayak also boasts two paddle parks for hands-free fishing and two cup holders to keep your beverage of choice within reach while you’re fishing or paddling.
This nine-foot kayak is super-maneuverable and offers several fishing-specific features. The Vanhunks Manatee fishing kayak weighs a total of 51 pounds and boasts a maximum weight capacity of 330 pounds.
This small kayak allows you to maneuver easily in tight spaces and is also designed to be stable enough to handle small surf in coastal waterways. It is 32 inches wide and includes two flush-mounted fishing rod holders behind the seat.
You’ll also be able to secure a fishing rod in the articulating swivel holder in the bow of the kayak. This allows you to keep a line in the water while you maneuver your kayak to a new location.
The seat in this kayak boasts an aluminum frame which gives you more back support. The mesh material stretched between the aluminum frame is also breathable to keep you cool on hot days.
The Advanced Elements Straightedge Angler is another inflatable kayak that offers many great features for kayak fishing. It measures nine feet, eight inches in length and offers a width of 35 inches.
Many inflatable kayaks struggle to maintain their structure when a paddler climbs in. This kayak features Advanced Elements’ patented aluminum rib frame, which provides additional structure.
This kayak’s structure supports larger paddlers and it is made with multiple layers of material. These multiple layers make this kayak more resistant to scratches, abrasions, and punctures.
The Straightedge Angler is also a light option that is easy to transport. It weighs just 41 pounds when fully inflated and this fishing kayak offers a maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds.
The Third Coast Avalon 120 is a hard-plastic rotomolded kayak that offers a super-comfortable cockpit. It’s a great option for all-day fishing adventures because of its comfortable seat and multiple footrest positions.
This is a kayak that has two flush-mounted fishing rod holders behind the paddler’s seat. It also features an articulating fishing rod holder in the bow so that you can keep fishing as you maneuver your kayak.
There are two nine-inch hatches on this kayak for dry gear storage. They are located directly in front of the seat in the cockpit and directly behind the seat.
The Avalon 120 also has a large tankwell in the stern that is a great place for a cooler, tackle boxes, or other large fishing gear. This kayak also boasts adjustable footrests and eight-inch track mounts on either gunwale for attaching additional fishing accessories.
Our Pick – Advanced Elements Straightedge Angler
The Advanced Elements Straightedge Angler is our top pick for the best fishing kayak under $1000. It’s the best blend we could find between ‘easy-to-transport’ and ‘contains all the features of a great fishing kayak’.
This kayak addresses a lot of the durability issues of other inflatable kayaks. It includes abrasion pads on the kayak’s hull that significantly reduce the risk of punctures that compromise its integrity.
It also offers a high seat back with inflatable lumbar support that can be customized to your preference. This greatly improves the comfort of riding in this kayak because many of the seats in other inflatable kayaks can collapse under the paddler’s weight.
While this kayak can be deflated and easily stored in a compact area, it still includes many features that make kayak fishing more enjoyable. The removable mounting rail in the bow provides structure and also gives you another place to attach fishing gear and accessories.
This mounting rail gives you the ability to attach the type of aftermarket equipment that many fishers rely on. This includes fishing rod holders, fish finders, and any other fishing gear you prefer.
The Advanced Elements Straightedge Angler also has bungee deck lacing in the bow and stern to keep your gear secured. Overall, this kayak achieves a great balance between transportability and performance for kayak fishing.