Some of the first “kayaks” were constructed more than 4,000 years ago by the Inuits. The term “kayak” roughly translates to ‘hunter’s boat’ and we can see why in today’s modern fishing kayaks.
While the earliest kayaks most likely didn’t include a plush, foam-padded seat, or multiple fishing rod holders, they still served a similar purpose. There are simply fishing holes that can only be reached by paddling a kayak.
Today’s best fishing kayaks no longer use seal skin for its waterproofing properties. Most are made using a lightweight, high-density plastic polymer that can withstand the elements.
The materials used to craft kayaks have altered drastically over the years, and so has the focus on activity-specific features. It can be easy to get distracted by all of those features, especially when it comes to fishing kayaks.
In this article, we’ll highlight the 10 best fishing kayaks under $700. We’ll also provide useful definitions of some common kayak jargon and tips for selecting a fishing kayak that will suit your intended use!
- Jargon Buster
- Buying Guide
- Best Fishing Kayaks Under $700
- Our Pick – Sundolphin Boss 12 SS
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As you get into our reviews of the best fishing kayaks under $700 below, there might be several terms that look unfamiliar. In this section, we’ll provide simple definitions to some of the most common fishing-specific kayak jargon.
Gunwales are the fancy term for the sides of your kayak. In general, higher gunwales mean a deeper cockpit and less likelihood of water splashing over the sides of your kayak.
A kayak’s chines are the places where the bottom (hull) of the kayak meets the sides (gunwales). Chines are usually labeled as hard or soft, depending on how they’re designed.
Hard chines provide more edging control and allow for sharper maneuvers. This type of chine is more common to whitewater kayaks and creek boats.
Soft chines create a more predictable response to your paddle strokes and allow for a more stable ride. This is preferred in fishing kayaks because stability is arguably the most important factor.
There is also a wide range of multi-chine designs amongst fishing kayaks. Hard and soft chines are simply the extremes, but most kayaks will actually fall somewhere in the middle.
Paddle parks are locations where you can store your kayak paddle securely while you fish. Some of these paddle parks are secured with bungee cords and some are molded-in to give your paddle a secure place to rest while your hands are occupied elsewhere.
All fishing kayaks come with places to store additional rods. This gives you the flexibility to change up your approach throughout the day without having to waste time changing your set-up while you’re on the water.
There are two basic types of rod holders you’ll find on fishing kayaks: flush-mounted and articulating (or swivel) rod holders. Flush-mounted rod holders are molded into the plastic of the kayak’s deck and give you a set location for rod storage.
Articulating rod holders, or swivel rod holders, are usually attached on top of the kayak’s deck and will rotate to your desired position. Most can also pivot up and down and give you more flexibility to troll as you maneuver your kayak to a new location.
There can be a lot of variation amongst the best fishing kayaks. In this section, we’ll provide the most important considerations when selecting a new fishing kayak.
Sit On Top Versus Sit Inside
Many anglers prefer to sit on top fishing kayaks because they generally offer more stability and their open design makes it easier to move about. Another advantage of a sit on top kayak is the ease of re-entering the kayak if you do happen to capsize in rough waters.
While sit inside kayaks are generally less stable, they do offer a drier ride. That is why many people that paddle in ocean waters opt for a sit-inside fishing kayak.
When choosing between the two, consider the conditions you’ll most frequently be paddling in. Remember that sit-inside kayaks are also the only variety compatible with a kayak spray skirt, which can help you stay even drier if you paddle in wet conditions.
Length And Width
Length plays a large role in how well a kayak performs over longer distances. Some of the best racing kayaks are more than 14 or 15 feet in length because it allows you to achieve and maintain higher top speeds.
Top speed, however, probably isn’t going to be super important when it comes to fishing kayaks. In a fishing kayak, more length simply translates to more space to store your fishing supplies and gear.
Width is going to be a more important consideration when you’re fishing from a kayak. More width equates to a higher degree of stability.
This is especially important if you’re a really large or tall paddler. Look for a wider kayak if you’re most concerned about a stable ride or you’re considering the ability to fish from a seated or a standing position.
When it comes to transporting your kayak, weight is going to be the most important feature. Consider how far you’ll typically need to transport your kayak and how comfortable you’ll be moving its specified weight over that distance.
As you consider transportation, also look quickly at the number of handles and their placement. More handles aren’t always necessarily better, but you’ll definitely want handles at the bow and stern to help you drag your kayak up onto the beach when you’re done paddling.
As you’re considering transporting your fishing kayak, you might also look into a kayak roller cart. If you’re going to be transporting your kayak over long distances to get to the water, one of these will save you a lot of energy that you’d rather use when on the water!
Fishing Rod Holders
The final consideration we’ll touch on is fishing rod holders. These give you a place to store multiple rods and can save you a lot of time while you’re on the water.
The purpose of kayak fishing is, after all, to spend more of your time fishing. If you like to have multiple bait options available, make sure the kayak you choose offers at least two fishing rod holders.
The more you learn about fishing in your area, the more rod and reel combinations you’ll try out. If you plan on expanding your arsenal in the future, look for a fishing kayak that features more than two flush-mounted rod holders and at least one articulating rod holder as well!
Also Read: Best Kayaks For Camping
Best Fishing Kayaks Under $700
The Lifetime Triton Angler 100 is a ten-foot kayak that comes with a large tankwell in the stern area. This is the perfect place to store tackle boxes, cooler, or any other large fishing gear you like to bring on your expeditions.
It comes with an adjustable quick-release seat back that simply folds up and hooks into place when you’re ready to paddle. This seat set-up saves you a lot of time compared to clip-in seats that take a bit longer to set in place.
This kayak also offers multiple footrest positions and features an articulating fishing rod holder on the right side. It also has two flush-mounted rod holders behind the seat so you can keep multiple rod and reel combinations at the ready.
The Triton Angler 100 comes with an integrated skeg attached to the hull. This greatly assists with tracking and allows you to maintain control of your kayak when paddling against crosswinds or fighting strong ocean currents.
The Pelican Saber 100x Angler is a ten-foot sit on top kayak with a maximum weight capacity of 325 pounds. It weighs 50 pounds and offers a total of four carry handles on the bow, stern, and gunwales to make it easier to transport.
It is designed with multiple chines in the hull and a relatively flat bottom that makes it more responsive to your paddle strokes. This makes it a great kayak for fishing in tight spaces where you need maximum control.
This kayak features a quick-locking hatch in the bow for dry storage and a large tankwell in the stern for keeping additional gear handy. The stern tankwell is equipped with a mesh cover to keep gear secure.
The Saber 100x also comes with an articulating rod holder in the bow and two flush-mounted rod holders behind the seat. It also boasts an angler ruler and six accessory eyelets for attaching additional fishing supplies.
Also Read: Pelican Kayaks Review
The Sundolphin Journey 10 SS is the closest thing to a hybrid sit inside/sit on top fishing kayak that you’ll find out there. It offers a deep cockpit to prevent water from splashing over the sides.
But that cockpit has an open design that makes it much easier to re-enter if you do happen to capsize in deep water. The cockpit also contains a beverage holder, a small hatch for dry storage, and a center-mounted articulating fishing rod holder.
This kayak also has two flush-mounted rod holders behind the seat for keeping additional rod and reel combinations accessible. The rear tankwell is also secured with a locking hatch that’s great for dry gear storage.
The Journey 10 SS also features retractable carrying handles for easy transportation and boasts a maximum weight capacity of 250 pounds. The kayak weighs 44 pounds and measures nine-feet, six-inches in length.
The FK184 from Brooklyn Kayak Company is a nine-foot kayak that comes with a comfortable seat back and offers multiple footrest positions to accommodate paddlers of varying heights.
This kayak offers two paddle parks that are located on either gunwale. These parks give you a place to secure your paddle with an elastic bungee cord when you want your hands free for your fishing rod.
It is also a relatively lightweight fishing kayak with a total weight of just 44 pounds when empty. It is also equipped with a total of four carry handles on the bow, stern, and gunwales to make it easier to transport.
The FK184 has a maximum weight capacity of 330 pounds and a width of 34 inches. It also comes with four flush-mounted rod holders and one articulating rod holder so that you can keep a line in the water as you maneuver your kayak.
The EVOKE Navigator 100 is a ten-foot fishing kayak that’s perfect for both recreational paddling and fishing in hard-to-reach locations. It offers a large, open cockpit that’s great for larger paddlers.
This kayak weighs 55 pounds and offers a maximum weight capacity of 325 pounds. It boasts a wide design (30.5 inches) to provide added stability.
The stern tankwell of this kayak is an easy place to store a tackle box, cooler, or other large gear. It also boasts a smaller locking hatch in the bow that gives you a compartment to store dry gear.
The Navigator 100 has a fold-down seat that easily adjusts with pull straps on either side. It also features adjustable foot braces and a centrally-located hatch for safely storing gear that you want access to while you paddle!
The Sound 10.5 from Perception Kayaks is a 10-foot, six-inch sit-inside kayak. It’s a great choice for larger paddlers and can also be used for recreational paddling when you’re taking a break from fishing.
This kayak weighs 46 pounds and has a maximum weight capacity of 335 pounds. The kayak is 29.5 inches wide and the cockpit measures 56 inches long and 23.75 inches wide.
Inside the cockpit, you’ll find a comfortable padded seat with a molded-in beverage holder in the center. It also boasts footrests that are easily and quickly adjustable to provide comfort for paddlers of many different heights.
The Sound 10.5 also features two flush-mounted rod holders located just behind the cockpit. The large stern tankwell is topped with bungee rigging to keep gear secure and also has two scupper holes in the bottom for water drainage.
The Sundolphin Boss 12 SS is a great fishing kayak for more experienced anglers that want the option to fish in both a seated and a standing position. It offers a very wide design and a large, open cockpit so that it’s stable enough to stand up while fishing.
It is a twelve-foot, four-inch kayak with a width measuring 33.25 inches across. It offers a maximum weight capacity of 500 pounds so that you can bring along plenty of fishing gear and supplies.
This kayak also comes with a fold-down seat that can be adjusted between two positions. The higher position is better for fishing and the lower position is more efficient for paddling.
The Boss 12 SS also features two large tankwells in the bow and stern that are secured with bungee cord rigging. The non-slip pads on the floor of the cockpit help you keep your footing while you’re standing for a better fishing position.
The Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 is a compact, nine-foot kayak that weighs just 42 pounds. It is a lightweight sit on top kayak that’ll be easy to load onto your car and transport to and from the water’s edge.
It comes with a total of four flush-mounted rod holders so that you can bring along multiple rod and reel combinations. Two of these rod holders are located behind the seat for easy access and the other two are located on the gunwales towards the bow of the kayak.
This kayak features a very open design with two large tankwells in the bow and stern for securing gear with the included bungee rigging. It also has a small storage hatch just in front of the seat for storing small gear in a dry place.
The Skipjack 90 also comes with an easily adjustable, padded seat back and offers multiple footrest positions. This allows for a comfortable ride for paddlers of many heights and the included beverage holder in the cockpit allows you to keep your favorite hydration solution at the ready!
The Old Town Vapor 10 Angler is a ten-foot, sit inside kayak that features a great selection of angler-specific features. It has a large cockpit to provide a comfortable ride for paddlers of many sizes.
It comes with an adjustable, flexible seat and large, padded thigh braces to help you find and maintain a comfortable paddling position. It also has an adjustable foot brace system that gives you something to push against and engage your core muscles for more powerful paddle strokes.
This kayak has a 325-pound weight capacity and comes with a molded-in beverage holder in front of the seat. It also has a molded-in paddle park across the deck to keep your paddle in place while you’re fishing.
The Vapor 10 Angler also has two flush-mounted rod holders behind the seat and a large stern tankwell for storing larger gear. Smaller items can also be secured to the bow deck using the attached bungee webbing.
The Pelican Argo 100XP Angler is a small, ten-foot sit inside kayak made to glide easily over the water and maneuver deftly in tight spaces. It has a twin-arched multi-chine hull that makes it exceptionally stable while you’re concentrating on fishing.
This kayak weighs a total of 41 pounds and has a maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds. The kayak itself is 29 inches wide and the cockpit measures 47 inches long and 25 inches wide.
It comes with two flush-mounted fishing rod holders located just behind the cockpit to give you access to additional rod and reel combinations. It also features an articulating rod holder just in front of the cockpit so you can keep a line in the water while you maneuver.
The Argo 100XP has a comfortable, adjustable seat rest and adjustable footrests to help you maintain an ergonomic paddle position. It also boasts a large stern tankwell and a small locking hatch in the bow for plenty of gear storage.
Our Pick – Sundolphin Boss 12 SS
Our top pick for the best fishing kayak under 700 is the Sundolphin Boss 12 SS. It gets our nod because it is really the only kayak on our list that allows you the versatility to fish from a seated or standing position.
The hull of the Boss 12 SS is designed similarly to a catamaran. This makes it both extremely efficient to paddle and extra-stable when you want to stand up and fish.
The seat on this kayak completely folds down when you need to store it or keep it out of your way while fishing. Setting it back up takes a matter of seconds so you aren’t delayed when you’re ready to get out on the water.
The stern tankwell is large enough to fit a milk crate or bucket. While these aren’t the most common items to bring on a fishing trip, the amount of space is perfect for a large Yeti cooler, multiple tackle boxes, or a 30+ liter dry bag for all of your essential fishing supplies.
In case the stern tankwell isn’t enough space, there’s also a large, bungee-secured tankwell in the bow. The Boss 12 SS arguably offers the most secure storage space of any kayak on our list.
This kayak is manufactured with high-density polyethylene. This makes it extremely durable to hold up against hits against rocks and dragging on the shoreline.
The material used in the hull is also UV-resistant, which is especially important if you store your kayak outside when you’re not using it. For more tips on kayak storage, be sure to check out this article detailing how to build a kayak storage shed!
The bottom line is that the Boss 12 SS has all the features of a fishing kayak that will typically cost in excess of $1,000. It’s the best value you’ll find at this price point!