There comes a point in every aspiring angler’s life when casting from the shore just isn’t enough anymore.
From that moment on, anglers begin to seek new horizons, and setting off on one of the best sit on top fishing kayaks under $1000 is a natural progression for some.
Let’s be honest: shopping for fishing kayaks when you are new to the sport can be difficult. There are so many options out there and the price tags on some of the best ocean fishing kayaks on the market can be astronomically high.
That’s why we felt it was so important to make sure you realize that there is a kayak for everyone out there. Even those of you that are just beginning to explore the sport of kayak fishing can find a kayak model that doesn’t eat a hole too deep into your wallet.
In this guide, we’ve found eight selections for the best sit on top fishing kayak under $1000 on Amazon. We will review each kayak, but before we get into that, we need to cover a little bit about what to look for in a sit on top fishing kayak.
So, before you buy, let’s talk kayak angling!
- Best Sit On Top Fishing Kayak Under $1000
- Buying Guide
- Sit On Top Fishing Kayak Reviews
- Our Pick – Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120
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- Pelican BassCreek 100XP
- Emotion Kayak Stealth Angler
- Pelican Sentinel 100X
- Lifetime Kayaks Hydros Angler 85
- Riot Kayak Escape 12 Angler
- Brooklyn Kayak Company TK181
- Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120
- Brooklyn Kayak Company TK122K
What is important for a kayak angler is different than what is important for someone padding one of the best recreational kayaks.
While you will certainly prioritize the following factors according to your personal preferences, each is vital to consider when shopping for a sit on top fishing kayak.
Some anglers go crazy for a kayak with a large number of rod holders and others prefer a more minimal approach.
If you are new to kayak fishing, you will probably want a minimum of one flush-mounted rod holder and one articulating rod holder on the kayak you choose.
If you have a little bit more experience, however, you may opt for a kayak with additional holders so that you can bring multiple rod-and-reel combinations along.
For the beginner angler, rigging multiple rods with different baits and lines before you get on the water will save you a lot of time once you’re out. Plus, it will guarantee that you spend most of that time actually fishing and not just sitting around tying knots.
Most of these sit on top fishing kayaks are a little on the heavier side. That’s because many of them are slightly wider to provide more stability on the water and they are loaded down with the features you need for a comfortable fishing experience.
That being said, keep in mind that you will also have to transport your kayak to and from the water unless you are one of the lucky few that live right on the lake.
Ultimately, the weight you are comfortable loading on and off a vehicle for transportation purposes is up to you.
From our experience, however, we strongly recommend looking into one of the best kayak carts, trolleys, or wheels if you choose a fishing kayak that weighs more than about 60 pounds.
This one is also important because your kayak needs to be able to float your body weight plus the weight of all your fishing gear, snacks, and anything else you bring along.
As a rule of thumb, many experts recommend keeping the total weight you load into a kayak below about 80 percent of a kayak’s advertised weight capacity.
For example, you wouldn’t want to load much more than 280 pounds into a kayak with a 350-pound weight capacity.
If you do, your kayak will ride lower than it should and it won’t perform up to its optimal capability. Keep this in mind when looking at kayak’s maximum weight capacities.
This Pelican kayak measures 10’ long, 30.5” wide, and 16” deep. It weighs an even 50 pounds and boasts a maximum weight capacity of 325 pounds.
Starting from the bottom (no pun intended!), this kayak features Pelican’s ERGOFIT G2 seating system with an extra padded seat cushion and a fully adjustable backrest for improved lumbar support.
Speaking of support, you will also be able to use the adjustable foot braces at the sides of the cockpit to maintain a comfortable and ergonomic paddling position.
These foot braces slide back-and-forth on tracks so they are easy to adjust when new paddlers hop into this kayak.
When it comes to fishing-specific features, you will find a total of three fishing rod holders on this kayak. One articulating rod holder is mounted right in the center of the kayak for easy access and the other two flush-mounted rod holders are located just behind the seat.
Also behind the seat, you will find the kayak’s large stern tankwell that’s perfect for a kayak cooler, tackle crate, or any of your other kayak fishing accessories.
At the absolute stern of the kayak, a small drain plug can be used to drain any water that enters the body of your kayak over time.
At the bow of the BassCreek 100XP, a large hatch allows you to access a sealed storage compartment that’s great for storing a dry bag with extra clothing layers or gear that can’t get wet.
I also forgot to mention that there’s a four-inch day hatch just behind the seat for snacks or other items that you want quick access to while fishing.
The Stealth Angler is an 11-foot kayak with a 30.5-inch beam and a maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds. The kayak itself weighs just under 60 pounds, so it’s right at that range where you’ll start to think about needing one of the best kayak carts to transport it.
Once you’re on the water, however, you will be able to set up three separate rod-and-reel combinations in the various rod holders on this kayak.
Two flush-mounted rod holders are located behind the seat and an articulating rod holder is mounted in the center of the cockpit.
Between that rod holder and the seat, you will find a small sealed storage hatch to keep your valuables or other items that you want easy access to on the water.
For everything else, there are the bow and stern open storage areas with bungee rigging to keep your gear secure.
The molded-in footrests at the sides of the cockpit allow this kayak to accommodate paddlers of many different heights. Plus, the abundance of scupper holes means that water drains from the cockpit naturally if you happen to capsize or roll over.
The Sentinel measures 9’6” long, 30” wide, and 13.25 inches deep. It also boasts a maximum weight capacity of 275 pounds and it includes two flush-mounted fishing rod holders situated just behind the kayak seat.
One of the coolest features of this kayak is the ExoPak in the rear tankwell. This is a removable storage compartment that can be loaded in the comfort of your home before being transported to, and secured in, your kayak.
The ExoPak can also be removed entirely if you want to keep the stern tankwell open for storing other gear. It will still include bungee rigging for securing gear when open or when the ExoPak is installed.
There’s also a small netted storage area at the bow of the kayak that can be used for water shoes or other accessories. In the center console, there’s also a smartphone holder and bottle holders.
This kayak also gives you two rod tie-downs to keep them secure when your hands are otherwise occupied. Finally, it includes two accessory eyelets that are perfect for attaching additional fishing gear that you like to keep close at hand.
Check Out: Pelican vs Lifetime Kayaks
This kayak measures 8’5” long, 29.5” wide, and 10.5” deep. It also weighs just 38 pounds and offers a maximum weight capacity of 225 pounds
There are a total of three fishing rod holders situated throughout this kayak. Two of them are of the flush-mounted variety and they are located right next to the seat’s backrest.
The other is an articulating rod holder that’s mounted just forward of the kayak seat where the center console begins. That center console also includes a water bottle holder and phone holder.
The rear of the kayak is designed a little differently than you will find on most fishing kayaks.
That’s because it’s designed to be a swim-up platform that makes re-entering the kayak much easier for kids that often like to swim just as much as they like to fish.
That said, there are multiple footrest positions in the cockpit of this kayak so that it will be able to grow with your child.
You will also be able to put more responsibility on them by challenging them to carry their own gear in the bungee-secured storage areas at the bow and stern of this kayak.
So if you’re the kind of angler that likes to move around frequently, give this one a second look. Plus, an additional benefit to the rudder is that it’s going to make this kayak better at handling windy or rough water conditions.
Before we go any further, let’s quickly outline the specifications of the Escape 12 Angler. It measures 12’ long, 30” wide, weighs 72 pounds, and boasts a maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds.
There are a total of five fishing rod holders positioned throughout this kayak. Four of them are flush-mounted and they are positioned just fore and aft of the kayak’s open cockpit.
The final, articulating rod holder is located just to the right of the kayak’s center console so that it’s easily reachable when you’re seated. Speaking of the seat, it provides plenty of foam padding and an adjustable backrest.
The rudder system on this kayak is controlled by the adjustable foot braces on the sides of the kayak. These braces also give you a comfortable place to help you maintain the kind of knee bend that’s necessary to maximize leg drive when paddling.
The Escape 12 Angler may also be a great choice for those interested in multi-day fishing expeditions.
That’s because it offers a large sealed storage hatch in the bow and an open stern storage area with bungee rigging to secure dry bags and other fishing accessories.
The Brooklyn Kayak Company TK181 is one of only two tandem sit on top fishing kayaks that we could find for under $1000. This one measures 12’8” long, 34” across, and weighs a total of 68 pounds.
It also boasts a maximum weight capacity of 595 pounds and includes a whopping total of seven fishing rod holders.
This makes it ideal for anglers who know they like to cast multiple different types of bait and want to spend less time on the water re-rigging their rods.
There are four flush-mounted rod holders located behind each of the seats in this kayak (two behind each seat).
Then, there are two articulating rod holders mounted on the gunwales at the center of the kayak and one more mounted at the bow (between the legs of the forward paddler).
There are also two waterproof storage hatches located in front of each seat. This provides a convenient storage location for food, drinks, and other valuables that you don’t want getting wet while you’re fishing.
There’s also additional storage at the stern of the kayak in a moderately-sized tankwell. This tankwell boasts a criss-crossing bungee cord to keep your gear secure if your kayak did happen to roll or tip on its side unexpectedly.
Finally, the TK181 comes with two adjustable aluminum kayak paddles and two soft padded seats. The seats can be adjusted to suit your position preference and molded-in footrests provide comfortable foot placement for paddlers of varying heights.
For starters, the seat offers extra padding in both the seat cushion and the backrest. It’s also easily adjustable to your preferred paddling position and it’s made with a mesh material so that it breathes well and you stay cooler in hotter climates.
The Tarpon is also equipped with large, padded footbraces that help you increase your leg drive and paddle more efficiently. These braces can also be adjusted easily to accommodate paddlers of varying heights.
At the bow, you will be able to use this kayak’s sealed storage hatch to keep any gear or clothing layers dry that can’t be exposed to splashing water or rain.
In the center console, a removable dry box is great for keeping your phone, keys, or other valuables contained and protected from water damage.
Let’s cover this kayak’s specifications before we go any further. It measures 12’3” long and 31” wide. It also weighs 63 pounds and boasts a maximum weight capacity of 350 pounds.
The Tarpon is also excellent for anyone that wants to be able to customize their fishing setup.
Instead of having molded fishing rod holders in set locations, this kayak includes tracks and side rails that allow you to add a variety of fishing accessories exactly where you want them.
Plus, the large rear tankwell is perfect for installing one of the best kayak fishing tackle crates, livewells, or fishing cooler bags. It’s even spacious enough for a deep cycle marine battery if you decide to install a trolling motor down the line.
This tandem sit on top fishing kayak is perfect for the avid fishing couple. It has two swivel-mounted fishing rod holders positioned on the gunwales to the side of the front paddler’s seat.
There are also two additional flush-mounted rod holders situated behind the rear paddler’s seat.
Each paddler can enjoy access to their own sealed storage compartment directly in front of their seat so there will be no need to ask your partner to hand you a snack right at that critical moment when he or she is reeling in a fish.
Plus, there are a total of four slide track rail accessories on the gunwales of the kayak.
This gives both paddlers the ability to customize their ideal setup for maximum fishing comfort. The TK122K also boasts a wide, 34-inch beam which helps it remain stable on flat water when your partner makes an awkward movement.
This kayak also comes with two aluminum kayak paddles and it boasts a decently sized rear tankwell with a bungee cord for securing extra gear.
Plus, there’s actually an additional small seat in the center of the kayak if you want to use it for recreational paddling with a dog or child.
Our Pick – Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120
Our choice for the absolute best sit on top fishing kayak under $1000 is the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120. We chose it for a variety of factors, but what first caught our eye was its adaptability.
Many fishing kayaks feature one or two fishing rod holders that are molded into the body of the kayak. From there, they sometimes offer an additional swivel-mounted holder or they have a place to attach one.
The Tarpon 120, instead, features accessory rails on the gunwales that allow you to attach your rod holders exactly where you like them. These rails can also be used to attach a fishfinder, kayak GPS, or a host of other kayak fishing accessories.
What really put this kayak over the top, however, was the extra padding on the seat cushion and backrest. You will be able to enjoy spending a full day out on the water with the comfortable Phase 3 Air Pro Seating System in this kayak.
Finally, when it’s time to paddle home and you want to do so efficiently, just adjust the footbraces to your preference so that you can really drive into your legs and maximize the power of your paddle strokes.