Can you buy a good fishing kayak for under $1000? We think so! In this article, we will get to the bottom of the most important factors to look for. We will also reveal our picks for the best fishing kayak under $1000.
Quick Top 5 Fishing Kayaks Under $1000
*Keep reading for the fulling buying guide or jump straight to the reviews!
Where Will You Be Fishing?
The type of water where you will be fishing is one of the most important factors to think about when shopping for the best fishing kayak under $1000. Here are some questions to think about:
- Do you want to fish in slow-moving water or more fast-paced water?
- What’s the water temperature?
- Where are you going to be launching from?
- Will you want to wade, or stay in the kayak the whole time?
Depending on where you will be fishing, your kayaking needs will be different. Small lakes and ponds will not require a lot of stability. Rushing rivers and the ocean are a whole different story. Stability may be your number 1 priority if you are new to fishing kayaks.
How Much Room Will You Need?
This depends on how much gear you want to bring, as well as how many people you want to fit inside. Will you be using your kayak for anything besides fishing, such as camping? Typically, each fisher will want their kayak.
Whether that is a one person or 2 people depends upon your spacing needs. You can also purchase longer kayaks with more space for overnight packing, or shorter kayaks for just a day of fishing.
For longer days, we recommend sit-on-top kayaks with integrated storage or even live wells for the fish. Sit-inside models feature on-top storage in the form of crates and hatches. Make a list of your necessities and keep that in mind when making your decision.
Sit-Inside or Sit-On-Top?
This is the key question to ask yourself when choosing your fishing kayak setup. Each has their benefits and drawbacks.
- Need for Speed: As a general rule, sit-inside kayaks are faster than sit-on-tops. This matters most if you are trying to cover a long distance in a short amount of time. I.e., anglers.
- Personal Strength: Are you going to carry your fishing medium to the water by yourself? Are you physically not as strong as others? If you answered yes, you might be interested in a sit-inside. They tend to be lighter. You can even purchase inflatables!
- Safety: If you decide on a sit-inside, you will need to learn to self-rescue. Since these kayaks are completely enclosed, it will swamp if you turn over. We recommend practicing in a place you feel comfortable until you are confident in your safety.
Most kayakers, especially beginners, choose this type of craft. These tend to be more stable, and are easier to get out of should you tip over. Here are some other reasons why you might choose a sit-on-top kayak:
- Wading: If you plan on getting out of your kayak in shallow waters and wading, you want something that is easy to get out of. You also want a more stable kayak, which sit-on-tops tend to be.
- Warm Weather: This type of kayak ensures you will always get wet. Why? There are holes at the bottom of the boat that allows in water to ensure stability. If the weather and the water are cold, opt for the sit-inside.
- Safety: The scupper holes at the bottom of the craft mean there is no way you can flood it. Sit-on-tops are much easier to get out of, and if you tip you don't have to worry about self-rescuing.
This helpful video and article from the experts at paddling.com will give you a more in-depth comparison between the two.
What Other Factors Should You Consider?
According to the experts at REI, there are some other vital factors you should consider when choosing your ideal fishing medium.
- Length: How long your kayak is matters! The shorter products are usually less than 11 feet, while the longer kayaks are longer than 12 feet. Shorter usually means better maneuverability. Longer usually means faster.
- Height: If you are tall, you won’t want to cram yourself into a small kayak. Even if you are fishing somewhere like a small pond or lake, go with what fits your body most comfortably.
- Stability: A stable kayak is a safe kayak, especially for beginners. While older models tip and feel unstable, newer models allow you to stand up without much fear. Just remember the more stable the craft, the harder it will be to maneuver.
- Type of Fishing: If you are an angler or a troller, you will want to go with a narrow, less stable model to cover more water. However, if you are larger, you should stick with a wider kayak for comfort.
- Keel Vs. No Keel: The keel refers to the fin that is underneath some fishing kayaks. If you choose keel, you will have greater speed and tracking. If you choose no keel, it should be because you plan on fishing in rocky, shallow areas or standing.
- Paddle Size: You can purchase paddles with or without the kayak. If you want to find your ideal paddle size for your height and type of craft, this chart can help.
For an in-depth look at choosing a fishing kayak, check out this 7 from some experts.
The Best Fishing Kayak Under $1000
Although the name may be confusing, the idea behind the BKC UH-TK181 is not. This kayak is a tandem, meaning that two people can easily fit inside this 12-foot long craft. There is also a trolling motor included, as well as two seats and two aluminum paddles. If you want a good kayay, this is the best fishing kayak under $1000.
Even if you decide to take this kayak out alone, you can maneuver it without a second person and use the extra space to store your gear. The only issue may be getting this 85-pound product in the water by yourself. However, there are four handles included to make the process easier.
Where this Brooklyn Kayak Company product shines is the amount of storage for two people. There is a secure bungee cargo area as well as two waterproof storage areas. Additionally, you can get up to 7 lines in the water at once! Talk about catching fish!
In terms of all-around comfort, the Sun Dolphin Boss SS takes the cake. It is advertised as a sit-on-top, stand-on-top kayak. This means there is added stability as well as a flat platform, stand up strap, adjustable foot holders, and non-slip padding.
Another feature that adds to the comfort of this one person craft is the long, 12.3-foot design. Taller people will feel very comfortable in this kayak. The weight limit to this craft is 500 pounds, so larger people will be comfortable as well.
There is also a folding seat in the large cockpit that you can change to 2 different positions. For storage, the Boss SS has front and rear wells you can add a bucket or crate too. Additionally, there are hand holds so you can easily carry this 78 pound Sun Dolphin to the water.
Of the five kayaks on our list, the sit-inside Sun Dolphin Excursion is by far the best value. This craft is best for those fisher-people that want to fit into smaller spaces. It will also keep you dry in the cold, just by being a sit-inside.
This Sun Dolphin was created from fortified high-density Polyethylene. The material also features UV stabilization to protect your kayak from sun damage. If you want some colors to choose from, the Excursion comes in sand, olive, and grey swirl.
The only downside is that taller people may not be comfortable in this 10-foot long kayak. The upside to the size is the lighter weight (only 40 pounds). Additionally, the Excursion is best for more tepid waters. Fighting the current or standing up for this product is not recommended.
Just from the name, you can gather that the Lifetime Tamarack 100 Fishing Kayak is for anglers! This means it is more maneuverable and can go faster over longer distances. Not only that, but Lifetime is a reputable brand you can trust.
Regarding comfort, this is one of the best on our list. The Tamarack features an adjustable seat back as well as a seat pad for your bum's comfort. There are also many different positions for the footrest, so those extremely tall and extremely short people don't have to worry about fit.
Lifetime manufactured this angler kayak with high-density Polyethylene (HDPE). This material is quite durable, and the whole thing only weighs 57 pounds. It also has t-handles in the front and the back for easier carrying.
The Tamarack is also easy to stand up inside with the included stability chine rails and flat bottom. However, like all sit-on-top kayaks, it will take some practice.
Like the previous kayak, the Sevylor Coleman Colorado Fishing Kayak can also hold two people. However, it is inflatable, and both people can sit on the top. This is great for anyone without the physical strength to lug a heavy kayak. Be aware that the pump and paddles are not included.
We recommend using this fishing kayak in lakes and ponds only. Even though the PVC construction is rugged, you should be aware of any rocks or branches you could snag on. Luckily, even if that happens, multiple air chambers allow you to get back safe.
The Colorado kayak even comes with trolling motor fittings in case you have one or want to purchase one later. A cool feature of this sit-on-top craft is the fact that there are no holes in the bottom, so you don’t have to worry about getting wet in the cold weather or water.