Can you get a high-quality fishing kayak for less than $500? The answer is yes! Kayak fishing is a great recreational activity. And pursuing it doesn’t mean you should spend a small fortune. So, this article aims at guiding you through the process of getting the best fishing kayak under $500. Let’s proceed!
Quick Top 5 Kayaks Under $500:
*Keep reading for the fulling buying guide or jump straight to the reviews!
What Aspects Should You Consider?
Maneuverability has an imminent impact on tracking and hunting. You might already know that the width and length of the kayak play an important role in this respect.
Also, the rocker is just as important. The rocker stands for the curve of the keel line featuring the kayak.
Generally speaking, a higher rocker will provide ease of turning and reduced tracking. On the other side, a lower rocker equals in poor turning and ease of tracking.
Some kayaks are equipped with special storage compartments for tackle, bait, paddles, and even fish. In my opinion, you should take into consideration the rod holders, especially if you change lures and bait often.
In this case, you should have two-rod holders, at the very least. At the same time, storage hatches are mandatory. Some manufacturers provide waterproof compartments, for a boost of convenience.
Another aspect that is overlooked most of the time is the presence of a paddle holder. Many times, a paddle holder can be a useful addition, especially when it comes to kayak fishing. That’s because it will keep the paddle in place when you’re focusing on angling.
When you’re on a fishing trip, you expect it to last a couple of hours, at the very least. Thus, your kayak should be comfortable enough, so that you can fish the entire day without any discomfort whatsoever.
On that note, the boat should have proper adjustment options, padding, and footrest to accommodate even the tallest anglers out there.
Each kayak has a designated weight capacity that you should keep in mind. To that end, the weight of the angler should be accounted for, as well as the weight of the equipment.
Sit-on vs. Sit-in Kayaks: Which One Should I Choose?
Stability is a crucial consideration, and it is interwoven with the design of the kayak.
For instance, sit-on kayaks are typically shorter and wider. That ensures more primary stability in comparison with sit-ins. Nevertheless, sit-on kayaks aren’t necessarily an option if you have long distances to cover.
Evidently, your preferred spot for fishing plays a role in the equation. If you paddle in windy, wavy conditions, a sit-in, narrow kayak would be a better option.
Nevertheless, if your fishing spots are easily accessible, a sit-on kayak might be better. Especially on relatively calm waters. Additionally, sit-on-top kayaks feature better tracking abilities than their counterparts.
Still, they aren’t the best at turning. Meanwhile, when you paddle a sit-in kayak, you are more comfortable and warm. Therefore, I would recommend you to get one if you’ll be out paddling on cool waters and you’re not too eager about getting yourself wet.
Kayak Fishing Tips You Should Follow
To begin with, the first thing you should do to become a better kayaker is to get comfortable. The main reason many anglers hesitate to push their boundaries is that they worry that they might fall out.
The solution is to get a kayak with a decent weight limit and solid construction. Always challenge yourself and be prepared for whatever may come. This also applies to dressing adequately.
By definition, kayak angling implies getting wet. That's pretty inevitable.
Additionally, you should focus on learning the way in which fish tends to change in your area. Aspects such as moon phases, weather, the season of species and other environmental changes have a role in the equation.
I would advise you to keep this in mind when you develop a strategy. Although kayak fishing has plenty to do with testing your patience, having a strategy will make your fishing trips much more successful.
Also, expand your horizons and avoid targeting only a species of fish. While it's rewarding to capture plenty of fish, the thrill of the chase is the most exhilarating part.
And when you’re chasing multiple species, it becomes more challenging and exciting altogether.
Top Kayak Fishing Safety Tips
We all like kayaking because it’s a rewarding, enjoyable, and user-friendly recreational activity. Nonetheless, it’s important to realize that the key to enjoying it fully is to comprehend the risks that come with the territory.
That’s why we would like to talk about the most important safety tips.
To start with, you should choose the paddling location depending on your skill level. The perfect kayaking environment is safeguarded from waves and wind while having a decent access point.
While this may not be a possibility each time you’re planning a fishing adventure, if you’re a newbie, you should start paddling in calm conditions. Do this in the proximity of the shore, and never do that alone.
Concurrently, you should be adequately equipped. Cold water is dangerous, by itself. Therefore, the immersion in cold water will inevitably lead to hypothermia. That being said, you should invest in fully waterproof, durable gear that will keep you safe and comfy.
What is more, you should always have appropriate first aid and signaling equipment with you. Other things that might come in handy include an extra set of paddles, a leash and tow lines.
What Is the Proper Technique for Paddling a Fishing Kayak?
For the most part, the poor angling technique will only make you tired and diminish your performance in front of changing conditions. Having a good technique is the key to enjoying your time on the water more and feeling confident while doing that.
Your priority should be to have a correct posture. In fact, did you know that sitting up straight allows you to paddle faster, harder, and it will reduce the incidence of back pain?
Concurrently, paddling with good posture implies that your feet should rest comfortably while being secured against the foot pedals.
Learning how to use your paddles accordingly is just as important. A good way to determine whether your hands are in a correct position is by lifting the handle onto the head.
The elbows should be bent at approximately 90 degrees. This will provide you with the perfect combination of power and control.
Ken Whiting, World Champion kayaker, presents three kayaking techniques that each paddler should practice and master.
The Best Fishing Kayak under $500
This is a high-quality kayak whose strongest point is versatility. It can cope with various conditions including lakes, bays or coastal oceans.
The tracking ability of this kayak is rather remarkable. Still, this item wouldn’t be my go-to for touring or competition purposes. The tracking is, indeed, decent, but it has its limitations, due to the kayak’s limited size.
Another excellent feature is the portability. You can definitely transport this in the back of your SUV. Also, you won’t require help to get this thing on the water.
It also offers plenty of space for cargo. Additionally, the 4 Flush mounted rod holders enable you to place multiple lines in the water, as you paddle.
The maneuverability of this kayak is another outstanding element. For the most part, this item comes equipped with everything you’d need for a successful fishing adventure, without breaking the bank.
This is, above all, a comfortable kayak with excellent design. The adjustable foot braces are definitely a great addition. The stability is also noteworthy.
This is something both newbies and veterans will appreciate. The fact that you have a lot of compartments for extra equipment is also a good option. In fact, there’s a designated space that remains dry, where you can keep your smartphone, camera, or other valuables.
Moreover, this kayak is equipped with a paddle holder on each side. This addition is more than welcome, especially for anglers. Evidently, you should let go of the paddles, at one point.
So, this means you can easily position the kayak wherever you need without the paddle staying in your way.
Nevertheless, the thing with this kayak is that the weight limit is rather low. So, you might consider getting the 12-foot version, otherwise.
Also, the scupper holes might cause some inconvenience. While they contribute to draining the water on the boat, water may get through there, as well. Still, you can easily solve this problem by getting scupper plugs.
This kayaker is made of HDPE (high-density polyethylene), a lightweight material that is also long-lasting. This is a great advantage, as the kayak is durable enough to accommodate up to 275 lbs.
Also, being UV-resistant, you can take this out on long fishing trips without worrying about a thing. In fact, when I was testing this out on water, I hit plenty of rocks and no damage was noted.
In my opinion, the rod holders are a helpful addition if you plan on doing some fishing. Additionally, the kayak is quite roomy, which makes it quite comfy.
As for the multiple foot braces, they are definitely nice features for tall paddlers. In fact, this kayak may fit large guys who are 6-foot tall. On top of that, the seating is adjustable and padded, for a boost of comfort.
Considering that this is a small, lightweight boat, the tracking and stability are impressive. Still, don’t expect to win any kayaking competitions with this boat, as it is a bit slow. But for your fishing outings, it will be great.
This is another inexpensive kayak that would be a great option for both beginner and experienced paddlers. Featuring two flush mounted rod holders, you can easily paddle while having a cast line.
It has a nice assembly of features that make it suitable for paddling in low wave or calm water.
If you prefer to remain dry during your kayaking adventures, you’d be better off with picking a sit-in kayak. The adjustable seat, large cockpit, and back support system make it a good fit for tall individuals, as well.
I would also like to note that this kayak is made for tight spaces. Also, the polyethylene construction means that it can withstand wear, logs, and rocks without any difficulty whatsoever.
In fact, this is almost impossible to break. Transporting it is easy since it weighs only 40 lbs. As for the storage compartment, it definitely comes in handy. Nonetheless, the downside is that there is no extra storage designated for fish.
The 280 lbs. maximum carry weight might also be a disadvantage to some. Hence, this is something to carry in mind before making a purchase.
If you’re on the lookout for the best fishing kayak under $500 that is also inflatable, then you should take a look at this one. This is a boat that can accommodate two persons.
The inflatable parts and the double-wall construction feature impact resistant nylon.
Concurrently, thanks to its air chambers, the kayak is less likely to sink. If you have to deal with a puncture, it will only affect one chamber.
I particularly like the portability element. At the same time, inflating and deflating the kayak is a breeze.
Another great feature is that you have plenty of storage for your fishing gear. On top of that, the adjustable holders are extremely handy.
Most importantly, though, the kayak remains surprisingly stable on the water. Thanks to the removable fin, it does a decent job at tracking.
However, the thing is that, since it doesn’t have a motor, it is a bit slow. Even so, you have the option of installing a motor on the kayak if you wish.
Another minor inconvenience might be the center rod holder. When you’re trying to paddle, it might get in the way of things, so you should be careful about that.
When it comes to buying a fishing kayak there's a few things you need to pay attention to:
- You want a kayak that has plenty of storage for all of your fishing gear.
- You're going to be in the kayak for awhile, so comfort should be a huge factor.
- You want a kayak that can handle you and your gear's weight.
If you want to kayak fish, without breaking the bank, you need on of these best fishing kayaks under $500.