man kayak fishing in sunset

TOP 10 Best Cheap Fishing Kayaks Reviewed 2019 [Best Budget Options]

Isn’t fishing is one of life’s greatest pleasures?

Going down to the water’s edge, casting a pole in and sitting back to enjoy your tranquil surroundings.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t catch anything – you can feel the pressures and struggles of your day-to-day existence ebb away.

Perfect bliss.

But if you really want to significantly improve your chances of landing a whopper – you should consider investing in a fishing kayak.

All the pleasures of kayaking and fishing rolled into one.

Kayak fishing is becoming increasingly popular with the advancement of craft technology, but they can get expensive. With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of the best cheap fishing kayaks on the market.

It needn’t cost the earth to enjoy a hobby that should be accessible to everyone. Everyone needs to get away from it all from time to time.

A complete buyer’s guide and FAQ section will follow.

IMPORTANT! The price of kayaks listed below can change at any moment due to manufacturer pricing policy or due to different other reasons. The kayaks listed as budget options have been reviewed at their prices in the time of publishing this guide.

To see the current prices of kayaks listed below please click the links of individual reviews.

TOP 10 Best Cheap Fishing Kayaks 2019

Intex Excursion Inflatable Fishing Kayak

Review: Kicking us off we have this two-person inflatable fishing kayak that can take a maximum weight of 400lbs. It’s made from a very durable laminate PVC which ensures the craft is super-lightweight while being highly resistant to punctures and tears.

High pressure, spring-loaded valves provide fast inflation and deflation.

It’s packed with onboard features, including two fishing rod holders, adjustable seats, removable skegs for deep or shallow water, steel D-rings for securing gear and bow and stern storage options.

There’s also scope to add accessories – such as digital fish finders for kayaks – with a removable mounting bracket. And for the price, it could well be the best affordable fishing kayak out there.

Pros

  • Fantastic price.
  • Quality construction.
  • Packed with adjustable features.
  • Carry bag, paddles and pump included.

Cons

  • Not the best for the larger angler.

Takeaway

A top-quality fishing kayak with outstanding value – if you’re on a tight budget, this should be a no brainer.

SunDolphin Journey Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak

Review: SunDolphin are never far away when it comes to kayak rankings, and this 10-foot, sit-on-top fishing kayak easily makes the cut.

It has two flush mounted rod holders, as well as a swivel mounted holder midship.

It’s ideal for lake use as it tracks and paddles exceptionally well. It’s made from a rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex high-density polyethylene that is available in two colors, with shock-cord deck rigging and a stern removable storage compartment to hold all your gear.

Paddle holders on the sides are a big plus, and the maximum weight capacity sits at 250lbs.

Pros

  • Great price for what you get.
  • Compact and lightweight.
  • Quality name and build.

Cons

  • Again, not ideal for the larger/heavier angler.

Takeaway

For what you get from Sundolphin here, this – in my view – is the best budget fishing kayak there is. Great value for this little gem.

Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak

Review: Lifetime is a US company based out of Utah and they claim to make the most stable kayaks in the world. This is particularly useful when producing fishing kayaks, and this Tamarack model is a quality addition to their portfolio.

It combines a flat bottom for improved stability, a built-in tracking skeg for straight paddling and a sharp bowline for improved speed.

There’s two flush-mounted fishing pole holders, a top mounted holder, two storage hatches and shock-cord storage webbing bow and stern. The adjustable seat-rest and multiple footrest positions enable anglers of all sizes to use this quality kayak with ease.

Pros

  • Packed with features.
  • Sold construction.
  • Great price.

Cons

  • Doesn’t seem to be the most comfortable for longer use.

Takeaway

One of the best budget fishing kayaks around – this is the perfect entry-level option if you’re just starting out with the hobby.

Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak

Review: This inflatable kayak is packed with features right across its durable, puncture and tear-resistant PVC construction. With a 10000D tarpaulin bottom and an 840D nylon cover, even if something manages to break through that the multiple air chambers will ensure you stay afloat.

The Boston valve ensures super-fast inflation and deflation, while there’s plenty of storage space for all your gear and your catch. Two Berkley quick-set rod holders offer hands-free fishing, and there’s even scope to add a Sevylor trolling motor if you don’t fancy paddling or having oars take up space.

As far as inflatables go, this is up there with the best fishing kayaks under $1000, for sure.

Pros

  • Super-portable.
  • Loads of onboard features.
  • Durable construction.

Cons

  • Mounts and other hardware tend to get in the way.

Takeaway

Altogether a quality inflatable fishing kayak with plenty of bells and whistles to help you land your catch. It might be a little “busy” for some, though.

Lifetime Two Person Tandem Fishing Kayak

Review: Paddles are not always included in your purchase, so it’s nice that my second Lifetime inclusion comes with them as standard. This is effectively the two-person version of the Tamarack, actually able to hold three people to a maximum of 500lbs.

It’s constructed of a durable high-density UV-protected polyethylene that is resistant to fading, cracking and peeling.

There are three fishing pole holders, two adjustable backrests, multiple footrests and a storage hatch in the stern. Paddle clips along the craft ensure they won’t get in your way when you’re casting for the next catch.

Pros

  • Super-stable.
  • Solid construction.
  • High weight capacity.

Cons

  • On the heavy side.

Takeaway

For a solid kayak that’s built like a tank and ideal for tandem fishing – you could do a lot worse than this effort from Lifetime.

Not at all bad for the price with paddles included.

SunDolphin Boss SS Angler Kayak

Review: Another entry for Sundolphin sees this stand/sit-on-top kayak that has a catamaran-style hull for increased stability.

It offers large, stern and bow storage hatches and wells with shock-cord webbing, a large, open cockpit with adjustable footrests, five rod holders, and non-slip pads with stand-up strap.

Designed to be a high-end kayak that any fisherperson could afford, it’s the best fishing kayak for under $600 around. It’s lightweight and easy to carry with a maximum weight capacity of 500lbs. You’ll be hard to find something better at this price.

Pros

  • Intelligently designed.
  • High weight capacity.
  • Loads of features.
  • Super-stable.

Cons

  • Some issues with the adjustable seat in certain conditions.

Takeaway

For under $600, this fishing kayak is an impressive, top-quality piece of kit that will get the job done with aplomb.

BKC RA220 Single Fishing Kayak

Review: We’re moving into more serious waters now with this offering from the Brooklyn Kayak Company – who specialize in fishing kayaks at the higher end of the scale.

This model is for solo use, with a maximum load capacity of 450lbs. It has the added bonus of foot-operated rudder control, to ensure you go where you need and want to in all conditions.

There are twin, flush-mounted pole holders, watertight storage and cargo areas, bungee paddle rests and a fish-finder cut-out in the hull. It’s built with stability in mind, and you can stand up in the kayak without the risk of tipping over.

You can even use it like a paddleboard if you so choose. This is a solidly built fishing kayak that is packed with quality features.

Pros

  • Rudder system.
  • Loads of waterproof storage.
  • Great choice of colors.

Cons

  • Heavy.

Takeaway

With the integrated rudder system, built like a tank and offering loads of storage options, this is a quality fishing kayak that you’ll get plenty of use out of down the years.

Perception Pescador Pro Sit-On-Top Kayak

Review: Perception has been making top-drawer kayaks for over 40 years and you’ll usually find them with entries in any review.

This model is actually one of their entry-level fishing kayaks – so you can imagine the standard from here upwards.

It has a maximum capacity of 375lbs, large bow and stern storage capacity for tackle and gear, a super-comfortable adjustable seat which can double as a camp chair, two rod holders and adjustable footrests.

It has been designed with comfort in mind, as well as being super-lightweight and compact to get you fishing where others can’t.

Pros

  • Portable and lightweight.
  • Excellent performance.
  • Center console for adding a fishfinder.

Cons

  • Not ideal if you’re on the larger side.

Takeaway

Although marketed as entry level, this is an outstanding fishing kayak that would suit anglers of any skill.

Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 110 Angler Kayak

Review: Vibe Kayaks are a cool, young company that began in 2013 based out of Georgia. Their Sea Ghost model is an outstanding fishing kayak that is packed with features, including that all-important, toe-controlled rudder system to help with longer paddles and choppier conditions.

There’s more storage than you could shake a fishing rod at, with a large center console, a 20-inch bow hatch, a stern hatch, and a shock-cord covered well for coolers, tents and/or tackle boxes. It has a 425lbs load capacity while being designed to track and paddle with ease – a hybrid of performance and stability.

Pros

  • Tons of features.
  • Excellent storage.
  • Rudder system.
  • Options for extras.

Cons

  • Slower than other models – but you’re not using it for racing, are you?

Takeaway

The best fishing kayak under $1000? Quite possibly. You can get the same features spending upwards of 3k as you can picking up the Sea Ghost for a comparative song.

BKC TK122 Tandem Fishing Kayak

Review: Our final entry for the best cheap fishing kayak is another effort from the Brooklyn Kayak Company.

This tandem craft is beautifully designed and constructed, with a maximum weight allowance of a whopping 770lbs. The seating is possibly the best in its class, with two aluminum framed.

Delux meshed seats that ensure you can be out on the water for hours. Both seats have access to a watertight hatch for storage, with additional shock-cord storage to the stern.

It comes with four flush-mounted fishing pole holders and two articulated rod holders, as well as paddle clips and a flat-bottomed hull for stability.

It could well be the best inexpensive fishing kayak on the market – especially if you’re shopping for two.

Pros

  • Great features.
  • Outstanding seating.
  • Solid design and build.
  • Choice of cool colors.

Cons

  • If you find any – let me know!

Takeaway

This is a truly beautiful craft that will surely turn heads as you land a prize catch. Top-quality stuff from the Brooklyn Kayak Company.

How to Choose the Best Cheap Fishing Kayak

Choosing the best fishing kayak isn’t easy – especially when you need to take so much into consideration.

Below you’ll find a guide on what you should be looking for in your new kayak, including that all-important FAQ section.

What’s Your Skill Level?

First thing’s first – everyone should be looking at purchasing a fishing kayak that is right for their skill level.

If you’ve never cast a rod in anger before – then you should really be looking at the more budget end of the fishing kayak market.

You might not enjoy the pastime – and then you’re left with a rather expensive miss-step.

Likewise, if you’re an old hand at the sport – perhaps you should be spending a little more on a craft that will have everything you’re looking for.

Don’t be complaining that it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles you need if you’ve gone for the cheapest option out there.

Know and understand your experience and skill level and make a choice based on that.

Tandem or Solo?

Do you want to be fishing with a partner or fishing solo?

While it might seem like a deceptively simple decision, it can cause a bit of a headache depending on your circumstances.

If you have a partner, family member or friend who is keen to kayak fish with you – then you need to decide which is preferable between one tandem or two single kayaks.

And if you’re fishing solo now – maybe further down the line, you might want company.

Remember, you can fish solo in a tandem kayak – but you can’t fish with two in a solo kayak.

Unless you really want to get wet, that is.

man kayak fishing in sunset

How Long Will You be on the Water?

Some fishing kayaks are clearly built with shorter trips in mind. They don’t have a large amount of storage or they’re not as comfortable for spending hours out on the water.

While most of these kayaks will do their best to provide a comfortable user experience – some are much better than others.

But the tradeoff is – you’ll pay for it.

How far you want to paddle will also come into play – choosing a vessel that tracks well with a long keel would be ideal here.

Decide for yourself if you’re just going for a casual fish or you’re more likely to doing longer days or possibly overnight.

It will make a big difference to your kayak of choice.

On-Board Storage Considerations

You’ll notice that most fishing kayaks worth their salt will come with plenty of storage options as standard.

This usually includes one or two storage hatches, as well as stern and bow shock-cord, wedded storage wells.

Tackle boxes and coolers to hold your catch should be taken into consideration – so you need a craft with plenty of space and easy access to your equipment.

How large these storage areas are will depend on the kayak, how much you’re willing to pay and – once again – how long you want to be out on the water/on the trip.

Unless otherwise stated – they’re not going to be waterproof, so you’ll need to consider dry bags if your carrying gear that can’t get wet.

Other Features and Add-Ons

A fishing kayak wouldn’t be a fishing kayak if it didn’t have fishing pole holders.

Then it becomes just a normal kayak. Maybe you’d be better off with a fishing float tube instead?

But consider the kind of holder that you’re going to need.

Do you need multiple holders? Do you need flush-mounted holders? Do you need hands-free holders?

You should also think about the option for add-ons or accessories to really pimp up your fishing kayak.

A center console option is nice if you want to add fish finders for kayaks, GPS systems or extra rod attachments or swivel holders.

The option to add a small outboard motor for trolling fishing might be a nice touch.

Bear these things in mind when you’re making your decision – you might want to adapt your kayak to better suit your needs further down the line.

man in kayak in forrest

FAQs

What’s the Best Type of Kayak for Fishing?

You’ll probably notice in the reviews above, that they are all sit-on-top kayaks. Generally speaking, this type of kayak makes far-and-away the best vessel for fishing.

This is because they are much more stable in the water than their sit-in counterparts.

Sit-on-top kayaks are usually wider, often with a flat bottom that sit higher in the water giving you improved vision while offering the option of standing up without tipping over.

As you can imagine, this is much more suitable for reeling in a fish than if you were in a craft with a rounded hull.

That doesn’t mean to say you can’t fish from a sit-in version – and there are sit-in fishing kayaks available – it’s just when compared side-by-side the advantages of a sit-on-top kayak will win out every time.

What Color Should My Fishing Kayak be?

It is nice to have a choice of colors when selecting your new fishing kayak – but how much does it really matter?

As fish don’t see a large range of colors, it’s not going to make much of a difference what you go for. If fish were repelled by neon hot pink then manufacturers wouldn’t make a fishing kayak with that livery.

Some anglers maintain that you should go for the more “natural” camo colors such as green, sand, brown or olive – but that’s just a personal preference.

What you should be thinking – is safety first. Bright, bold colors such as orange, lime, yellow or red are much more easily seen in case of emergencies.

And this is particularly important if you’re going to be fishing in open water.

But in short – just pick whatever you feel comfortable with – just bear in mind the safety aspect.

How Do I Transport a Fishing Kayak?

One thing’s for sure – if you don’t do this properly, you are likely to seriously damage your fishing kayak, your vehicle, or yourself.

Are you physically capable of lifting your craft onto a roof rack?

Many fishing kayaks are on the heavier side and require a rear trailer instead.

I could write an entire article about this topic alone – but check out these really useful and informative videos below for how to transport your fishing kayak.

What Clothing/Accessories Do I Need?

From fish finders to GPS navigation, additional rod holders and racks, fishing tackle boxes, coolers, dry bags, PFDs, trolling motors and other systems and much, much more – you’ll be forgiven for going crazy over what you need to go kayak fishing.

In truth, unless you’re getting really serious into the pastime, you don’t need much to get started at all.

Your rod and reel is a good start.

As is bait and tackle, somewhere to store your catch (if not releasing) and the right kind of clothing and supplies for the day.

Wearing a hat and sunglasses out on the water is always a good idea in bright sunshine. And don’t forget to use sunscreen if fishing in such conditions.

In a sit-on-top fishing kayak out on the water you’re exposed to all the elements – so dress and prepare accordingly.

Always pack plenty of water and snacks to see you though – especially if spending any length of time out enjoying nature.

But as far as all the bells and whistles go – you don’t need it.

Go fish.

adult man spin fishing

Summary

The best cheap fishing kayaks are affordable and available to get you out on the water as soon as possible.

You needn’t break the bank to enjoy this hobby – a kayak under $1000 will have you catching just as much fish as one worth three times as much.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments – and if you’ve had luck landing some whoppers with a cheap fishing kayak.

Best of luck out there!