10 Best Fishing Kayaks Under $1000 [2021 EDITION]

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If you’re looking for the best fishing kayaks for under $1000, you’re in the right place. In this article, I break down the top ten fishing kayaks that won’t totally break the bank. 

Through thick and thin, you better believe these kayaks will give you a lovely day floating out on the water, reeling in your latest catch. They get top marks in stability, versatility and storage, all of which are key components of the perfect kayak for fishing. 

Keep reading to find the best fishing kayak for you!

Quick Answer: Best Fishing Kayaks Under $1000

Name
Image
Weight
Length
Width
Max Capacity
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Wilderness Systems Tarpon 12063lbs12' 3"31"350lbs
Perception Pescador Pro 1257lbs12'32.5"375lbs
Lifetime Tamarack Angler 10052lbs10'31"275lbs
Pelican Basscreek 100x Angler50lbs10'30.5"325lbs
Vibe Sea Ghost 11062lbs11'33"425lbs
BKC TK219 Tandem68lbs12' 6"34"595lbs
Emotion Stealth Pro Angler 11885lbs11' 8"32"375lbs
Elkton Outdoors Steelhead 13040lbs10' 10"39.5"400lbs
Aquaglide Chinook 100 InflatableAquaglide Chinook 100 Inflatable23lbs10'36"400lbs Buy from REI
Vibe Yellowfin 12065lbs12'33"400lbs

10 Best Kayaks for Fishing Under $1000

To make your search that much easier, here’s a round up of the ten best fishing kayaks under $1000 to take on your next adventure. 

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120

Weight: 63lbs | Length: 12′ 3″ | Width: 31″ | Max Capacity: 350lbs

Features: Phase 3 AirPro Seating | Magnetic bottle holder | Read tankwell | DryTec center storage

It’s hard to top the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 when it comes to the best fishing kayaks under $1000. While it’s barely shy of the price cut off, this baby is worth every cent.

A sit-on-top model boasting comfort and versatility, this fishing kayak has tons of storage for your gear, padded foot rests, an ultra comfortable seat and everything is adjustable so all paddlers can find their perfect fit. It’s really easy to get in and out of and stays stable on the water.

Organization is the name of the game with the Wilderness Systems Tarpon, with a removable dry box for valuables that even has different sections to keep your things safe and tidy.

Perfectly at home on lakes, rivers and even the wide open ocean, fishers will adore this kayak, guaranteed.

Perception Pescador Pro 12

Weight: 57lbs | Length: 12′ | Width: 32.5″ | Max Capacity: 375lbs

Features: Removable Pro Seat | Large front & rear open storage | Gear tracks & rod holders | Skid plate

This is an awesome starter fishing kayak under $1000. If you’re not super used to baiting and catching in a smaller vessel, the Perception Pescador Pro 12 is a good place to begin.

It comes decked out with a huge front and rear open storage to fit a cooler and all of your fishing gear, along with a 2-level adjustable lawn seat that can be lowered for chiller days out on the water or raised for premium casting. You can even remove it entirely and use it as a camp chair when it comes time to BBQ on the shore!

You’ll find this kayak does best on calmer waters like lakes, ponds or slow moving rivers and comes with plenty of accessory rails for rods and fish finders. 

Since it’s suited for beginners, it’s easy to maneuver (even in tight spots) and quite stable overall.

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Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100

Weight: 52lbs | Length: 10′ | Width: 31″ | Max Capacity: 275lbs

Features: Durable High-Density Polyethylene | Multiple Footrest Positions |Two Flush Mounted Fishing Rod Holders |Two 6″ Storage Compartments in Rear and Center

If you’re looking for the best fishing kayaks under $1000, this budget find will definitely delight you. Coming in at under $500, the Lifetime Tamarack Angler is a top choice for casual fishers who don’t mind a simple boat.

While it doesn’t have tons of bells and whistles, this fishing kayak certainly gets the job done. There are two 6 inch storage areas in the back and center of the boat, along with a top mount rod holder for when the time comes to crack a fresh brew.

This bad boy also comes with an adjustable and padded seat (though reviewers say it’s not as comfortable as pricer models), and has plenty of room to customize it to your desired comfort and style. 

Finally, this budget find comes with a paddle for getting right out on the water and is known to be very stable and durable. 

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Pelican Basscreek 100x Angler

Weight: 50lbs | Length: 10′ | Width: 30.” | Max Capacity: 325lbs

Features: Carrying handles | Bottle holder | Paddle tie-down and Adjustable footrests | Ergofit G2 seating system

This Pelican fishing kayak under $1000 is a lightweight, ergonomic option for versatile water use. Featuring a Multi-Chine flat bottom hull design, stability is guaranteed, as is the ability to glide through the water with ease, as this boat was designed for optimal tracking and agility.

There’s enough storage here for all of your catches and then some, with a quick lock hatch in the front of the boat, a day hatch with a storage bag, along with a storage platform secured with bungees. This makes it the ultimate choice for overnight trips or larger hauls.

Serious fishers will revel in the little details that make this kayak so special like the swivel rod holder, dual flush mount rod holders, and novelties like a water bottle holder, paddle storage, and eyelets to easily attach accessories.

You’ll have no problem staying comfortable all day as the footrests and padded seat cushions are adjustable to your liking. This is definitely a winner in our books!

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Vibe Sea Ghost 110

Weight: 62lbs | Length: 11′ | Width: 33″ | Max Capacity: 425lbs

Features: Pre-installed toe controlled rudder system | Watertight Dual-Hinged Console |Fish Finder and Accessories Mount |6 Accessories Gear Tracks

A last pick that’s a sure bet when it comes to best fishing kayaks for under $1000 is the Vibe Sea Ghost. Handy for those hitting the water for the first time, or more experienced fishers looking to get off the shore, this kayak is a great find.

One aspect that really sets this fishing kayak apart is the foot controlled rudder which allows you to conserve energy on long trips and navigate harsher currents. Coupled with the supremely comfortable, dual position seat, you’ll have no problem staying out from sun up until sundown. 

The Vibe Sea Ghost comes with plenty of storage, like the watertight console, magnetic tackle tray, front lock box and rear platform storage with bungee cords. Overall, you’ll have no problem fitting all of your gear and then some.

Topped off with rod holders and tracks for securing accessories, and the ability to handle a wide variety of conditions, this fishing kayak may just be your new best friend.

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BKC TK219 Tandem

Weight: 68lbs | Length: 12′ 6″ | Width: 34″ | Max Capacity: 595lbs

Features: 4 Carrying handles | High density polyethylene | Built-in fishing rod holders | Water resistant storage

When it comes to tandem fishing kayaks under $1000, Brooklyn Kayak Co. goes above and beyond. This two-seater boat was made to be stable on lakes, rivers and the ocean, while providing comfort and safety while cruising along.

One of the highlights of this fishing kayak is that while it’s a tandem, it’s still relatively lightweight coming in at 68lbs. It should be pretty easy to get it in the water with two people and the sturdy grab handles.

Keep multiple lines in the water at once with the four flush-mount fishing rod holders, and two adjustable rod holders. No matter where you are in the boat, you’ll be able to get a good angle and reel in those fishies.

Aside from the superb stability and unmatched comfort, this kayak also has a huge storage capacity with two watertight storage hatches for valuables and an open cargo space with bungees. No matter what kind of adventure you’re setting out on, the BKC TK219 will be able to handle whatever’s thrown at it. 

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Emotion Stealth Pro Angler 118

Weight: 85lbs | Length: 11′ 8″ | Width: 32″ | Max Capacity: 375lbs

Features: Quick-dry mesh seat | Universal track for accessory mounting | Adjustable foot braces | 2 tackle boxes & 2 flush mount rod holders

This sit-on-top kayak is one of the best for fishing if you’re hoping to spend less than $1000. It comes fully kitted out with all the basics and extra details that are sure to delight any fisherman.

If you’re hoping to have a stress free day out on the water, this is a top pick. There’s tackle tray storage under the seat, molding on the sides to strap your paddles in while fishing and rod holders for when you want to crack open a cold one.

What’s more, you’ll never complain about comfort as the seat has an adjustable frame with 3 different settings so you can find the perfect position between paddling, fishing and floating along.

Advanced tracking and stability are just two more of the endless features this kayak boasts, solidifying it as one of our favorites when it comes to best fishing kayaks under $1000.

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Elkton Outdoors Steelhead 130

Weight: 40lbs | Length: 10′ 10″ | Width: 39.5″| Max Capacity: 400lbs

Features: Rigid Dropstitch Floor|Front Bow Spray Shield | Halkey Roberts Locking Valves | Ample Bow and Stern Storage

A top tier inflatable fishing kayak, the Elkton Outdoors Steelhead 130 is a premier option for hitting the water with ease. Designed especially for fishing, this boat is decked out to the nines with storage, mounting points, and a cushy seat to keep you comfortable while awaiting your catch.

Though it’s inflatable, this kayak was designed for durability and can handle rather rough waters quite well. It’s crafted from 1000D reinforced layered PVC, which means you can knock up against rocks and logs without fear of tearing a huge gash in the vessel.

Coming complete with a hand pump for inflation, lightweight breakdown paddle, removable skeg, seat, adjustable footrest, and a travel bag with backpack straps, this inflatable kayak leaves you wanting for nothing.

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Aquaglide Chinook 100 Inflatable

Aquaglide Chinook 100 Inflatable

Weight: 23lbs | Length: 10′ | Width: 36″ | Max Capacity: 400lbs

Features: 600-denier ripstop polyester shell | Carry bag | Removable floor | 2 rod holders & seat storage pocket

Another promising inflatable fishing kayak for under $1000, this all purpose kayak can work as a solo or tandem ride. With a maximum weight capacity of 500lbs, you can even bring along kiddos or a dog… There’s surely enough space!

Coming in at 10 feet and weighing just 23lbs, this lightweight boat is easy to get in and out of, as well as inflate and packdown each day. It rolls up into a duffel bag, making for ultra easy transportation and storage as well.

Aside from convenience, one of the big benefits of this inflatable kayak is that it comes with a removable floor, which adds to the durability of the vessel and makes it easier to clean. Other benefits include two thick core seats, a removable inflatable booster seat for kids, and a fishing-ready design with two rod holders next to each seat and a storage pocket for organizing gear. 

If you’re wondering about storage space, this kayak has plenty with front and rear decks secured by bungee cords. There are also paddle holders for when you feel like floating along, hands free.

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Vibe Yellowfin 120

Weight: 65lbs | Length: 12′ | Width: 33″ | Max Capacity: 400lbs

Features: Premium Seat | Lots of storage space| Rudder ready | Fish finder mount

This twelve foot beauty will not disappoint if you’re looking for the best fishing kayak under $1000. Perfect for a solo paddler looking for speed and accuracy, this boat is top of the line.

Fishing made easy, this sit-on-top kayak has a 400 pound load capacity along with all the space needed to store and access your gear with ease. The Vibe Yellowfin 120 comes with accessory mounts, a cup holder, and two flush-mount rod holders, and a supremely comfortable (and adjustable) seat for extended water time, without those pesky aches and pains. 

Made for fast tracking and agility while in the boat, this durable kayak can handle anything that fresh or saltwater throws at it. Designed to navigate strong currents and the windiest days on lakes, ponds, rivers, streams or even the open ocean, this all-condition kayak will certainly serve you well.

Other perks of this fishing kayak include adjustable foot braces, paddle parks, comfortable carry handles, and even devoted tackle tray holders on top of heaps of storage space for the catch of the day.

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Key Considerations for Buying a Fishing Kayak

Before buying your fishing kayak, here are some key considerations to keep in mind. 

Fishing kayak on the beach

Weight

While you’ll be able to find pretty lightweight kayaks on the market, the picks in this guide are designed to withstand whatever the water throws at them. As such, they’re all around 50 or 60 pounds. 

Since these kayaks are on the heavier side, it also means you’ll have a greater capacity for carrying gear along with you.

That being said, you should consider the weight of a kayak before buying it to ensure that you’ll be able to manage it on your own. If you won’t have a friend with you, will you be able to load and unload the kayak yourself? 

Weight Capacity

Weight and weight capacity are totally different things when it comes to a fishing kayak. Weight refers to the actual boat, while weight capacity refers to how much the boat can carry.

This is definitely crucial to keep in mind as you consider your own weight, the gear you’ll carry with you and the amount of fish you’ll catch while out on the water. 

And P.S., it’s always best to stay a little below the weight capacity when it comes to packing your boat. 

Size

Size is also a super important factor when it comes to choosing the right fishing kayak for you. 

In general, fishing kayaks are rather lengthy, coming in at around 10-12 feet. Though you will find shorter ones, the benefit to longer kayaks is they’re more agile in the water and easier to track with.

However, shorter kayaks are a bit more wide which provides added stability. 

Make sure to check out both the length and width before buying your kayak to make sure that it will serve your purposes in the best way possible. 

SOT vs SIK

The main distinction you’ll see when it comes to fishing kayaks is sit-on-top models versus sit-in kayaks. 

Most of the kayaks on this list are sit-on-top because they:

  • Tend to be easier to get in and out of
  • Offer greater stability
  • Are safer in emergencies

Which are pretty key components to fishing, if you ask me.

But you will see sit-in kayaks which are the more traditional type, where the paddler is enclosed in the boat. This leads to better control and more speed, but makes it harder to get in and out of and can be super confining, which is a big no-no when it comes to fishing.

Versatility

Finally, think about what you’ll be using this kayak for. While fishing may be the main purpose, do you want to enjoy it for recreational use as well? Do you want to take it in both freshwater and saltwater? Should both beginners and advanced paddlers be able to use it?

All kayaks are made differently, so it’s worth looking into the individual specs of each to see what you can use them for. 

Pick one with a super comfy seat and lots of storage space if you want to use it for leisure, one that’s extra durable for use in a variety of bodies of water, and one that has decent stability if you’re looking for a boat that anyone can use.

Two fishing kayak boats at the beach

Caring For Your Kayak

Taking care of your fishing kayak is pretty simple if you remember these main tips:

  • Store it out of the sunlight, and ideally covered with a cloth.
  • Rise it off after use. Though most fishing kayaks are designed to withstand sun and salt water, to keep it in tip top shape for longer, consider hosing it down with fresh water after each adventure. 
  • Buy kayak racks. Whether it’s a wall mount or simple stand up rack, it’s worth investing in added support for your kayak. Avoid hanging it from the kayak handles or directly on the floor. 

Kayaking Safety Tips

Let’s finish things off with the key safety tips that anyone headed out on the water should heed:

  • Always wear a Personal Flotation Device
  • Pack plenty of water and sunscreen (and snacks!)
  • Let someone know your plans before taking off
  • Consult local rules, regulations and conditions before hitting the water
  • Know your limits and practice before heading out into rougher waters
  • Learn self-rescue routines in case of emergency

Travel Must: At the risk of sounding like your parents, make sure you get travel insurance before hitting the road. Trust us, it’s one of those things you don’t want to leave home without. We recommend either World Nomads or Safety Wing, depending on the type of traveler you are.

So there you have it, the ten best fishing kayaks under $1000. Though they’re not the most inexpensive models, each of the kayaks on this list are a safe bet if you’re looking to get out onto the water in something comfortable, practical and versatile.


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