Hey friends and fellow anglers, I realize that finding a budget kayak in 2023 can be difficult. Over my years, I’ve found that the top features of the best fishing kayaks under $500 are storage compartments, paddle holders, fishing rod holders, brackets for fish finders, and top-quality construction.
That said, if you’ve ever looked into the hobby of fishing in a kayak, then you know that finding the right budget kayak with great features is hard to do. Some top-of-the-range models come at really high prices, which might deter some of the most casual anglers.
However, you’re in luck if you do not want to break the bank and prefer a budget-friendly kayak in 2023. In fact, with a bit of research, you’ll find plenty of models that will cost you less than $500. The lower price doesn’t mean they are of any lesser quality either – some of these sub $500 kayaks have all the best features to make your fishing experience second-to-none.
Whether it is how well they track through the water or how many accessories come with this boat, we’ll break down some of the best features to have the best kayak to catch all the fish you’ll need.
Like most recreational kayaks, you’ll also want one that will not pitch you into the drink if things get choppy.
So, where can you find the best kayaks for less than $500? What features does an outstanding kayak need to have? What is the best material to keep your kayak waterproof and very durable? How much would you have to pay for a decent fishing kayak? Should your kayak be easy to transport on your car or truck?
If you want the answers to all these questions and then some, we suggest that you keep reading this article. In addition, I’ll discuss popular features such as high-density polyethylene material, adjustable foot braces, flush mount rod holders, comfortable and adjustable bucket seats, protective thigh pads, storage areas, swivel rod holders, and more.
I have compiled a list of the best fishing kayaks, which fall under the $500 price tag. I’ll then end the post with a buyer’s guide to help you decide which is the best kayak for your needs.
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
Pelican Sit-On-Top 9′ Kayak
This best fishing kayak under $500 is one that you can sit on top of, being a recreational kayak that you can use for fishing.
The Pelican Sit-On-Top kayak is excellent for the summer weather when the waters are calm, and you want a boat you can kick back and relax on.
- This Pelican kayak under $500 measures at 9-feet long, perfect for any solo kayaker who wants to relax with a simple fishing rod and maybe some music
- The Pelican kayak has a solid plastic construction that will float well in challenging and calm waters.
- The kayak only weighs 44 pounds, so it will be effortless to drag up the shore and into a lake, river, or pool.
- It has a flat-bottom hull, which is a great space-saving feature and allows you to move your legs and increase the circulation in your body.
- This boat might have a few simple features and does not possess some of the more intricate fishing features that, the more die-hard anglers want.
Perception Sound 9.5′ Fishing Kayak
The following sub $500 kayak is an excellent choice on this list of already cheap kayaks. It is the perfect river companion, with excellent storage options, for anyone looking to fish for the first time but is working on a strict budget – introducing the Perception Sound 9.5.
- The Perception comes with a dashboard area that you can use to store plenty of fishing equipment, with a two-molded chair with rod holders.
- It has a few fishing accessories like rod holders and seats that you can adjust for the perfect relaxing environment.
- This kayak is very easy to sit in and operate, which will be very important for anyone fishing for the first time and who wants their kayak to do a lot of the leg work.
- The Perception has perfect storage space on the deck, ideally designed for a single fisherman or two anglers who are very, very light on the amount of gear they carry
Sun Dolphin Journey 10′ Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak
This next kayak under $500 has two mount holders that you can use for your two-person fishing experience.
It also has a portable accessory carrier that you can use to store plenty of fishing gear or your items – introducing the Sun Dolphin Journey 10-Foot Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak.
- The Sun Dolphin sub $500 kayak is excellent for recreation and fishing, with a holder for your rod and room for your gear.
- The kayak comes with plenty of accessories, such as a beverage holder and some deck rigging that will allow you to fish for long periods.
- It has dent-resistant plastic that you can be sure will increase the longevity of your kayak.
- The Sun Dolphin has comfortable seating and food braces that you can adjust to suit your legs to have excellent circulation with your vessel.
- The Sun Dolphin sup $500 kayak might be the best for some more inexperienced anglers. We would recommend you get this only if you have a few years of experience under your belt.
Sevylor Colorado Inflatable Kayak
This next fishing kayak under $500 is slightly different, coming in an inflatable model that will be easy to set up and pack away again.
The entry points of your kayak are straightforward, allowing you to get it set up within an hour – introducing the Sevylor Colorado Inflatable Kayak.
- This kayak is one of the best for forward and reverse, and it has a hard nose that you can use for tracking.
- This kayak can be inflated and deflated very quickly, making it great to store in your car when you are not using it.
- The Colorado kayak comes with D-rings and bungee cords, which are very important if you are going to lash your equipment to the roof of your vehicle.
- It comes with plenty of room on the decking, which is excellent if you want to carry a moderate amount of fishing gear.
- This boat is inflatable and might not give professional fishers who carry a lot of gear the stability that they need from their boat.
Pelican Sit-On-Top 10′ Fishing Kayak
This next fishing kayak under $500 is excellent for small children or young adults who might be taking to the water for the very first time. The Pelican has plenty of rod holders and security leashes to keep you in your boat – introducing the Pelican Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak.
- The Pelican has security leashes that you can be sure will hold you tightly on the deck of your boat.
- It has easy steering, and two aluminum oars allow for superb tracking.
- This inflatable kayak is excellent for youngsters; and it is not too heavy and is easy to navigate for people who might be relatively new to kayaking and fishing.
- The Pelican comes with plenty of safety features that guarantee a solid boating experience on smooth waters.
- This boat might have trouble if it hits choppy waters, which will be difficult for boaters who have less experience out on the water.
Lifetime Hydros Angler 85 Fishing Kayak
This next inflatable fishing kayak under $500 is a tremendous medium-range boat with a blow-molded design that will give you plenty of space on your decking. It also has UV protection and is highly durable – introducing the Lifetime Hydros Angler 85 Fishing Kayak.
- The Lifetime Hydros has a lightweight design, so carrying it from your truck to the shoreline will be easy.
- It comes with a 41-pound design and plenty of room on the decking. It is one of the most buoyant units you can find.
- The price – this is another very cheap unit, and we would certainly recommend it to anyone who wants to pinch a few pennies.
- The Hydros comes with multiple foot positions, so you can stretch out and relax your legs, which is essential for staying out on the water and increasing circulation.
- This kayak might be much for beginners with little experience out on the water.
Intex Excursion Pro Kayak
This next kayak comes with plenty of helpful features, adjustable seats, built-in footrests, and waterproof bag latches that will allow you to carry your possessions with you – introducing the Intex Excursion Pro Kayak.
- The Excursion inflatable kayak comes with handles on the front that you can use to easily carry the inflatable up over land and into the water.
- Priced under $500, when it is not in use, you can easily store it in the trunk of your car or the back of your garage.
- The Intex Excursion comes with a pair of aluminum oars, great for deeper waters, so you can be sure of a very durable and sturdy ride when you are out on the waves.
- It also comes with a sturdy air pump that you can use to get your inflatable kayak up and running in no time at all.
- The Intex Excursion might not be sturdy enough for professional anglers who will be carrying a lot of fishing gear.
Sea Eagle 3 Person Inflatable Portable Fishing Sport Kayak
The Sea Eagle fishing kayak is very lightweight and versatile and at a great price point. It is an inflatable design that you can be sure will give you everything you need for portable and space-saving use.
- This kayak weighs only 32 pounds, so it will be straightforward to drag it from one end of the beach to the other. The lightweight will also help younger users or people with mobility issues.
- The Sea Eagle comes in a lightweight design and excellent deck space. The deck space is suitable for anyone who will bring any gear.
- The sub $500 kayak is excellent for both experienced anglers and people just hitting the water for the first time.
- The kayak can be inflated and ready to fish in just a few minutes. We would recommend that you have this for your fishing needs.
- The Sea Eagle is a two-person kayak, so it might not suit anyone traveling solo with little gear.
Airhead Angler Bay Inflatable Boat
This angling boat comes with a host of great accessories that you can use to have a premium-level fishing experience.
We recommend that you choose this boat, as it’s lightweight, extremely portable, and easy to use – introducing the Airhead Angler Bay Inflatable Boat.
- The Airhead Angler is great for use on the slow lakes, giving you everything you need for a tranquil and wobble-free boating experience.
- Vinyl construction gives you everything you need for a stable and durable ride.
- The Angler comes with electronically-welded seams that you can be sure will keep your boat completely airtight and not take on water.
- It also comes with an inflatable floor and movable seats, which are very important if you need mobility outdoors on the water for longer than 2 hours.
- The price – although this kayak is still under $500, this is one of the more expensive models on this list.
Lifetime Hydros Angler Kayak With Paddle
Our final fishing kayak is known for its excellent tunnel hull design and ability to maneuver quickly and accurately. The kayak has plenty of storage space and is entirely waterproof – introducing the Lifetime Hydros Angler Kayak with Paddle. You may also be interested in the Lifetime Tamarack Angler.
- As indicated by the name, this kayak comes with a high maximum weight capacity and a sturdy paddle to help you navigate treacherous waters.
- The Hydros is very stable for standing and fishing, and when it comes to balancing, it will be tough to beat this boat.
- The kayak comes with an integrated waterproof design, so you won’t worry about your belongings getting wet, and an adjustable seat.
- This Lifetime kayak has plenty of rail-mounted accessories, so you won’t have to concern yourself with having your belongings attached to the side of your boat.
- This boat is another one that is on the expensive side, but if you want all the state-of-the-art features, then you might have to spend a little more money.
Best Fishing Kayaks Under $500 Buying Guide for 2023
When you are picking up your first kayak, there’ll be a few things that you’ll need to consider, including durability, reliability, longevity, and how well it will be to navigate.
Here are a few things that you’ll want to look for:
How well does it track?
Tracking is how your boat moves through the water. Some vessels have hardened noses and a more streamlined design that will help you better move through the water.
We would recommend that you get a plastic kayak if that’s how you want to move through the waves; however, some inflatable boats are now just as sturdy.
What is it made from?
The best kayaks are made from plastic and some fabric materials. The plastic material should prevent water from leaking into the deck and help when you occasionally hit a branch or dock.
However, you can also get inflatable boats made from materials such as vinyl that will help you coast through the water with a high level of ease. These inflatables are also quite resistant to punctures from stones and other materials.
Best Fishing Kayaks Under $500 – FAQs
Is an inflatable kayak better than a plastic one?
Choosing an inflatable or plastic kayak will depend on whether you prefer durability or ease of setup. If you don’t want to lug a kayak for miles and miles on the hood of your truck and you have very little room when it comes to your living space, we would suggest an inflatable kayak.
These inflatable kayaks are very easy to store, and there won’t be that much difference in the construction of an inflatable with a solid plastic model.
However, if you have a lot of fishing gear, including your bait box, tackle, and perhaps a Helix or Hummingbird sonar fish finder, then you might want to have the stability afforded you by a plastic model.
Why get a cheaper kayak?
You should only get a less expensive kayak model if you have a budget. Sometimes a family will want to buy a kayak, but they might not have the money to spend on something with all the bells and whistles. If you’re searching for a kayak for two people, you may also want to explore tandem fishing kayaks.
What is the most stable fishing kayak under $500?
The best fishing kayak under $500 is the Pelican Sit-On-Top kayak. It is excellent for the summer weather, catching fish, and packed with great accessories.
Is a fishing kayak worth it?
Yes, we believe that kayak fishing is worth it. It is budget-friendly, versatile, and gives better access to fish, but they are also customizable, portable, and does not require any launch ramp.