Kayaks

Best Fishing Kayaks Under 1000 Reviewed by Avid Kayak Anglers

Kayak fishing has become a popular pastime these days and this surge has been met by the manufacturers with more and more styles designed exclusively for fishing.

However, your choice of fishing kayak will depend on the type of fishing you’re doing and the conditions you’ll encounter. For instance, small lakes and streams require different considerations than offshore big game fishing.

To help you find the best fishing kayak that won’t burn a hole in your pocket, we reviewed today’s top contenders under $1000. See which one suits you best!

Our Top 5 Best Fishing Kayaks Under 1000 Reviews

01 Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak (Best Sit-On-Top Choice)

Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak

Why It Stands Out to Us

As a sit-on-top kayak, we found Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 simply perfect for three major reasons – durability, stability, and speed. There was no way to complain about the storage capacity as well. At a glance, anyone would fall in love with its efficient design.

Our Experience with the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak

  • For sustaining any weather condition, it’s better to have something sturdy but lightweight at the same time.

Thankfully that’s what this Polyethylene made kayak is. We didn’t know a high-density material like this could’ve been so light that carrying it anywhere would’ve been a breeze.

It doesn’t face any problem withstanding the sunlight and expresses no sign of fading away on the color. Probably, being UV-protected showed its share of magic here.

  • Putting in all the required fishing gear with a paddler on the kayak is no struggle at all. Even with 250+ pounds on board, it doesn’t seem to have any problem staying up on the water.
  • After seeing the design of this kayak, we assumed that it wouldn’t cause any trouble in tracking on the water. It didn’t prove us wrong with straight tracking and faster movements. No, it wasn’t too fast to miss a spot.
  • For comfortable paddling, it’s important to have a perfect place to put your foot. This one didn’t miss that at all. Surprisingly, it has different footrest positions as the size of the paddler might vary.
  • As fishing kayaks are not mainly designed for joyriding, you need something to fill our bucket with fish. We must say, we had to face no disappointment as it has sufficient storage capacity. It even has a paddle-keeper for the paddle as well.

The shock cord strap on both rear and front was giving some extra room to put different stuff. But what we found more helpful was the dual storage hatches it comes with.

  • The seat is not excessively padded, which made it kind of okay-to-go for us. As it’s adjustable, putting it in a preferred position isn’t anything hectic either.

What We Didn’t Like

  • The seat connectors are not as good as we expected them to be; they’re decently functional, though.

Who Is It Great for

For both rookies and pros, this one can be the Best Fishing Kayak as it comes with most of the primary and essential features they might need while fishing.

Our Recommendations

Though it can handle up to 275lbs. of weight, we suggest not to go beyond 265 lbs. to ease up the balancing and avoid accidents.

Specifications

  • Material: Polyethylene (HDPE)
  • Weight: 52 lb.
  • Carrying Capacity: 275 lb.
  • Size: 96″ x 8″ x 8″
  • Type: Sit-On-Top

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Strong Construction
  • Adjustable seat
  • UV-protected
  • Sufficient storage capacity
  • Smooth straight tracking
  • Easy maneuverability

Cons

  • Low capacity of storage hatch

02 Intex Excursion Pro Kayak (Top Inflatable Choice)

Intex Excursion Pro Kayak

Why It Stands Out to Us

When it comes to fishing kayaks, storing them often becomes a pain in the neck, unless it’s something like the Intex Excursion Pro Kayak.

But inflatability is not the only aspect to love about it. The level of resistance it delivers under harsh circumstances is worth the praise. What’s more, it has the required room and scope of adjustment we would’ve asked from any high-end kayaks out there. Even in comfort, it was uncompromised.

Our Experience with the Intex Excursion Pro Kayak

  • The material it’s made of got us thinking earlier if it’s going to be heavier than the other inflatable kayaks.

But it surprised us by being perfectly lightweight. On top of that, it was sustaining effortlessly against all kinds of impact and abrasion. It’s tough not to be impressed by something like this.

  • As the kayak comes with a seating arrangement of two, we were sure that it would be good on weight carrying capacity.

But we didn’t know that it can reach up to 380+ lbs there. Even after two people getting on it with all the required gears, it didn’t have any trouble staying afloat on water.

  • It’s good for stability as well, probably the spaciousness was doing most of it. But still, we won’t suggest two heavyweight people getting on it at once as they both might weigh more than its carrying capacity.
  • We were a bit disappointed, thinking that it might not hold up well enough in shallow water.

But when we saw an attachable directional skeg for shallow water, we understood that’s not going to be a problem. And yes, it got a regularly long directional skeg for deep water as well.

  • Thankfully, this one didn’t come without a pump but it was quite powerful. Otherwise, who could’ve known that it could be inflated so easily? Plus, it doesn’t take much time in deflating either.
  • The seats here are something that we just can’t complain about at all. They’re comfortable, adjustable, and even removable.

So, it’s up to you whether you want it single seated or dual. The adjustability is not limited to the seats alone; count the footrests in too.

  • It was a bit confusing to figure out the room for the accessories. But the removable mounting bracket and d rings solved that problem to a certain extent. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for the rod holders.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Both the rod holders are pointing inward, which we think is a major turn-off as that makes two rods cross each other.

Who Is It Great for

Any paddler who hates solo fishing but smooth tracking on a kayak can count this one as a piece worth grabbing. Plus, it can be the best fishing kayak for those who prefer inflatable ones more.

What Could Be Improved and Why

The rod holders should point outward to deliver better ease while fishing.

Our Recommendations

Change the seat position while using it solo. That will help to keep the kayak more in balance.

Specifications

  • Materials: Laminate PVC, Polyester core
  • Weight: 39.01 lb.
  • Carrying Capacity: 400 lb.
  • Size: 12’7″ x 3’1″ x 1’6″
  • Number of storage hatch: 2
  • Air Chambers: 3

Pros

  • Impact-resistant
  • Abrasion-resistant
  • Lightweight and spacious
  • Convenient maneuverability
  • Easy to store
  • Quickly inflatable
  • Sufficient room for legs
  • Comfortable and adjustable

Cons

  • Poor carrying bag quality

03 Perception Flash 9.5 (Best Sit-In Choice)

Perception Flash 9.5

Why It Stands Out to Us

Sit-in kayaks have their own share of appeal to fishing enthusiasts, but Perception Flash 9.5 is capable of pushing that a bit further. The credit for that goes to its spaciousness, sturdiness, and ease of paddling. But giving these features all the credit will be unfair as there is much more to it to go with.

Our Experience with the Perception Flash 9.5

  • The spacious cockpit area provides room for easy entry and exit in a sit-in kayak is your first concern, right? Well, this one probably deserves full marks on that as it was asking for zero effort on that part.

The kayak is not very long, but we must admit that the maneuverability was quite smooth and quick even with this length.

  • There’s nothing much to say about the seat on the scale of comfort; it’s good enough to call ideal. But what we liked more was the high-back. As it can be adjusted, putting it in the desired position is a breeze.

Plus, the seat size doesn’t show any issue based on the size of the paddler. But that was primarily possible because the foot braces are adjustable.

  • While fishing, it’s important to keep a few items close by. At first glance, you might overlook it, but the dashboard has an easy-access space to help you reach them instantly.

Besides, there’s a center cup-holder close to the seat, which won’t let you get thirsty any sooner. And the way it’s designed, we don’t think you’ve got any chance of spilling unless you’re rotating the entire kayak upside down.

  • One thing we liked the most about this kayak is its molded rod holder. With the perfect depth and size, the rods feel no interruption while getting in. As there are two of them, we think it’s ideal for having a spare rod.

But if we say that’s what deserves all the focus on the storage part, it’ll be unfair to the storage hatch on the rear. After all, it’s mandatory to have a spot like this to keep essential gears stored and dry.

What We Didn’t Like

  • The dashboard has space for some stuff, but the level of its depth has not been able to maximize the stability of those items.

Who Is It Great for

Those who love minimalistic design and sit-in kayaks at the same time are going to love this one like the best fishing kayak ever.

What Could Be Improved and Why

Adding a swivel rod holder would’ve been great as it’s hard to maneuver the fishing rod with one hand.

Specifications

  • Length: 9′ 6″
  • Width: 28.5”
  • Deck Height: 12.5″
  • Weight: 41 lbs.
  • Carrying Capacity: 325 lbs.

Pros

  • Paddler size flexibility
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Perfect length
  • Solid and durable construction
  • Highly comfortable
  • Beautiful design
  • Color variety
  • Durable material

Cons

  • Improvable seat-joint quality

04 Sentinel 100X Angler

Sentinel 100X Angler

Why It Stands Out to Us

If there’s any kayak out there that we can call the ‘storage king,’ then it will be the Pelican Sit-on Kayak.

But it’s more than just a place to store your fishing gear. The level of agility, tracking, stability, and speed it delivers, we haven’t seen that in many kayaks out there. Even its look gives a strong vibe to it.

Our Experience with the Pelican Sit-on Kayak

  • Before you start fishing, you need to land the kayak on the water first, right? Well, that part gets much easier with this one as it’s not weighing more than 20 KG.

Plus, it doesn’t go with the definition of ‘huge’ with its 114″ size. Even putting it on the roof of a car asks for a small fraction of energy only.

  • While grabbing a pile of fish, the kayak has to be as still as a rock. But with a single chine, that gets harder. Thankfully, the makers of this one didn’t walk down that path and have given it the multi-chine to maximize the stability.
  • When it comes to sturdiness, it’s quite common to have your doubts about a kayak like this. But the high-grade Polyethylene it’s made of proved us wrong by making it solid structure against breakage and impact.

So, while rowing it in shallow water, no stone or hard object can get it damaged. And yes, it also holds quite a weight which is more than 250 lbs.

Any person with a standard weight shouldn’t have a problem with sitting on it. And yes, the kayak’s speed was up to the mark as well, and the same goes for agility.

  • We found the footrest design interesting with a single glance as we thought it was a rigid one. But after having a closer look, we saw it can be adjusted as per the paddler’s need and height.
  • The seat is sturdy, comfortable, and adjustable. It wasn’t a big issue, though, but a bit more thickness could’ve made it a better piece.

But we’ve got nothing negative to say about its storage. Accessory eyelets, paddle holders, smartphone holders, dual vertical rod holder, center storage compartment – all of it slipped into the design perfectly.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Compared to some of the major models out there, the weight carrying capacity is entirely not satisfying for all segments of paddlers.

Who Is It Great for

Any kayak fishing enthusiast with any level of skill can count this one among the best fishing kayaks. Handling it is so easy that even a rookie can use it like a pro.

Our Recommendations

It’s not recommended for users above 6ft. height as they might struggle a bit to fit in.

Specifications

  • Material: Polyethylene (HMWPE)
  • Size: 114″ X 30″ X 13.25″
  • Weight: 44 lb.
  • Carrying Capacity: 275 lb.
  • Type: Sit-On-Top

Pros

  • Maximum Stability
  • Lightweight design
  • Perfect length
  • Adequate storage facility
  • Comfortable seat
  • Decent weight carrying capacity
  • Better speed & agility

Cons

  • It comes with no paddle

05 Sun Dolphin Journey 10 SS Fishing Kayak

Sun Dolphin Journey 10 ss Fishing Kayak

Why It Stands Out to Us

Having a kayak with pro-level efficiency is undoubtedly something worth appreciating. The Sun Dolphin Journey 10SS Fishing Kayak belongs to the same genre.

The reasons are clear as a day which are lightweight construction, better speed, enhanced storage option, and smooth maneuverability.

Our Experience with the Sun Dolphin Journey 10SS Fishing Kayak

  • It was nothing hard to understand that its Polyethylene-made construction is made to last and withstand impact.

But what amazed us more was even after using such high-density material, the makers have managed to keep the weight within 44lbs. That’s why carrying it anywhere isn’t a sweaty job.

By the way, this material is UV-protected and dent resistant. So, it allows taking bumps from time to time as there’s no chance of damage.

  • Though there’s no cushioned seat for the bottom, there’s one high-back to let your back have a comfortable landing.

Like any other high-end kayak, it’s adjustable. It also has adjustable foot braces which means anyone with any height can slip in it.

  • We liked how, rather than considering the two flush mount rod holders the only option, the makers have added a swivel rod holder as well.

With it, turning the rod in any direction is a piece of cake. That means having three rods at a time is not going to be a problem for sure.

  • It might look unnecessary initially, but once you start rowing the kayak, you’ll understand how the thigh pads added an extra drop of comfort. Plus, it ensures some protection to the thigh as well.
  • One more aspect it has that we had to give 10/10 on, and that is the storage. It has been filled up with storage space.

It has multiple storage options from front to rear, where one is a portable carrier, and the other is a small compartment with ease of access.

  • It’s designed in a way that having a quicker turn and reaching higher speed both became easier than ever.

If you’re a regular kayak fisher, you already know how reaching a spot late might make you lose the bigger fish under the water.

What We Didn’t Like

  • It’ll lose a few marks on the stability as it makes the paddler feel a bit wobbly at times.

Who Is It Great for

Anyone searching for a lighter but faster kayak will find this one worth calling the best kayak for fishing.

Our Recommendations 

We don’t suggest it for paddlers who find it uncomfortable to sit on a hard surface. Besides, if you’re looking forward to having a kayak with the best stability level, then this is not for you.

Specifications

  • Materials: High-Density Polyethylene
  • Length: 114.5″
  • Width: 29.5″
  • Capacity: 250lbs
  • Weight: 44lbs.
  • Type: Sit-On

Pros

  • Maximum adjustability
  • Better gear carrying capacity
  • Higher speed
  • Smooth sailing
  • Dent resistant
  • Comfort to thighs
  • Quick turning

Cons

  • No cushioned seat

Types of Fishing Kayaks

1. Sit-On-Top

The reason behind this kind of kayak is mostly the ease it delivers, especially on adding accessories, getting out, and wading.

But its biggest drawback is its low center of gravity. That’s why standing on them while fishing might make it more of a balancing game, especially while you’re reeling in a bigger fish.

One of their useful features is the scupper holes. So, you won’t be missing out on self-bailing. Plus, the better view it delivers with its seating position surely helps a lot while catching fish.

The drawbacks we see are a high chance of getting you wet and its heavier weight.

2. Inflatable

The word ‘inflatable’ is enough to make you understand that this type of kayak is a breeze to store and transport. But don’t forget to get an efficient pump for that first.

Even after getting inflated, it requires almost zero effort to be carried around. Its lightweight mostly backs that feature, and the weight of air doesn’t add up.

But it does have some shortcomings on rigidity. That’s why you need to be careful about where you’re dropping or landing it. It’s not as good as the Sit-on-top kayaks on stability, except a few.

3. Traditional Sit-In

Sit-in kayaks are a better option to stay dry while fishing as they come up with their optional spray skirt. They don’t allow water to intrude in the cockpit.

They’re often not considered the first option for fishing but undoubtedly are a good one when you want to stay dry.

They’re pretty efficient and easy on paddling but don’t give physical flexibility like the other kayaks. No self-bailing feature also pushes them a bit behind in the race of finest fishing kayaks. But they’re suitable for fishing in colder water.

Best Fishing Kayak Under 1000: Buying Guide

best fishing kayak under 1000

1. Seats

Most of the time you’re going to spend on a kayak is by sitting on it. Clearly, for that, you’re going to need a comfortable seat with decent cushioning. Also, check out if the seat is adjustable or not, as people of all sizes can’t adjust in the same position.

2. Storage options

You don’t want to leave any of your essential gears back at home, right? Then make sure that the kayak has sufficient storage options for all of your stuff like the tackle box, cooler, live bait, and remaining fishing necessities.

The more room you’ll have there, the better it’ll be for you as even after catching plenty of fish you won’t have to struggle with space.

3. Rod holders

Carrying the rods with you to the middle of the water is going to be a bit tough without a sufficient number of rod holders. That’s why you need to check the number and position of the rod holders the kayak is offering.

4. Gear tracks

Kayaks with gear tracks are a wiser pick as they’ll give you scope slip in your accessories like fish finders and phones. If your preferred kayak doesn’t have them, don’t forget to install them on your own.

5. Rudders

Any kayak that has a rudder is way easier to track with the wind. As you can adjust them with the foot pedals, they’re comparatively convenient to change while you’re on the run.

If you’re not able to find a good kayak with a rudder, try to pick one that has scope for installing that.

6. Standing decks

At times, it becomes important to stand on the kayak to get a clear view or pull the fish out of the water. If you feel like you might get into such kind of circumstances, grab a kayak that has a better standing deck.

7. Motor Drive

In case you’re not a fan of tired legs or arms, pick a kayak that you can set a motor on. It’s better to go with one that makes switching from pedal to motor or vice versa.

8. Price

Indeed, a good kayak is a worthy investment. But there’s a difference between investment and wasting money, especially when you don’t know if the kayak is worth it or not. That’s why you better stick to a price range that we think should be between $300 to $1000.

9. Warranty

If you’re asking what that period should be, we’d say, please don’t go for anything offering less than a 3-years warranty period.

Paddle vs. Pedal – What Type’s Best Kayaks for Fishing?

Paddle Kayaks

The Good

  • The stealth it provides is quite helpful in fishing as making any sound might scare the fish away.
  • It’s easy to fish in shallow water as they need less clearance under the water.
  • They’re more affordable and don’t take much time to have a grip on the control.
  • Their weight is comparatively lower than the Pedal Kayaks and easy to carry to the land.

The Bad

  • Compared to the pedal kayaks, they’re a little slow.

Pedal Kayaks

The Good

  • They allow having a hands-free operation.
  • It’s easy to have a grip on the kayak within a short time.
  • They’re capable of reaching higher speed faster than the Paddle Kayaks
  • Increases endurance of the legs as the kayak needs their involvement the most.

The Bad

  • They’re high on maintenance cost compared to Paddle Kayaks

FAQs

1. Are longer kayaks better for fishing?

Ans. A kayak being better for fishing based on length is conditional. So, there’s no certainty that you can catch more fish with a longer one every time. That’s why it’s better to consider your body size while picking a kayak. But it’s true longer kayaks are faster and can reach any spots with fish more quickly.

2. Is it okay to use the fishing kayak for long periods on the water?

Ans. Leaving the fishing kayak on the water for an extended period is a good idea under two conditions. One – when it’s in-season where you go fishing almost daily. Two – when the kayak is UV protected and has a water-resistant cover.

3. What makes a fishing kayak different from a regular kayak?

Ans. The regular kayaks are made to do free-riding in the lakes or rivers and don’t contain enough extra room for any other stuff. On the other hand, fishing kayaks are filled with storage options as they’re made for fishing and holding the required gears.

About the author

Jeremy Stevens

Jeremy has been obsessed with bodyboarding and surfboarding ever since he was a kid. He always wanted to be part of this sport for his love of this sports. Having received his degrees in Economics, he had to change his track and eventually got himself into the watercraft manufacturing industry. As an insider he’s had the opportunity to monitor and keep track of the latest trends and designs.

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