Fishing kayaks come in a variety of prices, sizes, and types. And while any seasoned or aspiring angler will prefer to have one, the premium fishing kayak options have price tags beyond the reach of most starters. Still, this should not be a barrier to your entry into offshore fishing. The best fishing kayaks under 500 provide fishing enthusiasts with great entry-level boats.
Although onshore fishing is still fun, fishing from a boat comes with more flexibility. Apart from the convenience of accessing various fishing spots, you can also enjoy touring the waters on a boat.
Of course, affordable kayaks will equally do the job pretty well. While they offer a more simplistic experience devoid of the luxurious inclusions associated with premium models, they provide you with an option to venture on the waters without a substantial financial output.
Indeed, cheaper kayaking vessels will not provide an equal level of performance as their high-end counterparts. Thus, to remain safe and enjoy your adventure: stay on flat water, do not go too far from the shore, wear a PFD, and stick to paddling when the weather is fair.
But even with the decision to go for a fishing kayak under $500, choosing a suitable one can still be a challenging undertaking. Hundreds of fishing boats fall within this range.
To make the process simpler, we review some of the best models you can pick. And do not fail to read our buying guide at the end of this review.
Top 8 Best Fishing Kayaks Under 500
Editor’s Choice for Best Fishing Kayak Under 500: Lifetime Triton Angler
The Lifetime Triton Angler takes the best overall position in this review. It is a 10-foot sit-on-top kayak that prides itself in a myriad of functional and luxurious features. Notably, it features a slim profile with remarkable stability and an impressive 275 pounds weight capacity.
While you could easily mistake the vessel’s 31-inch slim profile for instability, the manufacturer gives it a hull that makes it more comfortable than you can imagine. The Lifetime Triton is not a racing boat. However, it features a perfect balance between speed and stability.
Key Features and Benefits
First, the Lifetime Triton Angler features a stable hull design. You can conveniently fish in this kayak without the fear of falling off. Besides, Lifetime incorporates a skeg into the equipment to help with tracking performance.
Another incredible feature of the Triton Angler lies in the inclusion of self-bailing scupper holes. Ideally, water will undoubtedly splash into your fishing device even in the calmest weather condition. An accumulation of water in your boat could spell danger and discomfort. The included scupper holes will reliably drain water from the tank well and cockpit.
Fishing is an activity that lasts for several hours or even an entire day. Thus, comfort is an irreplaceable factor when shopping for the best fishing kayak under 500. For this particular boat, it features a seat pad that ensures you sit comfortably. Also, the vessel has a quick-release seat back for flexibility and convenience.
And since you need a piece of kayaking equipment that you can rig appropriately, this fishing device has all the features to make your fishing easier. The olive green kayak features a pair of flush mount rod holders and an extra adjustable rod holder.
- The quick-release seat back enhances flexibility.
- It features an integrated skeg for better tracking.
- A pair of toggle handles on the bow makes transportation a breeze.
- The footrests are not adjustable. However, you will find them positioned appropriately based on the size you choose.
When it comes to price versus performance, no fishing kayak can beat the Lifetime Triton Angler. It is the type of kayak that you need for occasional offshore fishing. It is easy to rig, stable, a dedicated performer, and sleek. Besides, the vessel comes at a reasonable price tag.
Best Kayak for Transitioning Between Fishing and Recreational Activities: Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler
If you are not in the market for an outright fishing vessel, the Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler is an incredible choice. By design, Pelican made this kayaking equipment for fun days. It is the type of vessel designed for relaxed kayaking on flat water and in good weather.
But apart from occasional recreational errands, this is a boat you can conveniently take for fishing expeditions. Indeed, any seasoned onshore fishing enthusiast will enjoy the stability and comfort of the Sentinel 100X Angler.
Key Features and Benefits
The Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler is a typical sit-on-top kayak. It is both a recreational vessel and an ideal fishing tool for any experienced angler. While many people consider most sit-on vessels relatively less stable, this particular equipment will surprise you. It is pretty stable, and with little balancing skills, you will easily fight and reel in any fish on your hook.
The solid nature of this kayak gives it the durability that you would want in your kayak as a fishing beginner. You will find it maneuverable in tight spaces and over rocks without any notable occurrences. Indeed, the 100X Angler is the type of kayak you need if you are looking for the best fishing kayak under $500 that will serve you reliably as you look for a premium option.
Unlike most cheap fishing kayaks, this precious vessel comes with features that guarantee comfort and versatility. For example, it comes with adjustable footrests that ensure that anglers of any heights will find it convenient. Also, you will marvel at the comfortable seat cushion and the high and wide backrest.
Fishing requires sufficient storage, and this vessel does not fail the test. It features a removable front storage compartment and an ExoPak that snugly fits in the rear of the kayak. While the front storage compartment has a mess to hold everything together, the rear ExoPak uses bungee cords.
- You can easily park everything at home and drop it into the storage compartment.
- Its patented Ram-X materials guarantee durability.
- It features a smartphone holder to keep your device safe.
- The ExoPak storage compartment comes with two extra rod holders.
- Since it is a solid model, you may need a van or truck for transportation.
The Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler is stable and ideal for both recreational and fishing activities. It weighs a paltry 44 pounds and measures 9’6”, and should not be difficult to transport or store. It is pretty stables and easy to maneuver, thanks to its flat-bottom hull.
Best Fishing Kayak for Beginners: Emotion 90259 Renegade XT Fishing Kayak
Emotion Kayaks is a famous company when it comes to the manufacturing of water vessels. And on fishing kayaks, the company aims to make the shopping process for kayaks very simple.
The manufacturer focuses on the functionality of the Emotion 90259 Renegade XT Fishing Kayak. So, while you will not find many high-end features on this kayak, it does well on functionality and performs more than your average fishing boat.
Key Features and Benefits
Fishing is pretty gear-intensive. Thus, it becomes cumbersome to go fishing with insufficient storage compartments for your fishing gear. Your choice for the best fishing kayak should put storage into consideration. And as you will find out, the Emotion 90259 Renegade XT Fishing Kayak comes with a sufficient storage area.
It features an inbuilt bungee net across the bow that comes in handy for storing items that you will need more frequently. It also features a small storage hatch between your legs for your gear and rods. Apart from these, the Renegade XT comes with a large cargo net that is large enough for your child or dog.
Portability is not a big problem when you choose to go with this sit-on-top kayak. It features two molded carry handles on the sides and another pair at the back. Thus, transporting this vessel to and from the water should not be a hassle.
Finally, if you are new to kayak fishing and looking for an incredibly stable vessel, this is a suitable choice. The vessel has a vast width of up to 36 inches and a relatively flat hull. As a result, you should neither worry about your vessel tipping nor toppling over when you decide to fish while standing.
- The molded handles make it easy to transport.
- It features a padded backrest that enhances comfort.
- It is easy to track while in water and easy to carry when outside.
- The vessel is suitable for beginners and people with extra weight.
- The vessel is only suitable for use in lakes, ponds, slow-moving streams, and calm bays.
The Emotion 90259 Renegade XT Fishing Kayak is the ideal fishing kayak for a beginner. It takes pride in a perfect balance between stability, storage allocations, and portability. Besides, it is also a perfect choice for anglers with extra weight.
Best Sit-In Kayak Under 500: Perception Kayaks Sound 9.5
Perception Kayaks is a household name for recreational kayakers, sports kayakers, and offshore anglers. The company takes pride in up to 40 years of producing high-quality water vessels. The company remains a reputable name because it delivers on every promise it makes.
Ideally, it stands out as a company with an excellent reputation for introducing new kayaking enthusiasts to paddling and offshore fishing. The Perception Kayaks Sound 9.5 is an example of such an incredible water vessel from the company. It is affordable, easy to rig, and convenient to transport.
Key Benefits and Features
Arguably, the most outstanding feature of the Perception Kayaks Sound 9.5 is its unique tri-keel hull. The hull gives this sit-in water vessel an unbeatable degree of stability. You can rest assured that it is nearly impossible for this kayak to tip over.
Another significance of the tri-keel hull is its ability to increase smoothness during steering. Unlike many affordable kayaks that are a nightmare to steer, you will find tracking this boat straight a breeze. Besides, even novice paddlers will stay on course without trouble.
It is unlikely that you will stay the entire day outdoors without a drink. Therefore, you may need to carry water, a smoothie, or a beverage of your preference. If you are upbeat about where you will store your drink, the Perception Kayaks Sound 9.5 has you sorted. It comes with an easily accessible drink holder near the cockpit.
Finally, you can opt to paddle this kayaking device using hand paddles or by foot. It comes with adjustable footrests that you can as well use to steer the boat. Of course, this delivers more convenience than you can imagine. It is interesting to note that the footrests can accommodate any paddle size.
- It is versatile and ideal for both fishing and recreational kayaking.
- The dashboard has two mounting points for fishing accessories.
- You can steer it on course without any significant problems.
- The adjustable footrests guarantee comfort for paddlers of all sizes.
- It does not move fast on the water.
The Perception Kayaks Sound 9.5 is sleek and features a unique stabilizer hull. Apart from stability, the design also enhances tracking, and you will stay on course with minimal effect. Besides, it features a one-piece leak-proof construction that inspires confidence and safety.
Best Portable Fishing Kayak: Sun Dolphin Journey 10
If you are in search of the best fishing kayak under 500 that strikes a fantastic balance between performance and functionality, the Sun Dolphin Journey is your typical vessel. It is a 10-foot fishing yak that features a relatively hybrid cockpit. However, despite the hybrid cockpit, this vessel still features an easy-to-handle open design.
Key Features and Benefits
One of the key selling points of the fishing yak is its portability. Featuring a length of up to 10 feet, you can classify this vessel as a medium yak. Thus, you can quickly put it on any truck or van using the two retractable handles. Also, the vessel weighs just 44 pounds which is comparatively lighter than most models in the market today.
Being lightweight without performance features does not mean anything to an enthusiastic angler. You should not worry about this since this vessel comes with impressive features. It comes with a pair of flush-mounted fishing rod holders and an extra articulating rod holder. In turn, you will not spend a lot of time rigging new baits and lines as you can carry multiple reels and rod setups.
Open-design boats give you the freedom and flexibility to handle your catch and gear. However, one of their common disadvantages is that they will easily allow water to splash into the cockpit. This is not a challenge if you choose to go with the Sun Dolphin Journey. The yak comes with high gunwales that reduce the amount probability of water splashing into your cockpit as you paddle.
Another notable characteristic of this vessel is the level of comfort incorporated into the device. Firstly, it features a large seating area that will fit most large paddlers. The seat features sufficient padding and great adjustability. And to cap it all, the manufacturer uses protective thigh pads to cushion you from consistent pressure.
- It is a perfect yak for lakes and rivers.
- The vessel is lightweight, reasonably compact, and portable.
- The large open cockpit comes in handy for storing extra fishing gear.
- A set of thigh protective pads cushion you from sustained pressure.
- It is not fast on water, but this should not be a big deal since it is not a racing kayak.
The Sun Dolphin Journey 10 Kayak is a good kayak for the money. Although it is not the best kayak you can find, it is a perfect deal for the price. You will enjoy the convenience of a device that is easy to rig, portable, and comfortable.
Best Inflatable Fishing Kayak at $500: Sea Eagle SE370K Inflatable Kayak- with Fishing Package
It is impossible to review the best fishing kayaks under 500 without including an inflatable model. And on this count, the Sea Eagle SE370K Inflatable takes the first spot. Founded in 1968, the company is famous for manufacturing inflatable kayaks. The implication of this is that it is impossible to doubt any of its versatile range of products.
The Sea Eagle SE370K Inflatable is a typical example of the company’s products. It a pretty versatile water kayak that you will find suitable for recreational kayaking and offshore fishing activities. Besides, this vessel comes with a fishing package.
Key Features and Benefits
An unbeatable advantage that inflatable kayaks have against their solid counterparts is portability. You can easily fit this air yak into any trunk without necessarily using a trailer or car rack. Also, at just about 30 pounds, you can easily carry this vessel from and into water. And if you think inflating this kayak is a complicated process, you will realize that it only takes 10 minutes to inflate it to capacity.
Although many people think that inflatables are less durable, this is a misconception. Most inflatable yaks, including the Sea Eagle SE370K, feature sturdy construction and will not puncture. Despite being a more cost-effective model from a reputable company, it is as solid as most high-end air kayaks in the market.
The versatility of this kayaking vessel is unbeatable. Since it is incredibly portable and comes with ample storage spaces, you can use this equipment for any water activity. So, you can pack sufficient gear for a weekend-long fishing trip, ocean kayaking adventure, or comping expedition. It does not get better than this.
And finally, unlike many kayaks in this list that seats only a single person, the Sea Eagle SE370K Inflatable kayak seats up to three people. It has a massive cumulative weight capacity of up to 650 pounds. Such a feature is unimaginable and makes it one of the most family-friendly models you can find.
- It is incredibly lightweight and portable.
- You can conveniently fit into a travel bag or fit in your car trunk.
- It features a weight capacity of up to 650 pounds.
- It features detachable and inflatable seats.
- You need to inflate it before using it. However, the inflation process takes under 10 minutes.
- While the manufacturer claims the seating capacity is ideal for three people, two adults will feel more comfortable.
If you are looking for a fishing kayak under 500 that will comfortably seat you and a friend or family member, the Sea Eagle SE370K Inflatable with Fishing Package is your ideal model. It features a high weight capacity and comes with sufficient space for you and your fishing partner. Besides, this inflatable kayak is incredibly easy to transport.
Best Fishing Kayak for Kids and Teens: Feelfree Kayaks Move Angler
Do you want to gift your child with a brand new fishing kayak? Or, are you small-bodied and looking for a smaller and lighter kayak than most available options? Either way, the Feelfree Kayaks Move Angler is the vessel you need.
Kids and pint-sized paddlers often find it hectic to maneuver wide kayaking vessels. Feelfree Kayaks comes to their rescue with this more compact model. At 30 inches wide, this kayaking vessel is relatively one of the narrowest options you can find in the market.
Key Features and Benefits
Many anglers will generally equate any 30-inch-wide yak to insufficient stability. That is not the case with the Feelfree Kayaks Move Angler. It features a unique stable hull that ensures that you can conveniently go about your fishing activities without the fear of falling. Also, you can comfortably stand in the kayak without toppling over as long as you have some balancing skills.
The Move Angler comes from the popular Feelfree Move Series. So, as you would expect, the manufacturer improves the original Move versions to create a more performance-oriented and versatile model in the Move Angler. It is undoubtedly a fishing vessel you can trust.
Finally, the Move Angler has all the accessories that a fisherman needs. Notably, you will enjoy the convenience of two rod holders, security rod leashes, and sufficient storage space for such a compact kayak. What else would you want from a fishing kayak under 500?
- Pint-sized anglers will find it easier to maneuver.
- It comes with several fishing features and rigging accessories.
- The lightweight yak is very portable.
- It is not ideal equipment for rough waters.
- Big-bodied paddlers will find it slightly cramped.
Of course, you will find better options for small anglers. But this is your perfect bet for the money. Feelfree Kayaks designs this yak with the small anglers in mind and equips it with all the essential accessories. The sit-on-top kayak is pretty stable despite the slim profile. And for its size, the Move Angler has sufficient storage space for your gear.
Most Versatile Kayak Under 500: Old Town Canoes Vapor 10 Recreational Kayak
Are you looking for a kayaking vessel that you can use for any water expedition? If that is the case, you will fall in love with the Old Town Canoes Vapor 10 Recreational Kayak. It is a single-user, sit-in kayak, which you will find perfectly ideal for maneuvering calm lakes, rivers, ponds, and oceans.
The Vapor 10 comes with unbeatable versatility. While it falls under the recreational kayak category, this is a piece of equipment that you will find viable for many water activities. Therefore, recreational kayakers and water sports enthusiasts will find it an incredible water vessel. Although it does not come with fishing accessories, you will find it pretty easy to rig.
Key Features and Benefits
We already talked about the unbeatable versatility levels of the Old Town Canoes Vapor 10 Recreational Kayak. But the other factor worth giving an equally important consideration is the comfort that comes with paddling the vessel. It features a Comfort Flex seat that you can conveniently adjust to your most preferred position.
Another feature that enhances comfort is the inclusion of easy-grip thigh pads. Interestingly, the thigh pads will hold you into position and cushion your thighs from unnecessary pressure. Although many sit-in kayaks can be very uncomfortable, you cannot say that about this particular yak.
The yak comes with a lot of incredible features. You can enjoy the convenience of a molded-in cockpit tray, complete with a cup holder. The implication of this is that you can always have your drink within reach. Also, the molded-in paddle rests make keeping your paddles safer while not in use. Other included accessories are inbuilt carry handles for portability purposes, a skid plate, and a drain plug.
Finally, the Old Town Canoes Vapor 10 Recreational Kayak features a single-layer polyethylene construction. While this material is pretty lightweight, it also stands out as one of the most durable materials for making kayaks. This vessel is stable and efficient. But more importantly, you will marvel at its stability and the remarkable level of leverage and control.
- The single-layer polyethylene construction is lightweight and durable.
- It is a single-user yak that has a weight capacity of up to 365 pounds.
- It is a stable vessel that is easy to control.
- The Comfort Flex seat enables use for prolonged hours.
Anglers, recreational adventurers, and water sports enthusiasts will find the Old Town Canoes Vapor 10 Recreational Kayak worth every coin. It is pretty lightweight, and you can carry it to and from the water singlehandedly. But despite being lightweight, this kayak is pretty stable and easy to control when paddling calm waters.
Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Fishing Kayak Under $500
If you are here, you just completed reading our reviews of the top 8 best fishing kayaks under $500, and you think you can now take your pick. Not yet! Kindly read through this buyer’s guide to understand some of the factors you will need to consider when shopping for a fishing kayak.
Solid Vs. Inflatable Kayaks
The first and arguably the most crucial consideration that you will need to make when choosing a fishing kayak is whether to go for hard models or inflatable options. Of course, both models have their advantages and disadvantages.
Solid or Hard Kayaks
Hard kayaks are either made from high-density or carbon fiber materials. Notably, these materials offer sufficient resistance to UV rays and scratches from sharp objects. They are comparatively more durable than their inflatable counterparts. Thus, these are the kind of vessels you will need for water bodies with considerable amounts of rocks and other sharp objects. They are pretty durable and will serve you for a lifetime.
Also, the performance of an average rigid kayak is much better than that of inflatable models. They are faster and easier to maneuver in sharp terrains. Therefore, they are the kinds of vessels you will need if you expect to change your fishing spots a lot within a single day. You can also paddle them faster in moving rivers or streams.
On the flipside, transporting solid kayaks can be stressful. Without a personal van or track complete with a car rack or a trailer, moving your kayak from your garage to your fishing point can be hectic. Besides, you need strong muscles to carry it from your vehicle to the water shore and back.
Secondly, storage could be a big problem since you will probably need a storage garage for the vessel. This can be a big issue, mainly if yard space is a luxury.
The most significant merit that inflatable kayaks bring to the table is portability. Since you can pack them compactly and fit them into a van, truck, RV, or car, they are ideal for people who move a lot and may want to fish in waters in distant neighborhoods or states. Again, you can easily carry a deflated inflatable kayak to the water shore and back.
Another incredible feature of inflatable kayaks is lies in their design. They are more stable than most of their solid counterparts and will rarely tip. Also, they feature larger cockpits which allow you to carry more gear and supplies for your fishing expeditions.
And if you think that inflatable kayaks are fragile and prone to puncture, you are in for a rude shock. Modern inflatables are made from flexible and sturdy materials that are resistant to scratches and punctures. So, they will serve you reliably if you take good care of them.
The only notable demerit of inflatable kayaking vessels is their speed. They do not track or steer as well as their hard counterparts. Thus, they are not the best models if you plan to make long distances on the water as you head to your fishing spots.
Sit-In or Sit-On-Top Kayaks
Another way of classifying kayaks is based on their designs. In terms of designs, kayaks are either sit-in or sit-on-top models. You can also find stand up fishing kayaks. You will make your decision depending on the features that will most likely apply to your situation.
As the name suggests, most of your body will be enclosed within the body of a sit-in kayak. So, your abdomen and the rest of your body will stay warm and dry. It protects you from splashing waters and other natural elements.
Another advantage of sit-in models is that they are relatively more lightweight than their sit-on-top counterparts. Their hollow design means that they are primarily shells and do not contain much solid construction material.
However, their first shortfall is that they limit your viewing angle and flexibility. Anglers need an extended viewing angle that gives you the convenience to cast your fishing reel or net more conveniently. Even more, it is too risky to stand in sit-in yaks, a practice that comes in handy for anglers during casting, hooking, and retrieval.
Sit-on-top kayaks are comparatively more modern than their sit-in counterparts. Many anglers prefer these devices because they come with a lot of advantages. Firstly, these models give you the convenience of enjoying a wide viewing angle. The fact that you can comfortably stand on them even makes using them more enjoyable. Ideally, your hands and body are free for your fishing chores.
Secondly, sit-on-top kayaks also stand out because of their self-bailing feature. There are no chances that these models will flood. They are also pretty stable and will rarely flip over. But in case they do, you can quickly turn them over and embark.
The main disadvantage of sit-on-top kayaks is that they do not protect your body from external elements. Water splashes will also land on your body and legs, and this can be harsh, mainly if you are out fishing in cold weather.
Whether you opt for a solid or inflatable model, a sit-in, or a sit-on-top option, portability varies from one kayaking vessel to the other. Notably, it would be best if you chose a model that you can transport efficiently. Some of the factors you may need to look out for include whether you have a car rack or trailer, whether you will go fishing in a group or solo, and your muscular strength.
Kayaks vary in weight. While many models are as light as just about 40 pounds, others weigh more than 100 pounds. Choose a yak that you can comfortably carry. However, the weight of a fishing vessel should not be a big issue if you will always have a group of anglers around you. Your colleagues will help you with carrying the vessel from the vehicle to the water and back.
Also, look out for additional accessories that will help with transporting the boat. For example, a good kayak should come with sets of molded-in handles for portability purposes. You can as well look out for fasteners and straps if you will transport the vessel on a car rack.
Anyone trying out kayak fishing for the first time should consider choosing a model with nearly all the kayak gear and accessories as well as essential fishing accessories. While professional anglers can easily rig any boat for fishing, it can be a nightmare for a novice to rig and use a kayak without these inclusions.
One of the features you want to look out for include rod holders. Does your kayak of choice have rod holders? And if it does, how many are they? Although there is no right or the wrong number of rod holders in a kayak, you can always opt for models with at least two holders. Choosing models with more holders ensures that you can prepare your gear at home to avoid spending time once you are out on the water.
Also, look out for accessories such as bottles or glass holders. Such additions make your life more comfortable when you get out to explore Mother Nature.
Fishing does not take a few minutes. You will end up staying out for several hours, a whole day, or an entire weekend. Therefore, your comfort is a vital consideration. You do not want to sustain backaches or any other problems related to discomfort.
Confirm if the fishing kayak you intend to buy has sufficient seating space. The seat should be big enough to accommodate your body. In addition, the vessel should have footrests, and your legs should comfortably fit in the allocated space.
Having a kayak seat alone is not enough. So, you need a kayak seat with extra padding to maximize comfort. You can also consider kayak seats that are adjustable or flappable. Models with thigh pads come with more comfort and convenience. also, consider what to wear when kayaking, including the correct shoe for kayaking.
A fishing kayak is a necessary piece of equipment if you are looking to venture into offshore fishing. And while most angling enthusiasts always envy owning one, their biggest worry is the price tag that many manufacturers put on these vessels.
You no longer have to worry as we have made your work easier by reviewing the top 8 best fishing kayaks under 500. Despite having a few downsides, these vessels work just as well as their premium counterparts. They are comfortable, durable, and come with remarkable performance features.
Anthony has been an angler for the past 15 years. His experience makes him an invaluable asset to FISHING GEN and writes on fishing expeditions as well as fishing gear.