If you want to cover more water and get to those fishing hotspots without spending all your savings, it might be time to invest in a fishing kayak. Kayaks are easy to use, hardwearing, and portable, and they cost a lot less than a traditional boat. You can also get to those tight spots or shallow areas of water where the fish are lurking and bring home an impressive catch. So it’s not a surprise that more anglers than ever before are fishing from a kayak. 
You’ll find some great kayaks under $1000. In fact, there are so many available that narrowing down the options can be overwhelming! But at Fly Fisher Pro, we aim to help you find the best gear to improve your fishing experience. So here’s our detailed guide to the best kayaks for fishing that won’t break the bank.
First, we’ll take a look at the most important factors when choosing the best kayak for angling, and then we’ll get onto the reviews.
How to Choose the Best Fishing Kayak
You want to get the best angling kayak for your money. But how to narrow down all the choices? Here are the essential factors for choosing a top kayak that will last years:
There are a few things to think about when selecting the right size of kayak. You need a kayak that will fit you comfortably. If you are very tall, go for a longer kayak. You can even get tandem kayaks if you want to head out with a friend.
Also, the longer and wider the kayak, the more stable it will be. If you are a beginner, you’ll probably feel safer with that extra stability, so you don’t end up in the river.
But you’ll also need to think about storage and transportation. Do you have a large car, SUV, or trailer that you can use to haul your kayak from one location to another? And do you have space to store a 10ft+ kayak when it’s not in use? If you’re tight on space, you should consider a shorter kayak like the 9-foot Vibe Skipjack. Alternatively, you could even go for an inflatable kayak, which will be even more lightweight.
Double-check the weight capacity of any kayak before you buy. It can range from 200 lbs up to 400 lbs for solo models, and higher for tandem yaks. But you also need to factor in the weight of your fishing gear to make sure your chosen kayak is suitable for you.
Of course, you want a kayak that tracks well out on the water. Ideally, it should move quietly through the water, so you don’t spook the fish and can cover a lot of ground quickly. It’s also important to look for a kayak that is responsive and easy to control.
How much storage does the kayak offer (and how much gear do you take with you)? Think about this and look for a kayak that has multiple storage options, including sealed and dry compartments, if possible. D-rings and bungee cords can be useful for attaching extra accessories, too.
You want a kayak that will last and can withstand the harsh elements, sunlight, and regular transportation. Look for hardwearing kayaks that are made from durable plastic with a sturdy, single-piece hull design. Just bear in mind that the best yaks tend to weigh more, but they should last for years.
If you’ll be sitting for hours in your kayak, then comfort has to be a concern. Look for a seat that has a supportive backrest and ergonomic padding that will contour to your body. Bonus points if the seat is adjustable. Footrests also provide more support so you can fish comfortably for longer.
Features for Anglers
While you can use a generic kayak for fishing, fishing kayaks offer specially designed features with the angler in mind. You’ll find extras like molded-in rod holders and universal mounts for your Go-Pro or fish finder. A center console can also be handy if you’re switching out flies or just need somewhere to put your drink. These features will take your fishing trip to the next level!
Best Fishing Kayaks under 1000: The Reviews
So now you know what you should be looking for, here are our reviews of the best kayaks for anglers. While there are some well-known brands like the Brooklyn Kayak Company, we’ve searched near and far for the top fishing kayaks under $1000 on the market right now.
Intex Excursion Pro Inflatable Kayak
Let’s start with a super affordable tandem kayak from Intex, the Excursion Pro. If you’re just looking to get started and you’re on a tight budget, the Excursion Pro fits the bill. It’s constructed from tough laminate PVC with a polyester core, making it very rugged and durable.
But it’s also inflatable, making it lightweight and easy to transport. High-pressure valves make it quick to inflate and deflate, saving you time. So if you love getting out on the water, but you’re short on space, this is a no-brainer.
The Intex Excursion Pro is a very stable kayak with all the features you need for a fun fishing trip. The adjustable seats are comfortable, and floor mounted footrests provide extra support for your feet. There’s plenty of space to store your gear in the bow and stern, and you can attach more tools and essentials using the stainless steel D-rings.
You can always keep your rod safe and close at hand with the two integrated rod holders. Plus, if you have more accessories like a fish finder or GPS, you can install the removable mounting bracket.
- Plenty of storage options for all your gear and accessories
- Lightweight and inflatable for easy transport and storage
- Integrated rod holders are a great feature
- The footrests provide extra comfort
- Tracks reasonably well
- It may not be as durable as a solid kayak
- The paddles are quite short
Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 Kayak
The Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 is more expensive at just under $500, but it offers amazing value for your money. This solid sit-on-top kayak measures 9 feet long and makes a great choice for most anglers. It tracks beautifully on the water and is easy to paddle, making it suitable for everyone from beginners to the experienced angler. You can transport this kayak in most SUVs or on the top of your car.
At 42lbs, it’s not the lightest kayak, but you should be able to carry it down to the water with the molded carrying handles. The Skipjack 90 is constructed from a single piece of rotomolded polyethylene, so it can withstand the wear and tear of frequent outings. On the water, it gives a smooth, steady performance and gets you where you want to go quickly.
When it comes to comfort, the Skipjack 90 excels. The seat has both a padded backrest and cushion, plus a choice of several foot braces depending on your height. There are multiple storage options, including a waterproof cargo bag, rear and front storage space with bungee tie-downs, and a tackle toss tray.
Every detail has been carefully thought through, down to the four flush-mounted rod holders and the universal mount for your GPS or fish finder. The quick access paddle rest is a handy feature, while you can store your paddles more securely with the side paddle parks when you’re stationary for longer.
The Skipjack 90 is an all-round versatile fishing kayak that is compact, affordable, and won’t let you down!
- Easy to maneuver
- Durable construction
- Lots of storage space for all your fishing gear
- Comfortable seating and footrests
- Extra features including multiple rod holders and universal mount
- On the heavier side at 42lbs
- Might feel cramped if you’re taller than 6 foot
Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 100 Fishing Kayak
The Yellowfin 100 is another top fishing kayak from Vibe Kayaks, a company making a name for themselves in the fishing world. Vibe Kayaks is fast becoming one of the most respected manufacturers of affordable kayaks for anglers, and the Yellowfin 100 stands out especially.
This 10-foot-long kayak provides everything you need to get straight out on the water. It tracks consistently well on streams, rivers, and lakes, and is even suitable for open water/ocean kayaking. The Yellowfin 100 is easy to control. It’s so stable that you can even stand up to cast, affording you better visibility and range of motion.
We should also mention the slip-resistant deck for safety, four rod holders, and standard side paddle parks. It even has a cup holder and multiple top-loading gear tracks, which allow you to customize the kayak to your own needs.
But with the extra length and width comes extra weight. The Yellowfin 100 weighs 57lbs, making it one of the heaviest kayaks on our list. You will definitely need a kayak cart to get this beauty down to the water. Other than that, we love this kayak for its great range of features and impressive performance on the water. The Yellowfin 100 has it all!
- High weight capacity of 375 lbs
- User-friendly, customizable kayak
- Excellent tracking, speed, and control
- Fantastic stability (you can stand up safely to fish)
- Very heavy at 57lbs
Perception Pescador 120 Kayak
Perception is one of the leading kayak manufacturers. This company has built up a reputation for making some of the best kayaks for anglers, and the Pescador fits right into this trend. The Pescador is an incredibly versatile model that is designed and built within the USA. As you’d expect, it has a high-quality construction and finish, but it’s much cheaper than the Pescador Pro model.
This sit-on-top kayak is easy to maneuver and gives you excellent visibility over the water. It tracks fast through the water with a smooth glide. At 12 feet long, you have extra storage space and increased stability for effortless paddling. There are both covered and open storage options to stash your gear and essentials, plus recesses so you can customize this yak with your accessories. The two mounted rod holders ensure that your rods are readily at hand at all times.
As you’d expect, a 12-foot kayak will weigh more, and the Pescador comes in at 64 lbs. While that’s on the heavy side, it’s not impossible to get it down to the water single-handedly. It also has a higher weight capacity of 375 lbs, so you can carry a lot of fishing gear without sitting too low in the water.
When it comes to comfort, the Pescador doesn’t disappoint. The seat has ergonomic cushioning, and it’s possible to adjust the seat backrest into the perfect position for you. While the Pescador is best suited for calm, slow-moving waters, it can also handle open sea and surf conditions.
- The longer length makes this kayak very stable with smooth tracking
- Comfortable padded seat for long fishing trips
- Cool aesthetics
- Less expensive than the Pescador Pro
- A great choice for taller people
- High weight capacity of 375 lbs
- Weighty at 64 lbs
- No paddle included
Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler
If you’re after a longer kayak, check out the Prowler 13-foot kayak by Ocean Kayak company. This sit-on-top kayak is for the adventurous angler who isn’t scared of braving waves and strong currents. The performance hull design allows this yak to slip through the water smoothly and quickly without flipping.
There’s ample storage space in this long kayak, including bow-to-stern internal storage that you can access through the Click Seal hatch. You don’t have to travel light with the Prowler – take as many rods as you like! Plus, there’s space for a cooler, tackle box, and more in the rear tank well, with bungee cords for security.
You’ll have no complaints about discomfort in this premium kayak. The unique, four-way adjustable seat allows you to adapt this kayak for the perfect positioning for all-day paddling. That means even more time out on the water – a big bonus in our opinion! The paddle keeps and cup holders are features that will make your fishing trip that little bit more enjoyable.
At 56 lbs, this kayak is positively lightweight when you consider its length. That makes the Prowler a great option if you want the extra space, but can’t carry a lot of weight from the car down to the lake. On the water, this kayak tracks well and is very quiet, so you won’t spook the fish.
- The Prowler is fast, quiet, and tracks well
- Suitable for calm or choppy waters
- Lightweight rod for its length
- Ergonomic padded seat
- Not ideal for standing up to fish
- One of the more expensive fishing kayaks on our list
Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 Angler Kayak
The Tarpon is a gorgeous kayak that has all the features an angler could ever need. With an adjustable seat and footrests, this kayak was designed with your comfort in mind. The smart seat system provides excellent support for your back and legs so you can fish for longer.
The Tarpon has a unique hull design that improves stability and allows it to track well for a smooth ride. Beginners will feel safe and secure, while experienced anglers will enjoy the speed and responsiveness of this kayak.
The storage compartments are carefully thought out, with Orbix hatches, gear storage pockets, and accessory mount points. You also get three rod holders and a handy DryTecCase to keep all your gadgets safe and dry while you fish.
It’s easy to see why the Tarpon is one of the most popular Wilderness Systems products. While it’s the most expensive kayak on our list, it’s well worth the investment. You’ll have countless happy fishing trips in the Tarpon 120.
- Adjustable, supportive seat and footrests
- Lots of storage space
- Eye-catching design
- 3 rod holders included
- Self-bailing scupper holes so you stay dry
- Cup holder in the center console is almost out of reach
- Heavy to carry – 63 lbs
Best Fishing Kayaks FAQ
What’s the most stable fishing kayak?
The most stable fishing kayak is a sit-on-top kayak. The wider and longer the kayak, the stabler it will be. If you’re looking for a kayak that offers lots of stability so you don’t end up in the water, check out the Ocean Kayak Prowler 13. (Scroll up for our full review!)
What is the best cheap fishing kayak?
If you’re on a very tight budget, the best cheap fishing kayak is the Intex Excursion Pro at just over $200. Got a little bit more to spend? Go for the Lifetime Tamarack Angler, which offers more features but is still very affordable.
What’s the best kayak for fishing?
In our opinion, the best all-round kayak for fishing has to be the Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90. It’s durable, smooth, and steady on the water,and has all the features an angler needs.
Which is the best fishing kayak for a big man?
The best kayak for a big man would be a longer kayak that is wide and stable, with plenty of space to stretch out. Look for a kayak that measures at least 12 feet long, like the Perception Pescador 120 (details above!)
The Wrap Up
So there you have our ultimate guide to the best fishing kayaks on the market right now! Keep in mind the essential factors a fishing kayak should have when you’re shopping around. If you’re finding it hard to narrow down the choices, go for one of our recommended kayaks! They combine top stability, durability, and tracking while being high-quality and affordable.
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