Best Fishing Kayaks Under $500 In 2020 – Top 8 Rated Reviews

For any serious angler looking to take their hobby to the next level, you could do a lot worse than invest under $500 in a fishing Kayak. It’s a great way to get out on the water without having to drop thousands on a motorized boat. And many anglers actually consider it to be a more natural way to fish without the interference of an engine scaring the fish off.

Best Fishing Kayaks Under $500

As when buying most things, there is a bewildering array of choices on the market. To help you cut through it all, we’ve put together this list of the best fishing kayaks under $500. We’ll review eight of the best models on the market and crown an overall winner based on price, features, and durability.

But before we go any further, let’s run through the important factors to consider when buying a fishing kayak in our quick buyer’s guide.

Best Fishing Kayaks Under $500 Buyer’s Guide

New to the sport of kayak fishing? No worries, simply read through this to make sure you end up with the best fishing kayak for your needs.

Design And Comfort

You will be most likely spending hours at a time seated in your kayak, so comfort should be right at the top of your list of considerations. Look for a well-padded seat that offers good back support as this is the main determining factor when it comes to comfort.

Hull shape should also be determined early on. Do you require the extra speed a more rounded hull gives you, or is the stability of a flatter design more to your liking?

Beginner Or expert?

Sea Eagle 370 Pro 3 Person Inflatable Portable Sport

How much kayaking experience you have will determine what kind of kayak you choose. As a beginner, you should go for an entry level fishing kayak, something simple and stable to learn the ropes on. As your kayaking skills improve, you can move up to something more fitting for your experience level.

Kayak type

We return to the continual sit on top vs in kayak debate, so are you in the market for a sit-in kayak or a sit on top kayak? You’ll also have to decide whether you want a hard-shell or an inflatable model and how many people your kayak needs to carry. Kayaks also come in single and tandem models.

Kayak size

Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100

The larger the kayak, the more space, carrying capacity,, and overall stability it will offer. On the flip-side, larger kayaks are not as maneuverable, and fishing in tighter spots can be harder. Sit on designs can carry more weight, so if you’re on the heavier side, bear this in mind.

Stability

You want a kayak which is as stable as possible not only for when you are climbing aboard, but when you are paddling through waves or rapids. The less rocking and chance of capsizing, the better. Sit on kayaks generally offer a higher degree of stability as they are shorter and wider. It’s always a good idea to bring some sort of floatation device and a whistle in case you do find yourself in trouble.

Storage And Transport

Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak

Make sure any kayak your thinking of buying has enough storage space for all the fishing gear your planning on carrying. Extra storage capacity doesn’t mean a lot if the compartments are not easily accessible. The last thing you need when trying to reel in a catch is to not have easy access to a vital bit of kit.

Portability is also a big consideration. How easy will your kayak be to get to water? Will you need extra equipment such as a roof rack or trailer. Inflatable kayaks are significantly lighter than their hard shall counterparts and much easier to transport from A to B.

Where Will You Be Fishing?

The conditions you will be fishing in play a large role in what kind of kayak you should buy. If you’re lake fishing and the water is calm, then the best sit on top kayak design is the preferable option. Heading out to sea, then a sit-in kayak, is the better option to handle waves, tides, and currents.

Accessories

Emotion 90259 Renegade XT Fishing Kayak, Forest Green

Kayaks designed for fishing come with a variety of different accessories. Rod holders, GPS mounting brackets, and trolling motor fittings all add to your crafts fishing capabilities. Be sure to pick a kayak that is well catered for in this department.

So now we are armed with a little more knowledge let’s review 8 of the best fishing kayaks under $500 on the market. We’ll start with a quick overview before diving deeper into each model.

Top 8 Best Fishing Kayaks Under $500 In 2020 Reviews

ProductWeight CapacityComfortFeaturesPrice
Weight Capacity
250lbs
Comfort
2
Features
****
Price
****
Weight Capacity
250lbs
Comfort
2
Features
***
Price
****
Weight Capacity
275lbs
Comfort
3
Features
****
Price
****
Weight Capacity
650lbs
Comfort
3
Features
***
Price
***
Weight Capacity
250lbs
Comfort
2
Features
*
Price
***
Weight Capacity
450lbs
Comfort
4
Features
**
Price
***
Weight Capacity
325lbs
Comfort
5
Features
****
Price
*****
Weight Capacity
250lbs
Comfort
5
Features
*****
Price
*****

1 Sun Dolphin Journey

First on the list of best fishing kayaks under $500, is this 10ft sit on top offering from Sun Dolphin. It’s strictly a one-man kayak with a relatively low weight capacity of 250lbs. If you are over 6ft tall and well built, then this kayak may be on the small side for you.

Primarily designed for use on lakes and slower moving rivers, this compact kayak comes with a decent range of features to aid your fishing trips. Storage is well catered for with a dry storage compartment behind the seat and a molded storage compartment at the front. Both have bungee rigging to lash down your gear.

Let’s get fishing…

One swivel-mounted and two fixed rod holders provide more than enough placement options for your rods. The paddle can be stashed on either side of the kayak, which is an essential feature when you have your hands full fishing. In front of the seat are a well-placed cup holder and another smaller dry storage compartment suitable for your phone and keys etc.

The Journey kayak is relatively easy to transport. Weighing just 44lbs, it has retractable handles that make carrying it to water a simple task. Being relatively short, it can be transported in the bed of your pick-up truck easily if the tailgate is left down.

Could be more comfortable…

In terms of comfort, it would have been nice if they’d incorporated a padded seat into the design. This could become an issue after a few hours on the water. Fortunately, the padded seat back makes up for this a little. The seat is also not raised up off the floor, meaning you may get a little wetter than you’d like depending on how low the kayak is sitting in the water.

One feature we liked are the adjustable foot braces, giving you the flexibility to find the most comfortable foot position.

Sun Dolphin Journey
Our rating:3.6 out of 5 stars (3.6 / 5)

Pros

  • Decent storage options.
  • Adjustable foot braces.
  • Easy to transport.
  • Durable and lightweight.

Cons

  • A little small for those over 6ft.
  • Seat not padded.

2 Sun Dolphin Excursion

The 10ft Excursion is another one man fishing kayak from Sun Dolphin, this time with a sit-in design. It’s relatively open cockpit design means it doesn’t feel too cramped for the beginner as long as you aren’t over 6ft tall. The load capacity is 250lbs, which doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for equipment if you are on the heavier side.

Even though it is relatively small, it is surprisingly stable when compared with Sun Dolphins sit on top Journey version. Weighing just over 40lbs, it’s a piece of cake to move around out of the water even if you are by yourself.

Not for dolphin watching…

Because of its small size, the Excursion isn’t really suited for use in the ocean unless conditions are exceptionally calm. Lakes and slow-moving rivers are where this kayak performs best.

She comes equipped with three rod holders, two fixed in the rear, and one swivel in front. A common complaint is the lack of storage space, but that’s always going to be a problem on a 10ft kayak. A dry storage compartment is built into the stern and deck rigging on the bow, and the stern gives the ability to lash extra kit down. Other features include a cup holder and adjustable foot braces for added comfort and stability.

Again, it lacks comfort…

The backrest is padded, although the molded seat isn’t, which can cause comfort issues after a few hours on the water — overall, a decent entry level fishing kayak at a reasonable price.

Sun Dolphin Excursion
Our rating:4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

Pros

  • Lightweight and stable
  • Very portable.
  • Good value for money
  • Tracks well.

Cons

  • Not suitable for anyone over 6ft.
  • Lack of storage space
  • Seat not padded.

3 Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100

This sit-on-top design from Lifetime is another 10ft, one man fishing Kayak that offers good value for money. With a weight capacity of 275lbs, this Kayak will be able to support the weight of most anglers and their equipment.

Storage capacity is pretty good, with two dry storage hatches to carry your fishing gear and personal items. Molded storage decks at the stern and the bow increase your carrying options exponentially, with bungee cords to hold everything in place. The Tamarack features two fixed rod holders just behind the seat and one swivel mounted holder in the front, on the right side.

Stable and comfortable…

Comfort has been well addressed with an adjustable padded seat and padded backrest. Multiple footrest positions should provide a stable and comfy position for anglers of most heights, giants aside.

Anglers report the Tamarack provides good stability with some even reporting they could stand whilst fishing in this model. Slightly heavier than the Sun Dolphin models at 50lbs, it should still be relatively easy for most Anglers to haul in and out of the water.

A pleasure to steer…

Maneuverability is good. It turns very easily and tracks surprisingly well considering its weight and dimensions. More suited to calm waters than ocean swells, this fishing Kayak will serve the beginner very well.

Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100
Our rating:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros

  • Increased weight capacity.
  • Storage well catered for.
  • Excellent value for money.
  • Lightweight.

Cons

  • The tallest of anglers should look elsewhere.
  • Not suitable for rough waters.

4 Sea Eagle 370 Pro Inflatable Kayak

The first inflatable kayak on our list, the Sea Eagle 370 Pro is a versatile performer with a huge carrying capacity of 650lbs. At 12.5ft long and 34 inches wide, it can accommodate up to three people, although it is far better suited for two, leaving plenty of room to carry all your fishing gear.

The portability of inflatables is a big plus. Weighing just 32lbs, once deflated and packed away it will fit in almost any vehicle. Inflation is a straightforward process taking around 10 minutes or so to pump up and get on the water.

Goes the distance…

The Sea Eagle is made from highly durable 33mm thick Polykrylar material, which is tough enough to handle whatever you can throw at it. It is a three chamber design, so if you do somehow manage to puncture it, you’ll still stay afloat.

The basic model isn’t specifically a fishing kayak. You will have to make sure you purchase the sports fishing package, which comes with a multi-purpose dry storage box and two attachable rod holders. Two inflatable seats come as standard providing decent back support with adjustable straps to change the angle.

Whitewater – no problem…

Easy to maneuver and reasonably stable, the manufacturers claim this kayak can handle up to Level 3 whitewater conditions and is also capable out in mild sea conditions. All in all, at a lower price point than the hard shells already mentioned, this makes for an attractive all round package.

Sea Eagle 370 Pro Inflatable Kayak
Our rating:4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

Pros

  • Large weight capacity.
  • So portable you could take it on a flight.
  • Durable construction.
  • Versatility.

Cons

  • Could do with more fishing specific features.
  • No warranty.

5 Lifetime Lotus Sit-On-Top Kayak

The Lifetime Lotus is an 8ft sit-on-top kayak and one of the cheaper models on our list of best fishing kayaks under $500. What you’re getting here is a bare bones, no-frills craft more suited to recreational paddling than serious fishing trips.

Weighing in at just under 40lbs and with its shorter length, this is a highly portable kayak that anyone can haul to water by themselves. The basic features include an adjustable backrest, a cup holder, and several sets of molded footrests to accommodate people of varied height.

Storage is provided by a rear tank well with bungee straps. You’ll have to bring your own dry storage bag or box as there are no hatched compartments on this model.

Not a great choice for anglers…

Fishing from this kayak isn’t made easy by the complete lack of rod holders or anywhere to stash your paddle. Any serious angler looking to spend hours on the water should avoid the Lotus. Whilst it would be ok to dip a rod in for an hour, anything more than that would be better served by a kayak with more fishing specific features. Definitely not a contender for the best fishing kayak under $500.

Lifetime Lotus Sit-On-Top Kayak
Our rating:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros

  • Fine for recreational paddling.
  • Lightweight and portable.

Cons

  • Not suitable for serious fishing.
  • Very small for the larger individual.

6 Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak

The second inflatable kayak on our list, the Sevylor Coleman Colorado, is incredibly good value for money. The 470lb weight capacity means that you can fit two average size people reasonably, although the 10ft length means it will be a little cramped if both paddlers are over 6ft tall.

Built from a thick and highly durable PVC material, you won’t have to worry about puncturing this inflatable. If the worst happens, then the compartmental air pocket design will keep you afloat no problem.

Feature-packed…

Adjustable and raised seats ensure a comfortable ride and make paddling much easier. Paddle holders on both sides allow safe storage whilst fishing. A decent number of rod mounts on both sides give you the ability to cast four lines at once. Users have reported that they could be better positioned as they can get in the way when paddling.

Storage comes in the form of built-in mesh pockets. If you want any dry storage capability, you’ll have to bring your own.

Attach a motor…

Being an inflatable, it doesn’t glide through the water quite as well as a hard shell, but on the plus side, you can attach any of the best trolling motor for kayaks to increase your speed. However, rather annoyingly, the Colorado doesn’t come with a pump or a paddle. Make sure this doesn’t come as a nasty surprise if this is your kayak of choice.

Overall, this kayak represents good value for the low price point but is probably better used as a solo kayak if you want to transport a lot of equipment and attach a trolling motor. A versatile contender for the best fishing kayak under $500

Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak
Our rating:3.6 out of 5 stars (3.6 / 5)

Pros

  • Very cheap.
  • More comfortable seating than most.
  • Large number of fishing mounts.
  • Virtually puncture proof.

Cons

  • No paddle or pump supplied.
  • A little cramped for two people.

7 Emotion Renegade XT Fishing Kayak

On the higher end of the price range, the Emotion Renegade has a few distinct advantages over the hard shell kayaks already mentioned here. Firstly, its carrying capacity is significantly higher at 325lbs. Even heavier anglers will be able to transport a decent amount of equipment on this kayak. It’s also substantially wider than other solo hard shells, giving it a higher degree of stability.

The padded seat is complemented by a sturdy and adjustable backrest allowing you to fish and paddle in comfort for many hours. Storage needs are well satisfied by a dry storage compartment in front of the seat and a large well in the stern with an elasticated cargo net cover for security.

A relaxed days fishing…

Two fixed rod mounts will generally be enough for most anglers, although it would have been nice if one was swivel mounted for more versatility.

At 49lbs, the Renegade is still easy for most paddlers to carry without any help. Front, rear, and side handles give you multiple carrying options. For some reason, Emotion felt it unnecessary to include a paddle in the package, which is hard to understand.

Expensive but worth it…

Even at the higher price, the extra comfort, weight capacity, and storage options make this a real challenger for the best fishing kayak under $500.

Emotion Renegade XT Fishing Kayak
Our rating:3.7 out of 5 stars (3.7 / 5)

Pros

  • High weight capacity.
  • More stable than most.
  • Storage well catered for.
  • Very comfortable.

Cons

  • Expensive but still good value.
  • No paddle supplied.

8 Brooklyn Kayak Company UH-FK184

The Brooklyn FK184 is a solo sit-on-top kayak that packs a lot of unique features into a relatively compact space. Five rod holders mean you can take along as many rods as you consider necessary.

You’ll be able to carry a decent amount on this yak. Two dry storage compartments allow you to store your tackle and personal effects safely. The cargo well behind the seat is perfect for a cool box to store your catch. Bungee cords keep everything nice and secure.

Superb comfort levels…

Perhaps the best feature of the Brooklyn is the level of comfort provided. The padded and adjustable seat has an ergonomic design that makes this the comfiest yak on this list. Ample legroom means that even if you’re on the taller side, you should still be able to fish for hours.

On the downside, the weight capacity is only 250lbs. If you’re on the heavier side, then you’d probably be better off with the Emotion Renegade.

Easy to maneuver…

Easily portable at a mere 45lbs and equipped with four carrying handles, a single adult will be able to move the Brooklyn wherever it needs to go.

A well-designed hull provides strong tracking and decent turning ability, all whilst remaining very stable. Despite being the most expensive kayak on our list, the FK184 is a great purchase for beginner and intermediate anglers alike. You won’t be disappointed.

Brooklyn Kayak Company UH-FK184
Our rating:3.7 out of 5 stars (3.7 / 5)

Pros

  • Feature rich design.
  • Excellent storage options.
  • Plenty of legroom.
  • Easily portable.
  • More than an entry level kayak.

Cons

  • Most expensive on our list.
  • Not suitable for the heavier angler.

That’s our eight kayaks reviewed, but we’re not finished yet. Read on to see which model we have chosen as the Best Fishing Kayak under $500. But before we get to that, do you need any accessories to go with your new Kayak?

Accessories

Well, we all know you’ll have a lot of fun in your new kayak, but are there some items that will make it even more fun? We think so, so take a look at our Best Fish Finders reviews, our Best Kayak Trailer reviews, and our Best Kayak Seat reviews.

So What Are The Best Fishing Kayaks Under $500?

For its range of excellent fishing features, storage capacity, and higher levels of comfort, we felt it was well worth spending the extra bucks on the…

Brooklyn UH-FK184

The Emotion Renegade was a very close second and is definitely the better choice if you weigh over 220lbs, but the extra features on the Brooklyn are what clinched it for us. It’s a relatively cheap fishing kayak for the beginner that won’t need to be upgraded immediately as your skill level increases, and it rather importantly, it comes with a paddle.

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