Fishing can be an incredibly cathartic and relaxing experience, and if you’re lucky, you end up with a fish or two by the end of it for a nice meal. But even better than fishing by the edge of the water, is fishing in the middle of the water, standing on a boat.
Of course, not everyone has access to a boat, as they’re pretty pricey. There are some smaller boat options, better suited for those that don’t want to invest too much money into the activity, and one of the best options is the fishing kayak.
They’re stable, maneuverable, and ideal for one or two people, depending on the size you get.
The best thing about a fishing kayak is that it can also be used as a regular kayak to go adventuring during the summer season, as well as be your sturdy fishing boat when needed.
They’re specially designed to accommodate the gear and the fishing rods, and although they can also get pricey, it’s a lot easier to find accessible options that are very high-quality.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money in order to get a good fishing kayak. You just need to know where to look!
And to help you out, we’ve compiled a list with our top five favorite fishing kayaks under $500, so that you have accessible options that are also the best of the best in regards to quality!
OUR TOP PICK
The Intex Excursion Pro Inflatable Fishing Kayak is by far one of the most popular and highly recommended options for kayak fishing.
It is made from super-tough laminate PVC with a polyester core, making it very lightweight while being highly durable and resistant to damage from abrasion, impact, and sunlight.
As the name indicates, it is an inflatable kayak, and the high-pressure inflation that it features allows it to be extra rigid and stable, so it’s completely safe! The loaded valves also make both inflation and deflation super easy and fast.
It comes with 2 removable skews, for both deep and shallow water, making it versatile. It also features 2 floor-mounted footrests, 2 integrated recessed fishing rod holders, and 2 adjustable bucket seats.
(As you might guess, it’s a 2-person kayak!) It also has a carry bag and a repair patch, and there’s plenty of room for more accessories and all your fishing gear.
The total weight capacity of this kayak is 400 pounds, and it has stainless steel d rings for tying down the dry bags and gear, ensuring they are secure.
Plus, the product includes 86-inch aluminum oars and a high-output pump for inflation. Overall, it’s incredibly high value, and definitely the ideal kayak for your fishing adventures!
- Made from laminate PVC and a polyester core: incredibly durable and sturdy, resistant to abrasion, impact, and sunlight
- 2-person inflatable kayak: super easy to transport and store, and fast to inflate for use. With plenty of space for 2 people and all the fishing gear
- 2 removable skews: versatile use, for both shallow and deep water
- Carry bag, repair patch, oars, and more, included: incredibly high value, with everything you need for your fishing adventure
- The repair patch is a temporary fix only
The Pelican Sentinel 100X Fishing Kayak is another incredibly popular and highly recommended option, this time for one person only.
This kayak is incredibly sturdy, but as it weighs just 44lbs, it is incredibly easy to transport, making it ideal for a getaway fishing trip.
It features a multi-chine flat bottom hull, which enhances stability, allowing you to fish with ease.
This kayak has been made using Pelican patented Ram-X materials, so it’s highly durable and long-lasting, resistant to most types of damage.
And thanks to the unique manufacturing process, it includes additional flotation within the hull, so that it surpasses the ABYC standards for boats.
The maximum weight capacity is up to 275lbs, and the Sentinel 100X comes with an ExoPak, a removable storage compartment that fits into the tank well.
So you’ll be able to fit all your fishing gear without issues.
It also comes with two vertical fishing rod holders and includes a few extra fishing accessories that will come in handy.
- Lightweight and sturdy: easy to transport, and always ready to go
- Multi-chine flat bottom hull and additional flotation: incredibly stable fishing kayak, easy to maneuver and fast, as well as surpassing ABYC boat standards
- Made with patented Ram-X materials: incredibly durable and resistant
- Comes with an ExoPak and vertical fishing rod holders: plenty of space for all your fishing gear, with included accessories for a higher overall product value
- The seat isn’t the most comfortable, a cushion or padding might be needed
Another small, but incredibly reliable and high-quality fishing kayak option, is the Lifetime Tamarack Angler Fishing Kayak.
It is constructed of UV-protected high-density Polyethylene, making it not only durable but highly resistant to sunlight damage.
The stable flat bottom also makes it ideal for fishing, as it’s sturdy and stable enough for easily casting the line and reeling in the fish!
It features multiple footrest positions, allowing for different size riders, and it also has an adjustable padded seat back and seat pad.
All in all, this makes it one of the more comfortable fishing kayaks out there! It has two flush-mounted fishing rod holders and a top mount fishing rod holder.
Additionally, it has two 6-inch storage compartments in the rear and center of the kayak, offering plenty of storage space for your fishing gear.
There are also cord straps, to attach any other accessories, and the product comes with one paddle keeper and one adult black paddle.
- Constructed with UV-protected high-density Polyethylene: sturdy and durable, with stable flotation and resistance to damage such as sunlight
- Multiple footrest positions and adjustable seat: one of the more comfortable fishing kayaks available in the market!
- Multiple rod holders and 2 storage compartments: plenty of space for all your fishing gear, and your fishing rods
- Paddle keeper and adult paddle included: accessories included, as well as space for many more, giving it an overall great value
- Very simple design compared to other fishing kayaks
Back to inflatable fishing kayaks, the Sevylor Coleman Colorado Fishing Kayak is a great product option able to fit you and someone else during your fishing adventure.
It has an 18-gauge PVC construction, which is rugged for lake use. It is also NMMA certified, and it has a 1000D tarpaulin bottom and an 840D nylon cover to provide protection from punctures.
It also features multiple air chambers, so the kayak will stay inflated even if it suffers a puncture, with an Airtight System that is guaranteed to not leak.
It comes with Berkley Quick Set rod holders, which are adjustable, enabling hands-free fishing. It also has paddle holders, and mesh storage pockets for your gear and personal items.
The D-rings that it has also allow for you to attach other extra equipment and additional gear.
It’s easy and fast to both inflate and deflate and is incredibly easy to transport and store. Plus, this kayak has Sevylor trolling motor fittings, allowing you to expand your fishing capabilities if so desired!
- PVC construction with tarpaulin bottom and nylon cover: incredibly durable and stable, NMMA certified, and apt for use on lakes thanks to the rugged construction
- Multiple air chambers and an Airtight system: even if punctured, the kayak will stay inflated and afloat, making it extra safe and reliable!
- Berkeley Quick Set rod holders and paddle holders: allows for hands-free fishing for the ultimate comfortable fishing experience
- Sevylor trolling motor fittings: possibility of expanding the fishing capabilities
- The air chambers begin to weaken with time, so it’s not as long-lasting as it claims to be
Last but not least on our list of fishing kayaks under $500, we have the Lifetime Hydros Angler 85 Fishing Kayak.
It’s constructed of blow-molded high-density polyethylene, making it incredibly durable, as well as UV-protected and impact-resistant.
It has also been designed to be very lightweight, at just 41 pounds of weight.
Plus, it has a front T-handle and a center carry handle, so that it is super easy to transport down to the water.
It features a combination tunnel hull design, which provides high stability and tracking, making it easier to fish safely.
It also has multiple footrest positions and an adjustable quick-release seat-back.
Comfortable, and versatile! A molded-in swim-up deck with bungee lacing allows for plenty of storage, and you can easily add any necessary fishing accessories.
It includes multiple rod holders, and even comes with a paddle. And with a weight capacity of 225lbs, there is no issue with loading it up with your fishing gear.
And just to put your mind at rest, the product also comes with a 5-year warranty.
- Constructed of blow-molded high-density polyethylene: highly durable and sturdy kayak, with UV-protection and impact-resistance
- Lightweight with carrying handles: incredibly portable and easy to carry, making it convenient
- Multiple footrests and adjustable seat: comfortable and versatile interior, ideal for longer fishing trips
- Comes with rod holders, a paddle, and a weight capacity of 225lbs: plenty of space for all your fishing gear and accessories
- The seat could be a lot more comfortable, as it isn’t as sturdy as the rest of the kayak
Best Fishing Kayak Under 500 Buying Guide
A fishing kayak can be the perfect way to fulfill the fishing trip of your dreams, as it’s maneuverable, easy to transport, and just the right size for one or two people to go off on a little adventure.
Although this type of kayak can also be used like any other regular kayak for some summer fun, it is specifically designed to also have all the necessary accessories to enable fishing, plus it’s a more stable kind of kayak, so you don’t cause it to flip over every time you cast your line or reel in the fish!
And the best thing about fishing kayaks is that it’s a lot easier to find more accessible options price-wise. Finding one under $500 is perfectly doable, and you won’t have to compromise on quality, reliability, or value.
However, it’s important to know what to look for. The market is wide and vast, with an overwhelming amount of products.
When we chose our top fishing kayaks under 500, we took a few basic factors into consideration, to ensure each product is the best it can be. Here is a summary to help you out:
Price and value
As you’re specifically looking for a fishing kayak that is under $500, the price is obviously a factor to take into account. But more than price, you should be looking at value.
Two kayaks could be the same exact price, with one being way more high-value than the other, thanks to quality, accessories, and reliability. That is what you need to look out for, by taking into account all the other factors!
Size and design
Fishing kayaks can be one-person, or two-person, and that is completely up to your needs and preferences. If in doubt, a bigger kayak is always nice.
As for the design, it’s important for the kayak to have especially good stability so that you can safely cast your line without the kayak capsizing.
But there are other design things to look out for, such as the seats and whether they’re adjustable or not. (Ideally, they should be adjustable to accommodate different sizes.)
You also need to choose between an inflatable fishing kayak or a non-inflatable one. An inflatable one will be a lot easier to store away and transport and they’re usually very easy to inflate and deflate when needed.
But non-inflatable ones tend to be sturdier and more durable, and you look out for ones that have a lightweight design so that they’re not that much harder to carry around.
Construction and durability
Fishing kayaks have to be constructed not only with high durability but also with high resistance. Mainly, resistance to abrasion from the water, resistance to UV light from the sun, and resistance to possible impacts.
If the kayak is inflatable, then you should check whether it has any safety features in the case of a puncture. For example, does it have multiple air chambers? Does it have a puncture-protection cover?
Does it come with a puncture repair kit? These are all things that will add to the overall durability and reliability of the kayak.
As a fishing kayak, it is vital that it has the essential fishing accessories, as well as having room for more.
Some of the basics are fishing rod holders, D-rings for attaching items, and plenty of secure storage space for all of your fishing gear. It is ideal if the kayak also comes with a paddle holder so that you have somewhere to store the paddle while you’re fishing!
We also recommend that you look out for any additional extra items or fishing accessories included with the kayak, as this will massively add to the overall value of the product!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is kayak fishing worth it?
Kayak fishing is becoming increasingly popular, and it’s very easy to see why. Traditional fishing boats, even the smaller ones, can be very expensive, and therefore not very accessible to hobbyists or beginners.
A fishing kayak, on the other hand, is small and easy to transport and store, and it offers great stability for fishing by yourself or with someone else. The smaller size also makes them viable for all sorts of fishing, whether it’s in the sea, in a river, or on a small lake.
Plus, a fishing kayak can also be used as a regular kayak, so it’s versatile and offers multi-purpose usage.
What color kayak is best for fishing?
Fishing kayaks are available in all sorts of colors and patterns, so there is plenty to choose from.
But which color is the best for fishing? In regards to helping you catch the fish, lighter colors are usually the best, as they most resemble the brightness of the sky above, so the fish aren’t scared of coming closer to the surface.
However, when it comes to fishing on your kayak, safety should be a priority, and therefore bright and highly visible colors are the best, such as bright yellow or orange.
This is so that other boats can see you with ease, and it optimizes the chances of you being found if you get lost or suffer an accident.