Best Fishing Kayak under 500 Dollars
Whether you’re new to the sport, or you know you’re only going to get out onto the water on the odd weekend, there are plenty of reasons why you may want to spend less than $500 on a kayak. Today I’m going attempt to help you find the best fishing kayak under 500 dollars. And there is absolutely no reason why a fishing kayak costing $500 or less should be in any way, less than satisfactory. Any kayak you take the plunge into purchasing, should be the kayak of your dreams and met every singe one of your needs.
The main concern with the more affordable kayaks is that they won’t be as durable as the more expensive models, but the kayaks on this list are tough little vessels. They can handle rough use, or even rough waters, and should last you for years and years to come.
There are 5 options on this list for you newbie angling enthusiasts to choose from, and now the time has come to take the lunge and buy your own, which will definitely be more cost effective and satisfying than regularly hiring some crappy little piece of junk. Also for the veterans out there who only make it out on the weekends as a hobby, or for any parents who just can’t justify spending over $500 on themselves knowing that they will have little or no opportunities to head into the tides – maybe their offspring will undoubtedly want to follow along, these are the kayaks for you. It should be made clear right from the start that there is no reason why you can’t get an amazing fishing kayak for under $500.
Considering your options
While still considering the essential factors for any kayak of speed, stability, and durability, and then let’s not forget the fishing specific requirements of deck space, accessible storage, weight capacity, and being comfortable enough to sit in all day – these four kayaks are all available now, and should definitely be considered amongst the best fishing kayaks under 500 dollar range. It will be a challenge to get through the whole article without splurging on one of these wallet-friendly bad boys, that don’t compromise on quality or style while still being a great budget option.
Check out the table below for the quick specs of the Lifetime Muskie Angler, the Emotion Stealth Angler, the Sun Dolphin Journey, and the Lifetime Tamarack. None of these models require deep pockets, but they’ll all last you a good long time, and be everything you need for a grand old fishing experience while on the lake, river, or in the surf.
|Fishing Kayaks||Length||Weight||Max Capacity||Price|
|Lifetime Muskie 120||10'||50 lbs||275 lbs||$399|
|Emotion Stealth 11||11'||59 lbs||300 lbs||$420|
|Lifetime Tamarack 120||10'||50 lbs||275 lbs||$459|
|Sun Dolphin Journey 10||10'||44 lbs||250 lbs||$308|
|sun Dolphin Journey 12||12'||48 lbs||395 lbs||$549|
The Lifetime Muskie Angler is an awesome Sit On Top fishing kayak, and at only $399, it absolutely deserves its spot on this list of the best fishing kayak under 500 dollars. One of the best aspects of this kayak, which is surprising for such a low cost option is the fact that it is genuinely comfortable and you will be more than happy spending a whole day in it, without feeling any of the aches and pains that used to be associated with kayak fishing. This is largely due to the contoured seat back and adjustable foot rest, which means this kayak can be customised to suit any sized paddler.
At only 50 lbs this is an amazingly light weight kayak, which means you can easily transport it. Get it from your car to an from the water without the help of buddies, so kayaking solo is a feasible prospect. And despite being light weight this can still hold up to a whopping 275 lbs, which is an amazing amount of weight. No doubt more than enough to hold you, your gear, and a whole bunch of fish you’re bringing home for dinner. In the Muskie there are plenty of places to store all of that fish and gear, from the six inch compartments in the rear and the one in the center, to the front and rear holds with shock cord straps. The shock cord straps are also used for the paddle cradle, so you can fish with both hands. The polyethylene shell and flat bottomed hull promise maximum stability when you are wrestling that beast, ready to reel it in.
The 2 flush mounted rod holders and 1 top swivel rod holder provide you with the best chances of bringing home some big old sea monsters and ensure you won’t return to the shore disappointed. The stability chine rails and deep hull tracking channels mean that this kayak tracks well and turns on a dime. Being flat-ended makes this really easy to store too.
There is very little negative to say about this hero of a kayak – except that it’s not the fastest option out there, it will maximise stability over speed. But overall, it’s not a bad option, that’s excellent value for money, and should absolutely be considered as a potential purchase by anyone looking for an awesome fishing kayak under $500.
The Emotion Stealth Angler is totally the answer for any beginner or intermediate kayak anglers. It’s built to give you a great experience in starting to explore heading out solo, and really getting to grips with the sport in your own boat, at a point where it’s a bit too soon to drop two grand on a kayak. At $420 (on amazon), it’s not going to break the bank. You won’t be left disappointed finding yourself dreaming of other kayaks, as this really is a well designed machine that ticks an awful lot of boxes. And while the main fear with buying a bargain kayak is that it won’t be strong enough to last a long time, this one should last you for years and years to come.
At 59 lbs, it’s light enough and easy enough to transport. It comes with a skeg wheel and carry handles, so there is no trouble in getting this kayak to hard to reach spots to maximise your catch in undisturbed waters. The Emotion Stealth 11 Is quite spacious, so even if you’re a big guy, you can really stretch out and not worry about overfilling your boat on days where you’re bringing a massive catch back to the shore.
What really makes this one of the best kayaks for under $500 is the fact that this is an all water kayak – this isn’t limited to smooth lakes where beginners can slowly paddle around, this is designed to take you as far as you want to go, and make sure you feel safe and secure while you push yourself and test your limits. The ST performance hull is what really sets this kayak apart, as it provides the stability that is unparalleled on this budget, and doesn’t sacrifice on speed or tracking.
Don’t forget the comfort
The seat is padded, and there molded foot rests to adapt to your size, so you don’t have to worry about getting uncomfortable during long stretches in the kayak. The same as most of the other fishing kayaks these days, there are mounted rod holders as well as an adjustable one in the middle. It comes with a 8″ inch locking hatch in the middle, cargo holds with bungee cords up the front and rear tank well with cargo net cover up the back, to keep whatever you catch secure.
This really is a great kayak for someone with an adventurous sprit. Someone that needs a kayak they can try new waters and fishing spots out on, while all the while remaining steady and stable.
The Lifetime Tamarack 120 Angler is an amazing example of awesome and affordable design. Lifetime are a recognized and recommended brand in the kayak world, so you really can feel safe in their hands, as they do have great quality yaks and an amazing reputation for awesome customer service. At $459, it is well within the budget of any burgeoning kayaker who just can’t wait to buy their own first vessel and this is a good light weight option for weekend fishing kayakers.
At 52 lbs, it’s incredible light and easy to carry thanks to the T handle, and is also remarkably comfortable. This also contains a lot of features for such a low price. While durability is often the concern with lower cost kayaks, that’s not something you need to worry about here – this has a hard shell made from UV protected, blow molded, high density polyethylene, which is about as tough and durable as it gets. This is not a kayak that needs to be treated gently or wrapped in bubble wrap, it’s rough and ready to go.
The flat bottom of this kayak provides stability, while the chine rails and deep tracking channels make this thing track straight, while still being incredibly agile and manoeuvrable. As safety and stability are such a priority in the design of this kayak, it’s great for beginners or people who are only just increasing their confidence of going out solo. Even for younger anglers who are just starting to properly get into the sport as well. I did mention that it was tough, right?
The 275 lbs weight capacity is more than generous enough to hold you and your catch, and the contoured seat back and adjustable foot braces will keep you comfortable while you do so. There is also plenty of storage for anything you’re fortunate enough to be bringing home for dinner, including 2 six inch storage hatches in the rear and center, plus cargo holds in the front and rear with shock cords to keep everything secure. This isn’t a kayak to race on or try and tackle huge waves with – this is for someone who wants to be as stable and secure as possible while they reel in their catch, as on that front it really does deliver. That’s why I believe this makes it one of the best kayaks for under $500.
The Sun Dolphin Journey, available in 10 or 12 foot options is a good all around kayak that has made it onto every list going as being an incredible budget option. While there are some differences between the ten and twelve foot variations, both have some great features in common.
The Sun Dolphin Journey is designed with lakes and rivers in mind, and aims to provide a super light weight kayak that’s easy to transport yet still has abundant storage – the 10′ is 44 lbs and can hold 250 lbs, while the 12′ is 48 lbs and has a capacity of up to 395 lbs. So you get almost a 150 lbs extra capacity, for just an extra 4 lbs in weight. It would seem practical to accept 4 lbs more weight on the kayak itself, at least I think so, that’s why I always recommend the Journey 12 over the Journey 10.
Cost is another difference between the two Sun Dolphin Journey Options. The 10 at time of writting this review, is only $308 on Amazon, while the 12 is $549 (I know it’s just creeped over $500, but I added it anyway to give you the option). So if you’re a bug guy or you plan on bringing home a massive catch, it may be worth spending the extra and investing in the 12.
There’s plenty of storage space to store 395 lbs worth of man and beast, from holds with shock cord rigging, to the portable accessory holder which can also be used for extra storage. While some lighter options have a slightly smaller seating areas, this has a large and comfy space so you can really move around and get comfortable in the kayak. And the concern that cheaper means flimsier does not apply to this kayak, as it is made from extremely durable high density polyethylene.
For trolling there are two flush mount rod holders, plus a swivel rod holder, and as you can reel in some pretty big prized gamefish while barely rocking this boat. Once again I apologize for including the 12′ version. I know this review was meant for under $500, but it really must be included on any list for the best fishing kayak under 500 dollars (the price does fluctuate on amazon), and should absolutely considered. Particularly the Journey 12 version, for anyone looking for the maximum weight capacity for the minimum spend.
That’s all folks
And so wrapping up, the decision on which is the best fishing kayak under 500 dollars completely depends on what you want to do. Whether you want to have a crack in the surf or strong currents, or maybe and nice cruisy paddle in a lake, you can definitely get yourself an awesome yak for under $500. Leave me a comment below, let me know what you went with, or maybe I missed something, I’d love to hear your feedback. Happy Fishing!
Last updated: August 11, 2017