Best Fishing Kayaks Under $500 in 2021

Last Updated on April 25, 2021 by KayakPro

Every avid kayaker understands the importance of the right equipment, and investing in the right kayak will guarantee a fun and safe trip. Fishing on a kayak is one of the best experiences, as you can enjoy the views while catching fish for lunch or pleasure.

Compared to boats, kayaks are quieter and also more versatile, as you can relax or watch the fish closely. A fishing kayak requires less maintenance and no fuel, so it’s suitable for afternoon fishing trips, whether you decide to go alone or with a partner.

You can always go kayaking as a solo practice or combine this entertaining activity with fishing. Finding the best fishing kayak isn’t a difficult task, as there are several models to choose from.

The best fishing kayaks under 500 are designed to provide you with the best experience without breaking the bank. Keep on reading to learn more about our top choices and the factors to consider before buying your next kayak.

Reviews of the Best Fishing Kayaks Under $500

If you’ve already made up your mind about buying a fishing kayak, you’ve come to the right place. Fishing kayaks are designed for first-time and experienced anglers who don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on equipment. These kayaks are budget-friendly as they’re all below the $500 price mark but are well-made enough to last for a long time. Check out our best picks.

Intex Excursion Pro Kayak

This inflatable kayak is made of tough laminate PVC with a polyester core. It’s a lightweight inflatable kayak designed to resist abrasion, impact, and sunlight. The 3-ply high-molecular PVC isn’t affected by oil, gasoline, or salt, so you can use it in saltwater or freshwater. It weighs 43.6 pounds and measures 151 x 37 x 18 inches.

The high-pressure inflation allows for extra sturdiness, with high-pressure spring-loaded valves for fast and easy inflation and deflation. The kayak comes with 86-inch aluminum oars for easy steering. The 3-chamber construction protects the kayak from completely deflating if it hits a sharp object. The design keeps your kayak afloat until you can take it back to shore.

With a maximum weight capacity of 400 pounds, the Intex Excursion Pro Kayak is a durable inflatable kayak that can last for a long time. There’s enough storage space in the bow, and you can tie down all your gear to the stern d-rings. Your stuff will be safe and dry and you won’t worry about anything getting damaged.

You can take this fishing kayak to deep and shallow waters, so it’s quite versatile. With a shallow water skeg, this kayak will be easy to navigate and steer, even if it’s your first time to paddle.

Without exceeding the price of $500, it’s designed to accommodate two kayakers, with two floor-mounted footrests, rod holders, and adjustable bucket seats for extended trips. The elevated seats will keep your back comfortable, making it the best choice for longer trips. They also allow you to spot the fish easily while sitting in your comfy kayak.

You can also install cool gadgets to help you find your way, like a fish finder or a GPS. Your Intex Excursion Pro Kayak comes with a carry bag and a repair patch, so you can carry it easily and transfer it to your upcoming kayaking spot. However, if you’re a taller person, you might not have enough legroom to stretch comfortably.

What We Like

  • Durable 3-ply PVC to resist gas, oil, saltwater, and abrasion.
  • Adjustable seats and footrests.
  • Lightweight 3-chamber construction.
  • High-pressure inflation for more rigidity.
  • Comes with mounts for your gadgets and a repair patch.

What We Don’t Like

  • Legroom might not be big enough for a tall person.

Pelican Sit-on-Top Kayak

This kayak is the best for fishing enthusiasts who want to enjoy a stable and relaxing experience on calm and slow-moving waters, without exceeding the budget of $500. The comfortable padded seat minimizes back pain, even if you’re sitting for a long period. The seat can be adjusted to fit different paddlers of all sizes.

It comes with two molded carrying handles, a drain plug, and accessory eyelets, allowing you to install gear like a compass or a fish finder. Moreover, there’s a special holder for your smartphone. It features two rod tie-downs and flush-mounted rod holders to keep your fishing rods within reach for the best fishing experience.

Transporting this sit-on-top kayak around won’t be a problem as it weighs 44 pounds. The Pelican Sit-on-Top Kayak also measures 114 X 30 X 13.25, providing enough legroom for paddlers of all sizes. The kayak has a multi-chine flat bottom to provide maximum stability when casting lines and reeling in fish, guaranteeing the success of your adventure. It has a maximum weight capacity of 275 pounds.

This kayak features a removable storage compartment that fits into the tank. It’s made of high-quality materials, and cleaning it with mild soap and water is enough to keep it in top condition.

Because of its design, the Pelican Sit-on-Top Kayak is the best for beginner paddlers as it allows for the best maneuverability in all conditions. It can be successfully used to cover long distances with minimum force. Moreover, it’s exceptionally faster than other kayaks that cost less than $500. Standing up in this fishing kayak might be a little challenging because it’s quite narrow.

What We Like

  • A comfortable padded seat.
  • Easy to carry around.
  • Flat bottom to provide more stability.
  • Removable storage compartment.

What We Don’t Like

  • Standing up in this kayak is a little difficult.

Intex Explorer K2 Kayak

Although finding the best fishing kayak under $500 can be a little challenging, this one checks all the right boxes. It’s designed to fit two enthusiastic paddlers, with inflatable and adjustable seats and backrests for maximum comfort. There’s enough storage space in the cockpit of the kayak to allow for easy entry and exit, even for a beginner paddler.

This is a lightweight sit-in kayak that weighs 30 pounds and has a maximum weight capacity of 400 pounds. It can withstand the weight of you, your fishing partner, and your fishing gear. It measures 123 x 36 x 20 inches.

Thanks to the heavy-duty puncture-resistant vinyl, this kayak will last for a long time. It’s resistant to UV rays and saltwater, so it’s the best choice for anglers and paddlers of all levels.

It comes with a high-output pump that allows you to inflate it fast. The 3-air chamber construction will keep the kayak floating on the water in case of a puncture. This will allow you to take it safely to the sure without jeopardizing the safety of those on board.

Whether you’re using the kayak in shallow or deep water, the Intex Explorer K2 Kayak allows for easy navigation. The removable skeg facilitates maneuvering, so you can enjoy your time to the maximum. The bright yellow color of the kayak allows for the best visibility in low light conditions, keeping you and your partner safe in high-traffic water.

The Intex Explorer K2 Kayak is the best choice for smaller bodies of water like lakes and rivers and comes with two 86-inch paddles. You can remove one of the seats to create more legroom for a single paddler or fit more gear.

Carrying this inflatable kayak in and out of the water will be an easy task, as it features two sturdy handles on both ends. However, it doesn’t have a fishing rod holder, so you will have to hold your rod in your hands.

What We Like

  • Lightweight inflatable kayak.
  • High-output pump and 3-air chamber construction.
  • Can be used in shallow and deep water.
  • Enough legroom for two paddlers.

What We Don’t Like

  • No fishing rod holder.

Solstice Flare Kayak

Take your fishing partner on a fun trip in this inflatable kayak. The Solstice Flare Kayak is designed to accommodate two paddlers comfortably and features adjustable and padded seats and backrests to support your back without exceeding the price of $500. On extended trips, you won’t feel any back pain or discomfort, so you can focus on spotting and catching fish.

Whether you’re planning to take it to shallow or deep water, this kayak won’t disappoint you, thanks to the detachable skew. With both seats installed, there will still be enough legroom in this sit-in kayak to accommodate paddlers of all sizes. It measures 132 x 37 x 12.5 inches.

If you remove the front seat, you will have more room for your gear and equipment, especially if you’re planning to spend some time in the water. It weighs 29 pounds and has a maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds.

The overall durable construction protects the kayak from punctures and abrasion. It’s resistant to UV, mold, and saltwater, so it won’t show any signs of decay, as long as you clean it regularly. All you need is to use mild soap and water and leave the kayak to dry before storing it away. The durable nylon material might take some more time before it dries properly.

Inflating this kayak shouldn’t take much time. The welded seams guarantee that there will be no leakage, so you can enjoy your fishing adventure. It also comes with a repair kit that you can use in an emergency.

Tracking and speeding in this kayak don’t require much effort, especially in a good wind. However, it doesn’t come with a pump or paddles. It also lacks holders for your fishing rods.

What We Like

  • Lightweight inflatable kayak.
  • Accommodates two paddlers comfortably with room for your gear.
  • Can be used in shallow and deep water.
  • Fast inflation and welded seams.

What We Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t come with a pump or paddles.
  • Has no rod holders.

Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak

This kayak is made of durable material, and it’s resistant to UV. It’s a good investment because the high-density polyethylene construction will last for a long time without any signs of decay with continuous exposure to water and sun. Moreover, there are T-handles that allow you to carry the kayak on land with no issues.

If you’re looking for the best sit-on-top kayak, the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak should be the one to pick. Unlike other sit-on-top kayaks, this one has plenty of storage so you can keep all your gear.

Sitting for extended periods won’t hurt your back because the seat and cushion are adjustable and padded. The footrests are adjustable into multiple positions, so you will be able to extend your legs for more comfort on long angling trips. The kayak has a maximum weight capacity of 275 pounds, so it’s suitable for an adult with all the needed fishing equipment.

The flat bottom allows for the best stability in various conditions, so you can even stand on it without the fear of tipping over. The deep hull channels allow for tracking in the right direction, even if you’re a beginner. However, there might be enough space for standing if you’re a tall person.

You can keep your fishing rods secured to the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak thanks to the flush-mounted holders. There’s also an adjustable rod holder and shock cord straps to keep your gear in place. The kayak measures 96 x 8 x 8 inches and weighs 54 pounds. It might be a little heavy for a single paddler, especially if you’re planning on carrying it for extended periods.

What We Like

  • Durable high-density polyethylene body to resist water and UV rays.
  • T-handles to move it around.
  • Adjustable and padded seat.
  • Comfortable footrests.
  • Deep hull channels for the best tracking.

What We Don’t Like

  • The kayak is rather heavy.
  • There is no room to stand if you’re a big person.

Perception Flash 9.5 Sit Inside Kayak

If you’re a beginner, this sit-in kayak will be the best sit-in fishing kayak to get. It’s designed for one user and has a spacious cockpit for easy entry and exit. This kayak allows for quick maneuverability and straight tracking, and it costs less than $500. The high seat supports your back for longer periods for more comfort. You can take this kayak for a fishing trip on a lake, slow-moving river, or to the sea on a calm day, and it’s available in 3 different colors.

Designed for paddlers of all levels, the Perception Flash 9.5 Sit Inside Kayak can be used in open waters as it’s designed to provide the best stability. It’s specifically made for anglers who look for low-maintenance and easy to use fishing kayaks. Kayaking will be smoother and easier, even if you’re a beginner. The 10-inch rear storage bin is suitable for dry bags and all your gear.

It weighs 41 pounds and measures 114 x 28.5 x 12.5 inches. Due to its short length, the Perception Flash 9.5 Sit Inside Kayak is highly maneuverable, even if you’re not the best paddler out there. The dual tracking channels keep the kayak on course. It has a maximum weight capacity of 325 pounds, so you can carry your fishing gear safely.

The adjustable footrests accommodate paddlers of different sizes, so you will have enough room to stretch during longer kayaking trips. You can also install small accessories to the dashboard to make your trip more fun. The molded-in rod holders are conveniently located for easy access, and the paddle park is located in the front to keep your paddle within reach.

However, the seat isn’t that comfortable, so your back might hurt a little because it lacks some cushioning. Moreover, the storage opens into the kayak, and some of your stuff might get wet.

What We Like

  • Lightweight and maneuverable kayak.
  • Designed for beginners and avid paddlers.
  • Doesn’t require much maintenance.
  • Dual tracking channels to keep it on course.
  • Molded-in holders for your fishing rod.

What We Don’t Like

  • The seat isn’t that comfortable.
  • The storage compartment doesn’t stay dry.

Sevylor C001 Tahiti Hunt Fish 2 Person Kayak

Going on a fishing adventure in your kayak is an interesting experience, and this well-made sit-in kayak will make it possible. It’s designed to fit two paddlers and features adjustable seats and backrests for maximum comfort during long fishing trips, and it’s below the price of $500.

It has a maximum weight capacity of 360 pounds and measures 124.8 x 34.8 x 24, providing enough legroom for all paddlers. The Sevylor C001 Tahiti Hunt Fish 2 Person Kayak weighs 19.36 pounds, so carrying it in and out of the water will never be an issue. You and your fishing partner will be able to sit comfortably, and there will still be enough for your fishing gear.

This is a lightweight inflatable kayak that can be carried around effortlessly, thanks to the molded handles. These handles are sturdily made to help you get it in and out of the water with no problems. It comes with a handy carry bag, so you can carry it around when it’s deflated.

With 21-gauge PVC construction, this affordable kayak will last for multiple seasons. It’s UV and abrasion-resistant, and the seams are well-welded in an Airtight system to prevent leakage.

The double lock valves use two locking points for easy inflation and deflation, so you can get the Sevylor C001 Tahiti Hunt Fish 2 Person Kayak into the water fast. The 2-chamber construction will keep your kayak floating, even if there’s a puncture for maximum safety, so you can take it back to the shore. You can use this fishing kayak in calm and rough water, as the two spray covers will keep you dry.

However, this kayak lacks a few accessories like rod holders and mounts to secure your gadgets. It also doesn’t arrive with a pump, but it’s still the best option if you’re on a tight budget.

What We Like

  • Affordable and lightweight fishing kayak.
  • Designed to accommodate two paddlers comfortably.
  • 2-chamber construction to keep the kayak afloat in case of a puncture.
  • UV and abrasion-resistant.

What We Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t come with a pump.
  • Lacks fishing rod holders and mounts.

Airhead Montana Two Person Inflatable Kayak

This versatile sit-in inflatable kayak can be used for camping, vacationing, as well as fishing while you’re enjoying the views. It can accommodate two paddlers, with enough storage space to fit some gear that you might need on your angling adventure.

The Airhead Montana Two Person Inflatable Kayak is designed for lakes, rivers, and moderate white-water bodies, guaranteeing fun and safe experience due to its sturdy design. The 840-denier nylon is designed to withstand saltwater, UV, and abrasion, keeping your kayak in the best condition.

It features two removable seats with enough padding to support your back during long kayaking trips. You can also remove one seat to create more legroom if you need to carry more gear on your angling adventure.

Even if you’re a taller person, you won’t struggle to get into or out of this sit-in kayak. It has enough legroom to keep you comfortable, so you can focus on improving your angling skills.

The Airhead Montana Two Person Inflatable Kayak weighs 36 pounds and has a maximum weight capacity of 500 pounds, more than most inflatable kayaks under the price of $500. It measures 12 feet long, so it’s exceptionally longer than most of the other affordable fishing kayaks.

Once it’s inflated, the 3-air chamber construction will keep the kayak afloat in case of an emergency. This way, you can easily take the kayak safely back to land even if there’s a puncture. The front and back spray covers will keep you dry while you’re paddling.

The Tubular I-beam provides more stability in stronger currents, allowing for effortless tracking and maneuverability. The four bottom fins minimize the drag, so you won’t feel tired while steering your fishing kayak.

For more comfort, the kayak features neoprene guards to support your elbow while paddling. These guards will protect your skin from chafing since there are no fishing rod holders. This means that you will have to hold your rod in your hand to keep it stable.

The bright orange color of the kayak allows for better visibility in high-traffic water. There are 6 D-rings and a stretch net at the bow to secure any gear you want to pack while spending time in your fishing kayak. However, the kayak doesn’t come with paddles or an inflating pump, so you will have to buy these separately.

What We Like

  • Lightweight inflatable kayak.
  • 3-air chamber construction for more safety.
  • Four bottom fins for better tracking and steering.
  • Sturdy PVC construction.
  • Comfortable neoprene elbow guards.

What We Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t come with paddles or an inflating pump.
  • There are no fishing rod holders, so you will have to hold your rod.

What to Consider When Shopping for the Best Fishing Kayak Under 500

A fishing kayak can be used for some quality time with your fishing buddies or while relaxing in the water. When it comes to fishing equipment, every angler wants to make sure that they’re buying reliable equipment that they can truly depend on when they’re in the middle of the water.

However, finding the best fishing kayak under 500 can be a little challenging with all these good models that you need to choose from. Here are some of the factors that you need to consider before making a purchase.


Before looking at the features and accessories that your fishing kayak has or lacks, you need to think about its type. There are two types of fishing kayaks; sit-in and sit-on-top. Each one of them comes with several pros and cons.

Sit-in fishing kayaks work best for more experienced users. They’re safe and stable, allowing you to explore different water bodies with no issues. Tracking and maneuvering a sit-in kayak is quite easy, so you won’t feel worn out after a long angling trip.

You can buy a traditional ABS sit-in kayak, but it’s going to be a little bit heavy. This can make it quite challenging to move around or to get out of the water, despite it being highly durable. An inflatable kayak would be a great option since it will be lightweight with enough room for you and your gear.

Sit-in kayaks have dry storage compartments. You can carry any equipment or snacks without worrying about them getting wet. Depending on the size of the kayak and the number of paddlers, getting in and out of the kayak can be easy or difficult. Moreover, some taller paddlers might feel confined in a small sit-in kayak.

Sit-on-top kayaks are suitable for beginners because they’re easy to steer and track. They’re also easy to enter and exit, regardless of your weight and height.

Due to their flat bottoms, sit-on-top kayaks are designed to stay on the water and are considered to be virtually unsinkable. They can be used on larger and smaller water bodies but might not work if there are some currents.

If you buy a big enough model, you will be able to stand comfortably. The storage space might not stay as dry as you expect it to be. Paddling in a sit-on-top kayak usually takes more effort.


Investing in high-quality ABS materials is essential as your safety is at stake. A fishing kayak should be made of durable materials to withstand continuous exposure to the sun and water.

If you are buying an inflatable kayak, you should ensure that it has some protective coating to protect the material from deterioration upon exposure to the UV rays. Cleaning your kayak regularly is essential to decrease the risk of mold and keep it in good condition.

In most cases, you need nothing but some soapy water to remove any organic or inorganic buildup that might affect the material of your kayak. You should leave your kayak to dry before storing it away as the moisture can damage the outer construction material as well as the interior of the kayak.


In addition to the material, you need to make sure that the fishing kayak is durable enough to withstand heavy-duty use. Having reliable drainage holes will keep the interior of your kayak dry and safe, allowing you to enjoy your time with no issues.

If you’re buying an inflatable kayak, check the valves to make sure that they’re well made to keep your kayak inflated while you’re in the water. Having a multiple-air chamber design means that in case of a puncture, your kayak will stay afloat and won’t sink. This is one of the best features, as it will guarantee maximum safety even if you’re going on a kayak for the first time in your life.

You shouldn’t exceed the weight capacity of the kayak as this might jeopardize your safety while paddling. The weight of any paddlers, as well as any angling equipment you will pack, should be taken into consideration.


When you’re picking the best kayak for fishing trips, you want to make sure that it’s portable enough to be carried in and out of the water. Inflatable kayaks are the best to carry around because they’re lightweight and easy to transport. You can use the pump on the spot to inflate and deflate the kayak easily after your angling adventure is over.

A traditional kayak is heavier but will be sturdier. Before picking a kayak, you should check out the measurements to make sure that there is enough legroom for you and any other paddler on board.

Storage Space

Having a dry storage space in your kayak is a big plus. You can keep your angling gear, snacks, drinks, and other accessories that you might need while enjoying time in the water. Some kayaks feature nets that allow you to secure multiple accessories to keep them within reach.

In case there’s no storage space, you might be able to keep some of your gear in the bow and stern. You should keep your stuff in dry bags to protect it from the water.

Some kayaks feature holders for your fishing rods, so you can enjoy extended angling trips without worrying about holding your rod in your hands. Some of the best models also have adjustable rods that swivel, allowing you to cast and reel in with no issues. You can also pick a model with mounts that allow you to secure your electronic gadgets like a smartphone, compass, GPS, or fish finder.

Wrap Up

Fishing kayaks are versatile and fun, and finding the best fishing kayak under 500 guarantees that you will be able to enjoy your time without crossing your budget limit. We chose the Intex Excursion Pro Kayak as our top choice because it’s well-made and sturdy enough to be used in shallow and deep water.

This kayak is designed to fit two paddlers comfortably, with enough storage space to keep your gear dry and safe. Thanks to the high-pressure inflation, this kayak will inflate fast, and the 3-air chamber construction will keep it floating on the top of the water in case of an emergency.

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Ryan Stoltz

Ryan Stoltz

Avid kayaker and lover of the outdoors. Having been kayaking for over 7 years, I love sharing my experiences and learnings along the way. Currently kayaking in upstate New York and always open to new adventures!

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