Buyer Guides

Best Fishing Kayak Under 500

One way to take fishing to a whole new level is to bring yourself out into the water. While fishing along the riverbanks or at the nearby pier can still get you a good catch, long-time anglers tend to look for a bit more excitement - and the chance to catch bigger fish; bringing most experienced or even new anglers away from land. If you’re itching to try fishing in deeper waters but find the cost of a motorboat or fishing boat out of your price range, getting a fishing kayak is one affordable alternative. 

Some fishing kayaks can cost thousands of dollars but if you know where to look, there are many options that are below that 500 dollar mark. We’ve put together a list of some of the best fishing kayaks under 500. Our in-depth reviews come with a detailed buyer’s guide to help you pick what budget fishing kayak is the best fit for you.

Based on our analysis our top pick for this year was the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak, with its affordability, depth of features we couldn't resist! Here's also a guide to the best fishing kayak in the market this year.

If you have a budget higher than 500, we also have listed the best fishing kayaks under 1000, and if you still want a lower budget than 500, then, here's our best fishing kayak under 400.

Quick Summary: Top 11 - Best Fishing Kayak Under 500

Our seasoned editors have picked and rated these products for each specific category and area of expertise to recommend you the best models and products we can. We receive commission from some of these affiliate links.
Best Overall: 1. Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak
"Had it a few times out on the lake and it did great. I can not say enough good things about Lifetime!"
Best for Travel: 2. Intex Excursion Pro Kayak
"Durable, easy to inflate and deflate, great extra features like the rod holders, mounting bar, and pressure gage. The bag for transporting and storing is unbelievably compact…"
Best Inflatable Tandem Kayak: 3. Sevylor Coleman Colorado
"It is the most strong and durable inflatable that I've ever seen."
Best Value: 4. Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90
"It is very comfortable, easily maneuvered, and stable.The Skipjack 90 is an excellent value for the money."
Best Stability: 5. Lifetime 10 Foot Tandem Fishing Kayak
"This is a very stable, lightweight, safe kayak. You cannot go wrong with this one…"
Best Manueverability: 6. Sun Dolphin Journey Fishing Kayak 
"Nice boat, stable, tracks well…. For the price this is a very good platform without the high price tag."
Best Storage Space: 7. Perception Sound 10.5 Kayak 
"This Yak is fantastic! Tracks well, very stable. The material is very dense which makes for a stiffer kayak than most others. Cuts through the water well. Cargo room is great."
Best Budget: 8. Sun Dolphin Bali SS Kayak 
"It's durable, it's portable, it's easy to lift. The plastic hull will take a pretty good beating and the worst that happens is it scuffs up a little."
Best for Group Use: 9. Intex Excursion 4 Inflatable Boat Set
"I take my daughter out fishing on ours all the time. It's very durable and easy to lug around with you."
Best Inflatable Kayak: 10. Intex Explorer K2 Kayak
"It was stable and easy to maneuver. I used it for fishing. It stayed inflated the whole time. I was on the water for about 6 hours."
Best Alternative: 11. Tuxedo Sailor Inflatable Paddle Board & Kayak Conversion Kit
"This has been great so far. It’s wide, sturdy, and easily carries two 155lb adults."

Top 11 Fishing Kayak Under 500: Our Reviews

Best Overall
This one-person fishing kayak is fitted with a ton of great features and is available at a really great price. It also comes with a 5 year limited warranty.
Quick Specs
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Weight Capacity: 275lbs
  • Warranty: 5 Year Limited Warranty

Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak

The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak is a great beginner or novice level fishing kayak. It has many of the standard features that you need and is available at an affordable cost. It is a one-person sit-on-top kayak with foot rests and padded seats which can be adjusted to fit people of varying heights. The padded seats are quite comfortable but some people might want to add an extra cushion if they plan to spend more time on the kayak. 

The hull and deck of the Tamarack Angler is constructed from a high-density polyethylene material that is colored in a simple matted brown shade. The material is durable and lightweight; the kayak only weighs around 52lbs but can  carry a load of up to 275lbs. Both ends of the kayak are fitted with carrying handles to make it easier to transport. While one person can still carry the kayak and easily lift it up onto a car or other form of transport, it is easier to carry it around with some help. But if you’re planning to go out by yourself, the durable UV-protected polyethylene hull fairs well against gravel and sand but it definitely isn’t scratch-proof.

The rest of the kayak’s construction provides many of the features you’d need for a relaxing fishing trip. The sharp bow, flat bottom hull, and tracking skeg provide steady and stable use in the water. The boat is already fitted with 3 fishing rod holders; 2 flush mount rod holders are placed at the left and right sides of the seat while a 360-degree swivel holder is mounted near the top. There are also 2 storage hatches; one is placed at the front of the seat and the other at the back. These hatches are 6 inches in diameter, and are quite deep compared to other hatches. The hatches also have a water-tight lid but we recommend putting items that you need to keep dry in a zip lock bag for added safety measures since a few drops of water still get into the hatches, especially when you’re on rough waters.
  • Adjustable Seat and Footrest
  • Good Storage Space
  • Affordable Price
  • Simple Design
  • Paddles are not durable
  • Storage Compartments are not completely waterproof
Best for Travel
An inflatable kayak built for two, the durable Excursion Pro kayak can easily be stored and carried in a compact and portable carry bag.
Quick Specs
  • Material: Laminate PVC with Polyester Core
  • Weight Capacity: 400lbs
  • Warranty: 90 Day Limited Warranty

INTEX 68309EP Excursion Pro K2 Inflatable Kayak Set: includes Deluxe 86in Kayak Paddles and High-Output Pump – SuperTough PVC – Adjustable Bucket Seat – 2-Person – 400lb Weight Capacity

The main advantages that the Intex Excursion Pro Kayak offers are size, comfort, and portability. This tandem kayak is an inflatable set made with a 3-ply high-impact and abrasion resistant material. It’s a smooth laminated cover that feels quite durable. Although this inflatable kayak is more prone to tears and punctures than hard shell kayaks, the 3-ply material is a lot more durable than you might expect. Fully inflated, the kayak can carry 2 persons, with a maximum capacity at 400lbs. The seats are removable and adjustable - and very comfortable since the entire thing is made of the same inflatable PVC material. 
The Excursion Pro comes with many standard accessories that you need for fishing: 2 flush mounted fishing rod holders, and removable mounting brackets for other accessories. However, the rod holders face inward so fishing rods tend to get crossed when placed inside. When not in use, it fits in an easy-carry bag and weighs only 45lbs. The paddles are can be assembled and disassembled so you won’t have to carry 2 long paddles around. This kayak is great for those who enjoy traveling and want to avoid the hassle of transporting something so big.
  • Compact and Portable when not in use
  • Good for Tandem Kayaking
  • PVC Material prone to tears
  • Awkward rod holder placement
Best Inflatable Tandem Kayak
Made from a dual layer of highly durable materials, this tandem kayak is one of the sturdiest inflatable kayaks you’ll find.
Quick Specs
  • Material: 18-grade PVC with Tarpaulin Material (Hull) and Nylon Cover (Deck)
  • Weight Capacity: 600lbs
  • Warranty: 1-Year Limited Warranty

Sevylor Colorado 2-Person Inflatable Fishing Kayak, Complete with Paddle & Rod Holders, Adjustable Seats, and Carry Handle; Kayak Can Fit Trolling Motor

This 2-person inflatable fishing kayak is made with 18-grade PVC layered with a thick 1000D tarpaulin material on the hull and a 840D nylon cover on the deck of the kayak. A common problem with inflatable kayaks is durability. But, the thick exterior covers along with the multiple air-chamber design create a near fail-safe system against tearing. Since the interior of the kayak is made in multiple chambers, tears will not deflate the entire kayak. 

When seated inside the kayak, the snug space is surrounded with tons of rod holders, storage spaces, and other knick-knacks for your fishing gear. The rod holders are adjustable so you can set your fishing rods the way you want. Lining the cockpit of the kayak are multiple mesh storage pockets. You actually get tons of little storage spaces but you’ll need to bring along a watertight bag if you want to keep some things dry. You can easily attach any bags or other equipment you bring to the D rings that are strategically placed along the sides of the kayak. 

On the water, the Sevylor Coleman Colorado is a very stable kayak which is very durable in both design and materials used when compared to other inflatable kayaks.
  • Durable Materials and Design 
  • Inflatable and Portable Kayak
  • Multiple Storage Spaces
  • Air tends to leak out over prolonged use
  • Limited Leg Space
Best Value
The Old Town 10 Feet Vapor offers trusted brand name for a fraction of the cost and comes with all the bells and whistles Old Town is know for
Quick Specs
  • Material: High Density Polyethylene
  • Weight Capacity: 300lbs
  • Warranty: Limited Warranty

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Vibe provides many high quality and affordable kayaks. The Skipjack 90 is a sit-on-top fishing kayak that offers great value for your money. The 9 foot long kayak provides a ton of legroom for a single person, along with a waterproof 6 inch cargo hatch. Additional storage spaces are provided: front and rear storage space with bungee tie-downs, and a tackle toss tray - which is extremely convenient to use when you get a good catch. The kayak is set with plenty of fishing accessories; there are 4 flush mount rod holders and an additional universal mount should you want to add in a fish finder or GPS system. 

The Skipjack 90 is also one of the more good looking kayaks, with the option of either the Wildfire, Moss Camo, or Jam Berry colors; all of which are set in cool color gradients that look great in the water. Aside from looking nice, the design of the kayak makes it very stable and comfortable. The seat, however, could use a bit more cushion for those looking to fish for longer periods.
  • Stable and Comfortable Kayak
  • Multiple Storage Spaces
  • Multiple Rod Holders
  • Spacious Interior
  • Durable Material and Cool Designs
  • Slower Speeds
  • Seat lacks comfort
Best for Stability
The wider hull base of the Lifetime 10 Foot Tandem Fishing Kayak gives it a more sturdy and stable base, allowing anglers to either stand and sit while they fish.
Quick Specs
  • Material: High Density Polyethylene
  • Weight Capacity: 500lbs
  • Warranty: 5 Year Limited Warranty

Lifetime Sport Fisher Single or Tandem Kayak, 10 Feet, Olive Green

This Tandem Fishing Kayak from Lifetime features a specialized hull design and build that allows it to sit a bit higher on the water than most kayaks. While the kayak is built as a sit-on-top tandem kayak, if a single person is on, they can easily stand on the kayak and not fall off. The design also makes it easier to paddle, improving tracking and efficiency. Aside from the build, the material used for this kayak, high density polyethylene,was built with HDPE construction which makes it more resistant to cracks and peeling. 

It also comes with a removable and adjustable seat and backrest, foot rest, and 3 flush mount fishing rod holders. The storage hatch is at the rear end of the kayak. The kayak is actually quite heavy at 82lbs but has rear and side carrying handles to make it easier to carry. While the kayak is built for two people, it can be a tight fit. You can easily paddle around and have fun but it can be a bit tricky when two people on the kayak are trying to fish. It is better as a single-person fishing kayak. But whether there is one person or two people on the kayak, it is still one of the most stable kayaks in the market.
  • Great Stability and Tracking
  • Multiple Fishing Accessories
  • Durable Build Material
  • Smaller than Average Kayaks
  • Heavier Build
Best Maneuverability
The long and narrow build of the Sun Dolphin Journey provides better control and maneuverability. The kayak also tracks well due to this design.
Quick Specs
  • Material: High Density Polyethylene
  • Weight Capacity: 500lbs
  • Warranty: Limited Warranty

Sun Dolphin Journey Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak (Olive, 12-Feet)

The Sun Dolphin Journey 10 Fishing Kayak is made from a high-density polyethylene and is available in either an Olive or Sand color option. This one-person kayak is 12 feet in length, giving you tons of space inside. It is set with a front and rear storage hatch, along with 3 rod holders, adjustable foot pegs, and retractable carry handles. The design and build of this kayak is rather simple but it boasts a narrow build that improves tracking and maneuverability. However, the small 29 inch width makes it nearly impossible to stand on the kayak without tipping over. While the stability of the kayak is not enough for standing use, the build is meant for anglers to sit; thus, it also gives plenty of legroom. 

The front and rear storage compartments are waterproofed and tightly sealed. There are also cords rigged across the front and back so you can place other items securely in the kayak. Prolonged usage can become uncomfortable so it is great if you plan to fish for just a few hours. Otherwise, fitting a custom seat is another alternative.
  • Easy Maneuverability
  • Great Tracking
  • Spacious Leg Room and Multiple Storage
  • Poor Stability
  • Limited Features
Best Storage Space
The Perception Sound 10.5 Kayak is fitted with an open rear storage, molded front dashboard, and extra pocket storage under the seats.
Quick Specs
  • Material: High Density Polypropylene
  • Weight Capacity: 335lbs
  • Warranty: Limited Warranty

Perception Kayak Sound Sit Inside for Recreation

Built as a one-person sit-on-top fishing kayak, the Perception Sound 10.5 is a long and narrow kayak built from a high-density poly-poropylene. This kayak offers a ton of storage at the rear. The gear storage is a large cavity behind the seat that is set with cords that keep bags and other gear in place. The front is also set with a dashboard where you can place smaller items, such as your phone, wallet, bait, and other small items that you need within easy reach. Unfortunately, the items on the dashboard will likely get wet so securing your non-waterproof gadgets is a definite must. The front dashboard also provides a space for mounting equipment, such as a GPS or Fish Finder system. There is even more storage provided by the pockets set under the seat, you can reach down under your legs to retrieve these items. 

This kayak is also very lightweight, making it easy to carry around; it is only 46lbs despite being 10.5 inches in length. The extended length provides more leg space and also gives the kayak a bit more speed when tracking. Although the stability is slightly compromised, it also has easy maneuverability owing to the narrow design.
  • Multiple Storage Space
  • Good Tracking and Maneuverability
  • Lightweight Material and Compact Build
  • No Waterproof Storage
  • Less Stability
Best Budget
This recreational kayak can easily be used as a budget-friendly fishing kayak option.
Quick Specs
  • Material: High Density Polyethylene
  • Weight Capacity: 395lbs
  • Warranty: Limited Warranty

Sun Dolphin Bali SS Sit-on top Kayak (Blue, 10-Feet)

The Bali SS Kayak from Sun Dolphin is actually a recreational kayak instead of a fishing kayak. However, it can still function as a good fishing kayak because of its sturdy build, large storage compartments, and high stability. The low cost also makes it a great kayak for beginners since you can easily add in a few fishing accessories, such as a rod holder and anchor to turn it into a budget fishing kayak. 

The kayak also boasts comfortable seating, which is due to the padded backrest and adjustable foot braces to keep you steady. The very compact design makes the kayak seem quite small but it is actually quite roomy, providing enough leg space for most people. Other major advantages include its light weight and travel-friendly size.
  • Lightweight and Compact
  • Ample Storage Space
  • Affordable Cost
  • No fishing rod holders or other accessories
  • Primarily a recreational kayak
Best for Group Use
Made to accommodate up to 4 people, this is a large capacity boat set that is a great option for group or family outings.
Quick Specs
  • Material: Heavy Duty Puncture Resistant Vinyl
  • Weight Capacity: 1,100lbs
  • Warranty: Limited Warranty

INTEX 68324EP Excursion 4 Inflatable Boat Set: includes Deluxe 54in Boat Oars and High-Output Pump – Adjustable Seats with Backrest – Fishing Rod Holders – 4-Person – 1100lb Weight Capacity

The Intex Excursion 4 is not your typical kayak but it is a great boat to use when you want to go on a fishing trip with your family or a few friends. This inflatable boat can easily fit 4 people with the large 1100lb-capacity. The boat has 2 main hull chambers with the standard Boston valves, which are easy to inflate. The set comes with an air pump; one person can easily inflate the entire boat with the manual pump. Using an electric air pump is even easier. 

The boa is fitted with inflatable seats and backrests so it is quite comfortable even when there are 4 people in the boat. With more people on the boat, there is limited space for other equipment. There is only a single envelope-style gear pouch for storage. The sides of the boat are fitted with a grab line which goes all the way around. This line is extremely useful in case somebody falls over. 

Although the boat is fitted for 4 people, there are only 2 mounted fishing rod holders placed on each side. Mounting other fishing rod holders is difficult. However, the boat is definitely fitted for a fun fishing trip with friends.
  • Spacious Boat Size
  • Large Storage Capacity
  • Limited Storage Space
  • Inflatable Material Prone to Punctures
Best Inflatable Kayak
Another inflatable kayak from Intex is the Explorer K2. It is an affordable and durable kayaking option.
Quick Specs
  • Material: Puncture Resistant Vinyl
  • Weight Capacity: 400lbs
  • Warranty: Limited Warranty

INTEX 68307EP Explorer K2 Inflatable Kayak Set: includes Deluxe 86in Kayak Paddles and High-Output Pump – Adjustable Seats with Backrest – Removable Skeg – 2-Person – 400lb Weight Capacity

This tandem kayak from Intex is another recreational kayak which you can use for a fun and quick fishing trip. The Intex Explorer K2 has the standard features you would look for in a fishing kayak, excluding the accessories. However, there are plenty of fishing rod holders and other accessories that you can purchase along with this kayak - and still stay below the 500 dollar mark. When you aren’t fishing, this is also just a fun kayak to use. 

It is also quite durable, considering that it is an inflatable kayak and not a hard shell item. The advantage of the air-filled PVC material, however, is that it provides very comfortable sitting. When fully inflated, the kayak spans 10 feet, with a width of 3 feet. After use, it easily deflates and can be stored or carried in a compact carry bag that comes with the package. Other items that come with the set are the oars and air pump.
  • Easy Inflation and Deflation for Compact Storage
  • Budget-friendly cost
  • Carry Bag Included
  • Oars are not durable
  • Prone to tears and punctures
Best Alternative
An alternative fishing kayak is this Inflatable Paddle Board from Tuxedo Sailor which comes with a full kayak conversion kit.
Quick Specs
  • Material: Inflatable EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate)
  • Weight Capacity: 350lbs
  • Warranty: 1 Year Limited Warranty

Inflatable 12'×34'×6' with Kayak Conversion Kits Everything Included with Paddle Board, Adj 2 in 1 Paddle,Kayak seat,Fishing Rod Holder, Double Action Pump, ISUP Backpack, Leash,Waterproof Bag

This paddle board from Tuxedo Sailor feels like a rigid and hard paddle board but is actually an inflatable paddle board. The set comes with a kayak conversion kit which is why it has made it onto this list. The conversion kit comes with a 2-in-1 paddle, kayak seat, 3 fishing rod holders, air pump, removable fins, and paddle holders. A waterproof bag to store your essentials and large travel backpack for the entire set also come with the board. 

This set is a good alternative, especially when you are looking for something affordable. It is a multi-function product which you can simply use as a paddle board, as a kayak, or as a fishing kayak, depending on the items you attach. Installing these add-ons is actually quite easy, with a fitted clipping system in place. The board is also large, spanning 12 feet in length and 34 inches in width; these dimensions give it really good stability, allowing you to stand or sit without falling off. However, this is better used for calmer waters, such as fishing or paddling on the beach or on a lake.
  • Multi-purpose Kayak and Paddleboard Value
  • Good for Money
  • Travel Bag included
  • Not Typical Kayak
  • No Storage Space
  • Not Secure Seating
Collectively, the Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak from Lifetime is a great piece to check out. Beginners can take advantage of the stable build, durable polyethylene material, and standard fishing accessories. This kayak offers a good cross between speed and stability while staying at an affordable price range.

Things To Consider Before Buying a Fishing Kayak

Before finally deciding which fishing kayak is your best fit, it’s necessary to go over your own specific needs. While most of the kayaks on our list are set with many features that you feel like you’ll need, there are actually a few factors that will help guide you on what to really look for in a fishing kayak. Here are some questions you definitely need to ask yourself before you make a final purchase.
Where are you fishing?
You might be planning to fish on a river but are looking at kayaks that are better fit for the sea or for a lake. If you will typically be fishing at certain locations, you’ll need to think about these things: weight, maneuverability, tracking, and stability. 

Weight: Anglers who travel far to get to their fishing spots will need to transport their fishing kayaks as well. If you’re looking for a more portable fishing kayak, going for an inflatable option might be best. However, these are not suitable for shallow waters since rocks or gravel could end up puncturing and deflating your kayak while you are afloat. Alternatively, getting a lighter weight kayak makes it a lot easier to carry around.

Maneuverability and Tracking: Some kayaks are easier to move around; these are usually the narrower kayaks. Better maneuverability usually comes hand in hand with better tracking, since both are improved with a slimmer design. This feature is something you should look for if you’re planning to fish along a river or in areas where you need better control of the kayak.

Stability: A narrower kayak might be easier to control but a wider build adds more stability. A heavier kayak tends to be more stable as well, especially when you are fishing on a windy day.
Who is fishing?
Many people enjoy fishing alone. It is a great time to relax. However, there are also others who enjoy fishing with a friend or with a whole group. When you sort out how you would usually go fishing, you can pick either a one-person or tandem kayak. We also included a group option in our list just in case.
What is your skill level?
Most of the more affordable kayaks are usually better suited for beginners. Expert anglers can still take advantage of these budget-friendly options but if you’re looking for something with more advanced gear, there are many more expert options at a higher price range. However, we did find some really great value fishing kayaks set with tons of accessories. You also need to consider your kayaking skill level since some kayaks are easier to balance than others. We suggest getting a wider and more stable kayak if you still need to work on your balance.

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About Julian Thompson

cb787c59d2808e1f609076e790ca977e?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: Certified Kayaking Instructor (AKA)
Education: American Kayak Association
Lives In: Denver Colorado

I am a kayaking expert/instructor who has been fishing for over 15 years. Fishing is my passion, but kayaking keeps me on the water. I love to share my knowledge of techniques and tips with others. I live in Colorado with my wife and two kids and own a small kayak rental business On Grand Lake where I rent and instruct.