Expert Reviews: The 5 Best Fishing Kayaks Under $500 For 2023

Fishing kayaks are a great way to get out on the water and catch fish without breaking the bank. But with so many options available, finding the right one for you can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of expert reviews for the best fishing kayaks under $500.

Whether you’re an experienced angler or just starting out, these kayaks offer great value for your money and won’t compromise on quality or performance. From stability to storage capacity, we’ve considered all factors in making our selections.

So sit back, relax, and let us do the research for you – your perfect fishing kayak is waiting!

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Best Fishing Kayaks under $500

1. Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler Fishing Kayak Sit-on-Top Kayak Lightweight One Person Kayak 9.6 ft

Are you ready to hit the water and catch some fish without breaking the bank? Look no further than the Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler Fishing Kayak, one of the best fishing kayaks under $500 on the market.

Featuring a multi-chine flat bottom hull made from lightweight patented am-X materials, this sit-on-top kayak is only 44 lb, making it easy to transport. But don’t let its light weight fool you – this kayak can handle up to 275 lb with ease thanks to additional flotation inside the hull.

One standout feature of this kayak is its removable storage compartment called ExoPak which provides ample space for fishing accessories and gear. This allows for versatility in your kayak fishing adventures on both open and protected waters so that you have everything within reach no matter where you go.

Customers rave about how stable it is even with heavier weight and praise its fishing layout design, portability, and maneuverability around tight corners with impressive speed while still tracking straight at optimum velocity. However, there are some drawbacks such as a non-draining well for seats which could be better designed for dryness comfort, and weak seatback with little back support.

Overall though if quality construction and affordability are important features in selecting your new angling vessel then look no further than Pelican’s offering, it’s one of our top picks!


  • Multi chine flat bottom hull
  • Lightweight at 44 lb
  • Patented Ram-X materials
  • Removable storage compartment (ExoPak)
  • Additional flotation inside the hull
  • Maximum capacity of 275 lb


  • Stable even with heavier weight
  • Fishing layout, lightweight, and great portability
  • Tracks impressively straight and quickly gets up to speed
  • Good for fishing in protected lakes and bays


  • Non-draining well for the seat
  • Molded areas of the deck that capture and retain water
  • Weak seatback with little back support
  • Fairly easy to rock the boat enough to ship water over the gunnels
  • No super plugs included
  • Grab handles are not great

2. Lifetime Tamarack Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak, Olive, 120″

Calling all avid anglers! If you’re looking for an affordable and reliable fishing kayak, then look no further than the Lifetime Tamarack Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak. Not only does it come at a great price point, but it also has a variety of features that cater to your needs as a fisherman in a single-person fishing kayak.

One thing that stands out is the comfortable adjustable seat – perfect for those long hours spent patiently waiting for the catch of the day. Additionally, this kayak offers multiple footrest positions to accommodate riders of various sizes. This means you can adjust and customize your sitting position based on what feels best for you.

The Tamarack Angler’s stable flat bottom makes maneuvering through calm or choppy waters seamless. And with deep hull tracking channels and stability chine rails, moving around won’t be any problem at all making it a very stable kayak.

But what really sets this kayak apart are its excellent storage options: two flush-mounted rod holders, two 6″ compartments in the rear and center/front/rear shock cord straps provide adequate space to store fishing gear without crowding up space within reach.

The durable construction made from UV-protected high-density polyethylene ensures longevity while still being lightweight enough to carry either by yourself or with help if needed. And let’s not forget about its 5-Year Limited Warranty!

On top of everything else mentioned above – there are also two paddle cradles integrated into the body design along with front /rear handles so you do not have trouble carrying or dragging in whichever direction suits better during transport!

However, some customers have experienced problems with their seat clamps breaking after extended use over time which may require replacing parts sooner than expected while others complain about quality issues relating specifically around paddle holder durability but these shouldn’t detract too much from such a great product at such an affordable price point.


  • UV-Protected High-Density Polyethylene construction
  • Multiple footrest positions
  • Adjustable padded seat back and seat pad
  • Stable flat bottom
  • Front and rear shock cord straps
  • Two flush mounted fishing rod holders
  • Two 6″ storage compartments in rear and center
  • Two paddle cradles with shock cords
  • Front and rear T-handles
  • Deep hull tracking channels
  • Stability chine rails
  • Has a weight of 50 lbs and a capacity to hold 275 lbs
  • 5-Year Limited Warranty


  • Comfortable adjustable seat
  • Stable and easy to maneuver
  • Multiple footrest positions for different size riders
  • Plenty of storage options for fishing gear
  • Durable construction with a 5-year warranty


  • Some customers have experienced issues with the seat clamp breaking
  • Complaints about the quality of the paddle holders.

3. Pelican – Maxim 100X Recreational Kayak – Sit-in – Lightweight One Person Kayak – 10ft

While the Pelican Maxim 100X is not being sold as a finishing-specific kayak, it’s definitely worth considering. This lightweight sit-in kayak is easy to transport and store, making it perfect for those who don’t have much storage space at home.

The adjustable ERGOFORM padded backrest and seat cushion provide excellent comfort during long paddling sessions. So whether you’re cruising along comfortably or reeling in your latest catch, this kayak will keep you relaxed all day long.

As far as storage space goes, there’s plenty of room on board with both front hatch access and rear tank well with mesh deck cover. Take everything from snacks to cameras and even a change of clothes with ease while keeping them safe throughout your trip.

One thing I really appreciate about this product is its stability in the water thanks to its shallow V-chine hull design which increases stability while still allowing for smooth movement through choppy waters.

Of course, no product can be perfect without some drawbacks – some customers reported durability issues with the handle rope over time. Additionally, it will require modifications since it was not meant originally as a kayak for fishing. Lastly, beginners might need some practice as far as tipping when first using it on rougher waters.

However, if you are looking for a budget fishing kayak that offers ample storage space and comfortable seating while also being stable enough to maneuver easily around rocks or strong currents then look no further than Pelican Maxim 100X Kayak!


  • Lightweight design of 36 lbs
  • Adjustable ERGOFORM padded backrest and seat cushion
  • Additional storage with front hatch and rear tank well with mesh deck cover
  • Shallow V-chine hull for increased stability
  • Holds up to 275 lbs


  • Easy to transport and store
  • Comfortable seating for long paddling sessions
  • Ample storage space for fishing equipment
  • Stable and easy to maneuver in the water


  • Some customers experienced issues with the durability of the handle rope
  • May require more practice for kayaking beginners
  • Will require modifications for fishing gear

4. Pelican Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak Kayak 10 Feet Lightweight one Person Kayak Perfect for Fishing

If you’re on the hunt for a reliable fishing kayak that won’t break the bank, then look no further than Pelican Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak. It’s one of the best fishing kayaks under 500 and has plenty of features to make your next fishing trip successful.

One standout feature is its multi-chine flat bottom hull, which provides excellent stability while out on the water. This makes it perfect for standing up or casting without worrying about tipping over. Additionally, its adjustable ERGOFIT G2 seating system ensures maximum comfort as you reel in your catch.

Safety is paramount when it comes to kayak fishing and other water activities and this kayak doesn’t disappoint. Its additional flotation ensures peace of mind knowing that you’re protected should anything go wrong.

Transporting this fun kayak was a breeze due to its weight and portability – so there’s no need to worry about stuffing this rugged boat into tight spaces!

However, like any product, there are some cons associated with Pelican’s Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak. The included rod holder may not be useful for all types of poles – but don’t let that throw you off! With an array of attachment options available from online retailers going forward will only bring more excitement in customizing your ride even further!

Additionally, T-slots would have been preferred by some customers looking for accessories add-ons although simple clamping mechanisms still provide strong & sturdy usage levels at crucial moments during long stretches away from home base!

Overall – Pelican Sit-on-Top Fishing Kayak is must-have addition whether a new or experienced angler looking for adventure or two while soaking up sun rays with ease, comfort, and efficiency!


  • Multi-chine flat bottom hull for stability
  • Adjustable ERGOFIT G2 seating system for comfort
  • Additional flotation for safety
  • Lightweight high molecular density polyethylene construction for easy storage and transportation
  • Has a weight of 50 lbs and a capacity to hold 325 lbs


  • Stable and secure for fishing
  • Comfortable cushioning and airflow in the seating system
  • Meets or surpasses safety standards
  • Lightweight and easy to transport


  • The included rod holder is not useful for most fishing poles
  • No T-slots for attaching accessories
  • May require upgrades for optimal fishing experience

5. Sevylor Coleman Colorado™ 2-Person Tandem Fishing Kayak

If you’re looking for an affordable and durable inflatable fishing kayak that can handle two people, the Sevylor Coleman Colorado™ is definitely worth considering. This inflatable kayak boasts solid 18-gauge PVC construction, with a reinforced 1000D tarpaulin bottom and an 840D nylon cover.

And setting up this kayak couldn’t be easier. The multiple air chambers make inflating and deflating it quick and straightforward – plus there’s even a manometer included to ensure you inflate it to the right pressure level.

The Sevylor Coleman Colorado™ features plenty of storage pockets as well as paddle holders, which makes fishing or sightseeing on lakes convenient. Its lightweight construction also means that it’s easy to store in your trunk when not in use.

However, no product is perfect; this kayak’s rod holder design could have been better thought out – they don’t seem very sturdy or secure while paddling against strong currents or gusty winds. Also, some users reported finding the seats uncomfortable after long periods of sitting on them – but that should be expected from inflatable seats designed primarily for portability rather than comfort.

Another shortcoming we noticed was how slow this kayak moves through the water compared to other models- especially problematic if you’re trying to get somewhere quickly! And finally, excessive scraping against paddle mounts during longer trips might cause hand pain for some folks.

To summarize: If you want an inflatable and portable fishing kayak option under $500 with great durability and capable of handling two passengers comfortably–the Sevylor Coleman Colorado™ ticks all those boxes nicely. However, bear these limitations reviewed here before purchasing one so that you know precisely what kind of performance levels meet your needs before heading out onto open waters!


  • 18-gauge PVC construction
  • 1000D tarpaulin bottom and 840D nylon cover
  • Multiple air chambers
  • Total weight capacity of 470 lbs


  • Durable and reinforced construction
  • Easy to inflate and deflate
  • Comes with a manometer for air pressure
  • Has storage pockets and paddle holders
  • Great for fishing and sightseeing on lakes
  • Light and easy to store can fit in a trunk
  • High weight capacity


  • Not suitable for waterways with sharp rocks or barnacles
  • Poorly designed rod holders
  • Uncomfortable inflatable seats
  • Slow in the water and difficult to paddle in windy conditions

Buying Guide: The 5 Best Fishing Kayaks Under $ 500

Looking for the best fishing kayak under $500 may seem daunting at first. However, with the right knowledge of what to look for and consider, you can find a great kayak that meets your needs and fits your budget. Here are some things to consider when looking for a fishing kayak under $500:

Storage Space

One of the benefits of using a fishing kayak instead of a traditional fishing boat is the amount of storage space it offers. Look for kayaks that offer plenty of storage options, including dry compartments, bungee cords, and even built-in tackle boxes.

Weight Capacity

Before you make a purchase, be sure to check the maximum weight capacity of any kayak you’re considering. The weight capacity will give you an idea of how much gear and equipment you can bring with you on your fishing trips while still remaining safe and stable on the water.


Fishing kayaks should be easy to maneuver both in calm waters and rough conditions. Look for models that are agile enough to navigate tight spaces or narrow streams while also being able to handle strong currents or choppy waters.


Stability is essential for any fishing kayak. You don’t want your kayak to tip over when you’re reeling in a big catch or paddling through waves. Kayaks with wider hulls tend to be more stable than those with narrower designs.

Comfortable Seating

Fishing trips can often be long and tiring, so it’s important to have a comfortable seat that offers support for your back and ensures proper posture. Look for kayaks that offer adjustable seats and backrests made from durable materials like mesh or foam padding.


Many manufacturers offer warranties on their kayaks, which can provide added peace of mind in case anything goes wrong with your purchase. Be sure to check out the warranty options available before making a decision.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

For those looking for a fishing kayak without breaking the bank, here are some frequently asked questions about what to look for in the best fishing

What should I look for when buying a fishing kayak under $500:

When buying a fishing kayak, there are a few things you should consider. Look for one with a comfortable seat, ample storage space, and rod holders. Consider the length and width of the kayak as well, as this can affect stability and maneuverability. Think about the type of water you will be fishing in and choose a kayak that is appropriate for those conditions. Finally, set a budget and choose a kayak that fits it while still meeting your needs.

Are inflatable kayaks good for fishing?

Yes, inflatable kayaks are great for fishing. They are lightweight, easy to transport, and can be inflated quickly. Additionally, they are highly durable, offer excellent stability in the water, and can handle a good amount of weight. Not to mention, inflatable kayaks are also more affordable than traditional hardshell kayaks, making them a popular choice amongst fishing enthusiasts.

Is there a difference between a regular and angler kayak?

Yes, there is a difference between a regular and angler kayak. Angler kayaks are designed for fishing; they often have more storage space, rod holders, and are more stable in the water. Regular kayaks are designed for leisure sports and don’t include features that cater to fishing.

What is the best material to choose for my fishing kayak?

When it comes to choosing the best material for a fishing kayak, it depends on what you’re looking for. Some materials are more durable than others, and some are lighter or more affordable. The most popular materials for fishing kayaks are plastic, fiberglass, and inflatable options. Plastic kayaks tend to be more durable and affordable, while fiberglass options are lightweight and fast. Inflatable kayaks are easy to transport and store but might not be as sturdy. Ultimately, the choice comes down to your budget and specific needs.

How stable do I need my fishing Kayak to be?

When choosing a fishing kayak, stability is crucial. You’ll want it to be stable enough to support your weight, as well as the weight of your fishing gear and any catches you reel in. Look for kayaks with a wide and flat bottom, some even have outriggers or pontoons for added stability. The more stable your kayak is, the more comfortable and safe you will feel while fishing.

Should I get an open or closed cockpit-style Fishing Kayak?

It depends on your personal preference and the type of fishing you plan on doing. An open cockpit kayak will provide a more spacious and open feel, making it ideal for warmer climates. On the other hand, a closed cockpit kayak is better suited for colder weather conditions or if you prefer a more enclosed and secure feel. Consider your location, weather conditions and fishing needs when choosing between an open (sit-on-top) or closed (sit-in) kayak.

Does size matter when picking out a fishing kayak?

Yes, size does matter when picking out a fishing kayak. The size of the kayak will depend on your body weight, height, the amount of gear you need to bring, and the type of water you plan on fishing. A larger kayak is perfect for open water or if you plan on staying out for an extended period. A smaller kayak is better for moving water and portability. Choose a size that suits your needs and helps you fish more comfortably.

What is a must-buy accessory for a fishing kayak?

A kayak anchor is an essential accessory to buy for a fishing trip, it will keep you from drifting in the current and keep you in place at your favorite fishing spot.


We hope that our expert reviews on the 5 best fishing kayaks under $500 have been helpful to you in your search for the perfect kayak.

Remember, each of these kayaks has its own unique set of features and strengths. Before making a decision, take some time to consider how you’ll be using your kayak and what’s most important to you in terms of functionality and comfort.

Regardless of which kayak you choose, we’re confident that any one of these options will help make your next fishing trip an enjoyable and successful one. Happy paddling!