Best Fishing Kayak Under 1000: Complete Guide

Best Fishing Kayak Under 1000

Short on time? Here's my #1 Recommended Fishing Kayak Under $1,000:  

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Vibe Skipjack 90

Our Rating


Fishing and kayaking are two of my favorite things to do on a lazy weekend. 


They’re not only fun but can be a highly rewarding experience, both for your mind and body.


But what if you combined the two? A kayaker-fisherman truly enjoys the best of both worlds - the meditation-like relaxation of fishing combined with the thrill of kayaking.

Whether you’re a seasoned fisherman or someone who’s just getting into the game, you’ll agree that the gear you use matters a lot. And when it comes to kayak fishing, the most important component of your gear is the kayak itself.

Without a stable and secure kayak, your fishing trip could very well get washed away! But how do you select the best fishing kayak from the hundreds of options available today?

Hello! My name is Clint, and today I’ll help you select the best fishing kayak under 1000 dollars.

I used these kayaks extensively to get a complete understanding of the pros and cons. Living near the Verde River in Arizona, I got enough opportunities to take these kayaks out for fishing.

Without further ado, let’s get started!


Product Comparison Table

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product

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Vibe Skipjack 90 

Our Rating

Vibe Sea Ghost 110

Our Rating

Brooklyn RA 220

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Perception Pescador

Our Rating

Sun Dolphin Boss

Our Rating


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#1. My Overall Top Pick

Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90

Our Rating

My first two fishing kayak recommendations come from the reputed brand of Vibe Kayaks. Although Vibe Kayaks has been around for only six years, it has garnered significant goodwill in the kayak fishing community. The brand capitalizes on great features, good looks, and affordability.

The first of the two kayaks that I loved from this brand is the Skipjack 90. It comes with a price that’s affordable and you can choose from four vibrant colors - jamberry, wildfire, moss camo, and Caribbean blue.

What I like about it?

I was looking for a compact, yet durable kayak that I could carry in the back of my SUV. With an above average rating on Amazon, the Skipjack 90 caught my attention, and I placed an order for it.

After taking it to the Verde River for a weekend camping and fishing trip, I observed the following win-win aspects.

1. Storage

Straight off the bat, I loved the storage capacity of this kayak. I decided to stay out on the water for almost an entire day to catch some catfish as well as smallmouth bass. So, I had to ensure I had sufficient supplies with me on the kayak. And the Skipjack 90 did not disappoint!

You will love the dual storage areas in the front and the rear of the kayak. And the 6-inch sealed deck plate with cargo bag (waterproof) is the cherry on the cake!

2. Comfort

Fishing is not a matter of mere minutes. In fact, I tend to get lost for hours doing it. So convenience is one of those aspects that I cannot compromise on. And with the Skipjack 90, there was no need to do that.

I especially liked the cushioned seat and built-in ergonomic backrest. The four comfort grip handles allow me to carry or move it around quickly. And did I mention that it has an integrated cup holder too?

3. Durability

You need not worry about durability and longevity when it comes to the Skipjack 90. It is made from a single piece of polyethylene, which will stand the test of time! Moreover, its slip-resistant deck and six scupper holes (with plugs) ensure a safe and hassle-free fishing experience for you!

4. Gear Mounting

A fishing kayak needs to have optimal mounting options for your fishing gear, period! And I was delighted to use the four flush-mounted rod holders on this kayak. I could easily place my base accessories in the universal mount.

You will appreciate the thoughtful inclusion of a quick-access paddle rest and two side bungee paddle parks.

What could’ve been better?

Perfection is a myth and as good as the Skipjack 90 is, there is some scope for improvement. Although the seat features a decent build, it gets uncomfortable when sitting in it for long periods. Also, I found the seat buckles and straps to be a total hassle as I had to readjust them continuously.

Pros

  • Limited lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects
  • Made from a single piece of polyethylene
  • Four fishing rod holders
  • Built-in ergonomic backrest
  • Adequate storage capacity
  • Cons

  • Seat straps and buckles are of inferior quality
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    #2. Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 110 Sit-on-Top Fishing Kayak

    Our Rating

    The next fishing kayak I’ve handpicked for you is the Sea Ghost 110 from Vibe Kayaks. This kayak is better suited for people who are willing to spend more than the Skipjack 90. This is more expensive, sure, but you also get a significant upgrade in durability, comfort, and control.

    You can choose from five vibrant colors of this kayak.

    What I like about it?

    If you’re a taller-than-average guy like one of my friends (who is 6’ 5” tall), finding kayak’s that’ll fit you can be a challenge. I accompanied my friend to help him buy a fishing kayak, and the Sea Ghost 110 is the only one that comfortably accommodated his massive frame.

    I borrowed this kayak from him for a week and observed some extraordinary features.

    1. Comfort

    The first thing I instantly appreciated was the dual position seat in the Sea Ghost 110. I could switch between a high and a low position with the utmost ease! It is something that I did not get with my Skipjack 90!

    Four comfort grip handles aid in carrying this kayak, which weighs over 60 lbs. Another feature that most of the other kayaks do not offer is a toe-controlled rudder.

    2. Gear Mounting

    Vibe Kayaks seems to get it right in terms of gear mounting options. There are two flush-mounted fishing rod holders on the Sea Ghost 110. Moreover, you’ll appreciate the level of customization it offers with six top-loading gear tracks.

    The universal mount works perfectly for holding base accessories or fishfinder transducers.

    3. Storage

    What truly sets this kayak apart from its competition is its storage capacity! The oversized front cargo storage and ample rear storage (with bungee tie-down) will hold everything you may need when you go fishing.

    I especially liked the magnetic tackle tray, watertight storage, cargo bags, and the 8-inch sealed deck plate.

    4. Durability

    Like the Skipjack 90, the Sea Ghost 110 is made from a single polyethylene piece to ensure top-notch durability. I loved the slip-resistant deck and the overall construction of each part of this kayak. It should come as no surprise that this kayak has an exceptional load capacity of 425 lbs.

    Also, it includes ten scupper holes (with plugs).

    What could’ve been better?

    There is a lot to appreciate about the Sea Ghost 110 as a single-person fishing kayak. But I found it to be a tad bit front-heavy, especially when I had to carry it or pull it out of the water. The weight of the kayak does not seem to be perfectly balanced, and moving it can be troublesome.

    Pros

  • Dual-position, comfortable seat
  • Six top-loading gear tracks offer excellent customization
  • Limited lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects
  • Cons

  • Front heavy when not on the water
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    #3. Brooklyn Kayak Company RA220 Fishing Kayak

    Our Rating

    The next option I want you to consider is the RA220 fishing kayak. It comes from the reputed brand of Brooklyn Kayak Company (BKC) and you can choose from eight popular color options to suit your preferences.

    What I like about it?

    When it comes to fishing kayaks, few brands get it right the way Brooklyn Kayak Co. does! And the RA220 has been said to be the “swiss army knife” of single-person fishing kayaks. After reading overall positive feedback online, I decided to give it a try.

    The kayak was delivered at my doorstep within a couple of days and after using it for three fishing excursions on the Verde River, here’s what I liked.

    1. Stability

    I wanted to try a long cast without moving the kayak too much, and the only way to achieve that was to stand up. As advertised, the RA220 is exceptionally stable! I did not have to worry about falling overboard while standing and casting for a good ten minutes.

    The RA220 has a width of 34 inches, which adds to the stability. I especially liked the fact that its wider frame did not make it too slow.

    You’ll appreciate the pedal-operated metal rudder, which ensures unparalleled control in all water conditions. I made full use of the rudder when I felt too lazy to steer the kayak with the paddles.

    2. Storage

    The storage capacity is a definite win-win for the RA220 fishing kayak. There are four large storage areas, three of which are watertight. So you never have to worry about keeping your mobile phone, wallet, keys, lunch, and other valuables safe and dry.

    The only non-watertight storage space is an open cargo area where you can securely store bulky gear. It comes with a bungee tie-down system that provides added safety.

    3. Ergonomic Design

    Very few fishing kayaks will be able to compete with the RA220 in terms of how ergonomically it is designed. First of all, the paddles have rubber stoppers on both sides to prevent water from dripping down the bar into the kayak. The seat is raised higher than most sit-on-top kayaks to provide more control and comfort.

    You also get the option to install an additional rod holder in front of the seat, if the two behind it on each side aren’t enough for you.

    Also, you can be rest assured that this kayak will stand the test of time. Thanks to its top-notch, single-piece polyethylene build and 8-year UV protection.

    What could’ve been better?

    One significant downside I noticed about the RA220 is related to the hole in the front that is supposed to function as a grip handle. The other two handles are installed on the sides rather than on top of the deck, which makes it highly inconvenient to carry and transport it on land.

    Pros

  • Pedal-operated metal rudder
  • More than enough storage space
  • All-out ergonomic design facilitates hassle-free fishing.
  • Stable enough for you to stand up
  • Cons

  • Poorly designed grip handles
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    Click image for more info

    #4. Perception Kayaks Pescador Pro Sit-on-Top Fishing Kayak

    Our Rating

    I am pleased to introduce you to the Pescador Pro sit-on-top fishing kayak. Perception kayaks ticked nearly all the correct boxes with this product. It comes at an affordable price and offers excellent value for money. You can choose from three popular color options - moss camo, sonic camo, and red tiger.

    What I like about it?

    If you’re new to the sport and want to buy your first fishing kayak, I recommend purchasing the Pescador Pro. It offers a ton of features at a reasonable price. I went back to my initial kayak fishing days and realized how easier my life would have been if I had this baby back then!

    Here’s all the good stuff that I observed while using this kayak.

    1. Comfort

    The Pescador Pro is one of the very few fishing kayaks available in the market with a removable seat. And its lawn-style seat is made of breathable mesh to ensure great comfort even when you are sitting in it for hours.

    I especially liked the dual-level adjustment of the seat, as it allowed me to get the height just right for my longer-than-average legs.

    I remove the seat from the kayak when I’m not fishing and use it when I’m camping.

    2. Durability

    You don’t buy a fishing kayak everyday. It is more of a long-term investment, meaning top-notch durability and longevity are total necessities. And in that respect, the Pescador Pro is good as any fishing kayak you can find out there.

    It is made from a single piece of high-density polyethylene. Moreover, it features impact, abrasion, and UV-resistance.

    3. Design

    I loved the design of the entire kayak, especially the cockpit and the deck. The whole seat slides backwards and forwards, enabling you to find the perfect posture when you want to fish for a long time. It is also one of the most stable and safe kayaks in its price range.

    What could’ve been better?

    There’s just a couple of downsides I could notice about this kayak.

    First, the straps and buckles on the seat are of inferior quality and might break sooner if you don’t handle them delicately. For the price, I expected them to include more durable straps and buckles, so I am a bit disappointed with that.

    Second, the open storage areas in the front and the rear are not watertight, which could be troublesome for beginners.

    Pros

  • The removable, dual-level mesh seat
  • Two fishing rod holders
  • Made from a single piece of high-density polyethylene
  • The spacious cockpit can conveniently accommodate a large person
  • Cons

  • Seat straps and buckles are of inferior quality
  • Open storage areas are not watertight
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    Click image for more info

    #5. Sun Dolphin Boss 12 SS Sit-on-Top Fishing Kayak

    Our Rating

    It’s time to talk about the final recommendation I have for you today. The Boss 12 SS fishing 0kayak from Sun Dolphin has been designed, keeping in mind the comfort and convenience of fishermen. The best part? It comes at a price lower than most products on my list.

    What I like about it?

    The Boss 12 SS is ideal for river and lake fishing trips, and I had an overall positive experience every time I took it out. Here’s everything I liked about this kayak.

    1. Durability & Stability

    Don’t be fooled by its lower price tag - the Boss 12 SS packs a powerful punch and can compete with other (much more expensive) fishing kayaks when it comes to durability. It is made from UV-stabilized, high-density polyethylene and is backed by a limited lifetime warranty. I was impressed by its maximum load capacity of 500 lbs would be an understatement.

    Sun Dolphin left no stone unturned to ensure unparalleled stability. The Boss 12 SS features a Catamaran hull, which makes it extremely stable and easily maneuverable.

    2. Storage

    You get more than enough storage space in the Boss 12 SS. The storage wells in the front and the rear are spacious enough to hold a bucket or milk crate. And if that doesn’t suffice, you also get generous storage space below the deck.

    I did not face any hassle storing all my gear and other essentials for a day-long fishing excursion.

    3. Fittings and Mountings

    I cannot tell you enough how good this kayak is when it comes to gear mounting and other accessory options! There is a stand up assist strap and multiple non-slip pads on the deck. The adjustable foot braces and universal mounting plates are thoughtful inclusions you will love.

    It also includes carry handles and paddle holders. And how can I forget that you also get a beverage holder on this kayak!

    What could’ve been better?

    There isn’t much to not like about the Boss 12 SS. The only problem I faced with this kayak was transporting and carrying it because of its 78-lb weight. It is the heaviest fishing kayak on this list, so you know what I’m talking about. In all likelihood, you’re gonna need a cart to move it around.

    Pros

  • Catamaran hull design provides top-notch stability
  • Made from high-density polyethylene
  • More than enough storage space
  • Cons

  • Not portable as it weighs about 78 pounds
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    Fishing Kayak Buyer’s Guide: Things To Consider

    Best Fishing Kayaks Under $1,000

    Now that you have read my reviews of the five best fishing kayaks under 1000, you must be wondering how to pick one? Don’t worry! I’ve compiled an informative and exciting guide to help you sail (rather kayak) through that confusion.

    Let’s start with understanding the different types of kayaks you can find out there. Then, I’ll take you through a brief overview of the anatomy of a standard kayak. And finally, the factors to consider before buying a fishing kayak.

    So strap in and read on...

    Types of Kayaks




    1. Sit-on-Top & Sit-in Kayaks


    The most common basis of distinction for kayaks is the way you sit in them. You could be seated either above or inside a kayak’s cockpit.

    Sit-on-Top kayaks are better suited for relaxation and recreational excursions, including fishing. You’ll find it easier to get in and out of these kayaks as they are more stable. Also, they are ideal for use in calm waters like rivers, lakes, estuaries, and ponds.

    Sit-in kayaks, on the contrary, are made for sports and racing events. You can use these kayaks in rough waters.

    2. White Water & Recreational Kayaks

    The next basis of distinction is the purpose for which a kayak is used.

    White water kayaks are specifically designed for more adventurous purposes like river rafting, running, creeking, or surfing. These kayaks are some of the lightest yet sturdiest options you will find. And also, more expensive than the rest!

    One of the unique characteristics of these kayaks comes in the form of the level and ease of control they offer. You can get white water kayaks with or without paddles.

    Canadian kayaks and touring kayaks are meant only for recreational use. They are slow and stable, which makes them ideal for all things non-sporty!

    A Canadian kayak differs from any standard touring kayak in terms of its build - the former is carved out of only one material.

    Touring kayaks are used commercially and usually come with paddles and limited storage space.

    3. Pedalling & Inflatable Kayaks

    Some kayaks are tailored to meet the specific needs of the users. If you have a sore back that has rendered rowing impossible for you, you can opt to buy a pedaling kayak.

    For those of you who travel a lot and need a portable kayak, I recommend buying an inflatable version. It can be inflated and deflated within a few minutes, aiding in quick and convenient storage as well as transportation.

    Know the Parts of Your Kayak

    1. Bow & Stern

    The bow is the part of the kayak you see in front when you sit in the cockpit. It points in the direction in which your kayak is moving.

    The stern is the part of the kayak behind you when you’re in the cockpit. It points in the direction from which your kayak is moving.

    2. Port & Starboard

    These are merely technical jargon. If you are an experienced kayaker, you would most likely be familiar with the port and starboard of your kayak.

    For anybody who is relatively new to the world of kayaking, the port is the left side of the kayak and the starboard the right side.

    3. Hull

    The hull is the bottom part of the kayak. It is submerged under the water surface and remains hidden from view unless you bring your kayak ashore. There are two types of hulls you will find in kayaks - displacement and planing.

    A displacement hull makes the kayak go faster in a straight line, and is used for racing and other sports. A planing hull adds stability and maneuverability to the kayak at the expense of speed, making it ideal for relaxing activities like fishing.

    4. Deck

    The deck is the part of the kayak above the hull. It is visible above the water surface. Decks are usually made using various materials like fiberglass or PVC. The primary purpose of a kayak’s deck is to facilitate movement and convenience.

    5. Cockpit

    Perhaps the most essential part of the kayak is the cockpit. Because that’s where you spend the majority of your time. It is the inner, hollow part that usually has an oval shape for convenience.

    Your kayak’s cockpit may have from one to four seats. And it’s also where all the storage space is!

    6. Grab Handles

    Most of the kayaks you will find in the market will come with two handles, one on either end. These handles are crucial for carrying the kayak around, pulling it out of the water, and even provide stable support for standing on the kayak.

    Make sure that the kayak you buy has sturdy grab handles made of thick rope, metal, or PVC.

    7. Bulkheads & Hatches

    A bulkhead is a hollow compartment at each of the two ends of your kayak. It serves a dual purpose - watertight storage for your belongings and keeping the kayak afloat. As a rule of thumb, avoid storing very heavy things in the bulkheads.

    Hatches are openings in the deck that can be used for additional storage space.

    What to look for in Fishing Kayaks?

    1. Seating Option

    Most fishermen prefer a sit-on-top kayak. Why? Because it is safer and more convenient for fishing. You get more room to move around and can even keep a leg up on edge to gain leverage while trying to catch a fish.

    Moreover, if your kayak rolls over, it is less likely to get filled with water because the seat is above the cockpit.

    2. Cockpit Size

    One of the crucial factors you need to consider for choosing the ideal fishing kayak is the cockpit size. How many seats does it have? What is the storage capacity?

    If you are going on short, solitary fishing trips on calm waters, you don’t necessarily need a large cockpit in your kayak. But if you plan to take your family along, you should get a kayak with multiple seats and adequate storage capacity.

    3. Length and Width

    The length and width of the kayak determine its speed and maneuverability. The longer the kayak, the faster and less maneuverable it will be. The wider the kayak, the slower and more maneuverable it will be.

    Most fishermen settle for width in this trade-off because better control and handling is more important than speed for catching fish.

    4. Durability & Portability

    One of the key features that sets a kayak apart from its competition is its durability. Nobody wants to buy a kayak that will only last for a year or two.

    Another vital factor to consider is the kayak’s weight as it impacts the portability quotient. You would have to transport your kayak in and out of the garage and move it in and out of the water.

    5. Propulsion

    Traditionally, kayaks have been propelled using paddles. You row the paddles to make the kayak go forward or backward and even change direction. But when it comes to fishing, you can’t keep your hands occupied with paddles.

    As such, most fishermen prefer pedaling kayak. Some people use electric motor powered kayaks as well, but I advise against doing so because you do not want to make a lot of noise and scare the fish away.

    Which Fishing Kayak Will You Buy?

    I am sure that you’re no longer confused about the best fishing kayak to buy today. So which one will it be? Were you more impressed by one of the Vibe Kayaks products, or did the Sun Dolphin win the battle? Or would you instead buy either Perception or BKC’s kayak?

    The correct answer is the one that meets your requirements. I don’t think you need to worry about it exceeding your budget because I’ve picked out the best fishing kayaks under 1000 USD.

    As they say, whatever floats your boat - or in this case, your kayak! Let me know what you think about this guide in the comments section below.

    Till next time!

    - Clint G.

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