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Kayak fishing is a timeless art. It is a fun and exciting way to catch fish and relax on open waters whether you are on a lake or a river.
And getting into this activity has never been easier. These days you can find a good fishing kayak for under $600, which has made things much affordable for people on a tight budget.
Not too long ago, you would have to spend way more than this if you wanted to buy a fishing kayak.
However, with more and more people getting into its production, competition has increased, which in turn brought down the pricing by a lot. This also means there are more low-quality units available waiting for you to slip up.
When you are shopping on a budget, you need to be smart and carefully make your decisions. There is a lot of tedious research involved when choosing the perfect fishing kayak. But with our help, you have very little to worry about.
In this article, we will give you a quick and thorough rundown of everything you need to know when you are buying a kayak for fishing.
Top 5 Fishing Kayak under $600 Review in 2021
To ensure the best possible experience for you, we have done extensive research and testing for all the products that we are about to show you.
Each of our recommended units is a good candidate, whether you are a beginner angler or a professional one.
So, without further ado, here are our top picks for the fishing kayak.
Perception Pescador 10
Right off the bat, we will be starting with a well-known name in the kayaking industry, Perception Kayaks.
The Pescador line of kayaks by the brand is an excellent choice, whether you are an angler or a recreational paddler.As an added cherry on top, the price point of this kayak is also excellent.
We are looking at the 10 foot model from the Pescador line that we feel is the best bang for buck fishing kayak that you can buy.
The length, although not too much, is enough to give you excellent control and mobility when you are paddling through the lake or other water bodies.
The unit, despite its size, offers plenty of storage options for any angler. It features a large compartment on the rear along with a front hatch with a latching lid to store anything you might want for your fishing trip.
Additionally, it comes with a drink holder and two molded fishing rod holders to add even more utility.
With a maximum weight capacity of 325 pounds, you should have no issue with stability in the unit.
It comes with a premium quality padded seating zone that will not strain you when you are fishing for long hours.
The unit is also quite easy to move, thanks to the built-in skid plate and a measly weight of only 57 pounds.
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BKC FK184 9′ Solo Sit-On-Top Kayak
Here, we will look at a slightly shorter kayak that is suitable for solo fishing by the brand Brooklyn Kayak Company.
The FK184 is an excellent sit-on-top kayak that will give you a stable performance whenever you are going on a fishing trip.
The unit features a 9-foot long nose and promises a stable and comfortable paddling experience.
Thanks to the slightly shorter nose, you can maneuver the kayak easily in tight corners. The rounded hull design also ensures greater speed – taking you to your destination quickly.
Looking at the storage, this unit is the perfect choice for any angler. It features two completely waterproof hatches where you can keep your accessories without worrying about water damage.
In addition, the five fishing rod holders allow you to keep your fishing rod at the ready, requiring minimal setup time.
The seating condition of the unit is also quite comfortable. It features premium memory foam for its seat that gives you a cozy and snug experience.
With its 330-pound weight capacity, you do not need to worry about your body and equipment weight tipping over the boat.
Pelican Tandem Recreational Kayak
For people who prefer to go fishing with friends and family, the brand Pelican brings the perfect unit.
Although labeled as a recreational kayak, it has all the excellent features that you want when you are looking for a kayak for fishing. And on top of that, the price is right too.
The unit has a slightly larger nose of around 13 feet, which might be a good thing if you are planning to bring along a partner.
With a longer length, you will not have any stability issues when you have another person sitting behind you. And the speed penalty will also be less since you have another set of hands paddling it.
When it comes to storage, you have two locking hatches and a rear tank for storing larger equipment.
You also get bungee cords to tie down your gears so that it does not fall off when the water gets rough.
It also comes with a convenient bottle holder and four accessory eyelets that you can use to hold your fishing rods.
The whopping 500 pounds of the weight capacity of the unit is one of its best features. In addition, the unit uses Ergofit G2 seats, providing a comfortable experience for both you and your friend while paddling.
The unit also comes with two retractable carry handles to help you move it when not in use.
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Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak
Lifetime is a brand that we associate mostly with high-end kayaks. However, the Tamarack Angler comes at just the right price to fall within our budget category.
And it is extremely tempting to go for it considering the reputation of the brand when it comes to the build quality of their products.
This is a 10 feet kayak that comes with an excellent hull design – combining mobility and speed. It has a flat bottom with a sharper bow that can cut through the water without sacrificing any of the stability.
Add that to the high-density polyethylene construction, and you will never look at another kayak anytime soon.
When it comes to storage space, you get two locking hatches at the front and the rear to keep your valuables.
In addition, the rear and front tank come with bungee cords where you can keep items like coolers secured safely.
Furthermore, for the anglers, it features two flush-mounted rod holders and a top-mounted one.
The unit comes with a weight capacity of 275 pounds, which might not be the most that you will find, but should be suitable in most cases.
Additionally, the seat is comfortable, featuring quality padding, and you get multiple footrests on the body to accommodate your height without any discomfort.
Suggested Guide: Top Spinning Reel under $100
Sun Dolphin Aruba 10-Foot Sit-in Kayak
Wrapping up our list, we will be looking at a unit by the brand Sun Dolphin. It is an excellent brand for budget kayaks, offering a lot of choices at an affordable price.
However, do not let the price fool you; the quality of these kayaks is enough to compete against some of the high-end models in the market.
The Aruba 10 is a 10 feet kayak that is perfect for anglers or recreational paddlers. It features a strong and rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex Polyethylene construction that can take a lot of abuse.
The hull design is also perfectly balanced, giving you a comfortable paddling experience.
For storage, you get a large locking hatch at the rear.
It has bungee cords on top, so you can also put some items there as long as you do not mind a bit of water.
At the front, you have a convenient bottle holder that comes in handy when you are taking a day-long fishing trip.
The unit also features thigh pads to ensure you have a comfortable experience in the kayak. For seating, you get a fully adjustable padded seat that feels snug and cozy.
The weight capacity of the unit is 250 pounds, which should be enough for a single person.
Things to Look for When Buying the Fishing Kayak
When you are on a tight budget, finding the perfect kayak might not be the easiest task. Even on a budget of only 600 dollars, there are enough options to overwhelm even an expert.
So, you need to assess the different critical elements of the unit that you are planning to buy before committing to it.
There are also a few key questions you want to ask yourself. How frequently will you take it out? Will you be fishing alone or with a friend?
Which sort of water bodies is your primary selection? All of these questions are important and will dictate which unit you end up with.
In the following section of the article, we will give you a thorough rundown of everything that you need to consider when buying fishing kayaks under $600.
Types of Kayaks
Let us start with the basics. When looking at kayaks, you also need to consider which type of unit you want to buy.
There are primarily two variants that you can buy, sit-on-top and sit-in. However, these days, you can also find inflatable models in the market.
All the variants are capable when it comes to fishing. But their design and the experience they provide are drastically different.
There is no definitive answer to which one is better. So, you need to understand each version to get a better idea about which one will give you better performance.
These kayaks are the most common ones that you will find on the market. It comes in traditional interior cockpit design.
This design is quite handy as it can protect you against environmental hazards like wind and water.
You can even add a waterproof cover, called a spray skirt, which prevents water from entering the cockpit.
The best thing about this type of kayak is its massive storage. Sit-in kayaks tend to be pretty spacious on the inside, where you can keep food or other fishing equipment.
They even feature foot braces that allow you to buckle down when you are traveling in rough waters.
If you want speed and control, sit-in kayaks are your best bet. It has an aerodynamic design that allows you to cut through the water faster.
In addition, due to the low center of gravity with this type of unit, you will have a better paddling efficiency. However, for a beginner, navigating a sit-in kayak might be difficult at first.
When it comes to fishing or recreational paddling, sit-on-top kayaks tend to be the most popular choice.
It has a very user-friendly design, and even a beginner can learn to operate it with minimal supervision.
In contrast to the closed cockpit of sit-in kayaks, this unit comes with an open cockpit design.
The bottom of this type of kayak is also flatter, giving you better stability and control.
However, it is not as fast as a sit-in kayak. But that might be a good thing, especially if you are planning to use it for fishing primarily.
When you get to your fishing spot, you can anchor down and relax without worrying about losing control.
However, the main issue with this design is it is a self-bailing unit. This means, no matter what you do, water will accumulate at the bottom.
Sit-on-top kayaks come with scupper holes to drain excessive water. If you do decide to go with this type of unit, make sure you get one with footrests for added comfort.
Lastly, inflatable kayaks are an excellent choice if you want a truly portable unit. As the name suggests, this type of kayak needs to be inflated with air. But most inflatable kayaks come with its own inflation device. You can even find backpack units that, once deflated, can double as a handy backpack.
The obvious benefit of this unit is portability. It is lightweight and also surprisingly durable. There are a lot of different designs available on the market for inflatable kayaks, and some of them are also suitable for fishing.
When you want to buy a kayak for fishing, you need it to be stable as a rock. There are two forms of stability that goes into the kayak’s design. They are primary stability and secondary stability.
The primary stability refers to the stability that you need when entering the boat. With better primary stability, the kayak will remain stable when you set foot on it.
Secondary stability, on the other hand, means the control you get when you are paddling through the water.
For fishing, you need a good balance of both stability. Although the secondary stability is more important for an angler, without decent primary stability, it can get annoying to get out of the boat with a heavy fish in your hand.
Now that you know about stability, you need to think about the hull design of the unit that you are planning to buy.
The shape of the hull has a severe impact on the overall stability you get out of your investment.
These days, kayaks can come with different hull designs. We will give a brief overview of each of them below:
This type of hull design favors stability over speed. With a flat hull, you will be able to control the kayak to a higher level.
It offers excellent primary stability; however, maneuvering tight corners can be a bit difficult. For beginners or anglers, this type of hull is the best choice.
With this type of hull, you get rounded corners, which translates to a faster paddling experience.
It also allows you to turn corners fast without any issues. However, the primary stability of the unit is low, and it might not be the best choice for beginners.
The primary purpose of this hull design is for recreational kayaking or long trips through the lake.
They offer excellent secondary stability, which means you will be able to cut through water quickly and easily.
However, they have the poorest primary stability of the bunch.
These hulls are a recent innovation that takes the best elements from both flat and rounded hull designs.
The combination gives you an excellent balance of primary and secondary stability, making them the ideal choice for recreational paddling. The only setback with pontoon is their lackluster speed.
You also need to check the weight capacity of the kayak that you are planning to buy. Keep in mind, the maximum weight limit of the kayak also includes the weight of the fish, cooler, and any other fishing accessories you will have on the boat.
The capacity varies from one kayak to another, so pay close attention to the recommended weight limit if you want to avoid tipping over.
If you are planning to bring along a partner to your fishing trip, make sure you calculate the extra body weight, too, when you are buying the unit.
Length of the Kayak
The length and overall dimension of the kayak are also important as it contributes to the boat’s stability and speed. With narrower and longer nose, kayaks tend to be faster.
However, that also causes the kayak to be less maneuverable when you are turning corners.
For fishing, we recommend a length of 8 to 14 feet.
It provides decent control and is also quite fast when you want to move from one spot to another.
With longer kayaks, you can travel further on the river in a shorter period. So, if you want to take long tours with your kayak, it is worth investing in a longer model.
Last but not the least, you also need to check the storage options you are getting with your kayak.
A fishing kayak requires more space than a recreational one since you need to carry a lot of gear.You also need to have space for keeping the fish that you catch on your trip.
Make sure the kayak you buy has enough dry hatches to keep your valuables. A dry hatch can keep your small items dry and away from splashes.
Additionally, a large compartment is a must with bungee cords to secure it when you are out on the water.
Frequently Asked Questions
Although we only picked sit-on-top kayaks for our reviews, sit-in kayaks are also suitable for this task.
However, for a beginner, it might not be the best choice as you will have a hard time trying to keep your balance while holding your fishing rod.
Yes. Although you will not get the most high-end kayak on the market, you can find a decent fishing kayak with a budget of $600.
If you buy a sit-on-top kayak with a good balance, you can use it for stand-up fishing.
Our extensive guide on fishing kayaks should give you all the information you need to pick out the best unit.
We hope you have a memorable fishing trip with whichever kayak you end up choosing.