Best Fishing Kayak for the Money – Top Models Compared

 While catching fish can be fun and rewarding, sometimes, it’s just challenging especially when you’re catching from the shore. But you don’t have to stay all day long waiting for the fish to come to you when you paddle towards them in an easy, stealthy, budget-friendly way: kayak fishing.

Fishing from a kayak has always been one of the most effective means to catch fish that are inaccessible for those who catch from the shore or those who use loud large motorboats. Because of their size and stealth, kayaks could access small, remote waterways and catch fish that are easily spooked. Plus, they relatively cost less than engine-powered boats.

But while boat fishing is generally effective, you don’t want to have just any fishing kayaks. You would want the one that is equipped enough for your desired fishing experience – that which has all the features and would meet your set budget: from design, stability, all the way to load capacity.

Eight Best Fishing Kayak for the Money

In this review, we have eight fishing kayaks you can compare, each of different sizes, offering different features and pieces of equipment.

Here’s a table of the list of kayaks that could help you compare their weight, dimensions, body material, and type of seat.

ImageNameWeight Body SeatView on Amazon
Riot Kayaks Escape 12 Angler72 lbsPolyethyleneSit-on-top

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Sea Eagle 420x Inflatable Kayak50 lbs1000 Denier ReinforcedSit-inside

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Lifetime Tandem Fishing Kayak with Paddles60 lbsPolyethyleneSit-on-top

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Sun Dolphin Aruba Sit-in Kayak40 lbsPolyethyleneSit-on-top

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Old Town Canoes and Kayaks Dirigo 106
42 lbs PolyethyleneSit-inside

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Sun Dolphin Journey SS Kayak45 lbsPolyethyleneSit-inside

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Ocean Kayak Zest Two Expedition Tandem Kayak75 lbsPolyethyleneSit-on-top

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Sun Dolphin Bali SS Kayak30 lbsPolyethyleneSit-on-top

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Riot Kayaks Escape 12 Angler

Measuring 12 feet by 30 inches and weighing around 70 pounds, Riot Kayaks Escape 12 Angler combines stability, speed, and comfort. It contains five rod holders, one of which is adjustable, the other four on the front and the rear.

This kayak also includes a sit-on-top high back outfitting, with enough room for storage behind it and sliding foot braces in front which are adjustable. Its integrated console contains a cup holder. Its pilot rudder is made out of glass-reinforced plastic, and its rod holder comes with a rear saddle that could accommodate all types of combinations of rod and reel.


  • Size allows anglers to maneuver it even in small lakes or creeks.
  • Enough storage for gears
  • It’s lighter, making it more portable.
  • Being sit-on-top, it allows fishing in shallow waters.
  • Cup holders molded on console


  • The boats bottom is uneven, affecting its stability.
  • The seat may be initially comfortable, but it slides forward later on.
  • Without the rudder, paddling would be a great challenge.

Customer reviews express that the kayak is good for its price, but the design is not really admirable, and could affect the kayak’s stability. Its console cover can also heavily leak, and the bow could not stay still even on calm surfaces.

Sea Eagle 420x Inflatable Kayak

This inflatable kayak weighs only around 50 pounds with dimensions 14’ x 3’1” in the exterior and 13’ 4’’ x 1’3” in the interior. A two-person kayak, it is made out of durable polyester and comes with a pro-package which includes two 8’ AB40 paddles, 420x Hull, Two back seats and stow bags, Foot Pump, a carry bag, and a foot pump along with kits and instructions regarding the kayak’s repair. It also features removable slide kegs and deflates only within 9 minutes.


  • Very durable
  • Comfortable seats designed for long paddling
  • Can fit more than one person
  • Can be inflated easily
  • Very spacious for storage
  • Includes pro-package


  • Directions for set-up is difficult to understand
  • Straps for the seats get ripped out

Paddlers expressed that they’re please with the kayak’s stability and storage capacity. They also admired the product’s durability, citing how they could barely see some scratch even after being scraped on some rocks during paddling.

Lifetime Tandem Fishing Kayak with Paddles

Designed to accommodate up to 3 persons, Lifetime Sport Fisher Kayak has a 500 lbs. weight capacity and is around 10 ft. in length. It is made out of Polyethylene that is UV-protected. That could help avoid cracking, peeling, and fading. Its multiple footrest positions allow paddlers of any size. It comes along with storage hatch and three pole holders are a pair of double-sided paddles, a pair of padded backrests, and paddle clips. You can sit side-saddle or stand upon it as you fish because of its tunnel hull design.


  • Durable because of its high-density polyethylene material
  • Spacious and could accommodate up to three people
  • Backrests and multiple footrests are comfortable
  • Stable and steady
  • Comes with necessary accessories for fishing
  • Compartments are watertight and best for protecting gears


  • Weighs heavy and is difficult to carry around
  • Seats need more padding for comfort

Paddlers gave praise to the kayak’s capacity to carry more than one people. However, doing so would also leave less space for some tools. Nevertheless, it can easily be pumped up and stays durable even after longer use.

Sun Dolphin Aruba Sit-in Kayak

Sun Dolphin Aruba Kayak comes in different colors: blue, citrus, lime, and tangerine to name some. Varying from around eight to twelve feet, this kayak could have a maximum load of 260 to 395 lbs. Designed simply and made out of Polyethylene, it comes with a gear storage plus a deck bungee rigging. Its open cockpit features a padded seat you can adjust, a back support, and alterable foot braces. There are six models of this kayak so far, with almost all versions featuring shock cord deck rigging, portable accessory carrier, and rod holder.


  • Lightweight because of its polyethylene material
  • Can be easily transported because of carrying handles
  • Features bottle water holder
  • Comes in different colors
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Good tracking
  • Accessible gear storage


  • Doesn’t come with other fishing essentials and accessories
  • May be difficult to maneuver in water areas where conditions could get bad

Customers expressed that this kayak is really good for beginners who want to kayak for recreation with its tracking ability. They gave positive notes of its adjustable footrests. However, some boats might be better for those who have kayaked many times before.

Old Town Canoes and Kayaks Dirigo 106

Lightweight at 42 pounds, Old Town Dirigo 106 kayaks is easy to maneuver and paddle because of its size. Its poly cushioned seat with thigh pads gives anglers comfort during paddling. It features a Click Seal stern hatch that is enough to store gears and items like mobile phones and keys.

Aside from this, Old Town Dirigo 106 also has a Glide Track foot brace system, a cup holder, paddle keeper, and a drain plug, among others, helping anglers organize and be comfortable.


  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Very maneuverable
  • Comfortable cushioned seats and foot brace system
  • Great for storing items
  • Easy to use for beginning kayakers


  • Dry storage can’t accommodate larger phones and items

Paddlers reported how helpful the thigh pads are, for they provide comfort during paddling. Firsttimers find this product very stable on the waters. But there are slight issues about the larger dry storage’s locking mechanism.

Sun Dolphin Journey SS Kayak

If you wish to paddle at some exclusive fishing spots, then Sun Dophine Journey SS Kayak could be of great help. It weighs around 45 pounds but has the carrying capacity of around 250 pounds. It features a Portable Accessory Carrier, one swivel fishing rod holders, two flush mounts, and foot braces you can adjust.

This kayak’s seat is padded and has adjustable foot braces. You could store your equipment at its installed storage compartment. Its material, a high-density polyethylene hull, makes it lightweight and very portable.


  • Durable
  • Maneuverable in shallow parts of the waters or rivers
  • Spacious seating area
  • Large space for storage
  • Easy to carry
  • Adjustable foot pegs
  • Inexpensive


  • Wobbly sometimes
  • May not be able to accommodate larger persons

Customers who reviewed the products said the kayak is relatively inexpensive. The lightweight design also allows for easy paddling. A number commented on the kayak’s ability to store a great amount of gears for fishing.

Ocean Kayak Zest Two Expedition Tandem Kayak

A two-seater fishing boat, this kayak has a 500-600 lbs. seating capacity, allowing you to bring your small child or your pet as you paddle along waters. Its molded-in foot braces and seats could also provide you comfort even for longer use.

It also features cup holders, carry handles for bow and stern, and a pair of side-mounted paddle holders, skid plate. Its storage is large enough to accommodate most fishing equipment.


  • Very stable and tracks well
  • Faster than most kayaks
  • Can endure rough weather
  • Comfortable
  • Could cater to more than one paddler


  • Heavy
  • Does not come with other necessary kayaking tools
  • Not geared for single paddling

Paddlers commented on how well the kayak’s stability and tracking ability. While it’s a bit heavy when carried on land, they expressed that it is light and fast once used on water. The bow carrying handle may snap, but could be fixed easily by carefully and properly tying the knots inside it.

Sun Dolphin Bali SS Kayak

Weighing only 30 lbs, this may be one of the lightest kayaks you could find. With its adjustable padded seat back and graduated footwells, you could get very comfortable as you paddle on waters. It features onboard storage and shock cord deck rigging. Despite its lightweight, it has a carrying capacity of 197 lbs.

This kayak is also made from UV-stabilized Fortiflex High-Density Polyethylene, therefore ensuring durability while also making sure that it is stable when used in rivers.


  • Can be paddled easily
  • Very easy to carry because of its weight
  • Enough compartments for storage
  • Can be transported easily because of carrying handles
  • Durable because of its polyethylene material


  • Seat is not cushioned
  • May be too small for some people

Paddlers reported that the kayak is very easy to carry and could track really well. Petite paddlers might find it comfortable, but it could get uncomfortable for the taller ones because of the kaya’s small size. Nevertheless, the kayak is steady and could go quick. However, accessories like paddles do not come along with the kayak.

Choosing the Right Kayak

Choosing a kayak involves many factors. As you’ve read above, some kayaks vary in size and weight to serve their particular purposes. Some kayaks are better used in shallow waters while some are more effective when used in waters with harsh conditions. There are kayaks that could accommodate more than one people while some kayaks are designed for only one.

The size, weight, and special features of a kayak are things you should consider depending on your desired goal: recreational or serious fishing. The trick is examining the paddler who would use the kayak, the type of water the kayak would traverse, and the purpose of using the kayak. Surely, taking all these into considerations, you can choose the kayak best fit for you.

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