Best Fishing Kayaks Under 1000: Reviews & Comparisons

Hitting the water with a cold beverage and fishing is a great weekend pastime for many people. For fishing fans out there, upgrading from a general recreational kayak to a specially tailored fishing kayak is a significant investment. If you are looking to find the best fishing kayak for under 1000 dollars, this review is the one for you.

Preview

Model

Type

Weight Capacity

Check Price

Wilderness Systems 9750215110 Tarpon 120...

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120

Sit -on top

350 Lbs

Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 110 11 Foot Angler Sit...

Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 110

Sit -on top

425 Lbs

BKC TK219K 12' 6' Tandem 2 or 3 Person SIt On...

BKC TK219

Sit -on top

440 Lbs

Perception Pescador Pro 12 | Sit on Top...

Perception Pescador Pro 12

Sit -on top

375 Lbs

ADVANCED ELEMENTS AE1007-R AdvancedFrame...

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame

Inflatable

550 Lbs

Driftsun Teton 120 Hard Shell Recreational...

Driftsun Teton 120

Sit -on top

500 Lbs

Bonafide RS117 Sit on Top Fishing Kayak Cool...

Bonafide RS117

Sit -on top

425 Lbs


Kayak Buying Guide

Fishing Location

Where is your favorite fishing location? What kind of water do you deal with regularly? Are you a still lake person or an open coastal water person? Are lazy lakes and babbling brooks more your style? Knowing what water you will face will really narrow down your fishing kayak choices when you begin shopping and comparing.

Kayak Type

Different types and styles of kayak each come with their strengths and weaknesses. A short and stout kayak will be more stable and easier to maneuver out on the water, whereas a long and thin kayak cuts through the water with speed but is harder to turn and control. Consider your experience and preferred kayak style before purchasing one.

Kayak Size vs. User Weight

Kayak size varies greatly depending on model, brand, and type. One major factor that will decide which one is for you is your height and weight. Kayaks typically measure between 10-20 inches long and are 25-35 inches wide. Make sure to measure yourself in advance to find the best paddles and kayak for your needs.

Mobility

Part of the battle of owning a kayak is getting it from your home to your favorite spot. There are a variety of transport options for your kayak, including kayak carts, kayak trailers, car roof rigging, and car trunks that are incredibly large. Try getting your kayak into your car before needlessly purchasing an extra accessory.

Storage Features & Extras

Fishing comes with a lot of accessories and extra equipment that all need to accompany you on your fishing trips; a kayak with plenty of storage options is key to having a great time. From sealed and covered hatches to bungee rigging, there are plenty of options and positions to choose from.

If you fancy upgrading your equipment or saving some money, some kayaks have specialized features like rod or paddle holders, a dashboard, cooler storage, and more. Make sure to read the product description carefully to make sure that you get the right features for you.

Warranty

Kayaks often have limited warranties that can last anywhere from 90 days to a lifetime, with most sitting between 2 and 10 years or so. Read your product description carefully to see what is covered and for how long in case of accidental damage or worn parts. Make sure to register your kayak as soon as possible after purchase to cash into that warranty.


7 Best Fishing Kayaks Under $1000 Reviewed

1. Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120

Our Top Pick!

Type

Sit -on top

Length

12 inch 3 Feet

Width

30 Inches

Weight Capacity

350 Lbs

Weight Of Unit

63 Lbs

Our top pick of the bunch, the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 is a great angler kayak for pros and amateurs alike. Made of durable polyethylene, this sit on top fishing kayak cuts through the water with ease no matter the weather.

The comfortable Phase 3 Airpro seat allows you to settle in and get comfortable while the accessory mount system does most of the work for you. There is plenty of storage to keep all of your gear and catches safe and secure and enough accessory compatibility to fit your continually changing arsenal. 

Available in three different colors, the comfortably stable Wilderness System Tarpon 120 is delivered efficiently and is easy to transport from your home to your favorite fishing spot. Some customer reviews do note that they would prefer it if the rudder were sold with the kayak, but this is only a minor gripe.

It is important to bear in mind that this kayak is best for calm or still water of all types only and is not suited for rough and white water. Overall, we love the versatility of the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 and its many useful extra features that make it perfect for a day out of the water.

Pros
  • Comfortable seat
  • Lots of storage
  • Accessory mount system
  • Lots of accessory compatibility
  • Easy and versatile
Cons
  • Best for calm or still water only
  • Rudder sold separately

2. Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 110

Runner Up

Type

Sit -on top

Length

11 Feet

Width

33 Inches

Weight Capacity

425 Lbs

Weight Of Unit

62 Lbs

Our runner up on this list, the Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 110, is another sit on top solo angler that is available in five different colors. Packed full of great fishing features and convenient parts, this kayak really does have it all. There are two flush mount rod holders to keep on fishing while you kick back and four different four integrated gear tracks for even more flexibility.

A toe controlled rudder system keeps you on the move, and an extensive central dashboard system keeps you on top of what you need to do. This well-made kayak tracks well through the water and is stable during use. A variety of storage options and cargo bags means that you can take all of your gear with you on fishing trips without worrying about paring it all down.

The comfortable vibe hero seat is great for settling into your yak but is also easy to modify and adjust should you need to. There are plenty of handles to make transportation as easy as possible with one or two people. While all of this is great, some customer reviews say that this kayak is a little slow for their taste and that the storage seals could be better.

Pros
  • 5 different colors
  • 2 flush-mount rod holders and 4 integrated gear tracks
  • Comfortable seat
  • Toe controlled rudder system
  • Many storage options
Cons
  • On the slow side
  • Storage position and seals could be better

3. BKC TK219

Best Tandem Fishing Kayak Under $1000

Type

Sit -on top

Length

12 Feet 4 inches

Width

34 Inches

Weight Capacity

440 Lbs

Weight Of Unit

70 Lbs

Looking to hit the water with a buddy? The BKC TK219 is the best tandem fishing kayak under 1000 dollars on our list. With six different colors to choose from, the BKC TK219 is perfect for small families, friends, or couples looking to go fishing together as there is a small space for a child or furry friend to come along.

Secure paddle parks ensure that your paddles do not fall into the water when not in use, and there are two watertight storage hatches to keep your gear safe while out on the water. The two seats are both comfortable and adjustable, making settling into your fishing trip even easier. Four handles make transporting this kayak from A to B a breeze, and the storage hatches can fit a 20-liter cooler easily.

This durable and stable polyethylene UV protected kayak can even handle choppy waters or rough weather in a pinch. While all of this is great, some customer reviews do note that there must always be at least one person inside, or the kayak will tilt and be challenging to maneuver. Other reviews also recommend double-checking or reinforcing the seal and would suggest bringing a pillow if a third person or animal is coming as there is not one provided.

Pros
  • 6 color options
  • Secure paddle parks
  • 2 watertight storage hatches
  • 2 adjustable seats
  • Can fit a third person or animal
Cons
  • Must have more than one person inside
  • Check the seal

4. Perception Pescador Pro 12

Popular Model

Type

Sit -on top

Length

12 Feet

Width

32.5 Inches

Weight Capacity

375 Lbs

Weight Of Unit

64 Lbs

One of the more popular models on our list, the Perception Pescador Pro 12 is a great sit on top option for beginners and veterans alike. There are six different color options to choose from as well as front and rear storage compartments.

The leak-proof one-piece construction is USA made and designed to be safe and stable in calm waters. Integrated accessory rails and upright rod storage work with you to tailor your fishing trip to your needs. Quick-adjust footrests and a comfortable mesh seat allow you to sink in and enjoy being on the water.

Not only is this quality kayak available in the standard 12-foot size, but it also comes in a variety of other sizes to accommodate people of different heights and needs; you can truly tailor this entire kayak to your needs. The skid plate is easily replaceable should you want or have another one to hand, and customer reviews note that while the seat is comfortable, it could be better.

We would also argue that having more patterns would be a nice step forward for this model. Overall, Perception's quality and eye for detail are plain to see in the Pescador Pro 12 as it is in the rest of Perception's range.

Pros
  • 6 color options
  • Adjustable seat with breathable mesh
  • Large front and rear storage
  • Integrated accessory rails
  • Safe and stable
Cons
  • Seat could be better
  • Different patterns would be nice

5. Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame

Best Convertible Fishing Kayak Under $1000

Type

Inflatable

Length

15 Feet

Width

32 Inches

Weight Capacity

550 Lbs

Weight Of Unit

52 Lbs

The best convertible fishing kayak under 1000 dollars, the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame is not your average kayak. An inflatable kayak is perfect for beginners and fishing enthusiasts who have little storage space. Easy to set up and use, this inflatable kayak has three different seating options and an optional deck with ripstop fabric that can turn into a single or double deck with ease. Built-in aluminum ribs, deck lacing, and reinforced fabric make this inflatable kayak as durable as possible.

There is both an integrated elements spring valve and an integrated pressure relief valve to keep you safe on your journey, and a skeg fin is included to keep you on the straight and narrow. A duffle bag is provided to store your deflated yak after use and make storage even more straightforward.

That being said, there are only two color options to choose from, and inflatable kayaks typically need more care and attention due to their inflatable design. However, we believe that this is one of the best on the inflatable market and has plenty of features to keep up with your active lifestyle; it can even be used as a recreational kayak as well.

Pros
  • Easy to setup
  • Easy to use
  • Great extra features
  • Bolstered material and design
  • Optional deck
Cons
  • 2 color options
  • Inflatables need more care

6. Driftsun Teton 120

Best 2-3 Person Model

Type

Sit -on top

Length

12.2 Feet

Width

32 Inches

Weight Capacity

500 Lbs

Weight Of Unit

72 Lbs

The best 2-3 person model on our list, the Driftsun Teton 120 hard shell kayak is perfectly fitted to two adults and one child or a furry friend that wants to take a fishing trip. Available in three colors, this model handles well in the water and is made of UV resistant polyethylene, making it both rugged and durable in and out of the water. The comfortable and adjustable seats are EVA padded for increased comfort. Four carry handles are provided to make transport easier.

Four flush mount capped rod holders are available to keep multiple lines in the water while you have your hands full. Built-in cup holders keep your refreshments to hand while two paddle park holders make sure to keep your paddle close even when they are not in use.

There are multiple scupper plugs for self-bailing ports, and there are two dual watertight storage hatches to protect your gear. While all of these features are great, we would have liked to see a comfortable seating option for a child and more color options for this particular model. Overall, we would definitely recommend the Driftsun Teton Hard Shell fishing kayak for couples or trios that plan on having regular fishing trips.

Pros
  • 3 colors
  • Paddles included
  • Handles well
  • Great extra features
  • Comfortable adjustable seats
Cons
  • No extra seat for kids
  • More color options would be great

7. Bonafide RS117

Most Stable Fishing Kayak Under $1000

Type

Sit -on top

Length

11.7 Feet

Width

33.5 Inches

Weight Capacity

425 Lbs

Weight Of Unit

75 Lbs

The most stable fishing kayak under 1000 dollars, the Bonafide RS117 is a sit on top solo kayak that can support standing casts. A hybrid cat hull design made of durable polyethylene, this great value kayak comes with decent paddles and is easy to handle and load.

A quick click seating system ensures you are locked in and comfortable while the minitub dry hatch and under-seat storage system keep your belongings close. Mighty Mount XL tracks help this kayak cut through the water and stay on track. Dual skid plates and wick mount rudder ready systems have your back in terms of trackability and safety out on the water. Fat grip oversized handles on the front and back of the RS117 make sure that you can carry the kayak comfortably and safely to its destination.

While we love all of these features, we would like to see more color options for this model in the future. Some customer reviews note that strong winds can make this kayak sway; stick to calm waters and pleasant weather. Whether you want to stand and fish or settle down for the ride, this specially built fishing kayak will support you throughout your trip. 

Pros
  • Easy to handle and load
  • Built for fishing
  • Stable enough to stand and cast
  • Decent paddles
  • Good value for the price
Cons
  • Wind can make it sway
  • More color options

​Fishing Kayak Price Guide

The old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ definitely applies to the world of kayaks. While you will find some excellent and high-quality bargain kayaks for under 500 dollars but many are cheaply made or are inflatable rather than roto-molded polyethylene.

Kayaks under 2000 dollars are higher quality, comfortable, and convenient and often larger or have more extra features but are usually way out of other people's budgets. That is why kayaks under 1000 dollars are often a good middle ground between quality, investment, and budget.


​Fishing Kayak Accessories

In the world of fishing kayak accessories, there are typically two types; convenience and safety accessories. Safety accessories such as life vests, repair kits, safety kits, reflective lifelines, and paddle leashes are the most important and should be with you on every trip.

Convenience accessories are things that make your life on the water easier; ankle holders, rod holders, built-in cooler, built-in cup holders, and more are all quality of life upgrades.


​Transporting Kayaks

When transporting your kayak, it is always essential to have at least one other person to help you safely lift and move your kayak to lower the risk of injury or damage. If you chose a secondary kayak transport device, make sure to follow the instructions carefully. Ensure that the kayak is secure and do not leave it on the transport rig for long periods or during hot weather to avoid temporary denting.


​Safety Issues When Kayak Fishing

While kayaking seems like a pleasant activity, it can be incredibly dangerous. Issues such as heat exhaustion, burning, dehydration, drowning, and choppy weather are all things that could occur while out on the water. While packing for your trip, make sure to pack plenty of water, food, hats, skin covering items, and medical and repair kits.

Make sure to talk to other regulars about the particulars of weather and current changes for the current time of year to be prepared. Always tell another person where you are going, what your itinerary is when you will be home, and stick to it. Taking safety precautions and respecting the water is key to having a pleasant and safe fishing experience.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

Are fishing kayaks prone to tipping over?

All kayaks can be tipped in choppy enough weather, but thinner longer kayaks are more prone than stout and short models.

How much weight can a fishing kayak hold?

The maximum weight of a kayak depends but often means a person's weight plus their fishing gear. The weight capacities on our list range from 100 to 500 pounds.

What are fishing kayaks made of?

Fishing kayaks are typically made of plastic or fiberglass, often polyethylene specifically.

Do these kayaks come with warranties?

Yes, they do. Please read the product description carefully or contact the manufacturer before purchase.

What kind of maintenance is needed with yaks?

Kayaks need regular cleaning and inspection to protect against damage. It is also important to regularly sand down fiberglass kayaks and rub UV salve into plastic UV kayaks.

Are there limitations for returning a fishing kayak?

Returns policies vary depending on the brand and place you purchased. Typically, you can return your unused kayak up to 30 days after purchase, but please read the product information carefully for confirmation.


Conclusion

Getting a high-quality fishing kayak with plenty of great features for a great price does not have to be a pain. While we love all of the models on our list, we would recommend the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 as our pick for the best kayak for fishing under 1000 dollars for its extra features, quality, and customer reviews.