There's no reason to give up on your dreams of kayak fishing if you're limited by a budget. While kayaks involve a lot of considerations like tracking, hull build, and durability, finding a fishing kayak under 300 USD is getting easier, thanks to new developments in construction technology.
Find the best fishing kayak under $300 with the information in this guide and the included reviews.
Fishing Kayak Under $300 Buyer’s Guide
While sit-in kayaks are great for keeping water out, they are the less ideal variety to be in if the kayak should tip. Sit-on-top kayaks are much safer for beginners but not necessarily better for fishing. For example, stand-up kayaks give the angler greater leverage over the target.
Hardshell kayaks are heavier but also more durable. Inflatables are way more portable most of the time but frequently offer less space to store gear like fishing rods and electronics inside.
Most hardshell kayaks are built of polyethylene, while the majority of inflatables are made out of plastics like PVC. More expensive plastics lead to a higher price. Naturally, a hardshell has the risk of popping, but inflatables are much more portable and easier to use for solo anglers. It's important that the material can withstand jabs from rocks and sticks and accidental pokes from hooks and rods. UV rays can also bleach a kayak and weaken its overall durability.
Kayak Size & Max Weight Capacity
While longer kayaks will give more room for tandem anglers who want to have 2 or 3 people in the boat, they also generally have worse tracking. They are built for going fast and straight ahead in open water.
Taller anglers and those who go out with tons of additional equipment need to have longer and wider kayaks, which will give them greater stability on the water. Weight is equally essential because the angler needs to be able to get the kayak off a roof rack and to the launch site with ease.
Hull & Seat Design
Hulls can be built with extra rocker, which means extra curve, or extra chine, which is the angle at which the sides meet the top of the kayak. Soft chines have better secondary stability and are faster. Hulls with no rocker will track best, but more rocker givers greater maneuverability.
Seats also affect how kayaks feel on the water. The backrest usually offers the most support and makes the user comfortable to continue through a day of fishing. Replacing the seats should be as easy as popping them out and putting in the replacement, but sometimes the seats are built-in.
Speed & Propulsion
Recreational anglers, while they like to have some speed at hand, usually care much less about their kayaks' max speed because they aren't chasing speedy targets over long distances. For most anglers, having the benefit of a hands-free propulsion system like pedals can help keep hands free to troll from a kayak or just enjoy the ride more. Speed can also matter if you plan to go through fast-moving water like a river to find your fish.
Stability & Mobility
Keeping the kayak right-side-up is critical for every kayaker. Stability comes from the width of the kayak but also from the shape of its hull, or the chine and rocker as we already discussed above.
Knowing when and how to use a kayak with bad primary stability but excellent secondary stability can help you navigate higher-class rapids and more difficult journeys overall. But easy maneuverability will be more convenient for most kayak anglers who just like to go out on a lake and cast out.
The most important aspect of a kayak where safety is involved is whether it will roll in the water. That can be a nightmare for even the most experienced kayaker. For those situations, it’s important to have a life jacket on board. Some kayaks include them, but the vast majority do not.
However, many kayaks are being constructed with additional buoyancy built right in. You can also add more buoyancy by adding a bit more weight to the back of the craft to make it sit lower in the water.
Storage & Extra Features
Additional features like a spray shield or an oar keeper can keep the cockpit from getting too cramped or the rider from being swamped out or knocked over. Skegs are also a beneficial add-on that helps give the kayak better tracking.
Grab-lines, handles, tarpaulin bottoms, and carrying cases are also incredibly helpful for transportation and keeping the kayak in good working order. Storing the kayak can be difficult. If it’s a hard shell, there’s a space restraint, but inflatables have to be completely clean and dry to avoid mildew.
Price & Warranty
Plenty of kayaks under 300 USD have all the features and handling that kayak anglers have come to look for in watercraft that cost twice, three times, even five or six times that amount.
The material construction or the lifetime of the product is often the difference between costlier models and less expensive ones. More expensive models might have more storage space and extra features built-in, but they will almost always have a much longer warranty.
5 Best Fishing Kayaks Under $300 Reviewed
1. Sea Eagle 330 Deluxe
Our Top Pick
Sit inside inflatable
11’ x 2’10”
Certified according to the standards of the American Boat & Yachts Council by the NMMA, the 330 is one of the most convenient ways for anglers to get out on the water and our top pick for best fishing kayak under $300. It packs up smaller and weighs less than most of the competition.
For all that, it’s still a very tough kayak. The material holds up to fishing hooks, dog paws, and other gear. The floor of this yak is built with I-beams that give it great width for stability and a natural chine that helps improve its handling ability. A lot of that width is admittedly taken up by the inflated sides, which means that there's isn't tons of room for storage in the cockpit.
That being said, it's possible to take some fishing poles along, especially if they're standard 6- or 7-footers. The paddles and pump are included with this kayak, making it one of the easiest and least expensive ways for multiple anglers to fish. It's comfortable, and it even has a sail attachment that makes it easy to get up to top speed.
Rear skegs give it fantastic tracking, and they're both durable enough to last through collisions with submerged trees and other obstacles. Most of the typical shortfalls you might run into with other fishing kayaks under 300 dollars are not only rectified but turned into great strengths on the 330 Deluxe.
If you prefer watching over reading for the remainder of our top picks, then check out our Youtube video that breaks down the top 3 yaks under $300 in more detail and why we have chosen them for angling!
2. Sevylor Quikpak K1
Sit on top inflatable
8’7” x 36 Inches
Getting this Quikpak inflated takes less than 10 minutes, and transporting it that way is possible to do single-handedly. It's a bit more difficult to handle when folded up, which is a bit backward from what you'd expect.
The seat is the same part of the kayak that forms the backpack when it's all folded up, and it's quite comfortable in either use. There's more room for gear storage thanks to the bungee cables in the bow. Water rarely makes its way into the shallow cockpit area of this kayak, which is also built with footrests to suit anglers of any height.
Tarpaulin on the bottom of this craft, makes it pretty much abrasion-resistant for landings, launchings, and submerged obstacles while paddling. Tracking could be stronger, but the balance is excellent all the time. Overall the Quickpak K1 is very nice for such a low up-front investment, although it isn't backed up by any warranty.
It doesn't give the impression it would leak or break, and there are multiple chambers to keep you floating if one should ever collapse. It's easy to get out on the water and fish with this kayak, and there's even a built-in cupholder.
3. Intex Excursion Pro
Best Cheap Tandem Fishing Kayak
Sit inside inflatable
151 x 13 x 18 Inches
The Excursion Pro is one of the only kayaks at this price level that comes with built-in rod holders and a mounting plate for a fish finder or GPS system. It also has the I-beam floor construction that has become synonymous with great balance and durability in inflatable kayaks.
With two people helping to carry it, this has to be one of the easiest kayaks to transport even when it's fully inflated. It has adjustable footrests and even an inflatable booster seat to maximize comfort. While it is a little annoying that the pressure gauge and pump can't be used simultaneously, it is very convenient that they are both included.
Two areas where this kayak excels, particularly for a tandem fishing kayak, is in its handling and its storage space. Skegs for shallow water and better direction help keep this kayak headed right where you want it to go in a variety of water conditions.
An integrated drain plug keeps water from building up and also makes cleaning this kayak very easy to do. Storage in the bow is a pretty good place to put a fishing pole if you want to bring one in the built-in rod holder.
4. Intex Challenger K2
Best Rated Model
Sit inside inflatable
138 x 30 x 15 Inches
If you like to fish with all the gear possible, then this best-rated kayak is for you. It also has a lower-profile body shape that allows it to handle better in shallow water and a hull design that gives it some of the best handling.
Grab line along the boat is the perfect place to store a paddle, and the bow has also been built with mesh on it to give a little extra storage space. It's possible to remove the included skeg if you so choose, although it does a great deal to help the tracking.
This yak has a shape that almost looks like a hardshell, and it skips across the water in much the same fashion. It's easy to paddle, and that can sometimes be worth the most to kayak anglers. Deflate it in minutes to get off the water before the exhilaration of your most fishing trip has diminished completely.
Not only is it a great tandem kayak, but it also serves very well as a kayak for solo anglers. The bottom seems tough enough to last through just about anything, but they have provided a patch kit just in case. It doesn’t have any dedicated space for fishing electronics, but it’s still possible to use a handheld device onboard.
5. Sevylor C001 Tahiti
Best 3-Person Fishing Kayak Under $300
Sit in inflatable
124 x 36 1 Inches
Sevylor has guaranteed this kayak not to leak, and the thickness of its PVC construction certainly lends some credence to that attestation. The valves used to inflate and deflate it also seem very sturdy, and it doesn't take much time at all to blow it up or take it down.
Included elements like the spray covers and the carry handles are useful when overlanding the yak or if the water gets a bit rough. The location of the valves can be a slight hindrance when inflating this kayak, but it's well worth it in the end for the comfortable ride. The Tahiti is the best 3-person fishing kayak under $300, but you need to be mindful of the weight capacity, which is 360 lbs.
However, it does handle just fine. For anglers who like to go out in pairs and bring a dog or a bit of extra gear with them, the weight capacity won't be a hindrance at all. It's one of the easiest kayaks to inflate and deflate, and it's easily among the most portable kayaks. It's not rated by the US Coast Guard and may be better for anglers who, in the long run, love to go out on the water but don't tend to push their fishing gear to the limit.
Kayak Fishing Basics & Safety Tips
Knowing how to place yourself and your kayak will save tons of strife and possible serious injury if you learn it before you get out on the water for a serious fishing attempt.
There are many kayaking tips, but the most important is to always place the kayak 90 degrees to any waves. Position yourself in a way that doesn’t drag on the kayak’s movement and always, always wear a PFD of some kind.
If you want to fish from a kayak, you need the right gear. Consider the type of fish you're chasing and where they live. Don't bring a seven-foot fishing rod to shallow waters. Make sure your yak can hold up to larger targets if that's what you'll be chasing.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
How do I keep my fishing kayak in good condition?
Always store it on its side if you don’t have a good hook to hang it from vertically. Apply UV-resistant treatment about once a season to prevent sun damage. Clean it out after every use, especially if you're in saltwater.
Are cheaper fishing kayaks worth it?
Although they may not have some of the fancier built-in gear that costlier fishing kayaks do, fishing kayaks under 300 dollars have plenty to offer, including more portability. They're often so inexpensive that even if they fail before a more expensive kayak, it will still be cheaper to invest in another cheaper fishing kayak than one that costs several thousands of dollars.
What color kayak is best for fishing?
According to the Center for Watershed Services at UC Davis, if you're avoiding sharks, paddle in a light grey or blue boat. Of course, if you're just trying to sneak up on your target, try to match your kayak with the water's predominant color. Brown water for lakes and bluer or greener for rivers is generally the trick, but particular bodies of water can call for different options.
Which kayak reviewed above is most stable?
For its low-profile shape that sits low on the water, the Intex Challenger K2 is the most stable overall. Many of the others reviewed here have excellent stability with even more improved handling. But if you're looking for a boat that is easy to stabilize with your weight and gear and won't turn over on you, the Intex Challenger K2 is the one.
What are the best kayak fishing accessories to buy?
The paddle is definitely crucial, but other tools make fishing easier like a life vest for safety, rudders to direction and tracking, and anchors for staying in place in moving water or in wind and currents. If you can afford it, all of these are necessities. The right fishing gear for catching the species you’re chasing will also be imperative.
Where is the best place to find cheap fishing kayaks under $300?
The best deals on shipping and special sales savings can always be found on Amazon. Many of the sellers there are run by licensed distributors or the manufacturers themselves, so you can count on having the same savings and warranty advantages. Check back regularly because the stock options also change quite rapidly on Amazon from time to time.
Kayak fishing requires a yak that can handle fast and well in a variety of conditions. The Sea Eagle 330 Deluxe has that plus storage space for gear and a really solid I-beam floor, which is why it has hands-down got to be the best fishing kayak under 300.