5 Best Fishing Kayaks Under $800: Reviewed & Compared
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Don't think for a second that you're limiting yourself to low-quality, cheap models in fishing kayaks if you've got a budget of $800. There are some reputable brands that anglers know and love that cater to a range of budgets. So, if you're searching for the best fishing kayak under $800, check out our reviewed and compared fishing yaks, that won't break the bank.
Perception Pescador 12
Sit on top Single
Driftsun Rover 120
ADVANCED ELEMENTS StraitEdge
Sit On Top Tandem
Perception Joyride 12
Sit-in Hard-shell Single
Fishing Kayaks Under 800 Dollars (Buyer’s Guide)
When choosing your new fishing kayak, you'll have a choice between sit-in, sit-on-top, or standing, or an inflatable model. Most seated kayaks will give the angler enough stability to stand to cast lines, so we highly recommend these kayaks over standing boards. You’ll also have to decide between a touring/sea kayak, or a recreational one.
Recreational models are a perfect fit for lakes, ponds, streams, or calm-water coastal areas, whereas touring kayaks are a great option for sea fishing or harsher water conditions. They're longer in length and slimmer, too, so they tend to move faster than recreational models.
The quality of the material used can differentiate a good kayak to a bad one. Rotomolded polyethylene is typically your least expensive and heaviest kayak material, but it's extremely durable and can last a long time if properly maintained. Fiberglass materials are more costly than polyethylene and fiberglass hulls and can really up the price tag.
The two most common materials used for inflatables are PVC and Hypalon. These materials tend to be used as they are incredibly rugged and durable. Some inflatable fishing kayaks are so tough, they can withhold turbulence just as well as a polyethylene kayak.
Kayak Size & Max Weight Capacity
If you get a shorter kayak that's less than 11 feet, you'll find it moves easier on the water, and you'll get good tracking. Kayaks over 12 feet are a lot faster and can cut through the water easily.
If you decide on a tandem kayak, you'll benefit from having two people operating it. They tend to be wider in size, too, so the max capacity tends to be higher. A kayak's max capacity is vital to consider as it's the kayak weight limit, beyond which it almost sinks or gets unstable. You'll need to consider your equipment, safety essentials, and the weight of you and your rider (if it’s a tandem kayak).
Hull Shape & Seat Design
Most fishing kayaks nowadays either have a V-shaped, flat, or rounded hull design. Rounded hulls have more speed, whereas a v-shaped hull can cut through waves better. Flat shaped hulls have better stability, and pontoon-style hulls mix the balance of flat hulls with excellent tracking ability.
Kayak seats can range from small padded ones to luxury, back-friendly seating systems. Higher seats are better for seeing what's in the water ahead of you, and lower ones are better for rowing. Some seats are completely removable; you'll have the choice of sitting or standing on your next fishing excursion.
Speed & Propulsion
Whether you choose a foot pedaling kayak or an arm paddling model, you can find one that’s best for your needs. Both options tend to go about 3-3.5 mph, with some serious anglers getting as fast as 5.6 mph in a Hobie fishing kayak. The shape of the hull will affect speed significantly, so stick with a long, slender kayak to increase speed on the water. If you need some help with propulsion on the water, adding a rudder can help direct the kayak with ease.
Stability & Mobility
Feeling stable is key when you're fishing from a kayak. As we mentioned previously, the hull design can seriously impact how stable the kayak will be. To improve stability and mobility when on the water, practice getting in and out of your kayak on dry land before taking into the waterways. This will seriously help with confidence when it’s time to fish.
One of the scariest things that can happen to you when you're out on the water is not being prepared for possible disasters. Brands are aware of this and now often add safety accessories along with your kayak. Most brands will either supply anglers with a personal floatation device or recommend it to buy it separately if it's not included.
Storage & Extra Features
There's no point buying a great kayak if you can't fit you and your equipment easily. Many kayaks come with clever hatches and dry boxes to keep your belongings safe. Other kayaks, like tandems, have larger storage spaces as they're bigger. Another piece of equipment that will need careful packing is your rods. Many kayaks can hold at least two rods, whereas some on the market can hold as many as seven. And they can be adjusted, too so you’ll have more lines in the water. Which hopefully means more fish
Price & Warranty
With a budget of $800, you’ll be surprised by the number of high-quality fishing kayaks that are available. Many big brands cater to anglers with all budgets, so you can find a fishing kayak to suit your needs in no time. Buying from a reputable brand usually means you'll have some sort of warranty but be sure to read through the terms and conditions to see what you’re covered for.
5 Best Fishing Kayaks Under $800 Reviewed
1. Perception Pescador 12
Best Fishing Kayak Under $800
Sit on top, Single
12’ x 32.5”
If you’ve been researching paddle kayaks, then the brand Perception might be familiar to you. Perception is a very well-known brand that’s known for its attention to detail in the kayaking game. And their Pesador 12 model fits in perfectly with this image. This one-user, sit on top paddle kayak was designed with fishing in mind. There’s a ton of space on the hull for you to move around easily on. It’s made from polyethylene, so it is light and extremely durable. One person could transport it from a car to the water with ease.
One of the best aspects of the Pescador 12 is that it's extremely comfortable. It has a seating system with thick, ventilated padding for superior support. As it's a sit-on-top kayak, you'll feel a lot more confident fishing when standing, too. In terms of storage, you’ll be in luck as this model has larger tank-wells than on the Perception Pescador Pro 10.0 version. You’ll also have bungee cords to hold your tank in place, and the front tank-wells have a mesh covering so you won’t have to worry about losing any of your fishing gear.
You'll glide through the water effortlessly on the Pescador 12 sit-on-top kayak. It has excellent tracking and turns very smoothly. This is thanks to its optimized design and construction. This leak-proof one-piece kayak was built with stability, buoyancy, and safety in mind, making it our top pick for the best fishing kayak under $800.
2. Driftsun Rover 120
Reinforced Layered PVC
12’6” x 36” x 13”
If you’re a traveler on the go, or you’re looking for a fishing kayak that will fit away nicely in your apartment, then check out the Rover 120 Inflatable Fishing Kayak. Driftsun is another great manufacturer that produces exceptional inflatable kayaks at a reasonable price. This durable and lightweight kayak can fully inflate in less than 10 minutes and weighs a manageable 28 Lbs. So carrying and storing will never be an issue.
If you're hoping to bring a loved one on-board with you, then you're in luck. This two-user inflatable can withhold 600 lbs and is adventure-ready for two adults. You'll feel comfortable and confident in the two padded seats with high back support. It's also a great pick for whitewater environments, as it has small holes to let the water that has unintentionally come into the kayak to drain out.
This durable and stable kayak is composed of reinforced layered PVC and can withhold in grade 5 or 6 rivers. And even though there may be no internal storage unlike the sit-in, or sit-on-top kayaks, the Rover 120 sports some plentiful tie-down points for fishing gear or a front action camera for your whitewater adventures.
3. ADVANCED ELEMENTS StraitEdge
Best Inflatable Single Model Under $800
9’8” x 35”
If you know you’re going out onto the water by yourself, and you’re looking for all of the same benefits as an inflatable kayak, then the ADVANCED ELEMENTS StraitEdge could be your kayak of choice. It's known for its ruggedness and can take a beating for long periods of time. It can withstand hits from rocks and sticks without puncturing, and it has been rated to ride up to Class III whitewater rapids successfully. If you're hoping to just use this kayak in calmer waters, then you're in luck, too. It tracks extremely well in lakes and ponds, making it an excellent all-around fishing kayak.
The material used to build this kayak is a super-durable PVC tarpaulin. Once it’s fully inflated, you’ll see that the seat is already attached and has extra padding for support and comfort. You’ll also see that the StraitEdge fishing kayak has self-bailing holes that keep water from building up inside the craft. If you prefer to close them in colder weather conditions, then it’s an option for you, too. While it doesn't hold as much weight as some competing models, it can still handle bigger anglers, and there's plenty of room for gear on board.
There's no need for complicated assembly with the StraitEdge fishing kayak; all the angler needs to do is unfold it and inflate it. You'll see that the air is divided into five different air pockets to safeguard against complete deflation in the unlikely event of a puncture. The whole thing folds up into a duffel bag that's included, and it's effortless to carry to the water's edge and back to the car after a long fishing excursion.
4. BKC UH-TK181
most stable tandem fishing kayak under $800
Sit on top, Tandem
155 x 11 x 30 inches
A brand that stays true to its name, Brooklyn Kayaking Club, has made a top-of-the-line tandem kayak worth every penny. It has a ton of extensive features and storage capabilities like no other at this price point. Forget about a two or three-rod holder kayak; this tandem kayak can hold seven rods at a time, three of which are adjustable while the other four are fixed. It includes two waterproof storage hatches that will help you keep wallets and electronic devices dry and safe. The bungee cords will keep your baggage secure at the rear side, on the cargo area.
You can easily secure your paddles without worrying about them falling with the two paddle rests on this fishing kayak. And the hull is well shaped, giving you a lot of stability when cruising waterways. And, the 34-inch beam helps gain better stability and tracking. It's easy to navigate through hard-to-reach areas, and standing while casting is a dream on this tandem kayak.
Furthermore, the UH-TK181 comes with adjustable, padded seats to help you feel the utmost comfort while out in the sun. It may come in a little heavier than some of its competitors on our list, but this kayak isn’t the least bit difficult to transport. It has four carrying handles making overland transport almost as easy as paddling. You and your loved one could have multiple lines on the go on this stable tandem fishing kayak.
5. Perception Joyride 12
Best sit-in fishing kayak under $800
Sit-in, Hard-shell, Single
144 x 27 x 15 inches
Many anglers love the feeling of fishing from a sit-in kayak rather than a sit-on-top model. You’re closer to the elements and immersed inside your boat. Nowadays, sit-in kayaks are fitted with comfortable seats, device holders, and waterproof storage. The Joyride 12 by Perception has these features and more on this sit-in fishing kayak. It's designed with safety and longevity in mind, so there’s four molded-in carry handles on the bow and stern of the kayak for easy transportation. There’s also a serviceable drag plate for worry-free paddling when on the water.
What's great about this fishing kayak is the ability to customize it as much as you like. Two solo mount points allow you to add a variety of RAM mount accessories without drilling. You can even add a fishfinder to your kayak with ease. Storage isn't a problem either as this kayak has a very convenient storage hatch with a hinged lid for added boating safety.
This durable, high-quality fishing kayak is exceptionally comfortable as well. You'll enjoy its large, open cockpit with its back-friendly seat with ergonomic support and superior cushioning. The leak-proof one-piece construction is made of polyethylene and can withhold a lot of impact on a lot of lakes, streams, and ponds. Overall, the Joyride 12.0 is a great all-round fishing kayak for recreational use, and anglers can thoroughly enjoy it at all levels by adding a couple of accessories.
Fishing Kayak Pricing Guide
Before you start looking around for your new fishing kayak, try to understand your needs and where you'll be using your kayak most often. This will narrow down your search a lot, and then you can start thinking about your investment.
In terms of price, higher-priced kayaks tend to be composed of higher quality materials. They’re also very comfortable, and are often larger or have more extra features, like storage or seating systems. Kayaks at around $800 are considered to be a good middle ground in terms of pricing. They’re made of good quality materials, suitable for most heights and weights, and would make it a wise investment.
Kayak Fishing Basics & Safety Tips
If you’re a first-timer to fishing, or this will be your first time owning a fishing kayak, then welcome! You're in for a fun ride that will hopefully go by smooth sailing. There are some safety precautions you'll need to be aware of before you get started.
- 1Always wear protective clothing, including a personal floatation device
- 2Be aware of weather conditions and dress accordingly
- 3Follow the boating rules in your area
- 4Never go over your kayaks max load capacity
- 5Drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration
It’s also wise to practice getting in and out of your new kayak on dry land before you bring it to the water. Get yourself accustomed to the seating position, foot pedals, or thigh pads before you set sail.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
What is the difference between a fishing kayak and a regular kayak?
Fishing kayaks are fundamentally the same as a regular kayak, but they will have tailored features to suit the needs of an angler. For example, many brands added rod holders to their kayaks so anglers can access them with ease.
What can I do to keep my fishing kayak in good condition?
Kayaks need to be cleaned and inspected after every use. If there's any cracks or dents caused by a fishing excursion, then they'll need to be taken care of properly. It is also essential to regularly sand down fiberglass kayaks and rub UV salve into plastic UV kayaks. This will help with its longevity.
Is a sit on top kayak better for fishing, or is a sit-inside yak the better choice?
If you prefer sitting and standing with ease, then a sit-on-top kayak could be a better choice. They also require less skill than sit-in kayaks as anglers find them easier to paddle. On the other hand, some anglers love how easily sit-in kayaks can be transported. So, this really depends on what you’re looking for.
Do kayaks flip over easily? What happens if a kayak flips while fishing?
Kayaks are designed to avoid flipping, so it shouldn't happen too regularly. If you're flipping your kayak repeatedly, check if your kayak is suitable for the water conditions you're in. If your kayak does flip, try to stay calm. Make sure you're wearing a PFD, and get out of the yak as safely as possible.
Does kayak color matter for fishing? What color kayak is best for fishing?
The color of a kayak won't change how well you fish as fish species will see a dark blob on the water. If you have specific color kayaks, they can be seen more easily on the coastlines. This can be great for added safety. Yellow is a great color to be seen from far away, whereas red can be challenging to see.
What is the best time of the year to go fishing?
In the southern parts of the U.S., you can often go fishing all year-round, so winter is still a good time to fish; just be sure to dress accordingly. In summer months, fishing in the morning or late in the evening is good as you won’t spend too long under a hot sun. In the spring and fall, it's best to go out around dusk.
How do you properly transport your fishing kayak?
Buying a fishing kayak with molded-in handles will seriously help you transport your boat to and from the water. When you’re transporting your fishing kayak on a car or SUV, be sure to use an appropriate car rack, and use sturdy tying knots.
Where is the best place to find a fishing kayak under $800?
The best place to buy your new fishing kayak is Amazon. You’ll see other anglers’ reviews and opinions, and you’ll also see recommended products that may suit your needs as well. Another alternative is buying from your local fish tackle store to see if the model you desire fits your height and weight before purchasing.
All of the fishing kayaks reviewed on our list are more than capable of bringing you joy on your next fishing adventure. But our top pick, the Perception Pescador 12, boosts stability and steadiness with wide, V-shaped hull design. It's also extremely comfortable, so long days on the water will go by in a breeze. Whichever kayak you decide to go for, be sure to have your perfect rod and reel at the ready so you can enjoy the water in no time.