Hey there! Welcome to my best fishing kayak under $1,000 review.
I spent 40 hours researching and testing 17 of the most popular fishing kayaks for under $1,000. Then, I ranked them based on stability, portability, customizability, weight, seat, and fishing features (transducer scupper, tackle box storage, rod holders, storage, room for trolling motor and battery, etc.).
These kayaks were head and shoulders above the rest of the group while remaining less than $1,000.
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a new center console to get out on the water and start catching fish. Choose one of these kayaks, and you’ll get a high-quality fishing machine guaranteed to help you catch more fish.
Ready to get off the bank and on the water?
Best Fishing Kayaks Under $1,000
The best fishing kayak under $1,000 is the Perception Outlaw 11.5 Sit-On-Top fishing kayak.
Best Fishing Kayaks Under $1,000 Reviewed
Perception Outlaw 11.5 – Best Fishing Kayak Under $1,000
Weight: 77 Lbs.
Deck Height: 16″
Weight Capacity: 425 lbs.
Why buy Perception Outlaw 11.5?
- Complete fishing kayak with everything you need to get on the water and catch fish
- The most optimized and efficient fishing kayak I have paddled under $1,000
- Designed to accommodate anyone in the family
- The seat is easily removable to fit a 35L cooler
- Plenty of places to grab on, making transportation a breeze
- 5-Year Warranty & Made in the USA
Introducing the world’s most popular, advanced, and comfortable fishing kayak for under $1,000: The Perception Outlaw 11.5.
It’s more than just a fishing kayak – it’s a complete fishing machine with ample storage in both the bow and stern to pack as much fishing gear and bait as you’ll need for all-day fishing trips. No other fishing kayak has more features, customizability, or more comfortable seating for under $1,000.
The Outlaw is so popular because it flat-out helps you catch more fish.
For one, you have all the fishing features you can imagine, including – a transducer scupper on the hull, 2 “double-barrel” rod holders, traction pads for confident casting while standing up, three solo-mount recesses for adding mounts and accessories without drilling. This all comes standard for less than $1,000.
Imagine casting all day comfortably, utilizing fish finders, packing at least 4 rods comfortably, and then passing out cold ones to your buddies at the sandbar after a long day by using the ample storage for your favorite cooler.
This is the only fishing kayak for under $1,000 that offers anything close to this.
After paddling the Outlaw 11.5 for three days on Smith Mountain Lake, it is INSANELY COMFORTABLE AND VERSATILE.
The seat is just as comfortable as the one you’d take to a concert. Plus, being able to easily remove it and place my 30 Quart ENGEL cooler/dry box in its place for an afternoon of eating and drinking with the family makes this kayak just as versatile as the ones selling for 5x the price.
What You’ll Love About The Perception Outlaw 11.5
- Paddle all day without pain: the Outlaw’s seat is perfectly positioned for kayak anglers of all sizes to paddle without bending forward or exerting any extra energy. Plus, the seat is breathable, so even on hot summer days, you won’t get that sticky shirt feeling(you know what I’m talking about, it’s not pleasant).
- Cast with accuracy and confidence, you won’t tip the kayak: the Outlaw is exceptionally stable, meaning you don’t have to think twice about standing up when it’s time to cast into the perfect spot, even when it’s windy.
- Keep your rods in place without moving around: the well-engineered double barrel rod holders on the Outlaw keep your rods safe and snug.
- Plenty of room on the transom to add a trolling motor: take one look at the Outlaw 11.5, and you will notice that the transom is made to put a trolling motor on. This upgrade will take this fishing kayak to the next level.
- Large stern deck for DIY addicts: take your fishing kayak to the next level with ample room at the stern of the Outlaw. Whether you want to tote a cooler or crate full of fishing gear, the deck on the stern of this Perception gives you the ability to go big.
What You Won’t Love About the Perception Outlaw 11.5
- It’s heavy: Even though it’s 77 pounds, which is typical for kayaks of this size, at that weight, it can be challenging to transport alone. If you don’t plan on having help nearby, are confident you can move it independently, or have a way to transport it quickly, you may want to skip down to our next choice, which is 20 pounds lighter.
- It’s not the fastest: other fishing kayaks on the market cut through the water and provide more speed than the Perception Outlaw. But while this may not be the quickest fishing kayak, it is undoubtedly one of the most stable.
If you’re looking for the most bang for your buck, the Perception Outlaw 11.5 is it! It could be better, but it has more features, stability, and versatility than any other fishing kayak under $1,000.
If you need to get further below the $1,000 mark, keep reading. If you want a fishing kayak with everything you need to take your fishing game to the next level, buy the Outlaw 11.5!
Perception Pescador Pro 10 – Runner up For Best Fishing Kayak Under $1,000
Weight: 57 Lbs.
Deck Height: 14″
Weight Capacity: 325 lbs.
Why buy the Perception Pescador Pro 10?
- Faster and easier to maneuver than the Perception Outlaw 11.5
- Built to accommodate kayak anglers of all sizes with adjustable footrests
- Only 57 pounds, making it easy to transport, giving you more time on the water, fishing
- Easily adjustable chair to ensure the perfect position for any angler
- A well-balanced combination of stability and speed
- 5-Year Warranty & Made in the USA
Next is Perception’s answer to kayak anglers looking for an easier kayak to transport with more speed than the Outlaw 11.5. It’s close to the Outlaw regarding stability, fishing features, and performance; it’s just 20 pounds lighter and easier to maneuver. Plus, it’s about $60 less, giving you more budget to splurge on a kayak paddle or fish finder.
Oh, and you don’t have to give up the 5-year warranty or the fact that it is made in the USA.
Like the Outlaw, it is a stable, durable, insanely comfortable chair with tons of fishing features. The critical difference is that the Outlaw is more stable, especially when casting while standing up.
The Outlaw’s stability and capability for stand-up fishing are hard to beat in this price range. But the Pescador’s stability is still excellent. I love how easy it is to maneuver the Pescador, especially in tight quarters. And the camping style chair on the Pescador is easily adjustable, while the Outlaw’s is in a fixed position, making it comfortable for the whole family or friends to use.
My favorite things about paddling on the Pescador Pro were:
- Ability to move around docks and small coves
- I was able to easily lift it out of the bed of my truck by myself
- The adjustable seat made it easy for me to find the perfect paddling position (I’m 6’4″)
So, let me sum it up for you: the Perception Pescador Pro 10 is just like the Perception Outlaw 11.5, with less stability and the ability to accommodate stand-up fishing.
What You’ll Love About the Perception Pescador Pro 10
- One of the lightest fishing kayaks on the market: this means you have nothing stopping you from getting on the water and wetting a line. Usually, with fishing kayaks, you need a helper or a kayak trailer to help launch each time. But, with the Pescador Pro, you can easily transport by yourself.
- Excellent maneuverability: Found a dock just staged up with Sheepshead or Flounder? Easily get into those tight spots and onto pilings with the Pescador Pro!
- Insanely comfortable camping chair: The chair that comes standard on the Pescador Pro is one you would expect to find an outdoor store for north of $100, but this mesh-lined chair comes along with the Pescador. Plus, it’s adjustable.
What You Won’t Love About the Perception Pescador Pro 10
- Stability not as good as the Perception Outlaw: As I have previously stated, the stability of the Outlaw is hard to beat. While testing these two in the same week, it was easy to tell that stability was one of Pescador’s weak points.
- Less storage room than the Outlaw: With being a foot shorter, this sit-on-top fishing kayak would have to sacrifice space somewhere, where is the stern and bow storage area. Compared to the Outlaw, I couldn’t fit the same amount of fishing gear.
If you’re looking for a kayak with the most stability, roominess, and storage capacity, then the Outlaw 11.5 is your go-to option. Conversely, if portability and maneuverability are at the top of your list – along with an adjustable chair and footrests – look no further than the Pescador!
Ascend 10T Sit-On-Top Kayak – Best Budget Fishing Kayaks
Boat Weight: 67 lbs.
Weight Capacity: 325 lbs.
Why buy the Ascend 10T Sit-on-Top Kayak?
- High-end experience without the high-end price
- For over ten years, anglers have trusted this dependable fishing kayak to take them out on the water – and now Ascend has taken a step further by improving it with an upgraded version.
- Upgrade your fishing experience and make those extended trips out on the water even more comfortable with an ergonomic seat – without breaking the bank!
- A flat casting deck with a non-skid foam mat makes fishing more manageable and safer.
- A large open cockpit allows for easy entry and exit.
Up next, the improved version of a trusted kayak fishing favorite – boasting an illustrious 10-year history and renowned for its dependability and toughness!
The Ascend 10T is stable, maneuverable, and lightweight – perfect for those looking to fish nearshore or inshore in lakes and streams.
It also has excellent storage capacity and a larger cockpit than its smaller-sized counterparts, making it ideal for bigger anglers who prefer having more room to move around.
The Ascend 10T is constructed of rugged rotomolded polyethylene and comes with two flush mount rod holders, a recessed storage area for tackle boxes, a quick-rest paddle holder, and other kayak features that aren’t typically found on a fishing kayak under $1,000.
If you’re looking for an affordable fishing kayak that can handle larger anglers and get you to where the fish are, buy the Ascend 10T sit-on-top fishing kayak.
What You’ll Love About the Ascend 10T:
- Lightweight and maneuverable: less stress getting into the perfect position to cast and less strain on your back when carrying it back and forth to the water.
- Excellent storage capacity: For a 10′ kayak, the Ascend 10T comes with plenty of storage for all your gear and some. Want to bring your dog along? No problem. Both the stern and bow of the Ascend are surprisingly spacious.
- Ergonomic seat with high lumbar support: Ascend has focused on making the 10T comfortable to fish from – and it shows. The adjustable foot pegs and ergonomically designed seat make an extended fishing trip quite comfortable.
What You Won’t Love About the Ascend 10T
- Less stable than other kayaks I reviewed: If you know you’re going to want to stand up consistently while fishing, then considers another kayak on our list. But, if you’re a beginner looking to get on the water without breaking the bank, this sit-on-top kayak is stable enough to keep even a new paddler dry.
- Less storage room than the Outlaw: With being a foot shorter, this budget fishing kayak would have to sacrifice space somewhere, where is the stern and bow storage area. Compared to the Outlaw, you won’t be able to fit as much gear.
If you are looking for budget fishing kayaks that are lightweight and easy to transport or just starting and need more money to spend, then the Ascend 10T is an excellent kayak for you.
It offers plenty of comfort with its ergonomic seat and enough storage to complete the job. Plus, it’s dependable and rugged – perfect for those extended trips out on the water.
Jackson Bite Angler Fishing Kayak – Best For Stand-up Fishing
Weight: 74 lbs.
Deck Height: 11 in.
Weight Capacity: 400 lbs.
Why buy the Jackson Bite Angler Fishing Kayak?
- The most room of any fishing kayak that I tested
- The most stable fishing kayak I tested
- It is doable to transport by yourself and maneuver into tricky places (no boat ramp needed)
- Flush-mounted rod holders
- Endless customization possibilities
Next is the Jackson Bite Angler, the most wide-open and stable kayak I tested. At 11’6″ long and 36″ wide, it’s a combination of a Jon boat and a kayak.
Despite its large size, this kayak is still incredibly nimble – allowing you to get into tight spots and small creeks that other boats may not be able to fit into.
The Jackson Bite Angler also boasts more storage than any other kayak I tested. The large stern and bow deck areas allow you to add a cooler, more tackle boxes, and other gear for longer trips.
Plus, the flush mount rod holders mean you don’t need additional rod holders on this craft.
Several mounting points allow you to customize your setup with rod holders, fish finders, and other accessories.
The Jackson Bite Angler is perfect for stand-up kayak fishing. The large and stable platform combined with the adjustable foot pegs gives you ample room while standing to cast, fight or net a fish.
All this makes the Jackson Bite Angler our pick for those who are looking for a highly stable and roomy fishing kayak that won’t sacrifice comfort and reliability.
What You’ll Love About the Jackson Bite Angler
- Roomy: With its whopping 11’6″ long and 36″ wide body, there is plenty of room to move around and store gear.
- Stable: The Bite Angler is incredibly stable when standing or sitting, giving you confidence while kayaking in choppy waters.
- Customizable: Whether it’s for rod holders, a fish finder, or a cooler – the Jackson Bite Angler has plenty of mounting points for endless customization.
- Fly fishing: If you are into fly fishing or want to try your hand at it, this is an excellent kayak. Also, be sure to check out our list of the best fly fishing kayaks.
What You Won’t Love About the Jackson Bite Angler
- Heavy: This kayak comes in at over 70 lbs – meaning it’s not easy to transport from car to water without help.
- It’s a Blank Slate: While having the ability to add accessories is excellent, the bite needs to be improved when it comes to included features. You’ll need to spend extra money on parts like a different rod holder or dry storage.
Overall, the Jackson Bite Angler is one of the best fishing kayaks for anglers looking for maximum stability and storage space.
Standing up while fishing doesn’t get much better than it does with this kayak.
So, if you’re looking for a reliable, stable, and customizable kayak that won’t break the bank – I highly recommend the Jackson Bite Angler!
Wilderness Systems Tarpon 105 – Best Fishing Kayak For More Than Just Kayak Fishing
Weight: 55 lbs.
Deck Height: 15.25″
Weight Capacity: 325 lbs.
Why buy the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 105?
- Kayak fishing with this kayak is a “snag-free” fishing experience – simple yet has everything you need to get to your spot quickly with everything you need during an all-day fishing trip.
- Multi-purpose kayak – great for more than just kayak fishing. Use it for cruising, river running, day touring or exploring.
- Fully customizable – add rod holders, electronics and more lightweight – easy to transport by yourself or with a friend
- Comfortable – adjustable footpegs, plus a vast seating area with plenty of padding and back support.
Next up is a kayak built for those who plan on doing more than just fishing.
Suppose you picture yourself dropping in your kayak, paddling over to a deserted island, and off to the secluded creek a few miles away to get away from it all. In that case, the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 105 is worth considering.
This sit-on-top kayak offers a surprisingly dry and comfortable ride for its size and speed than the other kayaks on this list.
Are you looking for more distance per stroke? Then the Tarpon 105 is one to consider, especially if you want an all-around kayak with a dependable reputation amongst the entire paddling community.
A versatile, “car-toppable,” well-balanced combination of stability of speed is how I would sum up the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 105.
For adventure-seeking weekend fishermen or women who want a kayak that can do it all and is easily transportable with only two arms, buy the Tarpon 105.
What You’ll Love About the Tarpon 105
- Fishing Ready: The Tarpon 105 comes with all of the necessary features to make kayak fishing a breeze – built-in rod holders, fish finders, and plenty of storage.
- Multi-Purpose: Great for more than just feeling; you can use it for cruising, river running, or general exploration.
- Lightweight: This little kayak weighs just 55 lbs, making it easy to transport from car to water by yourself or with a friend.
- Comfortable: With an adjustable seat and plenty of foot room, you can stay comfortable while fishing.
What You Won’t Love About the Tarpon 105
- Pricey: The Tarpon 105 comes with a higher price tag than the other models on this list.
- Storage Space: There’s plenty of storage, but it needs to be improved compared to the Perception Outlaw.
With a lightweight design and plenty of customizable options, it’s no wonder why this kayak is a hit amongst adventurers. Be sure to give the Tarpon 105 a try if you’re in the market for an all-around kayak.
Elkton Outdoors Steelhead Fishing Kayak – Best Inflatable Fishing Kayaks Under $1,000
Weight: 40 lbs.
Deck Height: 13″
Maximum Weight Capacity: 425 lbs.
Why buy the Elkton Outdoors Steelhead Fishing Kayak?
- Of all the kayaks on our list, this one is the best space saver.
- This kayak is only 40 lbs, making it great for those who don’t have a vehicle to transport it.
- Highly durable kayak – made from heavy-duty PVC and reinforced drop-stitch fabric, the Steelhead Fishing Kayaks are built to last.
- The setup and taking down of the process of this kayak take mere minutes.
- It has everything you need to get started – two adjustable kayak seats, two foldable paddles, and a high-pressure foot pump.
Lastly, it is the only inflatable kayak on our list. This one is for you apartment dwellers with Volkwagen Cabrios that want to get on the water and go fishing.
These inflatable fishing kayaks will do just that!
While it may be slower, this inflatable kayak holds its own regarding stability and “fishability.”
I was pleasantly surprised with how this kayak only took a few minutes to inflate and how well-made and engineered it is.
This fishing kayak is worth considering if you’re looking for an inflatable kayak you can fish from that can easily be transported anywhere.
It won’t break the bank and will get you out on the water fishing in no time.
What You’ll Love About The Elkton Outdoors Steelhead Inflatable Fishing Kayak
- Easy Transport & Setup: This inflatable kayak can be set up in minutes, and the whole package only weighs 40 lbs.
- Stability: Despite being an inflatable kayak, it is incredibly stable on the water and great for fishing.
- Highly Durable: Inflatable kayaks are known to be suspect regarding durability. But these inflatable kayaks are made with heavy-duty PVC and reinforced drop-stitch fabric; the Steelhead Inflatable Fishing Kayak is built to last.
- It also comes as a tandem fishing kayak: in addition to the single kayak, you can opt for the two-person version of this kayak at a surprisingly affordable price.
What You Won’t Love About The Elkton Outdoors Steelhead Inflatable Fishing Kayak
- Slower Speed: This kayak is slower than some of its hardshell counterparts, but that’s to be expected with an inflatable kayak.
- Lacks Storage: Compared to some of the other kayaks on this list, this one offers less storage space.
Overall, this sit-on-top kayak is an excellent choice for those with limited transportation or storage options.
Things to Consider When Shopping for the Best Fishing Kayaks
Well, that does it for our top 6 fishing kayaks under $1,000. Now it is time to think through precisely what kayak features you want from your kayak by considering the following.
Stability is one of the most important factors when buying a fishing kayak. This will determine how well it can handle choppy waters, boat wake, and wind and its’ ability to allow stand-up fishing.
Stability can be hit or miss for fishing kayaks under $1,000, but all of the best fishing kayaks on our list provide an outstanding balance of stability and maneuverability.
Consider how easy it is to transport the kayak. The lighter and smaller, the better, as this will make it easier for you to move the kayak from your garage or home to wherever you are fishing.
Like I noticed with boats, the simpler and smaller, the more you will use them.
Where I live, I rarely see the larger vessels leave our marina while the guys and gals with the 17′ skiffs are on the water daily. The smaller the craft is – the less maintenance and money you have to invest.
Are you a DIYer that loves custom products suited to your needs?
Some kayaks are already built out and leave little room to make them your own. On the other hand, some are a clean slate waiting to be built out precisely the way you want it.
For example, The Jackson Bite Angler is almost wide open, meaning you have a blank canvas.
Conversely, the Tarpon 105 is well-engineered and already has top-of-the-line kayak features throughout, making it challenging to customize fully.
The weight of the kayak is directly tied to the portability as well as maneuverability.
The lighter the kayak is, the easier it is to transport and move around on the water.
The weight of each model can vary significantly, with some weighing in at well over 80 lbs, so keep this in mind as you shop for your kayak.
Is the seat adjustable? Is it removable? Ergonomic?
These are the questions you must ask yourself, especially when planning long fishing trips.
A comfortable seat is essential for extended time on the water and can make or break your experience.
Some kayaks come pre-loaded with features designed for the angler.
These can range from built-in rod holders to multi-function displays and even live wells to hold your catch while on the move.
Think through what you need and choose a model that best meets your needs. Below are examples of fishing-specific features you’ll want to consider.
- Transducer Scuppers
- Flush Mounted Rod Holders
- Storage Space for coolers, bait buckets, live wells
- Mounting areas for fish finder
- Room on the transom for a trolling motor
- Spacious decks for casting
- Paddle holders
Common Questions Related to Kayak Fishing
The kayak-angling world here in North Carolina has exploded recently, and on most weekdays, I see just as many kayaks as I do skiffs. Along with fishing from a yak myself, I often converse with other kayak anglers, and below are some common questions.
How much should you spend on a fishing kayak?
This, of course, depends on each individual’s budget, but it is essential to understand that price only sometimes equates to quality.
A fishing kayak under $1,000 will provide you with a great fishing kayak. Anything over this, and potentially, you may be paying for features or materials you won’t use.
That said, if you are a hardcore angler and don’t have a boat, then splurging for one of the best fishing kayaks sounds worth it to me, and you’ll want to consider the next tier up, where a pedal kayak enters the conversation.
Do fishing kayaks tip easily?
Most fishing kayaks are designed with stability in mind, which is one of the main characteristics you should look for when shopping around.
That said, some fishing kayaks can tip easily if not used properly, so it is essential to practice safety measures such as wearing a life jacket and paddling with friends or someone experienced.
Are longer fishing kayaks more stable?
Not necessarily. Just because it is a longer kayak does not mean it is more stable.
This depends on the craft’s width and other features, such as chines and rockers designed to increase stability. So, don’t let length be your only criterion when shopping for fishing kayaks.
Are shorter rods better for kayak fishing?
Absolutely. Shorter rods are preferred when fishing from a kayak as they make it easier to cast and maneuver in tighter spaces.
Many kayak anglers also prefer lighter, faster action rods when fishing from a kayak.
I hope this article has helped you narrow your choices and ultimately select a kayak.
These choices are among the best fishing kayaks, so you can’t go wrong.
Kayak fishing is unlike any other fishing experience as you are closer to the action and can get to places otherwise untouchable without a kayak. So, if you haven’t gone kayak fishing yet, close your computer and GO FISHING!
If you are looking for even more affordable fishing kayaks, check out our list of best fishing kayaks under $500!
For big guys, check out the best fishing kayak for big guys list!