Kayak fishing can be a bliss. You’re cruising around, getting some fresh air, exercising your body, and catching fish while you’re at it.
Logically, you need a decent kayak to help make everything work well, but there’s always the anxiety that a kayak you can easily afford won’t be enough.
However, the kayak industry is evolving every day and making many budget-friendly options that spare you the need to get more expensive ones.
Read more to know the best fishing kayaks under $600 and how to make an informed choice.
|Lifetime Sport Tandem Kayak
|Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak
|SUNDOLPHIN Journey Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak
|Brooklyn Kayak Company UH-FK 184
|Sea Eagle 330 Deluxe 2-Person Inflatable Kayak
The 5 Best Fishing Kayaks Under $600 in 2021
1. Lifetime Sport Tandem Kayak – Best Overall
The features that the Lifetime Sport Tandem Kayak has are a lot to ask of a budget kayak, and it still made them come true anyway. Backed by a 5-year warranty, this tandem offers stability, storage, paddles, and multiple rod holders.
The Lifetime Sport Tandem Kayak is a sit-on-top tandem that can accommodate 1 to 3 paddlers, making it more versatile and cost-efficient than most kayaks on the market.
Our top pick is made of UV-protected linear low-density polyethylene, making it durable and resistant to a lot of damage.
This tandem knows how to cater to multiple paddlers and different sizes by including various footrest positions. Anglers will love its 3 rod holders, and one of them is adjustable.
In addition, it includes 2 paddles. Also, it has an easy-to-reach rear storage hatch for your additional accessories and valuables.
Furthermore, it even accepts the Lifetime Power Mate Motor Mount, which you can buy separately if you prefer to add a trolling motor for extra speed.
For a kayak with a weight capacity of 500 pounds, it’s impressive how it only weighs 60 pounds. The molded front carry handle will help you haul it easily.
At a length of 10’, it is neither too tall that it is hard to transport, nor too short to carry multiple paddlers. Its impressive width of 36″ gives it extra stability and room for big-sized paddlers.
The Lifetime Sport Tandem Kayak’s downside is that it’s not fast, especially when you add more weight.
- 3 rod holders
- 5-year limited warranty
- Can be used solo or tandem
- 2 paddles included
- Multiple footrest positions
- Wide and stable
- Rear storage hatch
- Not fast, especially with extra weight
The Lifetime Sport Tandem Kayak is affordable, versatile, wide, stable, and fishing-ready, qualifying it to be on top of the best fishing kayaks under $600.
2. Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak – Runner-Up
Lifetime once again proves you don’t have to compromise quality at affordable prices. The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak is affordable, portable, stable, and spacious. Its 5-year warranty gives us more confidence in its quality.
The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak is a solo sit-on-top kayak made of UV-protected high-density polyethylene for durable construction. Also, it has self-bailing scupper holes to drain any water out of the kayak.
Our second pick has multiple footrest positions to accommodate different sizes comfortably. In addition, it has a flat bottom that adds to its stability, which also facilitates stand-up fishing.
Moreover, it has 2 storage compartments in the rear and center, and bungee straps to hold loose items at the front and back. We love the adjustable padded seat; it’s not a high-end comfort level, but it keeps you comfortable enough.
Furthermore, this kayak has 3-rod holders, one of which is adjustable. You’ll also love its 2 water bottle holders on sunny days. It also comes with its paddle.
For a solo kayak, a 275-pound capacity is more than enough. The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak is portable, thanks to its 54-pound weight and front and rear t-handles. It is 10’ and 31” wide, which helps its portability.
Its downside is similar to the Lifetime Sport Tandem Kayak in that it doesn’t get that fast, despite claims of tracking abilities.
- Paddle included
- 3-rod holders
- Front and rear t-handles
- 2 storage compartments in the rear and center
- Stable flat bottom
- 2 water bottle holders
- Not fast, especially with extra weight
The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak provides portability, stability, storage, and accessories at a very affordable price. No wonder it ranks so high among the best fishing kayaks under $600.
3. SUNDOLPHIN Journey Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak – Most Comfortable
Kayaking can take longer than expected, especially when you’re new to all of this and unable to balance kayaking with fishing. So, it’s important to find a comfortable kayak, and it can be challenging to find one that is comfortable and affordable. That’s where our kayak succeeds.
The SUNDOLPHIN Journey Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak, which is backed by a limited lifetime warranty, is a solo kayak made of rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex, high-density polyethylene to last you a while and get you your money’s worth.
This kayak has a spacious cockpit that you can sit on comfortably. In addition, both its padded seat and foot braces are adjustable to help you enjoy your surroundings, instead of suffering back and foot aches. Furthermore, it has protective thigh pads, which more kayaks could use.
We love the 3-rod holders, one of which is adjustable. Also, the water bottle holder is a nice touch that many kayaks lack.
This kayak has a 280-pound capacity which you can utilize, thanks to the storage compartment, shock cord deck rigging, and portable accessory carrier. It only weighs 44 pounds and has short retractable carrying handles, so it is compact enough for one person to carry.
It has a length of 10’ and a width of 29.5″. This narrowness helps you get to excluded areas that you wouldn’t be able to get to otherwise. In addition, it helps the kayak track well.
However, its narrowness can also be a downside because it means it is not stable enough for you to stand up; however, once you’re sitting on it, it is perfectly stable.
- Only weighs 44 lb
- Portable Accessory Carrier
- Storage compartment and shock cord deck rigging
- 3 rod holders
- Highly portable
- Not good for stand-up fishing
The SUNDOLPHIN Journey Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak is portable, spacious, comfortable, and accessorized. What more could we ask for in a budget kayak?
4. Brooklyn Kayak Company UH-FK 184 – Highest Capacity for a Solo Kayak
High capacities make more sense for tandems. However, sometimes you want a huge capacity all for yourself, especially if you’ll take your kayaks on long trips. The Brooklyn Kayak Company UH-FK 184 offers the highest capacity for a solo kayak with portability and maneuverability.
This kayak is made of high-density polyethylene, so you don’t have to worry about replacing it any time soon. It comes with its own lightweight aluminum paddle, which you safely secure in the paddle parks.
Anglers, rejoice! Our kayak has 5-rod holders: one is adjustable, and the rest are fixed.
Its 330-pound blows us away, and you can easily maximize it using the 2 watertight hatches, in which you can safely store your valuables. The hollowed-out cargo area with elastic bungee straps can be used for a cooler or tackle box.
Being 9’ long, weighing only 44 pounds, and having 4 carrying handles, you will have no trouble carrying it alone or with your friends and family.
At a length of only 9’, it is the easiest kayak to maneuver. We are also impressed with how much legroom this short kayak can have. It has 34” of width, which makes it pretty stable.
However, despite having an ergonomic seat, it could use some back support, especially for long trips.
- 5-rod holders
- 2 watertight hatches
- 4 carrying handles
- Capacity of 330 lb
- Easy to maneuver
- The seat could be more comfortable
The Brooklyn Kayak Company UH-FK 184 is easy to maneuver, stable, spacious, and portable. It has definitely earned its place on a list of the best fishing kayaks under $600.
5. Sea Eagle 330 Deluxe 2-Person Inflatable Kayak – Most Portable
Many kayaks are portable, but none can beat the lightweightness and portability of an inflatable kayak. The ability to have a deluxe package and still stay within budget is unbeatable. The Sea Eagle 330 Deluxe 2-Person Inflatable Kayak is the most portable budget kayak.
It is a sit-on-top inflatable kayak that takes no longer than 6 minutes to be assembled and inflated. Its deluxe one-way inflation and deflation valves and molded O-rings ensure true airtightness.
This kayak is made of a material that is resistant to the sun, saltwater, and punctures. In addition, it is NMMA certified, which calms any anxieties on whether an inflatable kayak is strong enough. To be exact, it is suitable for up to Class III whitewater.
In this deluxe package, the kayak comes with 2 paddles, 2 inflatable, movable, and removable seats, foot pump, repair kit, and carry bag with a convenient shoulder strap.
The best thing about this kayak is that it only weighs 26 pounds with a capacity of 500 pounds, which means you have to put a lot on this kayak before it starts struggling. Its 11’ length and 34” give it impressive stability for an inflatable kayak.
Now, let’s chat about the downsides.
Despite having two rear skegs for tracking and speed, the kayak is still not that fast; we wouldn’t recommend using it for tracking. Also, it is advertised as a 2-people kayak, but it’s best for adults to use it solo to be comfortable. Finally, it has no straps to tie down loose gear.
- Only weighs 26 lb with a capacity of 500 lb
- NMMA certified
- Easy to use and inflate
- Comes with accessories
- Two skegs still don’t make it good at tracking
- 2 people won’t be comfortable
- No straps to tie down gear
The Sea Eagle 330 Deluxe 2-Person Inflatable Kayak is an affordable and highly portable kayak meant for short kayaking trips on calm water.
How to Pick a Fishing Kayak Under $600
1. Weight Capacity
The first thing you should consider before you’re in the middle of the water is how much weight your kayak can carry.
A kayak carries not only the paddler, but also the clothes, food, fish, and accessories. You don’t want to know what happens when you exceed a kayak’s weight capacity.
However, you don’t want to go too crazy with the weight capacity because that adds to the kayak’s heaviness. Make sure you get a kayak that you can carry.
As a rule of thumb, short trips don’t need much weight capacity, while long trips do.
2. Number of Paddlers
The number of paddlers affects the weight capacity and the style of your kayak as well.
If you’re 100% sure you’ll go kayak fishing alone, get a solo or a single-seat kayak. However, if you feel that maybe someday you’d like to go fishing with a friend, consider a tandem kayak.
Modular kayaks are beneficial when you want to take the extra section out of the kayak and still keep it balanced.
However, keep in mind that kayaks meant for more than one person will be more expensive than solo ones.
3. Shape and Dimensions
Is the kayak you’re considering long or short? Narrow or wide? A kayak’s dimensions definitely affect its performance, especially if you’ll use it in fishing.
The longer the kayak is, the faster it can cut through the water. People usually get long kayaks for tracking or open-water fishing. Also, longer kayaks are beneficial for tall people because they give them more legroom.
A short kayak is much easier to maneuver, so it’s perfect for beginner kayakers. Short kayaks also work better in getting to places that are harder to get into for longer kayaks. If you’re fishing in creeks and ponds, a short kayak makes sense the most.
Like long kayaks, narrow kayaks are known to be faster and more able to travel straight in the water. On the other hand, wide kayaks have better stability and allow you to stand-up fish more comfortably.
The type of kayak refers to whether it’s a sit-in or sit-on-top.
Sit-in kayaks, as the name suggests, have enclosed cockpits that you sit inside. Since you sit lower in the water, they’re more suitable for colder weather. Their stability in rough waters is impressive, which is called secondary stability.
However, they don’t offer much freedom in movement between sitting and standing, which most anglers need. Also, getting back into your sit-in kayak if you’re capsized isn’t easy for beginners.
Sit-on-top kayaks give you more freedom to stand up or sit while fishing; many have stable flat platforms to help you stand comfortably. Despite not encasing and protecting you from the elements like sit-in kayaks, they have scupper holes to drain the water.
Furthermore, they have impressive stability over flat water, which is called primary stability.
Nonetheless, they don’t have the same stability over rough waters, and they’re not recommended in colder weather.
Kayak accessories don’t feel like a necessity until you try them, and then you can’t live without them. They can range from safety essentials such as personal floatation devices to fishing essentials such as rod holders and fish finders.
Kayaks that come equipped with or set up for additional accessories are definitely worth considering over kayaks that don’t, especially if you’ll use your kayak on long trips.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What Type of Kayak is Best for Fishing?
As we’ve discussed above, sit-on-top kayaks are the most suitable ones for kayak fishing.
First, they give you freedom in movements and tend to have comfortable flat platforms to help you in stand-up fishing. Second, they have scupper holes to drain any water that gets inside the kayak. Third, they have excellent primary stability, which is what you need in fishing.
Can I Find a Good Fishing Kayak Under $600?
Of course. Nowadays, despite popular belief, there are many affordable kayaks that rival the high-end ones.
All you need to do is check the kayak’s weight capacity, paddler capacity, dimensions, type, and accessory-readiness, and compare these aspects to your own needs and expectations.
How Do I Maintain My Fishing Kayak?
Proper maintenance of any watercraft will help it last longer so that you don’t have to repair or replace it.
Keep your kayak clean by rinsing it off after every use. You can also scrub it when needed with a sponge and mild soapy water.
In addition, check everything on the kayak, from cords to paddles, and see if anything needs cleaning, changing, tightening, or loosening.
What is better than kayak fishing? Kayak fishing without going over budget. Let’s go through the highlights of the best fishing kayaks under $600.
The Lifetime Sport Tandem Kayak is on top because it has it all: the affordability, stability, comfort, and accessories.
If you’re going on long trips, you’ll appreciate the level of comfort the SUNDOLPHIN Journey Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak has to offer.
Our spacious Brooklyn Kayak Company UH-FK 184 has the capacity needed for a demanding solo paddler.
For the maximum level of portability, consider the Sea Eagle 330 Deluxe 2-Person Inflatable Kayak.