3 Best Fishing Kayaks for the Money

To prove that you don't have to spend a ton of money to get a high-quality fishing kayak, this article reveals three of the best fishing kayaks for the money currently on the market.

Whether you're a casual angler looking to explore more of your local waters, or a DIYer looking for an affordable kayak to mod out, the kayaks we've recommended here are all-around great buys that you won't want to miss.

1. Ocean Kayak Caper Angler

best fishing kayak for the money

This 11-foot kayak features a compact design that's perfect for navigating small creeks, but stable enough to handle the open water of larger lakes.

And weighing only 47 pounds, it's light enough to quickly load onto the roof of your car, ensuring that this kayak sees plenty of use and you see plenty of fishing action.

The Caper has everything you need for a day of fishing and has a very simple layout that doesn't feel cluttered or cramped. There are two flush mount rod holders located behind the seat, and a flat space in front of the seat to mount your own swivel rod holder if needed.

A dry hatch with a large cover gives you access to below-deck storage where you can keep your valuables dry, or stow extra rods if needed. The cargo area behind the seat is deeper than what you find on most kayaks and comes with a bungee cover to keep your tackle bags, fish bags, and other gear from falling out of the boat.

The cargo area isn't wide enough to accommodate a milk crate, but smaller coolers fit just fine.

Hardcore kayak anglers may find the Ocean Kayak Caper too simplistic, but if you’re simply looking for a well-made kayak you can take out on the weekends for some fishing, you won't find a better kayak for the price.

Quick Specs:

Length: 11'

Width: 31"

Weight: 47 lbs

Capacity: 325 lbs

2. Pelican Strike 100X Angler Kayak

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While the Pelican Strike 100X Angler is a foot shorter than the Ocean Kayak Caper, it has considerably more on-deck storage space.

So, if you want a kayak that can definitely handle a tricked-out kayak fishing milk crate or high-performance cooler, the Strike 100X Angler might be the vessel for you.

In addition to the roomy cargo space, there a few noteworthy features that stand out on the Strike 100X. First, the seat — it’s an Ergoband Seating System that has a fully adjustable backrest and soft, comfortable cushion for long days of paddling.

Second, the foot rests — instead of having molded-in foot rests like many other kayaks in this price range, the Strike 100X has adjustable foot rests which offer a greater range of adjustability for a more personalized fit.

The Strike 100X has two flush-mounted rod holders behind the seat and one swivel rod holder mounted in front between the legs. A quick-lock hatch in the bow offers ample dry storage, and an additional 8-inch day hatch located behind the seat comes with a dry bag providing a safe place to keep your valuable items while on the water.

The flat-bottom hull design of the Strike 100X Angler is stable enough for stand-up fishing but still glides through the water for easy paddling.

Quick Specs:

Length: 10' 0"

Width: 30.5"

Weight: 53 lbs

Capacity: 325 lbs

3. Emotion Stealth Angler Sit-On-Top Kayak 

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This affordable fishing kayak has all the fishing-specific features you'd expect from a fishing kayak, plus a few other interesting features that earned it a spot on our list of the best fishing kayaks for the money.

The Stealth Angler features an 11-foot by 30-inch hull that provides a very stable ride and easy maneuvering in the water.

It's the heaviest kayak on our list, and while that makes it harder to lift and carry to the water, it does provide additional stability on the water and makes it less likely to be blown around in the wind.

One of those interesting features we alluded to is the authentic Scotty swivel rod holder. It's impressive that Emotion added this name brand rod holder instead of using the generic rod holders that are found on so many fishing kayaks in this price range.

Two flush-mount rod holders behind the seat allow you to have extra rods rigged up at any given time, and there is plenty of cargo space in the stern to mount a milk crate with even more rod holders.

Another interesting feature is the dry hatch located directly in front of the seat for easy access. Keep your phone, wallet, and anything else you want to keep dry in the hatch and you'll have it readily available in case you need it.

Finally, perhaps the most interesting and unique feature of the Stealth Angler is the skeg with a built-in wheel. This allows you to drag the kayak on pavement without scuffing up the hull, making it easy to pull it out of the garage to load onto your vehicle.

Keep in mind the wheel in the skeg is quite small and not intended to replace a kayak cart. It won't roll on gravel, sand, dirt, or anything other than smooth pavement. But it does make short trips much easier.

The cockpit of the Stealth Angler is surprisingly spacious and can easily accommodate users well over 6 feet tall. The seat is also positioned slightly higher up than the rest of the kayak, greatly reducing the risk of water pooling in the seat.

Overall, the Stealth Angler is a very nice fishing kayak for the money, and its simple design would provide an excellent base to add any DIY modifications you want to add. But, as is, it's a very capable fishing kayak that’s perfect for fishing ponds, lakes, and slow-moving rivers.

Quick Specs:

Length: 11'

Width: 30"

Weight: 59 lbs

Capacity: 300 lbs


Of course, you can spend thousands of dollars on a fishing kayak, but our three recommendations for the best fishing kayaks for the money show that big spends are not necessary to have a great time paddling and catching fish.

With a fishing kayak, you'll be amazed at how much new fishable water you'll have available to you, and what you were missing out on before. Once you've found the right kayak for you, put it to good use and go catch some fish!

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