Best Fishing Kayak Under 1000

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Best fishing kayak under 1000?

Because prices fluctuate all the time. What we have done for you is reviewed five great options that were under 1000 at the time of writing this article.
Each of these fishing kayaks are from trusted, quality brands and are packed full of features that we think are exceptional value. 



As with any review we could sing a product’s praises all day long but if you’re anything like me you’ll see right through that. Here at Paddle n Reel we aim to provide you with comprehensive information. That’s why we won’t exclude any negative points we have found which need to be considered in order to make a well informed decision.

We also believe in comparing apples to apples. All the fishing kayaks reviewed here were similar in price which at the time of writing this article.

Not sure what to look for in a fishing kayak? Check out our article on choosing a fishing kayak.

Click here to jump to our buyers guide.

Old Town Topwater 120 – Best flatwater and stand up fishing kayak

Specs:

Length: 12 ft 
Width: 33.5 in 
Capacity: 500 lb 
Weight: 82 lb

The Good, Great or Exceptional

Old Town is a historic name in the canoe and kayak business, these guys have been around since Noah’s day, well maybe not, but if they had, they might have survived better than most! 

They have been at it for over a century and it’s easy to see why they’re a much loved and revered brand. 

The Topwater 120 boasts Old Town’s DoubleU hull design which provides a stable and comfortable platform. Coupled with non slip deck pads make this a top choice for those who like to stand and fish from their kayaks. 

Adjustable lawn chair style seating with hi-low positioning and well placed rod and cup holders lead to a comfortable experience.

Other features include a sealed front hatch, large rear tankwell and tracks for additional attachments. Plus it’s rudder capable, if you buy the rudder kit.

It also boasts a whopping 500 lb total boat capacity! It weighs 82 lb which leaves 418 lb for people, gear and don’t forget the fish. If you happen to be on the bigger side, like to carry loads of gear or even both, this is definitely worth looking at.

Designed to be ultra stable it’s a fantastic kayak for lake and river fishing and it can do pretty well offshore too. 

Compromises, Considerations or Complaints

Aside from it being heavy I had to search really hard to find any negative issues people had with this kayak. Here’s what I found

Not the fastest kayak on the market but it’s not slow either. Remember it’s always a trade off, speed has been sacrificed for stability. 

The position of the rear carry handle on the Topwater 120 is a problem for some. It is positioned on one side making it awkward to carry. (This may have been rectified on more recent models)

People have complained that the seat in the Topwater isn’t comfortable. It’s a mesh seat designed to be quick drying.

Important to note that some of these issues may be addressed in new Topwater models, the sentence below is from their website 
Some Topwaters will contain updated and enhanced features found on the new Sportsman line that have not been photographed yet.

Pros

  • Trusted brand
  • Ultra stable
  • Lawn chair style seat
  • Open and spacious deck
  • Sealed’ front hatch (With decent sized opening)
  • Non-slip deck pads
  • Mounting tracks for accessories
  • Cup holders
  • Well placed flush mount rod holders
  • Underseat storage
  • Large rear tankwell
  • Universal transducer mount
  • Lifetime hull warranty
  • Optional rudder kit
  • Weight capacity 500 lb

Cons

  • Rear carry handle on the side making it awkward to carry. (This may have been addressed in newer models)
  • Seat could have some more padding (An upgraded seat is available on the Sportsman)
  • Heavy

If you mostly fish flatwater and want a super stable platform that still paddles well the Old Town Topwater 120 would be our top pick for you.

If you are looking for all these features but in a smaller and lighter package, we suggest you check out the Old Town Topwater 106 or Sportsman 106

If you’re looking at Old Town’s fishing kayaks, they have produced a new line up branded the Sportsman which are well worth checking out.
Among these is the Sportsman 120 and Sportsman 106 prospectively. The hull appears to be the same as the Topwater series (don’t quote me on that) but they feature some upgrades which you can see in the clip below. (I had to slow it down a bit to get a good look).

If you don’t want to watch the video here is a quick comparison.

Topwater 120 Sportsman 120
Offset Stern Handle Molded in-Stern Handles (One on either side of the keel making it easier to carry it flat)
Element Air SeatNew Premium Seat
EVA Foam Floor PadsNew Premium Floor Pads
Narrower Stern TankwellExpanded Stern Tankwell

Perception Pescador Pro 12.0  –  Best balance of recreation/fishing kayak

Specs:

Length: 12 ft
Width: 32.5 in 
Capacity: 375 lb 
Weight: 64 lb 

The Good, Great or Exceptional

Perception Kayaks are a well known and trusted brand who have been in the business of creating great kayaks for over 40 yrs. They have a reputation for building good quality kayaks at great prices and the Pescador Pro 12 is no exception. On their website the tagline is ‘Your perfect first fishing kayak’ and many agree. 

Designed to be fast, stable and track well makes them good all-round performers.

Built to be easy to use, fun and versatile, they will tackle flat water and calm coastal waters with ease and are also capable in open water. Just remember to paddle within your means.  

At 64lb they are lighter than many, and although that’s still a fair bit of weight, it certainly helps if car topping is your means of transport not to mention getting it to and from the water. 

It’s got some features that set it apart from the more basic model the Pescador 12.0 which many agree are worth the upgrade.

A removable and adjustable lawn chair style seat is a significant difference. The extra comfort that these types of seats afford is invaluable. Being comfortable allows you to stay out longer and there’s nothing quite so annoying as having to cut your fishing trip short due to discomfort or pain. Believe me I’ve been there.

The extra elevation also helps with casting and sight fishing.

If you plan on using a fish finder it has a pre-molded transducer scupper and is set up for drill free mounting with a small compartment on deck for your battery.

The Pescador has loads of great features which we have listed in the pros list below.

Compromises, Considerations or Complaints

The most mentioned downside is that the molded rod holders aren’t any good as they are. This is because they are designed to take an insert which Perception calls a Rod-X Pro and is sold as an accessory. Though this can be an annoyance you can always modify them to suit your needs. Many anglers customise their kayaks, so for me, as long as I know it’s an issue, it’s not a deal breaker.

One issue that has been mentioned is that there are areas that hold water.

One is the molded, tackle box sized storage depression under the front of the seat which has no drainage and the other is under the seat. There are scupper holes under the seat but they are not at the lowest point and in rougher water can also allow water to shoot through them and wet the seat. (I haven’t been able to find out if this issue has been addressed in the current model)

Check out this great diy fix for the wet seat problem.

Pros

  • Good balance of stability and speed
  • Large open storage areas
  • Lawn chair style seat for comfort.
  • Light weight (in comparison)
  • Trusted Brand
  • Skid plate. Extra protection if you have to drag it.
  • Mounting tracks
  • Adjustable footrests
  • Deck plate behind seat for access to deck accessory mounting zone
  • Fish finder console with battery zone and pre molded drill-free transducer mounting.
  • Compatible with Rudder kit (short pin)

Cons

  • Opinions differ about seat quality and comfort.
  • Rod holders need inserts to function properly.
  • Not great for stand up fishing unless you have good balance.
  • Holds water under the seat

All things considered, if you like recreational kayaking but also like to fish this is a great choice. If you require something a bit smaller and lighter they do a pescador pro 10 with all the same features but shorter.


If you want a recreation kayak that’s also great to fish out of check out the Perception Pescador Pro 12.0.

Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler  –  Best ocean fishing kayak

Specs:

Length: 13 ft 4 in 
Width: 28 in 
Capacity: 325 lb 
Weight: 56 lb 


The Good, Great or Exceptional

Ocean kayak is owned and operated by Johnson Outdoors, the same company behind Old Town so you can be assured of good quality and service.
This is the lightest kayak in our lineup. Always a plus in our book.
The Prowler 13 angler has been around for a long time. A solid, trusted design that has been used successfully for years. It’s no wonder it has plenty of die hard supporters. I guess the saying… ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ rings true with this model.
These kayaks are built tough. Their narrow, sleek hull tracks well and is fast. Just what you need to get through the surf to open water. The hull design cuts through the water nicely and has good secondary stability making it a good choice for those paddling in rougher water. The narrower beam and hull shape mean primary stability is not as good though so if you like to stand and fish, this is not the best option. Though they excel in open water fishing they also do well on rivers and lakes, particularly weedy areas as the sleek v shaped hull is able to cut through easily.
This is their lowest price fishing kayak so don’t expect all the bells and whistles. A simple but functional seat, molded foot rests, flush mount rod holders, a decent sized bow hatch, and transducer compatible scupper to name a few. Simple but functional and you can always customise later.

Compromises, Considerations or Complaints

Seat comfort complaints. Some kayakers have complained about the seat comfort. This can be remedied with an aftermarket seat, for some it can be fixed simply by adding a cushion.
Not for standing up in, though some may disagree. Remember it’s always a trade off, primary stability has been sacrificed for speed. 
A wetter ride than some. There have been some complaints about water from the scupper holes sitting in the footwells

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Trusted name and model
  • Performs well in rougher water
  • Fast
  • Seated stability is excellent
  • Skid plate. Extra protection if you have to drag it.
  • Rudder compatible
  • Transducer compatible
  • Paddle holders on both sides
  • Lifetime warranty on hull

Cons

  • Not for stand up fishing.
  • Some find the seat uncomfortable (again this is easily remedied with an aftermarket seat)

The Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler is our top pick for those who primarily fish offshore in rougher water.

Feelfree Moken 12.5 V2  –  Most features for your money

Specs:

Length: 12 ft 8 in 
Width: 32 in         
Capacity: 400 lb   
Weight: 72 lb 

FeelFree Moken 12.5 V2. The Moken has been around for a while and is a firm favourite with many and the V2 is even better!

The Good, Great or Exceptional

They still have the same great hull which is easy to paddle in a variety of waters and the wheel in the keel which makes dragging this thing super easy. 

Behind the seat you still get cup holders, paddle holders and rod holders on each side and a generous sized tankwell. Don’t forget these boats are also set up to take a FeelFree Beavertail Rudder Kit.

So what’s new with the V2 model?

They’ve installed rod tip protectors on the front with straps further back  to support your rods.

The recessed tracks have changed to surface mounted ones which are more robust.

The seat is one of the bigger changes. It’s been replaced with a comfortable and adjustable lawn chair style seat that has high and low positioning. 

Another great upgrade is the addition of the sonar pod. This has opened up the deck allowing for more room on the standing platform.  

The FeelFree Sonar Pod is a fantastic design, it enables you to have your transducer, fish finder, battery and wires all set up and self-contained in the one unit. No drilling holes in the hull necessary. The best part is it’s fully removable. Great for transport and security. 

If you don’t use sonar that’s no problem, it also makes excellent storage space.

A hidden feature that could be overlooked is the two molded-in grab handles at the back of the kayak which make it much easier to carry.

Compromises, Considerations or Complaints

Whatever complaints people had with the previous version seem to have been addressed in this one so finding negatives were hard. 

The Moken 12.5 V2 has the potential to stand up and fish from though it’s not as stable as some. It would probably be ok for those with reasonable balance but if stability is at the top of your list I would recommend the Old Town Topwater. 

Some people found that the paddle holders were a little far back. Also mentioned was the position of the rod straps. Great for rods up to 5-6 ft but longer rods stick out more leaving the rod butt hanging close to the water. 

Pros

  • Great hull design, good for paddling whilst still providing a stable fishing platform
  • Wheel in the keel
  • Removable sonar pod
  • Rudder compatible
  • Good all rounder
  • Large front hatch
  • Performs well in a variety of waters
  • Big, easy to use front handle

Cons

  • Paddle holders too far back for some
  • Rod holder strap position not great for longer rods

The FeelFree Moken 12.5 V2 is our ‘most bang for your buck’ winner. If you want a kayak that does it all this is our top pick. Especially if you use a fish finder/sonar.

Crescent Kayaks LiteTackle  –  Best paddlers fishing kayak

picture of kayak
Specs:

Length:12 ft 4 in 
Width: 34 in 
Capacity: 450 lb
Weight:75 lb 

Right off the bat I’d have to say this is one popular kayak! 

The Good, Great or Exceptional

With this model Crescent seems to have hit the sweet spot between stand up fishability and ease of paddling. Most agree this is a dream to paddle with great tracking, and due to it’s hull design, very maneuverable. 

A big reason why the Crescent LiteTackle is so popular is that they have managed to create a ‘paddlers’ fishing kayak…or is it a  fishermans, paddling kayak? 

While it’s not as standable as some inland flatwater style kayaks most people agree that it is stable enough to stand and fish from, and for most of us, all it takes is a little practice.

It’s built tough with extra supports spaced throughout that tie the hull to the deck so there’s very little flex. 

One of the features I really love about the Crescent LiteTackle is the deep center channel and angled drain lines on the standing platform. This enables the water to quickly move away from your feet to the center channel where it can drain the scupper holes. Having a floor area that keeps your feet drier is a plus.

It boasts an open cockpit style floor space which is clean and uncluttered yet well thought out.

YakAttack gear tracks are mounted on either side of the cockpit and rear tankwell and two YakAttack MightyMounts have been fixed behind the seat to make customising this kayak super easy.

There’s also plenty of flat areas for extras if you want to take customization further.

Let’s talk storage. There is a large front hatch, large enough to store rods (up to 8 ft), a generous sized rear tankwell with an easily adjustable bungee and some cleverly designed stash pockets in the sidewalls either side of the cockpit which have a recess behind them for extra storage. There’s also an area either side of the seat with bungees for a plano box.

Also worth a mention is the squared off transom which allows you to attach a trolling motor to. Excellent forethought on Crescent’s behalf.

Compromises, Considerations or Complaints

In favour of paddling performance the Crescent Litetackle has a lower seat position which is harder to get up from. Something to consider if you’re on the taller side or a little less agile than you once were. 

The good news is that they do sell a seat riser that raises it above the deck by a considerable 5 in. Bear in mind that raising your center of gravity will influence paddling stability.

It’s not rudder capable.  But it does track and maneuver very well without one. For me, not a deal breaker.

One thing to note is that there appears to be no dedicated transducer area in the hull. There is however an area on deck at the front of the cockpit where you could mount a fish finder/sonar.

The standing platform is textured but if you want deck pads they’ll cost extra. Crescent offer a model specific kit.

Pros

  • Ease of paddling
  • Fast
  • Maneuevrable
  • Tracks well
  • Open deck space
  • Good floor drainage
  • YakAttack mounting options
  • Lawn chair style seat
  • Large front hatch
  • Innovative storage
  • Solid support under standing platform
  • Squared off stern for trolling motor
  • Performs well in a variety of waters

Cons

  • No dedicated transducer recess in hull
  • Low seat position (an issue for some)
  • Not designed for a rudder
  • Non slip deck pads not standard

A highly rated kayak with great innovation and performance. Often cited as a paddlers fishing kayak, so when paddle performance is as important as fishability the Crescent Kayaks LiteTackle is our top pick.

Buyers Guide

man choosing best fishing kayak under 1000

Firstly, it’s important to mention that at this price point, there will be some features that are just not available, namely pedal and motor drives. 

 But don’t be discouraged, it doesn’t mean you can’t get a decent fishing kayak for a fair price, far from it. It just means that you’ll be paddling not pedaling!

Before we dive in I want to make the point that everybody is different and this is especially true with kayak fishing. There are many things to consider which will ultimately influence what type of kayak you buy.

So what should I look for in a fishing kayak?

Because that question is going to depend on your individual needs, we thought we’d ask you a few questions to find out which of these kayaks would be best for you.

Do you want to stand and fish?

If yes, then make sure it has good primary stability and ample space for your feet.

If you do stand and fish, how agile are you?

If you’re less agile than you once were a higher seat position helps as do stand assist straps. If you’re young and nimble, well I’m just plain jealous.

How’s your balance?

Pick a kayak that matches your ability but remember you will improve with practice so choose one that you can grow into. Don’t get stuck with a slug.

Do you need it to be lightweight?

If you car top or use it on your own a lighter weight kayak is a good option. I had a fantastic kayak which I loved but hardly used because it was too heavy. I ended up selling it and bought a lighter one with less features but it gets used a whole lot more!

How far do you usually travel in it and does it paddle well?

If you travel longer distances a wider slower kayak can be a real drag! Go for something faster that’s a joy to paddle not a chore. If your trips are most often short then how it paddles is less of a concern.

Are you looking for a fast boat?

Maybe you have limited time and want something to get to your spot and back quickly? Consider a fast kayak but also think about getting it to and from the water. You may want to combine fast and light.

What will affect my comfort level?

  • The seat style and adjustability. Though it’s a personal thing, it’s often agreed that lawn chair style seats are more comfortable. Check how adjustable they are, can they be customised to suit you? 
  • The ability to stand up and stretch or at least move around can make a world of difference to some.
  • How safe you feel on your kayak will also affect your comfort levels so stability is a factor to consider.
  • How dry your ride is. 

Are you a paddler who likes to fish or a fisherman who uses a kayak?

You could be somewhere in between of course but it’s worth asking the question. If getting there is part of the joy then you’ll want a kayak that’s enjoyable to paddle.

What other features are important to me?

  • Rudder?
  • Storage?
  • Mounting options?
  • Deck space?

If you plan on exclusively fishing offshore in rough water we would recommend going with a longer and narrower kayak built for that purpose. These types of kayaks are not usually designed to stand up in. 

The good news is there are plenty of models that have a balance somewhere in between rough water and calm for those that fish both. Finding the balance that works for your situation can be the hard part so we have broken it down for you to make it easier.

Best fishing kayak under 1000 – Conclusion

What would be my pick?

Honestly, if I had the money, all five!

For the type of fishing that I do which is more saltwater than fresh a Moken-LiteTackle hybrid would work perfectly! I love the sonar pod and rudder option of the Moken but prefer the hull design and roomier fishing platform of the LiteTackle…  That said, I would love the Old Town Topwater for the lake fishing that I do.

Hopefully you’ve been more productive in narrowing down the search for your best fishing kayak under 1000.

If you’re still undecided feel free to check them out some more.  

If you’re looking for cheaper options check out our Best Fishing kayak under 500.

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