A successful journalist and news reporter in the past, George is now focused on freelance work to be able to dedicate more time to the most important things in his life: family, friends, his dogs, and fishing.
John is an avid traveler, hiker, and RVer. Moreover, it seems like he knows everything when it comes to fishing and hunting: his father started sharing all the tips and tricks he knew when John was a kid. No wonder we trust his opinion every time a new article is being created.
Last updated: August 28, 2021
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If you enjoy fishing, you should consider purchasing a fishing kayak. Fishing kayaks provide an easy way for fishers to get around on the water and catch as many fish as possible. Typically, fishing kayaks can be very pricy. However, if you’re on a budget, you can still find an amazing fishing kayak even for under $400. These will save your wallet and give you the great functionality that one of these kayaks offer.
When looking to purchase the best fishing kayak under $400, there are many factors that should be considered. Weight is important because it will make or break your transportation ease. Heavier boats are more difficult to carry by yourself. Dimensions of the kayak are also something to keep in mind in terms of your storage capacity. If you don’t have a lot of room to store a kayak, stick to smaller sized kayaks. Weight capacity solely determines how much you can carry with you on your fishing trip. If you have more gear, a higher weight capacity may be more ideal. The number of fishing pole holders that come built-in with your kayak is important because it determines how many poles you can safely use hands-free.
With our research, we hope to help you find the best fishing kayak under $400 for you. We have utilized plenty of resources including reviewing product specs and both expert and customer reviews. Throughout this article, you’ll be able to read through a comparison table, in-depth reviews of each product, and a buying guide for kayaks. Let’s take a look!
The Excursion 10 Fishing Kayak is one of the best kayaks of its kind currently on the market. Its sit-in design keeps you shielded from any water entering or splashing on to you while rowing. The best part about that? It makes the kayak great for lake and river use.Carrying and transporting this kayak is easy as well. Weighing only 41 pounds, it can be lifted by a single person. This is one of the lightest fishing kayaks you’ll find! Two T-handles are fixed on the ends of the Excursion 10, which also aids to the efficiency and travel. In terms of storage, at only 10 feet long, it is a breeze! Made of a high-density polyethylene material, the boat is rugged and can take a lot of hits.With two flush mount rod holders and one swivel rod holder, you can simultaneously have three different fishing poles hooked up while you sit back and relax. Speaking of relaxing, the included kayak seat is padded and provides a significant amount of back support, as it leans against the rim of the kayak’s cockpit. If you need to store any gear, there is a storage compartment in the stern of the boat. Additionally, there is a single water bottle holder to keep your drink. Remember to always stay hydrated on the water!In terms of comfort, the Excursion 10 Fishing Kayak has plenty of padding to keep the long day of fishing easy. When the day gets rough and you’re tired of paddling, stow your paddle in the paddle holder and sit back in the kayak. Both the seat and the foot braces are adjustable. This allows for a perfectly customizable experience. There are also two protective thigh pads to rest your legs on inside the cockpit.
The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak is a top choice for a sit-on-top fishing kayak under $400. At only 52 pounds, this makes for a great kayak for easy transportation. It is equipped with two carrying handles for easier carrying as well. The kayak measures in at just 10 feet long, which is much shorter to other fishing kayaks on the market and also adds to the ease of transportation. This does, however, put some constrains on the storage space you can use.
In terms of stability and functionality, the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak was made for extreme durability and stability. Made of HDPE, this impact-resistant kayak is sure to last you a lifetime. Also, it is molded with a flat bottom which makes for flatter sitting. If you go to stand up to cast a line, beware that it will take some time to get used to the wobbliness of this flat-bottomed kayak. Similarly, while this kayak performs perfectly in still water with almost no water entrance, it is not ideal for choppy waters. It does, though, have two carved stability channels that balance the boat out on the water.
Regarding gadgets and fishing benefits, this kayak comes with two flush mounted fishing rod holders and one adjustable holder. This means you can simultaneously have three hands-free rods set up at the same time. Just stow your paddle in the paddle keeper and place your valuables in one of the two under-deck hatches, and start fishing! After you catch your fish, easily store it in the bow or stern’s gear storage location with incorporated shock chords.
The kayak comes with a five-year limited warranty, which, together with its durable construction, adds to the peace of mind.
Why did it make our list?
Easy to enter and exit
Responsive in the water
Three fishing rod holders
Two internally built storage containers
What is not ideal about it?
Seat cushion can become increasingly uncomfortable over time
Great for fishing with a friend, the Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak is an excellent option for a kayak under $400. This kayak makes for easy storage and simple transportation. Why? It’s inflatable! Made with both tough nylon and PVC, this kayak is also durable. One of the best aspects about the Sevylor Coleman Colorado Kayak is how there are multiple air chambers to prevent full deflation during an emergency. This means that even if one section undergoes damage and deflates, the other will still remain inflated and allow you to get back to safety easier.
Based on its functionality, the Sevylor Coleman Colorado Kayak can hold up to 470 pounds and has even more room for equipment. This boat is equipped with sets of Berkley Quick Set Rod Holders allowing for the easiest of hands-off fishing experiences possible. With your free hands, you can reach into the built-in mesh pockets inside the boat and grab your favorite snack. Even better, if your arms get tired after a long day of fishing and paddling, you can connect a trolling motor to push you and your friend along.
Another great feature of this kayak is how comfortable the seats are. They are padded and adjustable, so you can get a personalized feeling and seat. The paddle holders on the side of the boat hold you and your friends’ paddles and free up room inside of the cockpit. The Sevylor Coleman Colorado Kayak 2-Person Fishing Kayak is perfect for those looking for an easily transportable fishing kayak that they can enjoy with family or friends for a long time to come.
What are our favorite features?
Uniquely designed fishing pole holders
Solid and ingenious construction for an inflatable boat
Lightweight and Durable
Mulitple air pockets prevent full deflation
What could be better?
Not as maneuverable as a hardshell kayak
Fishing rod holders can get in the way when paddling
The Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak is ideal for family fishing trips on the lake. This boat is fully inflatable and therefore very light and easily portable. It weighs only 35 pounds and is 12 feet long, making it great for a family trip. This kayak can hold up to 490 pounds and is very durable. Made with heavy-duty PVC, this boat is likely to last a long time. Just in case an accident does happen and the kayak gets punctured, it is equipped with multiple air chambers to avoid full deflation. The rugged bottom can handle light scraping, but avoid creating excessive ware which could inevitably lead to puncture.
Not interested in taking a fishing trip with three people? The Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak has adjustable seats. This means you can remove two of the seats and put your seat wherever you are most comfortable. The boat is quite stable for an inflatable kayakand and works great on lakes and calm rivers, but waves will make paddling a challenge. The Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak also comes with a spray skirt. This spray cover will keep you and your family dry through all splashes and water sprays.
When considering purchasing this kayak for fishing, note there are no places to directly hold your fishing poles for hands-free fishing. Additionally, the storage capacity is quite limited. It is great, though, for casual day trips where you enjoy the water and fish by yourself with a single line. The Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak is the perfect option for both family trips or solo adventures. Regardless of what you use the kayak for, you won’t be disappointed.
The Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak is ideal for family fishing trips on the lake. This boat is fully inflatable and therefore very light and easily portable. It weighs only 35 pounds and is 12 feet long, making it great for a family trip. This kayak can hold up to 490 pounds and is very durable. Made with heavy-duty PVC, this boat is likely to last a long time. Just in case an accident does happen and the kayak gets punctured, it is equipped with multiple air chambers to avoid full deflation. The rugged bottom can handle light scraping, but avoid creating excessive ware which could inevitably lead to puncture.Not interested in taking a fishing trip with three people? The Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak has adjustable seats. This means you can remove two of the seats and put your seat wherever you are most comfortable. The boat is quite stable for an inflatable kayakand and works great on lakes and calm rivers, but waves will make paddling a challenge. The Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak also comes with a spray skirt. This spray cover will keep you and your family dry through all splashes and water sprays.When considering purchasing this kayak for fishing, note there are no places to directly hold your fishing poles for hands-free fishing. Additionally, the storage capacity is quite limited. It is great, though, for casual day trips where you enjoy the water and fish by yourself with a single line. The Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak is the perfect option for both family trips or solo adventures. Regardless of what you use the kayak for, you won’t be disappointed
What are our favorite features?
Spacious and comfortable
Easy to inflate and deflate
Quick and easy transportation
What could be better?
Not a lot of storage space
No fishing rod hookups
Can’t hold three adults at full weight
Things to Consider
Buying a kayak for fishing can be a long, confusing process, as there are plenty of aspects to consider when looking to purchase your kayak, especially if you’re on a budget. If you are unsure of where to begin, we have assembled a list of the most important characteristics to focus on when purchasing a kayak.
What to expect from a fishing kayak under $400?
Fishing kayaks under $400 often won’t have as many gizmos as more expensive kayaks will have. For example, soft and inflatable kayaks are typically what you’ll find for the price point, compared to more expensive kayaks which tend to use a firmer and non-puncturable material.
The less expensive the kayak gets, the less features will be included, like fishing rod holders, foot rests, and extra cargo space.
Some of these may be deal breakers for you, but for a lower price point, you have to be willing to forego some of the conveniences that more expensive fishing kayaks offer. There are plenty of ways to get around these issues, though. If you don’t mind holding your own pole for the duration of your trip, this is a great option to save a lot of money on a boat.
What type of kayak will be more comfortable for you?
There are different kinds of kayaks you can get when looking to purchase a fishing kayak. The benefits of each vary depending on what you’ll be using your kayak for and where you’ll be using it. The most common kinds of kayaks are sit-inside recreational kayaks, touring kayaks, and sit-on-top recreational kayaks. Each is good for different uses. For example, touring kayaks are longer and easier to control for longer trips over a broader span of time.
Sit-on-top kayaks are best for steady lakes and cruising adrift a body of open water.
Sit-inside recreational kayaks may be great for lakes and rivers, but they may not be ideal for rapids and waves like oceans, or for longer trips as they can be more difficult to control.
Hardshell or inflatable?
One of the first characteristics to look into when purchasing a kayak is the material that the boat is made out of. Purchasing a hardshell kayak versus purchasing an inflatable kayak solely depends on your preference and where you’ll be using your kayak.
Hardshell kayaks can be heavier and more difficult to transport than inflatable kayaks.
For example, the Sea Eagle SE370 inflatable kayak only weighs 32 pounds. Inflatable kayaks should be used with caution, though, as they can be punctured if dragged on hard or sharp surfaces. Hardshell kayaks can reach heavier than 70 pounds, but they are more stable and easier to maneuver. When looking to buy a kayak, consider what for and where you’ll be using your boat.
Sit-in or sit-on-top?
The second aspect you should consider when looking to purchase a kayak is if you’d prefer a sit-inside or sit-on-top kayak. There is a significant difference between the two. Sit-in kayaks keep your legs and lower half enclosed in the cockpit. This can serve as a barrier between you and any cold waters or wind. If your boat tips or fills with water, it will be more difficult to manage. For reference, look at the Sun Dolphin Excursion 10-Foot Kayak above. Sit-on-top kayaks, like the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 fishing kayak, leave your legs exposed with plenty of room to stretch out. Water is more likely to get in to your boat, as it is fully open, but the scupper holes allow easy drainage.
Kayak features to consider before making a purchase
If you are unfamiliar with the key features to keep an eye on, the buying guide below will highlight some significant features.
Kayak dimensions and weight
If you’re limited on space, keeping track of the weight and dimensions of your prospective kayak is very important. All kayaks come with different specifications and characteristics, and weight and dimensions are one of them. Some of the best compact and lightest kayaks to purchase are the inflatable ones. For example, the Sea Eagle SE370 Inflatable Sport Kayak Pro Package is one of the lightest and most compact kayaks you’ll find at 32 pounds and 12 feet long. This, when deflated, folds into a small carrying case and can be stored in the trunk of a car. Conversely, if you have a lot of space and don’t mind weight and size restrictions, you can go with a heavier and non-inflatable kayak.
Kayak weight capacity
Depending on how heavy you are, how many people you plan to kayak with, and the amount of gear you plan to bring, you should focus on the weight capacity that your kayak can hold. If you plan to bring more gear with you, consider purchasing a kayak with a capacity of over 400 pounds. Astonishingly, some kayaks can even hold up to 650 pounds. An example of a kayak with this amount of weight capacity is the Sea Eagle SE370 Inflatable Sport Kayak Pro Package. If you don’t plan to bring a lot of weight along with you, you can consider purchasing a kayak with a lower weight capacity like the Sun Dolphin Excursion 10-Foot Sit-in Fishing Kayak capable of holding 250 pounds, which is enough for a single person and some gear.
Do you have frequent back pain? If you require constant or comfortable back support, look into finding a kayak with sturdy back support. This is an especially nice touch on kayaks if you’re planning to take a long trip or spend a whole day on the water. The more back support you have, the better you’ll feel the next morning. For example, the Sevylor Big Basin 3-Person Kayak on our list features phenomenal back support. You can lean back and sit comfortably when rowing. If you’ll just be taking short trips and don’t get a sore back, finding a kayak with exceptional back support won’t affect you as much.
Features for fishing
As long as you plan to use your kayak for fishing, you should consider looking for additional features that are attached to your kayak specialized for fishing. Some of these features include fishing pole rod holders, extra cargo storage, paddle holders, and extra padding. Fishing pole rod holders allow you to have a hands-free fishing experience. All you have to do is hook your rod into the holder after your line is casted and sit back and relax!
Extra cargo storage is perfect for fishers to hold their bait and tackle. Having a corded area to keep your fish and cooler help as well.
Paddle holders are great when you’re ready to cast a line. Instead of lugging your paddle inside your boat, easily hook it to the outside. Extra padding is great for added comfort while lounging around on the open water. One kayak with all four of these included features is the Sun Dolphin Excursion 10-Foot Sit-in Fishing Kayak.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to have a backup, look for kayaks that come with warranties. Warranties ensure you protection against any manufacturers issues that may come along during the warranty period. You can look into individual warranty offers for each kayak you like and determine which has the longest warranty period. Of the above, the Sun Dolphin Excursion 10-Foot Sit-in Fishing Kayak has a lifetime limited warranty. This is great for users who know they’ll be keeping and using their kayak for a long period of time.
There are various tips and tricks you should be aware of when going kayak fishing. These are all based around you having the safest, most enjoyable experience possible.
First of all, always remember to wear a PFD. This can save you from potential life-threatening issues such as drowning or death.
Additionally, be sure to pack a safety bag and bring it with you. This bag can include a rescue whistle, gloves, and a headlamp, and possibly some extra food. All this can save you from potential harm and allow you to get rescued if in danger.
Always carry a first aid kit with you. This can allow you to heal any wounds or pains you get on the trip.
Lastly, bring a portable anchor. This will stop you from drifting away when you find the best location to stay in.
You can put the fish you catch in a cooler. Coolers keep your fish fresh and make it so they won’t rot during your long day in the sun. You should pre-chill your cooler and bring it to a cold temperature by adding a bag of ice in it the night before your trip. Then, right before your trip, replace the ice with a fresh bag. That is the ice your fish will lay on. You can attach your cooler to your kayak in the stern of the boat where there is a cargo space. Cord the cooler down so it stays put while on the move.
A big enough fish can absolutely pull you off your kayak if you catch one. To keep this from happening, beware of your surroundings and keep the appropriate amount of slack in the line when casting. If a big enough fish bites, try to keep it at the front of your kayak. Doing this gives you the most control over both the fish and your boat. Exhaust the fish to the best of your abilities so it tires out fast. Always be aware of your center of gravity and be ready, for an emergency, to cut the line. Things can go bad fast with a large fish, so it’s always important to keep track of everything going on around you.
When going kayak fishing, it is always best to have a fishing rod holder. These let you sit comfortably and relax when sitting around. Also, having fishing rod holders allow you to have extra leverage when fishing. If you don’t have the rod holders, your fishing pole can easily slip out of your hands and then your long day of work would’ve been for nothing. If your fishing kayak does not come with fishing rod holders, you should equip and install your kayak with them before you go fishing.
After a thorough research, we found out that the top three fishing kayaks under $400 were the Sun Dolphin Excursion 10-Foot Sit-in Fishing Kayak, the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak, and the Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak.
Lastly, the third best fishing kayak on this list was the Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak. This kayak had the best weight capacity and high durability, as well as a lightweight material, meaning it’s relatively easy to carry despite it being a tandem kayak.
Hopefully while reading we were able to help guide you to finding the best fishing kayak under $400 for you. Enjoy your days fishing on the water with your new kayak!