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12 Best Fishing Kayaks Under $1,000 for 2023

The sub-$1,000 niche is probably where the most development in fishing kayaks is happening right now. We see major brands compete in this segment, introducing feature-rich, performance-oriented fishing kayaks under $1,000.

With so many models to choose from, how do you find a fishing kayak that best suits your needs? In this article, we have reviewed the most popular models that will dominate the market in 2023. Enjoy!

RELATED: Best Fishing Kayaks: Reviews and Ultimate Buying Guide

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Quick Answer: Best Fishing Kayaks under $1,000

  1. Perception Outlaw 11.5 – Streamlined and great for fly fishing
  2. FeelFree Moken 12.5 V2 – Most feature-rich
  3. Vibe Yellowfin 120 – Great balance of stability and speed
  4. Vibe Sea Ghost 130 – Comes with a rudder, 550 lbs capacity
  5. Crescent LiteTackle – Best paddling performance
  6. Perception Pescador Pro 12 – Ever-popular classic
  7. Old Town Topwater 120 Angler – Awesome build quality, 500 lbs capacity
  8. 3 Waters Kayaks Big Fish 105 – Super stable
  9. FeelFree Lure 10 V2 – The most comfortable seat on the market
  10. Wilderness Systems Tarpon 105 – Best throw and go kayak
  11. Native Ultimate 12 – Very lightweight and fast
  12. Pelican Catch PWR 100 – Motor-ready fishing kayak for under $1K

Comparison table: 12 Best Fishing Kayaks Under $1,000

ModelSpecsWhere to Buy
Perception Outlaw 11.5 fishing kayak
Perception Outlaw 11.5
Size: 11’6” x 35”
Weight: 77 lb
Capacity: 425 lb
FeelFree Moken 12.5 V2 fishing kayak
FeelFree Moken 12.5 V2
Size: 12’6” x 32”
Weight: 85 lb
Capacity: 400 lb
Eco Fishing Shop
Vibe Yellowfin 120 fishing kayak
Vibe Yellowfin 120
Size: 12′ x 33”
Weight: 65 lb
Capacity: 400 lb
Electric Surf Sports
Vibe Seaghost 130
Vibe Sea Ghost 130
Size: 13′ x 33”
Weight: 75 lbs
Capacity: 550 lb
Crescent LiteTackle
Crescent LiteTackle
Size: 12’4″ x 34”
Weight: 75 lb
Capacity: 450 lb
Perception Pescador Pro 12
Perception Pescador Pro 12
Size: 12′ x 32.5”
Weight: 64 lb
Capacity: 375 lb
Old Town Topwater 120 fishing kayak
Old Town Topwater 120 Angler
Size: 12′ x 33.5”
Weight: 82 lb
Capacity: 500 lb
Eco Fishing Shop
3 Waters Big Fish 105 kayak
3 Waters Kayaks Big Fish 105
Size: 10’6″ x 33.5”
Weight: 89 lbs
Capacity: 380 lb

Eco Fishing Shop
FeelFree Lure 10 V2 kayak
FeelFree Lure 10 V2
Size: 10’ x 34”
Weight: 77 lbs
Capacity: 375 lb
Eco Fishing Shop
Wilderness Systems Tarpon 105
Wilderness Systems Tarpon 105
Size: 10’6” x 32”
Weight: 55 lbs
Capacity: 325 lb
Native Ultimate 12 kayak
Native Ultimate 12
Size: 12’1” x 30”
Weight: 49 lbs
Capacity: 350 lb
Native Watercraft
Pelican Catch PWR 100 motorized kayak
Pelican Catch PWR 100
Size: 9’9” x 39.8”
Weight: 75 lb
Capacity: 450 lb
Bass Pro Shops
WHY TRUST US: Here at Paddlingspace.com, we spend more time on the water than we do in the office. We paddle, kayak fish, and camp as often as we can, so we know exactly what kayakers and kayak anglers need. Each year, we independently research, review, and rate the best kayaks, canoes, and paddling gear. Our experts analyze hundreds of products to find out key differences, pros, and cons of each product. We only make money from ads or if you purchase through our links. No sponsored posts or biased reviews here, period.

Our Reviews of the Best Fishing Kayaks Under $1,000

Perception Outlaw 11.5 – Streamlined and great for fly fishing

Perception Outlaw 11.5 fishing kayak under $1,000

Length: 11’6” (351 cm)
Width: 35” (89 cm)
Weight: 77 lb (35 kg)
Capacity: 425 lb (193 kg)

Perception Outlaw 11.5 offers solid stability, a high, comfortable seat, and a walkable open deck, all at an attractive price.

The Outlaw 11.5 is 11’6″ (351 cm) long and has a comfortable 35″ (89 cm) beam. At 77 lbs (35 kg), it is not the lightest in our roundup but still totally manageable. Molded carrying handles on the bow and the stern as well as two side handles make transportation and handling much easier.

The kayak can carry up to 425 lb (193 kg), which is more than enough for an average-sized angler and a reasonable amount of fishing and camping gear.

The Outlaw 11.5 is excellent for those that value simplicity and a hassle-free, snag-free fishing experience. It would make a great fly fishing kayak thanks to its stability and walkable open deck.

The kayak features bow and stern tankwells, a transducer scupper, three recesses for 1.5″ Solo Mount bases, two gear tracks that double as carry handles, and two “double barrel” rod holders.

A distinctive feature of the Outlaw 11.5 is a very high seating position, a full 16” (41 cm) above the bottom of the boat! This is great for sight fishing and makes it much easier to stand up and sit back down. However, in choppy waters and strong winds, a lower paddling position would be great for paddling performance and overall stability.

The seat itself has a high back and is pretty comfortable. The mesh material provides great airflow and dries quickly. You can also remove the seat and replace it with a 35-liter cooler for SUP-like experience.

Perception Outlaw 11.5 is ideal for anglers that do a lot of stand-up fishing in calm waters.

Perception Outlaw 11.5 is ideal for anglers that do a lot of stand-up fishing in calm waters. It is an excellent fly fishing platform. It’s not the fastest or the most maneuverable boat around, but what it lacks in the speed department, it makes up for with rock-solid stability.

FeelFree Moken 12.5 V2 – Most feature-rich

FeelFree Moken 12.5 V2 fishing kayak

Length: 12’6” (381 cm)
Width: 32” (81.3 cm)
Weight: 85 lb (38.5 kg)
Capacity: 400 lb (181 kg)

Want to take your fishing trips to the next level? That’s what FeelFree Moken 12.5 V2 is designed to do. 

At 12’ 6” (381 cm) long and 32” (81.3 cm) wide, the Moken 12.5 V2 is not a small boat. It weighs 85 lb (38.5 kg), so you’d better be prepared to do some heavy lifting or get a friend to help. That said, the molded handles and FeelFree’s patented Wheel in the Keel system do make transportation much easier.

FeelFree Moken 12.5 V2 features rod tip protectors, a removable Sonar Pod, and an adjustable EZ Rider seat. A large, lockable hatch on the bow opens access to in-hull storage, which is great on longer trips. The accessory rails on each side will let you install any accessories or electronics you may need on the water.

The EZ Rider seat features two high positions (forward and back) plus one low position. It might be one of the most comfortable seats in this price segment.

The Moken 12.5 V2 has adjustable footrests and is rudder-ready.

While the Moken’s primary stability isn’t stellar, it compensates that with solid secondary stability, which makes it great for choppy waters. The long hull with a pronounced keel on the bow and stern provides excellent speed and tracking performance.

The Moken 12.5 will shine on larger bodies of water where you need to go far and may have to battle waves and winds.

Vibe Yellowfin 120 – Great balance of stability and speed

Vibe Yellowfin 120 fishing kayak under 1000

Length: 12 ft (365 cm)
Width: 33” (84 cm)
Weight: 65 lb (29.5 kg)
Capacity: 400 lb (181.4 kg)

If you fish on larger lakes, take a look at Vibe Yellowfin 120 (there’s also a shorter model, the Yellowfin 100).

Vibe Yellowfin 120 is 12’ (366 cm) long and 33” (84 cm) wide. The kayak weighs 65 lbs (29.5 kg) without the seat, which means it is relatively lightweight. It can carry up to 400 lb (181.4 kg).

The boat features bow and stern tank wells, adjustable footrests, tackle box compartments, a small day hatch, and a total of 10 gear tracks for your accessories. The framed seat is padded but does not offer high/low positions.

Vibe Yellowfin 120 offers a well-balanced combination of stability and speed. The pronounced keel goes from bow to stern, so the kayak tracks well and pierces the waves. On the flip side, it’s not the most agile boat around.

Vibe Yellowfin 120 comes pre-rigged for a rudder (a rudder kit is sold separately). The rudder is tow-controlled and adds another level of maneuverability, especially in rough waters.

Vibe Sea Ghost 130 – Comes with a rudder, 550 lbs capacity

Vibe Sea Ghost 130 fishing kayak

Length: 13 ft (396.2 cm)
Width: 33″ (83.8 cm)
Weight: 75 lbs (34 kg)
Capacity: 550 lbs (249.5 kg)

At 13′ (396.2 cm) long, the Vibe Sea Ghost 130 is one of the longest fishing kayaks you can buy for $1,000. This kayak has a beam of 33” (83.8 cm) and weighs 75 lbs (34 kg), so it’s not the easiest boat to load on and off your vehicle alone. Also, you might need a kayak cart to get it to and from the water.

However, with that size comes an impressive capacity of 550 lbs (249.5 kg) – the best in our roundup. If you’re a bigger person or need to carry a lot of gear, the Vibe Sea Ghost 130 should definitely be on your shortlist.

The kayak features a large dry storage hatch on the bow, a clever central console, a transducer scupper, plenty of gear tracks for your accessories, tackle box trays, flush-mount rod holders, and a sizeable rear tankwell for your milk crate or cooler. There’s also a replaceable skid plate to protect the keel when dragging.

The Sea Ghost’s Hero seat has high and low positions and can be removed from the boat for use as a camping chair. It is made from a breathable mesh fabric that dries quickly. The seat does not slide fore and aft like on some higher-end kayaks, but still provides great comfort and functionality.

Vibe Sea Ghost 130 also comes with a rudder, which is great at this price point.

Performance-wise, the Vibe Sea Ghost 130 is all about speed, tracking, and stability. Its sharp keel pierces through waves, while the tapered stern minimizes the drag. The Sea Ghost 130 will be at home on large bodies of water where winds and waves are not uncommon.

While longer kayaks naturally tend to be less maneuverable in tighter places, the included rudder does help a lot, so you won’t have to struggle too much. However, the shorter, lighter Vibe Sea Ghost 110 will be a better choice for those situations – if you agree to give up some speed and capacity.

Crescent LiteTackle – Best paddling performance

Crescent LiteTackle

Length: 12’4” (375.9 cm)
Width: 34” (86.3 cm)
Weight: 75 lbs (34 kg)
Capacity: 450 lbs (204.1 kg)

Crescent LiteTackle has made quite a splash in the kayak angling world. Designed by kayak anglers for kayak anglers, the LiteTackle offers great paddling performance, lots of storage space, and a clean, minimalist deck layout.

The boat is 12’4” (375.9 cm) long and 34” (86.3 cm) wide, so it’s a pretty big kayak. The LiteTackle tips the scales at 75 lbs (34 kg), so most adults will be able to cartop and handle this kayak without too much effort.

With an overall capacity of 450 lbs (204.1 kg), the LiteTackle offers lots of room to store gear. The oversized bow hatch is fairly watertight and opens access to in-hull storage where you can put your rods, extra paddle, or camping gear. The rear tankwell will accommodate a 55-gallon cooler or a large dry bag, so you can really load it up as long as you stay within its capacity limits.

The seat is comfortable but does not have high/low positions. The only position is pretty low, which makes it a little harder to stand up and sit back down. If you plan to do a lot of stand-up fishing, Crescent sells a seat riser for LiteTackle that gives you an additional 5” of height.

In terms of performance, Crescent LiteTackle is considered to be one of the best “paddling” kayaks available. It offers superb speed, tracking, and stability. It is a pleasure to paddle and will help you go farther and faster.

Perception Pescador Pro 12.0

Perception Pescador Pro 12

Length: 12 ft (365 cm)
Width: 32.5” (82 cm)
Weight: 64 lb (29 kg)
Capacity: 375 lb (170 kg)

The Perception Pescador Pro 12 demonstrates great performance in all sorts of conditions. 

This kayak is 12′ (365 cm) long with a 32.5″ (82 cm) beam and 14.5″ (37 cm) deck height. Its weight of 64 lbs makes it relatively easy to load it onto the car roof rack or the truck bed

Perception Pescador Pro 12.0 features a stadium-style seat with high and low positions, a fishfinder-ready central pod, YakAttack gear tracks, bow and stern tank wells, flush-mount rod holders, adjustable footrests, and a replaceable skid plate that protects the keel.

The Pescador Pro 12 has a maximum capacity of 375 lbs, which is not stellar but enough for an average-sized angler with a moderate amount of fishing gear. 

With a longer hull and sharp bow, this 12-footer is great when you need to cover long distances, especially in choppy waters or when the wind picks up. It is quite fast and tracks well.

The 32.5-inch beam provides ample stability when you are seated, but the Pescador Pro 12 is probably not the best platform for stand-up fishing.

If you mostly fish in tight places or on small, meandering rivers, you might want to consider the shorter variant of Pescador Pro, the Pescador Pro 10.0.

Old Town Topwater 120 Angler

Old Town Topwater 120 Angler

Length: 12 ft (365 cm)
Width: 33.5” (85.1 cm)
Weight: 82 lb (37.2 kg)
Capacity: 500 lb (226.8 kg)

Looking for lots of stability and capacity in a relatively compact package? The Old Town Topwater 120 Angler may be just what you need.

This kayak is 12’ (3.7 m) long with a 33.5 in (85.1 cm) beam, so it’s not overly wide for a 12-footer. However, at 82 lbs (37.2 kg), the Topwater 120 is heavier than many boats in this roundup. 

The extra weight is due to more volume that this kayak has, which also translates into higher capacity.

Old Town Topwater 120 is the only 12-ft kayak in this review that is rated for 500 lbs (226.8 kg). Big boys out there, this is your boat!

The Topwater 120 comes loaded with features. You get a universal fishfinder mounting system that does not involve any drilling, a very comfortable frame seat with high/low positions, a watertight bow hatch, two gear tracks, three flush-mount rod holders, adjustable footrests, EVA deck pads, tackle storage, and rudder-readiness.

Old Town Topwater 120 will not win any races, but speed is not what people buy it for. If capacity, stability, and comfort are on your top priority list, it might be the right boat for you.

There’s also a shorter model, Old Town Topwater 106, which is a little lighter (73 lbs vs. 82 lbs) but still offers a generous capacity of 440 lbs.

3 Waters Kayaks Big Fish 105

3 Waters Kayaks Big Fish 105 fishing kayak costs less than 1,000 dollars

Length: 10’6″ (317.5 cm)
Width: 33.5” (85.1 cm)
Weight: 89 lbs (40.3 kg)
Capacity: 380 lbs (172.1 kg)

3 Waters Big Fish 105 is a shorter boat that packs a lot of value. At 10.5 ft (317.5 cm) in length and 33.5” (85.1 cm) wide, it offers excellent stability, a super comfortable seat, a sonar pod, gear tracks, rod tip protectors, and even deck padding to improve traction and dampen the noise.

The cathedral tri-hull not only moves buoyancy to the sides to improve stability but also helps with speed and tracking. The seat has three height positions (high, low, reclined) and can be flipped up and out of the way to create a large standing area.

The open bow and stern tank wells provide plenty of storage space. The overall capacity of the boat is 380 lbs (172.1 kg), so an average-sized angler can take along quite a lot of gear.

The boat weighs 89 lbs (40.3 kg), so don’t expect to throw it on top of your car easily.

3 Waters Big Fish 105 is rudder-ready. The beaver tail rudder kit is sold separately.

The Big Fish 105 is not a fast kayak, so its best use is stand-up fishing on small lakes and ponds. There’s a larger model, the Big Fish 120, which offers more storage space and legroom but not much in terms of extra capacity (400 lbs vs. 380 lbs for the Big Fish 105).

FeelFree Lure 10 V2

FeelFree Lure 10 V2

Length: 10’ (304 cm)
Width: 34” (86.7 cm)
Weight: 77 lbs (34.9 kg)
Capacity: 375 lbs (170 kg)

FeelFree Lure 10 V2 is a compact fishing kayak that prioritizes comfort. This kayak is perfect for day trips on smaller bodies of water. Load up your rods, hop into the adjustable Gravity Seat, and enjoy your day.

At 10’ (304 cm) long and 34” (86.7 cm) wide, FeelFree Lure 10 is easy to store, handle, and transport, even when you’re alone. It weighs 77 lbs (34.9 kg), so it’s a pretty hefty 10-footer. Still, an average adult should be able to cartop it without too much trouble. Four sturdy molded handles make this task even easier. With the patented Wheel in the Keel, you won’t have any problems dragging the kayak to and from the water, either.

FeelFree Lure 10 V2 has a total capacity of 375 lbs (170 kg), which is great for its size. With a total legroom of 44” (111.76 cm), any angler can fit comfortably in this kayak.

The Lure 10’s most prominent feature is its Gravity Seat. This cushioned seat has as many as 10 height positions, going up and down as much as 10” (25.4 cm).

With that kind of adjustability, anyone will find the perfect position for fishing or paddling. The standard backrest is not very high but FeelFree sells a higher backrest as an option.

Other features include in-hull storage accessible via a large dry hatch on the bow, a removable sonar pod, adjustable footrests, padded reinforced deck for comfortable standing, gear tracks, flush-mount rod holders, and a large stern tankwell. The Lure 10.5 is also rudder ready.

If you like the Lure model but want more length for a wider range of conditions, there are Lure 11.5 V2 and Lure 13.5 V2. Those models, however, exceed the $1,000 budget that we focus on here.

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 105

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 105 fishing kayak

Length: 10’6” (320 cm)
Width: 32” (81 cm)
Weight: 55 lbs (25 kg)
Capacity: 325 lbs (147 kg)

Sea, lake, river or pond, the Tarpon series from Wilderness Systems sets the standard in versatility. The smallest model of the line, the Tarpon 105, is a mix of superior performance and modern comfort that continues the Tarpon legacy.

The Tarpon 105 is 10’6” (320 cm) long and 32” (81 cm) wide. At 55 lbs (25 kg), it is lighter than many 10-footers in this roundup. The low weight and four beefy plastic handles make it easy to transport and handle this kayak.

The Tarpon 105’s maximum capacity is 325 lbs (147 kg), which means it’s geared towards smaller to medium anglers and those who like to go light. Note that for best performance, it is generally advised not to exceed 80 percent of the kayak’s stated capacity, so the usable capacity is even less (about 260 lbs or 118 kg).

Features include a storage hatch on the bow, a paddle holder, a dry box for your phone and keys, tackle storage trays, gear tracks on both sides, adjustable footrests, and a decent-size stern tankwell with a mesh cover.

Unlike many models in this review, the Tarpon 105 does not have a frame seat with height adjustability. Wilderness Systems opted for a more traditional seat design with an adjustable backrest, which is plenty comfortable nonetheless. It even has leg raisers in the bottom cushion, which is more typical for touring kayaks.

Performance-wise, this small boat is as agile and fun to paddle as any 10-footer. It also offers a good mix of primary and secondary stability, so you will feel comfortable both on calm and choppy waters.

It is not the quickest kayak around (check out the longer Tarpon 120 if you need more speed), but it’s faster than many boats of the same size.

Native Ultimate 12

Native Ultimate 12 fishing kayak/canoe

Length: 12’1” (368 cm) 
Width: 30” (76 cm)
Weight: 49 lbs (22 kg)
Capacity: 350 lbs (159 kg)

With its canoe-like design and super-clean layout, Native Ultimate 12 definitely stands out from the crowd. It is decidedly light on features, but what it lacks in bells and whistles, it makes up for in terms of performance and stability.

At 12’1” (368 cm) long and 30” (76 cm) wide, Native Ultimate 12 boasts a fully-rigged weight of only 49 lbs (22 kg). This makes it the lightest 12-footer in our review. The total capacity is 350 lbs (159 kg), which should be enough for most hunting and fishing trips with a reasonable amount of gear.

The Ultimate 12’s Tunnel Hull design creates a very low center of gravity when you stand up, so the kayak is incredibly stable. When seated, you’re also very comfortable thanks to the adjustable frame seat. The seat moves fore and aft, allowing you to trim the boat. There’s also a storage tray underneath it.

Features include an anchor trolley along the starboard side (a surprising choice given the minimalistic design, but a very useful feature anyway), adjustable footrests, two gear tracks, sturdy plastic carrying handles, and flat spots on both sides of the seat where you can mount accessories.

Foam inserts on the bow and stern provide buoyancy in case the boat gets flooded, while molded thwarts improve its rigidity and act as extra mounting points for various gear items.

Unexpectedly, Native Ultimate 12 is rudder-ready. Adding a toe-controlled rudder will bring it to the next level of maneuverability and tracking, especially in the wind. Note, however, that rudder kits tend to be quite expensive, so do some research if you plan to add one.

Pelican Catch PWR 100

Pelican Catch PWR 100

Length: 12’1” (368 cm) 
Width: 30” (76 cm)
Weight: 49 lbs (22 kg)
Capacity: 350 lbs (159 kg)

How about a kayak that can take a trolling motor or even a 2.5hp gas motor? If you thought that this was the realm of high-end, super-expensive fishing kayaks, Pelican Catch PWR 100 will prove you wrong. With the MSRP of $999.99, this kayak packs a lot of value.

Pelican Catch PWR 100 is 9’9” (297 cm) long and as much as 39.75” (101 cm) wide. At 75 lb (34 kg), it is actually pretty lightweight if you consider how wide it is.

The total capacity is 450 lb (204 kg). Note that this includes the battery, motor, and all your fishing gear, but you still should have enough for yourself. The swivel seat supports up to 300 lb (136 kg), so even bigger guys should be OK.

Pelican Catch PWR 100’s most prominent feature is, of course, the stern transom that can accommodate an electric trolling motor or even a small gas motor (up to 2.5 HP).

The kayak is pre-wired for an electric motor, allowing you to store your battery in the front compartment and easily connect it to the motor in the back.

The swivel seat lets you face in any direction. It also slides fore and aft, letting you trim the boat for best performance.

Other features include five beefy carrying handles (the side ones come with integrated accessory rails), multiple storage compartments along the gunwales, a transducer scupper, anti-slip deck padding, four flush-mount rod holders, a tow eyelet on the bow, and a rear tankwell that can take a milk crate or a cooler.

The tunnel hull design puts a lot of buoyancy on the sides and provides rock-solid stability. Combined with the considerable width, it will let you stand up, fish, and sit back down easily.


We hope our guide helped you narrow down your search for a perfect fishing kayak under $1,000. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below and we’ll try our best to answer them.

Alex Buchnev

Alex Buchnev

Alex loves kayaking, fishing, and all things outdoors. When he's not out there in the wild, he's probably typing away at his laptop or trying to be the world's best father for his two lovely daughters.

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