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I'm looking into buying a kayak for fishing some no wake lakes in my area. My goal is to stay under $300. What are some suggestions?

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This is a tough one. Bc kayaks under 300 retail are made from a plastic not as reliable as the more expensive ones. Also it doesn’t have to be a “fishing kayak”, you can get a normal yak and add a Milk crate in the back and customize it to your liking. My advise would be to check facebook market and craigslist. If you do go that route go with a friend, never go alone. Best of luck!

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Save your pennies and look for used options. You’re gonna be severely disappointed in a $300 kayak. 

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I agree with both responses, I bought one like you are talking about because I just had to have one.  It has done nothing but sit in my shed taking up space and collecting dust.  For one I am a big guy and what it was rated for weight wise was a big old lie, second it is very uncomfortable to sit in for long periods of time.  Do yourself a favor and don't rush into a cheap one, you will be saving yourself a hassle and money in the long run!

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I agree with all the responses above. You should save up of look for something used. 

 

However, there is a new cheap fishing kayak called the Lifetime Teton Angler. I've seen it on sale at Dick's for $300. It looks like an interesting budget kayak. 

 

You could also look at the LL Bean Manatee Solo. They sometimes go on sale for 20% off. You could put a crate in the back of that with rod holders. I'm not a big fan of sit inside kayaks because they are a pain if you flip, but some people like them. It's made by Perception.

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In order to see if I was going to like kayak fishing, I spent $250 on an el cheapo sit-on-top at a sporting goods box and have enjoyed every minute in it.  Boats at this price point seem largely the same.  Keep your receipt in case it leaks.  Wallyworld has a few decent looking starter boats this year.

That said, I am now shopping for a bigger, better boat but hey, now I will have one for a guest.

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31 minutes ago, BoatSquirrel said:

In order to see if I was going to like kayak fishing, I spent $250 on an el cheapo sit-on-top at a sporting goods box and have enjoyed every minute in it.  Boats at this price point seem largely the same.  Keep your receipt in case it leaks.  Wallyworld has a few decent looking starter boats this year.

That said, I am now shopping for a bigger, better boat but hey, now I will have one for a guest.

This is flawed logic.  Even though you liked it, most would be setting themselves up for failure by getting an uncomfortable cheap kayak that would eventually be sold or upgraded.  Name brand kayaks hold their value much better if you needed to sell.  Demoing or renting a kayak is a better way to see if you like fishing from one.

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2 minutes ago, Allen Der said:

This is flawed logic.  Even though you liked it, most would be setting themselves up for failure by getting an uncomfortable cheap kayak that would eventually be sold or upgraded.  Name brand kayaks hold their value much better if you needed to sell.  Demoing or renting a kayak is a better way to see if you like fishing from one.

What do you have against cheap kayaks? I did the same as boat squirrel and bought a 10' Lifetime tamarack kayak for under $200. It tracks well, its very comfortable to fish out of, I can even stand up and fish out of it on flat water. There are nice kayaks in this price range if you look for them, and like boatsquirrel said, even if you upgrade down the road, you have a spare boat for a friend to take out with you. Even though I don't get the opportunity to take it out as much as I would like, The boat I bought was probably the best fishing purchase I've made.

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6 minutes ago, Allen Der said:

This is flawed logic.  Even though you liked it, most would be setting themselves up for failure by getting an uncomfortable cheap kayak that would eventually be sold or upgraded.  Name brand kayaks hold their value much better if you needed to sell.  Demoing or renting a kayak is a better way to see if you like fishing from one.

Lets evaluate some logic here:

First, my cheap kayak is quite comfortable and I can huck in and out of the truck bed easily.

Second, it will not be sold.

Third, the majority of people in this country do not live near a kayak dealer who rents or demos kayaks.

And finally, professor, if my cheap boat lasts 2 years, it will be money well spent.  Oh look, it has already lasted that long!  Woohoo!

Man do I love logic!  And tacos!

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2 hours ago, BoatSquirrel said:

Lets evaluate some logic here:

First, my cheap kayak is quite comfortable and I can huck in and out of the truck bed easily.

Second, it will not be sold.

Third, the majority of people in this country do not live near a kayak dealer who rents or demos kayaks.

And finally, professor, if my cheap boat lasts 2 years, it will be money well spent.  Oh look, it has already lasted that long!  Woohoo!

Man do I love logic!  And tacos!

I have a cheap and expensive kayaks.  I guess ignorance is bliss for you guys if you think they are comfortable.

 

Most of the country lives near a city and most cities have kayak dealers or places to rent them.  There's at least four dealers I know of within an hour of Chicago.   Dick's and Walmart aren't the only places to buy kayaks

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20 hours ago, KentuckyBlueBass said:

I'm looking into buying a kayak for fishing some no wake lakes in my area. My goal is to stay under $300. What are some suggestions?

Unlike some of the people who have responded so far, I believe there are some great kayaks in terms of value in the $200-300 range. I used to work in a retail store that sold a lot of entry level kayaks. We would get new models every season - and they seem to be getting better and better.

 

The Kayak I purchased after a year of selling it in the store and researching it online, was the Lifetime Tamarack Angler. This kayak goes by many names if you look it up online: tamarack angler 100, tamarack angler 120, muskie angler, etc. Despite the different names, they are the same boat (100 refers to 10ft, 120 refers to 120 inches- which is also 10ft Lol) . If you look up this boat on YouTube or just the internet in general, you will see it is very popular: and for good reason! It's a great value for the money! 

 

One thing I would consider when picking out a kayak is your height/weight. Most kayaks in this range are 10 footers which can be small to some people. I am 5'8" 180lbs and I fit very well in my tamarack angler. I'd say if you're 5'10/11+ and over 200 you should at least look into bigger boats and probably even sit in one even if it is just in the store, (if you ask in a store, usually the associates are happy to help you).

 

Based solely on my experience with the kayaks I've worked with I'd order the quality of the "Cheap Kayaks" in this order.

1. Lifetime - the boats tend to have better features and more consistent build quality than other brands in this class from what I've experienced. The stealth series seem to be nice kayaks and someone mentioned on this thread the Teton angler, which in my opinion looks like a great option at it's price point, I'd look at that one if I was in the market for a new one.

 

2. Everyone else

 

3. Sun dolphin - ok, so there's nothing horrible about the sun dolphin Aruba Sit inside kayaks ( probably the most widely sold kayak among retail stores) it's simple, fine, cheaply made, but gets one on the water and are easily available. I have no problem selling one to an individual that just want to paddle around the lake. But when it comes to their sit on top kayaks, boy are they BAD. The Journey SS (fishing model) and Bali models track so poorly you might as well be paddling a bathtub. I've used them multiple occasions, no joke it's an art NOT to paddle in circles - avoid at all costs. Not to mention that this was the brand we experienced the most returns due to dents/pieces breaking/little things. For fishing, don't get a dolphin. I could see how if someone used a boat like this it could condemn them into thinking all cheap kayaks are this bad, trust me they are not.

 

I wish you luck in finding your fishing kayak, feel free to respond or PM me if you have any specific questions, as entry level kayaks are one of the very few things I feel I have enough knowledge/experience with to have a valuable opinion on. I think you will be very happy with your purchase and find it  is money well spent when you settle on a kayak - a 200 baitcasting reel might get you 20 extra feet to fish with over your existing reel; but a 200 kayak opens up endless amounts of new waters to explore.

 

 

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6 hours ago, BoatSquirrel said:

 

Thanks for the replies. If it helps, I'm a small guy, 5'10 165 lbs, so that shouldn't be a problem. Will definitely be looking into the lifetime tamarack.

 

Sorry for the wierd formatting, no clue what I did there.

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Earlier this year I picked up an Eagle Talon from DSG for $320.  It was on sale for $400 and I had a 20% off coupon that was good on anything.  It's not too great but not too bad.  The tracking so far is questionable in open water.  Otherwise, it has been a lot of fun so far.   

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I think the Lifetime Teton I mentioned is an updated version of the Lifetime Tamarak. I think the only difference is the Teton has an updated removable seat that people say is very comfortable. There are tons of videos on the Tamarak and most people upgrade the seat. I think Lifetime wisely responded buy upgrading it themselves. 

 

Good luck in your search and don't forget a PFD!

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5 hours ago, Crankin4Bass said:

I think the Lifetime Teton I mentioned is an updated version of the Lifetime Tamarak. I think the only difference is the Teton has an updated removable seat that people say is very comfortable. There are tons of videos on the Tamarak and most people upgrade the seat. I think Lifetime wisely responded buy upgrading it themselves. 

 

Good luck in your search and don't forget a PFD!

I'd agree that the Teton is probably the successor to the tamarack, but I'm not sure it's the same boat with a few upgrades. If you look at the shape of the boat it looks more like a new design compete with some of the more mainstream smaller kayaks such as the perception pescador or some of the smaller Wilderness yaks. I haven't seen the Teton in person yet so I can't speak to the hull design but if I'm speculating, I'd imagine it paddles almost as well as the tamarack does, while being a little more stable. I will say that the Teton has some very attractive features for a boat in the price range like the seat and accessory rails.  

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I picked up a Teton yesterday. My buddy got 2 and my brother will have one by the weekend. There are spots we wade that have way more real estate than we can reach working out from the shoreline. There are dropoffs and muck that'll suck you down fast. Casting from the shore in these spots is impossible as they're ringed with trees. This size kayak is the perfect solution. Trolleys will get us down the long paths through the woods with ease as these only weigh 53lbs. The seat seems quite comfortable to me. I think it'll be just fine. I'm definitely adding outriggers with floats so I'm able to stand and so I don't dump when I'm hauling in a donk. Youtubers have done a bunch of nifty mods to this platform. The Minibar/Hibachi mod is my fave. Anyway, I'm glad to have it for skinny water that's tough to impossible to fish by other means.

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Some good advise here. I having never been in a kayak before, much less fished from one, I found a good used Heritage 12’ on facebook market place, only 25 miles from the house, with extras for $350. Needed a bigger one cause I’m no lite weight. Been fun fishing out of it. Hope to upgrade someday. Retired an lovin it.

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Check out YouTube and search for kayaks under $500. I know it’s over budget but they show some in your range. Headwaters kayak does a great video where he goes and buys the box store units and demos them for his review. Remember that you still need a paddle if they don’t already come with one. 

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On 6/6/2019 at 6:10 AM, KentuckyBlueBass said:

I'm looking into buying a kayak for fishing some no wake lakes in my area. My goal is to stay under $300. What are some suggestions?

I think the budget for the fishing kayak is kinda low, but if you extent a bit I think Sun Dolphin would be great choice under budget! 

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I would keep an eye out for used boats and go from there.  If you continue to save up as you are looking, you also may have your budget increased as well.  Don't forget to factor in a PFD and paddle into your budget as well.

 

 

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I have to chime in with my experience. I have the Lifetime Tahoma which is the same as the Tamarack without the rod holders and extra back hatch. I added some homemade outriggers and now i have a rock steady kayak for about $300. When I bought the Tahoma, it was about $60 cheaper than the Tamarack. But lately, the Tamarack price has come down at Walmart and is only $10 to $20 more. If I had to do it again, I'd go the Tamarack route. But overall I have no regrets. I was initially worried by the same people that said that cheap kayaks are not comfortable and cannot be fished out of all day. But so far, my cheap yak has been perfect for me.

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All good advice here. From both sides of the cost/quality debate.

 

I am fishing out of a Lifetime Tamarack, too. At 10ft and 48lbs (base) -and $300- it suits my current needs: small waters, sometimes some walking involved, and fishing by myself. I'm 6', 150, and fit is fine.

 

As to handling: It's a stable little boat, but not for standing and fishing. Standing up to survey water -fine. It tracks and maneuvers well. Is plenty fast for my waters (under 100acres). Is no work at all to "make tracks" by paddling.

 

Quality/Durability: Being a blow-molded PE kayak, it is at some risk of puncture or cracking, esp in cold weather. I'm careful with it, esp when transporting, so I am OK with the risk. It's also light enough I can handle it alone, even when tired, so it won't likely be falling off the truck roof while loading/unloading. If I were running rocky rapids in cold weather... I probably wouldn't with this boat.

 

Fishability: AOK, but... I expect more out of my craft. So, I probably spent as much on mods for fishability as I did the basic boat.

 

The need to upgrade?: Upgrading would involve being able to stand and fish, and handle larger rougher waters. Both require larger boats, so portability gets more involved here. As things stand, no need to upgrade.

 

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I fished out of a 9' sit-in for a lot of years until it got stolen then changed to a 10' fishing SOT Perception Pescador.  I only fish places I can't get to in my real boat with the kayak such as rivers, creeks and ponds.  I wear my tackle box and only bring an ice chest with lunch and beer.  Usually only one rod but sometimes, if I'm not on real rough water, I'll bring two.  If I could trade my latest for the first I would as it's about 20 lbs lighter and more nimble where I go in the rapids.

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On 6/6/2019 at 1:30 PM, BoatSquirrel said:

In order to see if I was going to like kayak fishing, I spent $250 on an el cheapo sit-on-top at a sporting goods box and have enjoyed every minute in it.  Boats at this price point seem largely the same.  Keep your receipt in case it leaks.  Wallyworld has a few decent looking starter boats this year.

That said, I am now shopping for a bigger, better boat but hey, now I will have one for a guest.

Agreed, I have been enjoying my cheapo Pelican for the past few years. $300 is a tight budget, but between deals and used the OP should be able to get something that will get them floating. I got my first fishing kayak for $250, and still use it today. Here is a link to a video I made about the kayak and the mods I have done to it: 

 

 

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On 6/6/2019 at 5:55 PM, wisconsin heat said:

a 200 baitcasting reel might get you 20 extra feet to fish with over your existing reel; but a 200 kayak opens up endless amounts of new waters to explore.

After recently purchasing my first kayak a cheap pelican sit inside from Costco I couldn't be happier. Sure there are more expensive better kayaks out there but they are bigger, heavier, etc. I wanted something light, portable, and decently priced to access area otherwise unaccessible. The pelican does just that. 

 

And to my surprise it's decent for a big guy. Rated to 300lbs and holds me at 290 plus gear just fine. I use it in small lakes and ponds with low wind, its not a fast rapids, ocean type boat. Common sense goes a long way. 

 

It's much like the comment above. Ugly stick vs St Croix vs gloomis. In this case the ugly stick works just fine for its intended purpose. 

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