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A New Kayak for $500?


Every week, if not every day, the kayaking bug strikes a new angler. Having the ability to get off of the bank without registrations (in most states), no gas to buy, and no winterizing to worry about lures many to try kayak fishing. The question that comes up so frequently it’s almost predictable is, “What kayak should I buy? I want to get into kayak fishing but don’t want to spend a ton of money.”

The vets grin. We know the process. We were all once there. We see it week after week. And just to be clear, we don’t mind the question. It means we have a new brother or sister joining the kayaking ranks soon. It’s a celebratory occasion.

This question prompts other questions from the potential answerers. How much is a ton of money to the asker? How will you be using it? Sit in or Sit on? Tons of questions. The answers help experienced kayakers guide the potential kayakers to the right choice. For today, I want to focus on the money.

More often than not, potential kayakers list $500 as the ceiling. “I want a good one but can’t (or don’t want to) spend more than $500”.  Ok. $500. The problem is that the $500 is for just the kayak. Time to raise the ceiling. You need more than that to be legal on the water. In Texas, you need a PFD and a whistle for daytime paddling. Add a 360 degree light for night trips. If you are buying a kayak for $500, it is going to be the paddling kind, not the pedaling kind so throw in a paddle for your purchase. The $500 ceiling is strained now. The dreams of a new store bought kayak are either fading or your budget is expanding. Let’s sharpen the pencil and look at the breakdown.

With all the things you will need for just daytime kayaking, if you go to a store and buy all the minimum needed gear, your $500 kayak is going to run you just over $650. If you’re set on only spending $500, for all the gear, you are going to have to purchase a kayak for $375 or less.

Maybe you should look at a used kayak. Maybe not. That’ll be a choice you will have to make. Just know that there is more to kayaking than just the kayak.

If you still have questions, shoot me an email. I’d be happy to help point you in the right direction. paynefish@gmail.com
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