After asking for input on recommended kayaks under $600, the walls opened up and an outpouring of models came to the forefront. Three of these were heard time and time again so I wanted to present them to you as a follow up. You guys are full of great info and while I haven't paddled these kayaks listed below, they received overwhelming support yesterday and today. Please keep in mind weight capacities when looking at kayaks, especially those at lower prices. If the weight capacity is listed at 350 pounds, I wouldn't recommend it to someone over 200. With weight capacities, a good rule of thumb is to take off 25% of the listed value. If you and your gear are under that, you should be good. The closer you get to that number, the more water that will come in through the scuppers. You can add scupper plugs but that will keep water from draining out and can in some cases reduce stability.
1. BPS Ascend FS12T- $399 (Limited Time)
"The ultra-stable hull of the FS12T handles almost effortlessly, making it ideal for fishing. To make it perform even better on the water, we packed it full of comfort and performance features. The FS12T starts with an advanced hull design that utilizes an extended keep with performance rocker and strakes to deliver the maneuverability, tracking, stability, and easy paddling fishermen want to get to their favorite spots quickly. A large open cockpit area includes the ergonomic Adjustable Cushioned Seating System for comfort, five-position foot rests, deep position cup holder, large catch-all tray big enough for a standard-sized tackle box, and other work areas. The FS12T's dual flush mount rod holders make transporting rod and reel combos easy, while the fully adjustable, light tackle rod tender holds your rod with 360º of horizontal adjustment and vertical rod tip adjustment. The large 18'' x 10'' dry storage hatch in the bow provides storage for dry bags and other gear. Dual quick hold bungee paddlekeepers let you set your paddle down for a quick rest or a quick cast. Built-in multipurpose sternwell gives you a convenient storage space large enough for a five gallon bucket, dry bag, or other gear with a built-in bungee to secure your gear. There are multiple drain holes in the sternwell and footwell areas. At the end of the day, the threaded and sealed drain plug allows you to quickly drain excess water, while the four molded-over rubber grip handles make carrying the kayak easier. "- from Bass Pro
BPS is running a special for the next couple of days. Normally this kayak is $499.
2. Perception Scout 12- $479
"The Perception Sport Scout 12' Kayak features an open profile for easy entry and exiting with easy access to gear, and a CSS seating system that holds up to 350 lb. The sit-on-top kayak includes a flush-mount rod holder and a center hatch and tank well with a bungee cord for storage, which makes it great for solo fishing or hunting trips. The Keepers foot brace system allows stability, while the Kayak Karrier handles offer easy hauling in and out of the water."- from Academy.com
The lack of under deck access worries me on this one but some people don't pack the kitchen sink like I do. If you pack light and don't need dry storage, this could be a good option.Though there are indentions, there are not scuppers in this kayaks. You will need to bail water. It's more of a hybrid kayak so please be aware.
3. Ocean Kayak Scrambler- $549
"The Ocean Kayak ® Scrambler 11 ™ Kayak can handle it all. Whether you want to surf, fish or cruise around, this 1 person sit-on-top kayak is extremely versatile for all water activities. Molded-in seat and foot wells keep you comfortable and the oversized tank well will keep your valuables safe with the bungee straps."- from Ocean Kayak
The Scrambler comes in an Angler model which is more expensive and has added hatches and features. This is a very stable platform for getting out there. For a few bucks more, maybe look at the Angler but it will normally put you over the $600 price point.
Several other kayaks were mentioned but they were not nearly as popular among comments as these three. Later today we will be talking about mid-range kayaks from $600-$1000. Be sure to check back!