Are you considering buying a used fishing kayak? Whether this is your first kayak or your 10th, the process of buying a used one is straightforward. If you do some basic research and preparation you won’t be disappointed.
The first step is to figure out what kayak you want. They say that your first fishing kayak will not be your last. The same can be said for your 10th. As long as you like the sport, no matter what you buy today, you will probably be selling it and buying another one within a few years. It may be the same model but a new year or a different kayak all together. Knowing this should give you some confidence that you can’t make a bad decision. If you end up with a kayak you don’t like, sell it and buy another one. If you want help figuring out which kayak to buy, read our How to Choose a Fishing Kayak guide.
How much to spend?
We recommend buying as much kayak as you can afford. There are reasons why some kayaks are more expensive than others. Those reasons usually mean that your fishing experience on the water will be more enjoyable (& successful). Maybe the kayak is more stable, maybe it has more comfortable seating, or it has more storage space.
Another reason to spend more is that more expensive fishing kayaks retain their value. If you take care of your kayak you will probably be able to sell it for what you paid or just a little less. If you don’t keep it in good shape there will always be someone out there looking for an expensive kayak who is not concerned about it being faded by the sun or deep bottom scratches.
Do your homework.
Now that you have narrowed down the kayak you want to one or a few, it is time to look around and do some research. Websites like FishingYaks, and online resources like Facebook and search engines like Google make the job easy.
Start by looking up the kayak you want on Fishingyaks.com. Then use Google, Bing and even Duck Duck Go to look for the kayak(s) using the following searches.
- ____ for sale
- used ____ for sale
- ____ craigslist
- used ____ prices
You can also use Facebook Marketplace and Facebook Groups. Look in Facebook Marketplace using different searches to see what Facebook returns. Check your location and distance. Expand your search as far as you can since your goal is to research what is for sale. You may come across the perfect deal. Don’t go for it yet, patience will pay off in the long run.
Facebook Groups are extremely valuable when doing research for fishing kayaks. Most brands control a Facebook Group where their fans provide valuable information about the kayak you want. There may also be other kayak fishing groups that may be regional to your part of the country. You don’t have to own one of their kayaks or live in their region to join the groups.
Once you have access to the Group, use the “Search Group” tool to see if someone was selling the kayak you want, what people were saying about it and what their asking price was. You can also ask the group anything you want about the kayak; how much should spend, what are the pros and cons, what should you look for, etc.
A good rule of thumb is that a fishing kayak being sold by the original owner should be priced around 20%-30% less than current MSRP for the same kayak depending upon condition. The challenge is what other gear and accessories they are including to help close the deal. Regardless, you should never pay above the MSRP for a used kayak unless the seller has included a trailer. Once the kayak is a few years old, anything goes when it comes to price.
Wear and Tear
You can expect some wear and tear on a fishing kayak that was actually used to catch fish. Some wear and tear is normal and should not be looked down upon. As long as there are no cracks, deep gouges or heavily worn spots you shouldn’t let wear and tear bother you too much.
Messaging, Email or Phone Calls
All communications are great but before you make the trip to see a kayak, try to have phone call with the seller so you can ask some of the questions about why they are selling and what condition the kayak is in.
Be Ready to Act
Timing is everything. If you snooze, you lose. To get the best deal you need to be ready to act when it the right deal presents itself. Keep your cash ready or know how to get the cash you need from an ATM. Some banks accounts have daily limits. Have your transportation ready so when the opportunity presents itself you can get to the seller and leave with your kayak before someone else does.
Going to the Sellers House
Almost every seller will not want to transport their kayak just for show. So, when you buy a used fishing kayak, you are likely going to the seller’s house to buy it.
You need to a plan for this. If possible, bring another adult with you. If you are going alone, share the address with someone else you know in case there is trouble. Bring your phone with you and have someone on the line when you meet the seller. You can hang-up right away, but it shows the seller that someone else knows where you are and who they are meeting. When you meet the seller and if things look questionable, you can use the call as an excuse to walk away and leave.
Once you meet the seller and everything seems ok, go look at the kayak and do your inspection. Look the kayak from the front, back, both sides and underneath. Unless it is in terrible condition, you are probably going to buy it. However, don’t forget to ask about the kayak’s history, how they used it, what they liked and did not like about and are they buying a different kayak and why.
Walking Away from the Deal
Remember that you do not have to buy that kayak. If the seller was not up-front about the kayaks condition or you think the price is too high, you can either negotiate the price down or say no thanks. Don’t regret buying a used kayak that you are having second thoughts about, you have every right to say thank you but no thank you and leave.
When buying a used kayak from an independent seller plan on a cash-only transaction. Bring the cash with you but keep it in the car until you’ve made the deal. After you make a deal, get the cash and count it out in front of the seller. Don’t hand over a wad and expect them to count it. The last thing anyone wants is the count to come up short after you hand your money over.
Getting It Home
Before you buy your kayak, you need to make plans for picking it up and getting it home. If you are not sure of the best way to transport it, ask the seller how they transport it and what they recommend you do. Some kayaks are not made for roof racks. You may need a bed extender for your pickup, or you may need to get a kayak trailer. If you need help loading your new-to-you kayak, ask the seller. Unless they don’t have time or have health concerns, they should be able to help you safely load and tie down your kayak so you can get it home.
No that you have a new fishing kayak, take the time you need to figure out how to rig it, where stuff goes and how you are going to portage it to your fishing launch. Take time to look up your kayak on Fishingyaks.com and add your rating.