Welcome to Buying a used fishing kayak. With rising costs and global inflation, it may just be the best time ever to buy a used kayak instead of a new one. Or perhaps you are new to kayak fishing and just can’t justify spending so much for a new shiny kayak.

I have bought several 2nd hand kayaks and I have helped countless friends and FishingMad members buy used kayaks at a bargain price. There are multiple things that you need to consider when buying a used kayak to ensure you get value and something that will last you. This article will explain all those key areas in detail to ensure you are making smart buying choices and a happy bargain, not a regrettable lemon.

Before going into the specifics, I must stress that it’s a good idea to try and buy a high-end kayak at a bargain price. The stability in high-end kayaks like your hobbies is chalk and cheese when compared with entry-level and mid-range kayaks. They also offer better storage, accessories and water drainage, so trying to pick up a high-end kayak at a fair price as new cheap entry-level kayaks are not as stable


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Where to buy a 2nd hand kayak

Brand new Hobies these days can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000 and that’s without any accessories, no sounder, external power and no trailer. Many including myself find it very difficult to justify that kind of expense and you could buy a brand new tinnie or inshore boat for the same cost.

The best places to find a good value used kayak will include

Buying a 2nd hand Kayak here’s what to look for and inspect

The hull

The most important thing to take time to inspect carefully is the condition of the hull. Take your time and look for any visible cracks. Don’t listen to anyone who says cracks are OK, they are not. They can be costly to repair and will lead to major issues when fishing including taking on water. Get a torch and inspect under the hull, the cockpit area and also remove the hatches and inspect inside the yak. Do keep in mind that scratches are quite normal as kayaks are generally tipped onto the side when launching and retrieving.

It’s also important to ask where the kayak is stored when not being used. Has it been stored in a garage or left outside and continually exposed to the elements, which will degrade the hull?

Cracked Hull

The drive system

The condition of the drive system is also vitally important. Look for any visible wear and tear, including rust, loose screws, cracks on the fins and ensure there is good tension on the chains. Most of these things can be fixed without great expense but it’s good to know it’s in strong working order when you take it home.

Move the legs up and down to ensure it feels smooth and has no resistance or strange noises. It’s also a good idea to elevate the kayak and clip in the drive system into the drive well just to ensure it clicks into place properly. Also, ensure you can move the pins to adjust the length so you feel comfortable on the water.

Mirage Drive

Other items worth checking

  • Ensure the steering cable and the rudder cables are firm and working correctly. Eg you can drop the rudder and see that it turns when moving the rudder controls on each side.
  • Check the chair for any visible holes or damage it’s only cosmetic but this can become costly to repair.
  • Any general visible wear and tear to handles, ropes, floor pads etc.


What Accessories come with Buying a used fishing kayak

Check what accessories are bundled with your purchase. Does the fishing kayak come with the following as you will need to pay for these additional items yourself which adds to your expenses?

  • Rod holders
  • Sounder
  • Battery to power sounder
  • Paddle/Or
  • Paddle leash
  • Life jacket
  • Wheels to transport the kayak around ( Trax Cart )
  • Tackle trays
  • H-Crate or custom esky rod storage
  • Trailer ( which leads us into our next section )
  • Tie Downs ( which leads us into our next section )


Rooftop or trailer to transport your 2nd hand fishing kayak

Before buying a kayak it’s really important to understand who you plan to transport it. Personally, I have found it very challenging to car top your big kayaks like a Hobie Pro Angler or Hobie Compass. This isn’t to say it can’t be done, but it is very challenging on your own.

If you are buying a trailer with the used kayak then check if the trailer is it registered, Does it have proper skids to secure the kayak properly and stop it from scratching when loading, is it a custom make or DIY, is there visible rust and cracks. Does it come with any cables or tie downs.


The 2nd hand kayak seller

Also, use your intuition and make some judgments on the seller. Do they come across as someone who looked after the kayak? Would they have cleaned it after every usage, occasionally sprayed the chains with a lubricant like inox. If your dealing with them online what is the feedback on previous items they have sold, or general demeanour to others?

If you’re buying a kayak online, always inspect it first. Don’t deposit any money before viewing the kayak in person. I’ve seen many kayaks in my time that looked nice online but had countless issues when seeing them in person. Don’t be in a rush and feel pressured there is no shortage of used fishing kayaks online to buy.



What should a 2nd hand kayak cost?

There are so many variables here depending on the age, condition, model, volume of included accessories, and whether a trailer is bundled with the purchase. So it’s really difficult to give a cost expectation. However, after doing much market research for many years your generally looking at around 60% of the original RRP value. Don’t be afraid to explore your options as there is no shortage and don’t be afraid to haggle and bring the price down.


Additions or Corrections for Buying a used fishing kayak

Thank you for reading our Buying a used fishing kayak. If you feel this fish species guide is missing key information or needs any corrections. Also feel free to view our Kayak Buyers guide for 2022 which has invaluable information on today’s fishing kayaks on the market rating their performance, stability range of accessories and price. Then please let us know by emailing our team at enquiries@fishingmad.com.au with specific details in the email. Thank you