I've been researching this recently and there are quite a few people who recommend the Lifetime Kayak for budget friendliness. It's pretty cheap, and also basic, but there are many mods people do on the youtubes to make it better so check out those vids. Lots of youtube vids on best fishing kayaks under 1k. Kayaks are way better in head winds and such, when a watermaster or the like can leave you moving very slowly in the lake/river.
It's the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100, for those who don't know the specific yak TDub is talking about.
If I can't talk myself into something fancier, I may pick one up myself (if they're ever in stock). By most accounts, they make a fine budget starter kayak. Not gonna win any races or have many fancy features, but there are a lot of mods guys have cooked up and at the end of the day, you aren't out much money if you decide it isn't for you.
Basically all of my fishing is from kayaks. I've got three SOTs, different sizes, set up for flyfishing. None are pedal. I could care less about cruising through weeds to get to good water. I anchor up (a bow or stern Scotty anchor mount makes that very fast and easy) or set up planned multiple drifts if it's windy. I know I'd be spending a lot of time clearing the propulsion system of weeds in a lot of the lakes I fish...or clobbering the drive unit on rocks.
SOT's are comfortable (especially in the colder seasons), extremely stable, present a low wind profile, and you can cover a lot of water easily. I'm convinced fish pay no attention to the kayak...it's a stealth fishing vehicle.
A good paddle, like a carbon fiber Werner, makes a world of difference in reducing fatigue.
I don't have any experience other than a Hobie on the salt but I've fished out of Sekiu and inshore of Neah Bay and throughout the south sound. I've seen plenty of paddle kayakers fishing and with the right kayaks, they can really cruise. I've been 2 miles out of Sekiu in the straight, and the paddlers are out there too. One big difference is I can PEDAL and troll or keep even with the current and still have my hands on the rod. I have yet to meet a tide I can't overcome for at least a little while. I can also eat or enjoy a beer while on the move, which for me is fairly important as I am always eating! I bring a thermos of soup out of Sekiu, as it always is cold in the morning, and even sometimes in the afternoon in July and August. I'll troll with gear to get one of my limit, then use my fly rod for the other salmon. I'll also go after rockfish, which is truly a blast. Taking a leak or changing tackle is a learning experience.
If you check NWKA, there are a lot of arguments for a clean deck and using paddles too. Just depends on what you want. If you're planning on going on the salt.....I really urge you to check out NWKA and some of the safety issues in a kayak you might not think of if you're used to a boat. A snag on the bottom in a kayak can mean a pretty quick dump in a very cold ocean if you don't have a breakaway leader set up....especially if using braid.
I can easily stand on my Compass on the lakes. Once you've been out on the sound, a lake is a peace of cake.
Kayak fishing makes just about any hooked fish exciting.
I do recommend getting used or a demo. My kayak instantly got worked over dragging it over logs and oyster beds. If a used pedal system....just need to make sure all the hardware is in good shape. It's almost half the cost of the kayak.
I love kayaking and building them, the one in my avatar is almost 21' in length and only weighs 30 pounds. I also love fly fishing, but I don't like to fish from a kayak. My preference is to fish smaller lakes where I don't need to go very far anyway so it doesn't much matter. If I'm going to a larger lake where I think I may need to cover a lot of ground I've got a Bucks Bags pontoon boat (haven't used it in over 5 years).
For me, I simply don't like not having the control you get in a float tube. I am constantly working the fly and there's no way to paddle and do that at the same time. I personally don't enjoy fishing from a kayak, it's not for me. But I absolutely love doing them both separately.
I guess I should also state that this reply is strictly related to trout fishing. Now if I were trolling for salmon or something like that then yes, I would definitely love to fish out of a kayak and have a rod holder and likely some kind of fish finder electronics to go with it. I haven't entered that world yet but it sounds like lots of fun.
Pedal kayaks really shine when you are trying to hold position in wind and/or current while continuing to fish. I've been fishing the Hobie PA 14 and Revolution 16 for 8 years.
Don't overlook iSUPs. Speed of a kayak and portability of a float tube. Clean deck and awesome sight fishing platform. I've spent more hours fishing off mine the last two years than any other type of fishing.
I've been into this iSUP from Fish Stalker. My goto for freshwater. The material is bomb proof, I use a cooler as a seat, it has a ton of mounting points and rigging options(Scotty/RAM mounts) and I run a minn kota 45 trolling motor off the transom mount with battery box upfront. Plenty of deck space for dry bags and gear. Kinda wish they left the cheesy graphics off the top. Cheaper than most kayaks and inflatable paddleboards. Catamaran style hull makes it incredibly stable for fly casting!