For sure dont forget the price for a good paddle.
Makes a huge difference.
My friend got started in a $250 Wal Mart yak years ago. He pimped it out. Had 360 fish finders, he added dry storage, rod holders, lights, added an anchor trolley etc. etc. I mean he really tricked it out.
After a few years of that he got a Hobie PA. He had learned how he liked it layed out, how to make all those mods and do the add ons on that cheap yak so he was confident cutting up the PA to make it his dream ride.
Thats one route you could go.
Pulled a gun on his dryer and they caught a bunch of fish.