Check out used ones and go to a demo day. Here is my current rig. The link is just for reference and I don't think I will sell it for a very long time if ever. My rig cost more than twice you are looking to spend. I stareted with a pereception swifty and then my wife got a perception sound which she still has. I sold my swifty and got an old town dirigo 10xt angler and sold that for my current one. Emotion makes a nice sit on top in your price range and perception makes a nice sit in with that price range. http://www.huntingpa.com/forums/ubbthrea...123#Post3053123
wow TEE i like the looks of that one. How big are you? i'm 5-11 and about 230. i didnt want to spend that much but i found it on sale for $779.
Wally world has a sun dolphin journey 12 for $450 that looks nice too. also looking at the lifetime muskie hunter.
I fished out of my trophy 126 last year and was good enough. Bought a new ascend fs12 for this upcoming season, pretty excited to fish, hunt and just recreational float. I would check out either the ascends at bass pro or the field and stream models at dicks. Good luck
Congrats. You might want to add a paddle keeper and leash also. Old window weights make great anchors or you could buy a small one or even a drift sock. A lot of people forget to have a whistle or other sound making device with them and it is required.