Hello, for the last few weeks I have been researching and trying to find the kayak that will be right for me as my first boat. I’d been considering the perception conduit 13 at dicks, however I have found the opportunity to pick up a 17ft eclipse at the same price. I will mainly be exploring the local lakes and rivers, however I’m only an hours drive from Lake Erie and once I get my paddling skills up I may like to explore there. I’m 5’6" and 140lbs and I’m looking to primarily do exploring and fishing. Would this be a good fit for me?
As to good fit, when you are talking a full length sea kayak you need to give info on height and weight. Cockpit fit as well as your weight against the design weight of the hull start mattering, a poor match makes for 17 ft of a PITA to handle in wind or waves. [Oops - I responded and missed that you had done this. Sorry.]
But if fishing is a major activity, a full out sea kayak is a poor choice. The kind of room and access to stuff you want for fishing doesn't exist.
comments on the Eclipse
The Eclipse is very similar to some kayaks I've owned (it is a carryover by Perception of an earlier line of sea kayaks it used to call "Aquaterra") and I would caution you about buying it as a beginner boat. IF it has a rudder it would indeed be a good choice for Lake Erie once you had gained the skills and experience. But the model is said to be "tender", meaning it will feel unstable to a novice. At 23" it is fairly narrow and has a deep vee hull. Great for wind, waves and speed on a large lake but not so great for trying to sit still and fish. It is also said to have a tendency to weathercock. I had a similar but somewhat lower volume Aquaterra model and can testify that weathercocking was a big problem with it -- it was a real pain to get it to track straight, even with the rudder down. As Celia said, a sit inside kayak is not the best choice if fishing is your primary motive. Also at 56 plus pounds it is rather heavy. You are slightly smaller than I am and I dislike wrestling boats over 45 lbs. Have you considered this aspect? I think it might be somewhat too high volume for your size, too. There are over 40 reviews of the model here at P.net (under the "gear guide" tab above) and many comment on it being a "big guy" boat. I think you would be swimming in it which is not good -- body contact is crucial in controlling a kayak. I really don't think this is the right boat for you.
The truth is you will not find a kayak that is perfect for pond and river fishing and canoodling but also competent for Lake Erie, which is essentially an inland sea. I think you need to focus on your short term immediate needs and get a boat that serves well for that. If in the future you decide that you want to try open water sea kayaking, then you can either trade up to a more capable boat or do what most of us do, pick up a second kayak specifically for that sort of outing, either by selling your first boat for an upgrade or keeping it and buying a new or used touring boat.
…note that the unique hull design of the Xcite (a flat section under the cockpit so it surfs well) makes it a good fishing platform. If the OP tried to fight a sizable fish in that Eclipse, he would get a quick lesson in combat rolling.
Eclipse 17 doesn’t have a deep V hull.
“has a deep vee hull”.
I’ve owned the Aquaterra Sea Lion and just sold a kevlar Eclipse 17 / Sea Lion and neither one has a V of any kind.
I have no idea what boat you’re thinking of, but it isn’t an Eclipse 17.
The Eclipse 17 / Sea Lions that I’ve owned are very stable and beginner friendly, even though only 22.25" wide.
I’m 5’6" and 160 lbs and found the Eclipse 17 / Sea Lion to fit just a tad loose on me.
Generally - no
Generalizing a lot, at your height and weight Eclipse 17ft will be a barge. It is going to be a real handful to deal with, and that is before you get it on the water.
Since you are not that far away from Cleveland, perhaps you would be interested in some offerings that www.kayak41north.com has. They also have a rental place on Rocky River, roughly 1 mile of paddling before you get to the Lake Erie. Variety of boats ranging from 12 to 15 feet are available for renting. These are typically classified as transitional kayaks, there are a few sit on tops as well. If you show up on a slow day, you might be able to try a few.
Used boats can be had for a good price - check out craigslist. Keelhauler.org, one of kayaking clubs in the area has classifieds as well
It will likely feel a bit large on you.
I’m 5’6" and 160 lbs and have owned both a fiberglass Aquaterra Sea Lion and recently sold a kevlar Perception Eclipse 17 / Sea Lion and found both of them to fit just a tad large for my preference, but you may prefer the fit, since you’re coming from a rec kayak back ground.
They kevlar Perception Shadow 16.5 would be a much better fit for you and at 46 lbs would be much easier for you to carry and load on the vehicle.
The composite Eclipse 17 and Sea Lions are very stable and beginner friendly on flat water - I never had either of my composite versions on any rough, big water like Lake Erie, though, but they have a reputation of being very capable hulls in rough water.
The main drawback I see to the plastic Eclipse is the weight.
OK - so it is just me
I am not a compact fisherman, or wasn’t the last I was doing it.
thanks for the correction, Yanoer
I stand corrected on the Eclipse hull profile. I was just going by various user reviews. Sounds like the Sea Lion/Eclipse models are more similar to the Aquaterra Chinook than to the Scimitar I had? Got a beat up Chinook in the armada now and it’s a stable barge.
Ok, thanks for the info guys. I may end up just getting the conduit 13, I’ve asked around about it an asked ppl who have it and they all have had good things to say about it. Been searching Craigslist within a
100 mile distance for awhile (where I found the 17ft). Found a Carolina 14 but the guy said it was already spoken for >:(
At your size, an Eclipse would probably be too big to paddle comfortably. There was a smaller version, the Shadow, which would be a much better fit. At 5'9" and 155lbs, I preferred the Shadow to the Eclipse.
You fit in the "smaller paddler" size range. A kayak that fits you will be easier to paddle well.
If you can, try to find a shop or event that lets you demo a few different boats. Another option would be to take a class that uses the type of kayak you're interested in. You'll be better prepared to paddle safely and make a good buying decision.
Sit-on-tops are the most popular style for fishing. Sea kayaks are appropriate for exploring the Great Lakes. i encourage you to get more butt-in-boat time before making a decision.
Used boats can be a great way to get on the water.
I found the weight of the Eclipse 17 listed variously between 60 and 68 lbs. That’s close to half your body weight.
The differences between the Conduit and the Eclipse are extreme. If you’re a beginner get the Conduit and upgrade later when you feel ready. The Eclipse 17 is probably the last kayak you should be considering.
Read the reviews. http://www.paddling.net/Reviews/showReviews.html?prod=343
People up to 6’4" and 240 lbs describe the Eclipse as a roomy fit. Those folks are twice your size.
Plus, the stability is described as “fair” or “marginal” by some experienced kayakers.
There’s a guy selling a Current Designs Kestrel for $550 near Cleveland:
Similar to the Conduit but a slightly higher quality boat (with a tad better resale value). A tad slimmer and a hair lighter, too.
Eclipse 17 / Sea Lion stability is very
good for relatively calm paddling conditions. I never had mine in rough conditions.
The only “stability” related issues that newbies might have is getting in and out of the boat. Once in, not an issue at all.
The two I owned were composite, not plastic, so my experiences may not apply to the plastic versions.
Eclipse 17 / Sea Lion is flattish mid
If memory serves, the Conduit has 2 bulkheads and hatches, and the Kestrel does not. For the OP: dual bulkheads and hatches add flotation / safety as well convenience / storage.
Composite 140 has two bulkheads and hatches.
Roto 140 does also
Roto 120 has one stern bulkhead and hatch.Float bags could be used in the bow.
LMAO - great just great.
not laughing at you w-leaf.
at the ppl who reviewed it, likely owned it and who don’t know what a V hull is lol.
Has slight V, but ain’t a Nighthawk 16.