1st kayak, input?

Finally getting serious about getting a kayak. A little info on myself and what kayaks are locally available to me. I am 5’10" ~150lbs and will be paddling local lakes and slow moving creeks. I am in the Kansas City area so I have BassPro, Academy, Cabelas etc. available. Since I will be primarily on smaller venues I don’t think I will need to carry a tremendous amount of gear. Kayak weight is also not a big concern, I am planning on building up a Harbor Freight utility trailer for transport, so I will not be lifting a kayak up onto a vehicle.

So far I have been focused on the Pelican Icon 120, Heritage Angler 12, Pescador Angler 12, Emotion Stealth 11 Angler, Pelican Castaway 116, Ascend FS12T and the Field and Stream Eagle Talon 12. All seem to get decent reviews, but would any need to be crossed off the list? All fall within the max I would want to spend. Are the higher priced ones worth the extra ~$250 for what I would be using it for?

Excited to get out on the water this spring! Thanks for any input!

Some thoughts.
Here’s your list:

Pelican Icon 120, Heritage Angler 12, Pescador Angler 12, Emotion Stealth 11 Angler, Pelican Castaway 116, Ascend FS12T and the Field and Stream Eagle Talon 12.

First, I think you’re looking at the right size. An 11 or 12 foot kayak is well suited to your size and the kinds of paddling you describe.

I haven’t seen a Pelican that I’ve liked. The construction on all that I’ve seen looks shoddy. I haven’t looked at those two models specifically.

Pescador Angler is a remake of the Wilderness Systems Tarpon, which for a long time was the ‘go to’ SOT for fishing. You can’t go wrong with it.

Emotion Stealth is sweet looking, but I haven’t paddled it. I own an Emotion Spitfire, and it a well-built and sturdy kayak. I wouldn’t hesitate on that.

The Ascends have an unusual hull design. Some love it. Some don’t. One of the guys I paddle with uses an Ascend 10ft similar to the 12. He likes it. It takes abuse.

I don’t know anything about the Field & Stream kayak.

The overall advice is this - eliminate the Pelicans from consideration then go and sit in the other kayaks and decide which ones you are most comfortable in. They’re all 12’ or so rec 'yaks. The biggest difference you’re going to find will be personal comfort. Does the seat hit your legs strangely? Can you get your back support where you want it? Do your feet fit well on the pegs or slides?

If you’re still stuck after all of that, get the Pescador. It’s not better than the others, but it’s pedigreed. If you’re stuck for a choice, go with the pedigree.

personal preference
Good list - I have nothing against the Pelican models, I currently paddle one & am happy with it on small lakes & slow rivers.

1st Kayak
I just bought my first Kayak last Oct. I chose a Feel Free 11.5 Lure I think for a 1st and one that will do the job for many years to come one can not go wrong with this one. I bought mine from Hook 1 in Tulsa Ok. I am sure you can find a Feel Free dealer in your area.

Hard to beat the Pescador

– Last Updated: Feb-28-15 6:47 AM EST –

I've had a Tarpon 120 (same as Pescador 12) for about 10 years now. I've used it in small creeks to the open ocean and it does great everywhere. I've went through lots of kayaks and to me the Tarpon is one the most versatile fishing yaks you can buy. I'm the exact same size as you and the Tarpon is a great fit. Academy has the Pescador for around $500 and that is a really good price. Also the Tarpon/Pescador has quite a bit of dry storage, witch can come in very handy. Kayak fishing is one of the most enjoyable ways to fish, so no matter witch you choose you'll going to have fun.

short list
My short list is down to the pescador angler and the ascend fs12t. Have sat it both and like the layouts of both boats. 1 more month to think about it. Will probably go with the one from whichever store I can buy up some store credit for the best discount. So excited!

Of those
I’d go with the Pescador.Also check ACK Outlet.They often have some great deal’s with free shipping.

One more thing to consider.
The tunnel hull design of the Ascend will be more stable, but it will take more effort to paddle. If you plan on shorter trips it will not be an issue. I bought a Wilderness Systems Commander 120 when they first came out. Similar hull as the Ascent. After a few trips, went back to my Tarpon because of the paddling effort.

Pescador it is!
Okay, I have decided on the Pescador Angler. Some of my trips might be up to around 5-6 hours so the easier paddling of the pescador will be welcomed. Now to wait around for this Kansas weather to get its act together and hopefully academy will run a sale on the pescador soon, then I can start getting things assembled and ready to go!