Another Newbie Needs Advice

-- Last Updated: Feb-04-07 8:10 AM EST --

I am new to both kayaking and the boards here, but am looking for some advice. I am an avid fisherman just getting into kayaking and would like some advice on boat choice. My lovely wife has given me a large gift certificate for a local sporting goods store to put towards a new kayak (Yes, for some reason she is encouraging yet another potentially expensive hobby...) Because I am limited as to the store at which I will purchase the kayak, I am also limited as to my choices. The way I see it, I have two possibilities there: A Perception 14.5 Carolina or a Perception 11.0 Montour (From what I understand, a Montour is a rebadged Perception Pacifica or Dagger Blackwater.) I will be using it on the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York (75% of the time) and on slow moving local rivers (25% of the time). I also figure that I will use it solely for paddling about 25% of the time, and use it for paddling and fishing the other 75% of the time. The difference in price ($175 or so) isn't an issue. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

My personal opinion is that you’d have a very difficult time finding a better Sit-Inside Kayak for fishing than a Dagger Blackwater. I’ve seen the Montour and it does look a great deal like a Blackwater. That drop-down skeg is very handy.

I’m not sure what your rivers are like up there, but if I recall they’re pretty shallow. The Carolina would have one advantage and one disadvantage compared to the Montour if that’s right. As a longer boat with roughly the same width, it’ll probably float shallow water better than the Montour. The disadvantage of the Carolina is that the Montour will be much more maneuverable with the less aggressive keel in the rear (unless you have the skeg down). The Carolina is meant to go in a relatively straight line fast. I paddled one once as a test paddle and found myself having to do a lot of backpaddling to make tight turns.

Anyway, that’s my advice. Either boat would probably be OK. If you’re fishing medium lakes (100 acres up), the Carolina would be fine. But I’d still go with the Montour - but that’s my PERSONAL preference. Your mileage may vary.

One thing I’d like to caution you on is to make sure you save enough to get a comfortable PFD that you’ll wear and a lightweight paddle. A $40 Harmony paddle will push you through the water, but double that to $80 and you can get a Carlisle RS Magic paddle that is much lighter and more pleasant to use. There are far, far better paddles than the Carlisle RS Magic, but that or something like it is readily available at most big box stores with paddle shops and it’ll do well to get you started.

Good luck. I think the very best fishing tool that I have is a kayak. If you’re stuck wading like I was, whole new worlds of opportunity are about to open for you.

  • Big D

Difference in speed?
Thanks for the advice Big_D. What about the difference in speed? I know little to nothing about kayaks and may be mistaken, but I was under the impression that the Carolina would be a much faster boat. I thought that this could be important on the Finger Lakes, as I may be paddling 2-3 miles at times. Any thoughts? Does length make a big difference with regards to speed?

All other things being equal…
More length gives you more speed.

Next question, do you need speed. 2-3 miles is about an hour of paddling at a moderate pace. The Carolina will allow you to do it with less effort than the Montour.

If you’re going mostly to be doing long runs and have a good amount of space to turn until you learn to lean and use a good strong sweep stroke, then the Carolina may be better for your purpose.

I still think either boat will do fine. I used a 10.5’ Blackwater and was easily able to keep up with folks in longer boats. The Blackwater design (which I think probably is the same as the Montour) is faster than other similar length recreation boats. I think it’s at least as fast as my Perception America (Carolina’s little brother at 13’4").

  • Big D

The Montour should be better for fishing out of.

The Finger Lakes
are large enough to get you into serious trouble with a rec style SIS.I’d suggest traveling to a dealer that offers a good selection of SOT’s or having one shipped from a reputable dealer such as KFS.Good luck!

Long time
Its been a long time since I was on the Finger Lakes but they can get rough. Since you are locked into a Perception dealer, take a look at the Bimini. It is a sit on top but you should be dressed for swim anyway. It is also highly rated by fishermen owners is long enough to be a decent paddler. A rec boat could get you into trouble without a skirt. The huge cockpits work well for fishing but not well in rough water where you could get swamped. It is your choice so get what you want but I would stay away from the rec boat.

Better than the Bimini is the new
Perception Search.

Great Points
I really appreciate all of the help. You have raised a number of issues I had never considered. From what I can gather among the various responses, the main points look something like this: (Please correct me if I have misread someone’s advice!)




*Better designed for the Finger Lakes


*More difficult to turn

*Less stable



*More stable

*Better for the river

*Easier to turn


*Large opening more easily swamps


As for the SOT option, the store to which I have a gift certificate doesn’t carry any and was unsure about being able to special order any. I also thought that a SIK would extend the season, as it would be drier (and therefore warmer). Even into June the area waters stay fairly cool. I would like to be able to get the boat out before that point. I do plan on investing in a spray skirt for whatever (Carolina or Montour) I decide on purchasing.

Thanks again for all of the advice!

Dress for a swim.
You need to dress for a swim. If you flip your boat and dont have a bomb proof roll you will be swimming. I remember the docks coming out in Oct and going in in May. I know the water is cold. I paddled a SOT in water and air thats in the 40’s and I wore my wet suit. A dry suit would be better as you stay dry. If you are properly dressed for the water, it does not matter if you are paddling a SOT and they are self bailing. I also remember that it rains a lot. If you are planning on paddling in the rain, the SINKs are dryer.

A large cockpit rec kayak doesn’t
anymore easily than an SOT. In fact, its probably more stable because your center of gravity is lower. The problem comes IF it does swamp or turn over. Then, there is a lot of water in the boat. You can get back in a rec kayak, but its more difficult than with an SOT, then you have to bail like hell to get the water out if you want to paddle it.

With smaller cockpit sit inside kayaks, you can put on a skirt that will keep the water out. I’d still suggest a skirt for the bigger rec cockpit in your climate, but not because it will keep water out if you swamp. Most likely, it won’t because you can’t get them tight enough to prevent sagging open from water pressure. But, they’ll help keep you warmer and keep paddle drips off you.

That’s about right
With the clarifications from KFSRMM and Jerlfletcher above, I’d say you have it.

We could get a bit more into what is meant by “stability”, but when it comes to fishing usually what people mean by “stability” is initial stability. Initial stability describes the propensity not to get to a tipping point (side to side) and can roughly be described to a novice as how “tippy” a kayak feels. Roughly speaking, secondary stability describes the ease with which a boat can recover from reaching a tipping point (side to side). For fishing purposes, high initial stability is usually a good thing.

Think about how far off shore you’re going to be and the extent to which you’re going to be out fishing in inclement weather or rough water. The advice is sound about the Carolina being better suited for bigger seas. However, if you’re not going to be out in the middle even on a crossing, or if you’re not going to be out when the wind is strong enough to kick up the seas, then you might want to consider how often that situation will come up.

Asked another way, do you want to optimize your choice for your intended purpose (fishing) at the possible expense of having a boat less suited for unpleasant possibilities, or do you want to optimize your choice for safety in potential unpleasant possibilities at the expense of the intended purpose? How often are you going to be paddling in high seas versus fishing in calmer water? What’s your preference for avoiding risk? Bearing in mind that the Carolina may be BETTER at higher seas than the Montour, that doesn’t mean the Montour is INCAPABLE of high seas. I’ve paddled a Blackwater (with skirt) through Class III wave trains and had a heck of a good time and felt in complete control of the boat the whole time.

My personal choice is that I’d optimize for the intended purpose and use caution to avoid to the maximum extent the unpleasant possibilities of high seas. But I can certainly understand other people’s points of view that are contrary.

  • Big D

Well said.

Its been a while but I also remember the cabin cruisers. The drivers were in their own little world and mindless of their wakes. I knew of several highly agitated fishermen that were almost swamped by closely passing cabin cruisers. I had a power boat at the time and it was a deep V with good freeboard because of the water conditions. The semi Vs were a rough ride. The lakes can be glass but not often.

Thanks to all.
Although it has been a while since I posted my original question, I just wanted to thank everybody for the great advice. I took the suggestions to heart and decided on the Montour 11.0. The more I thought about it, the more I reasoned that this would primarily be a river boat. I picked up my kayak yesterday and am looking forward to getting it out this weekend.

Have fun.

A new boat. How exciting. Go put some scratches in it!!!

Man, I love paddling rivers. Fishing while paddling rivers - how can it get better?

I’m on Daddy duty this weekend, but I’ll be thinking of you on the river panicking over the little ledges you’re not even going to notice by the end of the summer (or maybe even by the end of your first float).

Have a blast!

  • Big D