Went to Bass Pro for an Ascend kayak and was told the manufacturer went out of buisness and no longer available. Looking for a reasonably priced fishing kayak that’s lightweight and stable enough for Lake Erie.
If you are going out on Lake Erie (which is technically an inland sea and has waves, currents and storms that you would find in sea coast conditions) you should not be considering cheap boats that are intended as fishing platforms for inland ponds and slow rivers. With all boats, cheap and lightweight do not go together. Lighter boats are always going to be more costly. And what is “stable” on a calm lake is going to be a nightmare on rough open water. Most cheap fishing type sit on top kayaks are not safe on big water – the main drawback is that it can be extremely difficult if not impossible to paddle back to shore in waves and offshore winds. I would not take a sit on top shorter than 16’ out on Lake Erie. You need length for tracking in rough water and wind.
Your best bet as a beginner would be to look for a used boat on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Also make sure you get some paddling instruction including in safety before venturing out onto the Big Lakes. They are not a place for the inexperienced.
@paulysan1, willowleaf has a point. I’ve been on The Great Swamp three times; twice in an 11’ OK Scrambler and once in my Tribe 11.5 (both SOTs). You won’t get any fishing done–at all; you’ll be too busy trying to stay upright. I have seen very calm conditions on Erie, but it’s pretty rare.
I don’t believe anyone makes a 16’ fishing SOT anymore; everything above 14’ in a SOT is a surfski. And if you could find one, (like a WS Tarpon 160) I don’t think the extra length would do you much good anyway.
What you probably don’t understand is that stability in a kayak is due to having the design of the hull appropriate to the conditions of the water. If you are on a flat calm pond or slow moving stream, a wide and flatbottomed boat is a stable platform. But if conditions are windy and there are waves and strong currents, as there will ALWAYS be on large lakes and coastal seas, a wide flat bottomed and short boat can’t be controlled and will also be easily capsized by waves because the hull cannot adjust to the change in the surface angle of the water. Boats designed for these conditions have a deep vee profile and are much longer and narrower than the sorts of recreational style kayaks you have been considering. My sea kayaks run from 13.5’ to 18’ long and 23” or less in width. Sitting on a flatwater pond they feel more twitchy (unstable) than a wide sit on top, but out on the Great Lakes they feel solid and secure and will punch through or ride up over any waves. They are also easier to paddle up to speed and not as affected by wind and currents so I don’t have to worry about being blown off shore too far to be able to paddle back to shore. You would not take a golf cart onto an interstate highway. And you don’t take short wide recreational style kayaks out on serious open water.