Big Guy needs help

Hello everyone,

I’m hoping some of you can help me here. I’m a big guy, 6’4" 250lbs., 29yrs old and have no idea what I need to be looking for when purchasing a kayak or canoe. I have read numerous articles/forums but figured I should post to see if that will help.

My reason for purchasing one will be for fishing in lakes or other slow moving water.

With being a bit bigger guy, what do I need to consider? Length? Max. capacity? Some recommendations?

I want something that I can load/unload by self and enjoy hours of fishing in.

Thanks for any help here.

Many choices
I started in an X-factor, then went to a Pungo 140 which I still have and now use a Rapidfire canoe. It all depends on how much you want to spend. A pungo 140 is a good boat that is reasonably quick, stable, comfortable and in my opinion makes a nice fishing platform. If you want a cheaper light weight canoe a 12’ old town pack is a decent canoe, but there are many others that would work as well. The best advice is to try as many as you can then make your choice.

get a canoe …

– Last Updated: Apr-13-10 10:12 PM EST –

...... a 16' tandem model made of Rolaylex with 36" width (beam) , 14" to 15" deep in the middle (and vinyl gunnels for pete's sake) . Let me repeat , "a 16' model or there abouts" !!

You could get a lower profile canoe 12-1/2" or so in middle depth (but personally I like the deeper types , makes me feel better in windy , wavey , or river current waters cause the sides are up higher) . I'm all about having space (plenty of it) and staying dry for fishing , and not running in when the weather and water picks up a little .

In general , a flat bottom will feel like it has the most inial stability (good and solid feel when leaning to the side) , if you go to a V bottom or arched bottom haul the canoe will feel like it tilts more easily (tilts faster) when leaning to the side (a little more tender or twitchy , though not a bad thing) .

A little bit of rocker will be fine (1" or so) . I don't recommend a keeled boat .

Set up your own replacement seat (maybe one of Ed's heavy duty contoured seats , yeah) in the stern to be a bit more forward than the existing stern seat (more like the distance the bow seat is from the bow or just a bit further) , some say just sit backwards in the bow seat and paddle the canoe that way .

Plan on having ballast for trimming no matter which way you end up with your seating choice . 2 five gal. collapsable water jugs will give you 80 lbs. to start with (fill em up from the lake water).

I'm talking about you getting a tandem canoe (Royalex not polyethylene) , and keeping you paddling from the stern area slightly moved forward (or reverse in bow seat) . Not in the center section as a solo canoe would be .

This size tandem will give you plenty of room (volumn) to work with , carrying gear (and you) , moving around (not being so confined) , and you would paddle it from stern area same as a tandem with bow paddler not paddling (the ballast helps takes the place of a bow paddlers' weight) , you could stand up when you wanted to , use a single blade canoe paddle like normal .

For an anchore , try the the mushroom type (or better yet the one that's similar looking to a mushroom but looks like a radiation symbol) just drop and retrieve it by hand (non of that rope and pully rigging stuff) .

You want to have at least one good 1/2" rope (25') , a PFD (wear it always) you can count on to save your life (if required - nuff said) , some eats and drink , shades , cap and the dreaded sunblock (keep a quick rain gear on board somewhere as standard equipment) .

And take two paddles , suggest a Carlisle 8" Beavertail and perhaps a carlisle Golden Light (alum. & plastic) ... or similar to start with , these are working paddles you don'r have to treat like eggshells .

What's next ?? ... don't forget your fish license , rod & reel , tackle , then just jump in and push off . The rest will come naturally .

If you think a new model in Royalex is more than you are wanting to pay right now , get a used one in Royalex - instead of a less expensive but new polyethalene model .

Rig a cup holder ... one day I'll do that myself , lol .

Whatever you decide upon my recommendation is to get something either with a rudder or with the capability to add one in the future.

I find it invaluable for my drift fishing. I can position myself so that I can clip the paddle and not use it again till I want to change area. I often paddle into the wind to position myself and then drift fish the lenght of my local lake.

Pungo 140 works very well for me…

– Last Updated: Apr-14-10 4:57 AM EST –

I prefer it over my Heritage Marquesa 14 for the fishing conditions you described.. The Pungo is quick, stable, and provides a drier paddle than a SOT. I'm 6'4" and the Pungo has plenty of room to move your legs. My legs cramp up on the Marqeusa. The hybrid Native Ultimate 14.5 is something to consider if you're unable to decide between a kayak or canoe.

they’re trying to talk you into a kayak
… don’t let em do it , lol .

Thanks for the replies everyone. I am going to kick my search into high gear this evening. Hopefully I will make a decision that I will be happy with. Actually, anything will be great as long as I am out on the water doing some fishing.

I’m your size
I’ve shrunk a little in height, but I used to be 6’4". Now I’m about 6’2".

For the fishing you intend to do, I recommend a Sit On Top kayak like the Native Manta Ray or the Wilderness Systems Tarpon or the Ocean Kayak Trident. 14’ would be about right. If you do intend to get into swifter rivers, or rivers with a lot of things to avoid and you have to avoid them quickly, you may want to consider a 12’ instead. But given lakes and slow moving rivers without a bunch of stuff to avoid hitting quickly, 14’ would make a big difference in glide and speed. Though, to be fair, glide and speed are relative terms when talking about any kind of recreational kayak.

With any recreational “fishing” kayak, I would not recommend getting the fishing version, but the regular version and then outfit it yourself once you know how you want it laid out. This assumes you have a modicum of skill with tools.

A canoe could work well for you too, but it’s my personal opinion (which is worth exactly what you paid for it) that it’s easier to learn to use a recreational kayak in easy water like that and I think you can spend more concentration on fishing than on boating with a Sit On Top recreational kayak. In either case, learn good paddle technique. It will make a huge difference to your fishing.

  • Big D

SOT is an nice
all around choice for warm weather. Easy to straddle your feet over the side in the water and easy to remount if you go for a swim. They also tend to be lighter than some other craft, or at least mine is, OK Scrambler is lots easier to load than my OT Loon 138. The Loon 138 is no longer made, but if you find one it should fit you well and is a comfortable and secure ride. Old Town, now owned by Johnson Outdoors, really goofed when they discontinued the old workhorse.

To small

So is it possible to get a kayak is to small? I mean could I fit into a 10’ for this summer to get the hang of things and then upgrade?

I almost feel like I want to spend the least amount of money right now and then save to get what I want once I get out enough over the next few months and figure out what I like and dislike. I think that may work??

where do you live

D.C. area
Living just outside of D.C.

Your best bet
would be to see if you can find some different types to rent for a trial. Sometimes stores like REI will have Demo Days where you can try a bunch of different boats.

too big
You’re way too big for a 10’. I’d recommend you try a sit on top around 12’ or 13’ with a capacity over 375#. Look at the Ride 135 by Wilderness Systems or the Trident 13 by Ocean Kayak.

e-mail me
I’m outside of DC too (in Virginia) and will be happy to take you fishing and let you demo my kayaks.

You are not too big for a 10’ kayak. Not by a long shot. If you consider sit-insides, I’d even suggest you look at a Perception Swifty which is only 9’6". I’ve used one of those on multiple occaisions quite comfortably. My usual fishing kayak is a Dagger Approach, which is a 10’ kayak. It works great for me, and as I’ve said we’re roughly the same size.

  • Big D

Maybe not the Trident 13
For the Lower Potomac, Chesapeake Bay, tidal creeks and river, salt marshes, and lakes it would be great. Really a fairly perfect boat for those waters.

If you’re looking at the upper Potomac, Shenandoah, upper James, the “R’s”, or New Rivers, or any of the myriad small creeks we have, then the Trident 13 turns too slowly and has too large of a molded in skeg for the currents and ledges in our water.

So depending on which side of DC you are outside of and how far outside and which direction, the type of boat that will work well for you will change.

The Ride 135 could be a good choice. It’s got a very different hull design from the Trident 13’ and I just don’t know how it would be without trying it. I have tried a Trident 13’.

  • Big D

go big
I researched a long time and let me save you some time. Buy the OK Big Game. I love mine and I fit great. I’m your same height but heavier. The thing is so stable and spacious.

Get a kayak
I really don’t like canoes anymore for a few reasons.

The wind can blow you all over the place, and it’s hard to make correction paddles. Alright I’m a little lazy, but it sucks having to move the paddle across the boat each time you want to steer. As opposed to a double bladed kayak paddle.And to me canoes are really tipsy.I will only fish out of kayaks. If you get a sit inside go 12-13ft. Because of your size you’ll want a roomy cockpit. I’m looking forward to getting a sit on top so my legs aren’t cramped in the cockpit.But sit insides are great for cold days :slight_smile:

Native Manta Ray 14
Nice big guy fishing SOT.


many options
There sre so many good choices nowadays what you need to do is go to as many dealers you can and demo what they have for you. No sense somebody recomending something that cant be purchased in your area. And never order a yak online that you havent tested out. In our shop all the big guys get teh foot driven Hobie Outback. Ive probably outfitted 300 kayaks for guys over 250 pounds. Check out the brand new Delta Catfish if you can afford it.