Buying my first Kayak - Help Please!

Hello everyone, So I am new to world of kayaking. I’ve went out a few times, I enjoy it and think it would be fun, and good exercise, to bring my own with me on my camping trips. I’ve just started researching different types of kayaks and what would suit me, but I figure before I pull the trigger on anything I should ask those who are well-versed in the field rather than the so-called “experts” who get paid to review things. So without further ado…

I am looking for a sit on top kayak (NOT inflatable) that will be used primarily for fishing, but something that moves well too so that I can paddle around for some recreation when the fish just aren’t biting would be nice too. I don’t need a crazy fishing outfit, I’m not the type to bring 10 rods and 5lbs of bait, or go into the ocean; some small river/lake fishing is just fine for me.

As for size, I am 6’1 and 265lbs, a little bigger so I want something stable/wide with a high weight capacity. I’m thinking minimum of 450lbs. I would also prefer something that can be paddled solo or tandem. More than likely, I will be out alone more often than not, but my son (now 9months old) will be joining me in a few years and I don’t want to have to purchase another on just to accommodate him. I’m hoping a good one will last 8-10 years or so before I get him his own. And then another one for myself. I know that I can upgrade seats, but something that is comfortable to sit in for a long time is a must, so is leg room. I have bad knees and a near constant sore back.

The overall weight of the kayak isn’t a huge deal - obv the lower the better, easier to carry is nice, but I’m fairly strong, so maneuvering an 80lb yak i don’t foresee being a huge problem, again, lighter would be nicer, but I’m not going to pay an arm and a leg just to drop the weight down.

I’m sure there are more things that I need to consider, but I don’t know enough to even think of the questions yet. The kayaks that I’ve come across so far that I ASSUME would fit the bill are:

NuCanoe Frontier 12 - Looks comfortable, up-gradable seat, stable+wide enough to stand and fish, solo/tandem, the only real con I see to it is the price tag of $1600, not to mention the few things I would need, such as paddles, life vests, etc - it’s looking more like a $2000 investment which isn’t COMPLETELY out of the question, but I was really hoping to keep this thing under 1500 when all said and done.

Miracle X13 - more in my range, but I’m not a fan of the second “seat” idk how safe id feel with my son, while younger, sitting on that seat, but its more in my price range at $1000, maybe the seat can be modded?

I’m sure these aren’t the only 2 of their kind, I’ve seen some of the cheaper Lifetime and Ocean Kayaks out there, but the reviews that I’ve read say they’re extremely uncomfortable, both the seat and the amount of leg room / style of foot holds.

So please, any of the experience kayakers out there, as you have time, please try to inform me of what I should look for, and any Kayak recommendations that you have!

Thank You!

Not sure where you live, but the best advice if you are anyone near Wisconsin and go visit RUTABAGA in Madison. The people there are awesome, have just about every type of kayak you would ever want. Best part is just ask and you can demo it out back off their dock. There is never any cost to demo and they will answer all your questions and help find what kayak is best for you. DO NOT simply buy a kayak- you will end up with something that does not fit, or does not work well for your type of activity without experience of many trips. If not possible to demo many different kayaks at Rutabaga store, then find some rentals nearby and try at least 6 different kinds and brands.

Going to a demo is great advice. Also, sometimes best to buy up to a boat that you will grow into and not something totally adequate now and will be less gratifying as you learn. I am guessing most rotomold boats have good re-sale value so you can buy now, upgrade as opportunity arrises, or perhaps buy a used now and learn more about what to look for in a responsive, safe, comfortable craft and buy once you get more experienced and find a good fit.

Thanks Guys, I happen to live in Milwaukee, WI So Madison isn’t too far to make a day trip of it one Saturday.

The Wilderness Systems Tarpon 12’ deserves a look. Well made, stable, one of the best seat systems in its class, and plenty of storage. My wife has one and loves it. Although it’s not a dedicated fishing yak, some retail sites have classified it as such. It can be outfitted with a factory rudder system. My wife has used it on big open waters, and tight, fast flowing, non-white water rivers here in Michigan.

As a follow up to my first comment, yes, you should definitely demo any kayaks that you are considering to purchase. Good advice from other posters. More info on the Tarpon… it would probably handle your weight and size just fine. I believe it weighs about 65 lbs. I’m not sure on price, but somewhere around $1200 to $1400 new. It has open and sealed storage areas, bungee tie downs, four carrying handles, paddle keepers, adjustable foot rests, and the seat has multiple adjustments so you can dial in your best fit. My wife has a bad back/hip, and she loves the seat.
I’ve seen a few on local Craigslist here in Detroit area, just an alternative to retail, and of course that could be an option for any kayak you might decide upon. I bought my Dagger Katana that way, like new, and saved a few bucks. Seems many people buy kayaks new, and for whatever reason, decide to sell them after little use.
I’m not trying to steer you toward the Tarpon versus other kayaks. I’m only telling you what I know from my limited experience. Good luck, hope this helps.

For a first kayak, used is always good. Watch Craigslist.

I am not familiar enough of the 2 boats you mentioned to have suggestions there. We do use Ocean Kayak Malibu 2 and Malibu 2XLs in rentals fleets at a place I work, and these definitely meet your weight limit and desire for ability to use as 1 or 2 person boats. They are not fishing kayaks, so you would need to add rod holders and the like if those are things you want. There are different seat options available, but they aren’t the lawn chair type seats of some more recent boats.