I am looking for a kayak to fish in the Missouri Ozarks on both lakes and streams. Most of the rivers are class I or II. I plan to both fly fish and spin fish for trout, smallmouth, etc. We have gravel bars galore to pull out on in the rivers. What do you all recommend I look at? Thanks.
Wavy, I have similar needs in a craft and have done some yak fishing in your area. Personnally, I have a WS Pungo 140 and love it for these purposes. It is a great boat for lakes and ponds. I have also used it in rivers in your area such as the merremac, huzzah, courtois, etc. The roomy cockpit leaves plenty of room for fishing stuff, and there is dry storage in the rear bulkhead. There is also space behind the seat that is perfect for a small cooler so that your favorite beverage is always close at hand.
A few choices
I’ve seen a lot of fisherman who love the Pungo 140. I’ve never paddled it, so I can’t say.
If you do plan to get in and out a lot, you may want to consider something with a larger cockpit. A couple of considerations are the Walden Scout, Perception America, and Old Town Loon. The Loon is a bit heavier if you have to portage it upstream, though.
The larger cockpit will also allow you to slide the reel-end of a flyrod into the kayak while you 1) untangle your rod tip; 2) Pull your leader through the rod tip; 3) slap the darned dragonflies. You can’t do this as easily with a smaller cockpit without dunking your reel. The downside of a larger cockpit is that in many you cannot brace your knees against the hull, something that helps in paddling and a few types of maneuvers.
All this said, there are dozens of kayaks that would fit your needs. I took my Castaway out on Lake Michigan last week and found it did just fine in 1-2 foot waves–but I don’t think I’d like to be out there in waves much bigger. No, you won’t drown, but you wouldn’t get anywhere very fast, either!
Try to paddle it before you buy–ask the salesperson if you can take a rod with you and throw a few casts; it may help to find out if you find it stable enough.
Good luck and tell us what you get!
Lots of choices
I’ve used both SOT’s and SINKS. My current favorite is the Old Town Loon 138. Big cockpit, stable, lots of storage under the decks. Add a bungie to the back and you’ve got convienent deck storage. The polylink 3 is tough stuff and handles rocky rivers pretty well.
For a sit on top I used a Scupper Pro, handy if you plan to get out and wade much. Easy on, easy off. Big hatch to store tons of gear, nice tankwell to keep stuff close at hand.
What Part of the Ozarks?
I live near Piedmont, Mo and paddle the St Francis, Black, Big Creek, Current, et al. I paddle yaks and canoes. For yaks I use a Dagger Delta (Dagger no longer makes it, but the Mainstream Patriot is the same hull) on smaller streams and the OT Loon 138 for the bigger ones. We have a Rendevous coming up in October, check the “Getting Together and Going Paddling” section. If you live nearby, you’re welcome to test paddle my boats and I can show you a few smallie spots. Take care. WW
WS Pungo 140
I have owned the standard 14’ Pungo for two seasons - previously fished from a Prijon Calabria, Necky Looksha Sport, and a Walden Scout; the Pungo suits my fishing kayak needs much better, gets me to my favorite fishing spots faster, handles wind and current and has enough room (is there ever really enough?)for gear and bait. Have fished protected bays, ventured out a mile from the shore along the NH seacoast and got pushed sideways down the Piscataqua River. The last week of August I landed a 35" striper - my only regret is not having started three months earlier. Last year I built a simple plywood deck to mount a rod holder for my Penn 309 Level wind & 6’ rod and the set-up works well.
Pungo 140 vote.Great for fishing lakes,etc.For shallow rivers the Pamlico might be a better choice and also the shorter 12’ version of either if the rivers are tight/twisty.Good luck!
The Scout is the only yak I know of with a built in “cooler” behind the seat. It holds 4, 20" redfish and a few blue thingies with no problem. You didn’t say if you belong to the catch & fillet club or the catch & release club.
It tracks decently but is manuverable enough to allow me to handle hairpin turns in the little trenaches in our marsh pretty well.
Also… I encounter lots of sharp edged oyster shells and take comfort in the fact that the material that the Scout is made of is nearly 1/2" thick. I’d hesitate to take on the oyster shells like I do in the thinner skinned boats.
I am considering adding bulkheads to the Scout. Right now I have beachballs secured fore and aft. (Shhhhhh… don’t tell anyone.)
The Pungo tracks better and has a more comfortable seat.
My experience with a Pungo is limited to one 15 minute paddle.
We’re planning to add two WS Tarpon 120’s to our fleet.
Just my $0.02
If I were buying another SINK fo MYpurposes (fishing and hunting) I’d likely buy another Scout. If I could only own one kayak it would more likely be a Tarpon 120 or 140.
Tarpon, great Missouri craft
I fish Missouri streams and I fish from a Kayak. As you said there are ample gravel bars and I get out whenever possible. I fish from a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 and I’m very happy with it. If it were not for the tracking, which is important for me because I go upstream generaly, I would probably choose the Tarpon 100 because of the lighter weight. The SOT is much better for exiting often to fish.
I also have a Mohawk Solo 13. It is not as stable, nor as fast, but it is agile and at 38lbs, easy for a 65 year old man to load and unlosd. It get its share for this reason.
I fish streams from the Gasconade, West.
Perception Sundance 12
I just started kayaking this year. I made the perfect choice for fishing. I can easily fit two ultra light rods in the yak. I slide them down in the kayak next to the side of the seat, one on each side. The rod tips are facing the rear of the kayak and actually lay on the deck if I push the front of the rod down along the seat sides far enough.
Small tackle box fits in the bow of the yak. My small wheeled cart fits in the rear hatch. No need to take it back to the car.
Large cockpit allows plenty of room. Area behind the seat and rear bulkhead works great for water bottles and such.
I've spent a ton of time casting for bass this year out of the Sundance and just love it.
Perception Sundance 12.0
Thanks to all of you for your replies. I bought the Sundance 12.0 (Partly because my wife bid on and won it at a recent fundraiser for our kids school.) In any case I think it will be a good first step into kayaking and will serve my purpose. I will look forward to participating in this board in the future. Now to get in the water and fish!
I live in Springfield. I’ll have to look up your Rendevous information. Thanks.
Whitewater kayaking IN Springfield area
Hi, I’m planning a trip to Springfield at the end of March, I’ve never been to your area before. I live in Reno Nv. Is there any class II or III whitewater for kayaking in your area? All I really need is a class II hole to surf in. You can respond here or to firstname.lastname@example.org thanks