Fat Boy in a kayak?

-- Last Updated: Jun-13-06 7:38 PM EST --

I'm moving to Maine in a month and will be residing in the Bar Harbor area. I'm interested in taking up kayaking at the ripe old age of 48. I'll be near many lakes, the downeast coast, and will be really close to the Jordan River which empties into the ocean. I like to envision myself fishing from the kayak and doing some paddling on lakes and the river. Not sure about ocean kayaking at this point. I'm 5'8" and weigh about 255 pounds so I've got a decent sized spare tire to deal with. Am I dillusional in thinking something like the Old Town Dirigo Angler 14' would be a good start? Can I even fit in a kayak? I'd like to hear from some other fat boys out there and what kayaks they use.


Old Town makes several models
with large cockpits that would work. I am a larger paddler (5’10" and 205)and I fish from an Old Town Loon 138. I find the cockpit very roomy and easy for a 60year old “fat” guy to get in and out of! Not sure about the Dirigo but I believe it has a large cockpit and good capacity also.

I’m 5’9 and weigh just a small tad less
than you. I’m 57 and bought my first kayak last year. It was a 9.6 ft Necky Sky and felt very stable in it. But, got a good deal on an OT Loon 138 used. So now fish out of it. I have plenty of room in the Loon and its extremely stable, fairly esy to get in and out of, and tracks true. The Dirigo is similar in many respects to the Loon. But, while I wouldn’t hesitate to take it into the bay, its not a good vessel for surf or open ocean.

Old and Fat
Welcome to Maine!! I live way north of Bar Harbor and love fishing the lakes and rivers up here. The Dirigo 14 would work for you so would the Loon 138 or the Predator 138. I’m 52, 6’ 3" and 250. Paddle a Loon 138 and find it an excellent kayak for fishing lakes and rivers. Easy to enter and exit and tracks well. Predictable stability. You’d be hard pressed to find a better fishing kayak.

With that said any large cockpit rec kayak should work for you. Perception, Wilderness and Old Town are probably the top three. Check out this guys sites on kayaks for big boys.


I looked at the website. I’d have to
say I disagree with him about the Loon’s being “pond” boats. I use my Loon on all size lakes and it does fine, even in mild whitecaps if you get caught out when the wind starts blowing. The guy I bought it from was a saltwater fisherman and he used his out in the bay, never had a problem with it. As for the Loon 120, while it may not track quite as well as the 138, I wouldn’t be hestitant to buy it if it was a good deal, though I hear its hard to find one new these days.

I have
an OK Drifter for sale in the NY ad’s here.This would be an excellent yak for what you describe.If it’s still available when you make the move you could swing by on the way and check it out.

Big Boy Here
I had the Loon 138 and a Dagger Delta (No longer made). Hard to beat the Loon 138, but I’d check the newer OT model, the Dirego. I’m thinking the newer Loon 138’s have smaller cockpits than the old models, and the Dirego’s have sealed rear hatch. Good luck! WW

Yes and No
Yes, you will fit in a kayak. No, you are not crazy for wanting to fish from one.

You may even lose some of that spare tire if you engage in the hobby enough. Good paddling technique uses your torso to generate a great deal of the force the paddle blade exerts against the water. Good paddling technique also takes care of a lot of the “tracking” issue, too. I tend to caution people from being overly concerned with ‘tracking.’ If I had to choose between comfort and tracking, I would choose comfort. You’ll have to decide on your own trade-offs. There’s no perfect kayak for any person or any activity, so any choice will require trade-offs.

I’m not familiar with the particular model you mention, but there are many recreational kayaks and day touring kayaks that would be suitable for what you have in mind.

When you purchase your kayak, have enough in your budget to purchase a decent paddle and a comfortable PFD. For a paddle, you don’t need a custom wood Greenland blade paddle to start, but you probably won’t enjoy yourself much with a heavy, poorly constructed $40 el cheapo model either. $80 to $120 will get you something that will be light and get the job done. Check the Product Reviews section for paddle reviews. Regarding PFD’s: a PFD doesn’t do any good if you don’t wear it, and you won’t wear it if it isn’t comfortable. Again, $80 to $120 will get you a good PFD that’s comfortable to wear in a kayak. If possible, try the PFD on while sitting in the kayak model you are considering. If money is tight as it can be right after a move, to start you may want to consider a used kayak to allow enough budget to get a decent PFD and paddle.

Good luck. Have fun. Stay safe.

  • Big D

Thanks for all of the advice. I see I have a lot of research to do but at least now I know there’s hope!

Thanks again!

The Loon 138 is a capable kayak. I’ve had mine out in some nasty weather and nary a drop of H2O in the cockpit. When I lived in your neck of the woods I took it out routinely in the Laguna Madre, loved fishing the Lighthouse Lakes area. The Loon served me well there. I think lots of people underestimate that boats ability in the hands of an expierenced paddler.