I recently bought my husband a 12ft Ascend fishing kayak from Bass Pro Shops for fishing around the Bay and Gulf in Florida. He loves it and we’re looking at getting one for me as well. I’m not sure if I should get a 12ft or 10ft kayak for myself. It will be primarily for fishing, but also for just general kayaking around the Bay. I want something stable for sure, but not sure if my size (petite) makes a difference as well.
I’d go with the 12
I looked at the Bass site and the 10-footer is 34" wide and weighs 62#. That’s pretty heavy for such a little boat. Maybe I’m looking at a different boat?
Some reviewers complain that the boat is slow, doesn’t track well, and paddles like a barge.
If your husband is in a 12-footer, you’ll have a problem keeping up with him.
It is the width more than the length
I don’t know the fishing boats so this might not be so easy to manage. But in kayaks in general, smaller people need a narrower boat. It is as stable for them as a wider boat is for a bigger person and a lot easier to move through the water. Easier to reach the water with sorter arms and torso as well.
There are fishing kayak sites out there - might be worth checking them out for husband/smaller wife advice.
Not a huge speed difference
At speeds substantially less than hull speed, shorter boats move through the water with less effort than longer ones. The theoretical maximum speeds for boats that are 10’ and 12’ long, respectively, are 4.8 and 5.3 mph (ignoring the fact that waterline length is likely to be a little less than the total length). That’s significant if the person in the longer boat is trying to go fast, where wave-making starts becoming the main form of resistance, but not at slower speeds. Most casual paddlers usually don’t go faster than 3.5 mph, and at that speed, I’d expect the person in the 10-foot boat to be able to keep up with the person in the 12-footer. Still, 10 feet is pretty short, and most people would be better served by something a bit longer.
easy to decide
Cost difference in the boats
Weight difference [if loading & carrying is a problem]
Feature differences [hatches, seat, outfitting, etc]
Other- Using primarily on a bay with chop the 12’ would feel more stable.