Fishing Kayak Help...

-- Last Updated: May-22-06 6:58 PM EST --

First -- I very much appreciate any help you can offer. Thanks!

I would like to purchase a kayak that I can toss in my Honda Odyssey (10' would be about the biggest) and take to the lake for a little fishing. I won't need to paddle very far, so I was hoping to trade speed/tracking for price. I'll probably put it in and stay in the shallows (small lakes), fishing for bass and panfish -- catch and release. I was leaning toward a used Pungo 120 until I measured and realized that it is a little too big for my van. I'm about 5' 9" and 160 lbs. Any thoughts/recommendations?
P.S. If there's a similarly-priced SOT that you think is superior to these, please let me know that too!

If you are willing to keep the van doors
open, a 12 footer can go in the back, just have to find a way to tie it down. Alternatively, still keeping the doors open, if your van has a standard size receive hitch, you can get a picup bed extender at Harbor Freight for around $40, half that if on sale. As for kayaks less than 10 ft, lots depends on what you are willing to spend. Heritage makes a fine little fishing kayak that sells for around $450, comes with rod holders and gets good reviews. I’ve got a Necky Sky, its 9.6, and has been a very stable fishing craft. Wanna go cheap, get an Old Town Otter, less than $250, can order on-line from bass pro or several other sporting goods dealers. In the sit-on-top line, its hard to beat an Ocean Kayak Frenzy, about 10 ft. and priced reasonably. With the Otter, if you can afford it and decide on that one, get the one with the foot braces, think its the XT model, or get the Old Town Rush. Almost any recreational kayak can make a good fishing kayak.

Fishing Kayak
Thanks jerlfletcher. Very helpful. Anyone else want to throw their hat into the ring? Also, how different will the 10’ vs. the 12’ experience be? Is it worth the added expense for what I want to do?



I have to agree
The difference is more than 2 feet. Most 12 foot boats are meant to paddled straight while most 10 foot boats are meant for white water. Not a hard-fast rule but close enough to figure out some way to go bigger. I started with a Dagger Bayou (12 ft) and ended up in a Perception Sundance 12. The Bayou is a great boat but the cockpit is small (like a cockpit on a kayak is supposed to be) while the Sundance has all the room I need for tackle, rods, camera and binoculors. Find a local shop that rents or has “Try it days” and paddle before you buy. And always start with a used boat if you can. It will come pre-scratched and gouged and you will be surprised when you can get what you paid for it 2 or 3 years from when you bought it and decide to move up.

My advice and worth what you paid for it,


Tarpon 100
I’m 185#'s and have fished off of my boyz Tarpon 100 a few times. IMO, I’m a tad heavy for it but it’s absolutley do-able.

For the conditions and use that you describe it sounds like a viable option.

We picked it (barely used) up off of the classifieds here at P-net for $400.

We’ve had it for about three years now and it’s still going strong. MANY fish have been landed on it.

The line about kayaks under 10 ft
may be misleading to some…

" Most 12 foot boats are meant to paddled straight while most 10 foot boats are meant for white water. "

Most kayak builders have recreational kayaks around 9.6 and 10 ft. Probably more of them than white water boats are sold. Old Town, Necky, Wilderness Systems, Ocean Kayak, Aqua Fusion, Dagger, and on and on have plenty of rec kayaks under 10 ft. These are not boats to be taken on white water streams above a Class III and even better if kept below that level. The big cockpit isn’t good for haystacks and heavy rapids and they are difficult to roll. Probably the biggest differences you’ll see in a 12 foot kayak versus a 10 footer is in tracking and speed. The longer kayak, in general, will be better at both.

The Tarpon 100 is a nice kayak, but the Frenzy is wider and more stable. As for weight capacity, I’m considerably over 200 and my Necky Sky had plenty of capacity for me and my gear.

Malibu is or already has come out with what its calling a Mini sit on top. Chatter about the kayak from a few who have seen and paddled the prototypes is very positive. It’ll be under 10 ft, think in the 9 ft range. Its supposed to be a very good fishing platform and paddle well. Would expect it to be more expensive than the other kayaks mentioned so far. is likely to have a thread or even a test of the new Malibu, so you may want to check it out.

My first kayak was a 9’6" Keowee that I bought for fishing. It worked very well. Get a good paddle. You will need about 230cm and it will make a world of difference. Cheap $30 paddles are not worth the money. Been there.

Perception Sparky
There are a few Perception models that are 9’6", have a recreational design (big molded in skeg, sharp angle of attack, large cockpit, tracking channels) that work very well for fishing the shallows. Not meant for big water - either of the sea variety or the whitewater variety - but very well suited to what you describe.

The Tarpon 100 is the most comfortable kayak I’ve ever sat in. I haven’t had on in the water yet, so can’t speak to how it paddles. I want one though.

For fishing, it’s hard to beat Sit-On-Tops. There are arguments for and against, but I’ve fished from both and prefer SOT.

Another recreational model that’d be well suited to what you describe is the Dagger Blackwater 10.5 (also available in 11.5 and 12.5 models). You may be able to find one used. They’re faster and more manueverable by far than the wider Perception Sparky, but can feel a little more “wobbly” for a beginner. That “wobbly” feeling lasts for all of about 10 minutes on the water, so don’t let it freak you out at a demo day.

You should be able to get something well suited fairly readily. Consider checking around for rentals. For a day on the water, you don’t need to have all the outfitting. I fished from mine for two years before even putting in rod holders. I just jammed the rod handle under an area that is sensitive enough to pick up vibration changes, rested the rod against the front of the cockpit, and started trolling shallows.

  • Big D

My progression.
I started with a Old Town Otter about 4 years ago because i always had an interest in kayaking but did’nt know if it was for me. Four years and 3 kayaks later i’m totally hooked. No pun intended.

I still have the Otter and use it occasionally for fishing lakes and slow moving creeks and rivers. It’s short length (9’6") i believe gives it a very responsive turning capability but it’s slow for distance paddles. My second purchase was a Old Town Castine (12’9") is much more efficient for distance but does not make sharp turns well. But i have to say it’s my favorite kayak for fishing. My third purchase was a QCC 400 which i only use when i’m out for a paddle and not fishing.

Depending on the type of water you’re fishing and your wants and needs in a boat you will probably end up with several boats as one boat will not do everything. As everybody else will tell you the best thing to do is to try as many as possible then decide. I did’nt because that option was not open to me. Just remember one boat will not suit all uses. At least it did’nt for me.

Good luck and good fishing!

For decades, I fished all over TX and NC in a 8.5ft fiberglass pirogue. Unfortunately, the finest pirogue builder I know of was wiped out by Hurricane Katrina. But, it’s a design you might want to consider if you’re willing to give up speed, tracking and capacity for small length and light weight.

Pungo 100
Dont they make a 10’ Pungo?

There is
I forget if the initial poster mentioned whether he’d be in current. The Pungo is a great all-around recreational boat, but for areas with reasonably strong current, I’d suggest it’s non-fraternal twin from Wilderness Systems, the Pamlico. Very similar boats, but the Pungo has multiple hard chines and the Pamlico has no hard chines. The Pamlico seems to be a bit more predictable in current.

That said, I’ve paddled Pungos in current and had a great time. Nothing wrong with that boat either.

  • Big D

Old Town Dirigo 106
I have an Old Town Dirigo 106 (10’6") a little longer than your looking for but it has a very comfortable foam seat and a dashboard with cup holder and waterproof compartment. I also like the fact it has deck bungees and a rear hatch. I fish out of mine alot for largemouth bass. They also make it in an “angler” version that comes with a rod holder and anchor kit. Both are fairly expensive, may be more than your wanting to spend. Suggested retail on the “angler” is $725, the regular (like mine) is $665. Here are the links for them on the Old Town Canoe website.

The pungo is a great little boat if that would fit. I tested one out this past weekend and almost bought it. I wanted something quicker tom paddle and ended up with a Tsunami 125. Not the best to fish out of but will do for what I want. I do think that they makea 10 ft pungo but I do not hear much about that boat.

Out of the ordinary
My wife and I use the 9’ 6" otter. Yes the very basic. We both have removeable rod holders that helps and we use fishing vests for carrying what we need. We have a couple XL zip lock bags for any fish we want to bring home. We use a 8 lb weight with a heavt type string as an anchor and tie it to the rod holder. It is the cheapest you can go. We fish lakes, streams, brackish inlets, and tributaries off of bays. We pull the seats out of our Ford Windstar van and JUST get them inside. It’s the poor mans solution. The fish don’t seem to mind. If you want to use live bait. You can temporarily tape a tall tupper ware container in front of the cockpit. Put a lid on and bring a small net if you are using minnows. Nothing pretty but again the fish still dont care.

Have fun.

Perception swifty

– Last Updated: Jun-20-06 10:44 PM EST –

I have a perception swifty 9.5.

Its a great little boat, 9ft 6" turns on a dime, and does pretty much everything i expected of it when i bought it.

I bought it to get me into kayaking, (testing the waters, see if the sport was for me) knowing that i would probably out grow it as my main boat. I wanted something stable, easy to paddle, easy to cartop, easy to fish from, and that I didnt have to worry about killing. It does all those things great.

It really fishes great :-) It has a large cockpit, with plenty of room for tackle, it turns great, its a little slow for larger bodies of water (been out on a few several hundred acre lakes, and wished it had been faster), but its so easy to bring out (39lbs easy to cartop) that I'm afraid a longer version would be too cumbersome and get out less.

I suggest for any boat for fishing, a few rod holders (I have two flush mounts), a gps if your going out on larger lakes that you may not be familiar with, and a paddle clip or holder.

forgot to mention, i weigh between 220-230 depending, and mine fits me great with all my tackle. I considered the otters, but the weight limit on those claims to be 225lbs

Space travel kayak
I have fished from a kayak that I built from a kit; but now they don’t make kits any longer but they do offer fold-up kayaks at a fair price. I now fish from Folbot’s 17ft kayak that weighs around 65lbs. This model is a tandem and the payload is over 600lbs. They have smaller and narrower models that can handle people 6ft. and 300lbs. payload. It takes me around 20min. to set mine up and not much longer to take it down. The kit that I built, and the fold-up that I got from Folbot, both have served me well getting me through the surf to go out and fish offshore waters. These fold-ups are safe and are not designed to roll over. Before I put the deck cloth on my kit boat I sat on the gunwale and tried to rock it over and swamp it, didn’t happen. Stern, West marine, and Innova have very reliable inflatables that may meet your needs. The West marine inflatable is the Stern kayak with their name on it, and has been tested by Consumer’s Guide and was found to be the best of the eight portables. It also comes in single and tandem models. It runs less than $400 and comes with it’s own bag of about 20lbs. I studied for two years before I bought my fold-up and I will be getting an inflatable or two. It will be helpful to atleast get the free info by contacting the Sea Kayaking magazine.

Lots of options
If I may be so bold as to suggest a folding or inflatable kayak. These would easily fit in your Odessy and not take up alot of room at the house either. Companies such as Folbot, Klepper, Feathercraft and Pakboat make quality folding kayaks. Advanced Element, Aire, Innova and Sea Eagle spring to mind for qualilty inflatables.

I have had my eye on the Feathercraft Java for quite a while. I also like the Pakboat kayak. I think either would make an awesome fishing kayak…for me.

Well, that would be my advice and worth every cent you paid for it too.