I am wanting to purchase a kyak for fly fishing mainly on rather calm and secluded rivers in the Northeast. In some areas I have to put in and can go only upstream into the wilderness area. I have tried this with an inflatable pontoon but found that the current and wind make it difficult to navigate upstream and fish. I was looking at the Hobie with the peddal system as fly fishing for me anyway difficult while paddling, etc. But it just seems to be more of a problem with hitting submerged rocks etc. Any suggestions? Glad I found this site.
If you plan to frequent…
shallow waters with submerged rocks I’d have to guess that it’s a good idea to stay away from the Hobie.
What’s more important in your mind… speed or stability.
Pretty much anything the guys here will recommend will be stable enough to fly fish from while seated. A few are reportedly stable enough to flyfish from while standing.
Then there’s Sit On Tops (SOT’s) vs. Sit Inside Kayaks (SIK’s). Living waaaaay up there, I’d imagine you have some concerns about staying dry during cooler months. You’ll get a few dribbles here or there no matter what but some boats will definitely be drier than other. If you opt for a SOT are you prepared to buy a wetsuit or Farmer John neoprene suit? If you opt for a SIK you’ll have other issues to deal with. Neither set up seems to be the do-all catch-all but both have their positive and negative aspects.
There’s a kayak fishing website based out of New Jersey (www.kayakfishingstuff.com). They seem to favor boats such as the Ocean Kayak Prowler, the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140 and a few others.
BTW… I have no clue what I’m talking about. I drive a SIK and fish in south Louisiana. What the heck, you got your money’s worth. ;o)
Fly fishing kayaks
I'm an avid fly fisherman and there's no better way to fly fish than a kayak. You've got a couple of choices. A sit on top or a sit inside kayak. I own both.
A sit on top is a good way to go it you want to hop on and off to wade. However, it's a wetter ride and often your butt is in a small puddle of water. In cooler weather I wear a pair of breathable waders and a dry top and stay perfectly comfortable.
I've found that fly fishing from a kayak I do a lot less wading and don't get off that much. I bought a sit inside as well so I could have a drier ride. I also found that it offers me easier access to my gear right there in the cockpit with me rather than reaching into a tankwell in the back or opening a rear hatch. I'm a lot happier in cooler weather too as I stay a lot drier without wearing a bunch of extra gear. You just need to realize what your limitations are so you don't take a spill in cold water. Or stay closer to shore so you can get out if you do capsize.
I would pass on the Hobie. Pedals in rivers particularly if they are rocky and shallow don't mix. There are several good sit on top models by Ocean Kayak, Wilderness Systems and Heritage. I've owned Ocean Kayak Scupper Pro's and Wilderness Tarpon's and they were good boats. The sit in side I bought is an Old Town Loon 138. Pretty awesome kayak. Good looking, stable, tough and easy to paddle.
Since you were looking at the Hobie, I would guess that you are more interested on SOTs. I have found them generally much easier to flyfish out of. You will find many proponents of the Wilderness Systems Tarpons, I am one of them. I fish from a 120, and have found it to be a great all around boat. It is fairly dry for a SOT, reasonably fast and maneuverable. I mainly fish smallish rivers in Texas, so staying warm is less of a concern for me. And since I don’t think anyone has said this yet, I will recite the litany you will be hearing many times–there are tons of great boats out there, the important thing in finding the one that is best for you is to demo as many of them as possible. I can pretty much guarantee that whatever kayak you end up with is going to be great, and you are going to wonder how you lived without one for so long.
I have had Ocean Kayak sit ons and they were great in hot weather, or the summer. I own a Hobie Fishing Cat 75, but its only good in lakes, or if your going to hunt from it. The Hobie is heavy and not an upstream boat.
I do most of my fishing from an Old Town 13.8, but its a beer barge, steady, slow to turn and the wind does most of the tracking for you. I have just bought a Wilderness System Classic 12, it faster and more stable in moving water than the 13.8. It turns quicker and is easier to paddle upstream. I fish the American River in Sacramento, which is a salmon and steelhead stream. Our big runs come in the late fall through February. Which means the river is between 35 and 40 degrees. I wear neoprene waders and felt sole shoes, lots of wool with a stearns inflatable vest. I have not dumped it yet in cold water, but kayaks are like motorcyles, there are those who have been down and rest will be down later.
Fly Fishing Kyak.
I ahve experience with several rec yaks that serve the purpose well. The Old Town Loon 111 is a good choice. Large cockpit, adjustable seat for trimming, light weight and stable yet manuverable.
Check out the clothes-line anchor system on the Predator Series 111 for an add-on option for the anglers advantage.
Next is the Walden Scout. This is a 12 foot wide and stable craft. Over a lagre cockpit, dry box stroage hatch and comfortable high back seat. It is reasonable fast and tracks well in a wind, or chop. Its a great angling yak.
Last is the Perception Sundance 120. It has a lage cockpit, hacth and bulkhead. It offers a nice performance in trackinine, manuevering and speed.
Had a friend that has desinged a wooden deck and rod holder that fits the lip in the fornt of the cockpit for a work surface.
If you are a minimalist…
may I suggest the Pungo 120/140 with the miniskirt. Skirt acts as a stripping basket. Maybe the Pamlico would be a better choice if you will be mainly in rivers.
I also own a Hobie Outback. If you will be in a river where you will constantly be in a minimum of 24" of water it would be a good choice otherwise not so good. Note though that the boat can be manuevered without the fins fully extended but anything less then 18" is no good. It really depends on the river conditions you will be in. The reason I'm talking up this boat is because it really is great for fishing and if it is possible you should consider it. Especially if the currents you will fish will require you to reposition often. Nothing as convenient as manuevering the boat while still fishing. Though I have never flyfished from this boat I would make sure you demo it first if you decide to consider it. There's lots of thing to snag your flyline on it.
I flyfish out of a Pungo 140 and love it! I tried the 120 and several SOT's but decided on the P140 for many reasons. It's fast, stable (can cast sideways and even hang your legs over the side like the SOT folks do), fairly light, easy to paddle and handles the waves well, tons of storage and is easy to personalize.
I'm 5'10", 205-ish #'s, and fish the intracoastal, offshore, inshore lakes, ponds, rivers and canals. It's a bit warm during the mid-day outings here in SE FL so unless it's inclimate weather or I'm paddling through some rough waters I go w/o the mini-skirt (just stick it below up front for quick access - just in case. And yes, I can put the skirt on while out in the water.) For real bad weather or waters I have a full skirt (yeah, a guy w/a skirt - haha!).
The KFS site is a very good site - the majority of the folks there paddle-fish SOT's. Also check out these as there a quite a few folks up north that paddle SIK's like the Pungo
Good luck and let me know if you need any additional info - esp. regarding the Pungo.
PS - a new yak-fishing buddy has a Hobie yak w/peddles and he likes it a lot. He can peddle and stay in place (in deeper water) while I have to use an anchor. It's slooooooooow and whenever we paddle or fish shallower areas (
Positive stuff on hobies
If you haven’t bought yet, just thought I would connect you to these positive thoughts on hobies. The pedals DO NOT SEEM (I don’t own one so I can’t speak from personal experience. I will probably be buying one.) to be that much of an issue.
Calm and secluded rivers…
that usually means fairly deep…The Hobie would probably work fine there.
I would also ask how far do you plan on travelling in each trip. If several miles, then a longer Kayak like the WS Tarpon 140/160 or Pungo 140/160 will definately be appreciated.
Also, the pit of a SOT acts like a decent stripping basket too, as long as you don’t add too many accoutrements.
Necky Santa Cruz
Let me add my .02. I have a Necky Santa Cruz and it is a great yak to flyfish from. It also has a large cockpit and is very fast for its size. It can handle rough water pretty well. My advise is to try before you buy. As for the SOT 's the Prowler and the WS tarpon are great boats.