freshwater kayak fishing (what boat)

what kind of kayak/canoe do you use for fishing freshwater lakes and rivers, I use a perception sundance 12 footer. It has a large cockpit which I like since I get out and in a lot as I usually get out and wade fish when I get to a good spot. I also have a loon 120 which has a smaller cockpit. I like this one for larger lakes where I’m not getting out and in.

Perception America (original 13’6" model)

Ocean Kayak Malibu II

I’ve got a Mainstream Jon Buoy that I’m working on outfitting that could well be the ultimate fishing kayak for my needs.

I also recently bought a WaveSport Diesel 75 that will be getting a deck bag or deck rigging and a single rod holder. It won’t be for fishing trips, but for WW trips with fishing possibilities (or as we sometimes call - Full Contact Fishing trips).

The comfort and adaptability of the Malibu II has convinced me that the next kayak I buy specifically for fishing will be an SOT. The Perception Torrent is high on my list because I usually target smallmouth bass. Smallmouth bass like oxegenated water with good ambush locations - in other words they live in eddies and in undercut ledges near rapids. The Torrent has enough initial stability for a solid hookset and enough maneuverability to allow access to and through more aggressive water than the America and has more rapidly accessible carrying capacity than the Diesel.

Also considering getting back to a canoe, but that’s fodder for a different conversation…

  • Big D

fishing Kayak
I’ve been fishing kayaks for a few years and have tried a bunch. I am 6-3 and weigh 255, so I need a stable boat. My favorite all-time would be the “Cobra Fish and Dive” or the “cobra tandem” I’ve had a couple “Ocean kayaks” and found them to be very wet. I just bought a cobra mariner and I’ve had it out twice, it stinks. It paddles terriffic but the least amoun of weight up front causes it to plow. I really like some of the "Malibu kayaks. The fish and dive gets the ribbon though. I do a lot of river trips where I camp out of the kayak so I install water-tight hatches in them and store gear inside.The tandem is especially good for camping. Good Luck


I fish from a little 9.6 Necky Sky.
While it sounds like a small kayak, its got a large cockpit…good for fishing, not for turning turtle. Its been good in small rivers, on almost any lake (damn the jet ski boys), and much better than the canoe I have for boat control. Drawbacks…I’m a bit on the heavy side, so its not the easiest thing to get in and out of, but I’ve adapted. Its slow, but ok if the paddle is less than 20-40 minutes on way, and the alligators where I fish are all larger than the yak. Actually, its as roomy as a 111 loon and many other sit-ins, but I would like to be able to lay my rods down like in a SOT.

Fishing boats
I have fished out of a variety of canoes/kayaks. Started out with SOT’s, mostly Ocean Kayak boats, good to use, but most have you sitting in a puddle of water. Ok if you live in the south or don’t mind wearing waders. Own a couple of Old Town canoes which are good fishing canoes. My favorite “canoe” right now is an Old Town Loon 138, which OT calls a kayak. With it’s large open cockpit I’d call it a decked solo canoe. Excellent stability, both primary and secondary. Tracks great, unaffected by wind. Plenty of room for big guys and their gear. I’ve recently become a spin fisherman after being a decicated flyfisherman. This boat is great for that type of fishing. A true open deck canoe works better for flyfishing IMO. it also works great as a tripping boat for overnighters or long weekends.

I have two canoes on my short list as tripping/fishing boats. The Bell Rob Roy and the Bell Wildfire.

with the aquesition of the Diesel 75
I take it you’ve given up on finding a used Peception Axess D? :wink: You’ll have to let me try it out sometime. The Axess is just a wee bit tight in the cockpit area for my taste.

I’m an Loon 111 driver. Good stability, EXCELLANT carry capacity (for those of us in the “big boy” club) Large cockpit that allows you to store a good sized tackle bag under the forward deck and still be able to acess it. Not too heavy at 47 lbs and has some manuverability if you learn to lean it. Plenty of topside room to customize and rig out the way you want. And with a bit of practice, you can do some of that “Full Contact Fishing” (C-III or so) that Big D spoke of up top.

Got tired of looking

– Last Updated: Oct-04-05 6:45 PM EST –

Found a higher rated kayak at a lower price. It was a one year old demo for half price - less than the used Axesses I've been seeing and in a lot better shape. Then of course, one came up at a reasonable price on the other sight and has got me thinking of replacing the White Whale.

I'll probably be using a boat you haven't seen yet for our October trip, but I'll bring the Diesel along so you can try it out. Paddle it all day if you want, but I probably won't have the rod holder or deck bag installed by then. DD took it for a spin and didn't fall out, so you should be fine. I only paddled an Axess once, but I think the Diesel is easier to get in and out. I found the Axess quite comfortable once in, but seem to recall that I had a little trouble getting seated. Of course, considering it was our New Year's Eve paddle when I paddled the Axess and it was June when I bought the Diesel, there was a difference of 40 pounds less of me and a whole lot less non-organic insulation.

- Big D

Freshwater Kayak
I have owned 2 sot kayak in the last 3 years that I use primarily for saltwater fishing, a Malibu Pro Explorer and a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140. A friend told me about the Old Town Loon 138. I tried one out and loved it. I plan on getting one soon and doing a lot of freshwater

fishing in it. I’m 6’1" 250 lbs and felt very comfortable in the Loon 138. Easy to get in and out of and very stable. Tracks great and handles great in the wind. Comfortable seat and excellent construction.


Sundance 12
I too have a Sundance 12 and just love it for fishing. Huge cockpit. Lots of storage room. Rods store next to the seats ( facing the stern) very nicely. Stable.

Pelican Apex II SOT
Just bought one, and took it fishing in a small cove of Galveston bay, which I figure is pretty much like freshwater fishing. It’s great - drier than my Ocean Kayak SOT, and a flatter bottom so that I can get in even shallower after flounder. Also, for a tandem it paddles great with one person, giving you the front seat for storage, landing fish, etc. It’s also cheap. I bought mine at academy, $400 including tax, and that came with a paddle and two back rests.

Go Tarpon
I have a tarpon and a Prowler. Want to Buy a Prowler???

are as good as any and better than most.For a SIS I like the Pungo 140,SOT the Tarpons.At present I have a T 160 old style(2 big hatches)with a rudder.Great on big lakes or salt but the 120 or 140 would be better for smaller lakes and rivers.Good luck!

Old Town Penobscot 16
With center seat.

Cobra Tourer
for me on bigger water, Prijon Yukon for my river trips, its tough as nails and maneuverable. I have a Dagger Crossover on the way I’ll use for river camping and fishing, and I’d like to get a smaller sit on top like a Tarpon 100 or Cobra Escape for river trips as well.

Write back about the Crossover
I looked at them, but it seemed a bit narrow for the kind of fishing I do. There’s a lot of snags involved in the way I fish, and I thought I’d be flipping that Crossover with its narrow beam and rounded hull every time my jig snagged on a river ledge.

  • Big D

Unless you are small, don’t think you’ll
be happy with that Tarpon 100. If its a sit-on you want, take a look at the Hurricane Phoenix in either the 120 or 140 lengths. Some people use the OK Frenzy to run baits out into the surf for shark fishing. It may be alright for small creeks and rivers, but cramped.

Crossover, Tarpon 100
I am still paying the Crossover off on layaway (the only way I can afford to buy). I am a little concerned about its stability as well, since the reviewers have said it is pretty stable but easy to roll. I’ve heard that like my Prijon Yukon, its great for getting through downriver stuff, but not good for playing at all, but that is not my purpose - I just want to get through stuff without a problem so I can fish. Fortunately my home river is the Schuylkill and its very tame in most places. So my comparison will be with my Yukon which is a very stable boat and great for rivers, but needs a rudder which I have.

My reason for buying a Crossover over a Blackwater was tougher plastic, better maneuverability and the price I got on a leftover was right in line with a new blackwater, so I think I got a little more for my money, though the Blackwater is probably more forgiving of mistakes.

I’ll be putting a review of the Crossover on sometime in the Spring when things warm up, and I’ve had a few paddles under my belt. Its interesting how different hull shapes and designs handle the same conditions.

I took my Tourer out on the river this summer and it was a real dog, not enough maneuverability to get into a good casting position in faster water. Take the same boat out on a big lake or the Chesapeake Bay though, and it excells. The Tourer is just over 15 feet, and the Yukon at just a half a foot shorter is a great river boat, highly maneuverable and easy to get into tighter spots despite the length.

As far as the Tarpon 100 goes, I’ve heard over at KFS that several guys in the mid and high 200’s and one at 300 even, find it more than accomodating at their weight range. Its one I’m seriously looking at for down the road.

Blackwater and Tarpon
Thanks for information on the Crossover. I don’t check the reviews real often, but I’d sure love to hear about the Crossover once you caught some fish from it. If you wouldn’t mind too much, please put up a post here in the fishing forum to check out the review.

As far as the Blackwater, I paddled a 10.5 for a day of river fishing that included a single Class II chute-type rapid with a smallish rooster tail and a lot of real skinny flat water. I loved the maneuverability and was able to steer with posture alone (with the skeg up) through the smaller riffles, a huge advantage for setting up to cast to push water! It handled the Class II no problem at all. Hardly even noticed it. In the skinny water, I had to get out and walk. Without me in it, the boat floated, so I rigged a quick painter to keep it from getting away from me. Others paddled through. I bet the 11.5 would have handled my bulk (~240# at the time) better and floated.

Haven’t paddled a Tarpon 100 (or any Tarpon), but it is just about the most comfortable SOT I’ve ever sat in. Folks whose opinion I regard highly recommend the boat’s performance well, so I guess it’s a matter of fitting. It’s on my list of “some day” purchases too.

  • Big D

Will keep you posted …
on the Crossover. If I’m not thrilled with it I might sell it and get a Tarpon 100 or 120. There is a fabulous deal on a 100 near me but I don’t know how long it will last. Eventually I’m considering going all sit on tops with my kayaks for safety concerns and ease of jumping on and off for wading and flyfishing, etc.

CP ( aka Fishnmusicn )

You may be happier in the long run with
the tarpon 120. Versatile, can manuever in tight spots and has more speed than the 100. Also, more room for gear.