kayak for fishing recommendation

I am looking to purchase a sit-in kayak for fishing and would like some recommendations. Not a big budget so hopefully used. We have use of a friends cabin that we go to several times a summer. It is a small lake and I like fishing out of a kayak. Mostly smaller fish like pan fish or bass. We have one 10’ recreational kayak that I use but that is my husbands so I’d like my own.

I am 5’2 but if possible I would like a kayak that my skinny 6’2 son could also use periodically.

I’m thinking of maybe the 12’ range but am open to suggestions. A local paddling shop has a Necky Manitou 13 demo one from last year on sale. Would this be a good stable kayak that could be used for fishing? I’m only out for a few hours at a time and it is usually just me, a small tackle box, small soft sided cooler, and fishing pole (beer and worms must share the same cooler!). Do you think the Manitou 13 would be a good choice?

One of the reasons I would like a nicer kayak than DH’s $300 recreational one is that we have a lot of lakes close to our house. Such as one is 350 acres. It would be nice to spend a Sunday afternoon paddling around the shorelines and a nice handling kayak would help me keep up with DH.

Anyone have other suggestions?



Pungo 12
Big open cockpit and nice and stable.

SOTs are also great for fishing, 12 foot Tarpon or Native Manta Ray. Lots of good stable boats out there.


Ultimate 12
For ease of use and incredible stability, I heartily recommend an Ultimate 12.

Craig in windy Kansas

I’ll second both of those choices
I have a Pungo120 in my “fleet”, mostly for my wife and as a “Buddy boat” for friends because its so easy to paddle. They come with a handy “dashboard” attachment perfect for organizing your gear. I paddled the Ultimate and the Pungo a lot before choosing. Pungo tracks better and paddles faster if you need to keep up with others. Also comes in Duralite if weight is a concern for you when you paddle alone. Ultimate has great adjustable seat. Both are very stable. Try before you buy.

low cost kayak
I started with an Emotion it is the Edge. small and lite and around 300$ i love it. fish from it almost everyday .

Pungo 12 might be big.
For a woman who’s 5’ 2" - the Pungo is awfully wide. The women that I’ve put in pungos have banged up the sides quite a bit (I don’t mind the boat taking the beating - it’s the women’s hands and frustration).

A small woman boat… LL Bean’s (Perception) Calypso - the stability is there, but I question it’s fishability.

Maybe a small Tsunami 120 or 140. Again, the stability is there. For fishability - you’d need to get creative.

Otherwise, look at sit on tops - Ocean Kayak has a “made for women” Venus.

I typically shy away from anyone getting a less than 12’ boat. Even then, if you’re trying to make any distance, I’d much rather see you in a 13’ or longer. (Though, weight can become an issue.)

Whew, challenging.

I recommend getting an SOT
For a small lake, pretty much any SOT will do, but the Wilderness Systems Tarpons and the Manta Rays (I forget who makes them now) are pretty well pedigreed bass fishing kayaks. Consider a 12’ model for what you intend. They should be available used in many areas, but can’t say about yours.

Other pedigreed flatwater fishing kayaks are the Cobra Navigator and the Ocean Kayak Drifter. The Ocean Kayak Prowler is pretty nice too for flat water (not as great for rivers with strong current, but still suitable so long as there’s no rapids to speak of). All of these should also be available used in many areas.

Two things I really like about SOTs is that they have a lot of surface area for strapping down things like tackle bags and such, and if you capsize all you have to do is flip it over and climb back on. It’s much easier for a novice (or anyone who doesn’t have a roll) to recover from a capsize in an SOT. I consider this to be a MAJOR safety advantage. They do tend to be heavier, which can lead to problems for getting the boat to and from water but is not such a big deal once actually floating.

For Sit-in-Kayaks, I think that the Pungo several people have mentioned is a good suggestion and would also suggest you check out the Perception (or whoever makes it now) Swifty and the America (if they still make that line). Used models of each of these should be available. The Swifty is somewhat short and slow, but will do fine for what you’re asking. Bass fishing from a kayak does not require speed or long traverses. Good initial stability (it doesn’t feel tippy) is what you want from a bass fishing kayak. Don’t worry so much about tracking. Tracking is highly over-rated in my opinion. In short order, you’ll learn good stroke technique and be able to make ANY kayak go straight rather than just the ones with “good tracking.”

Whatever you do, have fun and be safe. Wear a PFD and use your head about weather, temperatures, having company along until you’re proficient in the boat, and having enough water and food along.

  • Big D


– Last Updated: Feb-25-09 12:43 PM EST –

It's a question of priorities: Do you want a fishing boat that's occasionaly used for longer paddles, or a boat that's fun to paddle that's also used for fishing?

You can fish from almost any kayak -- it's a question of what you're willing to give up. I've spent many happy hours fishing for panfish with lightweight tackle from a 22" wide sea kayak. I do have to pay attention to balance when a good smallmouth gets on my line, but it's not a big deal. You just learn to edge and/or lean to keep your weight centered.

I'd suggest trying out boats by getting on the water and going through all the fishing motions to see if it's comfortable.

At your size, some of the popular "fishing" kayaks may be too wide for you to paddle comfortably. The Manitou might be a good compromise -- it'll be much more stable for you than for an "average"-sized paddler. You might want to pad out the cockpit a bit to make it easier to control.

Fishing from sea kayaks
>You can fish from almost any kayak – it’s a

question of what you’re willing to give up. I’ve

spent many happy hours fishing for panfish with

lightweight tackle from a 22" wide sea kayak. I do

have to pay attention to balance when a good

smallmouth gets on my line, but it’s not a big deal.

You just learn to edge and/or lean to keep your

weight centered.

True - my buddy fished from his W/S Tempest on a slow moving (almost lake/pond-like) river.



– Last Updated: Feb-25-09 1:00 PM EST –

I have the Manitou (had it now for nearly 4 years)and use it a lot for fishing. I've found it very stable and easy to maneuver. Excellent tracking. Although I generally use it in lakes, I've taken it out in the Gulf near Tampa in 2-3' seas and felt comfortable with the stability and my ability to paddle it into a gusty headwind. I'm 6'1", 180 lbs.

By the way, before purchasing the Manitou, I demoed the Pungo along with various other boats. Personally, I found the Pungo very stable (more stable than the Manitou), but found the Manitou easier to paddle and faster.

WS Tarpon
Forgot about the Tarpon. My buddy fishes lakes, rivers and the Long Island Sound from his Tarpon. I think its a 14 footer. He swears by it. Great fishing platform.

I am very surprised the Mad River synergy hasn’t come up.

sound like the perfect compromise for what you want to use your boat for and it will fit your son easily.


The Synergy 12
would be a good choice if she needs a maneuverable boat as it does turn better than the comparable SOT models. The only downside is that there aren’t any scuppers in the event you do take on water. Probably not a deal breaker for small water, and calm lakes.

Odd that they call the thing a canoe though…


narrowed down choices
Thanks everyone. I have been trying to buy a kayak off craigslist since last summer but everytime one comes for sale I spend a day researching to see if it is exactly what I want and then it is gone. Always worried that a better kayak will come tomorrow. Even missed out on two of them in January. Hard to believe a kayak will sell in less than 24 hours in January in Wisconsin!

Right now I am leaning towards buying from a local shop that has last years demo units for sale. There are two places. One has a Pungo 120, Dirigo 120, and a Pamlico 120. I might go look at those today but of course here in WI I will only be able to sit in those out of the water - that is if they even have them inside.

The other store I’ll go to during the week and they have an overstock sale on the Manitou 13. The same price as the others but looks like a better discount. This is the one I am leaning towards as I think it will be a better all around kayak as in will work better for speed if I want to take it out on a local lake just to kayak. Today I only fish out of our kayak but there is a local women’s group that gets together one night a week to kayak and I think it would be fun to join something like that. This kayak is $200 more than the top end I wanted to spend but it is new and they will do a down payment and finish paying for it over the next couple of months. Hate to say it but then my cheap DH won’t know how much I spent (he thought $400 was too much)! :slight_smile:

Someone mentioned the Pungo being wide for a shorter person. That made me remember how I do sometimes scrape my hands in my DHs cheap-o kayak. That’s another reason I am thinking the Manitou might be better since it is a little narrower than the others.

Oh, I forgot the first store also has a Kestrel 120. I am leaning towards the Manitou 13 since it is less money (the overstock sale) but welcome any opinions.