kayaks for me

i’m a 5’8 200lbs man who is starting to freshwater fish from a kayak for the first time. i was planning on fishing on lakes(that can get windy), that are no larger than 150 acres, and slower moving rivers in south western pa. i fish for panfish, pike, muskie, trout and bass

my question is which kayak would best fit my needs? i don’t want to pay more than $900 for an outfit, because i don’t know for sure if i’d like it. i have kayaked some in the past down slower moving rivers. also any accessories i might need?

thank you in advance for any advise

$900 can get you into a lot of good
kayaks. Something like the Prowler 13, Wilderness System Tarpon 120, one of the Cobra’s or Malibu’s, or on and are available. Check out kayakfishingstuff.com and texaskayakfishing.com. Register and ask for suggestions. If fishing cold water, you may want a sit inside kayak. The Old Town Loon 111 is a nice boat,also the Old Town Dirigo’s. Almost any recreational kayak in the 12 foot plus range will make a decent fishing craft. If you’ll be using it a lot, be sure to get at least a carbon shaft paddle, if not one with carbon blades. My Aquabound carbon shaft paddle cost about $125, light with plastic blades, fits my kind of fishing as I’ve been know to stick it in the gravel or mud to keep may kayak from being swept downstream in a current when I’ve grounded it to fish a hole. Myself, if I had $900 to spend on a kayak and was fishing warm waters (actually where I fish), I’d go with the Tarpon 120 or 140.

Another suggestion
The post above has some good ideas. You might also look at the Perception America, which is a 13 foot kayak with a modest beam and good handling characteristics. It also has a longer cockpit, which makes it easier to get in and get out. This is also an advantage for fishing, since you won’t necessarily have to add a workdeck, and a crane, and a flatbed container for supplies–you can just put them on deck, and pick them up again. I test-paddled an America three years ago, and strongly considered buying one. A similar kayak would be the Old Town Loon 138, which was mentioned by the previous poster. The Loon is stiffer and stronger, but heavier. As I usually say, “you don’t notice a kayak’s shore weight when paddling.”

There are some good, inexpensive paddles out there. If you are on a 150 acre lake, a regular, aluminum paddle will not tire you out. I use an aluminum shaft Bending Branches paddle with asymmetric blades; it has worked fine, and cost under $70. I’m sure a carbon or fiberglass paddle would be lighter, but they are usually more expensive.

If your lake is windy, look into an anchor setup. You can go as easy as a weight on a rope, or as sophisticated as a trolling cannonball on an remote-operated winch. In any case, you won’t want to drift off a good spot, so you will need an anchor. When I am close to shore, I also clip a woodworking clamp (or jumper cable clamp) to a shoreside treelimb on a short rope; this will keep you from drifting off, too, and is quicker, drier and cleaner than anchoring.

After that, you can get as fancy as you like: rodholders, lunch, beverage containers, work decks, extra paddles, flotation, pumps, sprayskirts (fer when ya hav ta moon the jetskis, ya see?) tackle storage, rudders, skegs, deck rigging, stringers, etc., etc…it depends on how elaborate you want to get. I usually stick to:

Paddle, PFD, tackle, water, snack or lunch, anchor, two rods, and regular fishing stuff (hat, sunglasses, knife, clippers, sunscreen, bug dope, etc., most of which is worn or in the tackle bag).

Good luck and tell us what you get!

Voyager fits your wants
I’ve got an earlier version of the Voyager, the Sun Velocity, lighter in weight than the current Voyager. On the paddling net Buyer’s Guide, under Boats, here look up Riot kayaks and scroll down to the Voyager.

Stable, a little beamier for fishing, plenty fast, nice big flat deck where I mount a detachable wooden frame/deck with all rod holders etc. mounted to it rather than the hull itself. It has much more room inside than most yaks of similar length, and that sealed my decsion to buy it. I can move my feet and legs, never forced into a cramped position. I always use a spray skirt when fishing but that wouldn’t be neccessary on a calm lake.

It is an unusual hull in that it paddles straight easily on flat water yet handles whitewater. Surfers like this boat. Mine has two bulkheads, fore and aft, for storage. It is a big capacity kayak, mine is rated to 325 lbs. I cartop it, and got it to flyfish remote lakes off of logging roads, yet have used it mostly for fishing salmon in big rivers and salt water. The list price is about $600 I think.

My preferences may be out of the norm
but for fishing and slow flatwater I prefer a slightly smaller boat. Maybe it’s because I first had a WW background. The area that I mainly fish in is pretty rocky in places, so I like to be able to maneuver through the rocks and get to all the little nooks and crannies where the fish might be. I have a Perception Sundance 9.5 (actually my wife’s) that I love. I also have a Wilderness Systems Critter that has NO luxury to it at all, but I picked it up for $150. They both perform about the same in the river, on the lakes, and in the creeks. I plan to get a bigger boat next year, but not for fishing…for day trips and overnighters.



Agree with shorter
I agree with the above poster about going shorter for the water you want to fish.

As far as a Sit-Inside for colder water - not necessary. You can dress properly to stay dry in an SOT even in cold water. However, I would consider a Sit-Inside for another reason you mentioned, which is wind. Sit-On-Tops have a higher profile and are affected by wind more.

I’m 6’3" and around 230#. I’ve fished from a Perception Sparky, which is a 9’6" boat with no problems at all, in river conditions very similar to the SC PA waters you have. I own a Perception America and think it’s a bit too long to maneuver well. I kick up a fuss getting into an eddy that a smaller boat could just pull into. Then I have to wait out the fish to let them reacclimate.

A boat that I think would suit your needs well is the Dagger Blackwater, either 10.5 or 11.5 model. These are longer than the Sparky, but because of hull design are more maneuverable. It’s got a drop down skeg that will help you a lot in those lakes, but you can pull it back up when you’re fishing those shallow, ledgy rivers.

You can definitely get a Dagger Blackwater 10.5, decent PFD, and a decent paddle, plus some accessories for under $900.

  • Big D

If looking at shorter kayaks, you may
want to take a look at the Heritage Featherlite, its 9.6, has plenty of capacity, a couple of built in rod holders, and is easy to toss into the back of a pickup or maybe even an SUV. Down here in Texas, it sells for less than $450. Good small lake boat and will handle larger waters well too. One of my kayaks is a 9.6 Necky Sky, also a very stable kayak. I’m not tall, but heavy…235. It had plenty of floatation and fished well.

kayaks for me
thank you big-d that’s a kayak i hadn’t considered(dagger 11.5)but they could have a sale very soon. seems like a perfect fit for what i’d be doing

Welcome to the sport!
I’ve been fishing southwest pa. for about 45 years now. Approx. the last 5 years have been out of kayaks. I started out with a Old Town Otter 9’6" i believe. My first kayak purchase. Great little boat for fishing but not suited for long paddling/fishing trips. Still have boat and still use it occasionally. Next boat purchased was an Old Town Castine. Much faster and better suited for fishing and paddling. My favorite fishing boat. Gets used the most. Both are sit in side kayaks. I have yet to try a sit on top so that may be the next purchase. I have to say that the Old Town boats use a grade of plastic that is pretty damn near indestructable. If you want to meet up sometime give me a shout as i’m usually out every weekend somewhere fishing during the spring/summer/fall season. I’m itching to do a spring Yough River trout float trip soon.

Good luck fishing.

yough river run
bassman2 what neck of the river are you planing to float? whitewater’d down the middle, haven’t been on the river any other place

i’m going to look at a blackwater(dagger)tommorrow will let’cha know

Thanks for the invite
I know the invite wasn’t to me, but I may take you up on it anyway. I grew up in Pennsylvania (Clinton County) and fished all over those trout streams and caught mostly smallmouth bass and sunfish. Now that I’ve moved to Virginia (well in 1983) and switched to targeting smallmouth bass, I’m having a lot better luck and would like to get back up to Pennsylvania. Growing up I always wanted to fish the Juniata and the Susquehanna near Harrisburg and haven’t yet been able to make it work out. Yough is another run I’d like to try and get my sister out for a day of sun and fun. She had a real rough year last year and shy of God’s mercy on a weary soul, I don’t think there’s anything more restorative than river time.

  • Big D