Hi! Currently, I'm kayak shopping and looking for recommendations for light touring kayaks that people have rigged for fishing. My paddling is primarily touring with my wife around the saltwater creaks and rivers near Savannah, but I would also like to use it for fishing (trout, reds, etc). I would like to be able to carry gear for overnight trips and don't want to spend more than $1K. The Necky Zoar Sport looks good. Other ideas? Thanks.
First, you have to define “light”-
the "lighter" you go, the more $$$$. It's basic.
There are many yaks to choose from. Demo, Demo, and did I say Demo? Almost all yaks, whether SIT or SOT, can be rigged for fishing.
Sorry for the confusion, I'm a bit of newb as far as the lingo. By light I was referring to "touring" and not necessarily weight. I am interested in kayak with double bulkheads, width around 24-25" and length around 14-16'. A boat with high primary stability and a roomy cockpit. The absence of a front bulkhead rules out recreational kayaks like the Pungo 140 for me. I'm just curious if anyone uses a traditional sea kayak for fishing and any tips on outfitting, etc. Thanks!
I fish from
sea kayaks, the most stable of which is my Valley Skerray RMX. It’s not “rigged” as I just cast lures. I’ve gotten real used to fishing from it and have had good success on reds, trout , snook and tarpon to 80 lbs. At first, fishing from a sea kayak will feel awkward, but it is a real blast being towed by a 10 lb. red. Have fun and keep us posted.
Sun Voyager might work
I love my Sun Velocity (the earlier name and version) for just such uses as you propose. It is only 13 feet, a crossover boat that I use in swift rivers, plus fish saltwater and lakes. It has fore and aft bulkheads and hatches. Mine has a full rudder but I almost never drop it. I paddled for two days while camping my way down Ross Lake, Washington, and never dropped the rudder once. I can’t believe how well it tracks yet turns easily. I’ve a lot of paddling years however and have no trouble making whitewater canoes go straight.
I love poking around tide pools, shorelines. I paddled through two arched holes in a rock cliff that simply could not be done in a 16’ or longer boat, and brought back a 16 lb. salmon. Nice combo boat.
Try to paddle any boat if possible before buying. At least sit in it, see how much movement you have as well as how snug you can fit if you want to brace your knees, etc. Some boats I had to splay my feet constantly as there was not room to relax them straight up in front of me, not good for a casual fishing kayak. The Necky boat you mention is a good one I considered but I love the greater room in the Velocity cockpit. Its flat deck is nice for fishing also.
I have a Zoar Sport for day touring with my wife. It is a pleasure to use. It tracks true with little influence from the wind. I never need to use the rudder, unlike my wife in her 14.5 Carolina. And while I could probably fish from it with a limited amount of gear, I chose a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 Angler for that purpose. It’s much more suited to providing easy access to gear, anchoring, trolling, etc. And it is much more comfortable for casting jigs, etc. The Zoar would start to get too confining (and warm) after a few hours of drifing and casting. On the Tarpon Sit-On-Top, you can move around, stretch, and even dangle your feet in the water.
In kevlar is very light at 42 lbs and is extremely stable for fishing plus the cockpit is huge and you can easily twist around to grab a rod holder placed behind you without feeling like you are going to tip over. However, it is more than $1K more like $2500 with rudder. So the lighter you go the more $$ you will be paying. Having said that, if you can get a well designed touring boat that can also be a comfortable fishing platform. Look for a used one in kevlar.
I also like the Current Designs Pachena DX. I rented a Zoar when I went on an overnight at Pictured Rocks in Lake Superior. That boat felt like a slug to paddle and was not very comfortable for me.
Whatever you get, the secret to fishing out of a touring kayak is to keep everything to a bare minimum. A deckbag or even a fanny pack should hold all your tackle.
Thanks for all tips. I’m probably going to get a P&H Easky 14 since that’s what they’ve got at my local shop and I paddled it during my ACA class. If it doesn’t work out for me, I’ll get a Heritage Marquesa (or other SoT) and my wife will the get the Easky. I’ll follow-up after I catch some fish!
I hope you checked out the Kaskazi
kayaks before you made your decision?
Hey Beach Camper, I too have a QCC 400X that I fish from. Great boat, quiet and stable. And you are right on the money with keeping the fishing gear to just what you need. This boat just seems fish friendly and doesn’t spook em in shallow water. Another nice thing is the ability to cover some water, if the fish aren’t all in one area. I carry most of my gear on deck, and hang a nylon fish bag from the side. This keeps everything at arms reach and out of the way for casting or paddling.
trolling or casting from your QCC?
I have two QCC kayaks on the way from the factory, a "500"and a “700”. I love the idea of fishing for a little fresh fish while i am paddling. Have any of you done any trolling with your kayaks or do you stick with casting?
All I do in our winter season is troll from campsite to campsite. In my old Perception Vizcaya had a scotty rod holder in front of me at arms length. Rod pointed straight and towards back so line was over my head. It was the best way to hook up to a trolled fish. Now in my new QCC I dare not open any holes on deck so devised a temp rod holder that I can use behind seat and forward until I find best placement. THEN I will start drilling. If you want to send me an email I will get you a picture of temp rod holder for your QCC's. Hopefully the rod holder will be placed behind me for good just concerned with rough seas and turning around to grab rod. But the 400 is a real stable boat.
The rod holder mounted forward is a problem on long trips as it gets in the way of a good paddle stroke.
got my boat
I demo'd some boats today: P&H Easky 13, LiquidLogic Pisgah 14, P&H Cappella 166 RM, and Necky Chatham 16. I got the Cappella for me and Easky for my wife. Just got back from my maiden fishing trip - no luck, but what a blast. I just took my spinning rod and lashed the butt of the rod and reel under the forward deck bungees. Can't troll or anything fancy but good enough for getting from A to B. I got a PFD with a big front pocket that holds a small tackle box and some tools (hydration bag in the back). The boat has a day hatch that should solve the fish storage problem. The spray skirt acts as a nice table for changing tackle.I mostly paddled around in the marsh creeks, drifting and casting a cajun thunder with some artificials (DOA shrimp, saltwater assassin). Eventhough the Easky has much more primary stability, the Cappella is more fun to paddle. The stability doesn't really bother me, Maybe I'll change my mind when I hook that 100lb tarpon, but until then I'm sold on the sea kayak. I realized that I enjoy paddling as much as fishing and am glad I went with a boat that I can grow into. Now, I just need to work on my technique - fishing and paddling!
and good luck. Those are real nice boats!
Nice choice if you have time and space
You could build a pair of these kits for about 1600.00. I have a 17’and fish from it regularly.
It works for me.
Look into Eddyline's "Sandpiper". I have paddled and fished a few times in this boat and loved it. It's lightweight and paddles like a little feather. Ladies and senior paddlers enjoy it's stability and large cockpit. Fit and finish on all of Eddyline's boats is superb and I challenge anyone to find a kayak that is more durable.
There are plenty of reviews of the "Sandpiper" on the Product Reviews link, on the left side of this site.
Hope this helps.