New SOT, very wet on first outing

Have used sit in kayaks for about 8 years, decided to get a sit on and rig for fishing. Finally decided that a Perception Caster Angler 12.5 was the best boat and overall value for me. Took it out in a lake yesterday, and the front storage/cockpit area stays wet with about 2 - 3 inches of water all the time. This spills into the seat at minimal movement, so I was soaked all afternoon. I expected to get wet, but not like this. Can’t imagine using it in cool weather. Also, it sits very low and the sides tip into the water easy, getting even more water in.

Anyway, I had decided then to return the boat soon. This morning, I read the reviews here and seems everyone is pleased with the boat and no complaints about the water… That has me thinking. Should I try plugging the two front holes ? Is this amount of water normal. Maybe I got a bad boat ?

I’d appreciate any suggestions. If I do take it back, I’ll demo the next boat before buying.

Sounds like not enough kayak…
… given the difference in your experiences and those of others (in other words, maybe it ain’t all about the boat itself - but the boat choice/match/fit).

You mention nothing about your size, how much gear you take along, what waters you paddle/fish - so really hard to comment constructively or make better recommendations (beyond the standard: “TARPON 160!!!” if your an average or larger size male anyway).

On flat water, try scupper plugs. Never that flat here, and always warm, so the wet butt thing isn’t an issue - so I never used the plugs - but they make/sell 'em for a reason.

Yes, try plugging the scupper holes
You’ll find out if that’s all it takes, or if the boat is meant for a lighter paddler. Or maybe you too much weight in the front half–what if you moved some of it to the rear?

Not much load, I think.
Only a small soft sided cooler in front with 2 bottles of water. A littlemor egear in back, but less than I’d normally take fishing in my Sit in.

I’m 6’, 240, so not the thinnest guy on the lake, but well within the boats ratings.

The lake was a little choppy from the wind, but the water was mostly coming from below, not over the sides. Also bought my wife a SOT, but she doesn’t fish. She just likes to sit in the sun, but her boat had less than a cup of water in it. It’s a different boat, and she is much smaller. Still, I would be thrilled if my boat stayed as dry.

Always demo before you buy…
And don’t let the capacity fool you either. If a kayak has 300# capacity it doesn’t mean that’s what you can put in it before you get water through the scuppers. Typically you’ll get water in the scuppers at around 50% of the capacity.

I thought that Perception discontinued the Caster series after about a year and replaced it with the Search? I think Dick’s has a few Casters laying around, of course, I also recommend avoiding Dick’s like the plague.

I weigh 220# and use a Trident 13. It’s bone dry with me and plenty of gear. I highly recommend it over the Caster.

SOTs made to get wet
"water coming from below, not over the sides" - that’s the scupper holes the guys are talking about. Plug 'em up for cooler weather when you’re trying to stay dry.

SOTs are made to get wet, hence the holes - they’re there so that you can take on a lot of water and the excess water runs off automatically.

Even so, some will be drier than others. Try it again with the scupper holes plugged but if it’s too wet, take it back and get a drier one. If you’re going to fish from it, I’d guess you do want a drier one, since fishing is best in the spring before most places warm up. Or you could use your other boats for spring fishing and save the SOT for summer.

When summer comes, you’ll love fishing from a wet SOT. Best way to stay cool and will go almost anywhere.

stay dry
One thing to look for, if you do take it back and demo others, is whether the seat has a drain hole in it. Many do not, and so any water that gets in there (and it always gets in the seat) stays there, keeping your bottom wet all day.

Of course, on some boats you can fix that yourself with a few minutes and a drill, but it depends on how it’s mounted - just look at it ahead of time if you think this might be important to you.

You’re gonna need a bigger boat
most 12 footers just don’t have the volume to keep a big guy dry. I’m 220 lbs and even a 14 foot Tarpon is wet, as was a 12, and forget it with the 10 foot SOTs like the Torrent and Pegasus. I think something like the Manta Ray 14 would be great for you. You might have a little at your feet, but they have removed the seat scuppers and it has nice high sides. It also comes standard with scuppers for the foot wells.

And it’s a great fishing platform that is decent at touring and decent in easy whitewater. Rides high and dry.


Yup. you are too big for it
You, a paddle and even minimal gear/water puts you real near max load of 300# (that’s for the 13 - looks like 12.5 is gone - but 12.5 won’t be higher rated - and their 15’ is also 300# max).

Max load is rarely ideal load. It will hold you, but it won’t paddle that great and as you are finding will ride low and be wet(er - as few SOT are really dry).

If you don’t have to limit yourself to something so short, get a Tarpon 160! Gets you another 75# capacity (so I’d suspect a lot closer to design displacement/optimal paddling). Several other suitable options for you size too, but the T160 is nicest to paddle of all I’ve tried. Maybe the 140, but I see not benefit for most uses other than maybe storage. Shorter than that, maybe for ponds, and probably not for folks your size even there.

Waders and a bigger boat
You’ll need a 16 foot boat if you want to have hope of staying dry without waders. I’m 230 and I get a little bit of wet butt in most boats rated for 300#.

The max may be 300, but the average kayaker ways 120 to 150. In flat water you can pug the scuppers and stay dry in many boats even if you are not at the ideal design weight.

Most kayak anglers wear waders, because they keep you dry, protect you from bug and block the sun. Plus a SOT is ideal for wading. If you aren;t going to get out and wade then some times a sink or a canoe is better for fishing.

Gotta love scupper holes; they’re weird
I used to own a SOT with no holes (a Prijon Twister). It was a wet ride even with my light weight and no scupper holes.

Then I rented an OK Scupper Pro. The vendor warned me it would be a wet ride–but it was not, even with the holes unplugged.

When I heard the sound of the water gurgling through those holes, I almost freaked. I mean, the notion of HOLES in the bottom of a kayak is a little weird, you have to admit.

I rented that boat. I thought it was a
pig in the water.Get a Tarpon.

Appreciate all the replies.
Wish I would have gone to a recent demo day. This boat was bought at Gander Mtn, and is identical to the Casters at Dick’s except for the colors. One shop I looked at had the Search 15 Angler on close-out for a great deal, but it seemed so long. I thought it would be a hassle loading and transporting. I may take another look at it.

I’ll also check the other recommended boats. I expected some water, and would be fine with being wet, but 2 - 3 inches was just too much. And no, there is no seat drain, so it’s like sitting in a tub.

Now, how difficult will the return be ? Anyone ever returned a kayak to a big retailer?

Not sure how hard it will be
to return it to a big retailer. But when you do, find a locally owned paddlesports dealer. They’ll know what their talking about and help you avoid the headaches of what you get at a big box store.

Ok i will say it
get a tarpon 160. L unless you are in big waves you stay dry. its also relatively fast and very stable. the scupper pro is a close second.

Swedge is prejudiced but so am I.
The Native Watercraft SOT are good boats and very dry. I love my Tarpon 160 but unless the water is glass smooth,my butt always gets wet.

Ant the RTM Tempo is
basically the same as a Scupper Pro – an old, but well tested SOT design.


Be careful with waders

– Last Updated: Jun-04-09 12:17 PM EST –

I have been shown the error of my opinion here, so I'll just retract my comment.

The problem with boat ratings…
The problem with boat ratings, especially SOTs, is that the manufacturer is listing how much load the boat will take.

That max number has no regard to how much load will bring the water to the top of the scuppers.

As an examples, a boat may be able to take 400 pounds but only 180 on board would draft the boat deep enough so the water is at the top of the scuppers. Add any more and the water doesn’t completely drain.

i have the 14"
i have the manta ray 14 and weigh a little more than you and have no problem with it. there will be a little water pooling by your feet, but unless your stretched out your feet won’t be in it. i’ve taken it out in march when the water was still pretty cold and the only problem i had was trying to keep the water from dripping on my legs from the paddles.