First off this site is amazing and thanks for the help. I am new to kayaking and this site. I am purchasing a kayak in the immediate future and it is between the oldtown otter or the pelican esprit. I read the reviews on the otter but could not find anything on the esprit. The reason for these two kayaks are the price I know that is not a good way to choose but it is all I can afford. I plan on using it mostly on the bays of Long Island NY. I will pretty much use it for day trips, and try to do some fishing. Am I going the wrong way? Please give me some advice.
For what it’s worth…
Last September as a beginner I was in a similar situation, and although I am not familiar with the pelican esprit, I bought an Otter for the same reason that you are considering it $$. First let me say that I love the little boat, but my advice would be to test paddle a lot of other boats before you buy one. I really am not sure that an Otter would be satisfactory for your needs and my guess is that you will want something different and better after very little time in it. Even though I know you are very anxious, I would recommend taking some time trying several kayaks, consider buying a better used one for the same price.
Bottom line 6 months after buying my Otter I will be buying another boat this spring.
Good Luck in Your Search
look before leaping…
In general, with the shortest rec kayaks, there's a high enough turnover rate that you should look for used rather than new, since the bargains will be even better. Used Otters are likely available in the $100-200 price range, which is a fair price for a very occasional boat. If you think you're gonna paddle more than a couple of times a year, I'd hold off for something a little longer, however.
The biggest problem with the 9' kayaks is that they've been designed extra wide to make them feel extremely stable for beginners. But once you've been in a kayak for a bit, your skills and comfort level will naturally improve and you'll begin to wonder why you bought a kayak with training wheels, when the "wheels" are only slowing you down. Take a look at some longer, slightly narrower boats first before committing to an entry level boat. The Necky Manitou and the Current Designs Kestrel are two 12 footers that are both excellent designs and sell for right around $600-650 - more money up front, but guaranteed to provide a much better experience on the water.
Look at the Old Town Loon 111
I use a Loon 111 by Old Town. I have had it for about 4 years. I fish out of it – fly fishing and spinning. It is excellent. I have it equipped with a rod holder by Scotty for spinning and fly rod (from Cabelas). It is perfect to troll, either spinning gear or a fly. I use it on lakes and slow rivers. I love it and would not consider any other kayak. Look around for a used one.
I go along with all of this above as I went through the same thing last year. My first boat was a Rush 960 (an Otter with footpegs and padded seat). I used it on flat waters for less than a month before I sold it and bought a Necky Manitou.
The Otter would be safe enough for travelling the bays but you could probably cover the same distances in the same amount of time by swimming.
Are aslso worth looking at.