I currently have an Ocean Kayak Frenzy SOT and was looking for a more serious kayak for fishing, hunting, exercise and exploring. My local dealer sells both Old Town and Wilderness Systems. They suggested the Predator or Pungo angler models. I am familiar with the Old Town since my brother has a Loon 138, which is basically the same. I don’t know much about Wilderness Systems. Does anyone have an opinion in favor of one model over the other in terms of speed, maneuverability, comfort and value? Also, any suggestion on size (Predator 11 or 13.8’ vs. Pungo 12 or 14’)?
Thoughts from an under-eduacated dude…
Regardless, you’ll be impressed with your inceased tracking ability in any of the newer boats that you mentioned when compared to the Frenzy.
A question you have to ask yourself is “Just how much tracking do I want?”
For example, I fish a lot in broken marsh. A Tarpon 160 would leave some nice ponds inaccessible to be simply because I wouldn’t be able to navigate the curves in the ditches leading to them.
On the other hand, someone who wants to troll the surf would probably be better off in such a straight tracking boat.
I am a little confused as to why you’re considering swithching to an SOT.
I have a friend that paddles a Pungo 140. He likes it a lot. It has better tracking than my Walden Scout but I’m more comfortable parking on top of oyster shells than he is.
Everything has trade-offs. Nothing is “perfect”.
Wilderness Systems makes some great boats including two of the most popular models out there for fishing… the T-120 & the T-140.
They’re similar boats
Either would be well suited for fishing and casual exploring. I paddle a Loon 138, so am a bit biased towards the Old Towns. I owned a Tarpon 160 and WS plastic did not impress me. My Tarpon deformed pretty easy leaving a huge dent in side of my kayak after sitting on it's side in my storage rack(recommended storage position) for a couple of weeks. It did come out after sitting in the sun for several hours, but the fact that it deformed so easily, especially after taking the effort to insure it was stored properly, kind of pissed me off. I won't be getting any more Wilderness boats.
Depending on where you fish would determine the best boat length. I wouldn't go less than 12 feet. At that length you'll get some decent tracking and better speed. I have no problem getting my Loon at almost 14 feet back into some really tight spots to fish.
The seats in the OT boats are really comfortable. I've spent up to 8 hours in mine without a shore break. No numb feet or butt either.
As far as price goes you can probably get a Loon or a Predator (basically the same boat) for much less than a Pungo. I got my Loon 138 for $300 less than what the Pungos in my area are selling for. I'm a bit biased towards Old Town as they make a great boat for not a lot of money. Their Polylink 3 plastic is tough as nails and the quality is excellent.
I would skip purchasing the 'angler" edition. You'll pay an extra $100-$200 for a couple of rodholders that are placed where you may not like them. Better just to get the "plain" version and use it a while to determine where you would want to place your fishing gear. I've had my Loon for over a year and still haven't put rod holders on her. I don't think I will either as I don't see a need for them.
Both are good boats
Try them if you can.
My preference is for the Pungo, but that’s just my preference. Rather than the Pungo, I would actually steer you towards the Pamlico from Wilderness Systems’ line of boats. It handles way better in river current for the moves you have to do for fishing.
Further, I wouldn’t bother with the ‘angler edition’ of anything. You’re bypassing an opportunity for fun and creativity when it comes to custom outfitting your kayak for fishing. I think the most humorous outfitting I’ve seen is a velcro ashtray. One fellow has an insulated BEvERage holder. To me, fishing kayaks are all about individuality, fun, and comfort. Sometimes you may even catch fish.
- Big D
I paddle my OT Predator in large lakes and in small ponds. I think it is the perfect fishing platform. I have owned my Predator 138 for two years now.
I dont know about you, but I was happy to have my kayak already outfitted with the rod holder and the anchor system. All I could think about was “getting some lines wet” when she came in.
Old Town is a great company too. After the first year I wanted to add a second rod holder. I called Old Town and inquired about getting one. This is no joke–they had one on my oor step the very next day. That is good service. I also like the fact that when you call them a human answers the phone. They still have the small business attitute.
I would definately endorse the predator. I am going to get the 111 for my girlfriend this year.
If you want a ton of fun choose either boat. If you want great customer service and a high quality boat, I suggest the Predator
I bought a Pungo 140 back in 2003 and it is still my favorite fishing and general paddling kayak - The flat hulled kayaks mentioned might do better in extremely shallow water but the Pungo's keel makes a big difference in windy, choppy conditions and is overall faster/easier for me to paddle. ( I owned a Walden Scout for 1 season before buying the Pungo) How much extra are the Angler models ? Maybe by purchasing a regular edition you could save some $ and invest it in a better paddle. I bought a reasonably light, large bladed Werner Kauai; for me it has increased speed and maneuverability. Are the factory installed rod holders where you want them? (Read my post on rod holders; when I am not fishing, I just leave my fishing deck in my truck). As far as the Predator vs. Pungo question, compare them by trying them out. If you settle on the Pungo, get the 140 - the extra length is worth the inconvenience of lugging a bulkier kayak. The other kayaks mentioned might perform better in river current; while fishing in the Piscataqua River in Portsmouth, NH - the full moon, outgoing tide pushed me 400+ ft. downriver, side ways. Though the current did not tip me over I could not straighten out the Pungo at all.
I prefer WS but OT has a couple newer yaks out now ive never tried that look real nice.I would suggest going for one with a somewhat smaller CP opening and adding bulkheads if there arent any.Those big CP’s can get you into trouble.That and the lack of a bow bulkhead were the only things i didnt like about my Pungo 140.Good luck!