Recommendations needed

I currently have a flats boat (live in SW FL)and am very interested in purchasing a fishing kayak. Sure would love some recommendations with supporting reasoning. I have access to gulf saltwater as well as numerous freshwater creeks. Love to fly fish too. Recommendations for accessories would also be very welcomed.

You might want to consider a Hobie kayak. These are sit on top kayaks that are pedaled. They are very popular for fishing because your hands are free. That way you can troll or deal with a little wind or fish through an area very conveniently. The two disadvantages are that they are more expensive and heavier than most other equivalent kayaks.


Lots of choices

– Last Updated: Jan-07-15 8:45 AM EST –

There are a lot of good fishing kayaks on the market. The trick is to pick the one that best suits your needs. I fish saltwater flats, so here are my thoughts. I will address sit on tops (SOT) only, since they are self bailing and, in my opinion, best suited to saltwater uses.

First choice is length. Longer is faster and tracks better, shorter is more maneuverable. In saltwater, speed and tracking is the more important of the two. I would say length should be between 13 and 15 feet.

Next choice is stability. All of the SOT's have good stability, however, since you fly fish, I would guess you would like to stand, so stability is important.

Third choice is weight. It depends on how you plan to transport the kayak. I load mine on top of my Outback, so I like lighter kayaks.

I am an Ocean Kayak fan, so my first choice would be a Trident 13. It is a good combination of length, stability and weight. It has a flat area on the cockpit floor for standing.

My next choice would be a Wilderness System Ride 13.5. It is a little longer but is wider and heavier. The reason I would say this one is because it is very stable and easy to stand in.

After that would be the Jackson Kayak Cuda 14. A little longer, but also heavier, which is an issue for me. Still it is stable for standing and has a good seat for comfort.

Final choice would be the Native Watercraft Slayer 14.5. Actually, this would be much higher on my list except for the front tank well. I prefer a hatch on the front for dry storage and because is can take on water when waves crash over the bow. There are drain holes in it, but still, I like a covered hatch on the front. Other than that, it is the best combination of length 14.5 feet, stability and weight, 70 lbs.

These are not necessarily the best for everyone. Each person has their own requirements and there are a lot of good kayaks out there.

I like to keep things minimal. The only items I would add are an anchor trolley running bow to stern (this is a relatively simple operation, basically a big loop running through blocks at the bow and stern, with a ring to run the anchor line through); a Scotty fly rod holder on the front part of the cockpit (great for fly rods and spinning rods); a second Scotty fly rod holder behind the seat on the non casting side (if you cast right handed it should be on the left side); a 1.5 pound folding anchor; and a stake out pole (I use a piece of stiff PVC cut at an angle to form a point on the bottom and a T connector on the top).

Also the Big Rig
In addition to the other recommendations you’ve received, all of them good, I’d recommend adding Jackson Kayak’s Big Rig. It was designed with flats fishing in mind.

Of the ones listed, my favorite that I’ve paddled have been the Wilderness Systems Ride and the Jackson Cuda.

I do not stand to fish from a kayak, though each of the ones I’ve mentioned here were designed to allow a paddler to stand. From what I have heard from friends who do stand on their kayaks, there are two things to bear in mind.

  1. The kayak is not stable like a floor. No matter what, YOU have to be able to stand on the kayak as well as have a kayak that is designed for standing. If you haven’t the strength or balance to stand on something that is affected by center of balance, practice. I know a couple of guys who did what looked to me to be awkward yoga poses to get their balance and strength ready for standing in a kayak.

  2. Sitting is harder than standing. Use the strap.