sit on slower than regular? use in bay?

I want a kayak 10-12 feet for fishing north jersey lakes. some lakes are pretty big like 250 acres so there will be some chops/waves. I’d really like to take it in the barnegat bay also, It’s not a big bay, so it’s not THAT choppy. I’m 160 pounds 5 foot 8. here are some questions i’d love answered asap( don’t want a good deal to get away):

Are sit on tops slower than regular/traditional yaks?

Are sit on tops more stable and better in choppy water (I’d assume non sit ons are more likely to tip if a wake/wave hits the side compared to a more flat bottom sit on)

it looks to me that regular/non sit on tops are easier to paddle but less stable. it looks like the deck of a sit on is so close to the water that a sideways wake/wave will get me drenched. Is a wide sit on the most stable for a choppy bay, but just more energy consuming to paddle around?


A lot depends upon the length and hull shape (mostly width) of the kayaks, but as a general rule of a thumb a sit in kayak is faster but less stable and vice versa a sit on top is usually more stable but slower.

Another rule of thumb is that sit-in kayaks are more likely to keep you dry (especially with a nice skirt), but in choppy water you should expect to get wet in either.

Second the above and would rent
some of both to see which you like best and/or may be willing to grow into. Seem to be lots of used yaks on the market now so wouldn’t rush into a cheap deal that may not have a future with you, unless its very cheap and you could resell it easily.

Look in the “fishing from kayak” …
… Forum. You might get more responses there, as well as be able to find threads on the same topic.

All I can offer is I’ve seen a cable show called something like “fishing from kayaks”, and they use SOT’s, even in the ocean. But as noted, you will get wet, so warm weather, or keeping warm in cold weather, are factors. SOT’s are wider so more stable, and offer larger flat areas to work.

You can also find SOT’s modified specifically for fishing.

Do a google search and you’ll find lots of information.

As for SINK’s for fishing, I’ve seen people in the ocean using various rec boats, which are wider and have more open cockpits.

I’m sure with some digging around you can find lots of information.

A sit inside kayak intended for ocean use, including bays like Barnagat, is expected to be used with a skirt so water doesn’t get in. It’s rec kayaks, with bigger cockpits, where that is less likely. But they aren’t supposed to be out in the middle of Barnagat Bay per most statements from manufacturers.

A sit on top is a wet ride regardless. So if you aren’t willing to use a skirt in a SINK, neither is going to be very different re water except for the possibility of incoming water destabilizing a SINK.

As to stability, the narrower sea kayaks and day touring boats are very stable for the wavy conditions they are intended to be used in. It just operates differently than in a boat on flat water.

Given that you have your sights set on an ocean bay, you’d be best off finding demo days around you or even paying for a day with a guide from a local outfit to get the feel of how these things work. You should probably also seek some advice on the challenges of Barnagat Bay. I seem to recall at least a couple of posters here over the years who have underrated the issues of its wind and tidal current in some spots.

99% of ocean fisherman using SOT
SOT kayaks are the craft of choice of folks fishing on the open coast. Check the fishing forum and this webpage for information from kayak fisherman.

Coulda had a V8…
The OPer did say fishing and I forgot by the time I was typing… there are SOT’s set up very nicely for fishing, better in the way of things like rod holders than sit insides.
is another SOT site where you can learn a lot about them and fishing from them. Some SOTs are actually a fairly dry ride, and in cooler weather you can wear protective clothing to extend your paddling season.

The newer models of Tarpons
are much drier rides than their predecessors, are reasonably fast for their length, and can handle rough water.I paddle a 140.

They are designed as fishing boats.

They are all wet
In a kayak in a light chop the waves are as high as your face. You would even notice waves in a typical 25 foot motor boat that will give a paddler fits. So just plan on being wet or staying out of places where you can get choppy water.

And yes SOT’s are slower than Sinks. My Cobra Expedition 18 is only a little faster than my Tarpon 160 and they are both much slower than my Solstice GTS Sink. Especially slower in a chop. BUT for fishing I’d always pick the SOT first.

SOT are all different, but

– Last Updated: May-20-11 1:43 PM EST –

like people said, SOT is more common with fishing crowd than just paddling.

You're right that wide SOT is more stable and more energy consuming than average SINK kayak (or than a narrow SOT). Hull shape matters too, but usually the wider - the slower and more stable. The narrowest SOT (= the least stable) is about 28" wide, which would be considered VERY wide for SINK kayaks. Only recreational SINK kayaks for short trips on flat water can be that wide, while SINK sea kayaks don't go over 25". The widest SOT like Cobra FnD is about 37" - I don't think there exists any SINK kayak that wide.

SOT will be slightly more difficult to paddle than SINK of the same width and length. More wind resistance and probably less tracking.

Often SOT are also more heavy - so you better check the specs if you plan on cartoping it.

Demo Day
There is a demo day the first weekend in June in Lakewood, New Jersey. May be worth a trip to help you decide.

I paddle a …
log so I don’t have a clue.