Just wondering what model of SOT really is the most practical for fishing.
what your needs are.
The list goes on and on.
I bet if you provide more specifics, you’ll get better responses.
Scroll down and find the forum you need
It does depend
But here are some general things to consider in taking a decision.
First, there is no best-suited kayak for fishing. I will dispell that notion right now. There may be a best kayak FOR YOU, but there is no overall best kayak. I do tend to think that SOT's are better suited for fishing than SinKs, but there are those who would disagree.
Second, there are many, many, many good kayaks. I would recommend that you don't let the best be the enemy of the good. In other words, don't do research for two years to find the best when you could have one that's good right now and get two more years of pleasure. The most common thing I hear from people who a great deal of time doing research is "I wish I had taken the plunge a long time ago."
Length - In general longer kayaks glide or attain better and are faster. Glide is how long you continue to move forward after a stroke. Attaining is going against current (where there is current). They also tend to be less maneuverable, but that changes dramatically based on hull design.
Width - Wider kayaks tend to be slower than narrower kayaks. That's not a bad thing for fishing! Often a nice slow drift is a GOOD thing. Also, wider kayaks tend to have higher initial stability. Initial stability is the resistance to reaching a "tipping point." Initial stability is generally inversely proportional to secondary stability. Second stability relates to the ease of recovering from a tipping point. You'll need to get an appropriate mix for the waters you'll be fishing. If you'll be in Class III rivers, you'll definitely want to have some good secondary stability, which means you'll sacrifice some initial stability. If you'll be floating on large farm ponds, secondary stability is essentially un-necessary (barring user error). I can't speak for ocean fishing needs, but expect that you'd want some reasonable amount of secondary stability. I tend to like a fairly high level of initial stability because I fish in karst rivers with lots of exposed ledges. I also use low in the water lure presentations. That combination means I snag a lot. I like having fairly high initial stability so that I have another moment or two to relieve the snag without being capsized.
If you're not an experienced paddler, pedigrees matter. There are kayaks better suited to certain areas and types of fishing than others. See what other folks doing the kind of fishing you want to do in the area you want to do them are using. That said, here are some general SOT pedigrees used nearly everywhere there's kayak fishing in the US.
Wilderness Systems Tarpon (avail in 10' through 14' lengths) I know people who use Tarpons in tidal flats, ocean, rivers, and bayous. They seem to be a very adaptable sort of boat.
Ocean Kayak Drifter (and several other models from OK as well) - older models have exposed scupper holes that make them unsuitable for ledgy rivers, but they are used nearly everywhere else. Newer models have recessed scupper holes. They have a reputation for being a wet ride, but there are aftermarket seats that relieve that problem.
There are many others (probably literally 100 or more) that can be added to the list, but I see those two models popping up more frequently in discussions than any two other models.
The Liquid Logic Manta Ray 12 is a new model that is receiving excellent reviews, but hasn't been around near as long as the OK and WS models to get the market penetration.
- Big D
Edit to add: Malibu Fisherman was specifically designed to be a fishing kayak and included fishermen familiar with kayaking in the design and test. The type of fishing it was designed for is coastal. I have heard no reports on its performance in other types of water.
Liquid Logic has a 14 footer now, I
think. The company makes fine kayaks and I wouldn’t be afraid to buy one of their SOT’s even though they haven’t been in that market long. Another kayak to conside is the Hurricane Phoenix in 12, 14, and soon to be 16 ft lengths. Its made of a material called trylon I believe. Appears to be tough, smooth finish, light, and fast for a SOT. A 14 Phoenix shaves about 15 pounds off that of an equivealent Tarpon or OK Prowler, another good fishing craft. And, then, there is what I would like to make my next kayak, a Hobie Outback, but without the Mirage peddle drive. The list of good fishing SOT kayaks is almost endless. The best advice is to give them a try.
While Big D is probably right about SOT’s being better for fishing, I still love my Loon and find it to be almost as easy to use as most SOT’s.
The Wilderness System Tarpon 140 has been a good boat in my experience. One of the previous posters was right about intitial stability, and the Tarpon has it. I’ve never even come close to tipping over even when faced with boat wakes, submerged logs or hidden stumps. It has both open and closed storage and comes standard with 2 rod/paddle holders built in on either side. It has 8 scupper holes: 4 in the floor under the paddlers legs, 2 behind the seat and 2 in the rear open storage area. Plugs are available for these and they work just fine. Is has a premolded receptacle that will accept another rod holder as well as a compass in the center console. It has an attached poly seatback that folds down when not in use…the 2006 model has a padded cover for the seat back. Tracking, speed and stealth are better than several other SOT’s that I have tried. I have the 14 footer and it can be a chore loading it sometimes…heavy at 65 pounds or so but it’s solid for a reason (remember those stumps I mentioned?) The 12 and 14 foot models are good for most fishing spots…the 16 footer is available for off shore or large open water fishing. I’ve paddled both the 12 and the 14 footer and have heard numerous good things about the 16. Good luck!
More info …
Here ya go …
Wow! Great responses! Thanks
That Kayak Fishing Stuff site is really great too!
I am primarily an experienced sea kayaker and like the exercise and speed/glide of the sport. My sea kayak is 17 ft. and carbon kevlar.
I guess what I want from a SOT for fishing is the features for outfitting, room for the stuff, and also the ability to get where I want to be efficiently. I’m used to paddling hard, leaning to turn, and a relatively light kayak. I mainly paddle lakes.
I read about length for speed, but they are heavy.
Would a T160 be too large for me (I’m about 150 lb)? I’ll also need to read about the Phoenix. Do these SOTs have attachments for an anchor? Are there any that are bad?
Kayak Fishing Stuff
Go through the selection process on the Kayak Fishing Stuff.com site and it will show you a number of different accessory packages in the purchase option. Anchor kits are one of many options. The T160 probably perform more like a sea kayak than the 120 or 140 but it only comes in poly so it's pretty heavy...check the wildernesssytem.com site for exact specs...70+ pounds, I think????
Kathy, look on kayakfishingstuff.com
and another great kayak fishing site, texaskayakfisherman.com for ideas on how to rig an anchor. Many use what’s called an anchor trolley that allows you to move your anchor all along the kayak, adusting for the wind. But, as for a place to just put an anchor, most SOT’s don’t come with one. The trolley’s usually are run thru pad eyes you install, some just use the pad eyes, others attach small pulleys to the pad eye and run the trolley rope through the pulleys. The latter method is much more smooth. Another option you may want to consider is a sea (also know as a drift) anchor, helps when drift fishing, though it you get a rudder on your kayak, the rudder will also help with drift fishing. All of the information you can ever want on anchors, drift anchors, and anchor trolleys can be found on the above sites.
Scupper Pro TW / Ocean Kayaks …
This might be a good boat for you to look at. It’s skinny and long by most kayak fishing standards and will accept a rudder.
Finding a Scupper Pro is somewhat of
a problem, most dealers have gone to the Prowlers, though the SP is a good kayak. On the Hurricane Phoenix, they are pounds lighter than roto poly boats, especially important for those who have limited upper body strength or are fatty’s like me.
SPTW discontinued …
Rumor has it that the SPTW will be discontinued next year. I’d wager that a suitable replacement is in the works. For a paddler that ocasiioanlly wants to fish, it’s a super boat. Most fishing kayaks are designed for anglers that paddle. Big difference in performance …
The OK Prowlers are a good series...both the 13' and the 15' models. I've paddled both and they seemed slightly faster than my Tarpon although they didn't seem (to me at least) to track quite as well. For whatever reason they seem to make some noise when moving at any speed through the water...sort of a "slapping" sound coming of the bow. That was what I was referencing when I referred to the Tarpon as "stealthy" (quieter than a Prowler). They are relatively light and I would assume easy to load/unload...I had the luxury of a salesman assisting me during a couple of demos. They lack the flat cockpit floor and the built in seat-back of the Tarpon series but are still comfortable nevertheless.
Unless the foot slots are in the wrong
place because you are too short or too tall. I’ve seen a few posts about problems with prolers leaking badly at the scuppers and about keels not holding up at the stern, more than with other poly boats, but that is a consequence of dragging a poly boat over rough surfaces.
I believe that’s the model that the site host JonS at KFS.com helped to design and test. Or maybe it was the X-Factor. Anyway, it was a Malibu model.
If you’re planning to do Coastal kayaking and fishing, that’s a really great site. I used to hang out there a lot, but my fishing isn’t coastal but in rivers and started participating in sites more oriented towards river paddling. Still, there’s a lot of good people who are eager and willing to help.
- Big D
For a woman’s perspective on kayaks
for fishing, as well as paddling, you may want to contact Chrystal Murray. She’s a guide down in Floriday, fishes from kayaks, canoes, and whatever, very approacable. She may have an ad on kayakfishingstuff.com, or you may be able to google her. Also, there’s a kayak fishing group our of Ft. Lauderdale, if she’s not on it or doesn’t advertise on it, someone there may be able to help you. Google Ft. L. kayak fishing or Florida kayak fishing.
Chrystal Murray’s website:
would love to fish with her, might learn a few things both about fishing and kayaking.
The tarpons are great fishing platforms, and the scupper holes are cheaply plugged if desired using foam plastic golf balls from Walmart, at 2.99 (or so) for a bag of 4. These can be removed for draining and reinstalled in a snap. I have my anchor tucked in the small space behind the seat and a carabiner on the end of the anchor line, and clip it to the point of my choosing around the boat. The 140 comes with multiple points around the boat already installed. I have a milk crate in the storage area behind my seat with my tackle containers and assorted gear, a scottie rod holder in front of me on the console and two rod holders behind the seat. My wife liked my Tarpon so much we are selling her OK Mars and she has purchased a Tarpon 140 for herself. We bought Mango Orange so other boaters can see us. We have had the boats in the river, the reservoir, and in Mobjack Bay off the Virginia Coast. The angler version comes with three rod holders and the anchor package… Email me if you like and I will send you hi res pics of my set up to give you an idea of just one of the ways this boat can be set up. Mine is almost two years old and still looks new. If the 140 is too large for you, the 120 is another good option. As for the 160, the wife and I were safety boaters at a Demo Day recently and a lot of folks paddled the 160i; most loved it.
Good luck finding what will work for you.
There is only ONE real tarpon and its the original T-160!!! They rock… My wife loves it, its not as fast as her QCC, but its the next best thing when you want a good do it all boat.