SOT for Fishing

I’ve been kayak fishing for approx. 3 years from a Old Town Castine and an Old Town Otter( my first kayak) which are both sit inside kayaks. I have a Grumman canoe which I have not used since I started kayak fishing. I’m thinking of selling the canoe and getting a sit on top kayak for mostly fishing but some occasional paddling. Also the wife will go paddling with me and an sot would be a lot easier for her. The prime usage will be fishing and not paddling long distances.

Since I’ve never paddled an sot or checked them out I need some suggestions as to what brands and sizes / features would best suit my needs. Any comments or suggestions are welcome.

Oh my!!
There are so many it’s hard to start. I’ve owned everything from a 9’Ocean Kayak Frenzy to a 16’ Wilderness Tarpon. I would suggest something around 12’ in length with a large forward hatch and a tankwell in the rear. The Ocean Kayak Drifter springs to mind as well as The Wilderness Tarpon 120.

To be honest I’ve tranisitioned from SOT’s to SINK’s. I use an Old Town Loon 138 and like the drier ride and easy access to gear(it’s right in the cockpit with me).

However, I’m finding that I use my canoe much more frequently these days. It has the openess of an SOT with way more storage capacity and easier access to gear. A good fishing canoe that I like is the Old Town Pack. At 12’ long, 33 lbs and a 400 lb payload it’s easy to load, easy to paddle and will hold a ton of gear.

My .02 cents.

Tarpon 120 is my vote too…
though several other boats would also be wonderful platforms.

If you want to stand up to fly fish you might look at an OK Prowler or the um… er… hell I can’t recall the name of it right now. Brain cramp!

I fish from a SIK. We got a Tarpon 100 for the kiddo to fish from. He loves it and I’ve used it a few times too. I’m planning on adding two Tarpon 120’s to our fleet so we can play in the Gulf.

There are several great SOT platforms.

Old sage advice from people who are a lot smarter than I am… “Try as many different boats as you can before you buy”.

As stated
there are MANY nice boats to choose from.By far the best place for advice on fishing yaks is KFS-Kayak Fishing Stuff.They sell most everything you need from the boats to accesories as well.Check it out,you’ll be glad you did!!!

I also fish from a Tarpon 120, and am quite infatuated with it. However, if, as you indicate, you are not going to be doing a lot of paddling, and since you also say your wife might be using it, you might be well advised to look at some shorter and lighter boats. I found the T100 to be a better fishing platform than the 120, but opted for the latter for the longer paddles that I frequently make. Also, the 120 is pretty heavy for a 12 footer, I believe around 65 pounds. Also, check out the OK Caper. I haven’t tried it, but it is nice and light, and has gotten some great reviews. For the record, the other boat Yakalou might have been thinking of is the WS Ride. The T140 is also getting favorable reviews as a kayak that can be fished from standing up.

I use a Cobra Fish n Dive SOT kayak set up with outriggers and trolling motor. A nice stable rig with plenty of storage and space for rod mounts, fishfinder etc. Package price was $895. plus.

Be sure to try the Heritage yaks before
you make your final decision.

Prowler length
I was looking at the Ocean Kayak website and noticed the reported length of the Prowler to be 15 feet. I thought I read or heard that it was 16 feet. Did they change the lenght, or did I just misread something a while back? Will a SOT like the Prowler be faster/// easier to paddle than a canoe in coastal waters?

I like the Tarpon 160, holds more gear, and is quite capable of doing some distance should I want to. But for just floating around any of the Tarpons would work…

Define “coastal waters”.

Along the actual coast or the backwaters, inlets and bays.

Deeper in the back waters where the winds are blocked by 3’ tall marsh grass a canoe can be a fine craft for fishing. I enjoy being able to carry a 48 qt. ice chest in a canoe and I can’t carry one in any of my yaks.

On the other hand… My VERY humble opinion is that an SOT would be faster, easier to handle and safer than a canoe in “big” water.

Paddling costal waters means - winds. The lower profile of any kayak is a big bonus in windy areas.

Recovery from a capsizing event would be much easier in a SOT than a canoe. (Sea kayaks paddled by a proficient roller are a different story.)

Does that answer your question?

coastal waters
I went out to an area called Janes Island State Park which is located in Maryland around the Chesapeake bay. Great trails around and through the Marsh Island. I was in a canoe, and when we began going around the island and more in the bay, the combo of tide and wind made the paddle a long slow one. I was thinking anything would have been better than the Old Town discovery I was in at the time! I’ve been looking hard at SOTs ever since.

Tarpon 120
The Tarpon 120 gets a 10 in most reviews. Some give it a 9 because of weight, but I don’t buy that because the weight is no secret and most SOT’s are heavier.

I have one and as cold weather approaches I’ll go back to it, parking my Solo 13. It isn’t the most agile because it tracks, and the two aren’t real compatible. I haven’t found the agility a real problem. I know its limitation and I react accordingly. Because I go upstream, and downstream sometimes, through long holes at times, I like the tracking ability. The secondary stability, in my opinion, is excellent.

To put this in context, I have to point out that this is the only SOT I’ve owned or paddled.

Thanks for all the replys!
I’ve read all the replys posted so far and done a lot of internet research and probably narrowed it down to several boats. I know the best idea is to test paddle as many boats as possible but that is’nt a real option here in Western Pa. Donot know of any open trial days in this area. The boat that i’m kind of leaning towards is the Tarpon 120. There are still one thing that concerns me about this boat. The weight. I almost always go paddling solo and loading and unloading is a potential problem. I usually haul my boats on a pickup truck cap rack.Any comments or suggestions are welcome. My second problem is convincing my wife that I need another boat. My current count is four. If i sell one maybe it won’t be as bad. Anybody in western Pa. want to trade a Tarpon 120 for a like new aluminum Grumman 15’ canoe? Thanks for all your replys.

Quit looking…
Go buy one. I’ll bet you won’t regret it.

If you can find a used one you can minimize your financial risk. If for some unforeseen reason you end up not happy with your purchase you should be able to recoup 90-100% of you investment in a used boat.

However, finding a used Tarpon 120 within half a days drive isn’t always easy. I’ve been looking for months.

Good luck!

Your concern is a valid one. As I mentioned in my post, I regard this as the only real drawback to this boat. I am 39 and in good shape, and I still find this boat to be a bear at times. Not only is the weight a problem, but the handle placement makes them difficult to lift and carry. As you may know, you can buy side loaders to help cartop your boat. Also, you can just put it in the truck bed. That’s what I do with my 120, it’s easy to load and doesn’t stick out too far. I was in REI yesterday and looked at some of the Ocean Kayak boats. They are much easier to heft. Unfortunately, I’ve never paddled one, so I can’t speak to performance, but they are popular with many people on this forum. As I mentioned before, the OK Caper looks like a sweet boat to me. I think you may find a few reviews on the product review page. Also, if you’re not paddling long distances, the T100 is a boat that I have tried and can highly recommend. Perfect to fish out of, much easier to lift than the 120, a lot of fun to paddle. You don’t want to wind up with a boat that is a pain to get to the water, then it’ll just sit in the garage. Good luck!

source for used yaks
Here’s a good source for used yaks. I check them out every couple of weeks to see if anything catches my eyes. Russ

Tarpon 120

I love my Tarpon 120 for yakfishing.

It has rock-solid secondary stability.

I always feel safe fishing in it.

Buy some scupper plugs and fish in it all winter.

Good fishing!

SOTs…Try the OK Drifter
I have been looking for a yak to fish from for months, and have found this one to be the best so far. I have not tried the highly acclaimed Tarpon 120, but I have found that, after trying many many different kinds of yak, that the best kayak is the best equipped kayak. If you set your boat up the way you like it, then you’ll have a great experience. Good luck and great fishing!

S-O-T for Fishing
Been using my Ocean Kayak Scrambler XT for the last 8+ years. Have rigged it with rod holders that fit into the scupper holes in the foot well, and still allow water to empty. It is an extremely stable kayak, which is important to me as I do all my fishing in the ocean.

T100 yak
I want a SOT kayak for solo fishing purposes (or an IDEAL solo canoe - we know how likely THAT is to find!) and have a good friend here in the Texas Hillcountry who fishes the coastal saltwater quite a bit in his relatively recently acquired OK “Drifter” (set up right…!) He’s NUTS about it! But he weighs 225#, whereas I’m older (with diabetic health concerns/musclature loss, in recent years…) and weigh 135#, so the next size smaller (~10’) is more my proportion, I suspect… I can’t recall the model name right now, but if anyone out there has data on the fishing OK I’m referring to, I hope you may advise me a bit!

Tight lines! Peter (Ibachser)