SOT for non-flat belly

My wife and I are new to yakking. I am 6’0’ and weigh 240lbs. I’m interested in two models currently and would like to get your opinions as to the best choice of the two. I have not test paddled either at this point, only came to these two based on reviews read on this website as well as manufacturer information. I will test paddle then decide, but wanted to find out your opinions as to real-life experiences with either.

I’m interested in the WS Tarpon 140 and the Malibu X-Factor. The WS has a 28" width and the X is 33". The WS is narrower, = speedier I would think, but my concern is whether it will be too tippy for me. I’m athletic and fairly nimble, but didn’t want to have to engage in a gymnastic routine in order to stand and fish. The X appears more capable of that, but it appears it would be slower and there’s a price differential of about $200 as well on the X.

I fish in the coastal Big Bend of Florida (Steinhatchee down to Crystal River) where the inshore waves can get pretty choppy (washboard effect).

I have only found this site over the past week or so and it has been very valuable in reading reviews and opinions (good and bad). I would appreciate your opinions as to which of these two you would suggest.

'stand and fish’
to stand and fish on any SOT (you being a BIG boy and all) will be a challenge. The wider the better.

You are correct in assuming the Tarpon is faster, it IS. But to stand and fish off her is a challenge for me and I weigh 175 and have great balance.


Tippy is a relative term, what’s
seems tippy to one may seem solid as a rock to another.

Based on my experience with SOTs (neither of the two you listed) I think most folks would find the initial stability of a 28" or 33" SOT very solid on flat water.

Based on what I’ve heard your weight may be more of a concern for the WS Tarpon 140. I know I’ve seen some comments about weight and one of the Tarpon series but I’m not sure which one. Hopefully someone with direct experience will respond to your post.

You could also post your query at the SOT website There are frequent posters there who have direct experience with Tarpons and Malibu X’s.

I don’t ever stand to fish
on my SOT. Never found it necessary. I think you won’t find it necessary either. Look at all the people who fish from SINKS - certainly can’t stand up in one of those. The nice thing about a kayak is you can get right into the places you would normally have to cast hard to get to from a larger boat. I’m 5’9" and a half, weigh 165 pounds, and would still find it tippy to stand on any SOT I know of.

Tarpon 160i
Accept no substitutes (not even lesser Tarpons).

2nd that
tho me thinks the 140 is a bit more stable.

The 160 IS my favorite ride when it comes to SOT. Our fishing team (Wildy) loves em.

You know what the ‘i’ stands for??




Standing on an SOT
Is usually a party trick attempted after a few beers.

We had a surf riding contest on a MalibuII (Ocean Kayak model) and it’s doable, but I don’t think you are going to be standing and fishing on a Tarpon. I see lots of people fishing off of the kelp beds where I live… yet to see anyone standing on a kayak and fishing, even those real wide Malibu bath tubs.

Cobra Mariner-XF
Cobra is getting ready to release this fishing yak and to me it seems like a great boat for fishing:

The tankwell and storage access are as good as anything I’ve seen. The Cobra Fish and Dive is very stable but reported to be sluggish and have some noisy hull slap. I think the designers at Cobra have tried to resolve those issues with this boat. If they are not shipping yet they should be any day. I’ll be curious to hear what folks have to say about this boat.

Standing is not my
goal or a got-to-have in a yak by any means. I’m perfectly content with using the seat for what it was intended. My main concern is dryness and stability. If I hook into a bigun’ I don’t want to worry about getting dunked on the hook set. Likewise, if I’m paddling in some messy chop, I want to know the yak can stand up to it.

I appreciate the replies. Please keep them coming.

One you didn’t list
and the one I bought…on Ebay of all places…new and cheap is the feelfree nomad. I haven’t paddled either of the two you mentioned and I wanted a tarpon…Only problem is, there isn’t a dealer within 300 miles that carries one. So I bought a feelfree nomad. (click on my profile and you’ll see me in it on the water) I got mine for $255, plus $90 shipping to a local freight yard. I also bought the skeg. It’s got a nice padded seat. I have’t had any problems with this one comfort-wise. I had paddled an ocean frenzy for about 3 hours and my backside hurt…it was very uncomfortable. I’m 6’0, 250 lbs. The nomad is much wider and stable. It has a well right behind the seat which I also like. Great for a small cooler or maybe a livewell if you use plugs and keep it full of water and rigged some netting across the top. I did buy 6 of the yellow (I think they were the small size) ocean kayak scupper plugs as I prefer a dry ride and I’ve been pretty happy since. I can keep up with my wife in her dagger zydeco, as long as she doesn’t get too far a head start. :slight_smile:

how do you get your pic in a profile?


No Standing - Anything Over 28"
Standing on the kayak is just not a good idea, as long as you are seated anything over 28" will do fine, and that is most SOTs on the market. Finding a narrower one is the real challenge


– Last Updated: Oct-13-05 2:45 PM EST –

And you call yourself an advanced kayaker?! How could this be??? I have a Tarpon 140 and have no problem standing and fishing on it -- and I am 5"11", 205 pounds. Hmmmmmm (It seems the tide has turned, Mr. flatpick.... Or maybe you have no need to stand on the boat when you can walk on water.)

Carter -- the Tarpon is a very fine boat, but you really need to take each one out and test paddle it. Find a kayak shop that has all of the boats you are interested in and try them. What works for you might not work for someone else. If you are concerned about stability while standing, look at the Ocean Kayak Drifter - it is really wide and stable, but as you noted on the Malibu, it is not very fast in the water. I don't stand on my boat very often, but I fish the intercoastal waterway in South Texas, where the water is only about knee-deep and crystal clear. Sometimes it is nice to be able to look for the redfish I'm after and standing on the boat is a nice-to-have option. And, yes, you can cast from a standing position on the Tarpon 140.

-- Kelly

OK, SOT does not mean
Stand on Top. Your feedback and informtion is very helpful. Being a newbie to yakking, it helped me to realize the folly in my original post. I should not, shall not, will not attempt to stand in the yak. Thanks all. I do appreciate your reviews and opinions.

good luck
anyone who stands and fishes off any SOT will be challenged. The balance required to stand, let alone fish, on a Tarpon 140 deck is more than ‘most’ paddlers/ fisherperson are willing to deal with.

Heck, the balanced required to stand in a canoe is more than ‘most’ paddlers can deal with. I teach canoeing, btw and it’s a technique I use for building awareness of balance.

There are some very w i d e SOT’s that are somewhat suitable for the task, but you pay heavily in speed penalty.

my aren’t we a smarty pants?


An idea, and then I’m gonna DUCK!
Would it be useful to add an outrigger, sponson, whatever, for when you are fishing and want to stand up? Remove it for when you are actually paddling.

I have no idea how much stability this would add. Maybe not enough for a 240-pounder to stand comfortably.

Tarpon 160i - again.
You want the 16’ for speed to get you to the fish.

And Steinhatchie ??? I spent a month there one weekend after my dog of a brother recommended it as a place to visit. I really got a kick out of the falls on the river.

The seafood restaurant on the bay was great!

I have a T-140 and it is a very good,
all-round boat. It is quite stable, but you can edge it and you can edge it too far. I am 6-3 and 260 and have stood up in it, but I do not really see the point. With me and my gear, it carries about an inch of water in the cockpit. With any SOT, I would say you have to get in it in the water with the stuff you would have with you and see how dry it is/isn’t.

You have to know
a bit of html ( And then you have to have a place to upload the picture to on the web. Some use webshots, I have about 10mb of webspace with my ISP. I just uploaded mine there. I sized the picture down to a reasonable size, then uploaded it to my ISP. Then in my profile, I used the html commands and “copied and pasted” the address of my picture from my ISP, and voila, it’s there.

Tarpon 140 and X factor…
If you go over to the Kayakfishingstuff website, you’ll get an idea of how these kayaks have worked for different people.

My impression has been that the Tarpon 140 is more often recommended for paddlers under 200 lbs, because it holds so much water above the scuppers with a heavier load. The Tarpon 120 and its all around design seem to handle a heavier load better, along with the 160. I’d go with the 160 if you’d like some speed and are not concerned with standing.

From what I’ve read, the X factor seems to be the only sit on top out there that you can really stand on and fish comfortably without a squirrely feeling. The speed seems to be in the midrange and can hold its own for a big kayak, and handles larger paddlers very easily.

The Tarpon 140 and newer Heritage Marquesa and Redfish are the more skittish sit and stand ons.

It doesn’t get recommended too often but the Cobra Tourer is also a nice sit on top with good speed and great weight capacity and storage. I’ve had one for 2 years and still enjoy it.