SOT for river use

So I’m thinking about adding to my fleet. I currently have a Pelican Colorado 15.6 tandem canoe, an Old Town Pack solo canoe, and a Necky Manitou Sport 11 foot rec. kayak.

I use all these boats almost exclusively on rivers in IL, in particular the Salt Fork and Middle Fork of the Big Vermilion (Wabash Basin). The gradient on my most often paddled sections is around 3 to 4 feet per mile, making for some nice riffly sections, in high water maybe class 1 whitewater in the spring. All these boats handle this type of river quite well.

So I am thinking about getting a boat to accomodate 1 person, and I was thinking about trying a SOT kayak. I’d like something that will be easy to mount/dismount from, handle moving water well, and just be fun on the river. Speed is not a critical factor, because my other boats are not really fast boats, either. I am not ruling out a boat that is aimed at fishing, because at least 2 of the friends and family members who might use this boat are into fishing sometimes. I realise that boats intended for fishing will probably sacrifice speed for stability-- but I don’t want to go too far down that road, either.

Any ideas?

Native Watercraft Manta Ray 14. I’ve taken my Manta Ray down class I-II stuff, it handles them easily. Used to be under the Liquid Logic label.

Perception Torrent. Really made for big whitewater, slower than the MR 14.

I take my Cobra Maurader

– Last Updated: Sep-03-07 7:24 PM EST –

down class III whitewater all the time with no problem on these rivers in western Montana. The boat has foot room issues but it paddles easy and fast considering what type of boat it is. Look at the pics on the Hook 1 site under photos of fishing rigged kayaks. Mine is loaded down with deep lake trolling gear, sound system,radio control electric motor etc. as shown but can be stripped down for easy paddling. The motor serves as a of rudder on windy lakes. I'm thinking of adding a small sail rig, just a jib sized head sail with no dagger boards. The motor in the deployed position along with the batteries below waterline should be enough ballast.
Picassa link below. This boat is a flatwater river and lake fisher for the most part. I do however run rapids, I just put my walmart shower cap on the boombox first ! Note; the last two pics are the Buffalo Rapids and I haven't worked up the guts to run these on my S.O.T. yet, but I will, if with other folks, for safety. The 80 degree water shouldn't pose a hypothermia issue I just don't want to try this on a sit on top solo for the first time. Lots of 12 inch smallies infest this river !

Check out the WS Tarpons.Sounds
like a 140 would be a good fit. The Hurricane Phoenix is good also.

Manta Ray
I like those Manta Rays.

My wife paddles a 10-footer. I got in it and took about 2 inches of water in the cockpit, but it still handled well. We helped with a demo this spring and I noticed that the cockpit was a bit short for a 6-foot-tall fella.

The 12 was a good fit for him, though he didn’t need the extra flotation.

The 14 was my choice. Good handling and speed. Lotsa storage.