Striking a Balance

After spending a year researching the purchase of a kayak (even looked at canoes) primarily for fishing a class I/II river (Susquehanna River in central Pa) or small state park lakes, I have come to the point to either buy or stop looking. I have been struggling trying to strike a balance between a purchase for MY needs vs. ability to include my family (5 and 3 YO, possible my wife). I know I should focus on the situation I will be in most of the time, but quite frankly what that is today will probably change very quickly. I have come to the conclusion that a Native Ultimate 14.5 would best meet my needs (including capacity), but that will require outside storage. I would love to get a 12ft boat that I could take 1 of my kids with me…possible the Ultimate 12 or WS Pungo 120. Then I can hang the 12ft on my garage wall. I can’t get comfortable with the SOT options with one of the kids in the tank well. Maybe I’m being too conservative. Is there enough room in either of the 12ft options?

Any thoughts before I fish or cut bait (sorry couldn’t help it) would be very helpful. THANK YOU!

What is the weight cap
Ocean Kayak has a very nice sot yak. Very stable and great for fishing from or family fun. I know the Susq. Ran it for a few years when I lived up north of Binghamton. Cooper Lake to Big Bend back to Bing for a pullout. Here’s a link for the Sidekick.

But look at some of the others too. I have a Malibu II XL tandem which can be paddled by one and I fish from it all the time. Can even stand in it and fish. The XL is a bit to long for you since inside storage is a key element for you. The sidekick is just a touch longer than 12 feet. Something like 12’4”.

Forget the family.

– Last Updated: May-17-08 9:12 AM EST –

It sounds cruel, I know. But I first made the mistake of buying with pleasing my family first, instead of myself in mind. And you know what? After an initial infatuation, they didn't want to come along or use the bigger and more expensive boat I first bought! The beauty of a kayak is that it's meant as a solo (sorry tandem folks) pursuit. Same goes for fishing, when not with one's buddies...I say, if YOU like it, go with the 12 footer option. If the tribe gets restless or envious, THEN buy them something else to have paddle fun in. In the meantime, put tasty fish dinners on the table.
Poop or get off the can!

paddling metaphors
I think you got it. Trying to put the whole family in the same boat. When my kids were small there was a desire to do it all,and I did with a canoe. But at some point it’s obvious you’re on the water because YOU want to be on the water. The kids really aren’t thrilled with being captive passengers for epic voyages. It’s like choosing any boat, pick the one for the majority use.

Cold Reality is difficult to swallow!!
Yes…I think the part I’m struggling with is the “forget the family” and meet MY needs. The one I’m most concerned with is my son (5YO). I have to fib to my son now when I want to have some alone fishing time…because he always wants to go. So the idea of not having the option of being able to take him even if its only once in awhile doesn’t sit well with me. That’s why I was inquiring about the ability to take him in either the Ultimate 12 or Pungo 120.

By the way…I did look at the OK Malibu XL2, but figured if I was going to go that big, I’d get the Ultimate 14.5.

I should have mentioned that my urgency is the fact I’m going to a demo day tomorrow in which I will be able to test all the kayaks I’ve mentioned…just not the OK line. Just wanted to get some last minute input. Thanks much for all the opinions.

be honest with him

– Last Updated: May-17-08 10:27 AM EST –

it still gets down to which boat is suitable for the majority of use. If you like paddling alone, do that and find other activities to do with him. If he hits a button in you then the issue isn't the boat as kids accept very well what is out of their control.

If he simply likes "going with dad" then it may just as well be two hours of car driving or two hours of paddling,,if he actually likes two hours sitting in a small plastic boat.

depending on your size the Pamlico 145 is a good choice for big solo platform for 200lb paddler and more room than the other rec. boats mentioned. It's an older model but the hull shape is simple and efficient.

You’re right
Deep down…I know that you’re right. Put my quesiton in the cateogry of “I just wanted to ask to be sure.” Thanks!

Get the Ultimate 14.5
and store it outside with a cover on it. Consult the manufacturer to see how they recommend storing. Don’t be so selfish that you miss quality time with your son at this time in his life. Maybe he will have an interest in what your doing and want to do the same as he gets older? Its a good possibility. He may repay you many times over as you get older. The 14.5 can be paddled either way. Why worry about storing outside if you do it right? (And its very cheap to just cover with a tarp)

Too limited in your thinking.

– Last Updated: May-17-08 10:54 AM EST –

I think you a bit of a victim of marketing. To be honest there are hundreds of kayaks that would work for fishing on class I or Class II streams. I see lots of parents paddling with their little ones in the front of some of the larger Ocean Kayak Sit on Tops. Ask a couple of dealers what they would recommend that you can try.

I own 9 kayaks and a canoe. If you really think the Native Ultimate is the right boat. I would look on craigslist and buy an old used canoe. It would work just as well and you can stick the whole family in it.