Tarpon/Drifter/The Ride?? Which SOT?

I am looking for a STABLE kayak that I can fish with. I think I would like a SOT the best.

Which SOT is the most stable?

Do the stable kayaks HAVE to be slower/worse tracking??

I have been debating over these…

WS The Ride

WS Tarpon series

Ocean Kayak Drifter

Ocean Kayak Prowler

I know the Drifter is REALLY wide… does this mean that it is HUGELY slower than the others?

Stability is frequently over-rated by folks who are new to the sport.

Of the models you mentioned I believe the Ride is most stable.

You left a few off the list.

Malibu makes some very stable/wide boats and Cobra’s Fish-n-Dive is another of the aircraft carrier models.

Meanwhile I have a buddy who can stand and fly-fish from a Prowler 13. He’s a bit younger and more athletic than I am.

I sit sideways on a Tarpon 120 or 140 but I don’t stand on em unless I’m on a mud flat or grass clump. My stepeon stands in his T-100 but he’s only 5-2" @ 105 lbs. I’m 5’9" @ 180 lbs.

Yes, wide/stable boats are typically slower than their more narrow counterparts.

I have notable gaps in knowledge and experience. Others will (hopefully) fill in those gaps soon.


shopping for kayaks is REALLY HARD
so eventhough “The Ride” is narrower than the drifter… it is more stable… and the ride is also longer…

It is sooooo hard to compare these things!!! … there is no standard of comparison, therefore it totally depends on who is telling you about the kayaks! grrrrr

Trying them out is hard for me because my local shop does not let you try out kayaks

I am thinking The Ride sounds really good on paper… it is long at 13.5 feet… so it must be fast… it is supposed to be VERY stable … but then again how can it be all that stable if it is 29 inches wide and 13.5 feet wide… wouldn’t it be more unstable than the drifter? or does the design of the hull have a significant aspect of the stability?

I’ve paddled nearly all of those
I didn’t paddle a Drifter, but I own and paddle a Malibu II, which has roughly the same hull as a Drifter with a different seating configuration.

Anyway, all of them are more than stable enough to fish from.

Of them, if stability is what you’re looking for, The Ride has it all over the others. The Ride also has a higher seating position, which will make the seat dryer than the others. It achieves this increased stability while also having a higher center of gravity for the paddler by using a radically different hull design that is more or less like a modified catamaran.

Of the ones you mentioned, and if price was no object, I would give The Ride some serious thought. Next choice would be Tarpon, then a toss up between the OK kayaks.

However, I’ve said it before and will say it again, there is no perfect kayak for fishing. All of the ones you mentioned are good for fishing.

  • Big D

Another Related Thread
Read the “Sit on Top for Fishing” thread in this category originally posted by Kathy Williams…there are several comments on many of the models you mentioned.

Why do you emphasize stability? Are
you going to stand and fish? Most fishing SOT kayaks are stable, some more so than others. It comes with the territory of most being 28" wide or so. Those new to kayaks put an overemphasis on stability and sacrifice some speed, though speed isn’t always the answer when fishing, just makes it a bit easier and faster to get where you are going to fish and helps you when dog tired from fishing all day and want to get back to the ramp or put in, get home and shower, maybe grab a bite to eat. If you are a really big guy, then wider hkayaks may serve the purpose, but width and length do not always translate to stability. It has as much to do with hull design as the other too, within limits.

As I responded to your post in the Advice forum, be sure to check out texaskayakfisherman.com and kayakfishingstuff.com. Demo a few kayaks, you may find that neither the drifter or ride are the kayak for you. Hurricane, Ocean Kayak (prowlers, especially), Wilderness Systems, Hobie, Heritage, Malibu, Cobra, Perception all make nice SOT’s for fishing. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all in the fishing kayak world and, as many flavors as there are, there are that many advocates. Take me, I’m in love with my Old Town Loon 138, but, then, I’m a contrarian in many things.

Stability & Speed

Do the stable kayaks HAVE to be slower/worse tracking??

If by “stable” you mean excessively wide, yes. But many narrower kayaks will be “stable enough”.

comparison to sundance 12
Well i am concerned about stability because I rented a sundance 12 and thought it rocked to much to stand up in and fish … eventhough i was in calm water … I think initial stability is really what i am looking for here

so how do these SOT kayaks perform in stability to the sundance 12? if anyone knows

Don’t think, just do…
I am an ACA instructor and your question is too personal.

All kayaks are stable. It is the human element that makes it unstable. How tall are you? What do you weigh? How are you going to outfit the kayak? What type of water are you going to enjoy? What are you fishing for?

The best advice that I can give you is rent, or try a friend’s kayak. And outfit it the way you plan on using it.

But I do have two cents to give you.

I am 180 lbs. and 5ft 11in. I paddle the Prowler 13 on bay and inlet waters in Florida. I have only fliped it when I took it surfing in 4ft breaking waves in the Atlantic. I fish for Tarpon.

My Dad who is 62 loves his Drifter. He is 6ft 2in and 245lbs. He only paddles in the flats and freshwater rivers in Florida. He also has not fliped it. Yes the Drifter has a larger weted surface. Yes it has a slower crusing speed. But my dad is relaxing and enjoying the day on the water. Speeding out to catch Tarpon is not what he is in to.

I like the simplicity of Ocean Kayaks. They have molded-in Foot Wells. Where as, a paddling buddy of mine has decided to get rid of his Wilderness Systems Ride. All because of the WS Foot brace system. It catches line, tackle, and thrashing fish.

That is my two cents. I hope it helps.

my specs
I am a college kid that is 6’ 2" and I weigh 160 pounds.

The reason I like to “pick” everyone’s brain on the forums is because I do not have an easy way to test out kayaks. I PAID to rent one last weekend… but all they had to rent was sundance 12’s. I do not have any friends that have kayaks.

I see how your friend could not like those foot pegs on the WS The Ride. THANKS for the tidbit on that.

On the other hand, I’ve seen many rants
about the OK foot slots. For some, none of the slots are in the right place.


– Last Updated: Jul-20-06 1:46 PM EST –

I've paddled the Drifter. It's a good stable boat, but since I'm in an environment where there is always a current and I have to paddle a good distance the Drifter was too zippy and didn't track the way I wanted it to. It was all over the place and I'd rather spend my time fishing than correcting the boat. I've also paddled the Prowler 13. Tracks better, but I didn't want to spend that much money for a plastic SOT just to fish.

Like I posted on your other thread look into buying a used SOT from Craigs List or the want ads in your local paper. That way you can have a boat to fish from this summer and take your time finding a place to test/rent other boats. Used SOTs are very cheap. I bought a 15ft Ocean Kayak Scupper Pro and it's great. Now I can fish this summer and still take my time deciding what/if I want another boat. You can always sell it when you go to buy your new boat.

And BTW, most folks selling used boats let you test them out.

That Scupper Pro is still a great kayak
for fishing. If its the model with the tank well, even more so. Even if you get another kayak, keep that one. As far as used SOT’s being inexpensive, that depends on where you live. Here in the Gulf Coast area, used SOT’s, especially the popular ones, bring prices at or above that of new ones. Seems the sellers want you to pay for the rod holders and all the accessories they’ve added to rig the way the thought they wanted it.

the one with the two hatches. Yep, I’ll keep it, way too much fun. She’ll be used for trout fishing next week. :slight_smile: Was thinking about selling the Eskia, but I don’t think I have the heart to sell a boat.

Its all about who has the most kayaks
when they die, or is it fishing equipment. Two kayaks, a canoe, and about twenty rods and reels here.

I can’t convince my wife of that
At one time I was considering leaving my church and using my tithe to buy a trailer and boats to reach folks on the water. It didn’t work out, but it would have been fun to have had ten or so boats to loan.

  • Big D

Sounds like a mission I could get behind

drifter looks like the winner
i am thinking that the drifter is the boat for me…

well…right now i am settled on the drifter anyways…

now i move on to another …and probably more important search… WHICH PADDLE???

can anyone point me in the right direction here??

i would love to spend like 100 bucks and get a REALLY light weight paddle

day tripper
I have been looking at paddles…

it looks like the Carlisle® Day Tripper Kayak Paddle seems to be a really good value. It weighs 37oz and cost 40 bucks.

Is this a pretty decent paddle for the money?

Or should I spend more?

I have a used Drifter for sale.Where are you located?Im in the Adirondaks but can ship if to far to drive.