Trying to decide...

Want to get a somewhat small, stable kayak to use on lakes and streams for fishing, hopping around on the lake, photography, exploring, etc. Have narrowed it down to the Dagger Element, Dagger Blackwater 10.5, Loon 111, Perception America 11 and maybe the Pungo 100 or 120. Anyone have thoughts on which might be best?



I have a loon 120…
and like it but if I were you I’d get the Dagger or the Pungo. Dry hatches are nice to have sometimes.

Try em!
As far as SIK’s go im a Pungo man but also have a SOT.You might be better off overall going that way instead of an SIK.

Decisions, decisions

– Last Updated: Jul-12-04 9:05 AM EST –

I have a Loon 138 and a Tarpon 160. I use the Loon almost exclusively. Nice boat for the price, easy to fish out of and easy to paddle.
I have found that hatches are sometimes a pain..with most sik's you can't access the hatch on water so you have to beach to get your gear. Then you have undo the straps, root around in there to find your stuff, resecure the lid and re-launch. The Loon 138 comes with an optional hatch if you want one. Everything I take fits easily under the forward deck (i.e., small cooler, dry bag(s),extra rod, tackle box. Stuff I don't use I put under the aft deck, then beach if I need it(extra paddle, lunch, raingear).

Try, try, try and demo your boat
You’re the best test of what you really want. Several of the boats you mention are shorter, 10-11 feet. I must admit that I didn’t like anything at 12 feet or less, and even the 12’ 9" boat I currently own occasionally feels a bit short. I know the temptation of a compact craft for many different reasons (portability, storage, maneuverability, etc), but when you are on the water–where it really counts–a longer kayak seems to me to be more stable, faster, and more roomy, especially for the legs.

If at all possible, call the stores around your area and see if they have any demo days left for the summer. Usually these are free with a small disclaimer that you aren’t allowed to drown yourself. I had read every last review on 12-15 foot kayaks on last year and thought I had a list of “favorites”–then I went to a single demo day and blew my preconceptions out of the water (weak pun recognized).

Basic dimensions aside, a lot of stability is based on hull design and the size/shape of the person in the craft. I tried 24" wide boats that felt rock stable, and I tried a couple of 25-26 inch kayaks that felt twitchier (is that a word?) than a jumping bean on a hotplate.

Of the kayaks you mentioned, I have tried different versions–Old Town Castaway and the America 13 foot. If the America had been in my price range (cheaper than cheap), I would have bought it, because I liked it a lot. It has a big cockpit, which would seem to fit many, many of the hobbies you mention while offering a nice combination of size, stability, and modest speed/efficiency. I may have had to put up with a bit of oil-canning, according to reviewers, but I also put up with the weight of my Castaway on land, and it doesn’t really matter–it moves on land for 60 seconds, in general, and 1-6 hours on the water!

Enough of me, go demo some boats and tell us what you find out!

Tough choice
I have two pungo 120’s ,my wife and I are very happy with them. Very stable and the best seat you can find. I am looking for a third pungo to use at my lake house for fishing etc.I use a coleman scanoe there very big and bulky. If you go the pungo way you will not be dissapointed.

Happy Paddling


Have Loon 111
Was a recent purchase. Needed something small and light with some stability at an entry level price and this was what I ended up with.

Living about 1/2 mile from the Atlantic I needed something that was “sacrificial”. Sand, rocks, shells, and some really rough going at times takes a toll on anything. The thing IS small, make no mistake about it. However (besides the color being right), it “works”. May not be the best, but for the price I’m satisfied. Big cockpit with triming seat is nice.

I use this inside the breakwaters on good days along with in saltponds, rivers, streams, swamps, ponds and smallish lakes. Primary reasons for using are quahoging, crabing (to an area flat and walking) duck / goose hunting, fly fishing (fresh and salt). I go through some pretty nasty stuff and it shows on the hull. I’m a big guy and can’t say there is a lot of “dancing room” but there is enough. For the $450 +/- it’s quite acceptable. It’s not for touring or just “playing with comfort” on long trips for me. For a “work shuttle” it’s more than fine. However, I am in a market for something a bit bigger though, say 14+ ft. But I’ll keep my 111 just for the “tight spots”. Best duck boat (for my spots) that I’ve had.

If there are any Heritage yaks in your
area-be sure to demo them. :0

Maybe consider Loon 138
I’ve rented both the Loon 110 and 138.

I am larger at 200lbs and found the 138 MUCH more stable than the 110, and really loved paddling it. It also holds a lot more gear.

Just something to consider.

if you can find a dealer in your area
try to check out & demo a Tarpon120 sit-on-top. even up north a short (12’) SOT has some advantages over a SINK.

pungo 120
I demoed a pungo 120 and a tarpon 120 and while I really liked the way the pungo handled and how easy it was to paddle, the tarpon was only a little slower, and was more stable, has more room for gear, the carry weight limit is only 25lbs less than the pungo, and being a SOT I can play in the surf eaiser too. I’m going to buy my wife and me a couple of tarpon 120s.

gotta go with a tarpon 120 or 140
they’re great yaks, don’t be daunted by the lentgh, I’ve never met a boater who at some point hasn’t said “if she was only 2 ft longer!”

fourth vote for Tarpon 120
Wife and I started in in SIK’s and now we’re shopping for Tarpons. Got a T-100 for the kid. We’re sold.

fishing kayak
I am a beginner, and am looking for a kayak for myself and my son - age 7 for fishing rivers and mostly small creeks. I have used a Wilderness Systems kayak twice from a friend, and the quality is very good. This has me leaning toward them, perhaps the Pungo 120 for myself and a Pungo 100 or Pamlico 100 for my son. They will mostly be used in a creek behind our house. One thing I am also having to consider is cost, the Pungo is somewhat costly. Any suggestions on these or any others that would suit my needs?

Repost from another tread…
Remember when buying a yak, try before you buy! Only your own backside will tell which is right for you!

As far as large cockpit rec boats there are several out there. Ranging from low price scale Mainstream Patriot(some models have built in rod holders), to mid price - Preception America, to higher priced WS Pungo 140.(the WS 120 & 140 offer angler models) There are many more that would probably work - Swifty/Sparky’s, Victory Classic 12’s, etc…

Paddled all 3 of the first boats mentioned and by far the best boat for me was the Pungo 140. Comfort level much greater than the others and IMO paddled much better than the others. I bought 2 Pungo 120 at the time as well for the wife & son. (both much smaller than myself) They both love them as well. The paddle effort between the 120 & 140 is appearent when you paddle both back to back. the difference in pricing should be about


I decided on the perception sundance 12.0, and so far am pleased with it. I am now considering the perception swifty or old town loon 100 for my 7 year old. Any thoughts on these? LLBean has the perception manatee(swifty) or loon 100 in a package for $398 with adventure paddle. Any input?

Anything but the Dagger…
Out of all the boats mentioned, I think the Dagger rec kayaks paddle poorly, I’m just not impressed. The Heritage are ok, overpriced for what you get IMHO. Used pungo 12 or a new perception sundance are the best boats for the money.

have a manatee
same as a swifty, but i’d not get the package, just the boat. the harmony paddle with the package stinks, i’d buy the manatee and a nice, light kids paddle. ww

We have an OT 11.1 and a 13.8 both are great boats, we have had several smaller OTs, but we both now use Wilderness System Critter 10 and a Pungo Classic 120, for the money tough to beat with all the features. My next boat will be a Pungo 140 Angler, or something in that class for larger water fishing.

Look for used with a chance to paddle the boats and you won’t go wrong.

I agree with kayakangler,
about the Loon 138. I bought mine as my first kayak, with no experience, and as my skill level grew, I didn’t outgrow the 138’s capabilities. The biggest advantage over the 111, it is comparatively faster, and tracks better due to it’s length. The side benefit is the extra room for enough gear to do overnights on both small to medium lakes, and class I - II rivers. In my opinion, there is no better fishing platform, for the money!

Good Paddling!