What kayak should I buy?

Hello all. I’m looking for a bit of advice. I’m a fly fishing guide currently specializing in wade trips on the Meramec River in Missouri, but I’d like to add float trips to my menu of services. I’ve worked out a deal with a local outfitter to rent boats to my clients and provide shuttle service, but I’d prefer to purchase a kayak for myself – if my client and I are in the same boat, liability goes through the roof. I need a durable kayak with some kind of storage options for carrying fly fishing rods/gear and lunch for 2-3 people, but I’m just not willing to spend a fortune. The river is usually pretty sedate, but there are plenty of log jams to maneuver around. Any suggestions? Many thanks in advance.

Sit On Top (SOT)

– Last Updated: Jul-27-09 6:04 AM EST –

the length and width depend on your size and load and what makes sense in terms of maneuverability (shorter boats turn quicker generally).

I am a long time sit in side kayaker and have fished with these. But, purchased a SOT recently specifically for fishing. What a difference to be able to access equipment so readily. (Also, as a flyfisher, the extra width and stability of the SOT provides a more security for a double haul.

Here is a link for your research. Plug in the attributes you're think are applicable and it'll spit out the boats with specs.


Tight lines, man!


look at the fishing kayaks made by Native Watercraft lie the Ultimate and the Manta Ray.


Tarpon or Manta Ray
Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 or a Native Manta Ray 12’.

Those would be my suggestions. They are pedigreed river fishing kayaks.

When you read about fishing kayaks, be sure to understand whether the author is talking about river fishing or open water fishing. While some boats are suitable for both environments, certain boats seem to excel in one or the other.

For river fishing, especially where there are ledges and riffles, the Manta Ray and Tarpon kayaks seem to have become the standards by which other kayaks are measured.

I use a Dagger Approach, but if you are taking clients and need a large carrying capacity for lunches, extra tackle, etc., then I don’t think it would be appropriate. Also, you’re going to want an SOT for ease of exit and entry. You’ll be hopping on and off quite a bit to help with client snags and such.

  • Big D