Lousy weather threatens savings!

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Jim Wallace, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. During this stormy weather, I've been shopping around for a lighter weight SOT kayak for quick and short go-outs. I've poured over the specs and reviews of all the better short SOT fishing yaks, and have decided, that if I actually get one, it will likely be a Malibu Mini-X. They are about 9' long and weigh in at only 40 lbs. That's about as light as you will find in any of the better made poly SOT fishing yaks.
    And you can stand up in them to cast, as they are pretty wide and stable. Not meant for paddling great distances, these excel for short go-outs from the beach, and perhaps river fishing.

    I was also looking at Malibu's new "Stealth 9" but it weighs 8 lbs more, and that would defeat my intended purpose of finding a decent SOT that weighs 40 lbs or less.
    Hmmm...I wonder if anybody out there has a used Malibu Mini-X in good condition that they want to sell?
  2. Funny you mention this, I have that kayak I just bought. I like it, but think I'm going to use it for fishing the sound. I'm going to try out a Wilderness Tarpon SOT. My friend has one, and he uses it alot (well, he has two actually LOL). Especially for the nice days and ease of getting in and out of, may look at one of those to use for our lake trips, and the Kayak I just bought for my sound trips.
  3. I've got a Tarpon 140 and I really like it, once I get it launched. The Tarpon 120 might have been enough boat to do the fishing I've been doing with the T-140, but I've got mine set up for downwind sailing, and have added a rudder. I've got some sliding "lashing pads" I made for the sail rigging that I can position in the slide trax, and have other ideas about how I may further customize it. With the stuff I already have added to it, the hull now weighs in at about 80 lbs. My canoe trailer and Wheeleez cart can help me handle that, but I am now thinking that I could use a yak that is smaller, lighter, and simpler for quick 'n easy launching for a blitzkrieg jetty fishing sesh.
    So far my research indicates that the Malibu Mini-X might be the best lightweight small SOT fishing yak to meet those needs. I haven't seen any better made poly fishing SOTs that weigh less than 40 lbs. Some of the Cobra kayaks are around 40 lbs, but I'm not sure I like their designs.

    Jerry, I think you might like the WS "Ride" 115 or the 135, as the "Ride" is very similar to the Tarpon, but a little bit wider and stabler for larger people. It has a very stable hull design.
  4. Jim - just out of curiosity, why wouldn't you get one with a mirage drive or pedal system? Forgive the ignorance here. I've long been contemplating a kayak and thought that would be a "must have" for fishing as it'd keep your hands free and a paddle out of the way.
  5. I am an avid cyclist, and I'm sure that I could pedal one of those all day and go far. I have thoroughly researched the Hobie Mirage Drive and Native Watercraft's Pedal drive, except for not test pedaling the Native, yet.
    I think that Hobie's Mirage Drive is marvelous invention. Penguins everywhere should be jealous. The pedals work backward and forward like a "stair-stepper" rather than spinning like bicycle pedals. The Mirage Drive converts this motion to wings flapping under the yak. But it is a machine with moving parts, and I prefer the simplicity and versatility of a paddle, not to mention the upper body workout that paddling provides.
    The Mirage Drive does not operate in reverse, so if you are trying to sneak into position to cast to a fish, you have to judge your "glide potential" and stop pedaling at just the right moment, or else break out the paddle to stop your glide. They do go fast, if you feel the need to go faster than other yaks.

    The Native device has a gearbox (actually, a differential) and propellor drive. It can go in reverse, so one has to simply back-pedal to slow or stop forward glide. Entire drive unit is made by Shimano, so there shouldn't be any issues there.

    The above pedal drive boats cost more than mere paddle-powered kayaks, since you have to pay for the "drive." You still must have a paddle, but you can get by with a cheaper and heavier one that might not be adequate for a dedicated paddler. When you want to take a shortcut across that broad mudflat with only 4" to 5" of water over it, you'd have to pull your drive and bust out the paddle anyway. I paddle over lots of shallow eel grass flats, too. My paddle sheds eel grass with every stroke. I've seen prop-drive yaks get their props wound up with the stuff. I don't think that the Mirage Drive would fare much better.

    For some people, the benefits of those drives outweigh the drawbacks. I mean, you can cast and pedal at the same time! Wooooweee!:D
    I don't have any problem trolling, since the fish often set the hook themselves, or come back for another hit. I only have to let go of the paddle with one hand to set the hook. When trolling for salmon, one often waits for the "takedown" of a solid hookup anyway, before setting the hook. By then, I have grabbed my rod.

    I love to paddle. I enjoy the feeling of pulling myself across the surface combined with the rhythm of a smooth and splash-free stroke. And, I simply love the simplicity of using a paddle.:)
    Jerry Daschofsky likes this.
  6. That 9' Malibu Mini-X is buried beneath higher priority needs and desires, anyway. I can still attempt to "go light and minimal" in my Tarpon, in order to speed up the launching process.
    Further research indicates that the fishing version of the Mini-X weighs 45 lbs.
    The dealer for Malibu and Cobra Kayaks is in Astoria. What a coincidence that the same dealer handles both brands that I want to go look at! And Astoria is almost as close to me as is Olympia!

    There's a place in Ocean Shores that sells Ocean Kayaks, but that's over 50 miles, and I don't like going over there. On the other hand, I'm always looking for a reason to drive around Willapa Bay and visit Astoria.
  7. Jesse, I must say that most people who own the Hobie Mirage Drive yaks really like 'em.

    I have noticed a distinct advantage for pedal power during northerly winds when fishing along the north side of the Jetty, for example. The pedal-power boats can just face dead-on into the wind and pedal against it to hold position while they are jigging, while I have to constantly back paddle to keep from getting washed into the jetty rocks.
    The reverse is true when I'm fishing the north side and the wind is from the south. I get blown away from the rocks, then. The pedal yakkers can maintain position easier.

    There are other trade-offs, too.

    Those pedal yaks require a rudder for steering, unless one deploys the paddle simultaneously. thus, one hand is usually on the rudder control. My turning radius, using various paddle strokes, is generally much tighter than the radius scribed by using only a rudder.

    I don't anchor up out along the Jetty. I tried it, and it doesn't work if you are jigging the bottom structure.(Drop anchor and then snag up bottom on your next cast. Raise anchor and paddle in to free jig. Paddle back out. Drop anchor again. Snag up again sooner rather than later. Repeat until thoroughly frustrated). I often use a hand paddle and my rudder to make minor adjustments, to help control the direction I'm facing.
  8. I also think that a lot of pedal-power yakkers just don't enjoy paddling. To them, I think, it must seem like more work. I suspect that the reason they are in a yak is so that they can have easier access to their fishing. That draws a lot of folks into yak fishing that wouldn't otherwise be kayakers. I'll bet that they aren't paddlers at heart, but are mainly fishers looking for an improved way to get on the water.
    I actually love to paddle, and often plan my fishing to include an extensive tour of the estuary. For example, in late Aug I may know that there's some fresh cutthroat up a certain creek that is a relatively easy and fun paddle, and almost a sure thing to run into some decent fish in some easy to identify holding zones.
    However, I'm likely to choose to go on a 12-15 mile all day marathon in a windy and relatively inscrutable area with sketchier fishing opportunities, instead. Back in my favorite local estuary, I go for the tour as well as the fishing. Any fish encountered are frosting on the cake.
  9. As is the same with many other products, fishing kayak manufacturers are responding to customer preferences and specific demands for all the best features that their customers have learned about, and would like to see on any newly released models. So we are seeing a lot of new designs and improvements. Many of those add weight.

    The major trade-off that I'm dealing with here in looking for a smaller and quicker launching yak is weight vs capability.

    For quick semi-impromptu go-outs to close-in spots, with minimal gear (paddle, one fly or jigging rod and a few flies or jigs, pfd, whistle, knife, water bottle, C&R rubber net, de-hooker or fish-gripper, maybe my camera) the yak I need is 10' long or less, and must be an SOT. I might be surfing this thing on the way back in. Might end up receiving "huli lessons" from Ma Ocean.
    Anything over 50 lbs is automatically off the list. Oops! There goes 98% of anything halfway decent.
    If its 45 lbs - 49 lbs, it should be solid with a couple of good hatches and at least two flush mount rod holders, maybe four. This includes the Malibu Mini-X (been around for a while, but used ones don't hit the market very often), and maybe the Malibu Stealth 9.

    40 -45 lbs, some of the Cobra yaks listed as 40 lbs are here, if you add rod holders and hatches.
    Under 40 lbs should have at least one accessible hatch for below deck storage.
    The search is on! No "off brands." The major brands are just way better.

    I looked at the Ocean Kayak "Mysto." It remains a mystery to me!

    So far the Mini-X is in the lead, with the Stealth 9 close behind (although its already a bit heavy at 49 lbs). I noted that the Mini-X's are stackable, if you have more than one. I will be "mother-shipping" whatever small yak I get with my 16' john boat into some places I have in mind. Anchor the PB, and launch the yak from the anchored boat. Then go explore where the 16'er is too large and feels "out of place."
  10. I remembered another potential candidate in the Ocean Kayak "Caper" fishing yak. Its 11' long and I just found out it weighs only 45 lbs.
    O.K. is one of the top brands. Owned now by Johnson Outdoors. Looks like their "Mysto" surf yak appears to be a discontinued model this year. My guess is that SUPs stole a huge chunk of market from surf kayaks. Probably because its much better to ride waves standing than sitting, unless your knees are gone.
    The search continues...

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