Sit on ToP Kayaks for fishing

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Ron Eagle Elk, Sep 11, 2013.

  1. Ron Eagle Elk

    Ron Eagle Elk Active Member

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    I just got back from a summer managing a small fly shop near West Yellowstone, MT. The shop sits 50 feet from the Madison River between Hebgen and Quake Lakes. I saw a lot of guys using SOT Kayaks to work in amongst all the dead trees in Quake Lake and land a bunch of big trout. I started thinking that paddling a kayak might be a good way to fish some local lakes and possibly burn off some of the fat I've accumulated since I quit smoking 10 years ago.

    If you have a SOT Kayak and fish from it, what do you have and do you like it? Looking for some decision making help here.
     
  2. Frank R

    Frank R Member

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    I like my NuCanoe Frontier 12. It paddles fine but it excels as a fishing platform. More room for your stuff and incredibly stable. It is easy to stand up and fish; you can't do that easily in many other kayaks. In addition you can rig the seat so you sit higher, which means it is more comfortable and easier on your back.

    http://www.nucanoe.com/
     
  3. martyg

    martyg Active Member

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    Ron -

    I have logged as many miles in some years in canoes and kayaks as most people do in their lives. What you get into depends on what you value most. In my case I got into paddling as a kid to catch bigger and dumber fish. However I quickly fell in love with paddling and boats that were designed for "sportsman" - all primary stability, no secondary stability, pigs to paddle, etc. - were replaced with more performance driven cruising and racing boats with solo trips lasting for months in the Canadian bush. On WW rivers - if you are proficient - you can access waters that rarely get fished.

    Today I still paddle more performance oriented boats, with fishing a pleasant side activity. Generally I paddle to where I am going to fish and then start wading. If I am going to stay in the boat to fish I generally troll. Although gently paddling along a structure filled bank and casting into that structure is one of life's great pleasures.

    IMO a SOT is a great fishing tool. but not a great paddling tool. They are waaaay to wide and you sit waaaay too low - it kills all leverage that you have in paddling. However as crafts get narrower and you sit higher they loose their primary stability and will feel tippy.

    My advice is to paddle a bunch of boats and take some lessons from a certified instructor. Everyone assumes that they come out of the womb knowing how to paddle, but in reality it is very counter initiative. I think that lessons are important before you buy because then you will have a sense of technique, and once you improve your technique a bit your perception of what you want in a boat may change.

    PM me if you want to get out on a lake for a few hours. Also check out NW Outdoor Center. Their instructors are solid.
     
  4. Chris Bellows

    Chris Bellows Your Preferred WFF Poster

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    i use a ocean kayak prowler 13 for my saltwater fishing and have a wilderness systems commander (kayak /canoe hybrid) for freshwater/back bays/mangrove canals.

    the commander has way more room, two sitting positions (one high and one low) and is stable enough to stand in. it is not self bailing though (no scuppers) and is far more difficult to re-enter after tipping over.

    the prowler is a true site on top. a bit less room, but great for offshore in both washington and my new home in florida. you can stand up in it but it is not meant for that.

    people will also mention the peddle driven boats, but i actually enjoy paddling so they have never been an option.

    they may not be the best boat for lakes, but they will give you access to puget sound and beyond if that interests you.
     
  5. Steezn290

    Steezn290 Member

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    I've used one of these and they are really stable and great for fishing. Standing is not a problem and sometimes standing and stretching out after a couple hours on the water feels great. (also helps spot carp on the flats) http://www.diablopaddlesports.com/
     
  6. Clay Carney

    Clay Carney Member

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    I've had a Native Manta Ray for about 5 years and I like it but it's the only one Ive had. The industry had exploded since I last shopped for one and you have hundreds of choices. I tell people to think about what kind of fishing they will be doing and where they will be doing it, lake, river, surf. Do you want stability? I have an outrigger system on mine so I can stand up and be super stable which is really nice. Sitting for a few hours can be rough and fly fishing from a sitting position is not the easiest thing to do. The newer models are more stable and make standing easier but I don't know how easy. Think about storage and how much you will need to get through the day. Another major consideration is how you will transport it to your destination and how much it weighs. Getting it in or on your vehicle can be tough if it's too heavy and you may have to carry or drag it to the water. You can add all types of accessories and some brands make that easier. I think less is more. And of course, how much you want to spend. Find somewhere to paddle different models and brands.
     
  7. Tom Bowden

    Tom Bowden Active Member

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    I use an Ocean Kayak Drifter, which I believe has been discontinued in favor of the Prowler Big Game. The Drifter is a very stable boat, as it's wide, sits low in the water, and has a rocker bottom. It's light (about 56 pounds) which really helps when you're hauling the boat to the water and for taking the boat on and off the truck. The disadvantages compared to the Prowlers and many other SOT's are slower paddling speed and a "wet ride." I'm a big heavy guy, and like the stability for rough water and getting on and off the boat.

    I use mine primarily in the Sound for salmon and cutthroat fishing. Being able to cover a couple miles of water is very beneficial when fishing for pinks and coho. The kayak also provides access to beaches that aren't accessible by foot. I made a cart that comes apart and fits in the hatch while I'm fishing, which allows me to launch at some walk-in spots. For example, I can easily cart the kayak to the beach at Dash Point State Park, which has significantly more parking available than the City Park by the Pier.

    I've always been impressed with the Hobie Mirage kayaks that you peddle rather than paddle. Having your hands free is very helpful for fly fishing, they're stable, and they seem faster than the paddle kayaks. I'd definitely check them out.

    I normally don't use the kayak in lakes, because my kick boat and 8' Walker Bay Dinghy are much more comfortable to fish from. If I was getting a kayak for lakes only, where rough water isn't a big concern, I'd look at light, short, wide models like the OK Caper Angler.

    A great source for information on kayak fishing is the Northwest Kayak Anglers website. http://www.northwestkayakanglers.com

    Hope this is helpful

    Tom
     
  8. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    Ron, ask Chuck to borrow one of his SOT kayaks. I do like fishing from a SOT much better then a standard kayak. I have a Wilderness Systems Pamblico (on my profile pic now). Great machine, rows like a dream. Bear to get in and out of and you must stay focused and rigid while fishing. But the SOT's (I've rowed the Wilderness Tarpon) rows a bit sluggish, but fishes like a dream.
     
  9. rickw

    rickw New Member

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    I have two Hobie Outback kayaks (one for me and one for anyone who wants to fish with me) and a Hobie Pro Angler 12. I love these boats!

    Since they are propelled by a peddle drive, my hands are always free for fishing. The peddle drives are extremely quiet and stealthy. The boats draw very little water so I can get into places a lot of guys can’t go. I have even managed to rig a Humminbird 140 C fish locator on the boats.

    Safety has always been one of my biggest concerns and I feel very safe in these boats. Last Summer I had one of the Outbacks on Davis Lake here in California. The winds kicked up to 40-50 mph and I made it back to the launch ramp with no problems even though there were some pretty large following seas as I came in.
     
  10. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

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    I would recommend something that is easy to transport and paddles well. If its a dog to paddle over any distance to get to the good fishing, or if its a PITA to handle on land and you end up needing to get a trailer for it, then you have defeated the purpose of having a yak or canoe.

    You might as well get a more comfortable boat (like a small skiff or a pram) with a small gas O/B or a good electric setup, if you end up having to trailer it.

    That said, I use a trailer and a kayak cart to transport my relatively heavy and bulky SOT. I like my Tarpon 140 SOT for paddling out and fishing along the jetty in the harbor entrance and in other salt water. I feel safer in that (from possible capsizing or swamping, rogue waves, etc) than I would in an open small boat. I wear a wetsuit here on the coast, since its usually cool air and cold water.

    I like my Native Watercraft Ulatimate 12 for more protected flat water and slow rivers. Its a decent paddle craft for fly-fishing from. Its stable enough to stand and sight fish in, or paddle standing up in calm waters. Its not an SOT though, and self-rescue would be more difficult than in an SOT.
     
  11. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

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    Frank, have you tried your Frontier 12 with an electric or small O/B?
     
  12. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

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    Those look like really stable SOTS that would be better than most for casting while standing.
     
  13. Steezn290

    Steezn290 Member

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    They were designed with standing in mind. It is a tri hull design for more stability. If your not rowing long distances it is the perfect boat. The skeg would help with the rowing long distances though. Also there is a standing brace you could purchase.
     
  14. Steve Vaughn

    Steve Vaughn Member

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    Ron,

    Have to admit that after I read marytg's post I skipped most of the rest because he really nailed that issue. I have a Heritage Red Fish 12' that I bought when I lived in Central Florida. Used it for bass fishing in the numerous lakes and ponds in the area. This is a great craft FOR FISHING but, as Marty points out, are not a dream to paddle. My wife has a 10' recreational kayak and can paddle circles around me on the flat water. We paddled a few narrow Florida spring creeks and she could easily navigate bends while I was always bouncing off the outside banks trying to turn my boat - considering gators and snakes this was not ideal. As others have advised, figure out what waters you are going to use it on and start from there. I am probably going to try a Yakima Canyon float with mine one of these days to see how it works but probably won't like it as much as in my pontoon. Good luck.

    Steve V.
     
  15. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    One thing to consider on this one guys. And this is from personal experience. I picked up a kayak for lake/pond fishing. I had my small pontoons I was using. Pontoons weren't/aren't designed for covering water. Just free floating and correctional rowing with current. So when you try to dig in and cover water, it won't go very well. If you're looking for a "fishing kayak", then you'll want the sit on top. Why? Because you'll be rowing of course, but hopefully you'll be fishing more. If you plan to row against heavy currents (like out in Puget Sound) then you may want to look into a standard kayak. I'm in process of picking up a SOT myself. I'll keep the one in my avatar for PS work. Cuts water nicely and rows like a dream. But fishingwise I really have to be careful. But the SOT's I've used were very nice to fish from. Especially reaching over and netting bigger fish. I won't use my kayak on the rivers though. I did that years ago whitewatering. That was enough. I like the pontoons for river work. :)
     
  16. Eyejuggler

    Eyejuggler Beech Nut

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    I recently got a Native Watercraft Slayer and have been super pleased with it. Perfect for plying the Puget Sound and larger lakes. I still use my Tube for ponds and delicate waters.
    This boat is super stable and I can flip the seat back and stand up comfortably.
    Granted it is not as efficient as a true Sea Kayak but my focus is fishing and its width/speed seem fine for tootling around getting to my spots.
    I love the boat and am very pleased with it.
    Definitely try out a bunch of boats and play with them, you will be very pleased.


    [​IMG]
     
  17. Bradley Miller

    Bradley Miller Dances with fish

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    NICE looking boat, dude. I can't fish with you again until I upgrade my gear!!!
     
  18. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    Wait a tic. Have you been launching at the Purdy spit and rowing around the spit area?
     
  19. Kcahill

    Kcahill Active Member

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    I picked up a Malibu Mini-X a month or so ago so I havent fished it much but have been out paddling a lot. It is only 9' 3 long 33" and 40 lbs so I can drop it in just about anywhere and could carry it for a mile or two if I needed. She is a little piggy that is slow to get going and doesnt move to fast but turns on a dime, should be a great fishing platform but I sure wouldnt want to try and take her on a long paddle trip.
     
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  20. Bradley Miller

    Bradley Miller Dances with fish

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    I like the idea of smaller boat for just the reasons you mention: but once I'm on salt water, I feel more confident in a bigger boat. Actually, the bigger the better! I'm going to add some homemade outriggers to my little 12 footer and see if that helps. Getting into some wind and rollers, add some current and tide change to the recipe, and things get real interesting real fast.......then add a rod and ....... good heavens.....a fish........and suddenly I feel like I've moved from the kiddie canoe ride at the fair to a roller coaster. :)
     

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