What is it that puts flyfishermen off about using a kayak for a fishing platform?

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Krusty, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. I agree that certain kayaks can be an integral part of a fishing arsenal, but they are sub-optimal in most freshwater situations for several reasons mentioned:

    1. Lack of precise control for positioning and holding
    2. Necessity of using two hands for movement
    3. They are heavy compared to frameless pontoons
    4. The microdrives operate in one direction without reversing the mechanism, at least the Hobie mechanism does.
    5. The microdrives are expert at catching fly lines

    I used a (sea) kayak at times for fishing long before it was cool to do so. I love the improved access over my float tube and boat, but hated the hassles of the paddle and the fly line getting fouled in areas hard to access to free it.

    For salt, like San Diego Bay, perfect, if you're a bait fisherman. If rock fish fishing on coastlines, excellent. For freshwater use, there are better options.
  2. kayaks are easy to paddle, even my 3 year old neice can paddle the IK :)
  3. Shapp, no doubt. I used to run a camp for at risk kids for two weeks each summer. We used kayaks all the time. I enjoy them, but don't own one. Can your kayak paddling 3 y/o neice fish while on the move and paddling? I'm not coordinated enough to trust myself to try it out.
  4. Indeed, your neice, and other youngsters (such as the vast multitude of my fishing/kayaking grandchildren), represent the future of kayaks as another legitimate flyfishing platform!
  5. I've been fishing from a SOT kayak (OK Drifter) for several years. It's wonderful for fishing Puget Sound, providing access to some beaches that can't be reached on foot for a variety of reasons. When the Pinks are around, the kayak allows me to get away from the combat fishing scene at the easily accessed beaches. Last summer, the big pinks would usually take 2-3 trips around my kayak before I could net them. A lot of fun! Also, it's fun to paddle a kayak around and look at the scenery.

    For lake fishing I prefer my Super Fat Cat over the kayak. It's more comfortable, your hands are free, it's easier to load into the truck and carry into the lake, and it's easier to cast without all the on-deck equipment you have with a kayak. For me, part of the charm of lake fishing is being in a float tube or U-Boat. When I fish larger lakes, particularly those with motorboats, I prefer the kayak.

  6. I think an SOT would be really cool in Puget Sound, maybe Garabaldi and even outside when the bar is down and the crab are in, San Diego Bay, or even north of SF Bay in some areas. Some folks get bonefish out of SD Bay on their yaks. I will probably have to get one for the salt someday, but not for fresh water. What i don't get is the attraction of the SUPs for fishing. A good novelty, but I think that's the extent of the attraction. No?
  7. I wouldn't mind trying a SUP fooling around on a lake in the middle of summer....but I'm probably getting a bit too old even for that. Flyfishing from a SUP would be pretty complicated!
  8. I have a friend who takes his kayak on our fishing trips to Montana. While I'm in my Scadden pounding the bank on the Big Hole, using my fins, with both hands free, he is paddling from point to point, getting out and wade fishing. I guess that is why I don't have a kayak and have three pontoons! Rick
  9. I've never found a canoe or kayak to be my preferred platform for fly fishing - although I have certainly done it on backcountry trips.

    That being said there I get a ton of enjoyment out of trolling structure and weed beds in wilderness trips, looking for lunch or dinner. Throwing a plug out on a spinning rod and slowly and methodically paddling shore lines. Trolling and watching the scenery go by on a sunny day is a great way to slow down if you have been on a trip of long duration where you are cranking out miles five to the hour.
  10. I fish from either a 12' hybrid canoe/yak, a 14' SOT, a 10' fiberglass mini-drifter, or an aluminum 16' john boat, depending on where and what I'm fishing for. (Unless I'm hiking/wading, surf fishing in my wetsuit, or posing in hippers as a bank maggot). I attempt to be appropriately rigged for the occasion.
    Uhh, by the way, you peeps are slippin! Am I the only one who noticed Mumbles' reference to "whole sack" endangerment in regards to owning yet another water craft?bawling::p Being single, I don't worry about that. However, it sounds painful and maybe irreversible. One would be wise to avoid that syndrome!
    Having surfed the northern coast since 1979, (and once back in '69 wearing a really inferior wetsuit), I have had plenty experience with "shrinkage." It can be frightening at first, but it is only temporary, easily remedied with a hot shower.

    However, I have never experienced "shrinkage" while fishing from any of my water craft. I have never used or owned a float tube, though. I agree with most, if not all, of the claims made by Krusty here about yaks as fishing platforms. Certain of my fishing spots are best accessed via paddle craft, so that is what I use to get there. If one of my other boats seems better suited to the venue, then I'll use that one. You can never own too many fishing craft, as long as you have a place to store 'em all! Dang! There's a new empty spot I just cleared out in my garage...

    martyg, I get tremendous enjoyment (and a lot of strikes!) dragging a streamer as I paddle across estuaries and up the tidal reaches of the streams out here. Once I get into the prime water, it is only a little more difficult in a yak to anchor and set up to fish a lie than it would be in my john boat. No way would I ever subject myself to rowing back into an open estuary in my mini-drifter, though. Too much work. Paddling a yak is way easier and faster than trying to row a drift boat in a windswept estuary while fighting the tide. My johnboat would be the most comfortable way to go, but then I'd be limited in regards to where I could go. My Ultimate 12 (hybrid canoe/yak) only needs 4" of water to avoid running aground. And I can portage it easily enough, and slip it thru any gap wider than 30".

    However, I think my Tarpon 140 (14' SOT) is way too heavy for a 14' yak at 78 lbs (30 lbs heavier than my U-12 bare hull). I load it on my canoe trailer now, instead of car-topping it. then I transfer it to my Wheeleez beach cart to drag it to the water's edge. It is much too bulky, heavy, and awkward to carry down to the water without a cart.

    Generally, I think 12' is the best length for a fishing yak for all round use. Why? Main reason is that it is lighter and more maneuverable than anything longer. Anything shorter paddles too slow on flat water. The SOT manufacturers seem to be in a race to really trick 'em out with all the latest whiz-bangs, adding weight. Simpler and lighter is almost always better, IMHO.

    I think SUPs are trendy fad, and way overpriced; but if you want to get one at half price or less, all you have to do is wait a little until the novelty wears off and apt dwellers need to create some space for the next fad item. I predict many of them for sale cheap on Craigslist in the near future.
  11. LCnSac, I think the Mirage Drive on the latest Hobies has been improved and is now "reversible," although I think it has to be lifted out of its well and turned around manually. But if I were to find myself fishing out along the north side of the Jetty with light NW winds blowing, I'd sure like that option. I could hold my distance from the Jetty easier.
    However, the "hand paddle" works OK for me in my Tarpon.
    Also, one needs to steer those Mirage Drive Hobies with a rudder, which is yet another flyline fouler. Spare rudder pins and Mirage Drive parts must be on board for on-the-water replacement when the originals break, if you don't like to paddle back in. From what I understand, this breakage happens often enough to be a real concern, so Hobie jocks must be prepared. A Hobie yak-fisher over on nwkayakanglers reported that he broke his rudder's plastic steering handle off and lost his steerage. OOps! Time to break out the paddle and deploy that as a rudder!

    The Native Craft propellor drive also wouldn't work in my favorite estuary. The eel grass would wind up in the prop, rendering it useless before you got very far. I've seen it happen twice to the same individual using a similar prop drive. The second time he tried it, he had installed a razor knife blade next to the prop in hope that it would cut the eel grass. Rube Goldberg probably rolled over in his grave a couple of times due to that one!

    Bottom line, I love my Werner Camano touring paddle...light, strong, & stiff, & can be used as a weapon!
  12. This is a good point and a valid reason as to why a yak is not the best craft for fishing from when floating down most rivers. The ability to row against the current while facing downstream isn't something I'd like to trade off just to get better flat water paddling efficiency and speed. However, when fishing from my yak or U-12, I can position myself and drop anchor, then reorient the direction my craft is facing with my anchor trolley. (Then the wind changes direction and screw around with ya! Wind can easily trump current when you are in a yak, since 90% of you is above the surface. I regularly get blown upstream when in my U-12. I usually don't carry a 2nd anchor in my yaks. Maybe I will some day).
  13. I have fished a few times in Florida out of a kayak and while the fising kayaks are much improved I still found it far less convenient than fishing from a toon or even better my stillwater pram. I agree that the low casting angle is less than optimal and also I just dont like not being able to stand and cast. That said the newer fishing specific kayaks are much nicer now.
  14. I wouldn't mind picking up an Ocean Kayak 11' or 13' primarily for the salt, and maybe to transverse the larger areas of the Delta. Not sure which on is the best choice--thinking the 13.
  15. The Ocean Kayak Trident 13 is much lighter than my Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140. Approx 20 lbs lighter, I think. The Tarpons are very solid and stiff (for a tupperware yak), but the price one pays for this is added weight. When I cut out some holes on the rear deck to install rod-holder tubes, the plastic was nearly half-again thicker than the plastic on my Native Craft Ultimate 12.

    The OK Trident 13s are very popular for fishing the salt, or any flat water. They perform well as fishing platforms in lower rivers with no rapids. Using an anchor trolley system, where one has a float or bouy clipped between the anchor line and the attachment point on the trolley, one can un-clip from the anchor buoy once a big fish is hooked and go for a ride, returning afterwards to reclaim the anchor. SOT yak fishers are regularly fishing for sturgeon in the Columbia and the Willamette (as well as other rivers), and getting some thrill rides out of the deal.
    I think the original concept of an SOT was born in response to the need for a craft that one can paddle out from an open ocean beach thru the breaking surf, for the purpose of getting beyond the break and doing some fishing or diving/spearfishing. Then people began using them anywhere we could make them work.
    I often see used ones come up for sale, and at reasonable sounding asking prices.
  16. Ya know, when I started this thread I wasn't stating that kayaks were the perfect platform for flyfishing....I was just wondering why they appeared, at least to me, under-utilized as flyfishing craft.
  17. I use mine (Wilderness Systems, sit-in, recreational, 12 ft), but I didn't buy it for that purpose. I already had it when I started fly-fishing. If I was going to look at personal watercraft in the $500+ dollar range for fly fishing I'd probably look at a pontoon.

    I'd say the biggest disadvantage of kayaks in general (and sit-ins in particular) is seating position. Compared to a pontoon you're lower and your sight lines are not as good for spotting fish sub-surface. Probably the biggest advantage is speed. Short of something with a motor, you probably can't get to a distant (1 to 2 mile) fishing location faster and with less effort than with a kayak.
  18. Once Scadden ships my back ordered motor mount I plan to add an electric motor which can easily be removed when it's not needed. I've done this before on a smaller 'toon and it's very non-obtrusive and really handy for extended travel on larger waters. That's why a yak doesn't interest me much for fresh water. The added weight of a battery shouldn't affect the Scadden boat as the weight capacity is over 3x what's on it now, including me. The next step is a gas powered kicker. What I hate about those is the noise. I don't like it when I hear them on an otherwise quiet lake and don't expect people to tolerate mine for very long either. Still, it weighs less than a battery and should be perfect for the Delta which is a long ways from quiet with the bass boats and V-hulls and poachers.

    I still think a yak is better for sportfishing than fly fishing, at least based on my past experience. I'm looking forward to paddling around the few calm bays we have in NorCal and totally pumped about fishing San Diego bay with one--that's the ideal craft there IMO if you're not using a boat. I have never enjoyed fly fishing from a boat. I like the intimacy with the water given by a tube, toon, or yak.
  19. Like Jim I have a 12 foot native watercraft canoe/yak hybrid. It's easy to cartop, with the anchor trolley it is straightforward to position, the chair seating has some good back support and you can tilt it to get some extra positioning. What I like most though is the cupholders. Just kidding. You can stand in it. Which means your back doesn't get all cramped and miserable. The standing takes some getting used to. On the sound you have to be super vigilant about waves, currents and winds, and fish on, for me, means sit down. I have yet to fall out. Though I have had a few fast, uncoordinated, non-graceful, 0/10 style points poorly executed sitdowns.
  20. If it's an absolute need to be able to stand, Diablo Paddlesports offers their Chupacabra, and Jackson Kayaks offers the Coosa.

    Coosa has a chair type seat that can be elevated around 8 inches and has minimal deck obstructions, plus a nice little anchor line guide set up that can be deployed out the back.

    Chupacabra is a wide flat, SUP/Yak hybrid that can be used with either a stand up paddle or a yak blade.

    Both are about 12 feet and are designed to be used on flat water and mild rivers, which seems to be what many of you want.

    Neither are all that heavy, both have minimal freeboard, so they are pretty wet, but do have scuppers.

    Of course you could always go the way of Nucanoe or Hobie Pro Angler, but both are way heavier than a decent SOT and might require trailers. Plus there is talk about WA State requiring the PA's to be registered and taxed just like a regular power boat.

    So, Ya pays your money, Ya takes yer chances. And you make your own choices. Me? i have 3 yaks; two Tridents, and an I9S and fish all ranges off all 3.

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