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

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
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!

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
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
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).
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.


John or "LC"
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.

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
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.
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.


Active Member
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.


Topwater and tying.
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.


John or "LC"
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.

wadin' boot

Donny, you're out of your element...
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.
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.
I've got a Hobie pro Angler, and no it doesn't have to be registered as long as I don't put a motor on it.
Do I fly fish from it? Rarely as I have a couple of inflatables to use on the trout ponds. When I use it for trout its on large waters
where I can find and fish water that the foot fin and short oared guys can't get to. I primarily bought the PA for salt water salmon fishing and it has been a superb platform for that. I can stand and cast as its very stable. That said I'm and old guy who doesn't have the balance that he once had. Hobie now offers in their parts catalog an option called the Hobie H-Bar that is a folding support for stand up fishing. Its on my Christmas wish list. Its a big wide, and heavy yak, and is a pig if I have to paddle it. Particularly since I have a decent fish finder, downrigger, and 4 rod holders mounted. I haul it around in the back of my pickup.
I landed over 100 salmon in 2010 and nearly 225 this season (mostly pinks).
I've had it in the Snohomish, lower Cowlitz, Columbia, lower Vedder rivers but would never attempt to use it serious running water. I'm a fisherman first and a yakker second and I prefer to have both hands free. The Mirage pedal drive is terrific for my purpose.

Big E

Active Member
One thing that caught my eye today while looking at some pics from the International Fly Fishing Show or whatever its called is this from Diablo Paddlesports...

I see someone already mentioned it but thought the standup capability, trolling motor, additional room and being able to handle a clydesdale was pretty interesting.
I have a Native Watercraft, Manta Ray 12. My first yak of any kind. I took it out a few times and it was hard to fish from, fly fishing is hard while sitting down. Then I ran into the Stand N' Fish system. It's a pontoon system that makes the boat really stable. Pontoons that can be raised when paddling and a leaning bar for support that makes it easy to stand up, fish, and paddle. I also have an anchor trolley so I can stop anywhere and fish 360 degrees. It's a little pricey but it's a quality product and the customer service is awesome. It's easy to put on and take off the boat. If you have a yak and want to stand up you should look at these. www.standnfish.com

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Active Member
I've had a set of the spring creek hydrodynamic stabilizers for nearly a decade and they rule for use on my canoe, which I mostly used when crabbing.

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