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Hi all,

I'm looking for some sea kayak fishing advice. I currently have a self bailing inflatable sea kayak but want to upgrade.
I've started checking out northwestkayakanglers but thought you all would know as well.

Here's some of the planned uses.
1) Being able to kayak in both rivers, open ocean and the sound
2) Multi day trips
2) Have the ability to mount rod holders

What would people recommend sit on top? Sit in?
Brand?

Also, I work at a non-profit so my budget is in the low end...

Thanks for the help!

Ben
 

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Ben, I've been fishing from Ocean Kayak Sit-On-Tops for a few years now, and really enjoy it. Though not as fast as a regular sea kayak, they are a lot faster and more seaworthy than a pram, rowboat, or pontoon boat. You can buy or make a cart so you can haul the boat into access points or across the beach. Advantages of a Sit-On-Top are: (1) Easy to get on and off the boat to fish from the beach; (2) All of your gear is easily accessible; (3) lots of room for rod holders, fish finders, etc...; (4) The boats are very tough & virtually unsinkable; and (5) Many models are specifically designed for fishing.

I started out with an Ocean Kayak Scrambler, which was fun but too small for a big guy like me. I actually tipped over one time when a big wave came in while I was landing a fish. Two years ago I upgrades to an OK Drifter, which is a substantially wider and more stable boat, much more suitable for fly fishing. The Drifter is a "wetter ride" than some of the newer fishing kayaks, like the OK Prowler or Big Game. I've been very impressed with the Hobie Mirage-drive boats, that you can pedal to keep your hands free.

I've never drifted a river or gone overnight in my kayak, but there's no reason you couldn't. There's plenty of rook under the hatches, and you'd be OK as long as you packed light.

Hope this helps.

Tom
 

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Ben -

You are asking one boat to do a lot. I will fish (trolling) out of touring boats down to about 22" in beam - after that it just gets too sporty and I don't want to loose my rod while hand rolling to right myself when landing a fish. Fly fishing out of a touring kayak is tough. I do have a Kevler / core We-no-nah cruising canoe that I fly fish out of though, and have landed some big fish out of that boat. A SOT suitable for fly fishing is going to be a pig on a mufti-day trip - unless you are talking about paddling six to ten miles per day at a leisurely rate.

My advise for you at this point would be to find a weekend course on kayak touring someplace with ACA or BCU certified instructors. Get a fundamental knowledge of strokes. See how your skills develop over that weekend, and then start shopping for a boat. You will likely learn more in that weekend than a year on your own, and while the course may cost $300, it might save you from making a $1,500 purchase mistake. Note that if you are going to test paddle some boats, and you do not have a finely tuned sense of stroke execution, primary / secondary balance, etc. you will undoubtedly get the widest, most stable boat you can. And that is great, but the typical curve is that in a few months you will be wishing you had bought something a little more sporty - if your experience is the same as 80% or the paddlesports public.

Feel free to PM me with technique / expectations / training specific questions. I am an ACA certified Instructor Trainer Ediucator.
 

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I bought a Hobie Pro Angler SOT this year. Yeah its a big, heavy pig but I can stand up and cast in it. Touring SIKS are for touring, not fishing. Those narrow, tippy yaks are great for covering distance but if you raise a butt cheek to pass gas you are apt to go for a swim. A sea yak would do fine in the lower calmer reaches of rivers but would be down right dangerous in a white water boulder field.
 

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I bought a Hobie Pro Angler SOT this year. Yeah its a big, heavy pig but I can stand up and cast in it. Touring SIKS are for touring, not fishing. Those narrow, tippy yaks are great for covering distance but if you raise a butt cheek to pass gas you are apt to go for a swim. A sea yak would do fine in the lower calmer reaches of rivers but would be down right dangerous in a white water boulder field.
When you consider that indigenous people hunting friggin' WHALES out of those touring boats (which blows my mind!), and that their outer garments where stitched to the kayak so they were not coming out, it kind of puts it into perspective that it is less about the boat, and more about the paddler.

If your roll is as instinctive as breathing in your sleep you never have to swim.
 

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I don't know your price range, or what kind of rivers you plan on fishing in. But (and I'm new to kayaking and even newer to fishing) I bought a pygmy (wood) kayak that seems stable enough for fishing and easily covers ground. I would recommend one if you want a nice tracking boat that is light, lasts along time since you can refinish over and over, can carry alot of cargo, is easy to customise. They come in kits to build your own, but you can find them on craigslist for $800- $1400.....I wouldn't recommend them for tight or fast flowing rivers.
 

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"You are asking one boat to do a lot." This is a true statement.
I have a Native Watercraft Ultimate 12 (low-profile canoe, uses kayak paddle, has tunnel hull, stable (can't fall out while seated, unless you want to, and then it takes some work), can stand and paddle and stand and fly cast from it. 30" wide, which is as wide as you should go if you want to paddle. I can paddle this boat at sustained 4 mph for over 5 miles if I have to. (Yesterday I had to...was paddling against the wind and tide....my "net" speed was probably only 1 or 2 mph). I can cruise at 3mph all day. I haven't found a better paddle craft for small lakes and slower rivers, and poking around in the upper reaches of estuaries and exploring tidal creeks. Its easy to car-top, despite the heavy polyethylene hull weighing about 50 lbs with the seat out. I love this boat! Its a great fly fishing platform, as far as paddle craft are concerned.
This craft does have its limitations. Its for calmer waters. I would not ever take this boat out into the ocean or the open Sound, unless the wind was calm, and the seas flat, with no swell running. It can get swamped, and in rough water with wind and waves, it is difficult to bail and re-enter. It was designed for fishing in protected waters. I'll take it out into protected bays and coves after I've done my logistical homework and am convinced the conditions will remain benign, though.
(However, I think a pram is better for small lakes).

I bought a SOT for fishing the ocean and bigger water. Its a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140 (14' long and 28" wide). Paddles a bit faster than the U-12. Need a drysuit or wetsuit for the cold water. Its not a bad SOT, but I haven't paddled a lot of 'em, so I can't really compare it with the others. It is easy to fish from, but you can tip it over if you lean beyond the limits of the secondary stability...oops! No worry...just haul yer carcass back on board. All your gear on deck should be strapped down or tied on or leashed, or you'll lose it if/when you roll.
(I usually wear a full wetsuit and the 55 F water isn't a problem).
I've been jigging and casting jigs from this, but it would be fine for fly casting, once you figured out some stripping apron or other line management system so your flyline doesn't catch on any fittings or protrusions.
Do your homework before you drop the $$.
 

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Doubt it. The changes are few. There are a few new models out there, but paddlesports is steadily declining. As such there is not a lot of investment capitol, and if you are rotomolding plastic boats molds are not cheap.
 

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Hey Marty, I ran into an old guy two weeks ago paddling one of those kevlar We-no-nahs. Was a shorter one about 14', and he had his dog along (being very well behaved riding in the bow). He said it weighed in at only 28 lbs. That sure perked my ears up! Looked like a good fly fishing boat. He said he didn't try to stand in it, but that he can pick it up and carry it with one hand. He said that overall, he was very happy with it!
 

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I can slalom right around deadheads, pilings, logs, etc quite nimbly in my Ultimate 12.
A quick "stern rudder" on the same side as the deadhead, followed immediately by a "sweep" on the other side while leaning over the sweep side carves me a tight radius around the deadhead. If the current is slow, I can do that while standing. I need to get a longer shafted stand-up single blade paddle to take along for poling and standing paddling, since my Werner Camano touring paddle wasn't designed for that.
 

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Hey Marty, I ran into an old guy two weeks ago paddling one of those kevlar We-no-nahs. Was a shorter one about 14', and he had his dog along (being very well behaved riding in the bow). He said it weighed in at only 28 lbs. That sure perked my ears up! Looked like a good fly fishing boat. He said he didn't try to stand in it, but that he can pick it up and carry it with one hand. He said that overall, he was very happy with it!
The boat in the images below is what I guided out of for many years - including several trips of months in duration - one from Lake Superior to Montreal along the Voyageur's route. It is a We-no-Nah Advantage.

Now I have the updated version - not sure of the name - but it is 17' long, where the Advantage was 16.5' - I think. I have caught a lot of big fish out of both boats, and by and large it is my human powered fishing craft of choice. I have raced Olympic Sprint in kayaks and raced marathon in UCSA boats - I like the motion of canoeing and I like the motion of kayaking - both for different reasons.
 
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