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Suggestions for Kayak Research


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So... I think I may start looking into getting a kayak. Seems that would open up more possibilities to fish.  No place to store it yet or the car attachments to haul it but working on that...

Looking for any advice on specific websites, you-tube videos etc. to begin educating myself to make an informed purchase that will at least last me a few years before I think I need something better...;)

I know what I don't want but not sure what I need.

Also have some Bass Pro gift cards so I guess those would be good at BP and Cabelas depending on what they have. The Ascend 10T  SOT looks interesting...

Would appreciate anything anyone wants to share. 

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Keep an open mind.

I would go with an SOT for sure.

I went with the Jackson Coosa because it's tough and can take a beating, where as the cheaper models are pron to cracked hauls.

I bought mine to last so I wouldn't have to worry about buying another for a long time.

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12 hours ago, Ed Buric said:

Frank has it right, no matter what else you do talk to the guys at Rocktown

Paddlesport Demo Day – Aurora

April 28 @ 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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First and foremost, you do not need to be outfitted like the photo below to successfully catch bass on our local rivers!


IMHO, anything  more than $500 and 45 lbs is a waste. It should simply replace your waders and make it quick and easy to spot hop on your local rivers. Keep it simple.

Keep an eye on LL Bean in South Barrington. Sign up for their e-newsletter and catalog so you’re aware of upcoming sales. They allow you to stack coupons. So if their kayaks go on sale, plus you’ve got a catalog coupon, plus you open an LL Bean Visa at time of purchase (15% off), you can combine all the offers for big savings. Then just pay off the Visa and cancel the card.

Rocktown has beautiful stuff but all the “fishing kayaks” are pretty heavy. Try picking the boats up by yourself and then ask yourself if you can do that day in and day out and if the weight of the boat will negatively affect how, where and when you use it. 

Sure you can get lifts for car-topping, trailers for hauling, and carts for portaging. All that just adds to the cost and is more “stuff” to manage.

If you want the ability to drop in just about anywhere on our local rivers and zing up or down river fairly easily, it’s tough to beat the value of a small lightweight kayak. Easy in, easy out.

I realize my opinion is not popular but I’m OK with that. I had a bells-and-whistles *fishing kayak* and it was a battle ship. Comfortable to sit on, but heavy and more than I needed (wanted) for day-to-day use. Sold it after about a half-dozen outings. Sit-on-tops are also more taxing to paddle and suck in gusty winds. 

*Be sure to factor in a paddle and quality PFD into your total cost, plus any car-topping equipment you require for transport.

Have fun Kevin! ?

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Thanks for the replies so far!

Ed, thanks for the demo day.

Eric, I'm leaning towards your side of the fence with regard to weight and portability. However I don't think I can go with a sit in. I've been in a couple of those in scouts and was not comfortable at all! I'd also like the ability to do an overnight trip but maybe that is asking too much as lighter kayak also means lighter carrying capacity.

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The easier your kayak is to transport, the more you will use it.  Plan on at least $400 for a nice roof rack system.  Check what your roof is rated for weight wise.  Yeah, your roof will probably hold more, but  but if there is some catastrophic failure on the highway and somebody gets hurt or worse if your kayak falls off, pretty sure that would constitute negligence. 



If you are an REI member you can shop at their garage sale, which they have every couple months.  REI has a ridiculous return policy, where they allow people with no shame to return stuff for no good reason.  Often used once for a vacation or with a blemish caused by their own stupidy.  They used to do this for lifetime of the product now I think it's just a year.

I purchased a new set of Yakima Timberline Towers for $200.  They told me I should stop in the store the next morning in case there were some at the garage sale.  So I did.

I bought 3 complete sets and the aero cross bar for less than the $200.  So now i have 2 complete sets as I already had 1 crossbar set.  1 to sell or I guess I could have another set for my son's car (scary thought...my son is driving< but shortly we will be able to do float trips!)

The only thing wrong with them was a busted rubber d-ring used to that 3 separate nin-com-poops broke pulling without loosing the mechanism screw all the way.  Other than that they were fine and it really didn't serve that much purpose.

 I had researched this upside down.  There was no deal close to this used. 1 used set was going for $100 on craigslist and Fleabay.

At the same sale there was a WS Pungo 120, which looked new to me.  The hull was not even scratched. Somebody returned it.  $450, seriously.   Same boat i have Paid $700 in 2003.

There was a really nice disc brake road bike, for $500.  $1500 bike.  I did not have the cash at the time or I would have bought both. Tents, jackets, sleeping bags etc.

Line around the store, probably 75 people waiting to get in.  You have to know what you are looking for, but man smokin' deals.

It's hit or miss, we went a couple weeks ago and not so many great deals.


Sierra Trading Post:

Oh so many more smokin deals.  They opened a store I can go to at lunch time.  I didn't need that.



Ascent Kayaks.

Nephew has one. I paddled it briefly it's nice, seat is very comfy.  Heavy and awkward to carry.  Did a float trip Davis Creek to Warner Bridge take out.  That "portage" from the parking lot at Davis Creek to the river- with two guys carrying it is as far as I would ever go with that thing.  



May not matter to the fish, but it does to me.  I like subtle, earthy colors. So I bought my Pungo 120 in "olive".  It's a dark color.  Holy cow when it's in the sun does it get hot.  Not like... oh, it's warm in here...it is.  But touch the surface and jerk you hand away! OW!!!







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Check out Native Ultima 12. It weighs 45 lbs. I have the Tegris Weighs 35 lbs. Fits kiddie corner in Dodge grand caravan nice in winter. I built a seat riser to sit higher for $15. Easy to stand in. I've bought 4 boats from Tom at Appomattox River Company.I would start with one of those light cheap SOT. All I've done to my boat is add a couple dumb bells for anchors and jam cleats.

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7 hours ago, Philf said:

Check out Native Ultima 12. It weighs 45 lbs. I have the Tegris Weighs 35 lbs. Fits kiddie corner in Dodge grand caravan nice in winter. I built a seat riser to sit higher for $15. Easy to stand in. I've bought 4 boats from Tom at Appomattox River Company.I would start with one of those light cheap SOT. All I've done to my boat is add a couple dumb bells for anchors and jam cleats.

pretty cool.



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I think the only solution is to get out fishing with a bunch of different kayaks. Mark I feel bad I haven't done more to my boat. Ha Ha. I need a day job so I can tinker with stuff at night when I can't fish. I did see some cheap SOT Kayaks at Dicks sporting goods $200. There are some U tube videos on how to put a seat riser on aSOT kayak.

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2 hours ago, Frank said:

Don't forget to consider how your going to use the kayak. What types of water you going to fish.  You going to do any trips that you will be camping.  All things that need to be thought about. Good luck and try to try out some before you decide  on what you get.

Good point. Storage was one of the things I had to consider since I plan to do more camping trips.

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This is really helpful, guys. I'm planning on getting one this summer and thought I had made up my mind . This provides a lot of food for thought. Thanks.

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I don't take a lot of quick trips. I take a lot of long trips, as in 6 to 12 hours, and I rarely get out of the boat..That would be a lot of time if you aren't comfortable. I'm thinking about a new boat myself, and it will have a seat that sits up higher. Not only for comfort, but also to stay drier. My current boat is a SOT,  but the seat doesn't raise up. Swamp-ass on a ten hour float really sucks, especially at the end of a cool fall trip.

If you plan on a lot of short spur-of-the-moment trips after work, a light sit-in might be ideal, but that boat might not be suitable for long trips or camping. I guess the bottom line is: there are no perfect options.



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Some more great information guys!! Thanks!! This will help me and others.

It sounds like I want the best of all worlds; lightweight for easy portability and spot hopping, good seat to be able to sit for hours if needed, and either storage or carrying capacity for camping.

Mark, I belong to REI so will keep that and STP in mind.

Phil, those Native's are sweet looking!! Kind of pricey but maybe you get what you pay for...

Jude, I don't have a lot to compare to but your boat was nice to paddle etc. but yeah that seat needs an upgrade...

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Don't have but a few minutes but I will ramble quickly...

#1 consideration is what kind of water you are fishing and get a hull design that best matches that; are you fishing lakes or rivers and if rivers are you doing upriver paddles and in some case that sections with super fast water. Many yaks you should rule out just by that consideration. You rule out many yaks if you want to stand also (not important to me since I take a more efficient hull design for longer upriver paddles at the sacrifice of not being able to stand up).

River fishing will expose bad traits of hull designs. Some yaks track way too poor while fishing and too many paddle corrections are needed whether fishing upriver or downriver. Some deeper V type hulls track great when paddling but will grab with the current when sideways and you will get pushed downriver more so.

Weight is definitely a consideration but there are ways to overcome weight with more involved loading and unloading methods. A dolly is a must if moving yaks of any distance or if heavier. Dollys are cheap.

Go with a SOT don't consider a sit-in unless, as Eric mentions, light and cheap are important. That use to be my mindset but weight turned secondary over comfort and fishing convenience (and the fact that you could store things in a SOT hull and SOTs are safer and easier to deal with if you overturn.

Aside from a place like Rocktown, which I'm all in favor of, the internet will provide you much more yak options.

For internet shipping, huge selection, low ship costs, good service, these are the best choices for sure:

I've bought yaks from both of them.



For local stores that have no cost for "ship to store" places like REI, West Marine, etc

Sierra Trading Post has great prices for cosmetic seconds or discontinued yaks and their shipping costs are low. (Those Ocean Kayaks are great for river efficiency and big swell great lakes fishing, and are good for river fishing also, great example of kick-ass hull design for anything - they really cut through water I had one)

I just sold two yaks to friends cheap and bought two cheap  new yaks this year that have quality hulls;

West Marine Pompano 12' yak on sale for $399; its essentially an older model Wilderness systems Tarpon 120 or a Perception prescador 12'. Why did I buy this yak? Cheap and it's only 28" wide and longer this will be the yak I use for upriver high water paddling. Lots of good reviews on its paddling performance (speed and tracking). So far I like it.

Third Coast Avalon 10' yak on sale at Blains farm and fleet for $429; its essentially a relabeled Evoke kayak they sell at Cabelas but a lot cheaper. Why did I buy this?  Cheap and I wanted a 10' yak to fit in my van and it's light enough and has a couple big hatches, comes with yakattack rails, and fits the purpose of being a lake and downriver fishing yak and to be used for slower current upriver paddles.

If you want a SOT and weight is a factor you could also go with thermoform yaks and if you do two choices are:

Eddlyline or Hurricane. For older folks with back issues these are easier to load on top of a vehicle. These may be in my future although you have to be more careful since hulls are less robust and they are pricey.

Don't discount canoes also, I've been kicking that around. Kevlar solo "pack" type canoes. Why? geez at 25-30lbs great quick hit vessel. Pricey but very cool I've spent a lot of time fishing with a buddy who has one so easy to handle.



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All kinds of good input on this thread, I think what type of water you are going to fish is really important for the different style yaks.  I mostly agree with Eric's thoughts; however if you ever plan on fishing 500-1000 acres lakes you better be rigged up exactly like the picture he posted if not more.  I have fished in the KBL for the last 3 years and I'm getting left behind & having trouble staying competitive because I'm paddle only, most of the people fishing in this league have a pedal drive and or a small battery powered motor.  Good luck. 

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This is a great and endless discussion. Sit In, SitONTop... How did we get so far into the discussion without mentioning SUPs like this one?



You can see this one is well equipped. The micro power pole is frosting on the cake. With the board going for $850, I see about 2 grand in equipment on board.. You guys that are more into it can comment on the need for electronics, like sonars and trolling motors. I admire this angler's use of the traditional paddle.

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I've had a few yaks over the years. My current Nucanoe Frontier 12 is by far my favorite. I'll sacrifice weight for an incredibly stable and adaptable fishing platform that I'm 100% comfortable standing and sitting on all day. Get in as many as you can and try them out. 

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Anybody have any advice / opinions on paddles? I think I know the size I need..

I think I like the mesh back type life vests so will just need to look at options.

How about roof racks? Right now I have nothing on my roof but do have 4 built in slots for hardware. I looked a little at Yakima. Didn't realize that stuff was so pricey... there's got to be some less expensive options... maybe? I could definitely get away with loading it in my vehicle for awhile at least for local trips/good weather days and wait for the next REI 20% off coupon.


And if I read correctly we no longer need to get a water usage sticker/register the boat after June 1 correct?

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