Kayaks Buying guide

Thread starter #1
I am interested in buying a kayak and use it for fishing in the rivers, coastal waters and some very hard to get to spots. Never owned a kayak and I don't want to mortgage the house for one. Any recommendations? If buying used, what should I be looking for as far as DON'T
 

leoparddog

Senior Member
So a River Kayak and a Coastal Kayak many would consider them two different kayaks. A river kayak you want to be agile and turn-able. A saltwater kayak for near shore fishing, you might a longer kayak that tracks well. But one kayak for both is doable.

So let's start with what is your realistic budget and how big a guy are you? If you're a big guy like me and want to carry some gear, you need to consider the weight capacity of the boat.

Are there kayak shops near Savannah? There should be. Call them and ask if they rent kayaks or have a Demo pool where you can sit in them. The last kayak I bought from a store that had an indoor pool. I sat in about a dozen kayaks on the water before I spent my money. You will know pretty quick on the water if a certain kayak will work for you
 
Just my two cents. I never thought it was worth the money to buy a kayak that had the ability for foot paddling (Hobie or native) but having tried one, I could never go back. While they can be expensive, you get so much extra fishing time, your range increases tremendously, and the seats are way more comfortable. I brought a used native Slayer 10 propel for $2k used for it fully tricked out, and don't regret it at all. While 2k is a ton, I figure it's the equivalent of buying a 70k bass boat. Don't have to spend a lot more to get the best you can get. I use it for small lakes and fishing inshore for reds and trout. I love it. Happy to answer any questions on it.
 

Ruger#3

RAMBLIN MOD
Staff member
Here’s good. advice given me a few years ago when I bought my first kayak.

What’s the most likely use? Paddle drive kayaks don’t work in the shallow streams I like to fish. Most likely damage something on the drive. Great idea for open waters.

Will you you be paddling across long stretches of open water? Maybe a rudder would help you track in the wind.

How big a person you are and how much do you want to carry is important. The capacity of the yak should be twice the max weight you will put in it including you.

A comfy seat is huge, means more productive fishing time.

Stability is big with me, I want to focus on fishing and not a tippy yak.

Are most of your launch points easy access. The bigger the yak the more you’ll have to transport over any distance. I still bought a sizable yak but also bought a cart.

Tryout before you buy.

Yak fishing is great fun, gets you access to lots of water. Even when they don’t bite floating a stream is a great day.
 
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weagle

Senior Member
I spent about 3 years thinking it to death after I decided I wanted a fishing Kayak. Once I finally made the decision I discovered the worst mistake I made was waiting 3 years and not getting in the game sooner.

I ended up buying a Pelican Catch 100 ( Retail is $650) and I have been 100% happy with my decision. See this thread:

http://forum.gon.com/threads/pelican-catch-100-first-kayak.917003/

The 10 footer is perfect for about 75% of the Fishing I do. Mostly small lakes and the Chattahoochee below Lanier.

I liked the Kayak so much I'm going to buy the larger peddle drive version of the same Kayak once it comes out this spring (Pelican Catch 130HD retail $1400) It will cover the other 25% of fishing I do on larger reservoirs where I need to cover more water.

The prices have come down and features have gone up on all of the Kayak Brands.
 

Ruger#3

RAMBLIN MOD
Staff member
Being a fat boy that loves to tote eats, drinks and my gear downstream Ocean Kayak Big Game.
 

Cmp1

Swamp Yankee OABA Recipient
I want to sell my boat to get one,,,,I just don't know if I can handle gettin them in the river,weight wise,,,,would definitely put a trolling motor on it,the rivers are swift here,and I won't be able to paddle upstream,,,,don't want to have to use two vehicles either,,,,
 

normaldave

Senior Member
We paddle Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100s in our family. Great all around boat, I imagine the Atac 120 would be a fine boat.

The thing I like about Wilderness, is that they are pretty well outfitted, and include nicely thought out features that you would end up adding to another boat after the fact.
 

Cmp1

Swamp Yankee OABA Recipient
We paddle Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100s in our family. Great all around boat, I imagine the Atac 120 would be a fine boat.

The thing I like about Wilderness, is that they are pretty well outfitted, and include nicely thought out features that you would end up adding to another boat after the fact.
How heavy,in reality,,,,not what they quote on the website,I have a back issue,,,,thanks buds,,,,
 

normaldave

Senior Member
Our Tarpon 100 is 55lbs. You can carry it solo using the center handle, and brace the boat against your hip or legs. It's a cinch with two people. We often carry two boats side by side, with two people, one hand on each boat, front and back. It weighs what it says.

The ATAK 120 is 86 lbs, solo carry might be a chore. They make 2-wheel carry carts, which if the ground is reasonable, make an easy transport.

Another neat thing about the Tarpons is that the cockpit seating size is the same regardless of the length of the boat. Our 100 (10') has the same seating and legroom as the 160 (16').

The larger boats have more storage, and are more stable on big water, but we paddle our Tarpons regularly on up to class III whitewater, and it's great on flat water too because it tracks straight, and the wind won't blow you around in circles like a canoe.

Hey, you got any Summit Sports stores near you? They appear to have decent pricing and selection on Wilderness boats.
ATAK 140 sale
 
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normaldave

Senior Member
I am interested in buying a kayak and use it for fishing in the rivers, coastal waters and some very hard to get to spots. Never owned a kayak and I don't want to mortgage the house for one. Any recommendations? If buying used, what should I be looking for as far as DON'T
I forgot to recommend Perception at Academy Sports for a good buy on a beginner boat. This one is pretty well outfitted for fishing already.
Perception Pescador Pro 100

The Pescador 10' regular model is just $ 499.00
Perception Pescador 10'

I recommend the rotomolded hull instead of the thinner two piece versions. You can tell by the seam down the side. It's worth the extra for the heavier hull. Perception and Wilderness Systems have the same parent company, Confluence Watersports.
 

Cmp1

Swamp Yankee OABA Recipient
Our Tarpon 100 is 55lbs. You can carry it solo using the center handle, and brace the boat against your hip or legs. It's a cinch with two people. We often carry two boats side by side, with two people, one hand on each boat, front and back. It weighs what it says.

The ATAK 120 is 86 lbs, solo carry might be a chore. They make 2-wheel carry carts, which if the ground is reasonable, make an easy transport.

Another neat thing about the Tarpons is that the cockpit seating size is the same regardless of the length of the boat. Our 100 (10') has the same seating and legroom as the 160 (16').

The larger boats have more storage, and are more stable on big water, but we paddle our Tarpons regularly on up to class III whitewater, and it's great on flat water too because it tracks straight, and the wind won't blow you around in circles like a canoe.

Hey, you got any Summit Sports stores near you? They appear to have decent pricing and selection on Wilderness boats.
ATAK 140 sale
Thanks buds for the info,,,,
 

IvyThicket

Senior Member
I was exactly in your shoes years ago! I needed a boat that I could fish in the French Broad River, TVA lakes around WNC and for trips down to my brother's on Daniel Island.

You're going to get suggestions on boats from one end of the spectrum to the other and while they're all likely to be good boats by themselves, what you deem as a good boat is how the boat fits you.

For example, I just saw someone suggest the Pescador Pro 10'. Those boats are outstanding, I've paddled the 12ft model, however is not a feasible boat for me with only a 300lb weight rating. I'm 6'6, 275lbs and once I pack me and my gear in it, I'm close to pushing that rating. By comparison, someone who is smaller or older might not like a Jackson Big Rig that weighs nearly 100lbs, dry weight.

One universal suggestion that I would agree on above is to go with a rotomolded kayak versus a 2 piece, welded plastic design. If you don't know what that means, the difference between them, 1 is a solid piece, completely molded, the other is 2 pieces of plastic (upper and lower), welded together in the middle.

For me I started with a F&S Eagle Talon 120. It was a great starter kayak however once I spent about 3 hours on one and realized I was in for a 3 day backache, I knew I had to look elsewhere. I also didn't know what I was missing in stability either. I needed a boat that was big enough for me but with stability. I knew that I would have to sacrifice boat weight to the get the right fit. I paddled probably 10 different kayaks but settled on the Old Town Predator MX. Having had it for a while now I can say with confidence that the Element Seating system on these kayaks are quite possible the most comfortable of ANY kayak out there. You can sit all day with no issues. The kayak is heavy in the hand but not on the water. It takes no time to get it up to speed and tracks really well, and also despite it being 12' in length and 3' in width, turns easily. I am also partial to having an open deck rather than cockpit style with storage between your legs. I have found that to be a line snagger. Old Town also has a lifetime hull warranty, one of the best in the industry.

It has been my experience that you don't have to take out a second mortgage to buy a good yak but you don't want to go cheap either and then realize you might be out $500. Buy once, cry once. Also avoid companies that simply buy molds from China and create the same kayak everyone else is, with a different label. Those companies are pretty easy to find but I won't name names here. There are a ton of respectable companies out there who place a lot of money and time in research and development, who put out a premium product and will stand behind that product, and it won't cost you much more.

With all that said, if I were suggesting a kayak to a new user without knowing their situation and knowing that they didn't want to spend $1200+ for a good kayak, I would start with these 2:

-Old Town Topwater 106 Angler.
Released last year is Old Town's newest series. At 10'6 feet it comes in at 73lbs and has a capacity rating of 440lbs! It also has the element seating system, 3 built in rod holders and an EVA foam deck installed all for $899. In my mind, it is the best bang for the buck and will likely be my next go to in my arsenal.

https://oldtowncanoe.johnsonoutdoors.com/kayaks/fishing/topwater-106-angler

-NuCanoe Flint.
Also released last year, has been highly regarded for it's speed and tracking in angler package. It is built for NuCanoe by Dutchland plastics in Wisconsin who are known for manufacturing the YETI Tundra coolers. It has the Pinnacle seat which is also highly regarded and comes with 4 flush rod holders and 2 horizontal rod holders. The deck is completely open and supposedly has the best stability in it's class. It comes in at 11' and weighs 63lbs, all for $1099.

https://www.nucanoe.com/flint-fishing-kayak/
 
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weagle

Senior Member
One universal suggestion that I would agree on above is to go with a rotomolded kayak versus a 2 piece, welded plastic design. If you don't know what that means, the difference between them, 1 is a solid piece, completely molded, the other is 2 pieces of plastic (upper and lower), welded together in the middle.
There's a lot of great advise and suggestions in this thread. It's exactly the type of information I poured over for years before pulling the trigger on the Pelican Kayak.

The rotomolded vs laminated design was something I researched a lot and my conclusion was that Laminated 2 piece hulls can offer some advantages in weight, durability, stiffness and cost.

Almost all traditional boat hulls (that aren't metal) are made with laminated materials; fiberglass or wood. Laminated materials are generally stronger pound for pound. The sonic welded joints of the laminated hull kayaks are even stronger than the laminated material itself. Laminates are also easier to control as far as thickness, stiffness and weight.

There are cheap rotomolded kayaks and cheap laminated hull kayaks, but there are also good quality built kayaks using both processes. The Pelican Catch series Kayaks are especially lightweight, durable and affordable and use the lamininated, welded 2 piece style hulls.

There are some great facebook user groups with tons of information and end user feedback. search for Hobie, Jackson, Vibe, Bonified, Ascend Pelican etc. Also Georgia Kayak Anglers.
 
There's a lot of great advise and suggestions in this thread. It's exactly the type of information I poured over for years before pulling the trigger on the Pelican Kayak.

The rotomolded vs laminated design was something I researched a lot and my conclusion was that Laminated 2 piece hulls can offer some advantages in weight, durability, stiffness and cost.

Almost all traditional boat hulls (that aren't metal) are made with laminated materials; fiberglass or wood. Laminated materials are generally stronger pound for pound. The sonic welded joints of the laminated hull kayaks are even stronger than the laminated material itself. Laminates are also easier to control as far as thickness, stiffness and weight.

There are cheap rotomolded kayaks and cheap laminated hull kayaks, but there are also good quality built kayaks using both processes. The Pelican Catch series Kayaks are especially lightweight, durable and affordable and use the lamininated, welded 2 piece style hulls.

There are some great facebook user groups with tons of information and end user feedback. search for Hobie, Jackson, Vibe, Bonified, Ascend Pelican etc. Also Georgia Kayak Anglers.
Laminated is not what I am referring too more so than I am the cheaply made thermoform kayaks. Not all thermoform kayaks are cheaply made however, and I understand that. Thermoform tend to be lighter than their rotomold counterparts but are not as durable and tend to be harder to repair, which is why nearly all whitewater kayaks are rotomolded.

If one were looking strictly for a lake yak, I'd say thermomold would be a good option but if one is looking for an all around yak that can be used in rocky rivers or along oyster beds on the coast, rotomold is the way to go.
 
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I have a Perception Sound 10.5 and I use it for duck hunting and fishing and it works great. Very affordable, stable and somewhat lightweight.
Look and see if there is a paddling club near you or someplace that rents kayaks for day use. Some dealers also hold on the water demo events where you can paddle several different models. The more models you tryout, the better choice you will be able to make.
 
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Ruger#3

RAMBLIN MOD
Staff member
I want to sell my boat to get one,,,,I just don't know if I can handle gettin them in the river,weight wise,,,,would definitely put a trolling motor on it,the rivers are swift here,and I won't be able to paddle upstream,,,,don't want to have to use two vehicles either,,,,
If this is a deal breaker requirement look at the NuCanoe, it’s made for a trolling motor and reviews say handles well without it.

If you have boat launch accesses you can get an aluminum kayak trailer which is easy to handle. I move mine around with one hand. For harder to access areas you can use a kayak dolly. There’s a long ramp here where a dolly prevents toting hundreds of feet.

Paddle before you buy.
 

Cmp1

Swamp Yankee OABA Recipient
If this is a deal breaker requirement look at the NuCanoe, it’s made for a trolling motor and reviews say handles well without it.

If you have boat launch accesses you can get an aluminum kayak trailer which is easy to handle. I move mine around with one hand. For harder to access areas you can use a kayak dolly. There’s a long ramp here where a dolly prevents toting hundreds of feet.

Paddle before you buy.
Those dollys are nice,,,,I'll check out Nu canoes,,,,they make an adapter for a trolling motor,,,,Wilderness systems,,,,
 
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