Not all Kayaks are equal!
I am new to flyfishing but not new to kayaks. If you like to have things spread around and particularly if you want to stand up then a sit on top is for you. If you plan to cover any distance, i.e., more than a couple of miles, then a sit in sea kayak is for you. You need to consider initial stability; the wider the boat the more stable. generally 24" is a stable width. I paddle a 21" boat that is very fast and efficient, but, I wouldn't consider trying to cast anything from it. There are comercial pontoon systems that will make anything stable that can cost up to $300. It is possible to jurry rig a fairly decent pontoon using spare paddle and paddle floats.
Wind and other boats are big problems. Motor boats tend to cruise along w/ bow raised and have a hard time seeing anything in the water. Paddling in groups and waving paddles over head as high as you can is about all you can do. If your upper body resembles that of a gorilla then it is possible to paddle some against a 30 not wind (flag sticking straight out). For us mere mortals 10 to 15 nots is it. Dress for the water temperature not the air temperature; hypothermia is no fun.
Paddle net will review specific boats and gives good info. Also they have used boats.
Get the best paddle you can afford, it makes the whole trip more fun. If you are going on open water seriously consider getting lessons on sea kayaking; there is a lot more to it than you would think.
That is about as succinct a summary as possible. A couple of other factors are weight, floatation, and cost. Weight can become a big issue if you need to load a kayak on top of a car. SOT boats tend to weight substantially more than SINK boats. That extra 10 or 20 pounds might make it impossible or just unpleasant to load a SOT. Kayaks are much less fun if you leave them at home. SOT boats have a trapped bubble of air between the deck and the hull so they will not sink. Touring or sea kayaks have sealed compartments (always in the stern but better ones have at least a second in the bow) – you can tell by the hatches. These compartments in addition to providing dry storage keep the boat afloat even if it is full of water. This is not the case with recreational kayaks. If the worse happens and you fill your rec boat with water it will sink. This not only costs you the boat but every year it costs several folks their lives. It is no surprise that weight and cost are tradeoffs. Inexpensive boats tend to be rotomolded out of fairly soft plastic and are very heavy (they also tend to be indestructible). Thermoform boats are of a harder plastic, substantially lighter and (surprise) cost more. Composite boats of fiberglass, Kevlar, or carbon fiber are the lightest and most expensive – they also tends to be the faster higher performance boats (very few of which are useful for fishing).
I really worry about folks that get into boats with no appreciation of what it takes to be safe. What comes to mind was a gentleman that bought a sit on top with a log of freeboard (plastic sides sticking up out of the water) and went paddling with a group that encountered 20 knot winds from left front. If I hadn't been along with a tow line he would of been pinned against a bank waiting for the wind to die down.
Another worry for the sit in kayak is using the paddle float and paddle correctly to get in. I have actually seen som cheaper boats that didn't have shock cord on the deck. I was able to do instructor quals in 8 foot seas and 45 degrees after 2 years of practice.
I'm sure you meant "KNOTS" right?
still haven't got the spell checker to work and it probly wouldn't of caught it anyways.
I think you mean www.paddling.net the other is a little kinky.
Originally Posted by scotthen
?It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.? Mark Twain
You can make 15 knots? You got me beat. I am happy to maintain anything over 5 knots.
When you are selecting a yak, you also need to consider where you will be using it. A 14-foot yak will be unmanageable on a Class III+ river. You need a short (9-10 foot), maneuverable boat, that will not bend in half if you get trapped between rocks.
Inflatables are a good compromise. My Advanced Elements Convertable handles rivers, fast water, bays, lakes and even swamps equally well, even though it is 15' long, and I can keep up with hard-shell Touring yaks in it easily (with the backbone installed). With the High-Pressure Dropstitch floor in it, I can maneuver in rivers as good as I can in my hard-shell Pursuit, because it gives it a flat bottom.
It's better to buy more boat than you think you will need, than not have enough. Anyone can get caught by surprise with sudden storms, wind, fast water, etc...
Last edited by Gigmaster; 09-14-2012 at 04:39 AM.
When I went to school 15' ment 15 feet, maybe things have changed. I started kayaking when white water boats were 13;9; I seem to remember this was the official salom length. I have some short boats that spin like a top, my long boat is more useful to when using waves to get places on big rivers; I have been called old school. Since my favorite boat is the 10 foot version of the Lettman Mark 5 I guess that's fair. If I could paddle 15 knots you would have seen me on the Olympics; or swing from the trees.
I think I mis-read scothen's post. Now that I have re-read it, I don't think he was saying he can make 15 knots paddling. I think he was saying that he could paddle against a 15 knot wind...rough, but doable.
My apologies, scothen.
I couldn't possibly risk my life with a inflatable!
21"? Umm aint that a kids toy!