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JohnDubs

New to fishing. What kayak should I buy?

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Recently moved from Atlanta, Georgia to middle Tennessee and got into bass fishing. A friend of mine let me try fishing from his kayak and I'm hooked! I was looking into a bass boat but I'm gonna wait another year or two for that purchase. In a month or so I'm purchasing a kayak from HOOK 1 to fish in KBFTN tournaments in TN. I'm 5'11" 190 lbs. What kayak would be a good fit for me? I've been looking at Wilderness Systems Feelfree 13.5 and KnotRide 135max. What do ya'll think? Just a note: If there is some other kayak I should be Iooking at these are the specs I'm looking for. I'm wanting a sit on top kayak and the ability to stand up. I have about a 2-3k budget. If I can find a decent one for around little more than 1k I'm gonna use the rest on upgrading and riggin the yak. Thanks for reading and any input or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Welcome aboard!

2-3K budget can get you a lot of yak.
The models you list will all work for you, and
you should be able to stand in any of them.

But if you can get to a store to demo, or at the
very least, sit in each of the yaks you are interested
in, you should do it.

Reason for that is that you may hate how the WS 
sits compared to the FeelFree, or vice versa.

Otherwise, you buy one and may/may not regret
your purchase.

Other brands to consider for standing are Native 
Watercraft (Ultimate, Slayer series), Hobie's, 
Jackson, and there are others.

Just make sure you account for a paddle and PFD
in your $.

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11 minutes ago, Darren. said:

Welcome aboard!

2-3K budget can get you a lot of yak.
The models you list will all work for you, and
you should be able to stand in any of them.

But if you can get to a store to demo, or at the
very least, sit in each of the yaks you are interested
in, you should do it.

Reason for that is that you may hate how the WS 
sits compared to the FeelFree, or vice versa.

Otherwise, you buy one and may/may not regret
your purchase.

Other brands to consider for standing are Native 
Watercraft (Ultimate, Slayer series), Hobie's, 
Jackson, and there are others.

Just make sure you account for a paddle and PFD
in your $.

Thanks!

I will definitely try to demo one. I believe the store I'm going to allows demoing because Old Hickory lake is right behind their shop.

I was looking at a Bending Branches paddle (they any good?) and haven't looked for any PFD's yet. The tournament I fish in requires lighting on the kayak because the start times are 1 hour before sunrise. Is lighting expensive and where should I look to find that?

Is it easy to install rod holders and a fish finder? I'm pretty handy, if there is a video guide available.

 

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Just now, JohnDubs said:

Thanks!

I will definitely try to demo one. I believe the store I'm going to allows demoing because Old Hickory lake is right behind their shop.

I was looking at a Bending Branches paddle (they any good?) and haven't looked for any PFD's yet. The tournament I fish in requires lighting on the kayak because the start times are 1 hour before sunrise. Is lighting expensive and where should I look to find that?

Is it easy to install rod holders and fish finders? I'm pretty handy if there is a video guide available.

 

Assuming the store you're going to is a yak store, 
then they should have some fisherfolk on hand or
at least some that can give you good suggestions.

Lighting can be had at just about any kayak store,
or over the internet at the various sites like 
paddleva.com, austinkayak.com, yakattack.us and
so on.

As for paddles, yes, BB makes a good paddle, and
please, remember to wear your PFD 100% of the time
you are on the water!! Can't stress this enough, and I
know you see a lot of pictures of kayak fishermen on 
Google that don't. Don't be that guy. Wear it!

As for rod holders and fish finders, there is a lot to 
offer here. But first and foremost, may I suggest you 
get out in your new yak and fish it before you start
outfitting it, drilling holes, and so on. You'll get an idea
very quickly of where you want rod holders to be as 
opposed to where the manufacturer places them.

And Google is your best friend with DIY stuff. There is 
SO much out there.

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As far as kayaks go you have a pretty good list and the other advice of demoing is a good one.  I picked up a wilderness systems ATAK and it is by far my favorite kayak i have owned,  It is super stable but it is heavy to load and unload but definitely manageable.  The best feature is the electronics pod as it makes setting up a fish finder a piece of cake.

Accessories are pretty easy to install but like Darren above said, don't rig it till you fish it a bunch.  I fished my ATAK probably close to a dozen times before i started rigging it.  Each boat is different and the needs are different.  

Here is my boat, pretty simple really, an anchor trolley and 6 flush mount rod holders that never get in the way from casting but do occasionally from overhanging branches.

1909721_10205024093857241_90516394322120

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John, demo as many as possible. For me, the slide trax made my decision easy.  The trax avoids drilling holes. You can add as many tools as you want on those traxs. Also, my tarpon fits in the back of my Silverado so transporting is easy. I wanted hassle free and I got it with my tarpon. One more thing, a big boat might require a trailer so add that to your budget. 

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broken record here:

demo, don't rig it until you've paddled and fished a few times.

i would look hard at the ATAK and feelfree lure 11.5.  

as said, don't forget to budget for fishfinder, pfd and paddle (assuming you want a fishfinder).  i recently bought an onyx manual/auto inflatable PFD and it is a gamechanger.  i now wear my pfd 100% of the time because the thing is just comfortable and after a while you forget you have it on.  i actually made it from the ramp to the gas station yesterday before i realized i still had my pfd on!

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On 1/2/2016 at 4:26 PM, JohnDubs said:

The tournament I fish in requires lighting on the kayak because the start times are 1 hour before sunrise. Is lighting expensive and where should I look to find that?

Check your local regulations on lighting requirements. In Maryland, if the kayak is not motorized, we just need to display a light that is visible from 360 degrees. Google "Yakattack" and see their "Visipole" lineup as examples.

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You can get a portable 360 degree light that takes 2 D batteries for about $20 in most sporting goods stores. I slip mine into a spare rod holder in my crate. 

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Look into the Chinook pfd from NRS, I think Chad Hoover wears this pfd plus some different styles from the NRS brand. For a paddle you cant go wrong with BB or an Adventure Technologies. I own the Feelfree Lure 11.5, and think it's pretty awesome. The Wildey ATAK is another bad @$$ craft, and the size your looking for.

 

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John, I'm about your size (6'1" 190) and fit perfectly in my Lure 11.5. I also own a Ascend 128T. The ascend was my 1st kayak, and for the money is a great value. Both are stand up fishers and have all day comfortable seats.

The lure is my favorite only because it's a little lighter and is easier to reload on my ladder racks at the end of a full day fishing. The Lure's integrated wheel is very convenient, but doesn't work terribly well in sandy launch areas. I use scupper carts to transport both.

Read as many reviews as you can and paddle them before you buy wherever possible.

Welcome to your next addiction.

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As for PFDs, I have a Cabelas guide wear self inflating that is ridiculously light, totally out of the way, and very, very easy to maneuver in. 

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The thing to remember too is that width of the kayak is more important to comfort than the length of the boat.  By that i mean many boats of the same series that have different lengths have the same size cockpit area.  Yet another reason to try before you buy :) 

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15 hours ago, flyfisher said:

The thing to remember too is that width of the kayak is more important to comfort than the length of the boat.  By that i mean many boats of the same series that have different lengths have the same size cockpit area.  Yet another reason to try before you

On 1/2/2016 at 5:06 PM, flyfisher said:

As far as kayaks go you have a pretty good list and the other advice of demoing is a good one.  I picked up a wilderness systems ATAK and it is by far my favorite kayak i have owned,  It is super stable but it is heavy to load and unload but definitely manageable.  The best feature is the electronics pod as it makes setting up a fish finder a piece of cake.

Accessories are pretty easy to install but like Darren above said, don't rig it till you fish it a bunch.  I fished my ATAK probably close to a dozen times before i started rigging it.  Each boat is different and the needs are different.  

Here is my boat, pretty simple really, an anchor trolley and 6 flush mount rod holders that never get in the way from casting but do occasionally from overhanging branches.

1909721_10205024093857241_90516394322120

:) 

How far does the transducer stick out from the bottom of the hull.  Are you hitting bottom with the transducer in this pic. 

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Great advice here.  Follow it. 

Demo demo demo.  With your budget ,  you can get any paddle kayak you want- make sure it is right for YOU. 

Factor in the paddle,  pfd,  and transportation accessories ( straps,  racks,  trailer....whatever you need) into your budget. 

 

 

Welcome to the plastic navy! 

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i agree that for $2 - $3K you shouldn't have to settle on anything... make sure you buy the right one on the first trip... unlike most products, there is no returning the kayak.

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8 hours ago, boostr said:

How far does the transducer stick out from the bottom of the hull.  Are you hitting bottom with the transducer in this pic. 

It sticks out as far as you want it to really.  I have side imaging so mine is about this far out:

18721_10203995077492475_5778622989224047

If you have a non side imaging unit you can have it completely protected.

Usually when i am beaching the boat i unhook the latches that hold the pod down in case it hits or i just pull it up a little bit.

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Hey John,

It's Jeremy the owner/co-organizer of Kayak Bass Fishing TN

I'm off tomorrow so if you would want to meet at Hook1 and talk one on one about kayaks just send me a PM on Facebook, I have stuff going on early. I'm not sure if Chad is around or is at the ATA show. Also we have a Fishing Expo next month at the Fairgrounds and there will be some great deals to be had there. We (Hook1) will also have a pool setup for people to try boats out.

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Pretty nice budget for a yak! Don't forget the PFD :)
I own a jackson cuda 14 and the only other yaks I have been interested in were the WS A.T.A.K. and a Hobie with mirage drive.

Try to find a local dealer to demo some of the ones you pick out. Factor in whats already pre-rigged on the yak, a selling feature of the Cuda for me was how it was mostly pre-rigged for fishing (Rod holders, gear tracks,  etc).
 

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