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freelancer27

I am thinking of investing in a good fishing kayak.

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Hi everybody,

I am for 95% a bank angler. Only every now and then I am lucky to be able to rent a boat or get invited to one. The area that I live in (Marin County, CA) does not allow any kind of boats on its lakes, which is a bummer!
I do live in Sausalito, which is a little town right at the Bay of San Francisco.

So I was wondering if it made sense to get a dedicated kayak that I could use to mainly go out in the Bay and occationally use it to go onto lakes like Berryessa or Clear lake.

Since I have a very limited amount of experience/ knowledge about such kayaks I would love to ask the community on advice and guidelines on how best to approach this. It would be also great to get an understanding on what kind of investment I am looking at here.

So in order to better scope my preferences here is a list:

* I am 6'4'' (200 pounds) and I would like to comfortably sit in the kayak stand be able to fish while standing as well.
* Would be nice if I could bring my gf with me every now and then (we have a Sevylor Colorado HF Angler Inflatable Kayak, that is nice to take with us in the car but it is neither comfortable to go for longer outings nor very adecuate to fish or go onto the Bay with it).
* I would like to have some sort of foot-paddle system (the 'mirage system' looks interesting, not sure about the pros and cons though)
* I would like to have some storage for up to 5 rods and a couple of boxes

* I would like the ability to install a trolling motor (or directly get one with it)
* I would like to install a fish finder

My car does not have a hanger or anything, so I would need that as well. (Honda Civic). Also I do not have a garage where I could put the kayak (what kind of options do I have to secure it safely in the spot in front of my garage (from weather and robbery)?

And last but not least. What kind of budget do I need to set aside for this?


Thank you very much for your thoughts!

-Seb.

 

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wow lots of questions but i'l do my best...but before i give my advice i will say go test paddle as many boats as you can.  Find a shop having a demo days and have at it...

 

Standing and fishing is not a problem.  there are probably 10+ boats that have that ability.  Taking the girlfriend in the kayak, well not as many options, especially ones that will then handle well when being used solo.

Foot pedal options are great but pricey.  you are looking at almost 3k to start with one of those boats and then still have to factor in a PFD and paddle.  Pedal drive boats are also heavy so transporting is something to consider as well. 

Pretty much every kayak has the ability to add a trolling motor, either with a unit designed for the boat like the wilderness systems ATAK or via alternative methods from various manufacturers.  Same goes for fish finders...you can mount one on pretty much any kayak.

Most boats have the ability to store a lot of gear if you use a crate of some sort and rod holders.  I have 6 flush mounted rod holders in my boat and a crate and can take more gear than i really need :) 

Transportation of the boat is another issue but you can get a rack system and cartop just about any boat.  I cartopped every kayak i have owned on my jeep wrangler up until my last one when i bought a trailer (which is the way to go in my opinion). This is where weight and boat balance comes into play.

There are boats from pretty much every manufacturer that meets your needs, wilderness systems, native, hobie, jackson to name a few off the top of my head.  So take a look at all of them and get out and paddle if at all possible.  I am currently paddling a wilderness systems ATAK and it is a great boat that provides stability without giving up much speed.  It is kind of heavy but before i had my trailer it was manageable to car top.  

Hope my incoherent rambling helps a little bit but feel free to ask more questions as we do have quite a few kayak anglers on board here that can provide varying perspectives .

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I second @flyfisher on his thoughts.

Get some time and demo several different 
kayaks AND brands. No one brand is perfect
for every angler, despite what anyone says :) 

Outfitting for fishing? Don't look for a "fishing"
kayak already rigged, unless you really want
one. You'll end up wishing *that* was over *there*
and so on. I continue to tinker with where things
are best and most efficient for me.

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@Darren. nailed the one big thing i missed.  Don't rig anything for a while.  My most recent boat i went out probably a doze times before i started rigging things up.

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that boat is like the cream of the crop in the Kayak world...i do wonder how it would handle solo though and i know it has to weigh 150lbs at least but with a trailer, probably not a concern. 

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1 minute ago, flyfisher said:

that boat is like the cream of the crop in the Kayak world...i do wonder how it would handle solo though and i know it has to weigh 150lbs at least but with a trailer, probably not a concern. 

Agreed, probably the top-o-th'-line yak
out there. It'd work well for you and your
significant other.

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It better is for this amount of though... ;)

I do not think that I can bring this kind of money up for a Kayak. Also, as Darren mentions, the way it handled solo would be an important point. Not sure my girl is up to 6+ hour tours on the water just for fishing... plus she is afraid of the White Sharks, since the 'attack' near Alcatraz.. :D

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just a real quick response. I have a native ultimate 14.5 that i can stand and fish in and it can also be tandem if you have the second seat. For personal use on my own i have a kayak by feelfree

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I considered the Hobie 17T and the ProAngler 14.  I loved both and the 17 can be used as a solo craft with the seat moved to the center position.  

I ended up with the 14 and there is plenty of integrated rod storage (8 rods) and storage for tackle as well. With my crate, I can accommodate up to 12 rods but never take that many with me.  My tandem usage is limited so I went with the 14.  On a lake, I can easily take one of my kids on the 14 and have even taken my wife a few times too.  I'm just over 6' tall and 210lbs.


As others have mentioned, go give them a demo to pick what works best for you.

-T

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20 hours ago, freelancer27 said:

Thanks guys for the quick replies!

Yeah, I think I would be willing and able to invest around 3-4k in a set up (with hanger, etc.).

How is something like this here: http://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/bod/5630467057.html

Just to get a general sense..

For 2 - 5 grand you can probably get a really nice used 14-16 ft aluminum V hull boat with trailer, already rigged with a depth finder, swivel seats, electric motor (or two), rod holders and an outboard. Stand, sit, dance on it, bring the girlfriend (or a couple of friends),  store rods, etc..  Considering your budget, unless you are usually fishing waters without an available boat ramp then why not go all the way and buy a full blown fishing boat?  You don't need anything fancy, but in the 3-4 grand range you can get a really nice used boat.

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18 minutes ago, briansnat said:

For 2 - 5 grand you can probably get a really nice used 14-16 ft aluminum V hull boat with trailer, already rigged with a depth finder, swivel seats, electric motor (or two), rod holders and an outboard. Stand, sit, dance on it, bring the girlfriend (or a couple of friends),  store rods, etc..  Considering your budget, unless you are usually fishing waters without an available boat ramp then why not go all the way and buy a full blown fishing boat?  You don't need anything fancy, but in the 3-4 grand range you can get a really nice used boat.

Generally speaking this is a good idea, though I like the idea of combining the fishing-nature experience with some cardio. Also I feel that I am much more flexible with a Kayak, since I would be able to go on Lakes/Rivers and the Ocean without having those to be set up with a ramp.

Thank you though for your thought!

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What a great post! Lots of good advice above. Many of your "requirements" are contradictory, but hey, that's what we're here for. Before I suggest anything, my first bit of advice is get your girlfriend her own yak, tandems suck(although that Hobie from CL is awesome!  1st time I've seen a tandem PA, only the Outfitter). But to try and give you what you want, I suggest you check out a Jackson Big Tuna, a tandem that is Also a respectable solo handling yak, although it doesn't fulfill all your needs. As for pedal drive, you're looking at Hobie or Native, (Santa Cruz has capability too w/the new Raptor G2, but doesn't make much sense), and only Hobie has any real capability to carry two adults. DIY is really big in the yak world and that is always an option for propulsion. The ATAK and OT Predator MX have factory motor options,(but aren't really built for two.). Storage that's up to you, plenty of easy DIY options. Try to demo, and good luck! Let us know what you decide on.

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1 hour ago, Dogmatic said:

What a great post! Lots of good advice above. Many of your "requirements" are contradictory, but hey, that's what we're here for. Before I suggest anything, my first bit of advice is get your girlfriend her own yak, tandems suck(although that Hobie from CL is awesome!  1st time I've seen a tandem PA, only the Outfitter). But to try and give you what you want, I suggest you check out a Jackson Big Tuna, a tandem that is Also a respectable solo handling yak, although it doesn't fulfill all your needs. As for pedal drive, you're looking at Hobie or Native, (Santa Cruz has capability too w/the new Raptor G2, but doesn't make much sense), and only Hobie has any real capability to carry two adults. DIY is really big in the yak world and that is always an option for propulsion. The ATAK and OT Predator MX have factory motor options,(but aren't really built for two.). Storage that's up to you, plenty of easy DIY options. Try to demo, and good luck! Let us know what you decide on.

Thank you for your response.

What do you think is contradicting in my requirements? Yeah, two Kayaks would be idea, but since my girl is probably only joining every now and then, it does not make sense to get her a own one. I was playing with the idea to get a one seater and hook her up at the back with the 'Sevylor Colorado HF Angler Inflatable Kayak' that we have. But I am not sure if that is the best idea and might not be fun at all'.

What is the big con for using a tandem Yak as the Hobie Pro Angler 17T on my own? Hard to move it, speed, ability to steer?

Thanks all.

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9 hours ago, freelancer27 said:

What is the big con for using a tandem Yak as the Hobie Pro Angler 17T on my own? Hard to move it, speed, ability to steer?

The 17T is a whole lot of kayak to have as a primary kayak for a single person.  I went with the 14 as it is plenty large for a single person and with the price of the 17T, you could add a second Hobie for the wife if/when needed.  I bought the ProAngler 14 for me and figured I'd pick up a Hobie Mirage Sport for her someday.  The combined priced of the two is not all that much more than the 17T alone.

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You know what they call tandem kayaks?......divorce makers. Just saying lol. 

 

Being a a wildy rep I am gonna suggest their boats but one I don't think anyone has mentioned is a commander 140. Not a tandem kayak but it's a hybrid hat you could easily put her in and handle it solo.

 

Then like mentioned is  the ATAK with the helix drive. Kayak ways 86lbs helix motor and battery is 15lbs so total weight before adding gear is 101lbs which is lighter then any other kayak with a similar set up. It's also a lot of boat to transport and on a Honda Civic is gonna be crazy looking as is any of the above kayaks. 

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The "cons" of tandems are mentioned above. The Big Tuna is a tandem that can be used as a solo efficiently,  but they're beasts, and like Clayton says, maxing out the roof rack on a civic. They dont meet all that you want, like propulsion, but that can be remedied with a DIY/aftermarket motor mount. contradictions in your requirements are that you want a good fishing yak, but it needs to carry two adults, you want pedal propulsion, but also a motor, all this needs, not only to fish freshwater, but salt also, and it needs to fit (safely) on top of a Honda Civic. There are a lot of great yaks out there, some come close, but NONE are going to fit all those "requirements". I would have suggested a hybrid like Clayton, Native Ultimate would be my suggestion, but you want to take it in some "big water", and personally, I just don't have confidence in a yak that doesn't "self-bail"(aka, have scuppers). Like I said, my advice, get two yaks. Get yourself a fishing machine, get your girl an easier cruiser(use the inflatable in the mean time, but that could be a divorce too, when you leave her behind ?).

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11 hours ago, freelancer27 said:

.... but since my girl is probably only joining every now and then, it does not make sense to get her a own one..

Have you validated this assumption?  My wife had zero interest in kayaks when I got mine.....a year later, I talked her into going to rent one for an afternoon.  By noon the next day we were kayak shopping for her.  A week later, she needed cross bars and racks for her car so she wouldn't have to wait for me to be along.  Every single time out she STILL tells me how much she loves her yak.

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Might I add...what ever you get, lock that puppy up! Thieves love stealing kayaks.

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I have a Nucanoe Frontier 12 that I can rig tandem or single, and it has incredibly comfortable seats.  It paddles better than the Internet says it does, but it's not a distance boat.  It also has a small flat transom for a motor.  There is not a peddle drive for it that I am aware of, and it may be big on your Civic, but it was the best solution I found for a tandem boat with some flexibility. It's a great fishing platform.

PS - be careful with marriage advice from Clayton. :P

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57 minutes ago, VolFan said:

I have a Nucanoe Frontier 12 that I can rig tandem or single, and it has incredibly comfortable seats.  It paddles better than the Internet says it does, but it's not a distance boat.  It also has a small flat transom for a motor.  There is not a peddle drive for it that I am aware of, and it may be big on your Civic, but it was the best solution I found for a tandem boat with some flexibility. It's a great fishing platform.

PS - be careful with marriage advice from Clayton. :P

It's not advice it's just what I heard they were called. I took my ex wife on my canoe once it was a disaster lol 

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4 hours ago, VolFan said:

I have a Nucanoe Frontier 12 that I can rig tandem or single, and it has incredibly comfortable seats.  It paddles better than the Internet says it does, but it's not a distance boat.  It also has a small flat transom for a motor.  There is not a peddle drive for it that I am aware of, and it may be big on your Civic, but it was the best solution I found for a tandem boat with some flexibility. It's a great fishing platform.

PS - be careful with marriage advice from Clayton. :P

This IS a good option. Why does Nucanoe always slip my mind? 

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17 hours ago, VolFan said:

I have a Nucanoe Frontier 12 that I can rig tandem or single, and it has incredibly comfortable seats.  It paddles better than the Internet says it does, but it's not a distance boat.  It also has a small flat transom for a motor.  There is not a peddle drive for it that I am aware of, and it may be big on your Civic, but it was the best solution I found for a tandem boat with some flexibility. It's a great fishing platform.

PS - be careful with marriage advice from Clayton. :P

Thanks guys!

The Yak looks good, but I really would like one with pedal drive. The idea of paddling and having my hands free is very intriguing :)

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3 minutes ago, freelancer27 said:

Thanks guys!

The Yak looks good, but I really would like one with pedal drive. The idea of paddling and having my hands free is very intriguing :)

You can also consider outfitting the NuCanoe or
most any other yak with a BassYaks trolling motor
kit, or DIY it like I did.

http://bassyaks.com/products/kits-available/nucanoe-bassyak-kits/

Your feet control your direction and you have a 
motor controller on your right or left for speed.

The drawback to the Hobie is no reverse unless
you take out the fins and install them the opposite
direction.

For Native pedal drives, you get reverse, but you 
don't get the massive fishing platform that is the
Hobie PA. Both have advantages and disadvantage.

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