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I am looking to buy my first kayak. I have done a lot of research on different yaks and I have narrowed my choices down to 3 or 4.

 

One of the big questions I have is how important is size (ok, stop laughing and thinking up all the jokes and puns that come to mind).

 

Obviously, bigger means you can carry more gear, but how does length and width relate in terms of stability, speed, ease of use, turning, etc.

 

The yaks I am looking at range between 11-13 feet long and 34 to 39 inches wide. I know wider means more stable, but does 3 or 4 inches really have a big impact on stability. I am a big guy at 6 foot and 300 lbs. I am also going to have to car top transport my kayak.

 

 

I am also looking for a pedal drive and have even seen several yaks now have electrical motors as options (vs installing a separate trolling motor).

 

Finally, what options or features on a kayak do you find highly beneficial or as a necessity? Some of the yaks have them set up for fish finders with transducer mounts and I am thinking this might be a really useful feature.

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A cartoppable pedal drive or motorized kayak is a tall order. The pedal and motorized kayaks tend to be bulky and heavy. I know a guy who used to cartop his Hobie Pro Angler, but he’s a giant who can make that look easy. And I think even he broke down and has a trailer for it, now.

 

Hurricane Aquasports and Jackson Kayak have teamed up to make a lighter, thermoformed pedal kayak called the Skimmer 120 Propel (Hurricane) and Cuda LT (Jackson). It uses Hurricane’s thermoform technology for the kayak and Jackson’s Propel Drive for the drive. It’s probably worth checking out.

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The longer the yak, generally-speaking, the better the

tracking, though not 100% the case.

 

Longer/more gear - you need to determine how much

weight you will carry. Some yaks have lower weight

limits, while others are rated for 400-500 lbs.

 

Pedal or motor. I motor, my kayak, empty is 55#, and

is easily car topped. Thermoformed yaks are much

lighter and worth checking out. My motor setup is a DIY

similar to what BassYaks offers.

 

Rigging/pre-rigged yaks. Buying a fishing-specific kayak

is good/bad. I.e., the designers decided what and where

to put stuff. You may or may not like their decisions.

 

A non-fishing-specific kayak allows you to fish from it and

over time decide what you think you need (rod holders,

fish finder, etc.) and where you want it located.

 

Just some stuff to think about...or add more confusion :D 

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Which kayaks are you contemplating currently? 

 

Kayak fishing is fun and all but it's not for everybody in the end. I guess the 1st thing you'll have to decide before purchasing one is if it's really for you or not. Hopefully you've already thought it thru at this point.

 

What kind of water are you going to be fishing? The mirage drive I guess has some advantages in certain water conditions but in the end doesn't have the instant reverse like the pedal drive systems.

 

I was a kayak virgin until I purchase mine last year. After some initial research and a visit to the Hobie dealer to look at the Pro Anglers I wound up ordering a Slayer 10 online. The price point, weight, size, and instant reverse was what sold me on it in the end. After fishing it for a couple hundred hours would I buy it again? l'd most likely go for the Titan 10.5 which wasn't even available at the time of purchase. 

 

 

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After owning my kayak for a while now I would say the number one thing I would say to look for is a kayak with a comfortable seat. My older Ocean Kayak sit on top just has a thin foam seat that sits in the seat well and if any water gets in the seat well my bum is wet the rest of the day.  If I could go back I would get one with an elevated seat.  Unfortunately mine cannot be retrofitted very easily and even if it could I think an elevated seating position would affect its stability while paddling and fishing as it’s a fairly narrow kayak.  I really can’t complain though as my kayak has tons of internal storage and I got it pretty much for free through my previous job performance bonus.  

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Dude I car-topped a Hobie Outback with only foam blocks...no rack. And my buddy did the same thing with an Hobie Pro Angler. It's really not a big deal. Just don't drive like a jerk. Once you car-top it a few times, you figure it out and it becomes easy. 

 

To answer your questions, typically length equals speed, and beam equals stability. Nowadays, we really only shop kayaks specifically designed for fishing, and most boats today are pretty well balanced in speed and stability. Yes, 3-4 inches beam can make a huge difference! Try a few kayaks out, if you can. If you can afford a Hobie, the Outback or Pro Angler would suit your needs well, although there are plenty of other yaks out there that will fit you. NuCanoes are awesome for bigger guys. They paddle well, and they are super stable, and you can buy the pedal drive for it too. 

 

As far as rigging and accessories...I wouldn't rig anything on your brand new boat. Take it out fishing a few times. It won't take long at all for you to say to yourself, "man, i wish had a rod holder, sonar, strap, etc". You'll learn quickly what accessories you'd like to have, and where you will want to install them.

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9 hours ago, kenmitch said:

Which kayaks are you contemplating currently? 

 

Kayak fishing is fun and all but it's not for everybody in the end. I guess the 1st thing you'll have to decide before purchasing one is if it's really for you or not. Hopefully you've already thought it thru at this point.

 

What kind of water are you going to be fishing? The mirage drive I guess has some advantages in certain water conditions but in the end doesn't have the instant reverse like the pedal drive systems.

 

I was a kayak virgin until I purchase mine last year. After some initial research and a visit to the Hobie dealer to look at the Pro Anglers I wound up ordering a Slayer 10 online. The price point, weight, size, and instant reverse was what sold me on it in the end. After fishing it for a couple hundred hours would I buy it again? l'd most likely go for the Titan 10.5 which wasn't even available at the time of purchase. 

 

 

 

So, I have it narrowed down to Native Titan 12, Old Town Predator MK, Feelfree Dorado, Wilderness Systems ATAK 140 and Jackson BigRig.

 

They run between 34 to 39 inches wide. The Predator has the included MK motor for 2999, ATAK 140 has a motor upgrade but the total cost is about 4000, Titan (2799) has the ability with a special bracket to attach a trolling motor to it (so, a motor and everything is about another 1000), Feelfree Dorado is 2999 plus the motor is another 1500 (but that boat is like the Cadillac of fishing yaks) and the I was eyeing the BigRig from Bassyaks which is 2999 rigged with a motor.

 

I am looking for boats that have an easy way to add a motor as I have a bad back and knee. I can pedal fine but somedays I cant and the motor option would be great for those days. The Dorado is cool because the pedal propulsion system stays in the boat and you attach the motor to the pedal drive which means you could have the motor drive on the boat and use it when needed or if you run the battery dead, you can still pedal it.

 

I have sat in the Titan, ATAK and a Hobie. The Titan and ATAK are comfy and I don't like the pedal drive on the Hobie.

 

I like what I have seen of the BigRig but have not researched the Jackson yaks much.

 

Most of them are similar in layout. The Predator has the highest capacity at 600 lbs. The Titan is widest at 39 inches.

 

I am mostly going to be on lakes and rivers and ponds here in Florida but would also like the ability to possibly go to the ocean too.

 

My price point is 3000. I do not want to buy a cheap yak first then upgrade as that is a waste of money plus I have sat in many of the yaks sold at Walmart, Dicks, etc and they are most uncomfortable and I know that if I have an uncomfortable yak, I am not going to use it.

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#1 priority in a kayak is transportability. Doesn’t matter how comfortable the seat is if you can’t get it to the water or back on your vehicle after a few hours of paddling and fishing.

 

I learned from this site, easy gets used hard does not. If you are car topping your yak you need something light. Pedal drive are not light. What we want and what we can realistically use are two different things. 

 

When I went to purchase a kayak, the one I wanted would mean purchasing a new vehicle with a roof rack or a trailer. Neither of which was in my budget. in the end I chose a yak that I could car top on foam blocks. While it might not have the most comfortable seat I can manage it for 4 hours which is long enough to satisfy my fishing itch.

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I have a car top rack and can put a yak up to 100 lbs on it. Thankfully, the pedal drive systems on these yaks are removable which lightens the weight that has to be loaded.

 

The seat is pretty important to me as I have had back surgery and I know if the seat is not comfortable I wont use the yak no matter how easy it is to transport. I am looking for the sweet spot that is the perfect balance of portability, ease of use and comfort. Each yak has their own unique feature that makes them different than the others and wading through them and determining what is actually useful and beneficial vs a gimmick or something that will be of minimal or no use is like trying to wade through a pond full of muck up to your waist.

 

That is why I am here and asking my fellow bass fisher people what they find useful or not and getting input from experienced yakers.

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I took a big guy out and let him use my bigger kayak.  He turtled, twice. Try one before you buy!  Make sure you are stable in it.  I put an aftermarket seat in mine.  Much better.  Don't drill a lot of holes until you go a few times.  I don't have pedals, rather I paddle.  I like the simplicity of a kayak and I like being able to go up in the pads. Good luck and tight lines.

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Don't rule out the Hobie Compass.  Mirage Drive, very stable, fast hull that also paddles well, simple clean deck, gear track, Lowrance ready TD pod, and get this, weighs 65 lbs. without the drive.  For $2000, you get a paddle, Mirage Drive, the seat and the hull.

 

Loving mine:

 

35973154_10214934597811600_5951188989795

 

36062841_10214950439447631_2285822259681

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The various pedal drives work differently in shallow water and weeds. Out of the bunch, Hobie’s Mirage Drive is probably the most versatile. But none of them beat a paddle.

 

Sometimes, I miss my Pro Angler. That Hobie Compass is giving me expensive ideas.

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10 hours ago, PECo said:

But none of them beat a paddle.

I have the new Compass, and I was surprised that it paddles as well, if not better than many paddle only boats.

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22 minutes ago, J Francho said:

I have the new Compass, and I was surprised that it paddles as well, if not better than many paddle only boats.

How is the Compass for stand-up fishing?

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14 minutes ago, Dtrombly said:

How is the Compass for stand-up fishing?

Really nice, It has a flat, clean deck.  It has a stable, double tunnel hull:

 

36062841_10214950439447631_2285822259681

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48 minutes ago, J Francho said:

Really nice, It has a flat, clean deck.  It has a stable, double tunnel hull:

 

36062841_10214950439447631_2285822259681

Awesome, I'll have to get some seat time in one. Looking to upgrade to a pedal yak and for under $2k that looks like a sweet deal. 

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So far, it's a really well thought out boat.

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On 6/24/2018 at 6:02 PM, Traumabrew said:

 

So, I have it narrowed down to Native Titan 12, Old Town Predator MK, Feelfree Dorado, Wilderness Systems ATAK 140 and Jackson BigRig.

 

They run between 34 to 39 inches wide. The Predator has the included MK motor for 2999, ATAK 140 has a motor upgrade but the total cost is about 4000, Titan (2799) has the ability with a special bracket to attach a trolling motor to it (so, a motor and everything is about another 1000), Feelfree Dorado is 2999 plus the motor is another 1500 (but that boat is like the Cadillac of fishing yaks) and the I was eyeing the BigRig from Bassyaks which is 2999 rigged with a motor.

 

I am looking for boats that have an easy way to add a motor as I have a bad back and knee. I can pedal fine but somedays I cant and the motor option would be great for those days. The Dorado is cool because the pedal propulsion system stays in the boat and you attach the motor to the pedal drive which means you could have the motor drive on the boat and use it when needed or if you run the battery dead, you can still pedal it.

 

I have sat in the Titan, ATAK and a Hobie. The Titan and ATAK are comfy and I don't like the pedal drive on the Hobie.

 

I like what I have seen of the BigRig but have not researched the Jackson yaks much.

 

Most of them are similar in layout. The Predator has the highest capacity at 600 lbs. The Titan is widest at 39 inches.

 

I am mostly going to be on lakes and rivers and ponds here in Florida but would also like the ability to possibly go to the ocean too.

 

My price point is 3000. I do not want to buy a cheap yak first then upgrade as that is a waste of money plus I have sat in many of the yaks sold at Walmart, Dicks, etc and they are most uncomfortable and I know that if I have an uncomfortable yak, I am not going to use it.

Your list has some nice one's on it. I guess you'll have to determine what bells and whistles you need. In the end it's really of how much stuff you plan on taking out and how you want to rig it. The protected horizontal rod storage would be a big plus too me. Vertical rod storage is OK but depending on where you want to yak it can be a pain as if your going under tree limbs, bridges, etc as rods tend to get snagged or scraped. Gear tracks are somewhat over rated as a yak only needs so many as long as they're strategically placed. In hull storage you'll only need enough room to take what you need. Guess larger area could come in handy if you wanted to do a kayak/camping adventure.

 

Do you plan on sitting most of the time or standing? A stand up assist bar might be a wise investment if you plan on doing a lot of standing or don't have really good balance. If you plan to stand up a lot then you might want to take a closer look at the standing deck area of the yaks. Not sure about the other yaks but the Titan does have the option of sliding the seat to the rear.

 

All the rigs you listed are nice ones. Not sure how much weight the motor options add and if they're easily removable or not for the journey up to your rooftop. 

 

All kayaks will have a tipping point if a person leans too far to the side. There are some videos on youtube that will show what it takes to flip. Just search for kayak X stability reviews. 

 

Not really sure why some suggested Hobie as you clearly stated you didn't like the mirage drive setup.

 

Good luck on your quest and if possible see if you can get some on the water experience in your final choice(s) before purchasing.

 

 

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1 hour ago, kenmitch said:

Not really sure why some suggested Hobie as you clearly stated you didn't like the mirage drive setup.

 

I read that too, which is why I said don't rule it out.  Then others had questions about it.  Not unusual on forums.  I've owned six fishing kayaks over the dozen or so years I've been doing this.  I'm more than happy to discuss pros and cons with a first time kayak buyer.

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