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mjsmith1391

Making the change to a Yak

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So little back story, new to the page and new to the kayak fishing movement, and I could use some advice and opinions on purchasing my first fishing kayak. I have experience paddling but mostly in a canoe, it's honestly the way I learned to fish as a kid. I have been contemplating buying a bass boat for tournament fishing the past few years but the cost and maintenance that come with that just aren't in my budget at the moment. However, with the emergence of kayak fishing tournaments I have found myself wide eyed looking at the opportunities of the growing sport. Now comes what I can already tell will be the Yak bug and making my Yak my own! 

 

Thats enough of the jibber jabber, lets get to the nitty gritty! So I obviously at this point have no bias towards a brand, but I know some guys live and die by their brands of choice. I do know from researching a bit that you get what you pay for in most instances throughout the kayak world. While I know most guys on here are going to say go sit in the kayaks and get what feels good to you, well thats quite a task around me considering the yak movement hasn't caught on as much. Im basically stuck with either checking out the big box store selections(Cabelas,Bass pro,Walmart~ you get the gist) or drive a ridiculously far distance just to sit in some of the yaks I'm looking at. Here is a breakdown of what I'm looking for in a kayak also the ones that have intrigued me to this

point.

 

- Fishes large lakes well, not the great lakes, but nothing to take lightly with size and boat traffic

- Geared for tournaments

- Im 5'11" about 230lbs and want to be able to stand and fish

- Probably will be rigging with a trolling motor(most of my tournament series allow them)

- Really stuck on the $900-$1400 options at the moment, but if someone made a case for like topwater PDL for instance I could see myself just saving longer if it was truly incomparable. Quick side not, is PDL or whatever propulsion really worth it with a trolling motor added?

 

Boats that have I on my shortlist include: Bonafide ss107, Topwater 120, Big fish 120, and Radar 115

 

Thanks for anyone patient enough to follow this post to the bottom I greatly appreciate it and any input anyone has!!!

Tight lines,

Matt

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I would.try to save a few more bucks and get a jackson big rig. Set up with a motor I think you would love it. Just my opinion though.

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I'd look for a boat that can paddle well as any boat that paddles well will also take well to a motor.  While a little out of your price range, I love my ATAK 140.  It is the most stable of the many kayaks I have owned and the first one I have bought that after a year or two i wasn't looking to upgrade.  I can easily paddle mine at close to 4mph so i imagine with a motor you would easily hit 6.  

All that being said, find a local shop and hit up their demo days and paddle a bunch of boats and you will be able to make your decision much more confidently.  

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Welcome aboard!

 

You are correct in that many swear by a brand, either because they are 

sponsored and need to pump the brand, or simply came to love it either

way.

 

I cannot speak to the kayaks you mention, but as you are unable to get

to a demo days given distance, you can certainly find a kayak at Cabelas

or Bass Pro that will allow you to stand and fish.

 

The kayak I've had for many years now is a 2008 Native Ultimate 12. I 

have outfitted it with a DIY trolling motor setup (like a BassYaks.com 

setup) and absolutely love it.

 

However, I can say that because I have come to enjoy saltwater fishing

recently, I would prefer a kayak with scupper holes for drainage. I'd likely

still motorize it, unless I got something with a pedal drive.

 

But @flyfisher is right in that you want something that will paddle well 

enough if your battery were to die.

 

Good luck with your research!

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Thanks for the feedback guys! I love the Jackson line of kayaks, however they seem almost unattainable around me! I stopped by the one place listed as a dealer on the Jackson site that is anywhere remotely close to me and they didn't have any on the floor at the time, nor did they seem to interested in helping me(poor customer service not sure if it was bad timing or not, but it really rubbed me wrong)..? With that being said is there any good online retailers of the Jackson line? It seems like most are the closeout type of shops with maybe one option to choose from? I am assuming this is part of the battle with kayaks in general but it just seems very limited in availability/personal choice across the board unless you live somewhere with multiple dealers close by.  

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Check out ACK (Austin Canoe and Kayak) online. Every kayak I've ever purchased from them was shipped in about a week. Great customer service also.

This is my Big Game II, way to slow for tournament fishing. However, it is mine and I love her.

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I've also just purchased my first Yak, I've heard great things about standing in Bonafide.  They just released the new RS107 @ $999 and I've watched video of guys standing on the edge of it to get it to flip.  I'm 5'10" 240lb so I was also looking at stability, I purchased an Old Town.  Got a good price and am really exited.  

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Welcome! I've been fishing with a "budget kayak" for about 6 years. I just moved up to a Feefree Lure 13.5. It's like night and day. For bigger waters, I'd recommend a bigger, heavier kayak. Also, if I were looking to fish lakes with powerboats on them, I'd probably go all out and get one you can pedal. Do your homework and make an educated purchase because it's going to be expensive and, if you're like me, you'll have to live with it for a while.

 

I have only used the Lure once. It's a major upgrade, but there are still some things my cheaper Pescador 12'  does better. It's more nimble. I can adjust my position with one hand on the paddle. It's closer to the water so it's easier to handle hooked fish and it's an easier platform to paddle from. It will get through flooded timber more easily. But it's less stable, I can't stand on it. It's less comfortable to sit in for long periods. It's more at the mercy of the wind due to its light weight. I may still keep it because it's useful in small waters.

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With your budget I'd 2nd a Lure 11.5 or 13.5.  A buddy of mine has a Lure 11.5 and the thing is a tank.  Easy to stand in, great comfortable seat, wheel in back to roll it around.  The only thing it may be lacking is internal storage, but the thing has a huge rear deck well to keep things strapped down.  They make a pedal version too, and they also offer a 12v battery that hooks up to the prop to run it electrically if that's something that interests you.. That way you don't have to figure out how to rig up a separate trolling motor.

 

https://feelfreeus.com/overdrive/

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The main thing I would look at is the seat.  If it isn't 100% comfortable for a quick sit in the store it is going to murder your back after an hour or three on the water.  

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I wouldn't worry too much about not being able to demo even though that's all you'll hear from most people.  I've bought two kayaks so far and never sat in them before I bought.  I did a ton of research before I bought though.  Make sure you have a good idea of what you want out of a kayak.  Watch a lot of YouTube videos and read articles first.  This will help give you an idea of what all your options are.

 

This is how I started and I had a decent idea of what I wanted to do and found something in my price range.  I was very happy with my first purchase, the Pelican Catch 120, but after two years fishing out of it I started to find out more of what I ultimately wanted in a fishing kayak.  I knew I wanted an open deck and more stability.  I also wanted something that offered a lot of flexibility.  I didn't want to be stuck with a design I didn't like, such as a console or storage unit in the middle of the floor.

 

For your price range I would recommend the NuCanoe Flint.  I know a lot of people also like the Feel Free Lure 11.5 and the Vibe Sea Ghost 110.

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Might be worth looking at Jackson's Cruise line of kayaks.  Reasonably priced and good stability.

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Ok, so I cant comment on the Topwater, but i do have a Predator PDL and love it.  I can stand and fish out of it, and I'm 603 and 255ish - have done it when i was around 280.  It seems to be more stable than I am.  I havnt tried a Lure but have not heard anything bad about them.  I also second on ordering from ACK if you cant get a better deal locally.  their packages - kayak, PFD, and paddle - can be some good deals.  you maybe able to find a used Predator for under a 1k if you look around, and they can handle a trolling motor mounted fairly easily from what i've seen. Happy Hunting. 

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