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Dave G

How to Choose the Right Yak?

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Hi All,

 

This is my first post- and I hate to ask another "which yak is best" question. However, I will be starting to demo several different kayaks soon and I'm not sure how to go about it. Other than just getting the "feel" of the yak by paddling around, are there things I should be doing or looking for on a demo ride? I have some recent canoe experience, but this will be my first kayak.

 

I will be using the boat for spin fishing in the lower Chesapeake Bay area and occasionally in the Outer Banks area of North Carolina. I also fly fish a lot, and will use the boat to get to inaccessible wading areas rather than trying to cast from the boat. I will be in inlets, sounds or estuaries much of the time, but also want something seaworthy enough to go out in the open Bay (where it can get pretty rough).

 

I am 6' tall, 200 pounds and approaching 59 years old. Although I'm in fair shape for an old guy, kayak weight is a big factor since I need to load and unload it on a roof top carrier by myself. I also want a yak with some "waterproof" storage and a convenient place to mount rod holders and a fish finder. A rear well and the possibility of adding a rudder would be a plus.

 

Based on what I picked up on other kayak fishing forums, I was focused on an OK Skupper Pro TW, OK Drifter or WS The Ride. All of these seem to be very popular on the West and Gulf Coasts. After reading through this Board, I'm thinking I should add Cobra to the list of possibilities. They seem very light for their load capacity, and the hatch designs look like they might be more waterproof than some others I've seen.

 

Local information is scarce here. Very few people fish from yaks, and the dealers cater to the general market. Wish I was close enough to go see Barrell! Any and all advice will be appreciated!

 

p.s. Stripers Online is an TERRIFFIC site and a great resource for a salt fishing newbie! Thanks folks...

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DaveG-

 

The list of kayaks you're considering are all good kayaks. I'm partial to Ocean Kayaks, since I own a Scupper Classic myself. If you're going to be paddling in smaller water, the Scupper Pro TW might be a bit too much, and they are pretty heavy. The hatches leak a bit, but you'll end up with less than a cup of water in rough conditions (Not a problem since I use dry bags anyway).

 

I like a fast, light craft with the ability to go into the ocean, so I chose the Scupper Classics sleek design over more 'stubbier' kayaks (ex. Cobras). However, I feel that the Classic is still able to negotiate smaller bays and tidal creeks very well.

 

But definitely try out a Cobra Kayak- I've heard the Explorers and Fish'n'Dives are excellent fishing crafts. If your priorities are dry storage and light weight, these might be your best option.

 

I'm sure guys like JonS, Dubs, and others will have more input on Cobras and WS models.

 

-Steve

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Dave,

 

I'll preface this reply with the fact that I've only fished from one other kayak (Ocean Kayak Scrambler)besides my own, which is a Cobra Fish n Dive. I think as a fishing kayak, the fish n dive is hard to beat . It is not the easiest kayak to load and unload, nor is it the fastest in the world, but your decision will require some sacrifices.

Let's start with loading/unloading. The fish n dive weighs 57 lbs, but feels much heavier due to the size. Once you get down your routine to load and unload, it's not a big deal. There are some products that can make your life easier, like a set of wheels with suction cups that attach to your back window to roll the yak up with. The back craddles of your rack should be rollers(Yakima) or H2O Slides(Thule). If you need to trek it to launch get a cart.

Hatches- I like the o-ring sealed Cobra hatches. The strapped down soup pot lid stuff is for the birds.

The fish n dive is not a surf kayak , but most fishing kayaks aren't. Never stopped me from entering and exiting some decent ocean surf. The kayak handles it great, it's me that screws it up sometimes.

As for space for storage, mounting gear, crossing your legs, inviting a few friends along -there is plenty of space.

In the ocean the kayak feels great. I've been in some tuff stuff and never was concerned about the kayaks stability. As I understand it, that "Cadillac" feel comes at little expense with regards to speed. Barrell told me that the seven mile race in Jersey was won or tied by a guy in a Fish n Dive.(Barrell, correct me if I'm wrong)

As for weight capacity - 600 pounds should do it.

And Dave, if you get tired of paddling, the FnD has an optional trolling motor bracket, but I doubt you'll need it.

I hope this helped.

Phil

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DaveG,

 

At the other end of the spectrum from the fish-n-dive (FND) is the Necky Dolphin. They're fast, light and very well built. I got mine in feb. of 2000 after going out to the west coast and paddling the 4 boats I was interested in, side by side for a whole day (thanks to Monterey Bay Kayaks).

 

I looked at the FND, the Ride, the Scupper Pro and the Dolphin. I was able to eliminate both the FND and the Ride very quickly as unsuitable for surf and chop. While very stable boats (in flat water) they are both heavy and their hull shapes pound fiercely (also not good for sneaky fishing). It was close between the other two but I went with the Necky for weight, build quality, speed/eficiency, and "feel" (oh yea, nice dry hatches too).

 

Ask yourself honestly when & where you will be paddling and how serious you think you will be about it. A boat that seems "tippy" (low initial stability) now may be just the thing one you get your "sea but" and will handle waves better in the end. The FND is a great boat if you are paddling short distances in calm water but it may hamper you on the open Chesapeake.

 

I too paddle the Chesapeake, upper end, and have been where you are now (I'm also 6', 200# but you've got a couple years on me wink.gif ). We all get somewhat passionate about the boats we've chosen but we are just trying to make sure you find the one suitable for you. I get down to the lower bay (Deltaville and Gwynns Island areas) and would be happy to let you take mine for a spin sometime. Bring your rod!

 

Chris

 

 

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Welcome to the site. The most important thing to do is try as many yaks in your target range as you can. Take along a rod when you do and do some casting. You can strap a milk crate to the back with bungees to test its fishability by bringing some gear along. I presently own 3 yaks. 2 Cobra Explorers and a Scupper Classic. I'm going to sell the Classic in the near future, most likely when I get back from MV. For my purposes the Explorer is great. I do everything from small to medium rivers to back bays and launching through the surf. At 40#s its a pleasure to handle. At your height and weight in the Cobra line I'd look at the Navigator (which is an Explorer with an extra foot of leg room and weighs in at 44#) and the Tourer which is a fast yak and still stable. I've paddled a Tourer a few times.

 

Many yaks are fishable. It depends upon what you wish to do with it. All have strengths and weaknesses. JimDE has a Kiwi whcih is a catamaran style. He uses a trailer which is another consideration which eliminates loading on top and worth considering.

 

Yaks are incredible fishing tools and until you get one you don't realize how neat they truly are.

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Porter,

 

Did you think I would let you get away with saying those thing about my fishing partner?LOL

 

Dave,

As you see, it's a very personal choice. Porter chose to go with a kayak first and a fishing vessel second. I chose a fishing vessel that could be paddled. It's all about sacrifices.

I would like to clarify that there is only a 2 lb. difference between the two. And I think that calling the FND "unsuitable" for the ocean is obsurd. Maybe not the best in the ocean, but not even close to unsutabile. I've never fished the Chesapeake, but I highly doubt it gets worse than the ocean waters around Montauk that I fish regularly.

Although I don't find fly fishing from a kayak ideal, due to the low seating position, you would fare better on a wider kayak with greater initial stability.

 

OK, so I'm biased. Do your homework and paddle a few.

The dealer to speak to is Barrell, a regular on this board. He not only knows kayaks, he knows FISHING KAYAKs.

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Ditto on Barrell. He let me tag along last Saturday while he had a customer that was interested in kayak fishing. The customer tried out the Fish and Dive and the Navigator both fully riged for fishing. Barrell took him to his "secret spot" and the results were three keeper stripers, with his customer catching his on a fly rod.

 

Hows that for a demo?

 

PS His customer got a fully outfitted Navigator. Welcome Hank to the world of yak fishing.

 

 

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yeah, not to fawn all over barrell but he is the top dog here and he is full of useful, "usable" info. and willing to share like all get out.

 

I have an OK Ambush with a 2 HP Honda motor mounted. I can stand in it and flyfish. I have two wild crumb snatchers that couldn't tip the thing if they wanted to.

 

I still have to get barrell's butt pads and rod holders/fortunately, he ships. Where the hell is Brigantine, NJ??

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Atlantic City's pristine front porch, JP

you might want to plan a day trip down to pick up stuff @ barrell's, its worth a looksee wink.gif

 

and welcome Dave! HappyWave.gif

another vote for Cobra Explorer. I'm fairly new to the yak, its my first. Im 5'8" 210 just went on my first sleigh ride last Friday care of some gator blues, weighed a 12lber, lost some bigger, but the Explorer handled them just fine. I can throw the seat strap on my shoulder and carry it with 1 arm, its only 40lbs. a nice dry ride, but certainly has less strorage room than a sit in, as others mentioned, you have to figger whats best fer you.

barrell is definetely the man, so hear him out when he weighs in on this thread, Im sure he's just out fishing biggrin.gif

 

you should read his article if your new to yak fishing on rbbsurf.com its called "secrets of yak fishing"

 

[This message has been edited by Otter (edited 05-08-2001).]

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thanks otter/must be beautiful...

 

the thing with my yak is that it's 100 lbs- a true Merrimac of the Peconics! The trade-off is the transporting pain.

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Oznavad, way to stand your ground there! HappyWave.gif I truly didn't mean to offend your "partner".

 

Only 2#? I'd swear it felt like more when lifting them side by side. Maybe a function of balance or girth or something. rolleyes.gif

 

Perhaps "unsuitable" was the wrong word, or at least not well qualified. What I was trying to say is that the FND is not appropriate for the type of fishing I do. I can't see paddling it 10+ miles a day though 2-foot and better chop. I love my Dolphin when it's time to head home and I've got 4 miles back to the beach and a 15 knot headwind.

 

So... who's joining Mullet Miller and I in Deleware this weekend? I think a round or two of boat trading is in order. smile.gif

 

Chris

 

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Porter,

 

Would love to make the trip dowm sometime. I do agree ten mile runs are not FnD stuff.

 

Dave,

 

As you can see it's important to get the right kayak for YOU. I tend to use my kayak to extend my cast from the beach and take 1-2 mile runs. Porter likes to cover more ground. Different strokes...

The net result is the same - kayaks will bring some of the best fishing experiences you'll have, no doubt. Good luck.

 

Phil

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Hi All,

 

This is my first post- and I hate to ask another "which yak is best" question. However, I will be starting to demo several different kayaks soon and I'm not sure how to go about it. Other than just getting the "feel" of the yak by paddling around, are there things I should be doing or looking for on a demo ride? I have some recent canoe experience, but this will be my first kayak.

 

I will be using the boat for spin fishing in the lower Chesapeake Bay area and occasionally in the Outer Banks area of North Carolina. I also fly fish a lot, and will use the boat to get to inaccessible wading areas rather than trying to cast from the boat. I will be in inlets, sounds or estuaries much of the time, but also want something seaworthy enough to go out in the open Bay (where it can get pretty rough).

 

I am 6' tall, 200 pounds and approaching 59 years old. Although I'm in fair shape for an old guy, kayak weight is a big factor since I need to load and unload it on a roof top carrier by myself. I also want a yak with some "waterproof" storage and a convenient place to mount rod holders and a fish finder. A rear well and the possibility of adding a rudder would be a plus.

 

Based on what I picked up on other kayak fishing forums, I was focused on an OK Skupper Pro TW, OK Drifter or WS The Ride. All of these seem to be very popular on the West and Gulf Coasts. After reading through this Board, I'm thinking I should add Cobra to the list of possibilities. They seem very light for their load capacity, and the hatch designs look like they might be more waterproof than some others I've seen.

 

Local information is scarce here. Very few people fish from yaks, and the dealers cater to the general market. Wish I was close enough to go see Barrell! Any and all advice will be appreciated!

 

p.s. Stripers Online is an TERRIFFIC site and a great resource for a salt fishing newbie! Thanks folks...

 

Hey Dave G,

I have a Poke boat. It is a cross between a canoe and a kayak. It is 12' long,weighs 28#, 32" wide, 15" height,weight capacity is 450#. I have caught some nice fish and it is very stable. I go in the backwaters and have been in 1' seas where it bangs alot and paddling is work, but I felt secure!

You can get info on the Poke in most kayak magazines. Good luck in your search.

Cpt Bob

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Thanks much for all the advice, tips and information about your yaks. You have given me a lot to think about. On of the local dealers has a big kayak "demo day" coming up where they are supposed to have over 100 diffenent models available. This event will probably be a zoo, but will at least give me a starting point.

 

JonS, special thanks for the comments on taking gear along on demos. I should also try getting them on my Thule car racks, and will look into the H2O fittings as Oznavad suggested. By the way Oznavad, who makes those "wheels with suction cups that attach to your back window" you mentioned?

 

Porter, one of my coworkers has a Necky Dolphin and likes it a lot. Unfortunately, he isn't interested in fishing.

 

Cpt Bob, I didn't mention it, but I also have a Poke Boat. Unfortunately, I bought the wide model (I think it's 39"), which I think is awkward to paddle, especially with the short paddle I got from Poke. I use it mainly for ponds and lakes. I plan to try it on some salt backwaters, but want a SOT for the Bay.

 

By the way, have you guys read the reviews on Cobra Explorer and Navigator on www.*******? There are lots of negative comments about the lack of secondary stability and sudden capsizes. Some of you may want to add own reviews to balance it out a little.

 

Thanks again, and may all your Striper's be big ones!

 

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