LMychajluk

Considering taking the plunge on a kayak...

26 posts in this topic

Hi, all!

 

I'm looking to get into a kayak. I was looking a few years back, but life got in the way, and now I'm finding myself with some extra time and want to re-visit the idea.

 

I'm a casual angler, but like being on the water, and can use the exercise that a pedal boat offers (as well as the excuse to get out). Currently 50yo and in good health, if not in 'great shape'. ;) I think I'd mostly use it in the lakes of N. NJ (and maybe PA and NY), with maybe some inshore and river (Delaware, Passaic, Hudson) use as well. I'm currently in the Meadowlands, and my family has a place in the Catskills, but may end up moving somewhere in a couple of years, though no idea where. Currently researching exactly where I may be able to launch from. I've paddled kayaks before, but mostly sit-in touring boats and an old Perception Mirage (a larger whitewater boat c1990). Not much experience w/ a sit-on-top. I've also had boating experience w/ a trailered 23' bowrider and a 33' center console / walkaround.

 

I'm mostly interested in the pedal boats, specifically an Old Town Predator / Bigwater 132 or a Hobie Outback, though I haven't completely ruled out a Native Slayer or Titan (is there a Native dealer in NJ?). The Outback has a nicer layout and some better features (better seat(?), better accessory mounting, better storage), but I'm leaning toward the OT for the speed (I like the idea of being able to 'explore' more areas, so faster = more area covered, IMO), the lifetime warranty, and the PDL drive seems to have fewer reported issues than any of the Mirage drives. The OT hatches also seem like they're better at keeping water out of the boat. If you count the price of a nice paddle, cost is almost a wash between the two, and I can swallow a $3k price point (I can't seem to wrap my head around spending $5k on a Pro Angler 360....). The shorter OT boats have a nicer price point, but also seem to have a slightly different hull design that may be limiting on open water (wetter ride, may not track as well, etc...). I'd be storing the boat in a garage and transporting it in a pickup bed (6 1/2', 8' w/ the tailgate down), maybe w/ an extender (?), and it seems like I'd have to register w/ DMV if I go longer than a 12' boat (not a deal breaker, but a PITA). One of my concerns is just being able to launch without scraping up the bottom of the hull, but I've watched some YT vids on how to do this w/ a cart and think I can handle it. Another is storage - looks like the recommendation is to store on the hull (w/ some padding?) or upside down, and leaning the boat against a wall on it's side is a no-no(?).

 

It looks like inventory is currently pretty scarce at the local dealers. I can't find an OT Predator or Bigwater 132 in stock in NJ, and a Hobie dealer told me they don't have seats and drives for most of the hulls they have in stock. I'd be OK with ordering one and taking delivery in the spring if I can get a bit of a deal (maybe Black Friday?), and I'd be willing to travel a couple of hours to pick up a boat as well (particularly if I can get a deal, or no tax like in DE). I probably need at least that long to make room in the garage, anyway.... Hopefully I won't have to sell a motorcycle!

 

Anything else I should be thinking about at this point? Any comments / recommendations on any of the above? Thanks for any other tips!

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Find a place that will allow you to test drive them.  We can all tell you our favorites (Hobie Revo13), but there is no substitute for getting in one and spending a little bit of time on the water.  Find a Hobie dealer near the water.  Some will let you test drive for free, others may charge you a nominal fee that you can then apply to a purchase.

 

I have been peddling a Revo13 for around 7 years.  I am on my 3rd one.  I am 65, over 6' and 250lb,  I spend a lot of time fishing the salt for stripers, blues, and albies.  The Revo is a bit quicker and dryer than the Outback.  Some think the Outback is a bit more stable.  I have friends who have had both and couldn't tell much of a difference in the stability department.

 

Have fun and take your time deciding.  The good thing is that there are not many bad choices out there.

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10 hours ago, LMychajluk said:

 and it seems like I'd have to register w/ DMV if I go longer than a 12' boat (not a deal breaker, but a PITA). - recheck your sources …. if referring to the overhang whilst transporting, a flag is all you need …. if referring to the yak otw, only if you put in a motor of sorts or longer than 18’ (iffy with the length but definitely not needed up to 16’)
 

 

 

One of my concerns is just being able to launch without scraping up the bottom of the hull - it’s a tool, a soft plastic tool that is going to get scraped and bumped and hopefully covered in blood … be sensible and not drag it down a 100’ concrete ramp twice a week and you’ll be fine … there are multiple threads in this forum on how to add sacrificial layers if it’s a concern or needed to satisfy an OCD issue (we all have our individual burdens to carry).


 

Another is storage - looks like the recommendation is to store on the hull (w/ some padding?) or upside down, and leaning the boat against a wall on it's side is a no-no(?). - hull down is probably best due to surface area, rightish angles and thickness of material in the areas which’ll be in contact with the storage points … hull down is perfectly acceptable preferably resting on pipes running lengthways (lots of surface area) … sides of the hull are probably the thinnest in terms of plastic material and with a pretty small surface area in contact with the storage point(s) will be more likely to “dent” - not a major issue if very very occasional as should pop back out once in the sun for an hour or two (air pressure will increase due to heating and pop it out… usually)

 

It looks like inventory is currently pretty scarce at the local dealers. I can't find an OT Predator or Bigwater 132 in stock in NJ, and a Hobie dealer told me they don't have seats and drives for most of the hulls they have in stock. - you could probably get a wicked good deal on just a hull from the dealer …  make contact with the few chaps on this forum whom dislike the seat and 180* drives and will possibly sell just those pieces as new unused (Riddler is the most vocal) … and I’m referring to the Hobie route only


 

 

I'd be OK with ordering one and taking delivery in the spring if I can get a bit of a deal (maybe Black Friday?) - generally not the type of product that gets discounted publicly but have heard of great deals being made on the phone!

 

Anything else I should be thinking about at this point? - Almost double your budget if you’re going all in including deep winter fishing … start slowly and ramp up as you need … don’t be that guy who bought everything remotely connected and sold within a couple of months.
 

Welcome … there is a wealth of info (and opinions) in this forum, much of it covered multiple times so use the search functionality but questions are mostly responded to usually.

 

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if possible I would look at demoing boats you are interested so you can get a feel for how you like them.  however, I would probably do that very soon if possible because once winter sets in I doubt you will want to go through that process and dont know if the shops will even let you in the cold weather.  if you are going to demo boats, do it while its nice.  i dont know if hobie allows their dealers to offer sales during the winter but there is a shop "black Hall Outfitters" in CT that sells Old Town and at least used to offer "boat show Specials" every year in the winter for a period.  I got a predator PDL in 2019 and the special they advertised then was $2,379 (retail was $2,800 at the time), no sales tax if out of state, and the boat came with a free hummingbird Helix 5 fishfinder.  it was quite a stellar deal.  im just not sure if they will be doing that this year with the current issues.  kinda hard to offer sales on stuff when you already cant keep up with full price orders.

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I had a couple of Outbacks in my 50s & 60s and there's nothing like them.  There's plenty of room, the seat is comfortable, and the back/forth pedal motion is very easy to deal with.  As far for being "fast and dry".....well, how fast do you really need to go anyway and kayaking is a water sport so expect to get wet in any kayak.  I would suggest that you make loading and unloading as simple as you can so that it never becomes a PIA to use your kayaks.  I got a trailer (we had 2 kayaks) and launching and retrieving were absolutely simple. Car topping an Outback is difficult no matter what kind of a rack you have and if you have an SUV you need to bring a ladder or two because of the height. Kayak fishing is a perfect way to spend many days during the mid-Spring - late Autumn.

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There's a kayak store/marina in Niantic, CT that sells the full Hobie line and will put them in the water for you to try.

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I also bought my OT Topwater from Black Hall Outfitters in CT.. love the kayak and great people.. got the Helix included and had them rig it up.. the Topwater is a very stable platform and the drive is amazing.. I use it in both fresh and salt.. again great kayak

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I have a pickup as well.  I can load/unload my Revo in less than 5 minutes.  Three straps to unclick, put the wheels in, and slide it off the bed extender.  I have been using this method for several years and would never look to change it.  Don't overthink it.  We fish a lot for albies and sometimes load and unload 3 or 4 times in a morning depending on what the fish are doing.   

  Trailers can have their limitations.  The biggest is parking.  One of the biggest advantages of a yak is the ability to launch in a variety of spots where others can't.  With a trailer, you can limit yourself in that regard.  Many of the spots we launch are not trailer friendly.  

 

Regarding "fast and dry".   When you are trying to get on a pod of breaking fish, fast is nice.  Or if you plan on covering a lot of ground, a more efficient hull design will add up to less effort and a more enjoyable time on the water.   As far as dry, yes kayaking is a water sport but its nice to be as comfortable as possible.  Same reason many folks would rather have a drier boat.

Edited by Jeff270

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My kayak is my happy place, but not when it’s in the shed. I’m lucky, have bought & sold several hobie models over the last 5 years looking for the perfect one (for me.) ALL of them - proangler, 2 gens of outback, compass - had some irritations: noise, handling in weather/swell,  handling for transportation, potential damage possibilities (ruddder, rudder lines, drive breakage etc.) but all of them worked well enough. Big issue for me was how much effort it took to get on the water, be it the weight of the yak, the width for narrow put ins, and the amount of rigmarole additions. If it’s too much of a pain I would go out less frequently and it’d stay in the shed more days than not.

 

so my advice is to go small, don’t add anything but absolute necessities, go as light as possible and check out how easy it is to load and set up fir your likely put ins. You might find, like I did, that the fanciest, best reviewed etc are not your ideal.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I would not only test drive one but I would fish from one as well. My opinion, for me, for me only,I’m talking about me and not anybody else, just me for me, I think they suck as a fishing platform and I don't use them for fishing. In fact I couldn’t be bothered with fishing from a kayak and I would classify myself as a guy with a passion for fishing. I like paddling kayaks around in summer for fun and recreation but I hate fishing from them and I won’t fish from one. So fish from one  as well before buying. May be that your like me and can spend way less money on a recreational kayak instead of a fishing kayak. 

Edited by poopdeck

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Transportation is a key factor. I cartop a 2018 outback. I found a good system for my car/rack that isn’t too energy consuming or back breaking. But much heavier and it would be a pain. The OT’s tend to be a bit heavier. 
 

If you trailer or bed extend a pick up, weight isn’t much of a factor.

 

I like the outback. Stupid stable but not overboard in terms of size like a PA. Plenty of storage to overpack and still have enough room to haul back a good catch. Enough speed/range to target spots a few miles away from the launch. Sea worthy- I’ve been caught in some “what the hell am I doing out here” weather and I made it back in one piece. I like the pre ‘19 models better than the new because of the rudder configuration and it sits a bit higher.

 

The revo 13 has much of the same advantages of the outback but lighter, faster, with less storage and very stable but perhaps not stupid stable. 
 

The big advantages of the OT’s are better warranty’s and instant reverse

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6 hours ago, Africaster said:

 

RE:  recheck your sources …. if referring to the overhang whilst transporting, a flag is all you need …. if referring to the yak otw, only if you put in a motor of sorts or longer than 18’ (iffy with the length but definitely not needed up to 16’

 

Anything over 4’ past your brake lights must be lanterned. You have a .01% of actually getting a ticket for this as it took a traffic safety officer doing research to find the actual law, but if you involved in an accident, you can absolutely be found at fault if your kayak hangs out more then 4’

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Actually loads are very basic vehicle law that a 1st day patrolmen is familiar with. 
 

39:3-61.4. Overhang loads; placement and use of red lamps and flags
(a) Whenever the load upon any vehicle extends to the rear 4 feet or more beyond the bed or body of such vehicle there shall be displayed at the extreme rear end of the load, at the times when lighted lamps are required 2 red lamps, visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the rear, 2 red reflectors visible from the rear and located so as to indicate maximum width, when the width of the overhang load is in excess of 50% of the width of the vehicle, otherwise one red lamp is required, and on each side one red lamp, visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the side, located so as to indicate maximum overhang. There shall be displayed at all other times on any vehicle having a load which extends beyond its sides or more than 4 feet beyond its rear, red flags, not less than 18 inches square, marking the extremities of such loads, at each point where a lamp would otherwise be required by this section.

(b) During the times when lighted lamps are required, any vehicle transporting a load which projects beyond the sides thereof shall be equipped with additional lamps as follows:

(1) The foremost edge of the projecting load at its outermost extremity shall be marked with an amber lamp visible from the front and side;

(2) The rearmost edge of the projecting load at its outermost extremity shall be marked with a red lamp visible from the rear and side.

(c) Projecting load marker lamps shall conform to the requirements for clearance, side-marker and identification lamps.

 

PA is similar except it designates a max overhang length at 6’ 

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