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Kayak/SUP Discussion Discuss the use of kayaks and SUP's for fly fishing

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Old 08-09-2017, 08:10 AM
gpwhitejr gpwhitejr is offline
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Default SOT vs SINK; paddle vs pedal

A few thoughts from a relative beginner, that I hope may be of some interest to people considering this aspect of the sport:

A couple of years ago I decided to get into kayak fishing, but rather than buying a fancy new tricked out fishing kayak (in case it wasn't my cup of tea) I bought two used kayaks on craigslist: a sit-inside (Old Town Dirigo 106, 10.5 feet) and a sit-on-top (Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120, 12.5 feet). I had thought that eventually I would buy a really nice new SOT, but now I am not so sure. Each has its pros and cons.

-I definitely stay drier in the SINK. Not a big deal in mid-summer, but here in Vermont the water stays cold well into the season and gets cold quick in the fall, and if I could only have one kayak I think I might go with the SINK.

-The SOT has more accessible storage. I put this dog food container thing (with a hinged lid) behind the seat (with bungies holding it in place), and it holds a lot of stuff. There is also storage inside the hull. OTOH, the SINK has better dry storage in a bulkheaded rear compartment, though it is not as easily accessible while on the water.

-The SOT (at least the one I have) has more ways to carry rods. There are sliding tracks here and there, and if you buy enough rod holders you can make the thing look like a porcupine. My SINK only has one rod holder mount, but of course that can be remedied with a little DIY.

-I believe the SOT is easier to get back on after capsizing. I have practiced that on a local pond and it is pretty simple. I haven't practiced in the SINK, but my brother did (not on purpose; long story) and we had to drag it ashore and dump the water out. With the SOT you just flip it back upright, get back on and keep fishing (as long as you had secured your rod).

-The SOT is much heavier, and I carry them on top of a minivan so that is a consideration. Of course my SOT is long than my SINK, so it isn't a fair comparison. But I believe (I could be wrong) that SOTs tend to be heavier than SINKs of the same length.

-I use my kayaks in local lakes and protected salt ponds in RI. I have not tried surf launches or open ocean use or anything like that. Seaworthiness is discussed at some length on other websites, but at present this is not an issue for me.

In summary, if I am going out for a day of fishing with fly rods, spinning rods, all sorts of tackle, anchor, etc. I use the SOT. If I am just going to drop by the pond for an hour or so with one rod and a few flies, I use the SINK.

So yesterday I was being pushed around by wind, trying to maintain my position with the paddle in one hand, casting with the other hand, and for the first time I found myself wishing I had pedals. But then there is the cost, weight, something else that can break, etc. But that is something to think about.

BTW, my first foray into kayak fishing was paddling around a pond in a friend's cheap little (9 feet, I think) department store kayak. When I caught a huge Northern Pike on a light spinning rod, I said to myself "This is the way to fish!" You really don't need anything fancy for small pond fishing.

PS - the dog food container I use is called Blitz Stack-n-Stor 40. Looking online, they now seem to be marketed under the name Bergan (or maybe that is just a similar product). It is under $20 at various vendors. If you look at the pictures you will notice that the hinged lid is on a slanted surface. I put it in the kayak with the lid facing the front, and then I can turn and get stuff out of it. The bungies on the Tarpon hold it in and secure the lid. It didn't open or fall off when my son rolled it over (another long story).
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Old 08-09-2017, 09:03 AM
ottosmagic13 ottosmagic13 is offline
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Default Re: SOT vs SINK; paddle vs pedal

Excellent comparison. Some things to add from another person that has used both.

SOT tend to be more stable to stand/kneel and cast. You are also higher up off the water making a fly cast easier.

With that said, it can be harder to handle a fish with a SOT for that very reason. Being higher up can either mean some lost fish right at the kayak due to awkward rod angle or the use of a net being more important.

SOT are harder to keep upright in current.

I've never had the luxury of pedals so I wouldn't have anything to add there beyond most serious kayak fisherman tend to have them (or at least in my experience on YouTube). Wind, paddle and fly rod are awkward when mixed.

This a great website for Yaks and accessories: https://www.yakattack.us/
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Old 08-09-2017, 12:03 PM
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Default Re: SOT vs SINK; paddle vs pedal

I've owned 6 or 7 kayaks over the years(since the late 1980's)and been in some others owned by friends. I've decided there is no one kayak that does it all or is good in every situation.

I ruled out pedal kayaks for myself as it hurts my knees to pedal a kayak, at least my friend's Hobie Adventure. They seem hard to beat for trolling, mostly hands free operation, and long beats into the wind.

For paddling around, joy of paddling and protection from the wind and cold, it's hard to beat a SINK.

SOTs can have a great lay out for fishing and storing stuff and mounting accessories, if that's your thing.

My favorite kayak currently is my WS Commander 140. It's just so stable so I can spot, stalk, cast to and fight fish all while standing in comfort. It's such a good platform and layout for fly fishing in shallow bays, ponds, creeks, calmer rivers and marshes, but I would hesitate to get into unprotected cold or cool or turbulent open deep water with it without some solid "outs".
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Old 08-09-2017, 12:31 PM
acorad acorad is offline
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Default Re: SOT vs SINK; paddle vs pedal

I've used both and I live my Hobie!

Andy
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Old 08-10-2017, 05:26 AM
gpwhitejr gpwhitejr is offline
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Default Re: SOT vs SINK; paddle vs pedal

Quote:
Originally Posted by karstopo View Post
My favorite kayak currently is my WS Commander 140.
I looked at their website and the little video, and that might be what I am really looking for, kind of a hybrid. Do you think the listed 70 lb weight is accurate? How good balance do you have to have to stand in it?

Last evening I went out on the local pond for an hour or two in my little SINK with just a fly rod. There was no wind, the surface was mirror smooth. But I faced a different dilemma: I could take my short (6' 10") 4-wgt rod, which is much easier to handle in the kayak but can't throw a very big fly, or a 9 foot 6-wgt which would allow me to use larger flies and poppers. I opted for the short light rod and caught several smallmouth bass, as well as dozens of bluegills (which I could have avoided with bigger poppers). So as discussed on a different thread, I think a shorter rod in 6-8 weight might be ideal for my purposes.
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Old 08-10-2017, 06:05 AM
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Default Re: SOT vs SINK; paddle vs pedal

Quote:
Originally Posted by gpwhitejr View Post
I looked at their website and the little video, and that might be what I am really looking for, kind of a hybrid. Do you think the listed 70 lb weight is accurate? How good balance do you have to have to stand in it?

Last evening I went out on the local pond for an hour or two in my little SINK with just a fly rod. There was no wind, the surface was mirror smooth. But I faced a different dilemma: I could take my short (6' 10") 4-wgt rod, which is much easier to handle in the kayak but can't throw a very big fly, or a 9 foot 6-wgt which would allow me to use larger flies and poppers. I opted for the short light rod and caught several smallmouth bass, as well as dozens of bluegills (which I could have avoided with bigger poppers). So as discussed on a different thread, I think a shorter rod in 6-8 weight might be ideal for my purposes.
I'm no athlete or balance prodigy. It took about an hour to get comfortable standing in it and casting a fly rod. Now, it's second nature to cast and paddle around while standing. I've never tumbled out of it in hundreds of hours on the water.

I think the weight might be right. I have the 14' model and it's a little heavier, but I think they stopped production of the 14' one. One nice thing is that you can put extra rods at your feet on the low seat. They serve as a kind of stripping basket and I just strip the line on to the spare rods in preparation to cast.

I almost never use the low seat, but sit in the bench or stand. The reason I got into shorter rods was I didn't like the 9' rod tip extending beyond the bow when I was fishing with another set up. By accident, I found I just liked shorter rods better for stalking and accuracy and fish fighting and bring the fish to hand qualities. I'm not doing any traditional cold water trout fishing with all the mending that a long rod makes sense for and if I need to close the distance to a fish, I just paddle closer rather than try to make the longer cast. Standing in the kayak and casting gives you great visibility and clearance over the water.

But to each his own. The commander has surely been a fun platform to fly fish out of. I never really liked sitting and casting while sitting. So the Commander solved that issue.
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Old 08-10-2017, 11:22 AM
dakotakid dakotakid is offline
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Default Re: SOT vs SINK; paddle vs pedal

Quote:
Originally Posted by gpwhitejr View Post
-I believe the SOT is easier to get back on after capsizing. I have practiced that on a local pond and it is pretty simple. I haven't practiced in the SINK, but my brother did (not on purpose; long story) and we had to drag it ashore and dump the water out. With the SOT you just flip it back upright, get back on and keep fishing (as long as you had secured your rod).

Nice comparison that should be helpful to anyone in the market for a kayak.

With regards to capsizing, it can be a big problem with SINK's if you are in deep water and not close to shore. Depending on the kayak design, it might just sink to the bottom with all your gear.

SOT's are also easier to get out of if you want to wet wade for a while.

Definitely pros and cons for each. You are fortunate to have a choice.
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Old 08-10-2017, 01:01 PM
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Default Re: SOT vs SINK; paddle vs pedal

Having owned all three types of kayaks I think the best kayak is the one that presents the fewest obstacles for getting onto the water and fishing. My Tarpon 120 is a great fishing platform but it's far too heavy which makes getting it on and off the vehicle and dragging it down to the water a chore every time. My Hobie Revo 11 is much lighter and the pedals are sure great to have when you want to stabilize yourself in the wind, cross the pond, or fish the salt. But I hate the seating position and I get a wet a$$ every trip. The kayak that was easiest to get to the water a 10 ft SINK. It was light and easy to haul around, too bad it tracked poorly and was blown about by the wind. As others have said, there is no single solution that will give you everything you want. I am thinking about moving away from the Tarpon 120 and investing in a Pungo 120 but truthfully I haven't been out in a kayak in the last couple years so I'm not sure that it makes a lot of sense at this point. Then again, maybe it's just what I need to get me back out on the water.
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Old 08-10-2017, 10:30 PM
wee hooker wee hooker is offline
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Default Re: SOT vs SINK; paddle vs pedal

I'll weigh in a I've been fishing from kayaks for a good 20 years. I've also got a thing for small boats of any kind , I've easily owned 3 dozen yaks in that time frame and currently keep 6.

The reality is that yaks are somewhat like golf clubs. No one is perfect for all tasks. In addition, the "best" (god I hate that term!) yak for an individual depends largely on the paddlers size, strength, gumption and fishing situation(s).

That said, if I could only have one boat (GULP!) for the inshore and pond fishing I do , it would be a fairly wide, sit in type with larger cockpit in the 12-14' range. ( Like my WS Pungo 120/140 or Loon 138) . With a SINK, I feel like I'm part of the boat and not clinging to the top. They also tend to be faster, lighter and more efficient for their length. Lastly, with the addition of a mini skirt, I can keep my legs/trunk warm, dry ( and out of the sun) in all seasons without special clothing.

I will admit that there are times I will take out a SOT though. Mainly when I want to stand (to flyfish) and where short paddle distances will be the norm.


BTW, while I've tried them I'm not a big fan of peddle/motorized kayaks. I spend a lot of time in shallow water. They are just a PITA in those situations.
Lastly, go to www.paddling.net for reviews from actual users of specific boats.
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Old 08-15-2017, 11:59 AM
skunkedalot skunkedalot is offline
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Default Re: SOT vs SINK; paddle vs pedal

great post
I have had an Heritage Featherlight Angler for many years, 9 1/2 footer- weighs
less than 40 pounds- i have enjoyed the yak. i have even been out on protected water of Long Island sound in her - no problem
it is a perfect little boat for freshwater.
i would venture to say that a SINK will serve most peoples purposes but a sit o top would be better for the salt when it is warm. i have no experience with a peddle boat.
so here is a summary
early season- cold water- sink
summer- fresh or salt- sit on top
fall- cold water- sink
if i could do it over again- i would have two boats.
but for me- the little sink works just fine.
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