First I want everyone to know that I'm a kayak fishing guide, so, of course, I'm biased.
That being said, I truly feel that fishing from kayak gives me an advantage over others in that I believe the fish do not even know I'm there. Therefore, I rarely have to make a cast with my fly rod of more than 20, 25 feet. Now, think about that for a second. Short casts mean more accuracy and I'm less apt to overshoot the target and hang up in the vegetation or trees.
My fly then is in the water most of the time, hence more fish.
The kayak gives me a sense of stealth that I've never known.
I remember several years ago when I was paddling on a saltwater flat. I saw two redfish lying on the bottom just off my starboard bow. I was new to kayak fishing then, so I slipped the anchore over softly, grabbed my 8-weight fly rod and got out.
The reds were gone. I repeated the scene twice more. What I discovered is that I am more stealthy in the kayak than I am when I'm wading.
I fish out of a Native Watercraft Ultimate 14.5. I've paddled a lot of kayaks over the years, but this one is for me.
Teeg Stouffer, who is a member of Big Bluegill, has a loaner program for kayaks I believe. His group, which is "Recycled Fish" is big into providing opportunity for people to do this sort of thing. Comfort would be paramount for me.
Glad you wrote Steve. I have a pontoon boat that I love to death and will never get rid of. But there are times when a big water opportunity arises. Have tried out some kayaks. Demeo'd an Ultimate one time. Did not like it. Tried a Heritage RedFish12 & 14. Liked the both as they are they are stable and have the same seat as the Ultimate. But I have read alot of reviews about the Ultimate and eveybody likes them. What did I do wrong? Thinking maybe I should retry the Ultimate and spend more time with it. Your thoughts?
I have owned/paddled many kayaks, including Wilderness Systems and Heritage. Never had that problem in any of them. But I will tell you that the Ultimate the the most stable of all I've paddled because of the unique tunnel hull configuration.
If you click on this link, you'll see a video of Jimbo Meadow standing up and poling his Native Ultimate. And Jimbo is in his late 60s. Was your seat centered like it should have been?
I do not know if the seat was centered, but I think so. I tried those kayaks at the Charleston Kayak Festival last spring. All the people there seemed to know what they were doing. Guess it's just me. I've seen the video with Jimbo. I'll see if the shop down in Charleston can schedule another demo for me. Thanks
Steve, I've had the chance to fish from kayaked a few times (courtesy of Recycled Fish!), I like the stealth of them, love the mobility and speed over my float tube, but my legs can't get comfortable being stretched out for an extended period of time. It could be me though, I'm just not used to sitting in that position for any length of time. And like Bruce, my back began to hurt after a bit..... I've plans to check out a few different models yet though before I give up on em.
It looks like the seat sits higher on that Ultimate, allowing for some bend in my legs that may help, hmmmmmmmmm.
I've not tried that kayak, I'm sure its a really good one!
I was intrigued with the thought of moving the boat or keeping it relatively still in current while keeping my hands free for fishing. That's why I bought the Hobie Mirage Outback with the pedal drive. Granted, I've only had a small handful of outings in it so far.
Steve is certainly the much more experience kayaker AND kayak FISHER!
I've paddled smaller kayaks and found them to be reasonably stable and nimble. The Outback is wider & heavier than some kayaks, and certainly a bit more cumbersome to paddle. Its very stable! But using the pedal drive system, with a hand on the rudder as needed, its really a quick, powerful kayak, and your legs just don't tire nearly as much as your upper body would using the paddle. Excellent for the return trip to the car at the end of the day, and when moving around in windy conditions or current. I really like it and look forward to using it even more this next open-water season. I'm also interested in getting my handheld GPS in the boat so I can figure out how fast it really goes. All I know is I tried trolling a crankbait, and I had to slow WAY DOWN, because I was just going much to fast.
Now, you do still need the paddle for backing up or if you need to turn on a dime, and its nice for any "just in case" emergency.
The Hobie Outback certainly is one of the top sellers in the country. I've heard nothing but positives on Hobies.
Native does make a peddle craft in which you can peddle backwards and forward. The propulsion is from a prop rather than winds. And it sit up in the tunnel hull.
I've peddled the Native, but I'm more of a purist. Fishing from a kayak is second-nature to me and I've got it now so that I can virtualy be hands-free anyway -- just a few tricks I've learn along the way. I know that I can fish and dip the paddle to correct my position at the same time.
Just remember my old adage: The best kayak is whatever brand the person you are asking owns.