TexasKayakFisherman.com est. 2000

Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...

I am preparing to make my first kayak purchase and would appreciate feedback on what brands and features (including length) to either look for or stay away from. This kayak will be almost exclusively used for fishing on lakes and in creeks. My priorities at this point are quality, comfort, stability (I tried a kayak last year for the first time and ended up flat on my back staring at the sky when I got hung up on something. I almost lost all of my tackle that day.), mobility, and sufficiently equipped.

As to quality, I am generally happy around the seven out of ten range (scale of 1-10). Generally. The $200 ones that I have seen scare me a bit. While looking at it, I get the feeling that it might just come apart on me out on the water. I could not even come close to being able to afford a Hobie. My top contender right now is a Pelican Premium The Catch 100, though I plan on making a drive to go see Old Town and Feelfree. I don't know anything about them, as a brand, except that Ive seen them online.

I understand that stability and mobility can be to an extent, opposing forces. Similar to horsepower and MPG, perhaps. From what I have read, kayaks that are 30" beam or better are more stable. My desire for mobility mostly refers to being able to get it to and from my vehicle by myself. I currently have a two man canoe, which works just fine when I am going fishing with a buddy, but is heavy, and more to the point, awkward to load and unload solo. My thought so far is to look for a 10 footer.

Thanks ahead of time,

I have a Wilderness Tarpon 160 and it was the first kayak I owned. It is fast and seemingly stable. I have tipped it twice - both user error and would likely have tipped in any kayak.

When I opted to buy a kayak for my son, however, I bought him a Perception Pescador 12. Not as fast but much more stable. It tracks well and is big enough that several of my friends have used it to fish out of as well. I think it has been a great entry-level fishing kayak.

All that said, 90% of our fishing is in the bays. I can't imagine taking my T160 through a creek for fishing. I used it once to paddle Buffalo Bayou and it was fine but I would have preferred a shorter more maneuverable kayak.

Other things you should consider are your size, abilities, distance you plan on paddling per trip, etc.

I would also recommend looking on here for a good used kayak rather than buying a new one. There are good deals to be found on this board and you are helping out another yakker and might even find one already loaded and tricked out ready to fish.

Good luck to you and remember to wear your PFD.
Good advice from MWatson. Used is the way to go first. You can see what you like and don't like about the boat, and can really fine-tune your preferences for how you want to fish without breaking the bank. Once you have had 20 or so trips in it, you can decide your next step. I went from a borrowed Ocean Kayak Frenzy (9 feet) for pond hopping, to a used 11 foot Perception Prism, to a used Hobie Revo to a new Hobie Outback. That was in the span of 3 years (2009 to 2012). I am still in the same Outback, and I have been toying with buying a new Outback, but truthfully, I have this one so customized to what I like to do that I almost don't want the hassle of having to re-do that process with a new boat. Once you get into that process, it is very fun, but one can get a little obsessive about it.
The T160 is still the benchmark flats boat. If coast wind is ever in your plan, it's hard to beat.
I'm not really in the new boat market, but for the use you described, you should be looking at 30" width and greater. Stability goes through the roof, and 12' boats at that width maneuver well, usually have low windcock, and pretty much do everything right.
10' boats can be a problem in wind, though they maneuver really well in creeks. The wind problem is you sit so far behind the center of the hull length, the boat is constantly turning you upwind.
Solved that on my daughter's Redfish 10 with the addition of a skeg, and actually turned it into a really good flats boat, which she paddled for 6 years (now she's at College Station).
here, she's gliding down-wind on Boerne City Lake, and the boat is not turning at all. Otherwise, with deep paddle strokes, you can make this boat spin on a dime.
I too recommend going the used route. I bought my 1st kayak about 5 years ago, a new 10 ft Lifetime sportsman. I knew nothing at the time about kayaks and did little research and it was on clearance at Academy for $199. I used that one maybe 6 times and it now hangs in my garage and hasn't seen water in 4 years. Its' very stable but paddles like a barge. Two years ago I was looking on craigslist and came across 2 kayaks, a Perception Pescador 12 and a Heritage Redfish 14. At $250 for both of them, I couldn't make the phone call fast enough. I still have both and the Pescador is a great river/creek boat and also does well in the bay/marsh. Turning and tracking would be greatly improved with the addition of a rudder even though it tracks well without one. My son usually fishes out of it. I fish out of the Redfish and love it. It's pretty fast as far as I can tell, but really have nothing to compare it too other than the Pescador. It does have a rudder and track and turns extremely well. Both are pretty stable with the factory seat that comes with them but I put stadium seats in both and the center of gravity is raised about 3 inches now sacrificing a little stability but neither my son or myself have turtled in them yet in river, lake, or bay. My son did swamp the Pescador last September running baits out in the surf, but being his 1st time in the surf on a kayak, I expected that to happen. There are a lot of great boats out there and I see really good deals all the time. Just keep watching and call quick. The good deals........they go fast! Good luck and welcome to the forum!
imaoldmanyoungsalt wrote:...I fish out of the Redfish and love it. It's pretty fast as far as I can tell, but really have nothing to compare it too other than the Pescador....

The Heritage Redfish and Angler are all fast, low and wind-slippery, including their 30" width.
Even though the 10 has been a great boat with the skeg addition, and easy to handle at 45 lbs, I wouldn't take it out on the lake without the skeg. The skeg addition was a $140 project, having to build the mount for it.
Though heavier, I'd recommend a Redfish 12 to get rid of the windcock.
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