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Shopping for a Fishing Kayak

By Mike Thayer

Lake VikingSpring is here, the ice on the water has melted off, it's time to go fishing at beautiful Lake Viking!

I need a boat, a fishing kayak to be precise, so before I hit the water I'm in the market for a nice fishing kayak. But what kind of kayak should I buy?  Which is better, a sit-in or sit-on style?  Do I go with a 10 foot kayak, 12 feet?  What features and accessories are essential?

Just about any kind of fishing kayak is better than shoreline fishing and the kayak choices out there vary greatly in size, hull material, seating, features and accessories.  I don't want just a base level Kayak which I could get into for about $400 but I don't want to spend too much either, with bells and whistles kayaks going for $1,400 plus.  I want something I can get into the water with right away and can upgrade as I choose, later. That $400 buys me a basic plastic boat, a molded seat, minimal storage and one rod holder.  I need to spend more than that to get a few features to make my on-the-water fishing endeavors more enjoyable, better than just "good enough," so I've set my budget at around $700 to $900.

After researching fishing kayaks online and based on the type of fishing I'll be doing - on a lake, dealing with a few waves from motor boats and water skiers - I'm going for a wide bodied, sit-on kayak.  The sit-on style will give me better stability on the water, in dealing with the occasional boat waves and also provides the ability to stand up in the kayak to cast.  Other pluses to a sit-on kayak are they are easier to get in and out of, I'll be sitting higher giving me a better view of the water, and sit-on kayaks are easier to customize and accessorize.

Here are a few choices in getting started on my search for a fishing kayak, details and descriptions from the respective kayak makers:

Pelican-catchPelican Catch 100

Length: 10’ | Width: 34” | Weight: 54 lbs. | Retail: $649

The Pelican Catch 100 features a tunnel hull for amazing stability, making it easy to stand while casting. Well-planned-out accessories help keep everything conveniently stowed, and yet it’s light enough for most people to carry and launch on their own.

Pelican premiumPelican Premium the Catch 120 Kayak

Length: 11' 8" | Width: 34" | Weight: 69 lbs. | Retail: $749

Make sure to take out the Pelican Premium the Catch 120 Kayak the next time you fish. The RAM-X™ PREMIUM material tunnel hull resists wear and tear out on the water, and a tank well with a bungee cord and a quick-lock hatch provide additional room for your gear. The Ergocast G2 dual-position seating system can be adjusted to sitting or standing, and an antislip carpet and stand-assist strap help you safely stand when it is wet.

AscendAscend® 12T Sit-On-Top Kayak
Length: 12' | Width: 32" | Weight: 77 lbs. | Retail: $779
To craft the updated Ascend® 12T Sit-On-Top Kayak, our designers took our most-popular sit-on-top kayak and refined it to be even more stable, more functional, and more comfortable. The advanced tunnel design with a wide transom and flared bow sections bring a fishing kayak so stable, you can stand up and cast from it. The same design also produces outstanding tracking and couldn't-be-easier paddling. While you're standing, you'll stay comfortable thanks to the non-skid foam deck mat.
LifetimeLifetime Sport Fisher Angler 10ft Kayak
Length: 10' | Width: 36" | Weight:  60 lbs. | Retail: $688
The 10 ft. Lifetime Sport Fisher™ is one of the most versatile fishing kayaks on the market. The comfortable tiered seating allows for the kayak to be paddled solo or tandem and can even transport a 3rd smaller passenger in the center seat. The tunnel hull design boasts 500 lb. of weight capacity and is incredibly stable making it nearly impossible to tip over.  The Lifetime Sport Fisher™ includes two kayak paddles, two padded backrests which can be moved to any of the three seating positions, three flush-mounted fishing rod holders, and a 6 in. hatch for added storage access beneath the deck.
OutlawPerception Outlaw 11.5 Angler Kayak
Length; 11' 6" | Width:  35" | Weight: 77 lbs. | Retail: $749.99
With a wide-open deck and an expansive standing platform, you’ll be sure to love the Perception® Outlaw 11.5 Angler Kayak as you’re out angling this season. This sit-on-top fishing kayak is best used for lakes, slow-moving rivers, streams and calm coastal waters. Its folding and removable framed seat provides all-around convenience and the perfect stow position for your gear when the seat is removed. With three solo moint recesses, two double-barrel rod holders and more, the Outlaw ‘yak is perfect for making your next big catch!
Stay tuned for additional details on these kayaks and others, as I narrow my search and find the kayak that suits me best.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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