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Thread: SOT's for Fishing

  1. #1
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    Default SOT's for Fishing

    Anyone see the SOT's (Sit On Top) kayaks at the Alaska Raft and Kayak booth this week end? I have been researching SOT's and I think this is a great personal water craft for lakes and rivers that will open waters for those who like to paddle.

    Although I have not got in mine yet, I purchase mine in Dec. when it was kinda nice out but since I have had mine this week is the only time weather has been nice enough to test it. Probably my fault we had such a cold spring . These guys are suppose to be stable and I really like the fact that they don't fill with water if you turn them over. Any, just asking if anyone else has started thinking about these for fishing?

    George

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    Member Ripface's Avatar
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    I've been fishing from a kayak for about 5 years now, and I love it. The draft in a kayak is quite a bit less than a canoe, so you can really get shallow. As for sit-on-tops, I've been looking hard at the Hobie kayaks with the pedal system, but I'm thinking I'm going to look at some other SOT's. The main reason I would go with a SOT is because I want to take it in the seawater, and they would be easy to get back onto if you spill. I'm gonna do a little more looking around in Homer this summer before I lay down 2-3k on a nice kayak.
    "Wine can of their wits the wise beguile, Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile." - Homer, Odyssey

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    I picked up a cheap one several years back, and used it quite a bit, but not for fishing. The one I have is about 11' long and feels semi steady. It's far faster to paddle than my inflatable kayak, but not nearly as stable. It's a fun boat and I took it through some moderate class III+ white water with success. Although, if I played around in reversals and holes too much, I usually ended up swimming. In the mean time, I found that mine surfs quite well.

    What you may not appreciate is the fact that they are very wet boats. Every little splash sends water over the top and into your lap. The best course of action is to simply wear a drysuit. A wet suit will get wet and hold water, which will continue to evaporate until hypothermia sets in. Not a good clothing choice for any trip over 2 hours long, and then only when the sun is shining. Neporene chest waders are warmer, but trying to remount your boat with waders full of water is a waste of energy. You're be better off swimming for shore.

    A warm, but low cost option, is to buy cheap neoprene waders ($5 for leaky ones at garage sales), and cutting off the feet. The closed cell neoprene will not absorb water so you stay warm when wet, and they won't fill up with too much weight for a self resue. The other alternative is wear a rain suit with elastic around the ankles. Not as warm, but it does keep you dry unless you swim. Then you'll be wishing you kept those old chest waders.

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    Default In Hawaii

    we checked out a rental place this winter. They had the sit on tops ( SOT's) and they are gaining great popularity. I have not yet been on one. Sounds like Jim enjoys his.
    I may get a couple to try this season.
    11 feet about the right size?
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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    Member Ripface's Avatar
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    Well, I think I found me a SOT for the saltwater (halibut). It's the Malibu X-factor. I was looking at the Hobies for a long time, the ones with the Mirage drive system. Now I have to find the best price. There's a guy in Haines that sells them, but nothing close around here. This kayak is supposed to be very dry, which is probably my main consideration....that, and stability.
    "Wine can of their wits the wise beguile, Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile." - Homer, Odyssey

  6. #6

    Default SOT's

    I've got to jump in here...in Florida where I reside, SOT's are very popular. I have been fishing from one for more than 10 years. I own a fleet of them...12 I think. I am not claiming to be an expert but will offer what I have learned. Rule of thumb for selecting one is try before you buy..not just one or two but as many as you can get to. Kayak's are just like a lot of things, there is not one that will meet all needs. Most SOT's are more stable than canoes as a result of the lower center of gravity. There are two descriptive relevant to stability. They are initial and secondary...best analogy would be.... initial like a tricycle, secondary like a bicycle. Kayaks with wider beam width = initial stability, lower efficiency (slower) Kayaks with a narrow beam require less energy to paddle but have less initial stability.. for fishing out of, initial stability is important for the obvious reasons however if your fishing requires long trips like 10 or 15 miles a narrow beam would be preferred. Most of the SOT's I own are at least 12 feet in length. The one I use most often is a 16 footer with a 29 inch beam as I tend to cover a lot of water in an average day. If maneuverability is an issue obviously a shorter kayak would be in order. The shorter kayaks while more maneuverable typically don't track well and require constant paddle correction to maintain course. I also have an 18' 4" strip built with a 22 inch beam sit inside type that I use for touring. It tracks like it were on a rail, is very fast (less eneregy to cover long distances) and in general handles like a finely tuned race car as compared to the SOT's...problem is it has very little initial stability making it impossible to fish from. I will address the "wet issue"...all kayaks are prone to getting you wet. The touring type sit inside equipped with a good spray skirt is the driest, but you still can get wet. Nearly all the sot's are wet boats...all I can say is prepare for it and you'll be o.k. you can use a dry suit or a wet suit or a bathing suit you are going to get wet! I fly fish about 99% of the time. I have yet to find one that offers a stable enough platform for me to stand to cast. You can add pontoon stabilizers ect but I like keeping things simple and choose to cast from a sitting position. Yes you sacrifice some distance but due to the quietness of a kayak the fish don't spook from you like they do in a power boat. I routinely manage 50 foot casts and find that is quite enough. As you can see there are a lot of things to consider when selecting a kayak and one size does not fit all people or needs.

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    Awesome breakdown FF, thanks a ton. The problem as I see it is that there are so few SOT's in AK that getting to test them is a problem. Alaska Raft and Kayak like stated before are carrying some. Sportsman's has some as well but I don't think they would lend any out for a test paddle.

    Question for FloridaFisherman: I will be on rivers mostly and want to use them to access fishing not so much to fish from. I purchased a Ocean Kayak Malibu tandem just for the wife and I to get away during the summer at the lodge, mostly going down stream. I know it is a barge but fit the desire and the pocket book. Now for the question, what brands that you have sat on would be ok for moving water? I know you are not the expert and all but you are willing so I am asking.

    Thanks in advance,

    George

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    Member Ripface's Avatar
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    Riddle-man,
    I have studied kayaks extensively for several months, and gone to a great deal of websites with kayak reviews. I found this one to be very helpful...

    http://www.paddling.net/Reviews/

    I agree with you in that you can't test many up here, so that makes it a harder choice. Maybe you shouldn't focus on the SOT's.

    I am VERY happy with my 9.5' Perception Sundance, sit-in. It's very stable, rather slow, but has alot of room in it, and I can use a spray skirt on it. It's rated for 2-3 day camping trips, but I've gone 9 days with it. I mainly use it to to fish from, but sometimes I go 20-30 miles to access the fishing spots. I took my floats out of it though for more storage room. The only negative I have with it is that it's slow, but speed isn't a factor for me. And the price is right; I got mine for about $370.

    On the SOT note, I ordered my Malibu X-factor today. I think I'll try it on the Kenai and some of the tamer rivers, but I mainly plan to use it in the saltwater, especially for Homer halibut. My primary consideration in purchasing a kayak for this type of use was dryness and stability. Plus, every review I read for it was positive and they almost all ranked it at 10 out of 10. The main negative about the X-factor is that it's heavy and a bit slow, but the weight is the big thing that alot of folks don't like about it.
    "Wine can of their wits the wise beguile, Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile." - Homer, Odyssey

  9. #9

    Default SOT and moving water...

    The SOT is not really designed for moving water but I would have no problem using one in Class one or two. Main thing is to be aware of any sweepers or strainers that may lead to a capsize. As to the brands or models there a number of good ones out there. We could debate the Chevy vs. Ford thing all night. As important as the brand, the dealer (the guy you buy from) is as important. Ocean Kayak, Wilderness System, Walden are the predominant manufacturers in Fla. There are a few smaller companies making them as well. The tandem you purchased is a good starter with the ability to take the wife or buddy. They are very stable and roomy, downside is they require a little more energy/effort to paddle while going solo. Better option maybe to buy two solo. Good new is that your market is very new to the SOT and you will be able to sell for very little loss. The SOT's for fisherman have come a long way from where they began, i.e. molded in rod holders, storage, bait wells ect. are all good but I prefer to make my own mods to meet MY needs. I have had very few problems with any of the kayaks I have bought, nearly bullet proof. A fun toy! but can be a serious platform to fish from. I tend to use mine as a vehicle to get me from place to place prefering, at times, to wade fish. As a result ease of getting in and out is important as is initial stability. Hope this helps.......

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    Ripeface and Florida-Dude,
    Thanks for the replies, good info. I too have been studying yaks for fishing for some time, 2 years at least. My main reason for SOT's is access to fishing spots that do not have a stable landing for ingress and egress of the vessel. The rivers I will be using them on have no or almost no rapid waters. The Naknek has some maybe class I but the Kvichak is just moving water. At times I would be in 2 feet of water that I would drop the anchor and get in and out. This is my main reason for the SOT. I have a "Canadian" white water SINK that I bought for my daughter to use will out for the summer. She was not happy as it has a low initial stability but it will get the job done for getting on the water.

    I realize that SOT's are wet and that is just the way it is. I have come across some good tips for this i.e. taking used breathable waders and cutting the feet out and then use diving booties for shoes. Most of my Alaska use will be in weather that will not be t-shirt weather anyway so will be in my waders and rain top anyway.

    One of the things I am thinking about is a kayaking getaway to the Kvichak in May. There won't be any sport fishing and the water fowl and other migratory critters will be about. Wondering if anyone would like to come out and just kayak around the flats down river? Anyway, great discussion.

    Ripeface, you got any sot's for a test drive?

    George

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    George, wouldn't an inflatable kayak do just as well as long as you're not paddling them far? They are a lot more stable, and easier to pack. They just don't go as fast.

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    George,
    I do not have any SOT's for test rides, and I've actually only ever paddled one. Mine should arrive in 2-3 weeks, and I'm sure it will grow on me. You mentioned ease of entry and exit is a consideration for getting a SOT. I must say...in the 5 years I've used my Perception (recreational type (sit in) kayak), I have never fallen out while entering or exiting. In fact, I only fell in twice with it, and once I was showing a new kayaker how to kayak and I got swept by a branch I didn't see. The other time, I was casting way behind me, and I lost my equilibrium temporarily. It's a VERY stable kayak, and actually my mom has one too, and in the years she and others have used it, none have fallen in upon entering or exiting, and we've been in the Boundary Waters alot. I'm not trying to convince you one way or the other, rather I'm just letting you know that what you're looking for can be found in sit-in kayaks too. If you happen to have several extra pounds, then a SOT would surely allow for better access/egress.
    "Wine can of their wits the wise beguile, Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile." - Homer, Odyssey

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    Jim,
    For the lodge and the down stream eco-tourism yes the inflatable would be the ticket. But for me I am looking at paddling up stream in many places on the Kvichak and the Naknek so thinking that a hard yak would out perform.

    Ripdude, I am carrying more than my fair share of weight and trying to fix that. The situations that I think the SOT would be better for me is when getting on and off the vessel with out being at any landing ie anchored in two to three feet of moving water.

    I appreciate the responses, having others paradigms shared brings great wealth of knowledge. Thanks a ton and keep them coming.

    George

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    George,

    You might want to take a look at what folks are saying about fishing from kayaks in areas that more closely approximate the conditions you have up in AK:

    http://www.norcalkayakanglers.com/in...p?action=forum
    http://www.northwestkayakanglers.com/bb/

    Some of the NorCal folks are using drift anchors for holding position in moving water. Something I'd be very, very careful of doing from a kayak. But there are rigging pictures to give you some ideas.

    If you aren't paddling upstream against a current of more than 1-2 mph, I'd look hard at the Ocean Kayak Prowler 13. While I currently paddle a Scupper Classic, if I were to completely give up saltwater, a P13 would be my first choice. Great layout for fishing, stable enough for me to stand and fish in still water, and nicely manueverable. Just doesn't have much glide. If speed were more important to you, there's the OK Prowler 15, Cobra Marauder, Cobra Fish-n-Dive, Malibu X-factor, as well as the Wilderness Tarpon 140 and Tarpon 160. Look at the bigger boats if you are a bigger guy.

    Regards,
    Scott

  15. #15

    Default My .02 on SOT

    Hi guys,

    I spend a lot more time on the hunting and shooting forums, but will offer my .02 here and also ask a question. I bought an 11'2" Emotion Exhilarator SOT last spring, use it for fishing on the Potomac River out here in Maryland....I typically put in at a bridge and paddle 1-2 miles upstream, then anchor against shallow partly submerged rocks and fish from the rocks or wading.

    I've found my SOT to be good from speed and stability standpoints; like the gentleman from Florida, I don't stand in it, but sitting and casting is fine - although a 4-5 pound smallmouth can tow you around pretty good, so be prepared when you tie into a nice salmon or rainbow while floating! I've only flipped over once, when I tried to paddle upstream through a skinny shot of rapids, my brother and nephew got to see me take a swim right in front of them when I tried to back out and got sideways.

    My kayak cost about $400, so it was one of the less expensive, but plenty of boat for my needs. It weighs about 43 pounds, and can go through really shallow water.

    Now my question - it has scupper holes in the front and back, which I have plugged while on the River - since the water in the front compartment comes from paddle drip and spalsh, I'm wondering if it's better to leave the front scupper holes unplugged to help drain the paddle drip while moving?

    Thanks,

    Michael

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    Default My $.02 worth

    I bought an 15' Ocean Kayak Prowler in North Pole this past winter for the specific purpose of fishing. Work's been hectic so I've only been out in it twice. No fishing, just getting used to the boat.
    I grew up in central FL and fished the ICW from Flagler to Palm Bay with great success from a canoe. The SOT kayak is different.
    It'll take some getting used to but so far I like it. I still need to outfit it for fishing to really give my full opinion.

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    Was in the big village last week looking, finding a place in the valley and a rig to drive. First time I have been in Anchorage in July in many many years. Saw many SOT's and recreations kayaks in top of vehicles, was great. I have been researching these for at least two years with out seeing any in ANC. Now AK raft is carring them, West Marine has them and Sportsman's Warehouse have them. Can't wait to move to the valley and explore. Thanks for all the responces to this and hopefully we all can keep talking and even put to gether a paddle trip for a day some time.

    George

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    Default Interior AK

    George,
    If you're ever over towards Delta Jct., drop me a line. I'll take you to some of our local spots to paddle.

    I'll be giving Valdez a shot before long.

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    GR,
    Thanks for the offer and I will take you up on that.

    George

  20. #20

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    good topic... im out in cape cod, ma.. and bought a wilderness systems Tarpon 120 SOT about 3 years ago.. one of the best purchases i've ever made, only about 600 dollars. i use it for everything from 1-4 miles offshore trolling for big striped bass, top water for blue fish, or just hitting all the lakes, rivers, streams that the cape offers... i also use to get to hard to reach places and land it so i can fish from shore... my brother has one as well, he uses his also for duck hunting etc. the kayak offers stealth, quiet entry and glide. my kayak is rigged with 3 rod holders, a fishfinder and a gps mount. i hgihly recommend the SOT, yes you will get wet, but knowing that if you tip, your yak wont fill with water, is a very settling feeling. also if i am cast fishing, i can simply hang my legs over the side and fish even more comfortable. very stable. very good buy overall imo.

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