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Howdy Kayakers. I'm just curious what the pros and cons of fishing from a sit-in versus a sit-on kayak might be. I am totally new to kayaking and originally was thinking of getting a sit-on style, but after getting to a store & trying out one sit-on style & several sit-in models (sitting on the wood floor only, not in water yet), I'm beginning to wonder if I might be better off with that style. I am interested in taking my dog along (one factor). I am interested in being able to use the kayak in most any season (another factor). And I am interested in being able to easily load and unload the kayak from my car's roof rack. Originally I was looking at the 1080 Pro-Angler Fisherman or the Shakespeare 120, but now I'm leaning towards the Old Town Dirigo 106. I love it's storage area & dashboard, plus the rod holders, and it has enough room for my dog too. Any thoughts from anyone? I'm trying to select the best of both worlds and stay in my budget. OH, guess I should mention I will be using this kayak for lakes primarily, perhaps placid river areas very rarely.

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I'm not a fisherman, but check out this series of articles writtne by our resident expert, Rick.


And for inspiration, make sure you follow his blog as well:

Have fun!
Thanks Geoff for the response. I read all of Rick's articles on safety and how to rig a fishing kayak, etc. All very helpful. Still can't decide what will be the best boat for me and I can only afford one for now (it always "starts" with one, right?). I'm in the Pacific Northwest, so quite frankly I don't plan on fishing when the temps drop to freezing, but I will be out there on our local lakes spring, summer and fall. The SOT's have a great deal of lure (especially after reading Rick's articles and how they make the fishing gear easier to get to), but the sit-in style has really captured the essence of what I thought kayaking would be...at least that's how I felt now that I went ahead and sat IN one. Many articles talk about stores that offer the opportunity to take the kayaks out on water. I do not have any such place nearby or in a 300 mile radius near as I can tell, so my first kayak is liable to be trial and error anyway. YIKES! But I'm game and love the challenge, so I'm taking it slow and reading all I can. Maybe too much, or I might already have purchased one and been out on the water enjoying life from an SOT in my PFD with my DOG. Oh well, part of the journey is the search...the rest involves water, a kayak, a paddle, and an audible "this is the life" sigh.
I'll weight in a little bit here. There are a couple of sit-ins that make good fishing kayaks. The Dirigo that you mention is one, the WS Pungo is another, and the Old Town Loon is a third. There is another that I've seen lately that looks interesting. It is the Old Town Vapor. It's a sit in with a tankwell. I haven't tried one, or even seen one on the water, but the concept is interesting. You'd get the benefit of the enclosed cockpit of a sit in with better accessability. You need to consider several things in addition to the weather because you can always dress for that. How far will you travel? What kind of fishing do you plan to do? Would you consider yourself more a paddler who fishes or a fisherman who paddles?

If you're traveling a long distance, you'd want either a longer sit on top or maybe a 12 foot sit in. Almost any sit in will paddle nicer than almost any sit on top. It is humbling when you're in your tarpon 140 and get outpaddled by a 12 year old girl in a 12 foot sit in. Even my tarpon 160 is like paddling a brick compared to most sit ins.

If you are only going to be lightly fishing, say for the occasional bass or crappie, a sit in will work fine. However if you plan to do a lot of serious fishing, the sit on tops are the way to go. I usually carry 2-3 rods with different setups with me, however I've met people who carry 4-5 rods. This is easier to do on a sit on top. More practical too, if I think the fish want a spoon, I reach back and grab my rod with a spoon on it. If they are deep or I'm getting desparate, I reach back for the rod with the popping cork.

Oh, and you're right. It "starts" with one. Since my original Tarpon 140, I have also come to own a Tarpon 160, a Search 15 has adopted me, I also have a 1/2 finished cedar strip Guillemot sea kayak, and it looks like a Hobie with a mirage drive may join the family in another year or so. So, if you find that you don't like what you get, then next time get the opposite.
Thanks Rick. Everyone on here has been really great about answering questions (mine included) in a pretty thorough manner. Of course with each answer often comes more questions to research, but that's alright. At least I feel like I'm on the right track for narrowing down what I'm going to need out on the water to have a truly great time.

I did find a kayak store about 60 miles from me that rents Hurricane brand kayaks. I'm not particularly interested in that brand myself, but I went to their store and talked with the owner. For $25 I can take the kayak for the day up to a local lake and at least get a feel for the sit-in style on water and decide if that's the direction I want to follow. The store also sells Ocean Kayak sit-on, but they don't rent those out, so I can't do a comparison yet. Will likely head to the Portland area for a kayak store on the Columbia river that lets you "test paddle", but that will have to be a weekend trip. Was hoping I'd already be paddling by now, but that's just the way the ball bounces.

Again thanks for your input. I'm still thinking on the Dirigo and went back to the sporting goods store that is selling them. They also have the Prodigy Perception 12 ft., but I didn't care as much that the hatch was just an open hole into the cockpit area and not a separately contained storage area. What are your thoughts on separate storage areas v.s. having a hatch that leads to an open storage area...since I'm on the topic...? :-)
Hurricanes are nice kayaks. I almost got one instead of the T-160, but a couple of things interfered with my plans.

To tell you the truth about the hatches, I really don't use them that much. I keep a dry bag with my emergency kit and a fish bag in my front hatch and that's about it. Everything else goes on top.
Well that makes perfect sense. Figured with a sit-on style that would be the case pretty much anyway, but it makes sense that a dry bag would work just as well for the stuff that must keep dry. I do like the Dirigo hatch system best so far, but I do need to think if it's necessary. Do you know anyone that paddles the Manatee angler kayak (10 ft.) and what they think of it? Thanks.
Don't know of anyone who has the Manatee. But a quick search of the internet leads me to believe that it is the same thing as a Perception Prodigy. (The Perception logo on the hatch gives it away).
That's what I have gathered from other sites too. Do you know anyone that has or has had a Perception Prodigy?
Sorry, I don't.
Remember too, that hatches and bulkheads on many decked (sit inside) kayaks do double duty. Yes, they are storage, but they also provide flotation in the event of capsize.

If they aren't there (and many short REc boats don't have them) you NEED float bags.

And don't ever trust a hatch to be dry. They all leak. Some are better than others, but they all leak.
Thanks guys. Appreciate all the input and advice to this "newbie" to the world of kayaks. I went back over to look at the Dirigo 106, the standard and the angler package. I am thinking I'll just get the standard package with the dash & rear hatch/bulkhead, then add the Scotty rod holder later after I paddle the boat a few times and get familiar with it. At least, that's the plan for now.

My husband likes the Dirigo too, but the dashboard cupholder hits his knees so it won't work for him, that's why I was asking about the Manatee (aka Perception Prodigy). He's been doing his own research and thinks that one will suit him just fine as a "starter" package.

We both still have our float tubes for back up to fishing in the meantime. :-) But I have a feeling they'll see a LOT LESS water once the kayaks come into play.

Again thanks for the input. This website has been very helpful to me and I hope this may be helping to answer some other new kayaker's questions as well.




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