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Kayak help for a beginner

Post By: Wreckstar      Posted: 5/11/2020 12:53:04 PM     Points: 1023    
I've wanted a boat for a long time, and the best I've been able to do was a belly boat that served me well for far longer than it should have. I'm pretty much convinced my next step is a sit on top fishing kayak. I have some questions for the seasoned pro's out there.

1. When it says hand launch boats only, does that always include kayaks? They seem to always include reference that belly boats are allowed, but I never see anything about a kayak. Also, does it matter if you are using a motor vs. paddle for where and when you can launch? Like do I have to go though inspections if I have a motor mounted? If I have no motor, can I launch anywhere on the lake that I can hand launch?

2. Registration? It wasn't clear if you need to register a kayak when I went to the CPW website. Kinda seemed like you need to register IF you have a motor? If I do not get a motor what else do I need?

3. Any suggestions? I am looking at the Perception Outlaw 11.5. Still need to figure out a paddle and PFD, other than that any upgrades or DIY additions I should make? I'm 6'4", so just tall people problems mainly.
 Reply by: Funkybug      Posted: May. 11, 1:13:33 PM     Points: 173    
Kayaks are considered hand launch, no inspections or registration as long as you do not put a motor on. If you have Facebook look up Colorado Kayak Fishing Club, lots of good info there and most people are more than willing to let you demo their kayak. If you can try a few before you buy you won't regret it.
 Reply by: panfishin      Posted: May. 12, 1:35:00 PM     Points: 8266    
Yup, Funkybug got it. it is considered hand launched. the only time you have to register it or get it inspected is if you put some kind of motor on it. Once you get it inspected you can still launch from any of the areas considered to be hand launch.

I've never been in any of the Perception kayaks so I really don't know how they perform. the wider the kayak the more stable it will be if you want to stand up or in rough water. If you are going with a paddle kayak I would spend a little more to get a high quality paddle (lighter and better materials). My first one came with a heavier paddle that would tire me out on the longer days on the water. Bending Branches is a really good brand with a few different levels of paddle prices.

PFD - personally I absolutely love the high back versions and wont go back to any other type in my kayak. I went with the NRS Chinook, they are extremely comfortable and have a couple of pockets to carry some accessories or your phone. speaking of your phone...get a leash of some kind! same thing for your paddle and rods or you risk losing a rod or two...guilty on that one.

as far as setting it up, that's all up to how you like to fish. might want an anchor if you like to sit on a point and fish structure, a couple rod holders for trolling and holding your extra rods. I would stay away from a rod holder that uses the ball joint...no matter how hard I tightened it the trout and pike up in South Park would hit it hard enough to make the rod point straight back and get off.

I started in a paddle kayak and moved up to one of the pedal versions because I got really tired of being blown around by the wind. With the pedal drive I am able to stay out and be in total control of my direction in weather that would have forced me to the bank otherwise. If its in the budget I would look at some of the used ones that guys are selling over a new paddle kayak. but its all personal preference.
 Reply by: Dsieg      Posted: May. 12, 6:47:34 PM     Points: 190    
Ditto to the above comments. I have spent the last 3 years paddling around fishing high mountain lakes in a kayak. My advise to you is to get a couple PFD's that you know you can return, and wear them around the house. Wearing one in a shop for a couple minutes doesn't give you a good idea of how they are going to feel after 5+hrs sitting on the water! For me I went with the NRS Raku. It is a wrap around style with fishing pockets up front. The high back style of the chinook for me, felt like someone was pushing down on my shoulders after about an hour of wearing it. It might feel different since you are taller.
As far as a kayak goes, the best advise I can give you is to go on you tube and watch a couple videos on the best kayaks under 1k. Headwaters Kayak does a good video on all the models out there. The 2019 version and the 2018 version of their video are a real good starting point. Not all kayaks are created equal and if you are going to primarily fish from it, get a FISHING KAYAK. Getting a fishing version will allow you to trick it out with rod holders, fish finders etc. I went with the Vibe Sea Ghost and I love it. To me it was the best bang for the buck, came with a rudder and a paddle (used as a spare) and shipped free.
I chose a paddle Kayak. For me, it was a weight and clearance issue. I can launch in 4" of water and not worry about the pedal drive. Pedal drives also weigh considerably more. I didn't want to drag a 100+lb kayak a quarter mile out through sand and gravel to get to the water at ice off when the reservoirs are low. A pedal drive can definitely motor through the water and you have a lot more power in your legs than your arms. So both styles have pros and cons. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask!
 Reply by: Wreckstar      Posted: May. 12, 8:45:28 PM     Points: 1023    
Thanks guys some really solid info there!
 Reply by: Hawaiian Punch      Posted: May. 12, 8:49:12 PM     Points: 7473    
Ask the right questions and you will learn lots.We got folks that been doing that for a few years now and are glad to share what they have learned.
BTW . . . .this is the best way to not buy things twice or more.
 Reply by: dasflikken      Posted: May. 13, 8:19:12 AM     Points: 5717    
The most important mod I've made is a good kayak crate. I got a rectanglular milk crate that is held down with with the kayak's bungies and j hooks that I attached to the outside of the crate. The crate also has the rod holder on one side, a retractable clothes line anchor mod on the other side, a 3" tube of pvc that is a sheath for a retractable 5lb anchor, a 1/2" pvc tube that holds my orange safety flag, and it holds the battery. The crate is wired with quick connects for my sonar and boat lights. Anchor trolley system also very important. If the kayak you get has two side by side skupper holes in the back or front, you can get a universal fit wheel kit. What panfishin said about paddles is spot on. I have a peddle drive that is not any faster than a good tracking yak with the right paddle. I forget the brand, but my paddle is carbon fiber with a measuring stick printed on it. A good seat will lengthen your day also. If your stock seat sucks, mount a stadium seat on a pvc frame. At 6'4', you may want to stretch that yak out to a 13 footer if you ever want to stand up. Another good accessory is a Backwater Assault Paddle for repositioning. By the way, this could have been a way shorter post if I would have just said Youtube has a ton of kayak mod videos, but I'm currently good on my caffeine levels lol. I've had outboards, floats, toons, and yaks, and I've gotta tell ya, you're gonna love kayak fishing. So far Dick's has the best in store selection and price on Perception yaks I've seen, Cabela's or Bass Pro has the best selection on accessories.
 Reply by: panfishin      Posted: May. 13, 1:51:55 PM     Points: 8266    
gear tracks! forgot to mention those...if you want a lot of customizability with where you put all of your things like rod holders/fish finder/action cameras. their tracks will allow you to move things around to fit your day of fishing.

a good cart to get you to the water makes life a lot easier too especially, like someone else mentioned, when the water is low and you have a nice trek to get to the water and don't want to make a lot of trips. I've got the Boonedox Landing Gear mounted on my Old Town Predator PDL (its heavier than I would like but a great boat) and I can have it fully loaded with all of my gear, PDL drive and whatever else i'm taking with me in one trip from the truck to the water.
 Reply by: Twilly73      Posted: May. 14, 10:50:15 AM     Points: 349    
Dseig - I also have an SG130 in that color. It is my first yak, and has been excellent so far.
Wreckstar - Just beginning, get the yak, and take it out by itself with just you, the pfd, and paddle. This will allow you time to get your sea legs, and learn the abilities of both you and your boat. Then, make the modifications you want. Crate/pole holders/fish finder can all come later, as I've modded my yak over a couple years, depending on what my needs were. Omega Pro rod holders are my choice, and make sure you get a paddle that is long enough for you. Otherwise, you'll be banging the sides of the yak constantly. if you're ever up north around Longmont, hit me up and you can demo mine. I'm 6'2, about 240, and I can be in mine for hours with no issues. Even stand up to sight cast. Hope this helps!
 Reply by: D-Zilla      Posted: May. 15, 5:14:49 AM     Points: 2379    
My biggest regret with my kayak is something you should look at and has less to do with your kayak than you might be thinking about.

What do you drive?

How are you going to transport the boat? I drive a hatchback, and put mine on the roof rack. It's a process, sometimes a tough one So you want to make sure before you buy any kayak, that you are ready to transport it. There are several videos on the internet that can show you the process, you will of course rework it to fit your own car and personal preferences. It took me several trips to get "comfortable" with topping my Topwater and I got the 10' one. Make sure you consider how you're transporting the yak when deciding. Also keep in mind the style of cart you plan to use. I tried (and paid for) 3 different wheel systems. LUCKILY I was able to find someone in the CKFC selling a set of Boone Dox and that has been the best. (I'm not a fan of the "sand" wheels but they work well enough) I've gotten to a point where it's down to 10 minutes to load the boat, and 15 to get it off the car and ready to fish. Remember to factor that into your plans.

As for customization, I'll echo what everyone else has said. How you're planning to fish will dictate a lot of what you'll want. I still don't have a fish finder, but that is more of a cost issue than anything right now. You'll want rod holders for certain, and maybe an anchor system of some sort, definitely a crate or storage system for all your gear. Make sure you take plenty of water along as you WILL get thirsty.

Most importantly, and I can't stress this enough.

ALWAYS WEAR YOUR PFD. I hate reading tragic accident stories. That water is colder than you think, and the shock can put you off your "pro swimmer" game in a heartbeat. Make sure you take the time to learn how to get back into or onto the boat if you're dumped, and always keep your eyes open. A lot of power boat operators don't, and it could be the difference!
 Reply by: VolcanoSteve      Posted: May. 15, 7:29:42 AM     Points: 59    
Agree with the post mentioning the importance of portability. I travel a lot and my kayak needs are highly varied. I went with the Sea Eagle 385fx. Holds 2 people or one with lots of gear, is inflatable and packs down small, is under 50 lbs, and is a sit on top with the most comfortable chair imaginable. I move the kayak and my fishing gear with a wheelbarrow and its effortless. It pumps up in about 3 minutes. The base is essentially a SUP so you can stand and cast if you're brave. Love mine cuz in my mind it's the most versatile boat on the market. Great customer service too.
 Reply by: Wreckstar      Posted: May. 27, 8:26:14 AM     Points: 1023    
Thanks again for all the info gents. Kayak is ordered and in route.

Whats the best place to take it out for a test run? I am in the Erie/Dacono area.
 Reply by: spinn3r      Posted: May. 27, 3:58:58 PM     Points: 6220    
Pick a time and location that has very little wind, since that will make a big difference when you're just getting accustomed to the boat.

I would also suggest that you do a complete load/unload/rig cycle at home to avoid forgetting something critical. As a bonus, you can look awkward in private while you figure it out the first time.

One other thing that I didn't see mentioned in the thread was the use of a stake-out pole. If you fish shallow water with a soft bottom you might want one. I made mine out of 3/4" PVC with a wooden dowel inside to stiffen it. The top uses a tee-fitting and the bottom is a conical point. The point is sealed with JB Weld, as are the screw holes. I can tell by the weight that it has remained watertight for years.

I also made my own anchor trolley from paracord, stainless steel pulleys, and some large nylon rings. The rings are large enough to accommodate the stake easily, but small enough not to slip through the tee. Use some kind of quick-release on your anchor and you can swap the two restraints quickly.

A third restraint option is the drift sock. I own one but rarely use it, since the wind needs to line up with the direction I want to drift. When conditions are right, though, it's a good piece of gear to have with you.

Best wishes.


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