Tim Niemier, a surfer and board shaper from southern California, came up with the idea for the sit-on-top fishing kayak about half a century ago when he developed a surf ski with storage space for equipment. After ten years, Niemier decided to stop hand-shaping the fiberglass for his boats and instead use rotomolded plastic with the goal of "putting a billion butts in boats."
A half-century later, his goal is almost about to come true because kayak fishing is one of the watersports segments that is developing at the quickest rate. The simple-to-maneuver sit-on-top kayak is undeniably the driving force behind the meteoric rise in the popularity of kayak fishing.
Because sit-on-top kayaks have been developed over a long time and dozens of manufacturers have produced hundreds of different models, many used boats are available for purchase. Used kayaks are put up for sale so that their owners may create room in their garages for new kayaks as they progress in the sport, change the emphasis or interests they place on it, or simply like different things.
Before you go out and buy a used sit-on-top kayak, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Sift through the hull for any signs of damage caused by being dragged along the ground, paying particular attention to the areas around the boat's bow and stern. Scratches and even gouges should be considered normal wear and tear; however, vulnerable regions caused by the thin plastic could result in a leak. Check the plastic for any cracks, paying particular attention to the areas surrounding the scuppers, seat base, and pedal drive.
These high-use areas are frequently fragile because the intricate shapes can make it challenging for the plastic to fill the mold completely. A clue that the kayak has been kept out in the sun for an extended time is significant fading, indicating that the plastic may be brittle. Plastic's deadliest foe is unfiltered sunshine, which causes the material to degrade and become less durable.
In a sit-on-top kayak, the seat is the component that is most likely to fail first. Examine the seal to look for any signs of damage or excessive wear. The sagging of the material to the point where it can no longer sustain the paddler is one of the most typical concerns. Check that the seat is securely attached to the base and that it may move freely between the different settings.
Asking the prior owner of the kayak why they are selling it is the most crucial thing you can ask. It is common for novice fishermen to invest in a low-priced kayak before realizing that the vessel is not up to their standards in terms of comfort and functionality and does not fulfill their requirements. Don't make the same mistake that another angler did. By reading kayak reviews, you may compile a list of reliable kayak brands that produce high-quality products that will endure for many years.
As the name suggests, the paddler of a sit-on-top kayak sits on top of the deck rather than inside a cockpit when using this type of kayak. In general, sit-on-top kayaks offer a higher level of comfort and are easier to operate. Both the open deck and the high cockpit provide additional choices for equipping the boat with various fishing gear and accessories. The first thing that must be taken into account is the size.
As a general rule, longer and more slender kayaks go at a faster speed and in a more straight line, whereas shorter and broader kayaks are more stable and are less challenging to manage. Another crucial aspect to take into account is weight. Not only is it more challenging to paddle or pedal a hefty kayak, but a large boat also presents additional challenges when it comes to transportation and storage. A heavier kayak, on the other hand, tends to be more stable and has a more extraordinary ability to carry more stuff than a kayak of a smaller size.
For shorter outings in waters that are pretty protected, we recommend using a kayak that is 10 to 12 feet in length and has a width of 35 to 40 inches. The kayak is able to maneuver into tight spaces thanks to its short waterline, and it is stable enough for standup fishing thanks to its wide beam. A boat that is 12 to 15 feet long, 28 to 35 inches wide, and paddles more efficiently in a straight line is ideal for open fishing water and paddling over long distances since it encounters less resistance while moving through the water.
After ensuring that the length and width of the sit-on-top kayak are suitable for the activity, the next step is to examine the cockpit's layout and the amenities it offers. A molded-in bow well is preferable to a bow hatch for storing tackle boxes and other gear that has to be accessible throughout the day. A bow hatch is perfect for dry storage below deck.
There are two different types of seats available for sit-on-top kayaks: raised and low-profile. When paddling for long distances, having a chair with a low profile provides not only a more ergonomic position that is lower to the water but also back solid support. Anglers who wade across the surf line or bounce down rocky rivers often favor low-profile chairs for their comfort and stability. The low-profile seat of the kayak makes it much simpler to recover and get back into the boat in the event that you capsize it.
Elevated frame seats are well-known for both their level of comfort and their adaptability. A framed seat that has a wide bottom and back and sits at a higher elevation off the deck. Imagine a lawn chair being attached to the kayak in some way. Some frame chairs offer a choice between two different height settings. When you want to go fishing, they are lifted up to a higher position, but when you want to paddle, they are dropped. Standup fishing is also made easier by having a seat that is elevated. Consider the situation in this way: standing from a frame seat is the same as standing from a lawn chair. Getting up from a low-profile seat requires the same amount of effort as getting up from the floor.
There are more rigging choices available when working with a vessel that has gear tracks, bungees, and mounting plates. You might also choose to save some cash by rigging the kayak on your own. Bars made of metal or plastic have a groove running down the center and are used as gear tracks. Drop the T-bar that is attached to the suitable accessory base into the path, and then tighten it to secure the accessory to the boat. This can be done in order to connect a rod holder, an electronics base, or another device. Bungee cords are used in the tank well and the bow well to fasten the tackle boxes and other gear. Some boats come equipped with mounting plates that can be used to attach an auxiliary base. Because the scale is removable and more durable than the plastic that the kayak is made of, you do not have to drill holes directly into the kayak.
The best sit-on-top fishing kayaks have a design that makes it possible to install fishing equipment, lights, and even engines or anchoring systems. These boats have reinforced plastic in the stern and bow areas, and they include inserts to hold accessories in those areas. There are fishing kayaks on the market that feature through-hull ports and cable and wire routing below the deck. The very best boats include a unique scupper that leads to a cavity in the bottom of the kayak. This allows the fish finder transducer and line to be stored safely.
The cost of the kayak should be your very last factor when making your selection. Kayaks of excellent quality and performance can be had for an affordable price if one shops with enough foresight. Although the price tag of $500 on a simple kayak is enticing, we strongly advise you to avoid purchasing an inexpensive kayak because it is quite possible that it will not live up to your expectations. You should concentrate your search on high-quality boats that are produced by recognized manufacturers and that have hulls that are well-designed and that are constructed of high-quality materials. Many premium manufacturers provide entry-level models that are similar to their higher-priced variants in terms of the components and features they include. Conduct research on reviews and comments provided by a variety of sources to compile a list of kayaks that are within your price range and fulfill the requirements you have outlined for yourself.
When compared to a sit-inside kayak, a sit-on-top kayak provides anglers with a number of advantages that make it the superior choice for fishing. Sit-on-top kayaks, in comparison to sit-inside kayaks of the same type, are typically more comprehensive (and hence more stable), more comfortable, and more adaptable.
The sit-in paddler is the one who sits inside the kayak, which brings him closer to the water but also reduces the amount of space available for casting and manipulating the lure. The cockpit of a sit-inside kayak is more constrained, and the seat itself is smaller; as a result, the interior is not as roomy as a frame seat on a sit-on-top kayak. There is less space available on the deck of a sit-inside kayak for mounting extras like rod holders and technological devices. A sit-on-top kayak makes it much simpler to get to your gear and technological devices. The enclosed cockpit of a sit-inside boat gives less space than the open deck of a sit-on-top ship, making it more difficult to rig lures and land fish.
Despite this, fishermen searching for a lightweight kayak that is easier to paddle and provides shelter from the elements often opt for sit-inside kayaks because of their combination of these three desirable characteristics. Sit-inside kayaks make use of less plastic than sit-on-top kayaks, which means that a sit-inside kayak of comparable size will weigh less. Anglers who want to cartop their craft to the launch and carry the boat over their shoulder gravitate toward the lightweight ship because of its convenience.
A sit-in paddler is one who sits in a position that brings them closer to the surface of the water. This allows them to use a shorter paddle shaft and a blade with a lower angle, which results in a more powerful and effective paddle stroke. Brave fishermen enjoy the protection afforded to them by sitting underneath the deck of a sit-inside kayak that is equipped with a spray skirt to shield the cockpit from wind and rain in environments with either of these conditions.
Many anglers who are interested in these benefits opt for a hybrid sit-inside kayak, which combines the wide hull of a sit-on-top kayak for increased stability with a wider cockpit opening and an elevated seat for more comfort. This type of kayak is popular among fishermen. There is additional storage space available on the deck of hybrid sit-inside kayaks for accessories and supplies. The majority of anglers favor sit-on-top kayaks, while paddlers who want shelter from the weather and a lower paddling position opt for sit-inside kayaks instead.
There is no better way to select a sit-on-top kayak than by giving a few different models a test drive and kicking the tires on each one. The employees here at Kayak Angler have put the most fantastic sit-on-top fishing kayaks through their paces to determine which ones come out on top. The fishing boats have been outfitted with the necessary fishing gear, and we have launched them into the water.
In the course of our testing, we paddled a considerable distance and fished for a substantial amount of time in a wide range of environments. This gives us the opportunity to analyze how the boat handles, as well as how well it performs for the type of fisherman and the requirements that they have. If you are unable to make it to a paddle shop or a demo day, you may give one of the best sit-on-top fishing kayaks. We reviewed a test drive by reading our review.