Perhaps you are in the market for a new kayak, but more specifically, a fishing kayak? What do you look for when considering your purchase options? In this article, I will discuss all of the game-changing components that you DO want to consider when making your next significant investment. Some of the features are trivial but have a substantial impact on overall comfort and satisfaction. Do you want to spend two to three thousand dollars on a kayak and not be completely satisfied? Well, we don't want you to be disappointed, so come along, and we will break it down. First, let's look at which style kayak is most suitable for you.
Sit on Top Kayak or Sit-in Kayak?
Sit-in kayaks are a more traditional style kayak. The design implements a cockpit that covers your legs. While this is great to help prevent the user from getting wet with each wave strike or stroke of the paddle, it's not ideal for convenience when exiting or rentering on the water. The added advantage is that you can use your legs to push off the cabin and gain more torque with each pull of the paddle. However, if water starts to enter the cabin, you could be in a heap of trouble in a hurry. It doesn't take much to capsize a kayak, and that is why you'll often see users with a kayak skirt. Kayak skirts cover the area around the user and the cockpit to prevent water from entering.
Sit on tops are my preferred design when it comes to kayak fishing. The ease of use to jump off or on is perfect for the angler who likes to wade and then travel via the yak. Sit on top kayaks are very popular in the south, where the weather is warm, and we don't care about getting a little splash here or there. The other variable is that unless there is a hole in the hull, you are not going to sink a sit on top. The design allows for far more accessories such as rod holders, storage, etc. Lastly, sitting for long periods can hurt, you can stand in comfort on a sit on top, that is, if you have chosen a proper boat manufacturer. Speaking of kayak manufacturers, this brings me to my next topic, my favorite kayaks, and brand.
When considering a big purchase, a few of the critical things I look for is reputation and longevity. Does the company make a great product, take care of their customers, and have they been in business long? I have been fishing out of Oldtown Kayaks for the last ten years or so, and I cannot be more pleased. I was initially turned onto Oldtown because I saw an ad that leads me to their website. While reading the about us page, I found that they have been in business creating canoes and kayaks since 1898. When I first read that, I took a double-take to make sure I was reading it correctly. How impressive is that? You cannot stay in business for 122 years if you arent doing something right.
Anyhow, my first Oldtown purchase was the Predator 13, without the pedal drive. This boat has been everywhere and caught hundreds, if not thousands of fish. I pulled the trigger on the Predator 13 at the time because it had great reviews, and fit my budget accordingly. The open deck, track rails for accessories, numerous rod holders, and stability sold me over and over again. I got years of joy from this kayak, but after five years, I felt like something was missing. The ideal of motoring and controlling the kayak with pedal drive and a rudder had me obsessing about how much better of a fisherman I could become while fishing from a kayak. It essentially gives you hands-free boat control.
You guessed it; I started my internet browsing once again. I even went as far as looking at my local kayak shop who had a pool to water test kayaks at their establishment. I thought that was cool and great for the consumer to get a feel for their purchase before pulling the trigger. Then I started looking at THE ONE.
Oldtown Topwater PDL
Yes, I entered the shop with my mindset on either an Old Town Topwater PDL or the Predator PDL. Still, I was also open to learning about other boat designs, options, etc. After water testing a couple of boats, I finally got to the Oldtown Topwater; I have to admit I was like a child on Christmas morning. I jump on the kayak and start peddling around the small pool with ease. The pedal drive was impressive, but the stabilization builds your confidence. I like to stand frequently on the water, for both stretching and sight fishing. It felt like I could do yoga on this vessel, and if you have ever seen me stretch, you know that is a terrifying concept.
Until recently, there have only been a couple of kayak companies that have a drive system, and most don't allow you to reverse. The Topwater PDL allows for instant reverse and complete control. I don't think you can appreciate this feature until you are being dragged into the trees or structure while trying to paddle and fight a fish simultaneously.
Hull Design - Moving on from the drive system, you have to take note of the hull design, which gives you the ultimate stabilization. The DoubleU hull is considered the quietest pontoon-style boat in its class. The innovation and engineering is first class; you can tell Oldtown takes pride in their craft. They back this with a five-year warranty on the drive and a lifetime warranty on the kayak itself. Weight capacity is 500lbs, Holy smokes!
Maneuverability - Aside from stabilization, maneuverability is probably just as outstanding. The ability to turn in a direction without the use of a paddle is phenomenal. I can't appreciate the rudder design anymore on this kayak. You use the rudder deployment handle to activate the rudder and the rudder control knob to make micro-adjustments for turning or moving ahead on a straight path. The rudder conveniently folds and acts as an additional handle to transport the kayak as well, which is masterfully thought out.
Comfort - Have you ever sat in a La-z-y Boy recliner? Well, this is the closest thing to it. The oversized mesh ElementAir seat is pleasantly comfortable but also designed not to retain moisture. The ventilated mesh prevents mold and allows for the wind to cool your back and butt on those warm summer days. When you are ready to stand, your feet are comforted with soft EVA foam that will help alleviate the burdens and pains of standing for an extended period.
Kayak Storage - I could pack a deadly arsenal of fishing equipment and gear on this kayak. There is no shortage of storage, starting at the front hatch. Remove the sealed tight lid to access the port that will house a duffle bag of items, anything from a change of clothes, towels, or your sensitive electronic devices. You have an additional storage hatch just below your seat for extra storage. The expansive deck is large enough to launch an F22 Raptor. In all seriousness, there is plenty of room for camera boxes, coolers, and FULL sized tackle boxes.
I took the liberty to make a video breaking down all the remarkable features of the Topwater for your viewing pleasure. Grab some popcorn, take a load off, and watch this video that will tell you everything you need to know about the Topwater PDL kayak:
Now please do remember, this is not a sponsored or paid article. I want to share my experience and advice with you as to who I think makes the best fishing kayak currently on the market. I will always only share products I believe in and that I use regularly. If you are in the market for a new kayak, I highly recommend that you give Oldtown consideration. They have kayaks and canoes for just about any scenario that you can think of. Hopefully, they can help you find yours.
The tried, the true, and the tested is where I like to spend my money. Hopefully, this article helps you make a great buying decision. Don't hesitate to provide your thoughts below; we would love to hear from you. Would you like to see something specific on the kayak? Lets us know, and we will produce additional content for your reading and viewing pleasure.