Kayak minimalism

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SmallStreams

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I'm thinking of getting a small watercraft to get past shallow pools that I'm tired of wading through, such as are common on the Marys River, Luckiamute River, and Long Tom River. I don't really need a rod holder or bait bucket, just have a desire to work the holes more efficiently.

In the process of looking for inexpensive, small, and lightweight options, I came across this kayak: Spitfire Sit-On-Top Kayak at REI.com

Anybody want to talk me out of it?
 
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Combat Chuck

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You could get me one to test for you ;) I like the idea, its one I have thought about too.
 
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SmallStreams

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Combat Chuck - you'll be second in line if I don't like it as a coworker says he'll buy it from me (he's actually used this model before).

meluvtrout - Yup, already saw those reviews and read the ones at REI and a couple other vendors. Somewhere there's even a picture of a man standing up in one (albeit a looking a little unsteady). Note that the first link is for an incredibly lightweight, but very expensive canoe, which also happens to be called Spitfire... I really liked it, but as it's about 9x the money, I won't be getting one soon!

The common threads I found in the reviews:
a) seat is a weak point in the design
b) it's a stable small craft, though shortness makes it not track well
(use smaller strokes when paddling)
c) consider it a playboat, not an endurance craft

So the seat is a small concern, but I think it will fit the bill. I like the inflatables out there since you wouldn't need a roof rack (or a truck), but they do require care when removed from the water as you shouldn't fold up a wet and dirty boat.

Downside of the hard shell is that it requires a car rack that's as expensive as the darn boat!

Anyway, since my coworker will buy it off me if I don't like it, I went ahead and pulled the trigger on the purchase. Hopefully it will arrive in time to have a test session on a lake weekend after next. Stay tuned for reports!
 
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joesnuffy

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it looks like a pretty sweet ride and i really like the price.

Make sure to take photos and let us know what you think about it once you take it out. I will most likely be getting a kayak next summer.
 
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SmallStreams

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Finally got it on the water, a week later than planned:
YouTube - Spitfire Kayak on Lost Lake (Nehalem)

Attaching it to the roofrack was a little difficult due to the width of the kayak. Really seems to take two people, one to hold it while the other is looping the tiedowns through the hook from the other side. Once one of the tiedowns is reasonably secure (not fully tight, but tight enough the kayak won't slip off), then one person can do the rest. Tieing down upside isn't really a possibility because the folding seat hangs down and will pound the car's roof.

Paddling it was easy. Doesn't track very well, turns on a dime, so you can do nice spins and still be going in a straight line if you're into doing tricks. If you want to go fast, you just have to accept the fact that the nose is going to wander a lot, but your average direction is right.

As a fishing platform, it's a little tight, but useable on a lake. On the 15 acre Lost Lake (Nehalem), it was only a few minutes paddling to reach the other side and return... about as fast as the rowed pontoons except you get to face where you're going.

Weight capacity is as advertised. I weigh about 215-220 lbs and was able to add the cooler to the back storage compartment without compromising my floating level.

Long term, the scupper holes under the seat are going to get plugs. Whenever I plopped into or jumped out of the seat, the scupper holes would squirt water into my rear... great if you want an enema, but not too pleasent when you don't! My friend, who is probably only 160 lbs, didn't have to suffer this indignity.
 
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INSAYN

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Cool beans. I've been wanting to take my yak up to Lost Lake and paddle around for some fish. Each trip you will get more comfortable on it, as the wobble factor will become less noticeable.

A couple of things I noticed in your video that I was shown when I first got into kayaking last fall. First, just turn around and sit down in the kayak and push off from shore with your feet if you are in shallow water. It's a whole lot more of a stable feeling than going feet first into the kayak.

Next, the second paddler (I presume, it's you) had the paddle upside down. I did the same thing for some reason, but it actually does make a difference in efficiency of the paddle stroke. You probably won't notice much at the rate of speed you were testing at, but once you get comfortable and start cruising with it, you'll be able to feel it.

Once you get comfortable paddling that yak around the lake, you'll be looking for other places to take it. River, bay, ocean, etc... and what not. It's a hoot and you don't pollute. :dance:

Check out NWKA.com for tips on rigging your kayak for fishing, and other jib jab about kayak fishing in the PNW.

:cool:
 
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SmallStreams

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Thanks, INSAYN, we did get the paddles figured out in short order. First phase, especially for me, was just to convince myself that I wouldn't fall out! Relax... and it all comes together. It's times like these that you remember it's been 15 years since you were last in a boat and that you were much more slender & limber back then <ahem>.

My cohort in the video, who lives in a condo without a car and has no interest in fishing, is now considering getting one just for grins. I may have fired him up for fishing some, too, because he got a good view of the trout feeding and started turning his problem-solving skills towards that task. He's used to using a canoe, so had to change his paddling style a little.

The regular fishing partner is still on a tourist vacation. When I mentioned the plan before he left, his comment was that I must not be getting wet enough (one of us usually falls in during our expeditions)... he's been a fan of small boats and sailing all his life, so I just have to convince him it's the right thing to do :think:
 
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INSAYN

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Forest Grove, Oregon
First you will get the little yak out in small lakes and ponds.
Then you'll get comfortable with the stability, and move up to longer narrower yak with more room to carry more gear.

In short order you will be busting through the surf zone chasing rock fish and lingcod 3/4 to 1 mile off shore.
:think: Unfortunately at this point, trout fishing isn't as much fun as it used to be.

I have only been kayaking since I parked my 2005 16' power boat along side the house last fall and I'm in no hurry to chase trout at this point. Black Sea Bass, rockfish, Lings and even LMB/SMB have got my full and undivided attention right now. :dance:
 
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