Opinions wanted on which fishing kayak to look at

The post on the ascend 128 was very helpful in that it gave me a direction to go when looking at fishing kayaks. Like the gentleman who owns the ascend I am big guy, 6,4” 230. I would like a little bigger kayak with at least a 400lb capacity , with all the poles holders and finder/gps mounts, etc factory installed, good storage, smart storage (one of the complaints on the ascend was some wasted space). I would like to know any pro’s or con’s of foot propellled over regular kayak paddle propelled....... or vise-a-versa.

thanks in advance on any of your input on which brand and model you like and what features made that your choice. I live on the lower Columbia and will fish it, the backwaters for smalls, but lakes and ponds also, with experience bays and maybe flat, calm ocean for lings. Thanks again, Alan
that's a really big set of questions, one of the kayak fishing specific forums, like NWKA, would be a good source of info but you might get some snarky responses if you ask for too much in one post. You should be able to find existing threads that discuss many of the things you are asking about, especially once you narrow down to some specific brands and models of boats.

my take on the "pedal vs. paddle" question is that it comes down to past experience, physical capabilities/limitation, where you plan to fish and how you will be fishing (trolling, casting, jigging...) and how much you want to spend. I am a pedal kayak guy because it leaves my hands free for fishing/steering/eating and it fits my physical history (decades of back packing, bicycling, and carrying a golf bag all over creation). By using a pedal kayak, I don't need to compromise on any of my fishing or fighting/landing techniques.

Paddle kayaks come in at a lower price point, some people have non-fishing experience with them which makes extending that to fishing a logical step, and some people have physical limitation that restrict their ability to pedal. Also, if your main fishing is going to be casting for bass on lakes and ponds or jigging for bottom fish, a paddle kayak doesn't limit you.

However, ocean salmon is a different situation- this would be trolling with barbless hooks. You can definitely troll in either type of kayak but you can't fight a fish and paddle at the same time. The powerboat folks use the term 'keep it in gear' because keeping salmon on barbless hooks goes better if you keep moving. In a pedal kayak, a popular technique is to keep moving while you fight the salmon from behind, eventually bringing it up alongside the boat and netting it while moving. There just isn't anyway to accomplish this with 2 arms if your only propulsion is a paddle. And if you fight an ocean salmon without moving, it can get the kayak moving towards it when it makes a run and when it stops, the boat is still moving towards it, line goes slack, fish goes away. A nice shiny chinook taught me that lesson just OFF Florence in August 2019.

cheers, roger
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Thanks for your reply, I have experienced from the past most times people need more information to answer, so maybe I went too far, lol. Maybe a couple of questions more, I would prefer a pedal kayak for trolling and hands free fishing. So with that in mind, I believe most have a seat that can be positioned “sit on top” or “sit in”. At 6’4” I am a little concerned about leg room and being able to pedal without my knees hitting my nose, lol, do the seats adjust back in the kayak also? Also can I get a pedal kayak wide enough to somewhat safely stand up and cast While still giving me a bout a 400lb capacity rating? Thank you for your answer Roger! BTW your video you post of you going out of Depo Bay is what me started in this direction!
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You can get used to a paddle style kayak in many situations. That's what I have had for 11 years. You learn to do a little choreographed dance when you fight a fish and hope you don't need to paddle for any reason. The hands free aspect of pedal kayaks is definitely a big plus as Roger has pointed out. Another problem with paddle types is that you can't hold your position to vertical jig in the wind. I have Trident kayaks and probably the 13' would be the better choice for a bigger guy. They are very stable and it seems like when I have used other people's yaks, they have seemed more "tippy" than what I am used to.
so a quick data point would be the current design Hobie Outback that Pepper and I ride on- 12'9", 34" wide, 425" total, 275# rating for the Vantage CTW (wider) seat. Pepper and I total 250# and with crab pots and gear, I figure we are about 300# total and the Outback behaves just fine with that much on it, well distributed front to back. As for stability, check my 'roll and recovery' video and you will see me sitting on the edge, walking around on it, I was amazed how hard it tried to stay upright.

You would want to take a test ride on any kayak you are interested in to confirm the leg space, but I'm 6' even and run the Mirage drive on setting '5' out of '7', so there is a couple of inches adjustment left before you would start to feel like the pedals are too close. The Hobie CTW seat is a couple of inches wider than their normal seat,
I had a sit-in for many years I used to squaw fish in the flats they breed on in the spring, really useful to just pull a salmon or steelhead in. I love my sit-on-top 8 footer I got now. I am 270 lbs, so I don't put anything on it aside from my rod holder and water bag for float trips. Might as well get a John boat if you want a trolling motor in my opinion, but those foot paddle kayaks are great on big water when bringing in salmon while maintaining situational control. As slow as the seasons have been though, I don't even bother buying the tag anymore and go after checking off lakes and ponds off my exploration list rather than dodge sketchy weekend warriors trolling beers on their $50k boats.
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