Here's some information on a wet entry for a SIK
and then some information on a wet entry for a SOT
Probably the best website to obtain information from would be www.kayakfishingstuff.com
I bought my SOT WS tarpon 120 from this site. Before you buy spend some time on this website learning about kayak fishing.
I too am looking into buying a kayak for both fishing use and also just to go out to the river (Shenandoah) on the flat parts (no desire of any rapids) and just cruising. I'm not a small guy at all. I'm 5'11'' tall and 270lbs. That's another reason I'm looking into a kayak (haha). To me a SOT just kind of looks like it could get to be very uncomfortable on the back after and extended period of time. At least for the ones that are in my price range.
Ricky - look at the Malibu X-factor, Ocean Kayak Big Game, and possibly Heritage Redfish/Marquesa at your size. I recommend you try a few SOT before you dismiss them... especially if you'll be doing a lot of fishing from it.
Those listed are pretty nice looking boats. However, $700 or so is all I can really afford to spend on one. The Heritage Redfish 12' is really sparking my interest. However, it doesn't show a weight limit on it.
Another question I have. Will I be able to load one of these SOT's on top of my truck (2006 Nissan Xterra) without any problems?
Well, I went out to Gander Mountain this evening to check out their stock. They had a couple SOT kayaks. They had the Ocean Kayak Prowler. I got it off the rack and tried it out just on the floor there in the store. I liked it a lot. Seemed quite comfortable. More comfortable than I initially thought a SOT would be. The only thing I did not like about it was its weight, which I think is going to be pretty much standard on any SOT kayak I find. I was initially hoping I could be able to just sling it up on the roof rack of my Xterra. After fighting to get the Prowler back on the display rack, I can see where this may be difficult. Though it was one of my first times even touching a kayak, so handling it correctly may have not been what I was doing.
At 6'2" 215# I can get my 16ft hobie adventure on the roof of my pathfinder no problem. You have the best factory roof rack around, and the following loading technique should work for you no problem.
One thing you'll definitely want to buy (or make) with the yak is a cart. Then you will literally almost never have to lift the entire weight of the yak. Also buy a cheap bath mat (rubber on bottom, carpet on top). I almost never use my cart, unless I need to get my rigged kayak from point A to point B.
Roll your kayak to the rear of your SUV. Place bath mat over the roof/tailgate joint. Pick up bow of boat and rest on bath mat. Slide kayak up the bath mat and on to the roof rack. Stand on rear tire (or running board if you're tall enough) to flip kayak upside down (so that it rests on the gunwales). Two straps over the hull and a front and rear tie-down and you're ready to go. I know I saw a video of this technique on the web once, but once you figure it out it's a piece of cake.
To get the kayak off the roof, simply reverse the directions.
Check out the hurricaine phoenix line of kayaks if you are worried about the weight of the kayak. They are one of the few US sit-on-top manufacturers that offer a composite kayak... weighs about 1/2 to 2/3 as much as most rotomolded yaks... also has a pretty good weight capacity from what I've read (saw pics of a 300 pound paddler using it without incident).
looking for a kayak
I am also looking for a good kayak. I have a double right now and its too much for me to handle by myself. I read about some of the weight restrictions on some of the kayaks. I weigh about 200 pounds depending on if I eat dessert or not! I have read about the Tarpon kayaks, any other suggestions? Do most have rod holders built in them now? Any and all help will be greatly appreciated!!
You'll be fine in just about any kayak at 200 pounds. There are so many brands available, but some of the more common for you to research are:
-Hobie (look at adventure, revolution, outback)
-Wilderness Systems (look at the Tarpon series)
-Ocean Kayak (look at the Prowler series)
There are lots of others that may be right depending on you and how you want to use it. Where will you be primarily fishing? What is important to you in a kayak? What else will you do besides fish from the kayak? What is your budget? Etc.
I'd recommend spending some time reading on the forums at www.kayakfishingstuff.com for a fast education... will get you up to speed to be able to ask the right questions when shopping for the kayak you want.