ok i already got a yak but want to move up b4 the fall
i am 5' 9" and 295 and usually carry 20 pounds or less gear at the most and here was what i was thinking
1. malibu extreme
2. ok prowler
3. tarpon 160 angler
I would say that the malibu boats are a good choice and an alternate choice to look into would be the Cobra Fish and Dive. The only problem with the FnD is that there are no reps or locations that sell them here. But the Malibu boats are very very similar to them. They would do you well.
The Fish and Dive is not a fast boat, especially when compared to more modern designs like the Prowler or Extreme. T160 is another choice for speed, though not so sure how it does with bigger paddlers.
I really hate how "fast" is a term thrown around so easily in the kayak world. It's very misleading. There isn't that much difference between the yaks. Unless you were paddling from Georgia to MD I don't think it really matters to most of us...or at least as much as it would seem by reading the message boards.
You want to go faster? Practice good technique when paddling and go to a gym...unless you are Kevin and can paddle every day.
Goby, I would disagree. In a mixed group of boats, the shorter or wider ones will get left behind unless those paddlers work harder to keep up. Happens every time I bring my short but lovable Caper down to the beach and try to keep up with guys headed to CBBT in Prowlers and T140s.
We often tell couples buying yaks to get two of the same length so the person with the longer boat doesn't leave the shorter one behind.
Not a big deal if you paddle short distances to fish and primarily fish alone, I agree, but speed does make a difference when in groups.
I still disagree. You are talking less then 1 mph between boats and that is at normal paddling speed. Maybe if you were paddling across the bay, but not the short distances we are going.
I think what you see more in the big water is the longer boats handle chop better and they track better. I don't consider that the same as speed.
And there is a certain art to paddling. Being that most of us are fishermen first and paddlers second, I think that part is often ignored.
And I can't help but to notice how many of us (including myself) are "larger" individuals. Kayaking is physical. You would think we (at least I am now) would be in better shape before partaking in such an activity. Hell, I had an asthma attack launching in the surf this winter. Being out of shape and with a condition sucks.
I have owrked my ass off to get back into shape and I can not express to you how much it has helped my paddling. The only drawback is my ass is not as fat and the extra padding I use under my seat is not enough anymore.
I had a Caper and a Tarpon 120. I would usually invite a friend when I go out on the water. Whoever used the Caper was usually more tired. Not because the Tarpon120 was the "faster" kayak. The Tarpon maybe .5-1 mph faster but because the Tarpon 120 had a much better "glide" compared to the Caper. Therefore you had to paddle less in the Tarpon 120. Same thing happen when I went out with my friend who was in a Prowler 15. I could keep up with him in my Tarpon 120 but I was paddling more often. So the longer the kayak the better the glide meaning less paddling and less tired you will get or the more distance you can travel. So my guess would be the Prowler 15 and Tarpon 160 could glide longer without paddling then any other fishing kayaks.
The only time I noticed a speed deficiency was when I went with just Kevin and Ric. They both have longer yaks and I know that at least Kevin gets alot more paddling in than me.
As far as getting tired, the big thing to remember is that paddling harder will not make you go faster. In any displacement hull boat you are limited by the hull speed which gets higher the longer the boat gets. That's why the America's Cup is sailed by HUGE sailboats and why an aircraft carrier can go over 40 kts. If you can paddle hard enough to get your kayak up on a plane you will gain some speed, but I doubt anyone has that much strength.
Sometimes fisherman paddle short distances, sometimes they paddle longer distances. To suggest that the speed of a kayak doesn't matter unless you "were paddling from Georgia to MD" is a bit misguided. A lot of people in the VA Beach area cover a significant distance paddling in the bay, inlets, ocean, and Back Bay. I do understand the assertion that the difference in speed of some of these kayaks is marginal at best. However, some kayaks are slow. Anybody that has paddled a Cobra Fish n Dive and then a Tarpon 140 or 160 can absolutely tell you there is a difference in kayak speed and it is important!
Paddling speed depends on many factors, including, but not limited to paddling technique, paddler strength and endurance, sea conditions, hull form, and hull load.
Each kayak has a different theoretical top speed and unless you are an Olympic K1 racer you really aren't going to exceed that for any sustained time.
Kayak choice is a personal preference. Only you can make the determination whick kayak is best for you. Some people think stability is most important while others like speed. Some kayaks feel more stable to some than others. Some kayaks are faster for some than others depending on various factors such as body weight and body build. I know a guy who sometimes fishes out of a composite touring kayak. I don't need that fast of a kayak to fish, but I also don't want to be paddling a jon boat around Lynnhaven inlet either.
However you end up doing it, try to get to the spot you want to fish most efficiently.
Less time paddling = more time fishing (unless of course you are trolling a bait along while you are paddling[wink])