Sit on top fishing kayaks make it easier to enjoy the great outdoors. They are ideal for a broad range of marine activities, including diving, fishing, and surfing. These yaks are affordable and a more practical choice, there are many different sit-on-top fishing kayaks for sale. It comes as no surprise that many people opt to start with this type of kayak before upgrading to the next level. Read our guide on the best sit on top fishing kayaks for the money.
What are Sit on Top Kayaks?
These watercraft come with hull shapes that are similar to sit-inside kayaks. However, the occupant sits on a molded depression on top instead of inside. Sit-on-tops are typically made of rotationally molded plastic that is sturdy and durable. Some variants are manufactured using fiberglass.
The kayaks feature a deck (top), stern (back), bow (front) and hull (bottom). Deck lines or bungees are typically found on the deck. Meanwhile, some of the kayaks feature grab loops and others have rudders. The rudders are designed to swivel from side-to-side in the horizontal plane. They can be controlled by foot pedals. Sit-on-top kayaks are available in 1 to 4 paddler configurations.
These crafts are hugely popular for scuba diving and fishing activities. They are a practical option for fishing and diving because they allow paddlers to easily enter and exit the water. Sit on tops also allow easy access to storage wells and hatches. Plus you can change seat positions without any fuss.
The seats are positioned slightly above water level. This means that the center of gravity is considerably higher for the paddler when compared to sit-in fishing kayaks. For this reason, manufacturers make the sit on tops slower and wider as a means to compensate for the higher center of gravity. You can also get sit on top fishing kayaks with pedals.
On the other hand, I have discovered that many people erroneously believe that the hull of these watercraft is self-bailing. Ironically, that is not true. Water entering sit on top fishing kayaks does not drain out automatically. Design considerations make this functionality impossible. The hull cannot be molded to ensure water tightness.
Pros and Cons
– Provide easy access to hatches and storage compartments
– Provide multiple storage options
– They are versatile
– Feature a wider, flatter hull to ensure stability
– Easy to enter and exit the water making the crafts ideal for a variety of recreational activities
– Ideal for inexperienced paddlers
– More cumbersome on the water due to the wider frame
– Moves slowly
– Harder to paddle
– Exposed to constant drip from the paddle and wave splash
– Not ideal for manning strong currents and harsh weather
Sit on vs. Sit in Kayaks for fishing
When comparing sit-on-top and sit-in fishing kayaks, the choice of the ideal kayak is based mostly on personal preference. However, there are additional factors to consider.
Sit-insides are a traditional variant that comes with an open cockpit designed to accommodate the paddler. The user sits inside the hull and positions his or her legs under the kayak’s deck. The knees brace off the hull’s walls, which is useful for ensuring more efficient and powerful paddle strokes. Many sit-inside kayaks use skirts to cover the cockpit opening. This is ideal when paddling in cold weather or areas with freezing water.
Meanwhile, sit-on-tops come with foot-wells and other features that are rigged to the deck. It is significantly harder to stay dry in sit-on-top than a sit-inside. These kayaks do not feature a deck area or cockpit that prevents water from reaching the paddler. For this reason, I prefer using this types of kayak in the summer.
The Top Factors to Look for
I found the process of buying a sit on fishing kayak for the first time rather daunting. There are countless features and configurations from which to choose. Like many other buyers, I was tempted to make the final decision based on appearance. I just wanted to pick the most aesthetically appealing kayak on offer. Fortunately, I resisted the urge otherwise I could have easily regretted the move. Of course one thing that makes a big difference is terrain, the best sit on top fishing kayak for rivers and oceans could be two completely different models.
Some of the key factors to consider when selecting sit-on-top, including appropriateness, speed, comfort and more. These types of kayaks come in a broad range of sizes and shapes. Manufacturers make them using different types of materials, including fiberglass, plastic, vinyl and metal. The intended application determines the ideal choice. They also come in inflatable models which are ideal for transport.
A kayak designed for long distance paddling may be unsuitable for rough rapids due to control difficulties. Sit-on-tops are well suited to inexperienced paddlers and anglers because they are more stable. When it comes to performance, sit-on-tops are slower due to the higher center of gravity whereas sit-insides are faster and easier to control. The latter comes with a lower center of gravity.
Sit-on-tops provide less storage space because they have molded tops while sit-insides offer access to the entire hull. Gear stored in sit-on-tops is exposed to the elements.