- Talk to pro-staffers, ambassadors, or factory reps. These people will tell you the pro's and con's about the kayaks they paddle. When I am asked about a specific kayak, I will ask the individual the type of water they paddle, when they paddle, how often they paddle, the duration of their trips, and their fishing style. This will help me build off of my experience and recommend what I believe to be the best kayak for them, even if it’s not a brand that I represent. I and many of my counterparts do not want to see you in the wrong kayak. If I put you in one of my kayak's knowing it’s going to be wrong for you, you will not be happy, and an unhappy customer is a vocal customer. If a rep is not of this mindset, then move along, because they do not have YOUR best interest in mind.
- Ask people that own, and have paddled the kayak you are looking for. A great place to do this is your local kayak fishing forum. You will get opinions from a broad experience level, and from people who have paid full price for their kayak. I generally trust the opinion of a person who will tell you they have paddled a number of different brands and models. Diversity is a great thing!
- Visit your local paddle sports retailer. As they are the front line oftentimes for purchases, returns, issues, and praise. These are the people that want to see you in the right boat, so they can bank on you being a return customer for all your paddle sport’s needs. They are well versed by some of the most knowledgeable people in the industry, and have the most overall knowledge. Paddle sports is a laid back community, so if you feel pressured by sales staff, speak to a manager, or move on!
|Skimmer 128 rigged for fishing|
- Baitcasters - I prefer and highly recommend the Abu Garcia Revo line. I have a handful of STX's and SX's. These things have 20+ lbs. of drag, are lightweight, are saltwater rated, and feel like they are solid in their construction. Other reels I have liked are the Shimano E series Curado's and the Non-CI4 Calcutta's. The G series Curado's and the CI4 Cronarch's are probably amazing reels if you are going to keep them away from the salt and baby them, but that’s not my style.
|Photo - Werner Paddles|
- Conventional - This is where I have limited experience, but have still caught trophy fish on all three reels I cover. First is the Shamano Tyrnos. I enjoyed this reel, but didn’t use it as often as the others. The Issue I had is while it sat around, the grease pooled in one area of the reel, which required disassembly and re-greasing to make it operational. The next is the Diawa Saltist. I can’t say much more than "I love this reel". If I had the need I would own a fleet of these things. Smooth, great drag, light weight, and damn sexy. Finally, I have the Release Reels SG. My SG is a few years old and besides some minor servicing in its infancy, it has been super reliable. Unfortunately, not all SG's have the same reputation as mine. Wes and the Crew up in Reedville will take care of you and make things right if the unthinkable happens though. Keep that in mind when making your next purchase.
|Astral Ronny Fisher|
|Astral Loyak - Astral Buoyancy|
|JP hammershad on an Aqua Dream Inline Spinnerbait|
|Swinging Hammer with a Healthy VA Citation Speck|
|50 lb TA Power Clip|