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A Guide For Selecting Your Next Crappie Boat

Jul 22, 2008
Selecting a boat can be a daunting task. There are so many choices, it can be overwhelming. First, keep in mind that a boat is an investment, so you want to consider it carefully. You can go from very simple and basic, to very high-tech.

At the simplest end, and my personal favorite, is the kayak. This is the ultimate adventure boat, capable of traversing oceans, Arctic seas, Class V+ whitewater, week long expeditions, the Amazon and Nile rivers and any lake you care to take on. A good kayaker can survive a full-force hurricane. Properly equipped, with a skilled seaman, they are unsinkable. Eskimos and Greenlanders have successfully attacked Great Whales and 1000 lb.+ seals and walruses in these small, plucky craft.

I could write an entire book on kayaks, but we will concern ourselves here with the type best suited to crappie fishing. There are two basic types of kayaks: Sit-On-Top (SOT) kayaks (Yaks), and Sit-Inside Kayaks (SIK).

SOTs are pretty much a surfboard with a place to sit. They are unsinkable, self-bailing, and can be eskimo- rolled with the use of thigh straps to hold you on the boat. They are much easier to re-enter from the water and are the preferred craft for die-hard kayak anglers. It is easier to reach all of your gear. The down side is that they are slightly slower than SIKs and offer no protection from the elements. They are great, safe, fun little craft for any water activity, including diving. They are not the best for whitewater, but are survivable.

SIKs have an enclosed deck that you sit inside of and seal yourself in with a spray skirt. Water cannot get in even during a complete capsize. You simply roll back upright and continue doing what you were doing. With a water-proof paddling jacket, you are protected from the elements and can handle any situation, up to and including going over a waterfall. It's a bit more trouble getting to some of your gear below decks, but your stuff will stay dry and secure. Many models have deck hatches that allow you access to the storage compartments while underway.

Both types have several sub-types. They are: Touring and/or Sea Kayaks, which are long and narrow. They are very fast and the best choice if you think you may have to paddle great distances. Many come with rudders, which is a great add-on when you are in a crosswind. They also come in tandem versions, for when you want to take someone along with you. Whitewater Kayaks are short, flat-bottomed and extremely maneuverable. They are slow paddling. These are best if you think you may frequently get caught in fast water, such as below tailraces. Lastly, the Recreational Kayak. This is the middle ground between the two extremes and the best choice for most of us. They are plenty fast enough for casual touring and maneuverable enough to manage up to Class III rapids easily.

They can be paddled for 20+ miles in a day by almost anyone.
About the Author
Dan Eggertsen is a fishing researcher and enthusiast who is committed to providing the best crappie fishing information possible. Get more information on selecting a crappie boat here: http://www.askcrappiefishing.com/.
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