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Living on Carolina Beach. Love all types of fishing from a local fresh water pond to a full day out in the Gulf Stream. Now looking to purchase a fishing/touring kayak so I can have fun and lose the weight all in one. Also to be mobile enough to camp on the numorous undeveloped barrier islands in the area. After a few hours of research I have concluded that the Hobie Quest would be the right choice. This is a lot more than I want to pay though. Is this overkill? I have been on a few multi day canoe/kayak trips but never purchased one. Is there a better fishing/touring yak out there that maybe doesn't have that popular name brand price? Let me know!
 

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Welcome to the site! Good to meet another Kayaker out here.

The Hobie is pretty well recognized as top of the line for plastic kayaks, though most people seem to buy the peddle drive models (which are amazing, though the Quest isn't peddle drive). They're priced higher but the claim is that all the extras that come along make up for it (paddle, pfd, storage bags, etc...).

Ocean Kayak Prowlers and Wilderness Systems Tarpons are probably the most popular and well proven on both flat, moving and saltwater. Check out the Classifieds section - backlash has a loaded Tarpon 120 out there at a great price in the Fayetteville area. I bought the Heritage Redfish 14 last summer. Great flatwater boat, great capacity and handles inshore/icw fine. Haven't tried it in the surf - I'm a little concerned that lack of rocker & keel will be noticeable, but since I live in Raleigh 99% of my seat time is on inland lakes. Liquid Logic Manta Rays are fairly new (<2 yrs) and have been very well received for their ergonomics and efficiency (speed). Lefty can tell you anything you want to know about his.

Primary influence on my purchase was price (<$500 for a factory blem). You should be able to save about $250 over a Quest by going with any of these brands new, and you might be able to find a good deal on a used one. I've met people with all of the above mentioned models who are happy with their choice. My suggestion is to get one quick and make it yours!

PS: When you say "touring", it sounds like longer distances, which are generally better covered by a longer boat.
 

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The open floor Sit-On-Tops (SOTs) originated in ocean recreation and fishing. SOTs are self bailing - scupper holes in the floor that any water coming in the boat can drain out of (assuming enough buoyancy to let gravity do its job). They're built kind of like a surfboard, but with a molded top for seats, cup holders, rod holders, etc.... The SOTs offer lots of reachable flat deck space for accessory mounting. Most SOTs have an enclosed storage area with hatch built into the front and an open tankwell in the rear (for tackle, bait, cooler, etc...)

The Sit-Inside-Kayaks (SIKs) are the more traditional style. SIKs require a skirt to keep water out and/or a pump to get water out if any gets inside. Seats are often deeper and more comfortable on SIKs. In a skirted SIK, you can store gear both fore and aft of the paddler.

Generally the SOTs are wider, flatter and offer more stability than the SIKs. Serious long distance touring kayaks are almost always the SIK style - long, thin, tippy and super fast. But there are a few SOT models on long thin hulls too. Likewise there are wide, stable SIKs too.

If you tip a SIK you either have to know how to do an eskimo roll to pop back up or get out, pump out and manage to climb back in without collecting any more water (usually means finding land). If you do happen to tip a SOT, you flip it over and hop back on.

Both float, both paddle, both are fished from all the time. My personal opinion is that there are advantages to the SOTs over the SIKs for fishing (but I'm biased). In general the stability, topside storage and convenience give SOTs a slight advantage. For ocean or rough water, I'd definitely want a stable, self-bailing SOT. For packing lots of gear on a long paddle/camping trip, SIKs probably win.
 

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Thanks guys - I went through the whole transition from power boat to kayak fishing last summer. Did all the research & asked all the same questions. Hands down the best site I've found for fishing kayak info, comparisons & SOT brainwashing is Kayak Fishing Stuff.

(trying to catch up to them here on NCangler as the NC-kayak-angler community grows)
 
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