Sit on Top or Sit Inside Kayaks?

Florida Sportsman member kc hunter asks “What are the advantages and disadvantages of both styles of kayaks? And which is better for fishing?”

For Florida fishermen, the consensus is that Sit on Top (or “self-bailing”) kayaks are the most versatile for Sunshine State waters. Most ‘yak fishermen paddle at least a 12-footer, though some smaller models are now able to keep up when it comes to range and handling of rough water.

Most people that fish inshore flats and creeks want a longer ‘yak to increase range, a ‘yak with plenty of storage compartments, a ‘yak stable enough to allow them to stand and sight fish, and a craft within reasonable weight to allow one person to launch for solo trips.

Many inshore kayakers are also wade fishermen. Hopping in and out of a Sit on Top (SOT) kayak is much easier that other models. Offshore, SOTs drain themselves through the scupper holes, which is vital if an angler takes a hit from a nasty swell. Plus, mounting electronics units on a SOT ‘yak is much more user-friendly than Sit Inside (SI) crafts, though not all kayakers need electronics.

Sit Inside kayaks are traditionally made for serious paddling distances, as in the case of “touring” kayaks. The long, thin touring kayaks tend to be much faster than SOT crafts. Shorter, performance-based SI kayaks make up much of the whitewater river market, but would be out of place inshore or offshore.