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Kayaks for Spearfishing Compared

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Kodama

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Jun 20, 2016
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Recently got a new kayak for spearfishing. I believe that a sit on top kayak is the ideal platform for the adventurous spearo. It can take you pretty far and allows for long days out on the water and provides a safe ride home when the currents picks up. There is a lot to say about them and everyone who uses them has their own preferences. Anyhow to safe you some research in attachment you can find a comparison of the ones I was considering. I tried some of them and eventually the Jackson Kraken had my preference but since they don't produce them anymore I looked elsewhere and luckily I did. In the end I settled with the RTM Rytmo which I think is great. Fast, stable, plenty of storage with center hatch to get to your gear easily and not too heavy compared to others. I might get another one for my wife and kids and would probably settle for the new Scupper 14 since it is narrow, light and fast and I like fast.

Please add your own experience with any of these or other models so aspiring kayak spearos now what to look for.
 

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musubi

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I use a variety of kayaks for my spearfishing. Currently using the Ocean Kayak Scupper Pro (Original version and mid-90's version, no rudder), Ocean Kayak Zest Two (w/rudder), and Hobie Revolution 13 (2015 and 2019). They all have their purpose and place when diving. Some of the people I dive with don't have their own kayaks, so they end up leeching off me.

Scuppers are light and take a beating. I use these to launch areas where the surf is larger and I don't need to paddle that far. I only use this with partners that are strong in paddling, which is very few.

The Hobies are heavy and a bit harder to launch. They don't track well without the rudder engaged, so getting out past surf is harder. I imagine hand steering the rudder and using paddles is very cumbersome. However, where I'm able to launch them, they can haul a lot of gear and minimal effort, resulting in far ranging day trips. I usually carry a soft cooler for the fish. This kayak can be used with beginner paddlers and those not strong in paddling as you're using the foot peddles.

The Zest Two has a lot of room for a two man kayak. I use this for partners that aren't strong in paddling. I take the back seat and man the rudder. This is for short distance trips and easier in getting past any small shore breaks.

A friend of mine picked up a Jackson Kraken 15.5 and enjoys that. He's usually very picky on his choices, so it must be a worthwhile buy for diving.

The big enemy is wind for me. Not current. If I know there will be a slight chance of wind picking up, I take the Hobie kayak since they can punch through some pretty serious wind.

In picking kayaks, I needed to make sure I could strap my essentials for my diving and safety equipment. This meant adding clips, bungees, straps, and a lot of stainless steel eyes. I use my kayaks for both reef and blue water spearfishing.

In doing what I do, I'm always trying to prepare appropriately and evaluate the weather with the capability of my partners, thinking of the worst case scenario. i.e. something breaking, or towing someone back, calling in for help, or having a medical emergency.
 
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Kodama

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Thank you for your great advice. Would live to hear how you use your kayak for BWhunting. How far off shore to you tend to go and under what conditions? I imagine you carry a marine radio and are well prepared for navigation or when problems arise.
 

musubi

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Thank you for your great advice. Would live to hear how you use your kayak for BWhunting. How far off shore to you tend to go and under what conditions? I imagine you carry a marine radio and are well prepared for navigation or when problems arise.
It typically doesn't take much to reach areas where pelagics roam, but I'd say half a mile out and less. Some places less than a 100 yards out. The drop off here on the Big Island can be fairly close to shore. For conditions, there's nothing specific I really watch for, although I probably should, other than wind and swell. I drift with the current otherwise. I tend to notice I see more fish with stronger current.
My setup is simple and can probably be improved if I did it more. At the bow of my kayak I set two stainless steel eyes, bolted in with backing inside, I secured 5/16" (4K strength) Amsteel blue to them with a loop hanging out front. I attached a short bungee line with a float attached to the loop (cored with Amsteel), then my 100 ft bungee line. Kayak is light enough to pull around as I need.
Anytime I take the kayak out, I have a bag with my PLB and VHF radio. My phone is going to be my first lifeline if it connects. I also carry a tourniquet and used to carry a giant First Aid Kit, but I've slimmed it down a lot. Bilge pump, dive flag, etc.

How do you like using your Rytmo? Looks like a nice kayak. Which seat type did you end up going with? How do you carry all of your gear?

For me it depends on the surf. If there's a chance of flipping, I throw as much as I can in the hatches. Otherwise, I bungee them to the kayak sides (guns mainly. Everything secured externally is clipped to the kayak SS eyes.

One item I use A LOT is Mako's Ballistic Mesh Dive Bag (https://www.makospearguns.com/Ballistic-Mesh-Dive-Bag-p/mmb.htm). It's tough bag and I throw my fins and gear in there, zip it up, then secure that down in the well behind the seat (and clip it too). I also end up throwing my soft cooler in there when I take the Hobie out. It fits everything except the guns.
 
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Kodama

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When I hear BW hunting I always imagine going miles off-shore but it seems that doesn't necessarily has to be the case. Hawaii really sounds like a dream for spearfishing, hope to make it out there in the near future.
The Rytmo has been great so far. Pretty fast and performs amazingly well in strong wind conditions. Plenty of storage and I can easily fit everything inside.
I keep a cooler bag in the stern well for fish since I prefer to keep them outside the hull.
I got the simple foam seat instead of the luxury seat since I didn't see myself line fishing too often where you spend the whole day inside the kayak. It turned out to be more than comfortable enough. Yesterday I actually went out and paddled for two hours without the seat and was comfortable all the time. If I don't have to cover too much distance I probably go without the seat in the future, one thing less to deal with. Next week I will take it out again a couple of times, since I have worked out all my systems it really is a game changer for me. Couldn't be happier with this kayak I am sure it will give me years of joy.
 
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musubi

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When I hear BW hunting I always imagine going miles off-shore but it seems that doesn't necessarily has to be the case. Hawaii really sounds like a dream for spearfishing, hope to make it out there in the near future.
The Rytmo has been great so far. Pretty fast and performs amazingly well in strong wind conditions. Plenty of storage and I can easily fit everything inside.
I keep a cooler bag in the stern well for fish since I prefer to keep them outside the hull.
I got the simple foam seat instead of the luxury seat since I didn't see myself line fishing too often where you spend the whole day inside the kayak. It turned out to be more than comfortable enough. Yesterday I actually went out and paddled for two hours without the seat and was comfortable all the time. If I don't have to cover too much distance I probably go without the seat in the future, one thing less to deal with. Next week I will take it out again a couple of times, since I have worked out all my systems it really is a game changer for me. Couldn't be happier with this kayak I am sure it will give me years of joy.
Fitting everything inside is definitely a plus. The Hobie kayaks I have came with the beach chair looking seat which has it's pros and cons. Actually the only benefit is comfort. Beyond that, it takes up more space, harder to climb back in, and the risk of breaking that chair if I roll the kayak is big. So probably a good choice you went with the foam seat. Also, I imagine you have better stability with a a lower center of gravity with your seat.

Let me know if you plan on visiting and we can do a dive. I definitely have a kayak you can use.
 
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Kodama

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I just learned about the Stealth Fusion 480 and talked to some users about it’s performance.

Made up my mind for the second kayak. This of the one no doubt.
If you favor speed over stability as I do, look no further.
 

musubi

Member
Feb 9, 2017
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I just learned about the Stealth Fusion 480 and talked to some users about it’s performance.

Made up my mind for the second kayak. This of the one no doubt.
If you favor speed over stability as I do, look no further.
That looks like a solid kayak. It's long and streamlined so I imagine it would be nice to paddle.
From the little I looked into it, it looks like there's a huge amount of space for your gear in the front. Looks like I could fit my BW guns in there and more. The smaller circular hatch in front seem nice to throw smaller items and since it's closed off, it won't go traveling to the front or back of the kayak.
Is the rudder permanently down? I know that would be tough for me to work around due to the places I launch, but looks like there's another option to do a kick-up rudder at the very back which is nice. Do you normally launch from easier access areas?
 

Kodama

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The standard rudder is fixed and indeed not ideal for where I usually launch. Bit as you said a kick up ridder can be installed instead.

I also talked to Stealth kayaks directly and they are open to customizations.
 
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Sorcerer

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Jul 30, 2014
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When you mean strong winds how strong are you talking about? I've been thinkin about getting one, but the problem we get is the winds here in Canaries are usually very unfavorable where in most spear spots the wind blows parallel to the shore with avg 15-20knots+.

Since I never speared of off a kayak I have a questions:
1. How do you deal with anchoring in both reef and BW?
2. Is kayak used as a buoy for a gun in BW? If so how it doesnt break the line on innitial pull? Do you have to use long bungee line in effort to not break the set up?
 

Sorcerer

Active Member
Jul 30, 2014
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Any fairly cheap kayaks for under 800$ that you could recommend? Just checking the price for fusion 480 I would not consider paying 2.5k for a kayak, as the price slowly reaches the price of small zodiac with engine where its faster, safer and convenient for 2-3ppl.
 

Kodama

Well-Known Member
Jun 20, 2016
435
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When you mean strong winds how strong are you talking about? I've been thinkin about getting one, but the problem we get is the winds here in Canaries are usually very unfavorable where in most spear spots the wind blows parallel to the shore with avg 15-20knots+.

Since I never speared of off a kayak I have a questions:
1. How do you deal with anchoring in both reef and BW?
2. Is kayak used as a buoy for a gun in BW? If so how it doesnt break the line on innitial pull? Do you have to use long bungee line in effort to not break the set up?
When you are dealing with strong winds like you describe that is about 5 Beaufort and to my experience the upper limit of what I will paddle in the Ocean. And you still need to take the swell height into acount. Big difference between 5Bft with offshore wind and very little swell or 5Bft with 1.5m swell which would be too difficult and dangerous to manage. But with those conditions I would not go out spearfishing anyway.

Anchoring on the reef is simple with a small kayak anchor, make sure your line is long enough and you have a piece of bungee to take up any swell. Plenty of videos online on how to setup a kayak anchor but for spearfishing I just use a homemade bungee attached at the bow where I tie the anchor into. I leave some extra line and attach that close to the seat so I can retrieve the line easily.

I have no experience hunting BW with a kayak but I am sure it is possible. And yes you could use the kayak as float iin a breakaway system if you attach a bungee in between.
@ Musubi has BW kayak experience I am sure he can tell you more.
Any fairly cheap kayaks for under 800$ that you could recommend? Just checking the price for fusion 480 I would not consider paying 2.5k for a kayak, as the price slowly reaches the price of small zodiac with engine where its faster, safer and convenient for 2-3ppl.
Yes the Fusion is expensive at 1490€. For under 800$ I have no idea what I would recommend, probably best to look for a used kayak if your budget is limited.
For about 1000€ you can get the RTM Rytmo which I can highly recommend as a spearfishing platform.
 

musubi

Member
Feb 9, 2017
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When you mean strong winds how strong are you talking about? I've been thinkin about getting one, but the problem we get is the winds here in Canaries are usually very unfavorable where in most spear spots the wind blows parallel to the shore with avg 15-20knots+.

Since I never speared of off a kayak I have a questions:
1. How do you deal with anchoring in both reef and BW?
2. Is kayak used as a buoy for a gun in BW? If so how it doesnt break the line on innitial pull? Do you have to use long bungee line in effort to not break the set up?
For me, 15 knots is where it starts feeling a bit uncomfortable. 20 to 25+ knots is where I'd probably avoid going out. Winds also tend to push the kayak and you'll want a decent anchor and hold. Some of the spots I frequent, the wind blow out to sea. Trade winds are typically 25 knots blowing out and that can get sketchy, so I avoid kayaking in that until the trade winds die down. Even with my Hobie that can peddle through that, I just don't like being in that condition.

For your spearing questions: 1) I only anchor in reef, and at depths that I can comfortably unstuck it if needed. I use Blue Steel rope, 3/8" I think, at 100 feet. I have it daisy chained or coiled up, with a 2.5 lb anchor at the end. 2) For me, yes, I have a 100 ft bungee line attached to the bow of my kayak. At the bow it's clipped and attached to two stainless steel eyes that are bolted in, with backing, to my kayak. I can't talk big like I've shot big stuff with it. Just smaller game like mahi and ono. I imagine a large tuna could cause the kayak to tip to one side or another if the bungee is pulling unevenly at the bow. In that case amas or outriggers would be beneficial to have. I run this on one of my kayaks.
My 100 ft bungee is the Neptonics one that's cored with 1,600 lb spectra. Using that I wouldn't expect the line to break or max out right away. I also use the Neptonics clutch setup FWIW.

Just need to weigh out how much you could use your kayak if you got one. Could you safely use a smaller boat or RIB in your spots? If the wind blows along shore, I like to head into the wind and work my way back with the wind at my back. Mentally I feel safer about that.
 
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