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Old 01-28-2003, 10:18 AM
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ruge13 ruge13 is offline
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Inquiry from a friend...

A friend emailed me about SOT’s versus SIT’s asking my opinion. He said he was thinking about getting a kayak and wanted to put a trolling motor on it. So I got thinking about why anyone would want a SOT vs a SIT and trolling motors on them. In doing so I thought of a few questions and along with that, I realized I had opened a whole big can of worms…

My immediate thought was why would anyone want to put a motor on a kayak, doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose?? Is fishing in a kayak with a motor still kayak fishing or is it now a regular boat?

All the information I could find about motors was with references to SOT kayaks. To answer this question I poked around with a few definitions…

kay•ak : N Inuit qayaq Date: 1757
1 : an Eskimo canoe made of a frame covered with skins except for a small opening in the center for the paddler and propelled by a double-bladed paddle
fish•ing::N Date: 13th century
1 : the sport or business of catching fish

So if we added these two words together their meanings should become one...

Kayak Fishing - the sport or business of catching fish with or from an Eskimo canoe made of a frame covered with skins except for a small opening in the center for the paddler and propelled by a double bladed paddle.

Now if this is the generally accepted term used to describe our beloved sport than there seem to be a few assumptions made with various fishing crafts claiming to be kayak fishing vessels.
Lets start with the obvious, SIT's and SOT's.
When dissecting the definition of a kayak, you notice there is mention of a frame and skins. Most, yes I realize there are some, but most SIT and SOT do not have a frame and skins so these attributes will be substituted for polylink, plastic, Kevlar, or fiberglass making this feature equal amongst SIT and SOT. The second mention of a small opening in the center, does differentiate the SOT from the SIT.

The SIT, is by Inuit definition, a kayak sans frame and skins as previously stated. The deciding factor is the small centrally located hole. So it can be said that a SIT vessel is in deed a kayak in its purest sense. There is no doubt that some have been using the kayak to engage in the sport or business of catching fish as Inuit's coined the fraise in 1757. Although catching is not always part of the equation. So it can be concluded that when using a SIT in the sport of catching fish, you are in fact, "Kayak Fishing".

Now the SOT. As I said before, all else being equal, the difference lies in the small opening in the center. I have yet to see a SOT kayak with a small centrally located hole other than a hatch. So, if there is no centrally located hole for a paddler, than there is a lacking attribute and the SOT can not possibly by definition be a "kayak." Furthermore, by exclusion from this category, than one who is engaging in the sport of catching fish from this vessel cannot be, be definition, "kayak fishing" regardless of motor.

So, if a SOT is not a true "kayak" than yes this is a relatively new sport. And by new, I mean that there doesn't seem to be a term coined for this activity. So, this was my dilemma. I searched far and wide and could not find a suitable descriptive word for this type of fishing. I think we can all agree that this is "fishing" since from a SOT you do actually engage in the sport of catching fish. This is well documented. But what do we call the vessel?

I did a little searching and couldn’t really come up with too much in the way of more appropriate terminology..

There has been some discussion of a “kayak” with respect to a “fishing platform.” Again I consulted Webster and found…

plat•form :N
1 : a usually raised horizontal flat surface
2 : a vehicle used for a particular activity or purpose or to carry a usually specified kind of equipment

So now this makes sense!! SOT are fairly flat, and carry equipment. They are a vehicle of sorts in that they will transport an object from place to place and they are used for a popular activity. There you have it. So, now add our common fishing, and we have…

“Platform Fishing” : the sport or business of catching fish from 1 : a usually raised horizontal flat surface or 2 : a vehicle used for a particular activity or purpose or to carry a usually specified kind of equipment.

But how do you actually fish with a platform. Well you could cast, or you could troll. Or could you? Again Webster proves that there are voids in the sport!

Trolling: to fish by trailing a lure or baited hook from a moving boat

Now in recent discussions there was mention that a “kayak” is not a boat. It is a specific instrument. Well, than that means if I am trailing a lure or baited hook from a SIT , and to troll I have to be in a boat, and a “kayak” is not a boat, than I cannot by definition be trolling. I would just simply be trailing a lure or bait behind a kayak. I would however still be fishing since trolling, states that you would be fishing in doing so. Does the same would hold true for a “platform?” Is a platform a boat? Webster my friend, tell it like it is…

Boat: N a small vessel for travel on water.

So, we said that the Platform is a vessel, and it does travel on water. So, now we can say that the platform, albeit not a kayak, is in fact a boat. So that would mean that trailing a baited hook or lure behind a platform is in fact trolling and therefore “platform fishing.” I agree, yes it is.
So, we have classified the “platform” by another name, “Boat fishing.” This would be using a small vessel for travel on water to engage in the sport or business of catching fish.
There is no mention of boats needing a motor with regard to definition, so why not throw a motor on the back of your “platform” ‘cause it ain’t no kayak!! So now we have dropped the SOT and SIT distinction and we are left with kayaks and platforms.

Is putting a motor on the kayak, kayak fishing? Nope. From what I could find, motors are on largeer less energy eficient SOT vessels. This being said, we have just established that SOT are not kayaks and because of that, putting a motor on this boat would in no way change the sport of kayak fishing. Is it then “platform fishing,” well that’s for you to decide. We would be comparing apples and oranges
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  #2  
Old 01-29-2003, 09:13 AM
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Old 01-29-2003, 10:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by ruge13
Man tough crowd...tough crowd...
Hey... I'm still trying to figure out what it is I've been paddling
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Old 01-29-2003, 10:34 AM
RJ RJ is offline
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Shaun,

I think it would help if you had added Webster's defination of SOT!

sot n. A chronic drunkard. (ME, fool , Lat. Sottus)

I knew I liked my PUNGO for many reasons that I couldn't articulate.

I must confess, though - When I drink too much I try to sit on top of my PUNGO and end up looing like a fool!

That Webster's guy, Man is he smart!

Let the war begin! Wintertime and the fishin is frozen!
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Last edited by RJ; 01-30-2003 at 07:15 AM..
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Old 01-29-2003, 12:43 PM
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Old 01-29-2003, 03:00 PM
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yeah, Shaun, did you write that at home or (more likely) at the office? that's what I thought.

damned fine bit of analysis, too. scholarly, in fact. and, of course, as a kayak owner, I agree with you 100%! can you imagine trying to tell an Inuit that a SOT is a kayak... it'd make him weep.
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Old 01-29-2003, 08:35 PM
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Shaun,

A fine, scholarly analysis of the issues, as best as I have ever seen. Kudos to you!

Paul
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Old 01-30-2003, 09:19 AM
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Sorry guys,
You may certainly applaud the merits of the arguement but if you strictly apply the above definition of 'kayak' Pungos and similar vessels are also excluded due to the excessive size of the center opening.
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Old 01-30-2003, 10:24 AM
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This is fun isn't it???

So why would someone put a motor on a platform? Could it be to allow for ease of paddling? This might be due to the width of platforms being wider with more drag than most kayaks causing the need for excess energy to be expended. So why would someone choose a platform causing them to expend more energy when they could lose the motor and get a more energy efficient kayak? Most platform people say that there is better stability, and an ease of entry and re entry in comparison to using a kayak for fishing. Often, the same defense will also state that there is a compromise in speed and maneuverability. This argument suggests that the platform is a superior design for fishing. Sales pitch if I have ever heard one…
What is speed? Is this a word meaning velocity? I can paddle faster in a kayak vs. a platform? I don’t that word is used in its defined context. Anyone determined enough with enough energy can paddle any boat as fast or as slow as they want provided they have the energy to do so. I think Speed is a word used to paraphrase the amount of energy needed to move a particular boat over a given distance. So, some authorities believe that you don’t need “speed” for fishing. I completely disagree. I believe you need both definitions of the word. I can think of examples where I needed a higher velocity to get to fish. Usually in Run and gun situations. It is not always easy to outrun a 19 ft center console with twin 250’s on the back to busting fish. Assuming I have enough energy to do so, higher velocity is helpful. Now do this a few times in one morning and you start to slow down because you have to expend a lot of energy to get from place to place. Even paddling 3 or 4 miles exploring a new location will do this to you. So you need the paraphrased version. Over the long haul, Speed will allow you to paddle longer, farther and more efficiently. If I can stay on the water longer, get to fish faster, and cover more water in doing so, am I not using a vessel superior fishing design?
You be the judge.
I am verclempt, talk amongst yourselves. I wll give you a topic. Stability.....
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Old 01-30-2003, 10:59 AM
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Speed- You may want to consider a "platform" type boat as I think the hull shape may reach planing speeds quicker giving you a little more of an edge vs. twin 250 Merc's.

Stability- This should be good. I think you'll find the definition does not relate in anyway to any desirable qualities of a good kayak.
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Old 01-30-2003, 11:26 AM
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Stability ???

Good point Wes ..... so are Pungos kayaks? Canoes maybe? Clearly Shaun's definition is a work in progress. I'll kick around that stability issue for a while though.

So if it is accepted that platforms are more stable than kayaks, the question remains, is this a desirable trait? Are the attributes that are inherent in a more stable design beneficial to your chosen method of fishing? Width seams to be the determining factor when measuring stability. (Side note: are platforms equally stable upside down?) Problem as I see it is, wider is also slower unless the length of the kayak is increased proportionally. A kayak that is larger in all dimensions would have to be heavier and have greater contact with the water. More power would need to be exerted in order to attain ones desired speed. (Side note: are tandem kayaks still kayaks, either with single or double holes?) This I feel is not the way to go. Back to an increase in width alone. Would a wider yak be beneficial in these situations?


I for one enjoy water like this. Surfing down waves and punching through beach break is fun. These are also maneuvers which can get you a out of trouble when it hits. I must confess that I have only a few days of platform experience under my belt but I feel that if my kayak (TBD) were wider and I couldn't brace, it would be slower and these conditions would be more difficult to get through.
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Old 01-30-2003, 12:34 PM
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Surf-
It is more difficult in a wider boat but a properly fitted platform will have thigh straps which will allow you to put a good brace to it, albeit with a lot more muscle. The platform does allow you the option to bail quickly, however, when you blow it.

And then there are these
which seem to try evade the platform decription.

And if stabiity is a highly desirable quality then should I be paddling my kayak upside (where it is certainly in it's most stable position since I make such a good keel)?

PS: more than one hole or a large cockpit for more than one occupant would llikely be called an "Umiak" and these were reserved for use by women only, who would accompany the hunters to do the skinning, rendering and other chores that would be offensive to the hunters.

Last edited by Wes; 01-30-2003 at 12:51 PM..
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Old 01-30-2003, 12:45 PM
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I agree that speed is affected by hull design. Kayaks are deeper in the water than platforms and therefore more difficult to get on plane, but, I still support the idea that it takes less energy to maintain that speed over a given distance due to dimensions alone. But then how does that effect stability?

Yes RJ, that Webster is a Smart guy. He says that Stability is the property of a body that causes it when disturbed from a condition of equilibrium or steady motion to develop forces or moments that restore the original condition. I can't argue with Webster, he says the kayak is not stable by definition. And if I abandon my stance on definitions than I have to agree, the kayak is not stable and the platform can be viewed as a more stable vessel. However again I think this word is out of context.
Wes, also a smart man, I found a way to disagree with. As a kayak paddler I think you might find it in your heart to agree with the following... Although the above definition does seem a little contradictory to a stability argument for Kayaks vs. Platforms, many Kayak paddlers explain stability as a feeling of being one with the boat as a selling point. I agree. So when you have a paddler that is one with the boat, he or she also becomes part of the force or moment that returns the vessel to equilibrium. Simple example, the brace, extreme example, any form of roll, screw, Eskimo, what have you. Either way, even with paddle floats, the paddler becomes a force righting the kayak. So is the design less "stable." I can't argue with Webster, he says the kayak is not stable by definition and if I abandon my stance on definitions than I have to agree, the kayak is not stable. However I think this word is misused for our purposes. The platform I think would require a larger force to return from equilibrium in extreme conditions, surf for example. Like Sam said, if you are upside down how stable are you? When it counts, in dangerous situations, a skilled paddler in a Kayak has to exert far less energy to return his/her vessel to an original state of equilibrium. we can thank hull design for this. Even a flat hull, low Chine, wide kayak has an advantage over a relatively narrow platform. So, if it takes less energy to return the kayak to equilibrium for a paddler with some skill vs. the same paddler on a platform, then it can be said that the kayak is more stable, no?

This brings up another question, not that we don't have enough already to talk about, but how much does paddler skill level come into play on various boats?
We have not heard much from platform owners?

I think stability, as increased by paddler skill, is the highest desireable quality. Even the most "stable" (webster) design will be considered unstable by a paddler that has no skill...


The Pungo/Tandem argument brings up an interesting question....if you put a tarp over a canoe is it now a frame covered with skins leaving the paddler exposed (assuming you use a double bladed paddle)? Hmmm is it now a kayak?
I love the keel comment...hmmm I got nothing...I should clarify, I make the assumption that the paddler wishes to remain in an air breathing environment.
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Old 01-30-2003, 01:02 PM
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Well now you've introduced the different aspects of stability due to the dynamics of the proper operation of the craft which are usually called primary or initial, and secondary or final stability, either of which may be present in varying degrees in a design. Should keep you busy for a while defining those, by cracky.
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Old 01-30-2003, 01:26 PM
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Nahh, I don;t need to. In a well written and informative article by Jon Shein (JonS) on StriperSurf called Choosing a fishing kayak...

"Stability: Fishermen do things in a kayak that most people don't; they fish. Having a stable platform is very important, especially to the person who is new to the sport and kayaks. When kayakers discuss stability they talk about 2 types, initial and secondary. Initial stability is the side-to-side wobble that you feel when you sit in a kayak. Secondary stability is when the kayak is nearing its point of flipping and how much forgiveness it has before you flip. Many recreational kayaks that are used for fishing have tremendous initial stability but have a very abrupt secondary. When they reach their secondary limit you're literally dumped. Conversely there are kayaks that wobble like mad but are very forgiving when they come to the dump point. Since you sit on or near the floor of a SIK they tend to be more stable. In SOTs you sit on the kayak and since it has a double hull you sit higher. This higher sitting position obviously makes a SOT less stable. If you have 2 kayaks that are the same length and width the SIK will almost always be more stable"

So if stability makes a good fishing boat, the kayak is the one?

You also mentioned, as does JonS later in his article, that paddle skill or "proper operation of the craft" is important.
I couldn't agree more. I noticed a common theme from people I have talked to and articles I have read (probably not that many respectively). I will use another quote from JonS' article to summarize the theme.

" Initial stability is more important to beginners and secondary stability is more important to seasoned kayakers. It makes sense. The beginner hasn't developed a sense of balance yet. It's a lot like learning how to ride a bicycle. Once you're become accustomed to balancing its done unconsciously. When you start out its new so you think about it. After a while it becomes second nature and you don't think about it."

I have heard this from Rental owners as well. They use platforms for rentals for this reason. They sell well because most people are new to the sport and appreciate the simplicity. What this tells me is that there are a lot of inexperienced people on the water if the industry promotes vessels that do not require people to have a basic understanding of the ocean (opinion). Believe me I am not claiming to have an understanding I am very very new to this sport and I have been forced to be humble by the sea, even hurt sometimes, but it is that respect that I worry about with new people in the sport. If these boats are advertised as the answer, than will the confidence in the boat be dangerous to new paddlers who have not developed the skill or respect for the water? Hopefully people will learn lessons one at a time and develop the skill. I would hate to see someone get hurt because they were confident without reason to be. Sort of like teaching a little kid to swim with swimmies or floats and then letting them swim in the deep end without them. False sense of security. I know people use common sense but we all know what happens with that...

I digress...back to stability.... my fingers are tired.
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