Choosing a Tandem Kayak

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Hi Capt. Mel,

I listened to your show this morning and I need to know from someone other than a Kayak dealer. Is it easy to handle a Tandem (fishing) Kayak Solo? According to most dealers they say no problem, but I get the feeling they are just trying to make a sale… I am 60yrs. old and not as strong as I used to be… I need a tandem kayak because I fish with my son & friends, sometime I actually take my wife !!

Thanks a lot for your help.

“Happy Fishing”

Sal Ambrosino
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Dear Sal:

For an expert’s response, I have asked our resident kayak/paddle fishing expert and my co-host last Saturday — Neil Taylor to respond to your email.

Sal,

I’m glad you listened in to the show. Mel and I enjoy taking the questions and giving answers, whether it’s on the air or via email.

My original kayak was a tandem kayak. I used it to take someone along with me and also to get out by myself. I refer to this kayak as the “tank” because it was a cumbersome boat. I had great times using it but it wasn’t a very great paddling kayak.

You should really try to take a look at the Native 14 watercraft. I mentioned this one on the air. It’s a hybrid between a kayak and a canoe. You can take someone along with you and it’s a great, comfortable design. What it’s going to do for you is give you the comfort of a canoe but with the paddling capacity of a kayak. At 60 years old as you mentioned, this boat is going to handle better than other tandem kayaks that you’ll be considering. For the trips where you would go out by yourself, the seats adjust so that you can “center” yourself in that boat.

At Bill Jackson’s in Pinellas Park they have the boats there and a lake out back so you can try out the boat. If you show up there, tell them I sent you in there. It’s not a high pressure situation. They try to get people in the boats that they will like the best. That Native is a new boat this year and it’s going to cost a little more than other kayaks. But I think you’ll agree that if this boat is superior as far as meeting the needs you have, a little more money is worth it. And with the people it sounds like you take along with you: I’ll bet that this boat will make it a better experience for them.

You may find another option that works out well for you but this one might be the one that fits your situation.

NEIL

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Neil Taylor
Full time kayak fishing guide, Neil was an advocate for conservation since before the time he started guiding. Outdoor writer, speaker and radio show host, Neil connected closely with Captain Mel Berman and did many positives with Mel to promote ethical angling. After Mel passed away, Neil managed www.capmel.com and eventually became that web site’s owner.