Someone on the Facebook's D/FW Kayaking rightfully mentioned the price increase on a Hobie PA 14 for what looked to be just cosmetic things for the 2018 model. It is approaching $4000, then the endless and very expensive Hobie/and others' after-market add-ons. Whew!
I am constantly reassessing options. I use all three of my "rides" at different times.
I take the Propel 10 out and the Landing Gear makes this a snap. The downside is while I can stand to stretch, I can't stay up and fish unless it is dead water and no wind. And, while "first with reverse" is certainly a help, it is very situational. Just as often, I could get by with an anchoring plan.
I take the Big Rig out but I launch down at my boat house. It is heavy at about 105 lbs. as I have mine rigged . . . even pulling it down there with a C-Tug! It is slow, I think slower than my Meyers canoe. It is, though, a great paddle kayak for a big platform type vessel.
And, I leave my Meyers Sportspal S-15 down in the boat stall, use it all the time. The issue with an S-15 is its length is a bit too much for my tastes even with a bed extender. Fishing from the Meyers? It is a dream. This morning, I stood and paddled back up in and around the cove we live on. It is soooooooooo stable. I don't have it on the canoe now, but I have one of those folding lawn chairs with blades for legs instead of 4 feet . . . and it fits right in the canoe for a nice place to sit on occasion. It can straddle the bench seat, if I don't need it, I can fold it up and lay it flat.
If I owned nothing today, what would I buy with my current knowledge, with pricing the way it is?
I'd buy a Meyers Sportspal S-13
as it would be very hard to beat if fishing is one's only consideration. The "whys" are:
It weighs 57 lbs. This means it can be hand carried on a shoulder or overhead from the top of a car or back of a truck for most athletic men and some women. It eliminates the need for a trailer, even a cart. This is a big deal. I'd likely use a cart so I could load it and make a single trip most of the time.
It is 13'2" in length and 38" wide/ 44" wide with its sponsons (a boat collar). These are, coincidentally, the approximate measurements of a PA 14 and the length a rather standard one for many SOT kayaks. But, the whole canoe is so open: more places to stand, more room for very light Styrofoam ice chests, maybe one for gear, another for food and drinks, even another with ice for fish. And, it has endless opportunities to customize it for placing rods, paddles, stake-out poles, and more.
Because it is almost 100 lbs. lighter than a PA 14, it glides over the water better with much less draft. It'd easily out-paddle a Hobie PA 12 or 14 I suspect, though I have never paddled a Hobie. No, it wouldn't paddle as fast as a Hobie could pedal . . . but for a few bucks . . .
The S-13 has a square stern (the S-14 is double pointed and I'd buy this one if I knew I'd never power up) and it is designed to take up to a 3 hp outboard motor or a TM. I'd go small here and likely use a $99 Minn Kota C2 30 and use a set up like Kevin Dismuke and others rig up where a steering rod is used to steer and an actuator to lift and lower the TM. For a couple of hundred bucks invested in a TM, a battery, etc., you could push around all day. Or, you could use it to get to far off fishing sites then back to the launch area. The rest of the day, you could just paddle.
Standability? My S-15 is MUCH more stable standing than my Big Rig kayak which is considered one of the best kayaks for standing (I agree). I assume that the S-13, at the same width but two feet shorter, would be only slightly less stable. Still, it'd exceed almost all other kayaks for anyone wishing to stand at least some of the time. This really opens up a whole host of additional fishing presentations that involve long casts or very accurate casts, pitching, etc.
Because of its light weight, its very shallow draft and high sides, I'd want an anchor trolley, a stake-out pole and an Anchor Wizard. Between these three things and a brush clip, I think one could "hold water" very well and move quickly.
Tandem: Although it says capacity is up to 4 people, I have found that two large men can fish from an S-15 easily. I have had 475 lbs. of "people," me and a big friend, and we fished all of Wheeler Branch's perimeter over a long day. So, when a buddy shows up from out of town, a grand kid or two, you name it, one vessel works just fine. No second vessel needed for these social outings.
So, not a bad option: about $1300 for the canoe, $99 for a TM, another $99 for a battery, $99 for an Anchor Wizard, a $20 simple lawn chair with blade legs (talk about comfort!!!), a couple of Styrofoam containers, maybe a milk crate with some rod storage, a paddle. Sure, there is more one could and likely would add but these come to mind.
I think the whole thing could come in at < $2000 with the TM power option included.