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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Need some help choosing a (fly) fishing SUP. I've tried fishing from a kayak, but it feels cramped, hard to turn or move, and I like being able to stand and cast. I have a Hobie i11s and a 10' iSUP, but want one I can take places where I am not sure about an inflatable (i.e., around 'gators and oyster shells). I've looked at some of the wider kayaks that are stable enough to stand in, but they all seem to have foot braces, consoles or cup holders or other cr*p to step on, trip over, or get fly line tangled (like the Hobie pedals). I want to be able to stand and move and cast without worrying about where I step.

Right now, I am looking at the L2Fish, Dragonfly, Kaku Kahuna, YOLO Fisher, and Bote Rackham. The L2 is expensive, and I am told it tracks great but is hard to turn/maneuver. The Bote and Dragonfly are light, but they are also expensive and I worry about durability. The Kahuna is less than half the price of the most expensive ones, and Kaku also makes the Voodoo, which looks super stable. The Kakus are heavy, but seem really durable. The YOLO looks decent, with good bungee and tie-down placement, and @ 35" wide seems really stable.

Weight is important, as I have to car-top it and have only an inflatable Malone Handi-rack (no permanent roof rack). The Kaku is heavier than is ideal, but I can live with it if the durability and features are right. Price is a consideration, but it will not be a deciding factor.

Does anyone have any experience with these boards and a recommendation for which is the best choice?
 

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Dragonfly is very stable and comfortable with ice chest to sit down or use as casting platform. It is lighter than Kaku but much more expensive. As for car topping, the 13’6” model is pretty unwieldy to get on top of a mid size SUV single handed. It is beautiful though. The YOLO is somewhat more manageable to single hand but lacks the skiff-like properties of the Dragonfly hull. The L2 looks incredibly stable and spacious. I have a Dragonfly and once I get it in the water it’s great but ended up having to get a trailer because just couldn’t car top it alone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The YOLO is somewhat more manageable to single hand but lacks the skiff-like properties of the Dragonfly hull. The L2 looks incredibly stable and spacious. I have a Dragonfly and once I get it in the water it’s great but ended up having to get a trailer because just couldn’t car top it alone.
The weight and practicality of car-topping is my primary concern, and a trailer is not really an option. That is the main reason that I have the inflatables. The Bote Rackham is only 41 lbs, which is lighter than my el-cheapo kayak, and I know that I can put that on the car myself. It is 12'-6" long and 32" wide, which makes it the same width as the Dragonfly and just 1' shorter. It is narrower than the YOLO but seems like it may have a little more "skiff-like" shape, although not as much as the Dragonfly. I am clearly not going to find the "perfect" option, so I am going to have to compromise somewhere. West Marine has the Bote on sale until the end of the month. That is sooner than I planned to buy, but for $$$ off, maybe I need to jump on it (literally?).

On the other hand, I've heard of people shark fishing from inflatables, and I don't actually intend to ever fish for sharks, so maybe I just need to get over my anxiety about the inflatables. Bote makes an inflatable Rackham that I've seen in the store, and it is impressively large (38" wide) and stable, and rock-hard when inflated, but weighs only 45 lbs and will fit in my car. Other than being inflatable, it seems like the perfect board for me.
 

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I saw a Bote Rover today and was really impressed, but I don't think it meets your budget or car top requirements. That said, I used to car top a butt-awful heavy square back canoe solo. I used a pair of wheel to move the boat around, it was no where near as hard as it might seem if you were to try picking that thing up all by yourself. It helped that an extra scratch or scuff on my Honda Civic was well past being noticed.
 

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My $0.02, only having fished off the rental boards. If you’re reasonably coordinated, anything in the 30-32” range isn’t a big deal. The super wide boards paddle like bathtubs, but might be necessary if you’re on the clumsy side.

The most challenging aspect of fly fishing from a paddle board is controlling it while actually fishing. For me, Bote wins at this hand down. The paddle sheath and tackle rac along with stake out holes will be an absolute game changer compared to boards that cannot accept accessories. I typically just lay my fly rod down between my feet facing forward, but crossing rough water it would be really nice to have it secured in a rod rack and stake out pole next to it that could quickly be dropped through the board. With a 5-7 mph wind you will get blown across a flat so quickly you can hardly make a cast. It’s insane. I was down in Key West this summer and was moving about as quickly as I can paddle at top speed when it started gusting a little bit.
 

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I have to say that the Rover is intriguing for all the accessories that Bote has available as well as for the convenience of a small outboard. With wind turning you into a sail and/or paddling against current it can be really hard to control the board and fish.
 

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I have to say that the Rover is intriguing for all the accessories that Bote has available as well as for the convenience of a small outboard. With wind turning you into a sail and/or paddling against current it can be really hard to control the board and fish.
One thing I haven’t tried from a SUP is using a push pole. From my experience, poling works MUCH better than paddling with very small skiffs in windy or tidal conditions.
 

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I would skip bote in general. Had a rackham and the construction is garbage. Very easy to ding and suck water once opened up. I have an enormous amount of experience building surfboards and fiberglass work, so I would say I qualify to make that statement. The L2 is very well made but is a pain to move. Unbelievably stable and is perfect for fly if you can get the car top dialed in. No other hands on experience with the other brands, so I cannot comment. The only good thing about the bote was its tracking.
 

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I have some experience on a few of these. Mostly the YOLO Fisher. I fished a whole cobia season on one of those. It is super stable. Fished in the Gulf on it every weekend looking for Cobia along the FL panhandle. I have tried the L2 once. It does track very well and it is hard to turn. And you can accessorize it. I have never fished a Bote but lots of guys around here have them and one of the things I like about them is the ability to use a stake out pole. Up here most bottoms are hard sand so you can't just stake out like in mud. But the Bote comes with the anchor pole built in which is nice because for me fishing on a SUP when there was wind or current was frustrating when you want to stop and you have to drop a real anchor. So I like that idea. Good luck.
 

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Get the l2fish and don't look back. Nothing even comes close to comparing. The durability concerns on other sups are real. The L2 is built like a tank and I beat the hell out of mine, still goes strong. As previously mentioned it's a slight pia to turn, but let's be real are you fishing or doing a slalom course? Standing on coolers to fish, throwing cast nets, hunting.. it's more stable than a small jon! I don't work for them- I just love that board. Finally, the pp micro anchor on it is priceless. Just bite the bullet and drop the coin if you can make it happen budget wise. If you want a cheaper option like stakeout hole on the l2fish you could fab one up with a piece of starboard that is anchored between the sponsons in the back with a hole in it and rubber gasket.
 

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Get the l2fish and don't look back. Nothing even comes close to comparing. The durability concerns on other sups are real. The L2 is built like a tank and I beat the hell out of mine, still goes strong. As previously mentioned it's a slight pia to turn, but let's be real are you fishing or doing a slalom course? Standing on coolers to fish, throwing cast nets, hunting.. it's more stable than a small jon! I don't work for them- I just love that board. Finally, the pp micro anchor on it is priceless. Just bite the bullet and drop the coin if you can make it happen budget wise. If you want a cheaper option like stakeout hole on the l2fish you could fab one up with a piece of starboard that is anchored between the sponsons in the back with a hole in it and rubber gasket.
How do you transport your L2?
 

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My 2 cents, and you will find the same 2 cents in other post to the same/similar question...
Dragonfly 13.6 is on the top of my list, L2 next, then Bote Rackham. Both the DragonFly and L2 are built like a boat, Gelcoat/fiberglass 2 part mold put together deck to hull. The bote is built like a surfboard foam eps blank shaped then covered with epoxy and a couple/few layers of light glass with painted on graphics. No experience with YOLO but would guess even though they call it hammer strength its likely same as the Bote.
The Kaku and similar product from Native & OK, are rotomolded plastic..
DragonFly & L2 are both lighter than the Rotomold kayaks/SUP products, and heavier than EPS over Foam product. Both DragonFly and L2 are tuff as nails, as are the Roto-mold products if you are looking for durability, but both can be much more easily be repaired when damaged.

My problem is similar to yours, weight, due to medical issues. I paddle a beater eps/foam SUP not designed for fishing. Its not durable but on calm days its OK for stand up sight fishing skinny waters where I fish... I've patched damaged areas no problem, but the worst that that can happen, has not happened, but I'm always aware of it.. is for you to hit something and puncture the hull where water can get in to the foam, that is not a simple fix.

I also car top and have no use or desire to get a trailer, I launch most places where you can't use a trailer nor could you legally park one there.

I had a DF 13.6 for several months and it was great, but just over my weight limit for handling. On/off the roof is only a small part getting it to/from the back yard to the car and the water is a bigger issue. Even the DF listed at 45 pounds I'd venture to say its closer to 50 with the Sea Deck, 5" hatch, and shallow water fin... My limit is abut 40 pounds. I found that loading was not that bad lift one end prop it on the rack and then slide it from the other, but up a rocky bank or down a slippery trail was not easy.

Bote 12' is listed at 43 pounds, the 14 is 46, not much lighter than the DF.

Kaku is heavier, I think one s 66 and the other is 77.

Lightness go with a EPS/Foam, just get some epoxy and carry some 5 minute stuff or sun cure with you.
Durability go with RotoMold.
DragonFly vs. Bote Rackham vs L2Fish... thats kind of a personal choice, there is likely not 10% difference in the fit, finish, features, and fishability in these.

If Bote comes out with a Rackham in the GatorShell material it would maybe move to the top of my list. I'd be happy with a GatorShell HD which is lighter but perhaps less stable than the Rackham. The Rackham 14 is the older Ahab with a new name.

One difference in the DF and the Bote is that bow design, the Bote is a V entry but cust through the wave's, where the DF is a V-bow like a skiff and rides up and thru the waves and like a microskiff if you walk forward to the bow it will lean to one side or the other.
The L2/L4 may feel a bit more stable with the catamaran like hull when walking around, but has less deck space.

If I hit the lottery I'd go to DragonFly boatworks/paddleboards talk to Mark and get them to build me a kevlar or carbon build of the DragonFly 13.6 under 40 pounds. I'd also give Live WaterSPorts the same option to build a version of the L2/L4 lighter than 40 pounds, the catamaran hull is a great option. I fish skinny flats and don't run slalom courses.

I also have a 14'4" kevlar solo canoe that weighs 38 pounds, and floats in much skinnier water than an SUP, spit or slippery mud is all it needs, but is not easy to stand in.

That DragonFly was quiet as a mouse, paddled or poled well in all conditions, and is built by boat builders fthat fish or fishing specifically, has a clean clear deck for fly fishing and I could stand or sit, or even stand on the cooler...
 

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Perfect assessment krash. The stake out hole on the bote is terrible if you are in current. The force of the pole to the edges of the stake out hole will cause the area around the hole to crack and take on water. I’ll give it to the bote guys for awesome marketing. I was 100% sold by the marketing alone.

L2 is in a league of its own regarding finish and fishability.
 

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One thing I haven’t tried from a SUP is using a push pole. From my experience, poling works MUCH better than paddling with very small skiffs in windy or tidal conditions.
I used to fish out of a Diablo (kind of hybrid sup/kayak) and always poled. Moonlighter makes a 10ft pole that works pretty well. It was the only way to do any sort of reasonable sight fishing
 

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I read the whole thread. Current, wind, tippy, alligators and sharks. I know I'm a chramugen and if I were 19-25 I may want a SUP. But I can't see why, for that amount of money you couldn't find a little boat that weights 85lbs a cooler to stand on and a push pole or long paddle IMHO
 
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Have you considered a canoe?

I have a SUP (Cayo 122) and a canoe and unless the wind is blowing I much prefer to stand and pole the canoe around.
 

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Question for sup guys.

When you load and unload and launch do you ever damage your tracking fins ?
It looks like they would get beat up all the time.
Also is a stake out anchor and line less efficient than a hole in the board ?
 

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I will add a vote for a canoe. I have a 14ft old town. 60 lbs, easy to get on a car and carry. Very easy to stand up in, and I can carry gear. Mine is set up to row from a middle seat. It is easy, I have used it around Englewood for over 15 years and will use it for another 15 with any luck.
 

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Question for sup guys.

When you load and unload and launch do you ever damage your tracking fins ?
It looks like they would get beat up all the time.
Also is a stake out anchor and line less efficient than a hole in the board ?
I have a bonefish hippies skeg on my board...made from aluminum...its like a SUP kick stand, very durable.

I'm not a fan of the stake out pole through the skupper hole. Never have been...even on my Diablo. Mainly for two reasons...1) the board will pivot around that pole in any wind or current and 2) it adds additional stress to the board and will wear over time.

I got a little 5# mushroom anchor and tethered it to the board. It rides near my feet so that when I see fish or want to stop I can quicky and quietly slip it over the side without having to fumble too much. All I have to do is adjust the length of rope to the depth. Works the same on the canoe as well.
 
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