I have a Stealth Fusion 480. It is a paddle kayak. The advantage of this type of fishing kayak is it's surf launch capability and speed/maneuverability. From my perspective, the downside of a paddle kayak is not being able to have your hands free. If fighting a big fish, I am unable to pull the fish away from structure without putting the rod down. The other kayakers I fish with have Hobie outbacks. After hooking up, they are able to pull the fish away from structure with their pedal drive system while holding onto the rod at the same time.
Pedal kayaks also require less overall effort as your legs are much stronger than your upper body. However, I found that it didn't take long for my fitness to build up and I could comfortably paddle 10kms + without getting too tired.
I mainly fish inshore but would do the rare offshore trip (weather/conditions permitting). I spent the previous season mainly targeting kingfish. I mainly caught them with micro jigs but have also caught them using live baits, fresh strip baits and soft plastics.
In terms of the sounder, this is an essential piece of kit to have (in my opinion). It makes it so much easier to read the structure, find the bait, find the fish and not waste too much of your time. I have a garmin striker plus 5CV. You won't need anything too fancy. You can achieve quite a lot with just the basic features.
Some things to be mindful of:
- Your reels will get exposed to a lot of salt water. It's worth having reels that are sealed.
- If going offshore, or even being inshore, I would bring with you a VHF hand held radio and an EPIRB. You rather have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. I did my VHF course through Marine Rescue NSW and found it to be very helpful.
- I would practice how to flip and re-enter your kayak after getting knocked off. This will save you a lot of stress and anxiety for when/if it happens.
Happy to answer any additional questions you have.