-- Last Updated: Jun-12-13 10:07 AM EST --
The Eclipse is very similar to some kayaks I've owned (it is a carryover by Perception of an earlier line of sea kayaks it used to call "Aquaterra") and I would caution you about buying it as a beginner boat. IF it has a rudder it would indeed be a good choice for Lake Erie once you had gained the skills and experience. But the model is said to be "tender", meaning it will feel unstable to a novice. At 23" it is fairly narrow and has a deep vee hull. Great for wind, waves and speed on a large lake but not so great for trying to sit still and fish. It is also said to have a tendency to weathercock. I had a similar but somewhat lower volume Aquaterra model and can testify that weathercocking was a big problem with it -- it was a real pain to get it to track straight, even with the rudder down. As Celia said, a sit inside kayak is not the best choice if fishing is your primary motive. Also at 56 plus pounds it is rather heavy. You are slightly smaller than I am and I dislike wrestling boats over 45 lbs. Have you considered this aspect? I think it might be somewhat too high volume for your size, too. There are over 40 reviews of the model here at P.net (under the "gear guide" tab above) and many comment on it being a "big guy" boat. I think you would be swimming in it which is not good -- body contact is crucial in controlling a kayak. I really don't think this is the right boat for you.
The truth is you will not find a kayak that is perfect for pond and river fishing and canoodling but also competent for Lake Erie, which is essentially an inland sea. I think you need to focus on your short term immediate needs and get a boat that serves well for that. If in the future you decide that you want to try open water sea kayaking, then you can either trade up to a more capable boat or do what most of us do, pick up a second kayak specifically for that sort of outing, either by selling your first boat for an upgrade or keeping it and buying a new or used touring boat.
Dock & Launch Systems
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