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Castaway 116 Description

Castaway 116 Reviews


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Pelican International
Castaway 116 Reviews

Read reviews for the Castaway 116 by Pelican International as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!

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I must start by saying that…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/5/2015
I must start by saying that my Pelican kayak is an older version of the Castaway 11'6" that I bought used for $200, back in 2008(?). It is nearly identical to the newer Castaway but has a small hatch just behind the seat and came with a slightly different paddle. It also seems to be made of a more durable plastic than the newer models. The man I got it from said he had it at least 2 yrs. but didn't use it much. I, on the other hand, have spent easily hundreds of hours on this thing.

I'd say it is an excellent entry-level boat. I have taken it on lakes, rivers, small streams, and some Class 2-3 rapids. This is not a white-water kayak but you can definitely have some fun. I mainly fish from my sit-on-top Pelican. I take rods, tackle, drinks and snacks, and sometimes camping gear. I am 6'1" 150lbs., so I am fairly agile and have stood up on this boat many times. It has spent the better part of 7 yrs. on top of my ride waiting for any chance to sneak down to the water. The sun and riverbeds have yet to warp or crack the hull. It even survived a tornado that went directly over head- no kidding!

The reviews of the newer models say the scupper holes separate and water enters the hull; I have not had this problem. The new ones at "Academy" sport stores do seem to be made from a lighter, cheaper plastic and many of the metal components on mine are now plastic on the new ones.

I have replaced some handles and straps after years of use. The hatches are not water tight if you're in heavy waves or rain, but they can be modified easily. The seat will hold water, too. I wish it was angled differently, so that the water ran forward into the foot peg area and down the scuppers instead of pooling in the seat, but its only a minor inconvenience; you get a little wet.

Overall, I am more than happy with this 'yak. It has brought me hours of fun and enjoyment. I recommend looking for a used one online; this will save you some money and you can see what you like and dislike, and what you actually want/need if you consider upgrading. The best fishing kayaks are upwards of $2000 new, and I find it hard to believe that you get 10X more fun from them. Ditch the front rod holder, replace it with a graph or GoPro, upgrade the seat, seal the hatches, and install an anchor trolley-- and still be well under the price of a new boat.


I have had my kayak I believe…

Submitted by: paddler236232 on 5/18/2015
I have had my kayak I believe since 2005 I have taken it in both fresh water, brackish water, and on the surf. I weigh about 270lbs and go down to around 240lbs during the year and have no problem with this kayak fusing for fishing or camping off of river or bayou.

As per some post I have seen I wonder why if the kayak is messed up or cracked the person doesn't buy plastics welder and fix the damaged product?
As per comment I seen about scupper holes letting water in I bought scup lugs which let water drain but not let water in worth the few dollars.
In regards to faint water inside kayak I haven't had issue but clean and inspect kayak before and after use and repair where needed might be from being in military but no problems here except a Academy Sports doesn't sell any longer by where I live and would love to get one more. Have about 2 tandems and a few of Pelicans other kayaks but still like this first one.


A light, nimble, stable boat.…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/6/2014
A light, nimble, stable boat. I want to start out by saying that this was my first kayak, and that I don't fish. I used it for 2 night camping trips, it had enough room for my tent in the dry storage,and room for 2 medium dry bags, a 3 gallon bucket, a 18 can cooler, and an axe and some other tools. Stable enough to stand up an paddle if you have half way decent balance. easy to get in and out of, light enough to for me to carry by my self, and I am 5'8" 135 lbs.

My only complaints are that the seat back straps kind of stretch after a full day of paddling, but that should not deter you from it, because you can easily add a aftermarket seat. I also didn't care for the adjustable paddles because of the seat, I kept adjusting my sitting position and had to adjust the foot pegs, I think my next kayak will have the multiple molded in foot pegs.

I really liked this kayak and only sold it because I had hit difficult times and used it only a few times a year, but I would definitely recommend this kayak, great product for the price.


I have fished the pelican…

Submitted by: matthellard on 7/3/2014
I have fished the pelican castaway several times on the river as well as on watershed lakes and ponds. I have found it to be stable and it tracks well. I also find it easy to fish out of. I think it has plenty of room as well.

Bought mine for a $140.00 at…

Submitted by: paddler235492 on 4/7/2014
Bought mine for a $140.00 at Sports Authority because a customer beat it up and put a crack at one of the scupper holes, which for me was fine because I was planning on reinforcing the scupper holes anyways. Used West System G/Flex and haven't had an issue yet. Front hatch leaks a little which isn't too bad unless you get caught in bad weather, which my brother and I are notorious for getting caught in. So much so that we've earned the nick name "The Sh*tty Weather Sailors".

General complaints about the Castaway:
1. Scupper Holes split open where they are supposed to be fused together - Just use a combo of G/Flex and fiberglass - cost roughly $50.00
2. Leaky front hatch - annoying at the most but fixable
3. Its a little Tippy - to me its kind of like riding a motorcycle. you learn to twist your upper body vs throwing your weight around to turn. by the time you master the Castaway, you'll be able to do cartwheels on a more expensive Triton
4. Doesn't Track well - this is true however this has a lot to do with how you paddle as well. I can actually outrun my brother in his luxury Triton with all the bells and whistles

Over all if your not paying retail, if your creative and aren't scared of a little elbow grease this kayak is a good starter. I paid $140.00 and wasn't sure if like a new puppy to a child, kayaking was going to be something that was going to lose its original luster. 2 years later, I'm still kayaking and loving my "beater".


I have owned my Castaway for…

Submitted by: bradbrown1997 on 7/25/2013
I have owned my Castaway for about 3 years. I live 3 hours away from a place to float it, so I did not want to spend a lot of money on a kayak. It was easy on the wallet, but later you will want to add a better paddle. The hull is strong, but it gets hot in the sun. I love the storage space in the hull.

Overall, I would recommend the Castaway to anyone who just wants to get on the water and doesn't want to spend a lot of money.


I bought this boat for my 12…

Submitted by: savorydave on 7/25/2013
I bought this boat for my 12 year old son. It was a good price and it came set up to fish. He loves it and I'd say it is worth the money. I do see some problems. It does seem to take on water, either from the seam or the hatch. Its also a bit slow, but it tracks fairly well. It's a good starter boat.

I've had the Pelican Castaway…

Submitted by: paddler235060 on 6/24/2013
I've had the Pelican Castaway for 6 years now and am very happy. I fish mostly rivers with lots of rocks and shallows many times each year. The kayak has survived all the collisions. Also open lake water. Tracks reasonably with experience, I found it was mostly me that wasn't straight lol. Not the fastest kayak but quite stable. Turns well, have an anchor trolley. The rear hatch is totally accessible, you do have to reach behind you and need to master the maneuver. I can also reach my cooler in the rear bungeed area. Great buy for the money.

This kayak was my first kayak…

Submitted by: paddler235013 on 5/22/2013
This kayak was my first kayak I ever purchased and I gotta say it was worth the price. Sure it has its problems but it's a steal. The trackin on it ain't too hot but it gets ya from point a to point b. In the description it says "good for lakes and slow river" but I live in Jacksonville FL along the St. John's river and I tell you on a bad day that river has the fastest currents and huge swells and my kayak never sunk. I took Down the Swuanee and other rivers. Great for fishin and the best part is this can float in 8" of water. Very reliable and easy to clean. I purchased mine from academy sports and outdoors (only in the south) for 375.
Good luck and have fun

Very thin in construction, I…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/14/2012
Very thin in construction, I am afraid to get a hole punctured into it. Very bad tracking. Reasonably stable .The OEM seat is worthless and the hatch behind the seat is NOT accessible whilst on the kayak. I am going to sell this one and get a Tarpon 120 from Wilderness.

Horrible kayak to use in the…

Submitted by: paddler234722 on 8/20/2012
Horrible kayak to use in the surf. I use it to drop my bait out for shark fishing. I have to empty out the kayak every time I do a run because it fills up with so much water. This wouldnt be a big problem, but by the time I get to the second san bar there is so much water in the kayak that it makes paddling extremely difficult because all the water is adding weight and it tends to swish back and forth throwing off your center of balance. It's a decent kayak if your just in flat water, but an extremely dangerous kayak to use in the surf. It is not uncommon for almost the whole kayak to be submerged under water when I try and paddle out into the surf. Wouldn't recommend this kayak to anyone unless your fond of swimming your kayak back to the beach.

Good kayak. I take it down…

Submitted by: paddler234631 on 6/30/2012
Good kayak. I take it down the Hiwassee river in Tenn. and found that the drain holes don't drain as quickly as i would like but i know that it is not made for whitewater. I found water does get in the front compartment but putting something under the straps helps keep it tight. I also drilled small holes on top and put several cans of spray foam in the hull for water displacement so it can not fill up too much and cannot sink. Works great for me!

I purchased the Pelican…

Submitted by: paddler234581 on 6/9/2012
I purchased the Pelican Castaway 116 because it had all of the features; I was looking for and a price that was very reasonable in comparison to the others. After I got home with the kayak my wife saw all of the negative review on the internet and I was a little disappointed but keep it any way.

This has been the best decision I have made. The kayak doesn’t track like a $800 or $1,500 dollar kayak but its not the worst either and with proper paddling skills you wont even notice it. In regards to storage and weight it does very well. I weigh 200lbs and I carry a 5 gallon bucket, tackle in the back and first aid kit with extra paddle and no problems.

I held off on writing this review because I wanted to see if the negative review that people posted were true. I have enjoyed this kayak and did thing that I did think I could based on what people said. You can sit side ways and cast your rod or reach for something in the back without tipping over.

I guess the last thing I don't like is the seat if it gets wet you will be wet for the duration of your trip.


I bought the Pelican Castaway…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/3/2012
I bought the Pelican Castaway 116 based on price in 2009. I have used it ever since. This year, the kayak slowly takes on water. I troll for blues, mackeral, and gator trout etc for about 90 minutes and have to go back in to the beach to drain the kayak. I go out every afternoon after work for 3 hours. This is the first year that I have had this problem. Based on what I am reading this is a problem in the seams. I'm going to fill the boat with expanding foam completely to see if this will save the kayak from being thrown away. If not then I'm going to upgrade. If it will and the ride is acceptable, then I will continue to use it. I never use the storage compartment in the front and water probably is getting in there too. I take this yak out in 3-6 foot waves and the seal isn't that tight in the front.

Read numerous poor reviews of…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/14/2012
Read numerous poor reviews of the castaway 116. I even saw a few reviewers call it the Pelican, "Throwaway 116." I decided to try it out after watching several YouTube videos of people who had customized this boat and were happy with it.

I got my castaway at Sports Authority on sale for $419.99. I took it home and tested the scupper holes for leaks after reading that there have been issues with leaks in the scupper hole seams. Using a flashlight, I was able to see that there were no leaks anywhere on the boat. I took it up on the Snake river the following day to Dalton lake, a small body of water along the river. I am 6'2" and 265 pounds so I was anxious to see how well the castaway would support me. The boat was rated at 275 lb. capacity and as I got into the seat water began coming up through the scupper holes in the foot well and in the rear storage deck. Aside from the wet ride, I was pretty happy with the performance for the price. The boat was better than average in stability and tracking was satisfactory. The fishing amenities proved very practical, and I was able to land several trout that day.

I took it out again several days later, this time plugging the scupper holes with rubber plugs from Home Depot. The ride was almost totally dry and I was able to pack an additional 25 lbs. of gear. I kayaked down 7 miles of the Columbia river starting north of Richland, WA. The kayak handled just fine in the at times swift current and was able to fish freely the whole time.

This boat, while not a Hobie, works great for the price and i am pleased with it so far.


Castaway 116: did a good job…

Submitted by: elsouthers on 7/20/2011
Castaway 116: did a good job for awhile then a hole developed in the seam weld inside the aft scupper hole. Within 10 minutes after launch I was stern down and then capsized. Luckily the water was only 2 feet deep and I had help. Took me 2 days to find the hole. Bummer. I replaced this kayak with a one-piece Perception, I'm happier now.

I live in South Florida. I…

Submitted by: paddler234158 on 7/20/2011
I live in South Florida. I just got back from testing this kayak out for the 4th time... This kayak is unpredictable for ocean fishing or be in the water one minute you fine and then you sink slowly.. the sinking can be fixable but I don't recommend it; just get a better kayak... Open the front hatch look inside facing the kayak you going to see the two front holes are not one single piece hole is a two piece.. That means top of the plastic kayak is hole and the bottom of the plastic kayak has another hole; put it together leaves a space between does holes there is your leak.. Be careful with this kayaks get your money back and find a better one.

I would not recommend this…

Submitted by: paddler233476 on 7/20/2011
I would not recommend this kayak. The seat is very uncomfortable, the hatch always leaks and it is extra heavy. It tracks ok but it'd be well worth it to buy a single piece kayak.

I bought the Castaway 116…

Submitted by: elsouthers on 7/19/2011
I bought the Castaway 116 about 3 years ago "used" from a guy I met while looking for a new fishing kayak. I liked it at first, used it 2 seasons and caught a lot of fish. First time out this year was for a paddle trip on a lazy river in central Wisconsin, the Mecan River. Within 5 minutes after launch I noticed that there was more water than ever before in the leg and seat area. My wife, from her kayak, noticed that my butt was riding low in the water. Couldn't figure it out but basically I sank within 10 minutes, finally capsizing when I took a stroke toward shore to get out and try to find the problem. There were no obvious problems so we dumped the water and started again. Same problem, we were wise to it so I didn't dump again. Ended up shifting people around (we had one canoe in the group) and towed the empty Castaway for the rest of the trip. My fishing was ruined for the day but otherwise it was a decent paddle.

Now, to the problem and the reason I'm writing the review:
When I got home and tried to find the leak it was almost impossible. I finally thought to put a flashlight inside the hull and look for light shining through after dark. I could see a tiny bit of light coming through the seam between hull pieces inside the stern-deck scupper hole. This seam is at or under the surface while paddling. I plugged the scupper hole completely with expanding foam and paddled it for 15 minutes or so this morning. It appears to have worked but, after reading about other seam issues here, I don't trust it. I bought myself a new one piece Perception kayak today, will try it out tomorrow.
Good paddling and good fishing to all!


I purchased this kayak and…

Submitted by: paddler233962 on 4/27/2011
I purchased this kayak and put it in the river just today, and I must say that I have had a blast with it. I'm new to kayaking and being somewhat disabled I had a little doubt about being able to launch and retrieve it, but that was a piece of cake. The kayak is very easy to paddle upstream, is quick to maneuver once you are familiar with it, and has a lot of room to store stuff. The cup holder, as mentioned in these reviews, is rather shallow and without care you can spill your beverage of choice, but that is peanuts in the scheme of things and can be easily rectified by gluing in another one.

I rolled this kayak over getting into it the first time and the seal on the storage hatch worked just fine, nothing got wet. I just use this on the Colorado River in Texas so I don't know how good it is in big rapids, but if you want a kayak to just do some cruising and fishing on a relatively tame river or lake this will do you good. For a paddle I got the Pelican Poseidon Paddle, trust me, that paddle works well with this kayak. I am pleased with this product, a good deal at a fair price. $379 at Academy.


I found this kayak is really…

Submitted by: paddler233763 on 8/16/2010
I found this kayak is really a junk. I bought 2 Pelican 116, one for myself and the other one for my son. We took it out to the gulf last week. The kayak sunk (completely submerged) in the middle of the gulf about 250 yards from shore. I swam and dragged the kayak to dryland. Came to find out the seam is not completely sealed, so the water was coming in very quickly.

After I have done some research, it appears that it is very common for Pelican 2 piece kayak. I called the place I bought it from. They said very strange, this is the first one this year. What he really meant is, I have 4 replaced last year with the same issue. But that just to tell you the design is flawed and the quality control is poor. If you need some reliable, I will not recommend this. If you're looking for something and you don't care if it sunk. then this would be a cheap one to get.

Good luck, I swam 40 mins to get to shore with the heavy water loaded kayak. I hope your luck is better than mine.


Got the Castaway 116 DLX,…

Submitted by: paddler233671 on 6/30/2010
Got the Castaway 116 DLX, took it out, tracking is still a little off. No problems with front hatch sealing or tightening enough to be water proof. I am 6.2 235lbs and my butt stayed dry the entire trip... until I tried to get out at the landing. I was able to draft much shallower places than the Ocean Kayak following me. He kept getting stuck. Ditch the short knuckle busting free paddle, it is crap. Overall, my hull stayed dry, not a drop inside. Was very comfortable if I sat in a proper paddling position, and was much faster than other yaks out that day. Very happy with my cheap kayak.

I don't have any problems…

Submitted by: paddler233555 on 4/26/2010
I don't have any problems with this boat. Sure I broke the strap as well but only caused I forced it too tight. I bought the same strap from Wal-Mart for less than a buck and fixed it. I don't take it out in the surf. I just take it out in the flats fishing for reds and trout. Sometimes I go bass fishing in lakes or rivers with it but overall it handles just fine. The front hatch is too far to reach when your in the boat but I just assumed it was for storing extra rods or camping gear to access when on shore. I used the back compartment for tackle and coolers. Not bad deal for 400 bucks. I am thinking about buying a more expensive touring one (Eddyline) now for more speed, long distance , and non fishing trips but plan to keep this one for fishing.

I purchased it 3 years ago…

Submitted by: paddler233540 on 4/13/2010
I purchased it 3 years ago and love it I can go where most people can't I catched too many bass on secret spots.
I do recommend it!

I bought my Castaway last…

Submitted by: paddler233331 on 8/27/2009
I bought my Castaway last Friday. Took it out Saturday. It is nice. Would think that it would float a little higher being rated for 350 lbs and stay dryer in the butt area.
    Things I like:
  1. The color
  2. The price (and you get what you pay for)
  3. Sports Authority no longer gives out the cheap paddle but they let me take an $80 Carlisle instead)
  4. Seat is ok. My friends OC seat fits right over the permanently mounted seat. I will be getting one soon.(more on this in dislikes)
  5. Plenty of storage area(although hard to reach)
  6. 3 rod holders
  7. Moves fine even against the wind
  1. Not that heavy for me to lift but I think if it weighs 60lbs and is 11'6" it should hold more weight/ride higher/take on less water.
  2. Was not sure what people complained about tracking but I know now. It is fine, don't like it, but it will get me there.
  3. Why does the front rod holder have to be so far up. I am 5'10" and feel really short in this.:)
  4. Was worried about the front hatch leaking so I tried tighten the front straps. One of the clips broke. I doubt I will take it on a class 2 river this weekend until fixed.
  5. Does Pelican support exist? I emailed them about #4 and no reply. I called them about it and no reply. I was number 1 caller with an average 1 minute wait. Waited about 5 minutes then was prompted with the "High volume of callers..." to leave a message. I did but do not think I will get a call. Oh well, I can easily fix it on my dime ($2.99). But wonder what good is a 2 year warranty on a product that I get a voice mail on.
  6. Seat is ok for awhile but after a while the bottom of the seat will start hurting your back some right around your L3-L5. The gap the seat connects to is about 3" wide. It will feel like two rods poking you.
    Solutions to my problems:
  1. Scupper holes - Scupper plugs (Well 4 walmart bouncy balls from the party section.
  2. Leaky hatch which did not really leak but may on a river - New hatch clip using one from a camping/kayak store used for storage. Plus a auto trunk gasket seal to increase the lid tightness.
  3. Rod holder too far away - Install a new rod holder mount closer to me and use the other for the fish finder.
  4. Lower back being stabbed - The Ocean Kayak seat does fit fine and does help.
I have only had it on a lake with very little wind. I am kind of scared going on a class #2 river just yet(front hatch thing). What is everyone elses experience.

Final note. I have read both good and bad reviews on this kayak. It works for what it cost, I believe you get what you pay for and with a few enhancements and practical thinking this will get you to where you need to go.


I have had the Pelican for 13…

Submitted by: paddler233225 on 7/11/2009
I have had the Pelican for 13 months now. I initially bought it because of the price $350.00 and the need to hit the water. I only solo fished for the first year and had could made no comparisons with any other yaks. During this time I did read many bad reviews from folks on the kayak fishing web site I regularly attend and started thinking that I had a bad boat. That all changed a couple of weeks ago when I took a 12 mile trip down the south Llano river with my brother in law who was in his Ocean Kayak Caper. I was loaded to the gills as I was expected to all the fishing equipment, and the ice chest. At first I had the ice chest rigged above the front hatch and took on a little water going thru the rapids. With this load and the water I was still faster than my bro-in-law when paddling and would out coast him. A tracking comparison was hard to make as I was rigged like a big sail and his yak had no accessories on it, so the wind was working on me. But still I was able to correct for the wind and had to work to keep my speed down to his. We each made it through the same rapids, we both drug bottom in the same places. I of course drug a little more bottom with the greater weight I was carrying. I did notice that my yak, which I have rigged out extensively, with additional cleats, anchor trolly, milk crate w/ rod holders etc. was much easier to rig out or had more gunwale space for rigging than his Caper. After the trip I was now very sure I made a good choice in kayaks especially considering the cost vs performance. His bright yellow is cuttier than my camo green.

As for all the people with rod holder issues: Just spread your legs, hang your feet in the water and scoot forward till you can reach the rod holder. I am 6'-1" so I don't have a problem with the rod holder but that is how I access the storage hatch. The bow will go down and the scuppers will take on water, NO BIG DEAL. When you set back down all will return to normal.


I spent a lot of time…

Submitted by: paddler233200 on 6/29/2009
I spent a lot of time researching different kayaks and reading reviews from different folks. After all of it, I decided to go with the Castaway 116. I was very pleased with my purchase. For the price I don't think you can find a better one.

After about 30 minutes I got the feel of it. Some reviews say it's not very stable, but when I got used to it, I had no problems. There is also plenty of storage and room. It comes pretty much ready-to-go when purchased. Academy is by far the best price @ $379. I would recommend this to anyone thinking of kayak fishing.


Ok, to sum it up, there are…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/23/2009
Ok, to sum it up, there are three main problems that I read about before buying this kayak:
1-the front hatch leaks; 2-the swivel rod holder is too far forward; and 3-the seams fail.
Well, I can't speak to the last one, other than to say it hasn't been an issue yet. But, I can say that Pelican was listening to the first two. First, they added one heck of a weatherstrip seal to the front hatch. The boat took wave after wave and was bone dry at the end of the day. They also moved the swivel rod holder back to within easy reach.

To be sure, there are other complaints out there, such as unstable and won't track. At first, I agreed whole heartedly and was even saying that I was going to get another kayak, with this Castaway being dropped to spare/buddy use status. But, that was only for the first hour, if that. After that first hour, I got used to the boat and could paddle straight and stable. Yeah, it will dump you if you get stupid. There are probably more stable boats out there. But, I had no problems and would Highly recommend the Castaway.

Oh yeah, the paddle that comes with it is not great. It will work, but its what you should expect from a free paddle... The Pelican Posiden paddle ($25 at Academy Sports) is a great upgrade, although nowhere near top of the line either...

The bottom line is that this boat is one hell of a deal on a well featured fishing kayak (~$400 before tax at Academy, with the Pelican Posiden paddle). I'm quite sure it won't compare well, performance wise, with the >$1000 boats. But, should you expect it to? I don't. In any case, it sure exceeded my expectations.


After reading some negative…

Submitted by: paddler233128 on 5/19/2009
After reading some negative reviews, I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into, but after trying this kayak out in the surf in south Texas I am very pleased. It handled very well and was easy to get in to at about waist high water with 2 foot swells. While on the kayak, I had no problem going through and over waves. The only problem I noticed was that it liked to turn back towards the ocean when I was going back in. This could have been due to the current or possibly bad tracking on the kayaks part.

I have read many reviews about it taking on water through the storage hatch... first off, I'm not sure why they made the storage hatch open when the lid is off, i.e. it goes throughout the kayak and isn't just two or three inches deep thereby making it possible to fill up with water and sink... however, after spending 45 minutes getting bombarded by waves that were coming over the hatch and hitting me, it only took in about a quart of water total.....all I did was tighten the straps down as tight as possible and made sure the hatch was covering the entire hole. A little foam insulation will cure the problem. Definitely not a reason to give this cheaper, yet promising kayak a bad rating by any means. I got it with an employee discount from my sporting goods store for 322 which is simply unbeatable.


I have had this boat for…

Submitted by: paddler233107 on 5/6/2009
I have had this boat for almost a year now. I decided on it because I wanted the in-hull storage, and the open deck storage. It is my first yak.

I am a pretty heavy person, when I purchased the yak I was about 250, now down to about 200. I use the yak mostly for just recreational paddling, and have to say that it carries me, a stocked cooler, anchor, snorkel gear, dive flag, and sometimes a cart beautifully. My friends with sit-ins actually get a little jealous of everything I can carry, since they have everything crammed in their seating area. We have at times done up to 14 miles in a day, and it is nice to be able to have your stuff.

I did get a different paddle as well. However, when I was pricing kayaks, many made you buy the paddle and seat as extras.

The people I go out with are mostly in 9 - 10 ft. sit in boats. We have gone in the Gulf, Tampa Bay, and some of the spring fed rivers around our area. I have not had any problems, and keep up with them fine. They are all smaller than me and in better shape, too!

For the tracking: First practice and be aware of yourself. I am right handed, and tend to pull harder on the stroke on that side, which can throw me off. Second, use the foot pedals for leverage and weight distribution. Not only does it help the tracking, but is great for your obliques.

I am considering plugs for the back hatch, simply to try to keep some of my stuff drier. I don't mind getting wet in the seating area. I figure if I am out to play on the water, that's just part of it. And yes, we have gone out in Nov - Jan when it's in the 50s - 60s.


I own this kayak and people…

Submitted by: paddler233061 on 4/6/2009
I own this kayak and people complain way too much! It got me to my fishing spots and i caught fish. Getting wet is apart of sit-on-top kayaking and if you don't like it you might want to get into another sport or hobie. Yea the paddle is definitely cheap but then again it got me to my fishing spots fast. I think many people need to learn how to paddle better; there is an "art" to it.

Overall for the got to my fishing spots and i caught fish. Isn't what we are trying to do in the first place???


I don't know why this kayak…

Submitted by: paddler232980 on 1/5/2009
I don't know why this kayak is getting so much negativity. I've spent several hours paddling, fishing, etc, etc, etc in this comfortable little craft. Ocean harbors, lakes, and streams. Not the open ocean, that would be stupid. And no, I'm not a pussy. And not once did I experience problems getting to the hatch behind me, taking on water, nor did I have any trouble reaching the pole swivel. Why don't you people try casting with the pole swivel attached to the pole itself, then pop it in its hole.

I'm 195lbs, 5'11" with a 2 1/2 foot reach, maybe that helps, I dunno. And it tracks like most other kayaks, cheap or expensive. So go buy this thing if you wanna have good time and don't wanna blow a big wad, and don't mind all the fat short armed people who have complained about it. Thank you. And by the way I have the DLX model if that helps.


I am new to the 'yak fishing…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 10/9/2008
I am new to the 'yak fishing scene and at the price ($399 Sports Auth.), this thing caught my eye. I can identify with the tracking mentioned several times before, but the paddle works for me at 6'1" and the speed is pretty good. I can keep up with a buddy in an Otter sit-in and coast much easier. The rigging was superb. I actually lost functionality by adding a milk crate. The scuppers could use some work as they allow entirely too much water in, especially when getting to the forward rod holder.

The bow hatch is the bane of the boat, getting to it while on the water for me is an impossibility, however water pipe insulation, when cut and "marine gooped" right works quite well. I haven't had the dry hatch problem but it is good to know as that is where I do keep the cell phone. I have added a fish finder and am working on an ACTUAL cup holder and junk tray. The seat is good even though it is "molded" which means they took an "average" person and made a guide. I have spent hours comfortably in this thing and even with a PFD I can sit all day.

The only real beef I have with the boat is that I have to heft the 62# onto my car at the end of the day, but who likes a whiner. Other than that it has to be the best starter boat to get into our great sport, plus NO GAS!


I've heard some bad reports…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/15/2008
I've heard some bad reports on this kayak but i have to say i'm fairly well pleased with it. I've took this boat through some of the roughest stuff around here [class two's and three's] and i have to say it hasn't let me down yet. Sure it will take on water and sink if the hatch gets will most other kayaks. Painted it camo color is the only thing i have done to it. take it out a few times every month and give it all the abuse that i can stand. All in all a good yak, easy in and out and does good on over nite camping trips on the river. Use dry bags to keep your stuff dry most yaks will take on some water if you get in the rough stuff....quit whining! Thanks for a good product...RIVERRAT

I've had the Castaway four…

Submitted by: paddler232818 on 8/13/2008
I've had the Castaway four years now and am just now having to replace some of the straps on the front hatch and seat back. At the price it is worth what you get, but in the long run wished I would have made a smarter purchase of a kayak with thicker hull material.

Getting wet is just part of the sport, I usually get out and wade fish a few times on each trip, so I am always soaked. Took it out in 3-4 foot surf and nearly sank it within 50 feet of shoreline, stays nice and dry in the bay, but the surf over the bow are just too much for it being the front hatch is not that well waterproofed.

The paddle that comes with it is worth about what you pay for it, nothing!! I don't like the fact that the seat is riveted into the kayak and not removable. My friend who just bought his was paddling with the aft completely submerged due to water seepage from the seat rivets. Must have had about 5 gallons of water in it when we drained it, and he is well within the load limit.

It is very stable and paddles fairly easy, tracking is so-so and speed is average. Not really a rudder option unless you rig it yourself. Would have rather had the option of riggin it out myself but it does come rigged out fairly well. I am 6'5" and 210 and fit comfortably in it with no problems, not much for the foot pegs cause they take away about 3 inches of legroom for me.

After kayaking for a few years you realize your habits and what you need and don't need, so the next purchase is easier to know exactly what you want. I am fairly pleased with the Castaway. Overall it's one of those things, you get what you pay for, not a bad buy but not a great one either.


I like this boat a lot. I…

Submitted by: paddler232743 on 7/15/2008
I like this boat a lot. I bought it from Sports Authority here in central Florida. Me and my buddies in college do a lot of wade fishing the flats and decided to get into kayak fishing so we could more ground. Being on a student budget this combo looked like gold! Me and 4 other buddies all bought one from Sports Authority and went bass fishing the entire week until we got home to Sarasota for the weekend.

The boat is awesome! The paddle is horrible though, like many other posts, bloody knuckles is an understatement. Took me another paycheck to save up for a better paddle and with stabilizers from and quite a few mods, we can all stand and cast, or fly fish from all of out boats without a problem. It's a boat folks, you're floating in the water, you're going to get wet. I bought a cheap bicycle seat from Wal-Mart and that's what I sit on. Pegs are great, rod holder really isn't that big of an issue for me and you're in a kayak for crying out loud! Pack Light! of course if you've got 20 lbs of gear in the boat the performance is not going to be great.

All in all, for a beginner, or someone looking to not spend as much money on a fishing kayak and with few modifications this boat is sweeet! Hey if a college student can afford it, anybody can!


I'm new to the kayak fishing…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/2/2008
I'm new to the kayak fishing world and have been shopping around for a good, inexpensive fishing rig. Took out some demos and things like that.
I just happened to run across the Castaway at the local Academy Sporting Goods. I spoke with a customer that was getting some replacement gear for his yaks, he said he has been kayaking for years and confirmed what I have been reading on here. He said for the money, you can't go wrong, so I left, went home, did a little more research, and finally said what the hell, went back, bought the yak and hit the river. I love it!!!

I'm 170#'s and 5'11". I was very stable, got a little wet from getting in, and after talking to some experienced folks, will be getting a different type of oar than the factory one to cut down on the knuckle busting and drippage. Other than that I love this thing and can't wait to get off work to get back in the water!!


I live in Hawaii. If you…

Submitted by: paddler232630 on 6/9/2008
I live in Hawaii. If you really want to fish on the ocean this is not a good choice.
Got mine at Sports Authority, good thing to, because Sports Authority let me try 3 of them to see if any of them would not take in so much water. I felt it is real unsafe to take in about 3 to 4 gallons in about 2 hr. The back of seat is installed directly to the kayak with some big hole's there. I believe this is were most of the water gets in. I would have given it a score of 0, but for under four hundred dollars. I would buy one for a lake I guess.

Bought this for my girlfriend…

Submitted by: paddler232541 on 4/23/2008
Bought this for my girlfriend yesterday. Both of us are novice paddlers and both of us liked it. I didn't notice it being any more wet than my perception 13. We were out in some 10-15" inch chop today and stayed mostly dry. It seems pretty stable especially for us newbs.

My only issue was that it was hard to go straight, but that may be due to it being short. It just seemed to wander a good bit. Oh, and the paddle really sucks.


Have been looking at this…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 4/14/2008
Have been looking at this boat for quite sometime now and caught it on sale at Gander Mt. and made my move. This boat seems to do well so far had it out twice in two weeks and on some rough water today and was pleased with the results. Tracking is fair for this type of boat but with practice can handle this as well as my other kayak.I have nothing bad to say as of yet... time will tell!

I recently purchased the…

Submitted by: paddler232475 on 3/5/2008
I recently purchased the Castaway 116 DLX for fishing all over TX. I have taken it out three times a week for the last three weeks and have grown very comfortable with it. It is a good fishing platform...

I like the foot pegs, and crazy as it sounds- the rod holder is far forward, but it works great for trolling by keeping the rod out to the side and out of reach of the paddle. Look, I have read all of the other reviews and have heard all of the "my rear gets wet" comments... That is to be expected with most Sit On Top kayaks anyway! If you want to stay dry, get yourself a Sit Inside model, same price and it is called the Getaway from Pelican. Same features, dry ride.

I've put 30 hours of fishing in two days on the Castaway, and had no problems. Great entry level boat, we'll see what happens when I take it to the Gulf this spring/summer...


Paddle is too short. Doesn't…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/30/2008
Paddle is too short. Doesn't track well. Takes on water. Weight limit says 350. I weigh 265. I was soaked from the waist down. I only tried it out in a lake on a calm day. I can't imagine taking it out on rougher waters. I'll stick with my canoe for now. I'm returning it as soon as I can get back to the store.

This was my first kayak…

Submitted by: paddler232208 on 7/25/2007
This was my first kayak purchase and the boat had many of the features I was looking for. I used it the first day I bought it. I was very disappointed. The paddle isn't worth having and my boat did not track well. I weigh 205 and had some extra gear that added another 15 - 20 lbs. The boat took on water in the seat and I got wet. The boat seemed to need more flotation. I believe you get what you pay for, and this boat looks better than it handles.

Liked it a great deal for the…

Submitted by: paddler232040 on 5/22/2007
Liked it a great deal for the first day, handled fine, lots of cargo space. The front rod holder is useless, too far forward to be of any use. The weld on the rear cargo are scupper hole let go during my second day out, and it took on lots of water. Yes it will sink. I have returned it. I do not recommend buying one of these.

Its a good Yak for the…

Submitted by: paddler232007 on 4/30/2007
Its a good Yak for the $$.good fishing platform for small rivers streams, and flats. Good foot rests. Pelican can keep their paddle. spend the money on improvements. handles ok. Plows the water like all short, wide, sitons. Tracks ok. Am a big paddler 220# paddled in 8" of water. stayed dry. Would reccomend it to someone not looking for blazing performance but wants a decent fishing platform.Dry well accomidates a small milk crate perfectly. It will sink so if you paddle in deep water install some flotation. Hatch keeps things pretty dry. Install some double stick foam insulation, does the trick!

Recomended changes: Seat pad to put you in leaning forward position. Higher backrest for extended paddling. Glue down a can cooler where the cup holder is. Get a Scotty deck mount pole holder and install it closer to seat. I am 6'1" and still can reach original.

Inexpensive Kayak I don't worry about dinging up. very tough material that ram -x. hit lots of rocks,stones, scraped bottom, very little damage. Good value. Gets even better with the improvments


I purchased mine three weeks…

Submitted by: paddler231985 on 4/9/2007
I purchased mine three weeks ago and have taken it out every weekend. On the colder day I plug the Scupper holes and when a little water gets in pull one to release the water. I had to upgrade the paddle cause the stock one was like paddling with 2x4. The basspro shop sells a good one for 39.99 But as for the yak the only problem I have with it is the rod holder location. My front and dry storage keeps every thing dry you just have to keep the straps very tight. I've put an 8lb anchor on mine that folds up and it works perfect. I would recommend this kayak to anyone for the price you really can't bet it 10!

Bought the yak this weekend…

Submitted by: paddler231768 on 8/28/2006
Bought the yak this weekend and took it out on the river that afternoon. I'm 5' 4" tall and found it a great fit for my size with plenty of room left over for fishing rod and tackle. The rod holder is useless to me being so far forward and I found the forward hatch leak annoying. As the yak filled with water is becasme harder to handle. The seat needs a better design to allow water to drain. I will need to use some type of seat cushion in cooler weather to stay dry. The yak is also heavier than I would have liked. But overall, it is a great Yak for the price.($392) I plan to take it on an overnight river trip next weekend and packed it with my tent, sleeping bag and everything I needed. I was able to store all my gear in the yak just fine but will need to wrap it all in plastic to keep it dry. The yak can take a beating, since it flew out of my pickup on the way home and had hardly a scratch on it and no hull damage. For the price, a great starter yak!

Just bought the Castaway a…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/15/2006
Just bought the Castaway a month ago and have used it several times. The front scupper holes were kind of scary at first. My Old Town Otter didn't have those, so seeing the kayak slowly fill with water when I first sat in it too far forward had me wondering if I was about to go swimming. ; ) When I sat fully back into the seat, the scupper holes emptied just as fast and I calmed down a bit and paddled out to learn the feel of this particular kayak. We became good friends quickly.

The Castaway does track slow and mine pulls to the right when I used the narrow, heavier kayak paddle supplied with the kayak, but I switched to my old wider (8"), sturdier paddle and that stopped that.

The front rod holder is way too far forward for me and I'm a 5'6" tall woman with long arms. Scupper holes fill up quick as I have to scoot forward some to position the rod. This meant wet pants legs before I could set back in the seat. Okay in warm weather. Bad in cold weather. I plan to make an adapter and have the front rod holder extended about two feet closer, so I won't have to lean so far forward. Kinda scary seeing the kayak fill up with water like that and so fast.

I like the Castaway though. I paddle slow waters most of the time and fish out it, so I'm not expecting it to be stressed too bad unless a storm blows up and I have to paddle like all get out to get back to the boat landing.

It handles a lightweight anchor (less than 8 pounds) well. Nice to tie off to the side of the kayak instead of the rear like I had to do with the Otter. I wouldn't go much heavier than 8 pounds though if you fish where a rogue wave might suddenly cause you to rise. When I fish in the submerged willows, I have a home-made limb hook made from the wire handle of a five-gallon bucket. You just basically bend the wire handle into and around again to make a loop on one end and make the bail ends overlap each other. The bent ends of the wire overlap a tree limb, but will pull free if a strong wave pushed the kayak to one side. I don't tie mine off too tightly incase a wave does this. Have had this big wave action below the spillway happen a few times. I guess it is caused by the opening of the races too fast.

For $384, it's not a bad purchase for weekenders like me. I built a tiny, sturdy kayak hauler and can store it behind me bungee-corded down tightly. I do recommend you carry no more weight than necessary. Had about a gallon of water in the rear section when I sat fully back. The anchor and extra gear added about fifteen pounds to the overall weight. Scupper hole in the rear filled up quick. I am considering plugging it, but would need to write Pelican first to ask if this is safe.


Picked the castaway up last…

Submitted by: paddler231566 on 5/15/2006
Picked the castaway up last Wed. and took a small trip to the lake behind the home. Did have a problem at first with tracking but easy to overcome. The second day I decided to break it in with a 14 mile paddle in open and back bay areas. The yak did real well and was a dream to paddle. I have to agree with the wet seat but I have corrected that with a gell pad. I paddled to the pass and took some nice seas from the incomming tide and the large boats. I set up for tarpon after passing the beach and hooked into a small 50lb beast. The florida sleigh ride was fun for about 20 mins. Over all with the price and a few modifications this yak is a good deal. With all the options it includes will be a great starter yak for the weekend fisheman or fisherwoman.

I took my Castaway on a three…

Submitted by: paddler231476 on 4/24/2006
I took my Castaway on a three day river trip. The kayak had plenty of storage, and handled well fully loaded. I liked that there were multiple points to clip small caribiners around the hull, very handy for deploying a small anchor and keeping various small bits of gear secured. The multilple rod holder locations were very nice to have.

The stability of the Castaway was very nice to have on the short runs of rapids we had, as well as making entry and exit of the kayak very easy. The kayak is a little bit to slow to turn to make it a good rapids runner though. Wind was a major problem on our trip. Most of the day we were contenting with 15 to 20mph steady winds. On the long straight aways I did have to fight with the kayak to keep it on track. (It kept wanting to go nose into the wind) When the wind was calm, I had no problems with tracking. In fact I found the Castaway a pleasure to paddle.

The seat was pretty much constantly wet, either from paddle drip, drip from me wading, or rapids splash. I used a two inch thick flotation cushion as a seat to stay up out of the water for most of the trip. A scupper hole for the seat would of been nice to have, on this boat without a major redesign your rear is going to be wet, and I would rather have the extra water draining instead of being trapped.

The only real serious negative comment I have to make is that when the kayak is fully loaded, the rear storage hatch is barely above the water line, and I believe was the source of the water that collected in the hull over the span of a day(approx a gallon). I am seriously considering siliconing the circular hatch closed.

What impressed me the most was how little damage the hull took from the rocks and gravel I ended up running over during the trip. I expected to find large gouges and scratches at the end of each day. None ever surfaced. The bottom of the boat is scraped, but I think the Castaway could make many more trips before taking any serious damage.

I would give the Castaway a 10 if the rear circular storage compartment was located in a different position.


I bought the Castaway last…

Submitted by: paddler231489 on 3/21/2006
I bought the Castaway last month. It's a bit heavy, but that is offset by the HD constuction. I've been out several times in the Bay and three days at Toledo Bend. First the positives: Good price, nice foot pegs, better than average stability, takes swells from big cargo ships in the Houston ship channel! For me it tracks very well. I went several miles in Toledo Bend with and against a white-capping chop and kept it straight as an arrow. Easy to fish or even troll with. Plenty of storage. Takes waves better than my 15' aluminum motor boat. Now for the negatives: A bid heavy. Drain holes need enlarging. Rod holder mounted too far up. Needs drain holes under the seat. Your rearend might get wet, so wear shorts and store your wallet elsewhere.

Overall, lots of fun to be in. Ten easy relaxing strokes of the paddle and you can coast half a football field. I can take this thing out 10 miles with no problem. I have crossed the reservoir. I do wish it was bright orange or something other than green because I want bigger vessels to be aware of my presence. I can't imagine not been pleased with this rig when considering the price. If the above negative issues were addressed, this would be the tops!


I paid $384. The closest…

Submitted by: paddler231476 on 3/7/2006
I paid $384. The closest comparable boats were either the Ocean Kayak Drifter or Prowler at ~$770. Considering the cost difference the Pelican is hard to pass up. I found the kayak to be extremely stable, I can easily stand in it in calm water. The front central rod holder is very nice, albiet a little too far forward to easily reach. The adjustable footrests, in my opinion, beat the heck out of the molded in style.

The front hatch definitely needs some help with its waterproofing, but should be an easy fix with trunk gasket material. The paddle is a little too short. For me the short paddle resulted in lots of drip inside the boat, and a couple of banged knuckles. I will definitely be purchasing a better paddle.

The weight (62 lbs.) is a little heavy considering the competition (Ocean Kayak) is around 55lbs. Also, considering the size of the kayak it has only an average max capacity of 350 lbs. considering the OK Drifter can pack a hefty 450lbs. in a lighter boat.

My suggestions to Pelican: I would rather have an upgraded seat or better seals on the front storage than the included paddle.

Bottom line for me: I can live with the compromises of weight, capacity, and design considering the price vs. the competition. As far as I am concerned I got 80%+ of the performance of a Drifter or Prowler for 50% of the cost.


I recently purchased this…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 3/6/2006
I recently purchased this boat which was on sale at Gander Mountain in Houston for $384.00. Retail is $449 so I felt it was a good deal. It is on the heavy side, but it is also much thicker and rigid than most, especially the Mainstream Kingfisher (399.99) and Ocean Kayak Scrambler (499.99) which are both in the entry level fishing kayak category. The paddle that comes with it is fine as a backup paddle, but I suggest buying a good quality primary paddle for primary use. The tracking on this boat is no more of an issue than others of the same approximate length, and as long as the hatches are on tightly, you won't get any noticeable water inside, (or lose your camera as an earlier reviewer supposedly did) even in moderate surf conditions. Overall, the bang for the buck factor I believe is unbeatable for a first sit on top kayak rigged for fishing.

It's an alright yak, I've…

Submitted by: paddler231463 on 2/27/2006
It's an alright yak, I've seen better, but if you're a beginner I'd say it's a good boat. The Tarpon 120 beats it, yeah, but that can be up to 200$ more. For the money, this is a good boat. Front hatch leaks a little, but not enough to cause too much of a problem unless you're battling 7 foot waves somewhere. I've been in up to 3 foot waves and swells with it (I had the misfortune to have a storm blow up on me) and it handled extremely well, I was suprised. It didn't take too much water over the front and I stayed rather dry, suprisingly, until I got myself back to shore which was probably a 2 mile paddle. I didn't have much gear onboard at time, just a tackle box, my poles, bait bucket, my 15 lb net (which was all in the back) and in the front I had some towels, a jacket, and some food. It doesn't track very well.. and that's my only complaint, paddle that comes with it is too short no matter what anybody tells me, and the speed is moderate, faster you paddle, faster you go though, so whatever.

Overall: good boat if you want a stable platform for fishing, paddling, etc. Too much gear and it becomes a heavy barge though, so beware.


Great sit-on for rivers,…

Submitted by: paddler231441 on 1/19/2006
Great sit-on for rivers, ponds, ocean, ALMOST anywere. Not great in heavy [4ft.or more] surf, but doable. Only complaint is scuppers are small (see surf above).

I bought this kayak to fish…

Submitted by: paddler231430 on 1/9/2006
I bought this kayak to fish in the shallow bays of the south Texas coast and for the most part I have been very pleased with the product. Although I have had a little problem with the tracking, the boat is very stable and works well as a platform to work off of.

Great boat for price. You…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 8/2/2005
Great boat for price. You can make the hatch as good as a Caper by adding old car trunk gasket around opening for a few bucks. Have paddled 8 similar type kayaks, this one is as good as any. If you want a fishing specific kayak for rivers with fast water this is a good choice.

First, $450 tags, taxes and…

Submitted by: paddler231172 on 6/29/2005
First, $450 tags, taxes and dealer prep for a ready to go boat ain't bad. Things you'll have to do are get a better paddle and add some floatation. I used air bags used for padding in a shipping carton. The worst part of this boat for me is the weight. I'm old.

Works well for me. Had no…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 4/14/2005
Works well for me. Had no problem w/ leakage. Doesn't track as well as I'd like but for the $430 bucks I spent, it served the purpose.

This boat is very sturdy and…

Submitted by: paddler230986 on 3/14/2005
This boat is very sturdy and comes with features that are good on paper. In reality, the dry hatch is TERRIBLE (lost digital cam and cell phone!!!), it is slower than dirt, does not track AT ALL, and oh yeah, since the front dry hatch takes on water, IT SINKS!!!!!!!! Horrible boat, def spend a little more money and get a different kayak! Oh yeah, it's not just mine that sucks, my friend has (had- we both returned them) one too, and his did the same thing. Not to mention, they are VERY heavy for their length...

For the price it is an…

Submitted by: paddler230979 on 3/8/2005
For the price it is an awesome kayak for fishing. The only problem I have is the paddle that comes with it is too short.