Good kayak very nice stable and control
A very stable angler kayak with all the bells and whistles needed. Tons of storage and room for a crate or a cooler on top of it. Having been spoilt by the Native's captain seat, was pleasantly surprise by the comfort of the seat. The seat rises and lowers giving you the ultimate comfort and ease. The wheel in the keel is a bonus feature, making transport from parking lot to the water a breeze.
My first impressions on the water were that this kayak is not as slow as people make it out to be. The speed was comfortable, not really slow. I found it easy to get moving and it had a nice steady glide. I have a powerful stroke and still found this kayak to top out at about 2.5. My advice is to settle in and enjoy the ride, you aren’t going to get much more out of this kayak in terms of speed so don’t waste the energy. I use a 240cm paddle and did not hit the sides in any position either high or low. I read many claims that you need at least a 250 cm paddle. I did not find this to be true. The rudder is a must. By combining the rudder and the proper strokes I could turn this yak in a complete 360 in it's own track with little effort. Also the way the rudder is installed you can adjust the foot braces on the fly without having to adjust any hardware and still have the rudder work perfect. This kayak is very stable. I am a big guy (6'3" 250lbs) and I can climb all over this boat and access anything I want while on the water in complete confidence. The seat is great. You can raise it up and it feels like you are on top of the world! I also stood up to adjust the seat without any problems. Sitting side saddle is comfortable and easy also if you want to relax and let your feet dangle. Adjusting the seat can be tricky so take the time to use a wrench to tighten all the screws and lubricate all moving parts at home so you aren't fighting the seat on the water.
I am listing the cons, not as a critique but just so you can be an informed buyer. None of the reasons listed are deal breakers in my book. Overall it is a beautiful boat and will make any owner proud.
I did find that I could not power through chop like I was used to in my Eagle Talon or Pungo 120. Also when going through choppy water, the bow seems to flex absorbing the energy that would normally drive the kayak forward. The kayak is heavy. I can easily lift 95 lbs which is what this kayak weighs. I cannot lift this kayak due to the awkwardness of the size / weight ratio. I built a rack on wheels in my garage that I use to slide it into the truck bed then back out onto the rack to store in the garage. Loading it in and out of the truck bed isn't a problem since you just lift either end on the tailgate and slide it in. I can't imagine putting it on a car roof. The wheel in the keel does not replace the need for a wheeled cart. It helps and has advantages but there isn't much clearance to protect you from rocks or concrete and little scuffs here and there eat away the hull quickly. The gear tracks need proper sized hardware. They are wider than scotty gear track mounts that you add in aftermarket applications. I used my scotty gear track rod holders and they seemed to fit ok but one randomly popped off during fishing. Had I been in deeper water I would have lost my rod and the holder.
The cool looking insulated hatch up front is only 17" long by 10.5" wide by 5" deep. Diagonally you get 18". Don't count on using it to keep larger fish on ice unless you are catching smaller species such as sheepshead, speck or bluegill. For better ice retention you can add additional insulation. It is an easy DIY if you cut foil lined bubble wrap (Ace hardware has it) to fit and fasten it to all sides. It is great for beverages and food or maybe frozen / cut bait.
There are no extra cleats or an anchor trolley that come on this kayak. You will have to punch some holes in this boat to add a cleat no way around it. I added a pad eye to the sonar pod so I can attack fish grips and pliers on a leash. Instead of an anchor I used a stake out pole and ran the carabineer around the frame of the seat and that worked fin for holding position but I could not change the positions of the kayak into the current or with the current as desired. Yak gear is coming out with a new trolley soon that I may install or I may opt for a version where I use a no drill method with bungees to connect the pulleys through the handles fore and aft.
There is a foam block inside the front oval hatch. It is there to support the hull, do not remove it. It is not just for shipping. After paddling around without putting any holes in the boat there was water in the hull; not a lot but it wasn't dry as I expected it to be. After all I wasn't out in surf or anything. I got rained on and popped across some chop, that was it and had water inside. I'm pretty sure that once I run some silicone around the hatch plate and rod holders on the hull it may solve the water problem.
So far I really like this kayak. I do recommend it to someone looking to have a good sized boat specialized for fishing. This kayak is the real deal.
The kayak handles chop well and is surf capable but surf launches isn't its strong suit. If there is a down side it's the weight, 95 lbs is probably with out the seat and the sanding platform is reinforced with an extra layer of plastic which is bolted down making this a heavy boat. When paddling the hull glides well but the weight and so so tracking makes having the optional rudder a must if you plan on going some distance with it, the speed is ok but you're not going to win any races.
All in all a very nice comfortable, very dry ride with nice features just be prepared to take a little longer if your paddling long distances.