I'm a newbie to the world of kayaking and did a lot of research before I purchased one. I'm happy to say I was VERY pleasantly surprised with my sit-on-top kayak. It was very easy to maneuver and I loved everything about it. It was so easy to paddle, seemed very stable and was easy to turn. Turned me into a kayaker for life!
It has enough room for a standard sided milk crate and small cooler in back. Up front I fit a medium sized tackle box and my anchor and rope. It has 3 fishing rod holders, one thats removable and swivels 360 degrees up front and 2 right behind the seat. The seat itself has a nice cushioned back rest that is adjustable and a thin cushion seat. Lots of storage under the two plastic portholes which are sealed with rubber gaskets which I was quite surprised about giving the price. It tracks straight and is fairly stable although I haven't had the courage to try to stand up on it quite yet. Other reviews I have read claim that it is quite stable standing up.
As to a couple cons.. Its not completely leak proof from the get go. I simply went to my local hardware store and bought some silicone adhesive for about $5. I went around the entire boat and sealed off the edges to anything that looks like it might leak such as shock cord fittings, fishing rod holders, storage ports etc. Now just a few drops to drain after an entire day on the lake. The other con is that if you like to spend more than a couple hours on the water the lower seat cushion gets pretty uncomfortable. A little section of Tempurpedic foam would do nicely and would not cost too much.
All in all for the money I spent, I am extremely pleased with it and it feels quite durable. I own 3 Lifetime fold out tables that I've had for years and all of them are in very good condition still so this company has a pretty good reputation with me. Like I said, shop around and get a better price because you can find this kayak for under $300.
a little back story
im 5' 11" 175 lbs medium build.
2 years ago i received a older model pelican matrix 100x angler (v bottom model)in a trade.having never been in a kayak,i found it to be sketchy to get in or out of,once in it.......no movements besides paddling,couldn't imagine using her for fishing.
i enjoyed it alot,almost flipped a few times.but i got very comfortable,took her out on a 10 mile trip a few times.decked her out with nav lights,bilge pump,solar panel n battery,anchor trolley...ect.
fast foward to 6 weeks ago.
my buddy bought a used sundolphin journey ss 10,hes a bigger guy and he had alot of complaints about stability and tracking.so i went out and spent 30 mins in the journey.
and i have to say its alot more stable than my matrix,i can move around in it,even get up on my knees in it.....something i wont dare try to achieve in my matrix.
but to be honest the journey tracked terrible,sluggish and slow.
but was more stable than my matrix.
i told him about the tamaracks and tahomas at Walmart on sale,he stated he wanted a shadow caster or catch 120.i also wanted those nice kayaks....but limited on funds.
last week i go down to Walmart,they had the tamarack for $278.99.they only had 1 decent one out the bunch,wasn't beat up.....but the bag of paperwork was full of water and ruined the cert of origin,and seat lock was missing,back rest cushion missing.after talking with the manager trying to get a lower price.....and was denied....$307 out the door and she was mine.
in the water she went during a small tropical storm......couldn't wait.
i was used to a nice cruising speed of 3.5-4 mph in the matrix with little paddle effort,the tamarack held a comfortable 2.5 mph cruising with little paddle effort.and that was with the supplied throw away paddle,with 20-22 mph winds and 3 mph current.
she handled great in the not so favorable weather conditions.
a quick stand up test,i was very surprised how stable she was.
my next outing a week later my buddy that owns the journey came with me.
i fished for 20 mins standing up,paddled over a mile standing up,even drifted fishing with both legs over the side in the water with my weight shifted to one side,no feeling or fear of flipping or loss of stability.during stand up fishing she will shake alittle,but nothing serious.
my normal load out is a igloo 38 qrt cooler on the rear deck,2 fishing lines,small tackle bag,hand net,6 bottles of water and mics small items.
my buddy tried the tamarack and fell in love with her......he has not touched his journey since,yesterday he bought a green tahoma,today we fished them for 3 hours.
we are both very pleased with a money well spent.
comfort wise,the seat is cheap.....but is pretty comfortable for 4-6 hours easily.i see no need to upgrade as of now,but eventually want to add a higher mounted seat.
foot rest fit my size perfect,very roomy interior (but im used to a cramped sit in).
cheap dry hatch lids,everyone replaces these anyway.
the rod holder work ok,but i find they are too close the the seat.3 times my shirt sleeve got caught on my lines hook if i hooked into my rods built in line clip.
haven't used the front rod holder yet.
one thing id like to see changed is the center console,lid cup holder setup.id prefer a flat work area.but i read lifetime designed this layout to discourage you from standing up in this model.
,which would be a good design reason to add those items right in the center.
i contacted lifetime about a new copy of my cert so that i can register the tamarack.i enjoy the paddling....but im big into the rc hobby and cant wait ti install my 60mm kortz nozzle onto the stern keel and get 6 hours 4 mph run time from a 12v sla battery.
but in calm weather and low current i cruise at a steady 3 mph,tracks very well and is lite and agile in the water.
i am very pleased and give the tamarack 5 stars,shes not perfect....but cant be beat for the money spent.sometimes they can be bought for $200,most online vendors sell the tamarack from $350-$450.i was saving for the ascend fs12,or a catch 120......but im glad i stayed with 10' light weight yaks.
i load my kayaks on the roof of my suburban,55lbs is still managable.and 10' is still easy to carry in and out of my house.
the tahoma is identical shape,measurements but 1 no rear hatch,no rod holders and no seat cushions,and can be found around $200-$250........thats a great deal for the diy angler.
eventually ill get some video of use,pros n cons....ect.
im certin if i had started out in a $750 fishing kayak.....my opinion of the tamarack would be different.but im a diy guy,and i like making the best of what i have,and improve on things.
thank you for reading.