The Perception Access 11.5 is the only quality sit on kayak I could find at local big box store. I am 60yrs old 6 ft 250lbs, and the only issue I had was the molded seatback is too short and leans too far back, c as using pain in lumbar and middle back region while paddling. I used money saved during sale to add a Yak Gear Manta Ray seat. After I added 4 pad eyes, and adjusted support straps I now have an all day comfort kayak that can tackle class 1 & 2 rapids , or go bay fishing at thr coast. Stable, tracks well, paddles well, scuppers, generous open storage front and back, replaceable drag pad, and a Manta Ray seat makes a yak that can't be beat.
I've had the access 11.5 and use it as my medium and big-water fishing 'yak. I have 2 other boats (Emotion Guster and a Sea Eagle 370) that I use for exploring and taking the wife and kids out respectively. The Access is what I use when I want to focus on fishing. I picked mine up on amazon for $350 off season, but also have seen it on sale for a short time at Dick's for the same amount. For this price it's definitely 4 stars - if i had to pay full price ($500) it'd drop to a 3.
Pros: Fast for a SOT. Tracks very straight. Very stable, handles inshore (bays) and big lakes very well. easy enough to mod if you watch some videos on how to use a rivet gun, also I've add many eye pads, a swivel rod holders and also a 8" front deck hatch. The last requires being ok with a skillsaw. Exceptional value for an 'entry level' fishing kayak.. on sale it is in the same price range with many cheaper brands/models you find at Walmart etc. Has decent storage space but it's not like a frame-seat SOT where you have tons of room.. you need to take the time to think about how you want all your gear laid out (for fishing - regular recreational kayaking you shouldn't have this problem).
Cons. The rod holders are crap... not quite deep enough and too wide. I lost a rod before I got wise to wrapping them with pool noodles for flotation. Stock seat is very uncomfortable - if you're moderately serious about kayaking (moreso about yak fishing) you'll need to upgrade to a harmony style high back seat, which isn't hard to do and is fairly cheap @$30. You also can't really stand up and fish in it as the deck flexes. The last con is it isn't really nimble and can't turn like a smaller yak, but this is completely ok considering how fast and straight it tracks,
PROS (Reiterating what has been posted previously)
Good quality for the price
Molded handles make for easy grip on front/back/sides
Tracks very well
I think it is extremely stable (I can stand in it while scouting rapids)
Plenty of room for storage of dry bags/cooler/gear on outside of boat
Handles well in Class I & adequately in Class II. I need to give myself extra space/speed to make some technical turns. It will NOT make turns quickly and requires a bit of brute force to navigate obstacles (I am a former Necky Jive owner w/ several years of river running / play exp.) This fall I will attempt a short Class III run if levels get high enough. If I can edit this post, I will report how well the barge handles it!
CONS (some of these have been stated in other posts)
Molded high back seat makes loading multiple boats a bit of a pain.
Does not stack well.
Dry storage access is a tiny opening w/ a little baggie you can use to store a few valuables.
*Dry storage access cover is only a rubber sealed pop top that pops on top (does not twist & lock).
*I felt like a violent capsize could knock the cap loose and expose the boat to take on water. So, I took it to the lake this past weekend and tested out the possibility. I removed the pop top and flipped the boat over in waist deep water to see how much/quickly it would take on water. I crawled on top and rocked it vigorously…I then flipped it back onto its proper side, dragged it on shore, pulled the drainplug, and stood it up to drain out a ton of…nothing. It didn't take on any water! The best answer I can come up with is that the opening is recessed and when it is upside down, the opening is lifted above the water line by the buoyancy created by the sides of the kayak. Or maybe an air pocket is created. I don’t really know.
Overall, I am happy with the purchase for myself. I am undecided it I will keep both. We may sell the wife's and get her something smaller and a bit more manageable next spring.
All in all; its a good general purpose little boat. It tracks well, very stable, and sits a little higher in the water. the molded seat back took a little getting used to, but after a few trips it was appreciated. the lack of a large dry hatch in front was a little disappointing, but for the price I can deal with it.
I would give the boat an 8 over all, but the deep cup holder and molded rod holders brings the access 11.5 up to a 9.
Now for the bad. Its very bulky, and you will not be winning any races with this mammoth of a kayak, ha! it can get to a reasonable speed though. the seat back is molded into the hull which isn't so comfortable after a long trip and doesn't stack well with other kayaks which is a problem when I'm loading 5 kayaks on to a 16 ft trailer.
Overall I really enjoyed this kayak, but have sold it to buy its newest edition, the striker! Thanks Perception sport for making a great brand for a reasonable price for the poor guys in college!
It may not be the most expensive yak out there, but I see no need of paying 1K for a yak, when my $300 Perception can do what the 1K yaks can do.
I have paddled several kayaks from 15' fishing yaks with rudders to 8' recreational yaks without and I have discovered that they all excel in certain categories that they are specifically designed for. However, kayaks that are considered recreational are exactly that; they are designed for the beginner or the expert to have fun on the water.
With that said, this is a great kayak. It has many design features that I wish were on other kayaks that cost exceptionally more. Almost everything that needs to be replaced at one time or another on other kayaks such as seats and carrying handles are a thing of the past with the Sport Access 11.5. It has molded carry handles on the bow and stern as well as port and starboard. It also has molded foot holds, storage wells front and back, 2 molded rod holders aft, a cup holder, a place to mount a third rod holder, and a fish finder or GPS. It also has a small hatch with bag that allows you to store your wallet and cell phone all features are easily accessible from the molded seat with back support. This is a very well thought out kayak. I understand why they call it the Access!
Anyway, enough about the ergonomics of the kayak and onto the technical stuff. The kayak weighs a mere 52 lbs, which allows for a single person to transport and load easily. It is 11'5" long and tracks very well for a kayak under 12' and it can hold up to 300 lbs of weight. It is easy to paddle and fairly fast. I use my Access on slow moving rivers, lakes, and fish the mangroves and canals. I didn't purchase the angler version, but I did install an 8" hatch upfront in the storage well, a paddle holder and an anchor trolley system. Furthermore, it comes with a Kevlar plate on the skeg that protects the kayak if it is dragged. It also comes equipped with a drain plug at the rear of the boat in case any water should get into the hull, which has not thus far and I have owned it for over a year and have used it extensively during that time.
The best thing about this kayak is the cost doesn't reflect upon its quality!!! Therefore, I am extremely happy with my purchase and look forward to more fun on the water!!!
I am a newbie at kayaking and in my late 40s, 6.0, 215 lbs in just "OK" shape. The Maiden voyage in my sport access 11.5 was on a mild current (Chattahoochee) river in GA. Paddled 5 miles up stream and paddled (not floated) 5 miles down stream. Did some fishing as well. I was on the water for 4 hours. A little sore in the lower back, but then again, 1st time in the yak and the seat padding is kind of thin.
Cons: (In order...)