After spending countless hours on the web searching for the best fishing kayak in within my budget of less than USD $1000, I was lucky enough to find the Perception Pescador Pro 120 on sale at REI, Inc. in Cary, NC. As this model is new for 2016, I was unable to find many reviews online, hence, my review here to help others if I can.
From my research over months, I knew I wanted a few particulars: Adjustable footrests, stadium-style seat, and the ability to add a rudder in the future. I found all of those features in the Pro 120. The retail price for the kayak is normally $829.00. I was able to purchase one on sale for $705.00 plus NC taxes.
First impressions... The fit, finish, and hardware are all top-notch. As was expected from a respected company like Perception. They've been in the "plastic" boat business as long as any company out there. There are some boats out there with a few more add-ons, but I like the simple design of the Pescador Pro 120. I won't try to talk about every feature as the company website will detail those things. I will concentrate my review on using those features.
The seat is wonderful, plain and simple. I've had the chance to spend several hours at the time in the yak and never once have I gotten fanny fatigue. Whether in the low, reclined (not really reclined but lower in the hull) or the raised casting position, the seat isn't even thought about and that's exactly what you want. I have never felt tippy in either position. Bungees hold the seat in position and it can be changed while underway, although you will need to be completely off the seat to change it. Yes, that can be a little challenge in a 12' boat, but not impossible.
It paddles effortlessly in either position. While fishing kayaks, by virtue of their width, aren't generally known for their speed over the water, I find I can get this one moving quite fast with just a few strokes and it never feels like too much work to keep it truckin'. The hull is not "slick". It has a rough finish that accomplishes two things. It hides rash well and it actually makes the boat a bit quicker through the water as the roughness means less drag. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but its just physics.I will suggest a minimum of a 240 cm paddle, a 250 cm might be even better if paddling in the casting position. For the record, I am 5'10" and hover around 175#. I grabbed a Werner carbon shaft 240 cm paddle with micro-adjustable feathering options on sale at the time of the kayak purchase. I have no issues with the paddle at all. I would like to give kudos to the staff at REI, Inc. in Cary for their assistance. Great folks that use the gear they sell and they know it well.
There is a small center console/hatch that does not extend all the way to the seat. This is a good thing, really. It allows for more deck space in front of the seat for tackle, feet, anchor, etc. It is set up to allow mounting of a fishfinder on top and the scupper in the bow well is made for a transducer. The console is not weatherproofed FYI. I have not added electronics yet so I am unable to review the installation and use of a fishfinder.
The bow well is just that... a large well covered by a bungee netting. Other boats tout their hatch covers, but having spent years in the powerboat business, I will tell you that 1. they will leak, I don't care who makes it and 2. they will break eventually. I really like not having to mess with sticky latches out on the water or fumble around inside the deck to find what I need. I just cram my stuff in a cheap roll-top dry nag and stuff it under the netting. Easy access. The well vs. a hatch also gives more room for tackle or goodies that can be easily reached on the water. I did add a shock cord near the front of the well, using the existing hardware for the netting, to use as a paddle keeper to avoid always using the included paddle park on the left side of the seat. Truly a $0.50 add-on.
The rear well is huge. I can carry my milk crate plus enough gear for a 2-day trip. One caveat... I am an experience camper/hiker and know how to go light. You will not "car camp" out of this kayak (stoves, lanterns, 8 person tents, food for 4 for days etc.) but that isn't what it is intended for. The rear bungee is adjustable for tension and it comes out of the middle hooks for more options of how to use it. There is a sealed hatch cover in the front of the rear well that gives access to the hull space for storing longer items such as additional rods or rigging. I'm still not sure about the molded-in rod holders immediately aft of the seat. They are large enough in diameter to hold pistol-grip baitcasting rods, but the rods do have a lot of wiggle room once dropped in. Perception was thoughtful enough to install to pad eyes, one for each rodholder to attach a rod leash of your choosing or making. I will be cutting those out and installing flush-mount holders with covers soon. One additional note about the pad eyes... All of the pad eyes on the boat are mounted in molded recesses and that means less sticking up to snag stuff or fishing line. Nice touch for sure. The boat also has recessed gear tracks on both sides of the cockpit for a multitude of accessorizing with Scotty mounts, etc.
The Pescador Pro does not come from Perception with an anchor trolley, so I installed a YakAttack Lever-Lok trolley on the starboard (right) side of the yak this weekend. Really nice for $30 and avoids needing a cleat to hold trolley in any position. Get it where you want it and flip the lever. But every kayak needs some way of moving the anchor to bow or stern for positioning, especially if you use it in moving water or windy conditions, IMHO.
The bow and stern carry handles are nice and attached well. There are molded handles/grips on the sides at the seat. I use the side grips most since I am usually soloing. With the yak empty, it isn't too difficult to carry to the water by myself. The bow and stern handles serve me well as tie-down points, just be careful not to put too much stress on them. That applies to any poly boat, however.
To wrap up this review, I'll simply state that I really like this kayak. It is well made and thought out. I expect it to last for years with minimal upkeep. At 12", I can go just about anywhere with it, it tracks straight and true and paddles easily. Check one out at a local dealer.. Peace