Kayak Buyers’ Guide: Yak It Up! – The Fisherman

Kayak Buyers’ Guide: Yak It Up!

Yak It Up

There is no denying that kayaks are among the fastest growing sector of both fresh and inshore saltwater fishing these days, with some intrepid anglers even setting out after bluewater species from their pedaled and paddled craft. The benefits of a kayak are far and wide, and they are just plain fun boats from which to fish. Add into the mix the fact that one can get extremely well equipped for relatively short money, and it’s a win-win situation all around! Here is a look at some of the hottest and newest boats on the market today from a dozen of the top manufacturers in the business.

Eddyline

Yak It Up Eddyline

Eddyline has been manufacturing premier touring kayaks and paddles since 1971, and they pioneered vacuum bag and thermoform technology making the highest quality kayaks and paddles for sea kayaking, open water, recreational kayaking and fishing in an environmentally-sound manner. The Eddyline C-135 YakAttack Edition won both ‘Best Boat’ and ‘Best of Show’ at ICAST 2015, and has been a fisherman’s favorite ever since. It comes loaded with all the essential accessories from YakAttack that anglers require. The C-135 offers the serious kayak fisherman a lightweight alternative to the heavy polyethylene rigs currently plying the back waters resulting in quick acceleration, unmatched balance and stability, and a great all-around paddling experience. The C-135 has also been designed to accept a variety of trolling motors, stakeout poles and various aftermarket accessories including a casting bar. It sports an open concept floor plan with the stability to stand as needed for precise casting. MSRP: $2,599.00 www.eddyline.com

Feelfree

2017 5 Yak It Up Feelfree

Based out of North Carolina, FeelFree offers some of the most innovative kayaks and accessories on the market today. With unique color combinations and the cutting-edge standard features, FeelFree kayaks have redefined paddling as we know it today. The FeelFree Lure 11.5 takes kayak fishing to a new level in stability, comfort and versatility whether you fish on rivers, lakes or oceans. All Lure series kayaks come standard with features including a removable multi-level extra wide Patent Pending Gravity Seat, Feelfree’s patented wheel in the keel, Uni-Track system and removable sonar and electronic pod. The pod makes it easy to install a fishfinder and transducer without having to drill any holes into the kayak. The Lure’s super-stable 36-inch-wide hull paired with a padded standing platform gives you the option to paddle or cast in either the sitting or standing position whether fishing inland waters or wide open oceans—this kayak truly fears no water! MSRP: $1,259.00 www.feelfreeus.com

Hobie

2017 5 Yak It Up Hobie

Hobie has been involved in fishing since the introduction of the Float Cat in 1994 followed by the revolution of small-boat fishing with the MirageDrive-powered Mirage Outback. They now offer a full line of fishing watercraft and a range of accessories that allow Hobie customers to adapt their boats to their own type of fishing. One of the most popular models is the Hobie Mirage Outback, which is now available in a slick camo hull. The Outback is a larger and faster alternative to the Sport that enables anglers, hunters, divers or photographers to enjoy their hobby with fingertip rudder control. Anglers will especially appreciate built-in rodholders and the Lowrance-ready built-in transducer mount that features pre-installed through-hull cable plugs. Also standard on all new Outbacks is the MirageDrive 180, which produces full power in both directions and offers unprecedented maneuverability. MSRP: $2,649.00 www.hobie.com

Jackson

2017 5 Yak It Up Jackson

Jackson Kayak, which was founded in 2003, designs, builds, and manufactures leading whitewater, fishing and exploration paddlesports products. Market leaders in kayak fishing, Jackson Kayak continues to introduce new product lines each year. The Jackson Cuda HD is an awesome inshore fishing kayak based off the ever-popular Cuda platform by taking all the recent improvements to both hull design and deck staging and adding it to this new product. A new longer and slightly wider size gives the Cuda additional stability and increased tracking and speed. The deck has completely been reworked with padding, a new hinged center hatch, tubular tip covers, YakAttack tracks in all the convenient places, Hi-Lo and trimmable seating and comes Raymarine and PowerPole ready! MSRP: $1,899.00 www.jacksonkayak.com

Native

2017 5 Yak It Up Native

Specializing in fishing kayaks with pedal and paddle power, Native Watercraft leads the industry with innovative designs that meet anglers’ needs. Designed to be a quiet ride, the Native Manta Ray Propel Angler 12 is a smooth fish-stalking machine. It comes with a lengthy list of features to help make the most of your time spent on the water including a sharp bow and stern that enhance glide, adjustable First Class Seat, padded grab handles for portability, beverage holders, two flush-mounted rodholders located behind the seat and one staging rodholder for convenient rigging, easy-to-reach groove tracks for accessory mounting, plus Native Watercraft’s highly acclaimed and revolutionary Propel Drive System, all for an affordable price! This fishing craft is designed for all-around use. MSRP: $1,999.00 ($1,149 without Propel Drive) www.nativewatercraft.com

NuCanoe

2017 5 Yak It Up Nucanoe

NuCanoe combines the best of canoes, kayaks and small boats to deliver the ultimate experience on the water. All NuCanoe boats are made in the USA and are built to last. The NuCanoe Frontier 12 is the ultimate fishing platform. With unmatched stability and a completely customizable wide, open deck, you can truly fish without limits. Whether you fish solo or tandem, seated or standing, rivers or lakes, paddling or trolling, the Frontier’s remarkable stability and 360 Pinnacle Seat keep you confident and comfortable on the water. The Frontier 12 is surprisingly easy to paddle, very maneuverable, and tracks great.  MSRP: $1,499.00 www.nucanoe.com

Ocean Kayak

201 7 5 Yak It Up Ocean

Ocean Kayak is one of the world’s biggest sit-on-top kayak manufacturers. Based in Maine, they offer a variety of sit-on-top designs to fit your needs. The Ocean Kayak Angler Trident series of kayaks are the original sit-on-top fishing kayaks and the choice of serious saltwater anglers everywhere. Designed for fast, smooth, efficient paddling and loaded with exceptional features, they are available in 11-, 13- and 15-foot models designed to cover you from back bay to open ocean pursuits. MSRP: $1,199.00 – $1,499.00 www.oceankayak.com

Old Town

2017 5 Yak It Up Oldtown

The Predator Series of kayaks has received the highest acclaim since its introduction. Predators won ICAST’s coveted 2013 and 2014 “Best Boat” awards, along with “Best of Show” in 2014.The newly-released Old Town Predator PDL is the most advanced pedal-powered fishing machine of its kind. It gets you to the spot fast, and keeps you on the spot without paddling. With forward, reverse and agile maneuverability, you’ll experience precise boat control while your hands remain free to focus on fishing. The PDL pedal drive hits an impressive 5.5 mph with a 10.3:1 gear ratio for efficient pedaling. It mounts into the Predator PDL in seconds and in shallow water it can tip up to its docking position in an instant. MSRP: $2,799.00 www.oldtowncanoe.com/kayaks

Pelican

2017 5 Yak It Up Pelican

Based in Canada, Pelican International is a world leader in the design and manufacture of kayaks, canoes, pedal boats and fishing boats. For almost 50 years they have leveraged a mastery of thermoforming to deliver durable, quality products at affordable prices. Among their 31 different kayak models, the Pelican Premium Catch 120NXT is built on a tunnel hull platform, is very stable and maneuverable, and provides excellent tracking. This sit-on-top fishing kayak features adjustable footrests, an Ergocast dual-position seating system allowing the angler to adjust the seat to a high or low seating position for maximum comfort. The Catch 120NXT is made of Ram-X™ Premium, a multi-layer polyethylene with an advanced resin providing significantly more rigidity than standard polyethylene while remaining lighter, stiffer and stronger for many years of use on the water. MSRP: $879.99 www.pelicansport.com

Perception

2017 5 Yak It Up Perception

For over 40 years, Perception has been producing top-of-the-line kayaks and in that time they pioneered the plastic kayak, which resulted a mass explosion in popularity of the sport. The Perception Pescador Pilot with Pilot Drive allows for effortless all-day cruising, while the custom-designed, patent-pending Turbo Flaps reduce noise and keep turbulence to a minimum under the kayak and inside the Pilot scupper. The intuitive Pilot Drive makes launching or docking easy—simply insert the Quick Key to engage or disengage—while the view into the Pilot scupper simplifies aligning the prop for zero draft transitioning. A recess in the hull stores the lightweight drive while not in use and the center scupper lid allows for easy transportation and storage. Forward and reverse motion paired with EasyGrip low-profile rudder steering control allows for a super tight turn radius, offering all-around maneuverability in those hard-to-reach places while eliminating line tangling. MSRP: $1,799.00 www.perceptionkayaks.com/us

Sea Eagle

2017 5 Yak It Up Seaeagle

Sea Eagle inflatables are light, compact, easy to carry and extremely durable. They are easily checked as luggage or stowed in a car so you can take them with you anywhere adventure leads you! Sea Eagle inflatables have been specifically designed to perform better, last longer and provide true value. Producing high quality inflatables to the market since 1968, they have sold over 500,000 inflatable boats, kayaks and SUPs to date and counting. Drawing on their 49 years of experience in the world of inflatables, the Sea Eagle FastTrack 385ft inflatable kayak is the most practical fishing kayak on the market and was designed with the angler in mind. There are cut-outs in the front and back spray skirts to keep your gear close at hand, as well as two rods with rodholder bases glued to the floor to keep your rods in place. The durable 1000 denier reinforced PVC has been fortified with thick crocodile patterned EVA on both tubes and on the drop stitch floor for added protection against sharp fins. This is a great option for anglers looking for a low maintenance, easy to use, stable and durable fishing kayak that packs down small for easy transport and storage. MSRP: $1,324.00 – $1,901.00 www.seaeagle.com

Wilderness Systems

2017 5 Yak It Up Wilderness

The exceedingly versatile Wilderness Systems Radar 115 is a truly unique tri-powered kayak that can be paddled, powered by the Helix MD Motor Drive, or pedaled with the groundbreaking, patent-pending new Helix PD Pedal Drive. Its proprietary S.M.A.R.T. Hull Technology combines stability, maneuverability, acceleration, responsiveness and tracking for optimal performance in multiple water environments and configurations. Design elements include an upswept bow for a dry ride, a defined keel line for excellent tracking, a rockered chine for responsive steering and a flat, stable platform for standing and freedom of movement in flat to rough water. The boats also feature retractable rudder technology aiding in rudder longevity. When added to the kayak package, the Helix PD Pedal Drive features forward and reverse functionality, important for maintaining position while fishing, docking easily and slowing for the shore-to-land approach. Fully deployed, the gears and prop optimize performance in exchange for less effort so you can be hands-free to fish all day. MSRP: $1,349.00 (kayak), $1,100.00 (Helix PD Pedal Drive) www.wildernesssystems.com/us

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