Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ready for a new Kayak?

With New Brunswicker anglers in the midst of going through serious withdrawl symptoms while waiting for the melt to finally start, our only solace is knowing that Spring is offically starting this weekend, at least according to the calendar.    Rest assured, it won't be long before the rivers start to break up and we deal with the annual floods along the Saint John and Kennebacasis Rivers.

So now is a great time to start thinking about your ride this summer.   Ready to move on to a new kayak or perhaps purchase your first?   The lineup of fishing kayaks from Old Town and Ocean Kayak quite likely has all your needs covered with the highest quality products and best customer service in the industry!    We have two great dealers in Ecological Adventures and Outdoors NB here in our area, and they would be happy to help you choose the kayak that is right for you!

 Traditional sit inside kayaks are still available for kayak fishing, however today sit on top kayaks are most commonly used and the ones I'll focus on here.    These kayaks are more stable, provide more freedom to move around and store gear and typically have scupper holes allowing any water that comes into the kayak to flow right back out again making them virtually unsinkable.   Not all sit on top kayaks are alike however as there are several things you need to consider which you may not have yet considered:

Hull Design - The shape of the hull will imapact stability, speed, tracking, sensitivity to cross winds, and how much water will splash in during rough water.    Some kayak hulls are designed to perform better and be safer in ocean conditions, while others are targeted strictly at freshwater ponds or fast moving rivers.   When you look for your kayak, make sure you consider where you plan to take it, and ask what conditions the kayak you are considering was designed for.

Weight Capacity -  If you think you may want to pack up your kayak and take it into the woods for an overnight camping trip, you are going to need to plan for a fair amount of weight... especially if there is going to be a cooler involved!    Between your own body weight, camping supplies, and I assume fishing supplies the weight will add up quickly, and be very noticable in how your kayak steers and paddles.    Do not overload your kayak as you could run into windy conditions or rough water by surprise and really put yourself in a dangerous position.

Seat and Confort - Many freshwater fishing kayaks now come with adustable seats allowing you to sit in a raised or lowered position.   Personally, on my Predator 13, I find the lower position better for paddling longer distances or for any speed, but the higher position more of a platform to cast and fish from.   If you are going to use your kayak for fishing, you are likely going to be in it at times for 6, 8 or 10 hours with little or no breaks.   Make sure you pick a kayak that is comfortable for you!

Being a fan of Old Town and Ocean Kayaks, here are the sit on top kayaks they offer, and the target audience who may want to consider these kayaks for their next purchase.

Ocean Kayak Tetra Series

These are the introductory, light weight and lower priced kayaks, but extremely well built and engineered for the price point.   They do not have all the bells and whistles of the more expensive lines, but they definately are much better vessels than anything you will find at Canadian Tire!    With the central mod-pod ready for your rod holders or accessories and two rod holders behind the seat, these kayaks are fairly well equipped!

The 10 foot model is just 50 lbs and ideal for a kid or smaller adult who wants something light and nimble, but yet still has room for multiple rods and gear for normal outings.     I'm actually getting a Tetra 10 Angler kayak for Fynn in a couple weeks, he can't wait!    With a max weight capacity of 250 lbs, it isn't a boat I'll be able to use, but for most any adult who has a more reasonable waistline, it certianly is a boat that could be used for any basic outing!

The 12 foot model has a weight capacity up to 350 lbs, and is still only 56 lbs.  This is a nice kayak for a smaller to average adult who doesn't want the burden of carrying one of the heavier model kayaks but still would like a decent amount of room and all at a bargain price!

Old Town Predator Series

For primarily fresh water, this family of kayak can also be taken into the salt water.  Of course, I wouldn't head out in rough or windy conditions, but I wouldn't do that to fish any kayak!   The Predator kayaks have a fantastic 2 position beach chair style seat, ample storage space and options, and replaceable plates on which you can mount any type of rod holder or accessory.  

Predator MX 
The lightest and shortest of the group, it is a fantastic kayak for what I would consider someone of medium stature.   While it doesn't track as well as it's longer siblings, it is remarkably stable, can hold lots of gear and is quite agile if you are planning to run down any rivers.

Predator 13 
My personal ride, I love the boat!   Able to hold over 400 lbs, it offers a ton of cargo space for any adventure you can imagine and is fast in the water.  I often put one of my kids in the back and spend hours on the water.    If I had a dog, I suspect it would be out fishing with all the time on the back of my P13!   This boat is ideal for a cross section of conditions from rivers to large open lakes to ocean fishing, I've had it everywhere and always felt safe and in control!

Predator XL
The newest and biggest in the family (600 lb capacity!!), it offers a whole new twist never before seen in fishing kayak.... an interchangable center console!   Really I could do a blog post on this kayak alone, but having not had the chance to ride it myself yet, I recomment you googling and reading some of the other great reviews on this amazing boat!

With a choice of three very different consoles, you have the ability to customize this kayak to meet virtually any need!    The Exo-Ridge (flat floor) console makes for a wide open deck on which anyone can stand to fish comfortably.    The utility console is built to house your fish finder, batteries and tackle, while the Minn Kota motor means you can ride and steer hands free all day long using your hands to control your rod while trolling for stripers!  

Ocean Kayak Prowler Big Game II

If you like the looks of the Predator 13, but want something more suited to the ocean, then this is the kayak for you.    Looking down from the top, it is hard to tell this boat apart from the Predator 13, it even has the great element seating system.   The rear storage area is a little different, and it is about $100 cheaper!

Ocean Kayak Trident Series

Trident 11 and 13 - These boats are well suited to salt water or for skimming along fresh water at a nice pace.   They are a little narrower than the Predators, but still offer great stability and weight capacity for their size and lots of storage options for rods and tackle.    The Tridents have been a favorite of serious kayak anglers for years.     As a big guy, I would want the 13, but the 11 is definately more than enough kayak for most people, especially if you aren't looking at packing for an overnight trip.

Ocean Kayak Ultra Series

If you want speed an versatilty, these are the kayaks for you.   Engineered to be fast and handle the ocean swells with ease these long beasts can cover serious ground with ease.     Load them up with gear, or just take what you need and fly on the water, you can do pretty much anything in one of the long sleek Ultras, the boats many say are the best on the market for serious salt water anglers!     If there is a secret santa out there who is feeling generous, I'd love to add one of these to my fleet!  :-)

 Think you are ready to take the next step?   Then call Paul at Ecological Adventures, or Jeremy or Dan at Outdoors NB and they will be happy to help put you in a new ride!

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