So as some of you may know by now I had a roof rack megafail this weekend that resulted in my Perception Search 15 meeting I-5 at highway speeds. Not cool, especially as I’d finally been satisfied with how I had it rigged after four years of ownership! Being thrust unexpectedly into the market for a yak has led me to discover there are a LOT of cool new boats on the market. Figured I’d share a couple of the ones in the running, hoping to pick up one at an end of season/demo blow out sale locally.
Yes, THAT Hobie. Ordinarily I wouldn’t consider what looks like a fat, bloated hull as my old Search was a rocket, but as these use Hobie’s Mirage Drive they aren’t as slow as they would be if you had to paddle it. The Hobies are rapidly taking over the world of angling kayaks given their hands free propulsion, letting you more easily troll or get things done (like drink a beer) while cruising from spot to spot. Hate those molded in foot braces, they should make that area open and flat. The major downside is the cost of entry – about $1900(!!) – but relative to what I’m seeing on a lot of these other kayaks it doesn’t seem that out of line when you consider it comes with a rudder and paddle, and the fact that as soon as a used one hits the market it’s sold means they hold their value far better than the rest.
As I’m not a river boat guy I’d never even heard of Jackson Kayaks til recently. Designed from the ground up for fishing the Cuda looks like a nice balance between speed and stability, and I love the lawn chair looking seat. You can order their boats in custom colors AND all Jackson kayaks are actually made in the USA (yes, apparently that is still possible). Downsides seem to be the lack of scuppers to drain the tankwell (don’t ocean fish in Tennessee much?) and price – it’s $1400 to get into a Cuda with rudder.
Ocean Kayak Trident Ultra 4.3
The latest incarnation of the legendary Ocean Kayak Trident series the 4.3 has a bunch of features that will save you post-purchase rigging time. Between it’s length/sleek shape, the two sided center hatch (which would be NICE to protect the fishfinder on the ride in), various modular add-ons for the center hatch and the replaceable keel strip it’s a well thought out rig. Downside is again price, MSRP of $1599 without rudder. Ouch.