Submitted: 08-17-2009 by Tony Benke
Upgraded from an Ocean Kayak Caper Angler (11 feet) to the Perception Caster 12.5 about a month ago.
As for the kayak itself...the shell is designed ALMOST identical to the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 (same hull design, same bow hatch, same cockpit/rear hatch placement, very similar cockpit...basically the same layout, I think Perception might be the 'affordable' version of Wilderness Systems...). Fished it with my buddy today who has a WS Tarpon 120...the boats are damn near identical!
Now for the finer points: 1) Large forward bow hatch, 6in screw-in hatch in the cockpit, another behind the seat. 2) Large tankwell that holds a milk-crate perfectly. 3) Two flushmount rod holders rear of the seating area 4) Adjustable footpegs. 5) Factory installed Scotty Base w/rod holder forward of the seating area. 6) Molded cup holder 7) Tarpon has the built in seatback...Caster lacks this, which is fine by me as I like the high-back seat I purchased which isn't really that compatible with the installed seatback. I'd say this is something the Caster holds over the Tarpon 8) The kayak isn't incredibly heavy at all...I have no problems loading/unloading it solo. 9)Plenty of flat surfaces to mount custom options (more Scotty mounts, Ram accessories, perhaps a rudder?)
Now here's a few things I've noticed. The kayak cruises very well under normal conditions, however I carry a large battery in the forward hatch for my electronics (when I do bring them), and that extra weight in the front can make the kayak a bit difficult to turn (I'll be getting a lighter battery soon). Also, this kayak only has TWO scupper holes: One in the tankwell, and one forward of the seating area (in-front of the hump) in the cockpit...the cockpit one can present a problem as the seating area is recessed, and if you take some waves over the side, you'll basically be sitting in a puddle (I don't mind it...keeps me cool in the summer). Although having flushmounts is nice, I find they aren't very functional when I have my milk-crate on board, as they are angled straight back as opposed to at an angle, so the crate gets in the way (not a big deal, ordered the Scotty inserts and two more Scotty Rod holders). It's pretty stable (I can stand up and scan the area and decide where I want to cast...if it's not too windy/choppy I can stand up and actively sight-fish while drifting).
In a nutshell, if you're in the market for a kayak and don't wanna shell out too much money this kayak is definitely worth a look.