Submitted: 09-27-2009 by kfsrmn
I needed a light weight fishing SOT and this review is mainly about the fishing ability of the 2009 Kestrel. To start with, it is one of the driest SOTs I have paddled. It handles well in the wind, tracks well, handled rough water well and has enough speed. With fishing , stability is an issue and one I had to work through. The boat is fine without the fishing gear which has to go above the waterline. Also where to put fish is important. I lined the rear hatch compartment with foam being careful not to block the bulkhead vents. I find that 8-10 lbs of ice bottles offsets the fishing gear nicely and is a great place to put fish. It is not like one of the fishing barges in initial stability but has good secondary unlike most of the barges. I have not come close to going turtle but you do get an occasional twitch. I am using a 1/2" foam pad for a seat and a back band. I have 2 ram tubes mounted behind the seat and a removable plate forward of the foot rests for my depth sounder and gps. The battery pack sits on the floor below the depth sounder. Except for the Ram mounting bases, everything is removable for transport. I installed pad eyes below the foot rests for the thigh straps. The original location was useless. I am not using the supplied seat as I don't like the high back.
Wish list; I would like to see the cockpit a little deeper for better stability. This would require a venturi instead of a scupper and would eliminate the need for a back band. A hatch instead of the bottle holder would be handy. A larger tab on the rear hatch cover would help.
The boat is working quite well for me now but it did take a little time and effort to work it out. 40 lbs is a lot nicer than 60 lbs for loading. The older I get the lighter I want.