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Submitted: 11-04-2011 by MsAddicted
When I was looking for reviews on this kayak, I couldn't find what I needed pertaining to the style of fishing I do so I am writing a detailed review for shallow water salt marsh fishing on the gulf coast.
I'd been considering a peddle kayak for some time now and had narrowed it down to the Hobies because of the ability to tuck the fins flat against the hull when shallow. The Pro Angler is too big for me as a 5'5" female, the Outback too slow and so the Revolution 13í it was. Earlier this year I test drove a Revo 13 in deep water but I am a marsh rat and if it isn't useful in the super shallow marshy stuff then it's not for me. I needed to take a Revo shallow first before I committed. Well, about a month ago, I won one in a kayak tournament! After several delays, I finally got a chance to add a little rigging and get it out on the water. It did not come with an anchor trolley so that was the first addition.
The stock paddle that comes with the Revo isn't a great paddle, a little heavy, but its decent and functional enough. I don't care for the black blades since they do nothing to aid visibility of the kayak on the water but the paddle does feather one setting each direction so that's good. It also came factory set up with a bungee paddle keeper on each side so I use one for the stake out stick anchor. The bungee paddle keepers aren't going to be easy to switch out to paddle clips if you are so inclined because of the way they are mounted but they are sturdy and wont be breaking any time soon.
The Mirage drive is VERY easy to pop in and out, couldn't be easier really. I leave it out until I actually launch the kayak and then pop it in because I launch into deep water off my dock. When launching in shallow water you are going to have to put the drive in first and use two people or a cart because the fins need to be straight down to get through the scupper in the floor of the yak (I wouldn't try sliding the kayak on the bottom because you will catch the fins.) Either that or launch and paddle out deeper and then pop the drive in. I realized that this would also work in reverse for taking the drive out if you get too shallow. I wont be able to get the drive out if I am already grounded and will have to back up into deep enough water to get the fins vertical under the kayak. Fortunately it doesn't look like this will be an issue often, maybe only rarely. I can see the fins under the kayak being a problem for hanging up feisty redfish that like to dive under the kayak. I didnít have any bad wrecks in the 8 reds I brought to hand on the maiden voyage but it will happen eventually.
The storage seems to be adequate. The front hatch is big enough to store the mirage drive if you have to take it out while on the water. I do like the hatch right in front of the seat and thought I would use the specially made round tackle box provided by Hobie that fits right into the hatch but what I found instead is that I preferred to use it for things I wanted to keep in easy reach like my dry box with phone, camera, etc. I traditionally have used a short milk crate in the tankwell behind me for my small tackle box, stringer, lunch, and a few other odds and ends but I am used to having my dry box at hand. I ended up putting the dry box, lunch, scupper plug for the mirage drive hole (in case I needed to take the drive out), rain jacket and a few other things in that tackle box hatch which means the tackle box was in the way. I might have to come up with a better system but I can still forsee using that center hatch for things other than tackle which makes the round tackle box that fits in there useless for me. I do like the netted "nooks" on each side of the hull for waterproof camera, sunblock, etc. Those were very useful but I can see them being treble hook magnets so the jury is still out on those.
I do not like the factory molded rod holders but then I rarely like factory mounted ones on any kayak. The ones on the Revo are too far back to be useful for me. I prefer to mount a couple of rod holders on my milk crate and have my rods (2) right behind my left shoulder vertically so that I donít catch them on a backcast. Plus I like having the reels higher up away from the water since I fish salt. Since I don't troll or fish offshore I don't forsee using those factory holders. Its possible to make a pvc rod rack of sorts to fit in them though. What I have found that I was wanting is a vertical short rod holder right where the cup holder is. When peddling, I want my rod right there at my right hand but I don't really want to be hanging onto it all the time. I may try to find a way to mount a short rod holder vertically down in that cup holder. This will render the cupholder useless but I donít use those anyway. Even though you will have to put your rod behind you when paddling, that rod holder still needs to be short or you will bang into it on your paddle stroke.
As for comfort, it's ok. The seat that came with mine (not sure if itís the standard Revo seat) was adequate although I found myself squirming around after a few hours. When shallow and needing to paddle, I thought the mirage drive would be in the way since one peddle has to be all the way forward and one all the way back but its not bad, there is still room for my legs and knees to be comfortable. The product reps will tell you to "feather" your peddle stroke when shallow, meaning to take little half peddles with your legs so that the fins aren't going all the way vertical. What I've found is that yeah, this works but its annoying and slow so I just end up paddling when too shallow to make full peddle strokes.
As to how it did in the really shallow stuff, I was pleasantly surprised. I thought that perhaps even with the fins tucked up as far as they would go up against the hull that the inch or so that the mirage drive sticks down would be inhibiting. I purposely took my maiden voyage around a very familiar 8-mile loop that I have traditionally made in my Ultimate. There are many spots where I am shallow enough to rub the hull along the bottom. I found though, that the Revo does fine. Sure I have to paddle quite a bit but that's expected. I do rub in some of the same spots as with the ultimate but I donít think I rub much more, maybe a hair. I think I lost maybe a half inch of draft with the Revo which is acceptable for me. Now what I havenít done yet is take it in many oysters. I know they will tear up the fins and I'm not ready for that yet. An added bonus when peddling is that it is very quiet.
When the rudder is up, it has a tendency to wind cock pretty strongly. The rudder is short enough that it can be down most of the time when shallow although you may not be able to lock it down. I did have to put it up part of the time and was a little bit frustrated at the way the wind likes to catch the stern. I am used to paddling a rudderless ultimate and the Revo seemed worse than the ultimate in the wind with the rudder up, rudder down it did just fine and it turns very responsively with use of the rudder.
All in all, now I can say that I would buy one and may end up getting one for my husband. I loved peddling down my canal and out into the bayou to the mouth of the marsh, a journey of a mile and a half that is always slow and irritating to paddle. I could finish my morning coffee since I had at least one hand to use (the other was on the rudder control). There are many occasions when the fishable marsh is a paddle of some distance though deeper water. This Revo will make it so much easier!
Sorry this is ridiculously long but I wanted to be detailed. Take it for what its worth. Hopefully this info will be of aid to someone who is on the fence like I was.
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