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Submitted: 07-24-2013 by grgrobards
I have been fishing out of the Malibu Stealth 14 kayak for about a year. I am very satisfied but there are some draw backs. Since I am 6'4" and 220 lbs, I needed a SOT kayak that was stable. The Stealth satisfies that requirement well. I can stand up on it, but it I am not real comfortable doing so. On the other hand, I have been out on the bay in very rough conditions and never felt as if I might turtle. In calm water it is a relatively dry ride.
One of the best things about the Stealth is the hatches. One of the worst things about the Stealth is the hatches. They accommodate a lot of gear. In fact, I have a tendency to carry too much. But even after the manufacturers updates, the hatches still leak. Most of the focus on the forums has to do with the large front hatch, but the real trouble lies with the glove boxes and the rear hatch. On a calm day I get no leakage. On a rough day I get just a little. But if you leave it out in the heavy summer rains here in Northwest Florida, over time the hull will fill with water.
This is an inconvenience I have learned to live with. I keep a sand bucket and sponge in the front hatch and it takes about a minute to bail when it is at its worst. On a typical day of fishing, if I takes on any water at all, the sponge is sufficient.
The layout of the Stealth is great. The 14 foot rear well is larger than that on the 12, and I can easily accommodate a cooler for the fish and a cast net for bait. The rear hatch is great for carrying things you might not need every time out, like first aid kits, extra rope, lures etc.
The side hatches (glove boxes) are so handy that it is awkward for me to fish out of my other yaks. I keep a copy of my fishing license, tools, line, flashlight, etc. in one side, and extra lures, hooks etc. in the other.
The front hatch carries the battery when I use the built in live well. Most of the time I find I don't need to use the pump at all. I just take the drain plug our of the bottom and let the water circulate naturally. I have kept fish alive for hours this way and then released them if I haven't caught enough to make a mess. If using live shrimp or bait fish, the circulating pump is just the ticket.
The Stealth also has four built in rod holders. They are positioned perfectly. When I have rods in the front holders, they do not interfere with paddling. I usually use the rear holders for trolling and the front holders as extra hands when I am doing one of the million things you have to do while fishing from a kayak.
Transportation was a concern for a kayak this large when I purchased it, but with a bed extender on my truck, and a little bit of experience, it is no problem at all to load and unload, even for this 61 year old man.
Only two problems with the yak so far. The seal on the large hatch in the front came loose after several months. It was an easy fix with Marine Goop and has been fine since. The other problem had to do with the eye on one side that is used to fasten the straps of the seat in place. Malibu uses a screw in affair that makes good sense. However, the plastic fatigued on the yak and it pulled free. Epoxy worked great and there have been no other issues.
Bottom line is that there is no one size fits all kayak and everyone has to decide what is best for them. I am thoroughly happy with my purchase. If you are considering purchasing a fishing kayak I would recommend that you look closely at the Malibu Stealth 14. If you can find a dealer, or an individual who will let you take it for a test drive, you can see if it is right for you. Hope this helps.
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