Submitted: 09-08-2003 by Rookie2Bass
I bought a Bimini about 3 months ago. I have only paddled a couple other boats (OK Scramber and OK Drifter) and it the first kayak I have owned. I was looking at a longer faster boat and had settled on either the WS Tarpon 16 or the Bimini. The Bimini was available in stock at a local dealer (who used to sell WS) and a Tarpon with rudder was about a 2 month wait. A review from someone (Alabama Flats) on another site who had paddled them both and decided on the Bimini helped convince me to take the plunge. My experience with other boats is limited, but I love the boat and would buy it again tomorrow.
The Bimini is a great boat that is well laid out for fishing. Comfortable for large paddlers (I’m 6-1 and about 215 lbs and have plenty of room) and handles a large load (rated at 450 lbs). Lots of tie down hooks, paddle bungees that work great, a big hatch in front , smaller hatch and square tank well in back, plus a small round dry storage hatch behind the seat (one of these on the console in front of the seat would have been great).
Rudder works great and makes maneuvering a little with a fishing rod in hand while drifting and casting easy. I love the rudder and find it frustrating trying to keep going straight without it (an indication of my paddling skills). Seems very fast (gets going quickly) and maneuverable for a big boat. Stable enough for me and I’m a novice. I have heard others say it has great secondary stability but less primary stability than other boats and I don’t have much to compare it to. I can sit sidesaddle while fiddling with gear in a tankwell milk crate and a homemade rodholder without much problem.
My biggest reservation was the weight, but I wanted a big fast boat and that seems to be the price you pay. Both the Tarpon and Bimini are over 60 lbs, so figuring out how to arrange transportation and storage in my garage without lifting more than 1 end of the boat at a time was key. Hanging storage in the garage with ratchet straps that my pickup fits under and a simple cart that can be stowed in the boat have that problem licked.
It seems much drier than the OK boats, except the footwells are very wet unless you use scupper plugs (hardware store 1-1/8 inch rubber stoppers (about $1 each work great). I fish inland reservoirs in North Georgia so boat wakes are bigger issues than waves or chop.
The little tackle box on the console is convenient location, but very wet. I sealed it somewhat and now it is much more functional. Material was 1.5-inch door threshold weather strip that came with a ¾-inch adhesive strip worked great. Cut off the hard plastic edge that ran the length of the strip. Clean and sand the inside perimeter of the box on the kayak. The sticky side of the strip sticks to the walls of the box so the soft weatherstrip side sticks up out of the box, so it fits inside the lid. The threshold strip was pretty stiff, so I “dry fit” a couple of times to get the strip into the corners as tight as possible before taking the protective cover off the adhesive strip. Then just worked around the box on the kayak. Goop around the outside to fill the start/finish corner, corner gaps, and the outside perimeter of the weatherstrip to the box/console surface of the yak. This is a not watertight seal with the top of the box, but it made a big difference in how dry the box area stays and almost doubles the side wall height of the box. Now it will fit a stack 2 of the little plastic tackle boxes (about 1”x4”x3”) with split shot, hooks, swivels, flies plus a handful of odds and ends.
Also, I have dropped one end of the boat (twice actually) on a concrete boat ramp while first figuring out how to get it on and off my small pickup. Amazing how durable these plastic boats are. A small scratch and no worse for the abuse (but I don't recommend this test).
I put a Pirannah 5 fishfinder on the center console about arms length from me and just beyond my paddle dripping range.