I've had this boat for two years now having bought it on closeout as LL changed companies to Native. It is a fun little kayak to fish from. I do about 90% of my paddling through the surf and offshore and for the most part it suits my needs well.
Pros: Very comfortable seat. I know they rave about the new Native seating, but I find it hard to believe it could fit me better than this setup. It is recessed a bit deeper than others, and sidesaddle can get tough on the thighs, but I usually don't do that offshore anyway. It tracks well and has good glide for a 12' boat with plenty of bow rise to play in the surf without pole vaulting you out from a buried nose. It is DRY. At 210 lbs plus a lot of gear etc. there still is no, nada, zilch water in the cockpit. After having paddled an original Drifter for years this is a welcome change.
Cons: It sits a bit.... fidgety on the water. This is easier felt than explained but the Manta's initial stability is a bit quirky til you get used to it Secondary is good but it just doesn't seem to "seat" itself on the water as well as other boats I have paddled. Not a boat I feel comfortable standing in to fish. I recently bought a Cobra Marauder, and the Cobra seems rock solid at rest when compared to the MR12.
Overall I like the boat. To me the layout more than makes up for any other issues. Keep in mind I fish extreme conditions by most's standards, but taking a 3' swell broadside in this little boat is just a bit more hair raising than in some others out there. If you stay in calmer waters, then this is a sweet combination of speed, comfort and agility that will suit most just fine. And for you Native shoppers, to my knowledge the hull has remained unchanged. Test paddle one and see if it fits your needs.This is boat number 4 for me and I have paddled a lot more. I consider myself an intermediate paddler and prefer creeks and rivers to large lakes and bays. That said, this boat is perfect for me. It turns on a dime will little effort and that's important on the rivers. My Tarpon 120 just can't match up to the maneuverability of this boat. The speed of the boat is also better than the Tarpon 120. The Tarpon's tracking is a little better, but with decent paddle strokes, the Manta goes where you want it to with ease. And the rockered hull of this boat makes going in between trees, stumps, and rocks fun.
The most important detail is the seat. I love it. I can paddle all day in this thing. I have heard it mentioned that you can't sit sideways to fish in this boat, but I had no problems at all. Just scoot up a little in the seat.
Same amount of storage as the Tarpon, but I like how things are laid out in this boat. For example, something as minor as the cup holder. It is close to the seat as compared to the Tarpon where you have to reach half way across the boat for your cold one.
Fast (well, faster than other SOTs), easy to turn, and it goes straight when you need it to. This is a terrific boat. My only word of caution, get it now because Liquid Logic is no longer making this boat. It's being turned over to Native Watercraft and they are changing the seating around. Why fix something when it's not broke?
Two improvements I would make: The foot pegs seem a little flimsy, but are easily replaced. Second, the paddle keepers. Other than that, this is a awesome ride.This is an update to an earlier review. After two more weeks of using this boat, I was going to modify some of the fittings. I found than most of the fasteners on the Manta Ray 12 are not secured by anything except a sheet metal screw screwed into the plastic. All other boats I have had or looked at had brass fittings molded into the plastic or a nut, bolt and washer arrangement to secure all fastners.
The good news is that when I complained to my dealer, Pack Rat Outdoor Center of Fayetteville, Arkansas they agreed to trade this boat for another brand. I think this was more than fair on their part.I just purchased this kayak a few days ago and have had a chance to paddle it on a large lake and on a class I river. Over all I like the boat. It is very stable, but a bit slow. It has very good fittings and ample storage in one large and two small day hatches.
I probably would have rated this boat higher, but when I found that my boat did not come with an owners manual I emailed Liquidlogic for one. I was told that there is not an owners manual for this boat! I cannot imagine how a product that is so personal, and requires so much interaction from the owner, could be produced and sold with no owners manual. I am not sure how the manufacturer suggests that this boat be transported, I am not sure what some of the fittings are meant to do, and I guess I have no way of finding out! A good boat with no customer support is HOW GOOD?What a boat!!! A great design and many little perks that you would never expect. They have made it very easy to customize this boat to your liking instead of just putting on stock fishing stuff. They left a ton of flat spots to mount Scottie's, flush mounts, and anchor pulleys. It is very stable, yet it glides through the water like a touring kayak.
When I purchased this boat I was able to compare it side by side to the Tarpon 120 and a few others. I found this one to be very comfortable and it sits a little deeper than the Tarpon, therefore you don't get as wet. If you are looking for a great fishing kayak that you can customize yourself this one is for you.When I first started Kayaking I borrowed a few friends Kayaks, all Sit Top Models. Most felt very tippy, or tracked horribly. My wife has a perception sit-in model, that I liked. However, wanting to use the kayak for fishing and being a bigger guy, I was really looking for a sit on top. I just couldn't find the right kayak.
The Mantaray 12 is the right kayak. It is very stable, good speed, and very very confortable! I love the accesories including the bungeed hatch cover, the rod holders, and the "extra spaces" they have built in. This Kayak is a wonderful platform to do just about anything. I have gone down a few of the rivers in Central Florida, Paddled coastal areas, and even some off the beach on a calm day. I love this boat! I can not tell you how glad I am I pushed off my purchase until iI found this boat! If you are looking at the Tarpon 120, I strongly suggest you look at the Manta ray 12. I did a side by side comparison and found the Mantaray 12 to be the boat for me.