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This Kayak is an excellent platform for fishing, very stable and comfortable if you fit holders that are in reach but don't interfere with paddling. Tracking is not perfect but better than most sit on's without a rudder or skeg. Speed is OK for a kayak of this length. Overall a number one all-round Kayak which I will be continuing to use this year.
My number one complaint is the WET SEAT! I tried 2 different style scuppers...neither style worked at all. I ended up solving the problem by permanently sealing the holes. I placed the scupper in the holes, then filled them with expanding foam insulation, and then sealed top and bottom with silicone sealer. Makes for a nice dry ride.
The kayak is simple to to turn over if you do get water on the deck. Honestly, I don't see the purpose for the holes thus do not regret permanently sealing them.
After a couple of trips, I feel the XT angler is an average SOT kayak. For an all around SOT, the XT performs pretty well in the surf, moves decently through the flat water and is manageable in the wind and chop. The biggest thing I find wrong with this kayak is it's ability to track straight on flat water. The deck layout is very versatile, the bungie areas front and rear serve well for holding down gear. The forward hatch is kinda cramped unless you just cram stuff in there willy-nilly.
As long as you don't plan to cover 10 miles in a day, the XT angler will serve you well. This boat is good for slow moving rivers and short expeditions over the flat water or playing in the surf.
I have a suggestion for those wet seats. Buy plugs for the holes in the seat and never take them out (kayak shops either have them or can get them). The plugs will stay tight if you don't handle them, and you'll stay dry. Worked for me. There are enough other holes for water displacement.
Scrambler is definitely for smaller people, XT is for everyone. Great for diving. Doesn't surf as easy as the Ocean Kayak Frenzy.
Positives: Its light weight makes this very easy to paddle. Even if the tracking isn't true it is very easy to maneuver and keep on course. This is one kayak you could paddle all day without wearing yourself out.
Negatives: Wet ride and hull slap. I had wet butt pretty much the whole time I sat in this thing (not so bad for warm weather). Was out on some tidal creeks with minimal chop and had very prominent hull slap. For recreational purposes this isn't a problem, but don't think I'd want that if I was going to try to fish from this yak.
At first I didn't care for them for two reasons (hence the lower rating), a) they are wet boats. If you use a SOT, be prepared to be wet. so all gear needs to be in waterproof bags to stay dry. b) they ride too high when empty. We were practicing exit and re-entry and the wind took the boat and I had to swim after it. The fact that anyone in a SOT in Arizona is looking for sunburn is irrelevant. The only other problem was that the Scrambler was made for Scuba divers (my daughter dives) but the rear storage, though designed for a tank, has no drain-holes so quickly fills with water. I think that if OC would put drain holes in the rear, you would have an excellent boat.
I did modify my Scramblers by running pad-eyes along both sides of the bow & stern storage areas so I can use an elastic motorcycle cargo net to hold gear and this works very well. I also found that when I leave the kayak, re-entering a Scrambler is easy and safe which is a big selling point as I cannot swim. Plus they are tough and can take any punishment I give them from running onto a beach to striking underwater rocks and trees.
One last thing, I bought the Scrambler for me and the XT for my daughter because it was wider and more stable. We ended up trading because she likes the speed and narrow hull of the Scrambler but I like the stability and cargo capacity of the XT. Given a chance, I'd buy two more Scramblers simply because in the Arizona heat, the wetness of a SOTis a big plus and in rough water, re-entry is simple and safe.
The tracking on the boat was poor. If I stopped paddling, the boat would spin around in the opposite direction (no wind or current issues that day).
My standard milk crate that fits in some of the other kayaks I have paddled did not fit in the tank well, but I bungied it on the back anyway. I brought my anchor and attached it to the bow. I was halibut drift fishing off Ventura, CA. The stability of the boat was excellent, and the speed was average. There are too many other newer kayak designs that offer equal to better stability, a drier ride and better tracking for me to do anything else than rent this boat when forced to. I know next time to bring my wetsuit.
From what I've seen, the Scrambler XT is possibly the most popular dive kayak in the world for divers in the weight range I mentioned above. Ample storage, very stable with lots of room in the cockpit, a good medium distance paddler, extremely durable, and a lot of fun in the surf once you master the brace and steering, are just some of the reasons why we love our XTs for diving.
We almost always take two tanks out on our XTs. Most of us stack both tanks in the tank well but one of the gang still prefers to secure his second tank up on the foredeck or between his knees. As with the regular Scrambler, start with the front hatch only, it's all you'll need anyway on the XT!
If you are scubadiving from it and making surf entries and exits, don't forget to add a few more sets of eyelets around the tank well to further secure your expensive gear with bungee cords. This goes for ALL kayaks with a tank well! I also recommend a bungee or two across the front oval hatch to keep your weightbelt from knocking the cover off if you happen to roll in the surf.
When you are done diving, offload your dive gear and take the XT back out to play in the surf. It's great!
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