I purchased this great kayak last year in the early summer. I used it on 5 or 6 trips on the Grand River in Michigan. Today our weather was great so I knocked of the winter dust and put her in at Holly Recreation area.
This kayak is a very stable boat. I find 1-2 foot waves are no problem for the craft. The price I paid on sale last year was 279.99 and a real bargain for what you get. I have yet to fish with the yak but that will take place this June when I will take her to Isle Royale and carefully and cautiously explorer the edges and islands of this great national park. I feel confident with this stable and sea worthy kayak. I have no real negative issues other than the seat and it's back are not good at all. I modified it, added pad and a 10-11" back support - rest that I can adjust for my old / bad back.... that is why I drop to a nine out of ten...
A great kayak for me...and a super bargain..... Mine is tan... I think they made the 144 trophy in olive as well....I have had this kayak now for 6 months, taking it out every sunday for a few hours. I am a beginner in the truest sense. From my vantage point it is a perfect starter for kayak fishing. Without any experience/training I managed to get out on the water, have never tipped over, even in 2 feet swells on Lake Lewisville (TX), have had no problems getting out of the way of speeding boats and comfortably fish using one or two rods. I am planning on adding a Scotty Fishrod holder and maybe a fishfinder when I can afford it.
When it gets closer to summer I plan on taking it out for a camping trip - I have simulated a camping load already and it easily fits a Coleman 4-man sundome tent with tons of storage room to spare for other gear. I'll need space for food, as catching it might be a challenge for me.
If you are looking at getting out on the water instead of fishing by land, and/or getting some exercise this is a very good kayak to start with. I have never used a $500+ model bit for $350 at west marine I feel I got an excellent deal for something that gets me out of the house and a few hours a week away from children and the office.
I'm sure the more expensive models track 10% or 15% better and have more gadgets but if you are a once a week social kayaker - this is the best!!!
I'm 6 ft, weigh 180 lbs can carry it around without breaking my back (though it is 58lbs) and cannot see myself breaking any part of this kayak unless I take an axe to it.The good:
Tracks well, has rod holders, scupper holes, dihedral hull, dry well does stay dry......however, buy some thread tape for a dollar for the screw hatches.
Weak handles, over 60 lbs.,
Overall:Stability...Like other reviewers I found this kayak to be amazingly stable. The hull moves bouncy to the sides. I can come out of the seat and sit behind the opening on the back and paddle nice on long trips to change positions. Easy to get back into if you fall out. I can't imagine rolling in this kayak.
I got this boat at Dicks for 300 dollars. There is no better SOT fishing yack for 300 dollars. I have taken this boat over 100 miles and there are no flaws in it. The front well is big, and can hold a lot. I think it holds over 400 pounds... that's a lot.
I am very happy that I bought it.
Tacking....Tracking and turning in a kayak without a rudder are, in my experience, mutually exclusive. This one tracks great. I didn't notice it being easily turned by the wind.
Turning...I have an Old Town Otter that turns on a dime, this kayak takes at least twice the effort to turn. Not meant for whitewater.
Speed.... Again, like other reviewers I noticed that this kayak was slow compared to others like the Old Town Otter.
Comfort....Given how much I like this kayak and the fact that I got a great deal, this is one I was able to over look, but if youíre paying full price ($600+) it's a problem. The back rest is very short and the seat isn't all that ergonomic.
Quality...The foam insert in my kayak was also blown out. This is a concern in deep water as without the rear watertight compartment it could sink. The backrest frayed apart the second time I used it. The plastic on this boat is thick and (relatively) soft and gouges easy, though the bottom design keeps much of the scratches concentrated on two ridges that run the length of the boat.
Overall it's a great fishing platform if you can get it under $400. Lots of storage and tie downs and two rod holders. Over $400 I would expect that the Patriot Perception or Old Town Dirgo could be found on clearance and may give this boat a run for itís money. I LOVE the stability and I'm able to overlook the speed and turning issues, even at full price. Stability is truly the hallmark of this kayak and I donít think the other kayaks mentioned are as stable. The problems I will fix by jury rigging the seat and fixing the water tight rear. A great deal for me at $315 (Dicks on clearance). I like it for the price, but honestly I would have been disappointed at full price.I bought the 12 foot long Trophy 144 after researching and shopping around for a fishing kayak. The Trophy had a lot of features such as rod holders, tons of storage space, and a rear compartment that is sealed with a watertight foam barrier.It was by far the best deal I could find. Had all of the features I was finding on kayaks from Old Town, Perception and Wilderness Systems that cost $200 more.
The performance of this kayak is great. Their brochure talks about a dihedral hull that helps with stability and performance and from what I can see they are exactly right. I'm a big guy, 6'0" and 220 pounds and the Trophy 144 is comfortable and stable and paddles great. It's not the lightest or fastest kayak I have ever owned, but I'm fishing not racing and this kayak fits my needs exactly.
I saw a Trophy 126 at Dick's and might pick up this kayak for my 12 year old son. He fishes with me out of a boat, but never out of a kayak. I'd feel good about him fishing out of a Trophy because of the stability and solid construction.Well, initially I was impressed with the array of features on this kayak. Nice handles, drains, two hatches, fishing pole holders. However the first thing I noticed was that the area of the rear hatch (which was supposed to be sealed) wasn't sealed; the foam had loosened and was no longer watertight. I was willing to overlook this because I thought I had gotten a pretty good deal on it.
I noticed the boat was VERY stable. I could aid my steering by leaning which was nice. However I was frequently struggling to keep up with the pack, because this thing is SLOW. A friend had the shorter 126 which seemed much faster. I noticed that the drain seal had cracked (cheap plastic) and was mildly upset about that but not enough to return it. For $350 I had something that I enjoyed kayaking in, so I felt that was reasonable and the cracked drain really didn't inhibit its function.
While paddling hard downstream one of the foot pegs snapped off. That was it. The final straw, paddling 5 miles home with only one foot peg, I knew I was taking it back. When I returned it the store manager said that every one he had sold came back because the rear hatch seal was broke. He said that the company was in Canada and that they were aware of the issue and weren't willing to do anything about it. The store manager was completely pleasant and willing to take it back.
So now I'm shopping again and leaning toward a Wilderness Systems Tsunami 140...more money, but reliability is worth something, especially when on the water or in the wild.