New Fishing Kayaks - 2006
By Jerry White
Like many of you, I'm very happy with my current fishing kayak. Well, I was. See, this past weekend, I helped a buddy (who is a dealer) at the Tampa Tribune Outdoor Show. I got to talk with lots of folks about kayak fishing, and also about some exciting NEW products. While we were waiting for winter to come to an end, kayak manufacturers were hard at work coming up with some great new products. The dealers aren't asleep either. When I attended this show a few years ago, there was only one kayak dealer there, stuffed way in the back. This year, a least 4 dealers were present at the show, kayak fishing seminars were being given, kayak fishing guides were offering their services, and numerous other booths contained gear that was aimed at getting the kayak fisherman's hard earned money. We're no longer a novelty or a passing fad, tucked away in some back booth. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls - the sport of kayak fishing has arrived !
Let's talk about the new products I encountered at the show. Sure, there were lots of rods, reels, lures, along with gazillions of dollars worth of powerboats. But the one thing that separates us from the others is our vessel - our fishing kayak. And, there were 3 kayaks that caught my eye, for very specific reasons. But before I talk about these, let's get that disclaimer thing over with.
Jerry's disclaimer: I am not affiliated in any way with any of the products I'm about to talk about. I'm just a guy that's pumped about some new goodies. I'm sure some legal jargon should follow, but all that I'm familiar with is what I hear on Law & Order, and that almost always involves a plea bargain - not really applicable in this case. So just insert your best guess [here].
As you've noticed over the past few years, lots of new kayaks have come to market, making it real hard to pick one. However, you probably also noticed that a lot of the new kayaks look like a lot of the older kayaks. Many in the industry predicted that the next generation of fishing kayaks would be different by means of design or material. And, it was also predicted that more and more paddle-sport companies would enter the kayak fishing ring in hopes of delivering a knock out punch. At the show I saw perfect examples of all 3. Let's get ready to rumble …
BETTER BY DESIGN:
You can't improve if you don't change - that's evolution. You can't find a better path by staying on the same road - that's progress by exploration. It would appear that this was what Emotion Kayaks was thinking when they brought the "Mojo" to market.
This is unlike any kayak you've ever seen, which makes it stand out from the crowd, and I'm sure Emotion is hoping that its uniqueness will actually make the Mojo stand above the crowd. Every square inch of this kayak has a purpose as it relates to fishing, period. I've had the luxury of speaking with the designer of this boat (Jim Snyder), and his goal was to make a highly functional boat, and then sculpt it in to a work of art. I was curious as to how people would accept this new design, and the majority of people that saw it this weekend thought it looked great and were definitely knocked out by the numerous features, mainly the adjustable center console and the innovative molded handles. Yup - the cookie cutter got broken with this one.
For more information, please check out these links:
BETTER BY MATERIALS:
One issue that keeps coming up is the matter of weight. Weight matters not only as you load and unload, but on the water as well. Less to paddle means, well, less to paddle. For this, we need a lighter material that's still affordable. In struts the Phoenix line, by Hurricane Aquasports.
This model is offered in 12' and 14' versions. They don't come in "angler" models, but as we all know (probably from my earlier articles) that rod holders are very simple to install. The magic here is in the material. That material is Trylon. It's lighter than polyethylene, and is also stiffer. The 12' model weighs a mere 38 pounds. Let's just let that number sink in a minute - 38 pounds. If you make a trip to a Sam's Club I'll bet you'll bring home more than 38 pounds ! Trylon is also stiffer than polyethylene, which equates to minimal flex and oil-canning, which directly improves one thing - speed. And may of you have been wanting a faster fishing kayak. Since Trylon is a little stiffer it's also more scratch resistant than poly, so that means your shiny new hull will stay looking that way longer. It's also less sensitive to UV damage. The color choices are nice as well. They offer 2 tone models, like the one shown, and they also offer these models in a solid white, which (in my opinion) is stunning.
For more information, please check out these links:
BETTER BY WAITING:
Many companies were quick to jump on the kayak fishing train only to find out that the conductor didn't know where it was going. The result was a wide variety of kayaks that were nothing more than recreational sit-on-top kayaks with rod holders. Funtional ? Barely. Ideal ? Not hardly. One company that waited for the dust to settle was Liquid Logics. And, when the air cleared, what remained was their new Manta Ray series.
The Manta Ray series is available in 12' and 14' models. Up until now, Liquid Logic has done well in the sit-inside and whitewater market. What's worthy of noting is that when they decided to enter the sit-on-top market they did so with only 2 boats, and both are designed for fishing. I'd wager that these boats will also be offered in non-angler models, but it's quite evident that the paddle angler was given great consideration while these boats were being developed. As I examined the 12' model this weekend, it was clear that a number of proven features offered all across the industry were present. To quote a famous Vulcan, "Logical indeed". Get it ? : Instead of buying all the CD's, look at this kayak as a "Greatest Hits" compilation - solid gold.
There are many more new products out there, and the only way you'll find out about them is to do your research, and visit your local dealers. And don't hesitate to contact the manufacturers. They're very anxious to hear your thoughts and truly want to give you the product that you want.
See you out on the water ...
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