I've been in this kayak 2-4 times at trade shows and have fished it twice; once in fresh water and once in salt water.
PROS:The Native Slayer Propel reminds me of the Native Ultimate. It's sleek, rides very smooth, and feels like a sport car. It's not as fast as the Ultimate but it's not short on efficiency. It's my opinion that when it comes to peddling with your feet, the Hobie is the only vessel that's faster. Even then, only a skinny, small framed dude, on the skinnier Hobie can obtain that speed on a SOT that is set up for fishing. I was impressed with the handling and appearance of the slayer, it just looks good. While paddling into the swells or with the swells it felt very stable and the hull was comfortable.
CONS: With a side swell things got a little sketchy a couple of times. I didn't feel as though I would flip but I did feel the need to counter balance quickly and significantly with my body. As far as standing, I Couldn't get it done. It's not quite built for a 260 lb dude to stand up to relieve himself. I should've brought the wiffle ball bat! I haven't seen it personally but I've had people tell me and I've read on forums where the Slayer tends to separate and come apart where they glue the top to the bottom. It ain't no Prowler but I think that the Native Slayer is a higher quality fishing kayak. In speaking with others who own them it appears that guys that weigh less than 200 are the most content with them.
crate, dry box, tackle, rods, reels, pliers, scissors, paddle
Yea, yea, yea..... I hear you.... not listening but I hear you. Sooooooo many times I've heard the above comments and many more comments than those. So frequently someone is more interested in my gear than the gear that they own. Sometimes it makes me happy to know that my life is so interesting that I can amuse others who apparently doesn't have a very exciting life of their own.
Years ago the criticism almost bothered me a little bit (not really). The anglers that pursue and enjoy the same type of fishing that I am usually performing are NOT the people that tend to make negative remarks about my rods and reels. The #1 species that I pursue in my meager little life is Largemouth Bass. It's 95% of my annual time spent on the water. So naturally, my equipment is geared in that direction. It's usually bass gear that is on the Gulf of Mexico. It's usually bass gear that is on Lake Michigan, the Chessie, the Alabama River, the Missouri River, ponds, creeks, lakes, and it's usually bass gear EVERYWHERE else.
If an anglers home body of water is about grass flats, sand flats, trolling, or live bait under corks then they obtain rods and reels to support their interest. If all I did was fished for brim and crappie then my arsenal would be brim and crappie gear. If all I did was troll on my home body of water, then a simple rod that lives in a rod holder would be sufficient for my endeavors. If bass fishing season was a few short weeks of the year I'd understand everybody's concerns regarding my gear (my business).
Guess what....in Alabama the bass season is 52 weeks a year, it's always beautiful, and GOD smiles on us all year long so we fish. Back when Shakespeare didn't have "Made in China" written on the side I enjoyed the product. Today, I prefer a St. Croix fishing rod. It's made right here in the U.S.A by the American work force. Specifically, mine were made in Wisconsin.
I desire to have a quality tool in my hand when I go to work and I desire to have a quality fishing rod in my hand when I go Large Mouth Bass fishing. With my St. Croix I can tell when my bass jig moves from rocks to sand, or from sand to mud, or into grass. With my rod I can tell exactly when my Chatta bait touches grass and I need to speed up my retrieve. It works a wacky rig beautifully, Texas rigged lizard, live brim, top water frog, and the occasion balloon. I guess what I'm thinking is that if you never finesse fish or if you don't know some of the stuff that you just read, then you don't have any business worrying about how I spend my money and what type of rods that I use.
The heavy action or medium/heavy fishing rod(s) that I usually troll with on big water are also the rods that flip jigs with on Lake Guntersville for bass. The 7'8' spin cast rods that I use for shore fishing king salmon, or for reds on the sand flats, or for trout on the grass flats is also the rod that I use for throwing lipless crank baits for bass. You see? When you see me on your home body of water and my fishing gear doesn't look exactly like yours, it's because my gear was purchased for ALABAMA LARGE MOUTH BASS.
As a kayak angler, there's ALWAYS the same questions that come up. Sometimes they are enjoyable but sometimes the questions are an opportunity to educate the person asking the questions. The question that I want to focus on here is the question as to "why I fish from a kayak." I will compare the kayak angling experience to other experiences first.
I was never truly hooked on bow hunting until I harvested my first buck with a bow. I was never (in my satisfaction) a true marksman until I took my first wild hawg with a revolver while stalking and standing on the ground. When I squirrel or rabbit hunt I prefer a pellet rifle. All of these items have the same thing in common; their a little more challenging.
Fishing from a kayak is so much more intimate with the game fish than from a large boat. Sure, I enjoy going out on a bass boat and hanging out with friends. However, its kayak fishing that I'm obsessed with! On the kayak you're... (1) more committed because you ain't fishing a point for 15 minutes and then running 2 miles up river. You study the area with all of the computer gadgets available, check reports, and commit to an area. The size of area that you commit to depends on the amount of time that you have available to fish. (2) It's more personal because anyone can catch a 200 pound beast from the salt water from a 35 foot vessel and trolling 15 lines from a boat with friends ain't really fishing. The kayak offers stealth and access to skinny water that motor boats struggle to access. I have had trophy bass come up to "smell" my kayak!! They had no idea what they were looking at!! (3) The adrenaline rush from netting a huge bass, salmon, or snapper is unmatched when sitting in a kayak. To touch the 4' leader with a shark on the hook is intoxicating.
I remember, years ago, going fishing on the weekend and I could barely afford the gas to get to where I wanted to fish. A couple of times me and a buddy would buy a new rod and reel on Friday evening, fish all weekend, & return the gear on Sunday evening for a refund so that we could pay the power bill on Monday !! We kept everything that bit because we had caught groceries! We were in survival mode for years it seems!
For years, as a kayak angler, I was always planning the next kayak purchase. I wanted bigger, better, and all of the options. Space, stability, electronics, and all the tackle was the plan. I was always looking at what others had and my mission was to out do them !! Currently I usually fish from a Hobie Pro Angler 14 and I'm short of no necessities. Every person in my house that is old enough to independently paddle has a premium brand kayak and most have electronics. I can bass fish out of anything that floats (kayak or other) but recently I have felt that I'm missing something...... What? What do I need? Rods? no... reels? no...tackle?...no...kayak?, I have a fleet in the garage !!! What am I missing? I'm missing the old times.......
I recall the times when I went fishing and 100%
of my fishing gear went with me. A kayak that was
light weight, on my shoulder to the shore, and both
rods tied to it. I was a minimalist because I had no
choice, it's what I had. 2 rods, a box with 10-15 lures,
4-5 bags of worms, and a dream to catch the record
large mouth bass.....
I am so grateful for where I am and what I have.
I've come a long way since I was a youngster & young
adult and I've learned great lessons along the way. I
have had great people (and some scum bags) influence
my decisions and taught me much. The hardships and the burdens have been very educational. In reflection, I can't help but recognize that I am also very grateful as to where I've been.
UPDATE: I have down sized and currently have 1 kayak. An Ocean Kayak Prowler 13. Simple, simple, simple.
Batman, my 11 year old really took a liking to the OK Prowler. He has been fishing, playing, & going crazy on a Native Watercraft Versa Board until recently. He liked the OK so I asked him if he wanted to make an even trade with me and he said yes.....now I have a yak that doesn't have enough capacity for me to fish on!!!!
PROS: It's an Ocean Kayak product so the top quality is built in. The length is good, the width is good, the stability is exactly what you expect from an Ocean Kayak product. When it's sitting on the ground in front of you it looks like the most awesome new toy in the world. The hatch opens and flips so that you keep your electronics dry and protected while travelling on the road. I had the Lawrance Elite 5 Ultra Chip permanently mounted and it fit great.
CONS: The Trident Series center hatch touches every inch of your legs from the ying yang to your feet. Crowded, crowded, crowded. It hurts my heart to review this vessel because I'm an Ocean Kayak freak. I put it on the water about a dozen times, my wife tried it a couple of times, and neither of us could just call it comfortable. The center hatch just made us feel as if we were in a coffin. I sold this vessel for $200 more than I paid for it.
EXPERIMENT: Hull full of foam noodles !
PROS: It's a Wilderness so we already know that is of high quality and built with durable poly. The 100 has very handy and accessible drink holders near the crotch area and on either side of the center dry hatch. Comes stock with tracks so your favorite accessories can be quickly added to either side from the knees to the feet. The center hatch and the front hatch lock tightly and passed the water hose test. The seat is firm and easily adjustable for your height and lower back support. It's a 10 foot vessel and we initially purchased the 100 for our children, nephews, nieces, and all of their friends. At the time we were aiming for the age group of 8 to 14. What we learned was that any person up to 160 pounds can paddle this kayak easily and it maintains it's stability. We have been very impressed with the Wilderness Tarpon 100. It's empty weight is ideal for transport, it rides in the J saddle comfortably, and fits in the attic!
CONS: The foot pegs will not stay on the vessel doing highway speeds.
Me=260 lbs, hull=25 gal so far
I'm in the seat, the hull is full, mostly submerged but not sunk.
OCEAN KAYAK PROWLER 13
REVIEW: Ocean Kayak Prowler 13
I asked a friend how much she would take for an old, aluminum boat that she had in her back yard that was wrapped in an old tarp. The boat had been set up for a long time and didn't appear to be of interest to anyone. She told me that I could have it for free !!!
My interest in the boat was to restore it to a working condition and set it up for Walleye and Smallmouth angling in Wisconsin. Maybe use it for pre-fishing kayak tournaments and such. I believe that it is a 1954 Crestliner Commodor but there's a good chance that I'll be corrected on that. I spend time in Wisconsin due to work so naturally I end up fishing in Wisconsin. As far as I've been able to determine so far, this boat was born and raised in Wisconsin.
Join me, below, in a pictorial review of the restoration process. It's still in progress so I'll update as time progresses.
80 gals of water inside the hull, The open hatch wouldn't allow anymore water without spilling over.
REVIEW: Wilderness System Tarpon 100
Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Repair winter project
1 Gal at a time
REVIEW: HOBIE OUTBACK
battery box, 1st Aid kit, wiring for FF
REVIEW: Ocean Kayak Trident Ultra 4.3
REVIEW: NATIVE SLAYER PROPEL
Experiment: Almost ice fishing from a kayak !
REVIEW:NATIVE ULTIMATE 14.5 PROPEL
The Project Team - Batman, Garage Engineer and Tater Bug, Garage Scientist
tools to help with the experiment. A water pump is in the green box.
REVIEW: HOBIE PRO ANGLER 14
Stuart (TopWaterFinSpotter) reports from the coastal waters in South Alabama. Stuart, as well as his brother, fish from the Hobie PA as they pursue the game fish that sometimes reach intimidating sizes. You can keep up with Stuart's fishing activities, see his posted photo's, video's , and recent blogs by clicking his button below. He has posted his contact information for you salt water anglers to communicate with him. Good luck in Lower Alabama !!!
REVIEW: NATIVE MARINER PROPEL
....... & salt water friendly
3.5 STARS Uncomfortable for me and a wet ride in back
I was in route to fish in the gulf just west of Pensacola and was launching from the beach with my Ocean Kayak Prowler 13. As I was pulling into the parking lot, a young man pulled in behind me with his Native Mariner. In discussion we decided to use the buddy system, on this day, and we were each interested in each others kayak. We thought that it would be fun to trade kayaks for a couple of hours to explore the opportunities. I put my gear on the Mariner and he put his gear on the Prowler. We fished for approx. 4 hours before returning to shore.
My 2nd and 3rd Native Mariner test drives were at "Event Days" for venders that were advertising their products. Each of these were in a bay near the gulf.
PROS: The Native Mariner loses half of a star on stability. On flat water to moderate swells the Mariner felt stable enough to keep me comfortable. From the rear of the seat to the front hatch the vessel is designed to be mostly user friendly. The Propel system is fabulous and once a fish is hooked the immediate reverse is famous. Great seat and can ride for hours. We were trolling on the gulf and I believe that the Mariner is best for this type of fishing.
CONS: One of the first things that I recognized upon sitting in the kayak was that I felt crowded, especially between my legs. I'm accustomed to moving my legs around a little more than I was able. Crowded is the best description. I had my insulated fish bag strapped behind the seat as this is where I usually have it when I'm on the bug water. As soon as my body weight was on the vessel my bag was sopping wet. I know that this doesn't harm the bag but I just wasn't a fan of the lay out from the seat to the rudder. It reminded me of a flat bed on a pick up truck. In our 3rd hour the winds changed a little and this caused the surf to change as well. I was fine and the kayak handle well in the moderate surf but when the water became angry the stability was challenged. Minus a half star for stability change while on the water, minus a star for my bag getting wet, and minus a star for feeling so crowded. Twice I returned to shore frontwards while paddling traditional and once I paddle in backwards. Paddling the Mariner with a traditional paddle is very challenging and potentially impossible for a short person with a short paddle.
I have included this picture because it gives me the opportunity to throw in some stuff regarding safety. If I speak to 20 different people, I'll get 20 different ideas about safety.
The day this picture was taken we had been waiting all winter to chase King Salmon and the ice had started to break in a marina in Wisconsin. My buddy asked if I wanted to try it so I loaded all of the big water gear and took a road trip. This day the water was around 23 degrees (if I remember correctly) and the wind with current started to clear the water. The cold and the wind were horrible! I don't ever believe that I have it all figured out but every time someone that I'm acquainted with dies while kayaking I try to learn what failed and improve my skills in that area.
We waited at the boat launch for an hour so that someone with a boat could break a trail for us to paddle through behind them !!!
In this picture, I'll share what gear and preparations I (we) took. The Coast Guard station was at the marina, they knew we were there, and I know that they were watching because I could see them! I was wearing a 7 mil wet suit for insulation under heavy winter clothing. Over that I was wearing a full body dry suit that felt like it was cutting off my blood circulation. A premium PFD and attached to it was a whistle, air horn, submersible marine radio (set to the CG channel), 2 personal locator devices, and a submersible marine spotlight that would float behind my head.
The lesson that was learned.........to much gear to fish comfortably, unable to pee through the tube to release all of the coffee, and couldn't focus on fishing due to my attention being on surviving. I won't say that I'll never do this again but the chances are good that I won't. I didn't admit it that day and Chad didn't either but it was about 4 hours of an adrenaline flow!!!
As you can see above I was advertising the Alabama Crimson Tide during this endeavor !!
5 STARS.... This is a high quality, very stable kayak, and Mommy's personal favorite.
PROS: From trolling to bass fishing the Hobie Outback is the bomb. I was initially sold on Hobie over this specific kayak and this one led me into the PA 14. Salt water friendly, enough space for ample tackle and all of the right spots to add my favorite accessories. This kayak scores top points for being one of the safest kayaks for the Gulf of Mexico or frigid waters. At 260 lbs I usually don't make the effort to stand up in this one except when I'm fishing in a tree limb and trying to get my lure. Travels well in J saddles, upside down, or right side up.
CONS: It's my wife's favorite I have to pick another one when it's time to go. The rudder seems to need maintenance at least twice per year. I have tried to paddle 3 Outbacks traditionally. None of the 3 were successful in paddling straight so a breakage of the mirage would be huge if you're several miles off shore.
GET YOUR KIDZ HOOKED ON FISHING & THEY CAN'T AFFORD ALCOHOL OR DRUGS !!!
Have you ever had a kayak spring a leak while you were on the water? Most seasoned kayakers can attest that this not only can happen but that they have had this experience. I've heard of scuppers developing leaks, I have heard of water entering the hull where the electronics wiring enters through a hatch while in rough water, I have read where kayaks have taken on water and the occupant died from hypothermia in cold water. The stories are endless so my meager little mind decided to perform an experiment.
My thoughts were simply this. If I hit a stump (or something similar) and my vessel starts taking water, how can I prevent all of my gear from sinking to the bottom of the river or lake. We are very aware that when you count the dollars that our gear cost us, it can be expensive. Battery, fish finder, rods / reels, ect., ect. I wanted to see if I could have a plan to not only self rescue myself but self rescue 100% of my gear. Keep in mind that my plan is developed for me. I can swim effectively, I always have a PFD, I don't tend to panic. Each kayak angler must develop a plan that works for them.
I assumed that if I filled the hull full of foam that the kayak would be able to sustain some water within the hull. I experimented with one of my Ocean Kayak Prowler 13's (pictured above). I initially purchased 16 foam noodles (pictured below) and started stuffing them in the front hatch and pushing them to the rear. I ran out immediately and purchased 17 additional noodles. I spent $33 on 33 noodles and added less than 3 pounds.
For the experiment I had on the kayak exactly what I would have on it during a fishing trip. Keep in mind that sometimes I'll have 1 rod but sometimes as many as 5. I used 3 for this experiment. The only thing extra that would be on the yak is me and my PFD. We'll get that experiment later this week.
The pics below are the record for this experiment.
5 stars !! ....... My all time 2nd favorite kayak for Largemouth Bass fishing !!!
PROS: When fishing for bass, It's tough to paddle around with less than a dozen pieces of tackle. It can be done and sometimes I'm on the water with 2 lures on 2 rods. However, when it's my turn to go fishing and it's an all day affair, I desire to have the arsenal. The Native Ultimate 14.5 Propel is nothing but awesome and allows me to take what I need. Currently, my crate will hold 6 vertical rods so I usually stay at that number. It's a hybrid kayak which means that the entire hull is open and accessible from the seat. I can stand to fishing with ease, the seat is as comfortable as the Hobie, and this sucker is fast!!! The propel system means that you have 2 hands to fish with and reverse is immediate. On Guntersville where the grass is everywhere, I prop the Propel above the water line and paddle traditionally. Either way this is a consistent 7 mph kayak. I have had mine in the gulf, Lake Michigan, Green Bay, and many interior lakes, ponds, and rivers. It's a wonderful all around kayak.
CONS: (1) A guy named Woody that's affiliated with Native is the reason that I started buying Hobies. Hope you don't have to deal with him. (2) The Ultimate was "a trial" and they don't make them anymore. (3) It's a hybrid and when the water comes in it doesn't run out through scupper holes, it stays in the hull.
The results have determined that you can't sink my Prowler when it's full of water (70 gallons) full of noodles and 402 pounds of people sitting on top !!! On top of that I can still paddle it around !!
I probably won't keep all of these noodles inside my hull because it's nice to be able to throw a tent, hammock, dry bag and junk like that in the front hatch. But the experiment was certainly entertaining.
For the specific thinking folk, here's the particulars:
1. My Ocean Kayak Prowler 13, totally empty, and with the seat off weighs in at 65.0 pounds.
2. It max's out with noodles (the skinny type) at 46. I left enough room at the front hatch for a battery with battery box & a 1st aid kit.
3. 1 of the noodles provide 12.2 pounds of float.
4. One noodle weighs .1 pound and the 46 noodles that I inserted weigh in at 4.2 pounds.
5. It took me and my son approx. 4 minutes to remove all of the noodles from within the hull.
5 STARS ........ pardon me while I compose myself while thinking of all of the Prowler 13's that I have owned... I'm having a moment.
PROS: This is my all time favorite, all around fishing kayak. Currently about $750 new and down to $50 used. Premium brand, premium poly construction, premium user friendly. This kayak can be afforded by the novice but still be 15 miles off shore by the expert. This kayak, while not a racing kayak, gets to where you're going at a reasonable speed. Tracks well, slices the surf for fun, and is as dependable as the old American made muscle cars from yester year. It cost a little more than some, doesn't have as great of capacity as some, not as fast as some, not as purdy as some but it serves as a great "all purpose" kayak. I've had the Prowler everywhere !!! It's bounced through the rocks of the Coosa, cut trails through, hydrilla all over the Tennessee river, been on Green Bay, Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, the Chessie, the Atlantic, drug a mile through the woods, on a cart behind my bicycle in Gulf Shores........it's been my dependable beater for a long, long time. The first time I ever put electronics on a kayak it was a Prowler, the first time I ever reeled myself to a shark that was as long as the kayak, it was a Prowler, the first time I ever paddled to an oil rig it was a Prowler, The first time that I was to far from shore to even see shore it was in an Ocean Kayak Prowler 13. I've only ever rented 2 different brands of kayak while travelling. Twice I rented a PA 14 and the other couple of dozen times it was the Prowler. I know that I'm getting a little carried away here but I just want you to know that I will own the OK Prowler as long as I'm alive. My sons kayak is the Prowler, when my baby Princess is old enough and big enough, her first will be the Prowler. I encourage you to check out the Prowler 13.
CONS: I'm 6'1" and 260.......I can exceed the capacity with to much gear.
Click on the KFA logo on any page and it will take you to todays daily devotion.
...... & salt water friendly
DURING..... adding water using 1 gallon measuring bucket........
My 13 yr old son put the camera on dry land and mounted up on the front of the kayak. The vessel was submerged but I was able to paddle us around.
"........you don't have a clue....."
"....... I've never spent more that $40 on a fishing rod in my life......"
"..... you're just a show off.... "
"........ my Wal-Mart $20 combo is better than anything that you own..."
AFTER.......... this sucker held 80 gallons of water and kept my gear above water. I need to add some more noodles to the front end to keep the vessel level (while it's sinking). I think that if the rear wasn't higher that the front that it would have held over 100 gallons. While at the 40 gallon mark I sat in the kayak and it was on the verge of going under completely !! My intent is to roll out if it starts taking water and swim to shore with my gear still on board. The PFD and 8' line tied to the front will allow this to happen! After we emptied the hull of water, we added 10 more full noodles plus several scraps that probably equal 3 more noodles. I'm thinking that I have approx. 46 noodles inside the hull for the next experiment.
BEFORE ADDING WATER TO INSIDE THE HULL
5 Stars.... In my opinion the Hobie Pro Angler 14 is the best fishing kayak that I have ever fished from.
Pros: Very stable and wide enough to support safety while on the big, frigid waters up north where hypothermia will kill you within minutes once you're in the water. With a 600 lb capacity I can carry 6 rods horizontal and 6 vertical when competing in the bass tournaments down south. The capacity also allows you to carry all of my tackle with no worries. I have had mine in multiple rivers and inshore ponds and lakes all over the country. I've also had it in the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic, Lake Michigan, Chesapeake Bay, Green Bay, and Sturgeon Bay. From 10 hour trolling days to standing and casting for bass, this is a bad mamma jamma. The Mirage Drive is supreme and the seat is as comfortable as you'll ever find in a kayak. I move mine by hand on a home made dolly and it rolls through the emerald coast sands on the beach with ease.
Cons: This is a HEAVY kayak. I usually aim for a boat launch to put in with a trailer. While it can be transported on top of the vehicle, that loading at the end of a 12 hour day of fishing is disheartening. Any wise PA 14 owner uses a trailer. If the mirage breaks down, this kayak is a difficult paddle to paddle in a traditional manner. A little pricy at $3500.