Remember when all the new kayaks used to come out in the whitewater category? Now it’s in fish kayaks, with a slew of companies unveiling new fish kayaks this year to better land lunkers and consumers. PL offers a sneak peak at this year’s line-up…
As for trends in the category, expect bells and whistles and weight savings. “The fishing kayak market continues to grow, but the boats are getting heavier and heavier,” says Hurricane Aquasport’s Steve Jordan, whose company recently merged with Legacy Watersports. “People want lighter versions.” While weight is important, today’s fish kayaks are also loaded with accessories for electronics and other add-ons. Below are a few you’ll see on the water this fall.
Wilderness Systems ATAK: Angling for even more sales in the fishing market, Wilderness Systems launches its new ATAK (Advanced Tactical Angling Kayak; $1,795) this year, touting it as the most versatile, stable and customizable fishing boat to date. With an open design, total fishing accessory compatibility and a low-profile, wind-friendly hull blending speed and stability, it allows anglers to sit or stand and fish, move around on the deck, and customize it to fit their every need. The company also releases the 13-foot Tarpon 130X ($1,795) to its school of fish kayaks, coupling the original Tarpon’s speedy and stable hull with modern shaping and a creel-full of new customizable features. The hull has been narrowed to 32 inches, with added sidewall flare to keep it fast, nimble and stable. “We wanted to give our classic fishing kayak a modern overhaul,” says designer David Maughan. “Subtle design changes make the hull even more stable as a fishing platform, and we added customizable features for electronics, accessory mounts, seat adjustments, and more.” Weighing 72 lbs., the 130X includes the Flex Pod OS, a drop-in, self-contained console that adds more storage, electronic, and propulsion opportunities; and an AirPro MAX Lite seat, whose new slide-on-track system provides increased fore/aft trimming. www.wildernesssystems.com
Perception Pescador: Perception ups its game-fishing game with the new sit-on-top Pescador Pro 10.0 and 12.0, two angling-specific kayaks packed to the gills with fishing accessories and customizable features. Designers made it track like a longer boat, while offering solid initial and secondary stability for reeling in that lunker and navigating waterways as tight as your line. The deck comes with a stadium-style seat (Go team!) that can be adjusted on the fly; sit up for paddling and improved casting or recline for more comfort. Easily adjustable Keepers Foot Braces let you snug up for control and comfort. For storage it offers a mesh-covered bow tankwell and bungee-covered stern tankwell. It also comes with two molded-in rod holders, a paddle park, recessed tackle box area, cup holder, and a center console and transducer scupper ready for fish finders. For that personalized touch, accessory track recesses on the sidewalls can be outfitted with an optional gear track. For getting to and from your secret spot, Comfort Carry handles making carrying easy, while a rear skid plate protects the stern from bumps and drags. It’s available in two sizes and four colors . www.perception.com
Jackson Kayak Skipper: Bringing the fish kayak craze to fingerlings, Jackson Kayak reaches a new niche demographic with the 9-foot, 50-lb. Skipper ($999-$1,199), designed for youth fisherman ages 6-12. The sit-upon offers a stable platform for casting stand-ability, as well as such features as rod and tackle storage options, RAM track mount, trimmable seating, bow-mounted clip point and tether system for towing, replaceable stern skid plate for low center of gravity, and narrow 28-inch hull for short arms. It also comes with track-based rear storage and molded-in front hatch storage for, yep, those gummy bears, chips and other snacks we all know have to come along. www.jacksonkayak.com
Old Town Loon Angler: Old Town has expanded its lineup with the new two-model, sit-inside Loon Angler kayak (10’6” and 12’6”), an evolution of its original Loon debuted 20 years ago. A new, removable workdeck puts tackle trays, bottle holder it and built-in storage compartment with latched lid within easy reach, while a Slide Track mount makes it easy to attach accessories. The workdeck also includes a USB port to keep phones, action cameras, hand-held GPS units and other electronics charged. The enclosed design also provides shelter from the elements. Both have extra width and volume in the three-layer hull for stability and comfort, and employ Active Comfort System 2.0 (ACS2) seating offering easy adjustment, under-leg support, padding and flow-through ventilation. They also come with two integrated, flush-mount rod holders behind the cockpit for trolling and quick casting. Bow and stern deck bungees and a rear click seal hatch with bulkhead offer additional storage. “It’s easy to paddle, designed for performance and has all the fishing features our customers have asked for,” says Old Town marketing manager Luke LaBree. www.oldtowncanoe.com
Hobie Mirage Outback Special Edition: Celebrating the 15th birthday of Hobie’s Mirage® Outback, the company rolls out a special orange-colored limited edition model this year (individually numbered one to 500). The 12’ Mirage Outback Limited Edition model combines the features of the current Mirage Outback (utility, speed and stability) with MirageDrive Turbo fins, an oversized rudder, hookless map pockets, custom on-deck EVA pad kit and large padeyes for attaching accessories. Molded-in graphics depict fish species from all over the world and contrast color and logo stitching on the Vantage CT seat make it even more spiffy. www.hobiefishing.com