From my very first “J-stroke” as a kid, I learned canoe fishing was a great option for fishing small waters. To this day, I still keep an Old Town Discovery 119 in the backyard for sorties to hard-to-reach waters. Made of three-layer polyethylene, it’s built to take a beating. Plus, at a negligible 49 pounds, it’s easy to portage. My argument with Kevlar canoe enthusiasts is I have every bit the canoe they do, only mine is more rugged in rocky-bottom areas. And I bought it at a fraction of the cost of a Kevlar boat.
And I would have been perfectly happy fishing out of the Discovery, had I not discovered fishing kayaks, which offer unique features for anglers that canoes just can’t compete with …
For starters, fishing kayaks are more stable in still and moving waters. Plus, there’s a ton more storage for tackle boxes, rods … even a spot for a live well, mounting plates for rod holders, GoPro cameras, fishing electronics, etc.
Some—like Old Town’s Predator Series —are even engineered to accommodate stand-up fishing with an included assist strap or optional steady-stand bar. That’s means pitching, flipping—even fly-fishing—is possible from the right vantage.
The kayak that recently caught my eye—and apparently the rest of the fishing media at ICAST 2014 (where it won “Best Boat” and overall “Best of Show” ) is Old Town’s Predator XL Minn Kota tri-hull fishing kayak, which is 13 feet long, 3 feet wide, and has a whopping 600 pounds of carrying capacity.
Not only that, it’s designed for anglers to fish completely hands-free at will. No, it’s not foot pedal controlled. It’s motorized.
And the juice comes sourced from a company we’ve come to rely on over the years to salad-slice our bass boats through some pretty serious slop: Minn Kota.
It’s ingenious, really. The Predator XL Minn Kota is designed to accept any of three modular XL consoles that snap into the hull. The most impressive is the Minn Kota motor console, which provides 45 pounds of variable thrust, forward and reverse, and saltwater grade power. The motor was also designed with minimal operation noise, which means fewer spooked fish.
Boat control is accomplished via a foot-controlled rudder system, so anglers can move from spot to spot with ease, troll, and maintain precise boat control … without ever lifting a paddle.
Other options include Minn Kota’s Digital Maximizer technology for long battery life, dual kill-switches for safety, LED charge indicator, USB charge ports (think on-the-water smartphone/camera/GPS charging), a sonar mounting plate, battery/cable storage, and integrated storage. Even a plug to connect a trickle-charge solar panel … very smart.
In a word: Impressed. Definitely has me daydreaming about waters you just can’t reach with a big rig … and where precise boat control hasn’t been possible with my old faithful canoe.
There’s no doubt in my mind that this boat would help me catch more fish—and far from the crowd. And that gets my blood pumping.
I’d call it the fishing kayak of the future … but it’s here today.