July 18, 2013

The Quest For The Ultimate Fly Fishing Kayak - Part 2

With the original "The Quest For The Ultimate Fly Fishing Kayak" post being so well received, I thought I might continue along this particular path and update it with a second installment.

(Just to briefly recap, the first post highlighted the following fishing kayaks: NuCanoe Frontier, Jackson Coosa & Cuda, Freedom Hawk 12, Badfish Badfisher, and the Diablo Chupacabra...)

However, there were so many good suggestions made in the comments of the original post, as well as in other social media outlets this blog is hooked into, I figured it might be a good idea to document those as well in a follow up...so here we go...

Leading off, the Emotion Stealth Angler (suggested by Spurky) is a pretty interesting choice.  The smallest, and most price friendly, I'm not sure that it accommodates my desire to stand up, but everything else is top notch.  Nice and compact, I think this would be a lot of fun to have to simply tool around in...with a little bit of fishing functionality thrown in there.

Lunker Hunt Clif next suggested a Hobie Kayak featuring Mirage Drive.  Holy Crap.  If I'm going to go that route, it'd be impossible not to go for the totally pimped out Pro Angler 12.  Now do I want to spend almost $3000 on a fishing kayak?  Maybe not, but damn if it isn't really, really tempting.  I even went to go look at one in person at the local dealer.  This thing is friggin' awesome.

A little bit out of the box, T! Pro Staffer Dub offered up scrounging Craigslist to find a good time old Coleman Crawdad, which is more like a plastic jon boat than a kayak.  It's no longer made, but he also says you can find them inexpensively used and they're plenty roomy.  (Pelican appears to make something similar, so it does live on as new!)  The picture below shows it's definitely more of a bass boat...but who said I only needed one boat?  Bring on the Troutrageous! Armada!

Both Lance MilksRiver Mud Kirk recommended looking up the Native Ulitmate Angler...which is more canoeish, like the NuCanoe in the last post, and a very compelling suggestion.  I'll be looking into this one a little bit more, as it appears more than suitable to fit the type of fishing I'm looking to do.  This dude frogk04 did a pretty nice walkthrough on YouTube, so why reinvent the wheel...

Michael Finn suggested the Old Town Predator...I'm not sure if he was referencing the 13 or MX, but both look pretty badass.  (The camo doesn't hurt either...can you see it?...didn't think so...)  I think I'm liking the MX a touch more (which I think was the one he was actually recommending), being a bit shorter, a smidge wider, and with a more pronounced deck...but you probably wouldn't lose with either...

The Diablo Amigo was then referenced by Lynn David, who saw it being teased on Facebook... and...well...from what I can see, I like it very much.  It's basically like the other Diablo SUP-ish kayaks, with the exception that it will be roto-molded instead of thermoform ABS...which will bring the price down.  Yuuuuuup!  I'm not going to complain about that one bit!  Unfortunately, it's a brand new model just launched at the ICAST/IFTD Show, so details such as that reduced price are a little bit thin at the moment...  Good things come to those who wait...

And last but not least Spurky chimed in again with the FeelFree Lure.  Now I've never heard of FeelFree Kayaks before, but everybody on Facebook is raving about the clean lines and how sweet this kayak will be.  I also read it will have a 3 height adjustable seat platform, and feature FeelFree's tool-less track system which will accommodate the new Unitrack crossbar "dashboard," making pimping your ride easy.  Much like the Diablo Amigo, this 'yak is brand new and details are also somewhat sketchy at the moment...I mean there's not even a picture, only this rendering to go from...

Got all that?  Suddenly the menu of choices got a heck of a lot bigger...

Here's the chart from the last post, updated to include some of the newer suggestions...

And I'll close this post as I closed the first one...

So do any of you own any of these fishing vehicles?

What about comments / recommendations?

I'd welcome any & all below...


  1. Mike...here's my thoughts as I own a couple of the kayaks you have in the mix.

    Diablo Chupacabra. Totally dig this kayak start to finish. Super stable and great on all types of water except paddling again the wind on open water since the width and shortness of the kayak really work against you. The Amigo should be priced around $800 if my info is correct. This should be a solid contender on your short list.

    Native Ultimate. I own the 14.5 solo/tandem. I don't think there is a better kayak if you want to have something that the whole family can fun cruise with you in but also want to outfit to fish out of as well. If you are thinking of a solo kayak only then I think there are better options out there. The Ultimate hasn't be totally refreshed in design for years.

    Here's one that I don't see on the list yet...Versa Board. Offered by both Liquid Logic and Native is board is a ton of fun, unreal stable, and really enjoyable to fly fish from. Outfit with a small YETI or other cooler and you can sit down or buy the available seat to be lower on the deck. We have a Versa Board and are thinking of purchasing a second one as our children really enjoy them.

    Take at a look at the BOTE Board offerings as well. One of the HD models is very high on my list.

    Or go an entirely different direction and skip the kayak and took at the Towee skiff.

  2. You didn't really cover it - or maybe I missed it - but would you like to take Lilly out for a paddle sometime? ......cough,Nucanoe,cough.....

  3. I have the Native Manta Ray 11 and love it. This was my first kayak and it is stable enough for this slightly obese, 6' tall, and horribly clumsy frame to kind of bear crawl in and out of. Me and my gear put this boat right at the edge of its weight limit and it is still easy to maneuver. Admittedly I have been a little bit afraid of standing up in it, so I do not know how it would work in that respect.

  4. I don't own any of those choices, but I do have two other Emotion kayaks in my armada. I have the entry level Glide angler which is basically a recreational sit in kayak with rod holders (not for fly rods). I also have their big boat- the Grand Slam Angler which is a big 14' 5" sit on top that is very stable and tracks well. I enjoy both of them and they both have their place in the fleet. The Glide is so easy to just grab and go... and there's something to be said for smaller, shorter, and lighter weight. The Grand Slam is much less work to keep tracking where you want and the action of casting doesn't constantly steer you in the wrong direction. If you have good balance, I think standing in the Grand Slam could be achieved... although I've put no effort into trying it.

  5. Mike,

    Are you planning to enter the Jacksonville Kayak Fishing Classic,May 9-10 2014?


  6. I don't own one, but for a cheap(er) alternative, how about Bass Pro's new Ascend FS128T? It is a stand up kayak. Having seen one, they are pretty heavy, but seems like A LOT of room for customization and they are very stable!

  7. Great topic! I am in same shoes. I own a Coosa and am slowly starting to fly fish more and more. The Coosa has been great, but there's something about it that isn't conducive to my fly fishing habit. I'm 5'11" 215 lbs, so standing in my Coosa isn't easy. Now if I were 5'2" 140, another story.

    I'm also in the process of deciding between:

    Nucanoe Frontier 10
    Native Slayer 12
    Diablo Adios
    Diablo Chupacabra
    Santa Cruz Raptor
    Freekdom Hawk
    Diablo Amigo

    As I do more and more research, standing to fly fish from a kayak seems a bit overrated. Fish get spooked more often when you're standing.

    I'm leaning Frontier 10, Chupacabra, Adios...but need to demo the Amigo before I buy.