Editor’s Note: Need some new gear for a late-summer angling adventure? Looking for the next best thing for 2018? Military Times outdoors columnist Ken Perrotte has you covered. Read all about the latest boats below, and click the links for reviews on lures, accessories and reels. Items with an asterisk (*) earned best-in-class honors at this year’s American Sportfishing Association’s ICAST show, short for International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, in Orlando, Florida. Prices are MSRP unless noted.
This ocean-going kayak brand of Old Town Canoes borrows from the hugely-successful Old Town Predator PDL fishing kayak, adding the same pedal-drive system to this smaller kayak designed for salt water. A foot shorter than the Predator, this 12-foot kayak moves and turns quickly through the water and handles waves and chop with good stability. Top speed is 5½ miles per hour.
Cycling the padded pedals is easy with the unit’s 10.3:1 gear ratio. This Malibu model shaves about 13 pounds of weight, easing transport. It includes a kid’s jump seat in the stern; pet-friendly bow tankwell with bungees; dry storage 6-inch access hatch in the pedal console; ergonomic, adjustable, quick-drying Element Beach Seat with mesh storage pockets; cup holders; carrying handles; and 8-inch accessory tracks.
It’s not touted as a fishing kayak, but why not? Easy mods could trick it out for saltwater action. It’s 34.5 inches wide, weighs 100 pounds and can handle 450 pounds. It’s available in four colors. $2,199. Available in the fall.
This unique hybrid transforms from a stand-up paddleboard to a fast-moving, motorized skiff in seconds — no tools required. They call it a “microskiff”; it’s a unique design.
The cockpit (if you can call it that) is slightly recessed, facilitating stability and helping to keep items on the deck. Modular “Racs” let you switch configurations. For example, inserting the included Moto Rac into the integrated receivers gets the boat ready to ride, versus paddle. An Axe Edge Adjustable Paddle is included. The boat is made from a honeycomb-cored epoxy fiberglass structure.
The seat is a KULA 5 cooler and has a couple rod holders. There’s also the Grab Rac, which reminiscent of the stability bar on some Go-Devil boats. Nylon molle loops are riveted to the marine-grade aluminum risers to allow for multiple gear attachment points.
It’s 14 feet long and can carry up to 500 pounds. It weighs 105 pounds without any accessories. It handles up to a 6-horsepower motor and tops out around 16 mph, but be aware that in some states, once you put any kind of motor on any watercraft you may have to register it. In a pricey category, it’s a very pricey $3,499.