Posted by Steve Gibson, owner of Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing in Sarasota, FL.
I’ve always wanted to design a fishing kayak, but I just don’t have that talent. I’ll leave that to the folks with that expertise.
However, I’ve paddled quite a few different brands of fishing kayaks over the years, and I’ve had a few ideas that I would like to incorporate into a fishing design.
Most of all, I’ve always wanted an open cockpit, uncluttered and simple. I’m a fly fisher and I don’t need knickknacks, gadgets and gizmos that would attract my fly line like lead filings to a magnet. I’ve envisioned simplicity. Clean. Smooth.
I do need a place to stow a few things, but that area doesn’t have to encompass most of the kayak.
Comfort is also a must. You could have a great kayak, but it does you little good if your rear end is sore or your legs uncomfortable.
I found my kayak last March when NuCanoe owner Blake Young brought his new concept to town for a few days or fishing and filming. I paddled the prototype Pursuit and fished from it for two days. I was impressed.
The Pursuit is a well-designed, well-planned fishing craft that is characterized by simplicity and clean lines. In the Pursuit’s case, less is more. Let’s start out with the specs:
Length: 13 feet, 5 inches
Beam: 35 inches
Height: 12 inches
Draft: 3 inches
Hull weight: 82 pounds
Max load: 500 pounds
At 35 inches wide, the Pursuit just might be the most stable fishing kayak available. I’m not overstating when I tell you I can literally tap dance on the deck.
What is particularly interesting is the kayak features a total of 86 inches of Freedom Track distributed from the bow to the stern. There are 14 inches of Freedom Track in the bow, 54 in the cockpit and 18 in the stern.
The ergonomically designed high/low seat plugs into the track as do a myriad of accessories. You can add as many — or as few — accessories as you want. If you choose, you can add rod holders, cup holders, GPS holders, speaker holders, depth finders and other gadgets to your tracks. It’s up to you.
Rig it as you like, but the proof is in the paddling. When I launched my Pursuit for the first time, I was amazed by the way it glided over the water. The boat was swift and easy to control. It tracked very straight and was almost effortless to control.
One feature that is unavailable is most other kayaks is the Pursuit’s paddle holsters. They’re located toward the bow on the starboard and port sides. They allow you to quietly slip the paddle blade into them and stow your paddle securely while fishing. The holsters are a refreshing change from your typical paddle holders.
Talking about stow, I can’t tell you how impressive the Pursuit’s four internal rod tubes are! I can stow four fully rigged fly rods out of the way and protected. You can’t do that in any of the other kayaks I’ve owned.
While I’m a paddling purist, you do have the option of added a trolling motor or even a small outboard (It’s rated for a 2.5 HP engine) to the Pursuit. The square stern is designed for those who prefer to power the boat in that manner.
The spacious kayak has plenty of room for a tackle crate, camera box, cooler and whatever else you might envision. The gear vault in the bow features a hard shell liner and can hold whatever you like. It can serve as a cooler or can hold rain gear, first-aid kits, tools, etc. The boat also comes with a pair of flush-mount rod holds behind the seat. The only things I added were an anchor trolley system and a taco-style paddle clip for my 9 1/2-foot pushpole.
Some might consider the boat’s weight to be a negative. That weight comes with the width and stability. It’s a tradeoff I can live with.