Boating Bits

MY KAYAK: Viking Tempo Fisherman

Purpose-built kayaks make a great cheaper alternative to buying a boat. Howard Spencer gives us the lowdown on his personal fishing craft.   

I must admit I got caught out pretty early with my new Viking Tempo Fisherman. No, nothing to do with the yak. It was all to do with domestic bliss. I had spun the story that getting a kayak would be a return to the old days when I paddled a TK1 on the Bellinger River and was as fit as I’ve ever been.

“Good way to lose a few kilos,” I said.

I didn’t mention that the Tempo would also be powered by a 12 volt Minn-Kota as well, but as usual my wife was ahead of the game.

In reality, the Tempo does both pretty well: paddles nicely without the motor, and hoots along with it on. At 29kg, it is a fair lump of polyethylene, but that gives it enough beam to take my 83kg, battery, motor and fishing bag and still hit 8.2 kph on the GPS. That speed varies with the tide and current, but that was the figure on top of the tide on the river in no wind. It was my first try out using my new Daiwa Viento reel and Loomis rod and I caught a nice flathead on the troll to blood the new rig. Well, not blood, as killing fish these days is like killing my cat: I just can’t do it, so back it went.

Design & layout
Let’s take a look at this thing from stem to stern. First off, in front there is a good cargo area with self-draining scuppers that I’ve plugged with two of the four black plastic plugs that came with the outfit.

As I don’t intend to kill fish in this craft, there is no need for fish storage. That is where I put the fishing bag which takes four Plano boxes and other stuff. At the rear of this cargo area is a screw hatch cover, which gives access to the hull. I used this access to fit the sounder transducer which shoots through the hull.

The next section houses the channels for the rudder controls, which come with the Minn-Kota pack, or the rudder option. My supplier, Skee Kayak Centre of Mullaway north of Coffs Harbour, provided the rudder as part of the package, and I can see why: it makes using this craft just that much nicer when under paddle alone.

There are also moulded depressions here for water bottles or a Thermos, with shock cord restraints. On either side of the thigh positions there are a few hollows for all those little things that are needed on a fishing excursion, as well as a hatch on the port side, fitted with a sock so your stuff doesn’t end up in the hull, and a rod holder to starboard that can hold a sheathed knife or lip grippers.

In the centre there’s yet another moulded depression for bits and pieces, and between the foot channels was enough space to mount the Humminbird 141c sounder.

I fitted a covered Roberts rod holder mount to the left hand gunwale, where there was just enough room, and was pleased to see the hull was about 4mm thick.

There are the usual shock cord attachments on either side. One holds a paddle and in the other I have an extending boat hook for freeing treed lures Ð an inevitable part of my day out.

There are four more scuppers in this cockpit area, and these I have found best left open to drain water from my feet and drips from the paddle. I have fitted two new rubber handles on either side of the seat, which is the standard Viking offering. It has a zippered pocket behind the back rest which holds the sounder when not in use.

It has the usual clips fore and aft, and a good high and supportive back, but I have added some extra seat padding already.

Immediately to the rear of the seat on either side are two more large watertight hatches, again with socks supplied by Skee. I have found these hatches hard to open and close; an almost impossible task while on the water. I have put a first aid kit in one of these, but if I have a disabling injury to one hand I will struggle to get to it, even on the edge.

Here is the next cargo area, where there is a strap to hold down the battery box supplied with the motor kit. There are two more scupper holes in this deck, but I have plugged these to prevent water coming into the battery hold. Outside at the rear there is a screw plug to drain any water that squeezes in through the deck fittings.

The rear is squared off with stainless steel and plastic on a swing mount for the motor and rudder when fitted. This all works fine, but taking up the option to have the motor/rudder kit factory fitted is a good idea. Karen Dallas at Skee Kyak Centre suggested this and I can see why, as it would be a handful to mount at home.

Electric power
The motor has been adjusted by Minn-Kota to swivel on the shaft, and there are two stainless clips that hold it to the rudder cords. The motor speed control is a thick steel cable connected to a custom made twist control. The hand control, a clear rubber twist grip, is retained on the gunwale with a hard plastic keeper. I found the grip hard to grasp, and there is not enough clearance between the hull material for my fingers to get a good grip.

It seems that the motor tilt is intended to work by pulling the throttle piece forward and retaining it on the keeper with a hard edge. Get used to being knee deep in water if you have the motor fitted, otherwise you will scrape the propeller blades on the bottom every time you launch or head for the edge.

With the rudder fitted instead, it simply lifts up on impact with the bottom and causes no problem.

At a touch over 0.9m wide, this hull will be nigh impossible to tip with normal use; to prove the point I’ve cast a seven-weight fly rod and clouser for flatties from it. The best I did was tangle with a few more bits of vegetation, on shore and under water, but the outfit cast as well as it ever did while standing up in my Quintrex Explorer.

The colour of my Tempo is granite grey, which blends in well from a fishing perspective.

It’s a serious fishing kayak, but it also paddles along quite well for a lazy day on the water.

Viking Tempo Fisherman

Length: 3.9m
Width: 0.91m
Weight: 29kg
Capacity: 250kg
Rodholders: Two
Construction : linear polyethylene
Warranty: 10 years
Price: Around $1095 canoe only, motor pack around $1400, mount $195
Contact: 1800 004 240,

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