Bobby Russo gets himself a new kayak in a bid to broaden his fishing horizons.
OVER the years I’ve spent countless hours on the water fishing for flatties, bream, whiting, tailor and jewfish. A lot of this time has been spent in the relative comfort of any one of my three sit-in style kayaks, all of which have served me faultlessly for many years.
My next challenge was kayak fishing for reds offshore. To do so I wasn’t prepared to venture out in a sit-in kayak as the probability of flipping over going through the local bar was a likely scenario. I needed a sit-on kayak that was safe, fast, stable and practical. It also needed a rudder, which would make travelling any distance a lot easier in windy conditions or in a following sea to conserve my energy.
The benefit I could see with a sit-on was in the event of coming a cropper, I could just climb back on and hopefully continue my journey without having to bail water out of a cockpit first.
I had looked at many sit-on kayak brands but didn’t find a model that seemed ideal for what I had in mind.
It was by fluke that I walked into my local tackle shop, McCallum’s in Nowra, and saw two ideal looking new kayaks sitting on the shop floor. One was a Prowler Elite 4.5, the other a Prowler 13. To say these New Zealand made kayaks impressed me is an understatement. They are used extensively in NZ for snapper, kings and other fish that inhabit the close to shore reefs over there.
Design & layout
Starting at the bow, I was impressed as my eyes ran the length of the yellow craft taking in every piece of workmanship. The contour of the kayak’s hull at the bow is impressive; it features a flare not unlike a Quintrex Millennium hull. The rudder wasn’t small, like some other kayaks I’d looked at, so I knew the kayak would be responsive when the pedals were moved one way or the other to turn the rudder left or right.
I was impressed with the deck’s side fittings, which feature grab cords. These fittings are recessed into the hull, providing a nice cosmetic appearance and making it near impossible to get caught up on them.
The polyethylene hull has a built-in keel that keeps the craft on track. Over years of using kayaks I’d noticed this was a feature that some makers just didn’t bother with or have only changed because of the lead of other kayak makers.
Its polyethylene construction makes this kayak not only low maintenance but also very strong, robust, and if need be, repairable. Owing to its hollow construction or twin skin, the Prowler makers had thought of just about every option that might be needed by fishos at some stage by fitting threaded brass inserts into the hull during moulding. This allows for any extras to be fitted securely as the inserts are 100 per cent waterproof and are very strong and eliminate the need to drill the kayak and the use of self tappers (which would void any warranty claims) Ð let alone the problems trying to seal the holes completely.
The Prowler has a storage well located behind the paddler that is 800mm long and 420mm wide and being deep enough for putting fish in. It has two drain holes that can be plugged for keeping fish alive if you want to release them after a quick photo.
So far my Prowler Elite looks capable of doing everything I’ve hoped for. It has proven to be very stable and handles choppy seas well, pushing the water away rather than over me.
Editor’s note: Bobby informed us that he’s still awaiting favourable sea conditions before tackling the local bar so that big red will have to wait. In the meantime he’s been having a ball catching plenty of lizards and whiting in his ‘yak. Stay tuned.
OCEAN KAYAK PROWLER ELITE
Price: $1990 RRP (with paddle)
More information at: www.oceankayak.com