When we got wind of the new Prowler Big Game II from Ocean Kayak I jumped in my truck and drove six hours and over 300 miles to Old Town Maine for an exclusive behinds the scene look and interview with the designer and marketing team. I was not disappointed.
The high capacity boat is stable and spacious, but can still break through the surf with ease. It has six mounting brackets so anglers can outfit the boat specifically to their needs and style. Luke LaBree, the Marketing and Communications Manager for Ocean Kayak, said, “People want to really customize where they put their gear.”
The stern stringers, like the Big Game I, offer class-leading capacity without sacrificing speed or stability. With a capacity of 550-600 lbs and a giant rear tank well, the Big Game II can hold more gear than you even need. “It rides really high on the water,” said LaBree, “it floats right across the top."
Many creature comforts have been included in the Big Game II, most importantly, the Element Seating System; which can be switched easily on the water between its three stages: stand, travel and attack. The two flush mount rod holders behind the seat have been raised to keep rods closer at hand. Looking at the boat in person, the 34" doesn't look too wide or cumbersome. The high deck walls make the cockpit fit like a glove but the width keeps the angler feeling cramped.
The Glide Track foot braces are easy to adjust with one hand, on the go. I was able to adjust them with two fingers. There is a built-in paddle keeper on each side of the boat that feel rock solid and the carrying handles felt they could be comfortable for even longer carries. The improved Click Seal bow hatch keeps gear secure and dry. It didn't budge a half inch when closed, even when I gave it a push and a tug. The Mod Pod center hatch system, providing rod access and many mounting options for after-market accessories, was spacious and long. An angler could swap out rods without needing to bend them in half. A Transducer compatible scupper hole makes installing fish finders easy.
“It’s great for poling across the flats,” said David Hadden, the brand director at Ocean Kayak. “It’s almost like a micro skiff.” Hadden took the new boat down to Florida to fish for both inshore and offshore species. The group caught jacks, bonita and kingfish in 80 ft of water offshore and caught redfish, jacks, ladyfish and shark in the heart of the Everglades. "Being in the boat for 6 hours plus, the stability and comfort was incredible. I also didn't need to lower the seat while offshore because it was so stable. I was able to throw flies when the bonita came up with the elevated seat."
"You sacrifice a little hull speed for stability," says Hadden, "it's not as fast as the Trident series but the stability is great. It's the best poling boat that we have." Hadden was able to pole the boat comfortably all day throughout the Everglades.
The Prowler Big Game II is designed for the experienced kayak angler looking for a boat with higher capacity, the angler who likes to stay dry or the novice who wants extra security and stability. I tried sneaking one into the back of my truck before the drive home, but they noticed. They did promise we could get our hands on it for a full review for our print issue later this year, so be sure to look for that. At least I managed to steal a t-shirt.
The Prowler Big Game II is available now through authorized Ocean Kayak dealers, for $1,249.
Key features: Key specs:
Element Seating System Length: 12’ 9”
Six (6) accessory mounting plates Width: 34”
Large bow hatch with Click Seal cover Weight: 70 lbs.
Glide Track foot brace system Max Capacity: 550-600 lbs
Transducer compatible scupper Seat Width: 21”
Oversized tank well with bungee Seat Height: 15”
Mod Pod center hatch cover Leg Length: 50”
Built in carrying handles Bow Hatch: 16.5” x 10.5”
Paddle keepers MSRP: $1,249.00 US
Includes battery bag
Ocean Kayak™ is part of the Johnson Outdoors family of innovative, market-leading brands. The company designs, manufactures and markets a portfolio of top-quality products for the global marketplace across four categories: Watercraft, Marine Electronics, Diving and Outdoor Equipment. Johnson Outdoors' familiar brands include, among others:Ocean Kayak™, Necky® kayaks, Old Town® canoes and kayaks, Extrasport®, Carlisle® paddle gear, Minn Kota® motors, Cannon® downriggers, Humminbird® fish finders, SCUBAPRO® dive equipment, and Eureka!® tents. Visit Johnson Outdoors online at www.johnsonoutdoors.com.