ICAST Recap: Day One | Kayak Angler Magazine | Rapid Media
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Kayak Angler web editor Jon Russelburg standing on a bonafide kayak. Photos by: Kayak Angler Magazine

Everything we tested on day one of ICAST 2017

Bonafide SS127

I arrived to the ICAST On the Water Demo early and there was already a line of anglers anxious to paddle the new Bonafide SS127. After a year of build-up, everyone was excited about paddling the new kayak from the folks who make YakAttack kayak fishing accessories. 

Since we first paddled a prototype of the SS127 a few weeks before the show, the design team has been busy getting the boat ready for the big debut. After waiting my turn, I found a few tweaks in the utilitarian boat since my preview paddle.

First, the innovative tunnel hull has been shaved to reduce noise, increase speed and improve handling. Stability remains the boat’s strongest suit. The primary stability is loose enough to enable maneuverability with rock solid secondary stability to keep the angler upright whether standing on the bow or the stern or turning around backwards making the SS127 a 360-degree fishing machine.

They also tweaked the high-low seat to improve comfort and toughness. I put the mesh material to the test in the hot and steamy Orlando sunshine. Moving the seat forward and back or raising and lowering is made easy with over-engineered clamps that lock the seat in place. It’s also easy to move the seat out of the way to stand on the boat’s sweet spot. The seat is one of the highest in the industry allowing anglers better visibility and improved comfort. Foot pads on either side of the seat provide another place to stand and fish, or paddle. 

The star of the show is the deck layout. Flush mounted gear tracks on the gunnels and in the deck allow plenty of rigging options without snagging lines. Nonslip, closed-cell foam padding covers the deck. The boat includes a waterproof center pod for gear or electronics. My favorite detail is the bow hatch. Not only is it large enough to fit fishing rods and camping gear, it’s also grooved to hold rods horizontally on the deck. The best part is the removable hinges in the front and back of the hatch. I can open the hatch from the bow, the cockpit or remove it completely.

While the SS127 is a boat for all waters, it will really shine on back waters and skinny water. The incredible stability and ultra-high seat make it great for sight fishing and all day stand up action. At 75 pounds its light enough to car-top and easy to move to the launch. Bonafide will add a 10-foot model to the line in the next few months for younger anglers or anglers looking for a smaller, lighter boat for skinnier, tighter water. 

SS127 Pre-production SPECS

Length: 12.7 FT.

Width: 33.5 IN.

Weight: 75 LBS.

Capacity: 475 LBS.

Deck Height: 11.5 IN.

MSRP: $1599

NuCanoe H2pro 

NuCanoe

NuCanoe offered two innovations at ICAST’s On the Water Demo. The first is a new, smaller boat called the Flint and the second is a cable-driven pedal system that will fit in any NuCanoe hull. 

Starting with the new H2ProDrive pedal system. Instead of designing a special kayak hull to accommodate a pedal system, the H2ProDrive uses a cable to drive a propeller that attaches to the stern of the kayak. The pedals mount on a bracket in the cockpit and the direction control attaches to the gunnel. The whole system can be removed by pulling a couple pins. The system will work in any NuCanoe kayak and is available as an aftermarket accessory. 

We got a chance to test pedal the H2ProDrive at the ICAST On the Water Demo. The simple system uses a sprocket that turns a belt that turns the cable to turn the propeller. Spinning the pedals is smooth and the prop moves the boat at a good pace. Turning the pedals too fast makes the system jumpy but slowing down smooths the stroke. A lever on the gunnel controls direction. Having the prop turn the boat instead of using a rudder is more responsive. I was impressed with the lack of noise from the system. Since the propeller is in the stern, there is no turbulence as water passes under the boat. A quick release allows the prop system to pop up if it hits an obstruction. 

The H2Pro is a great option for NuCanoe owners looking to add a pedal drive to their livery. The modular system preserves the boat’s famous open deck leaving plenty of room for stand-up fishing or bringing the family. Best of all, remove the pedals, and you still have a great-paddling kayak. 

Blake Flint

NuCanoe Flint

In my experience, when you pay less you get less. NuCanoe’s new Flint kayak debuted at ICAST On the Water Demo as a high-quality boat at a low price. I was suspicious from the start.

I was anxious to kick the tires to figure out where NuCanoe cut corners on the $999.99 boat. Instead, the boat has more features than many models with a higher price tag. At just over 11-feet long, the Flint hits that sweet spot between long-enough to track well and short enough to handle well. The boat is quick and responsive to paddle. It only weighs 67 pounds making it easy to handle off the water, too. 

NuCanoe preserved the open deck layout that is easy to customize with accessories or load with gear. The deck is covered in non-slip padding and channeled to move water towards the scuppers. The list of features is long including four flush-mount rod holders, two horizontal rod holders, space for tackle boxes, a hog-trough holder and five gear tracks. 

The most innovative detail is a combo paddle clip and side handle that is low profile to stay out of the way and easy to use. My favorite feature is the high-low seat that is easy to move into the high position without getting out of the boat. In the low position, the seat is flush to the deck for a low-resistance paddling position that provides plenty of power.

After paddling the Flint all over the small pond at the On the Water Demo, I couldn’t tell where they had cut corners to cut the price. In fact, I think the new Flint is my favorite NuCanoe and one of my favorite boats on the water. 

SPECS (est):

  • Length:  11' 3"
  • Width:  33"
  • Height:  12"
  • Draft:  3-6"
  • Weight:  67lbs
  • Capacity:  400lbs

Coosa FD

Jackson FD

Another boat that has created a lot of buzz is Jackson’s new Coosa FD. Jackson fans are excited to get their favorite Coosa boat with pedal power. I was stoked to check out the new lower unit that pops up when it hits an underwater obstruction. 

The Coosa platform hasn’t changed much to accommodate the pedal system. They added a cool rudder control that works by pushing forward to move right and pulling back to go left. It took a minute to get used to, but the advangate is it is low-profile so it doesn’t snag on lines or take abuse. 

The pedals are also low to the deck for a comfortable pedaling position that doesn’t take up much space in the kayak. A lever on the upper unit controls the depth of the prop. The real genius is below the water. The dagger board inspired lower unit hangs low to put the propeller deeper into the water and reduce turbulence. Hit an obstruction, and the lower unit pops up to keep from breaking or bending. There is a small hatch in the deck that accommodates the propeller blades when the lower unit is in the up position. It also gives access to clear the blades of grass or other garbage that could clog the system. 

The upper part of the pedal system can be removed without removing the propeller and lower unit. True to Jackson’s roots, the unique pop-up lower unit makes this boat river-fishing approved. We hope to see the pedal system on other Jackson models and they promise a motor system, too. Much to look forward to from Jackson.

Jackson Coosa FD Specs

Length: 12’7”

Width: 35”

Capacity 450 lbs.

Price: $2999

pelican catch

Pelican Catch 100

I fell in love with Pelican’s Catch 120 when it was introduced a few years ago. Even though the new Catch 100 is two feet shorter, there is more to love about this new boat. 

Pelican’s famous thermoformed manufacturing process builds a lighter, tougher boat that remains stiff and strong. The 10-foot Catch 100 is even lighter than her big sister. The new boat keeps the popular flat deck of the Catch 120 with little room sacrificed for a shorter water line. It also uses a modified tunnel hull that provides straight line tracking with solid stability. On the water, the boat paddles well for a 10-footer. The pontoons keep the boat on course while the shorter waterline makes it easy to turn. One paddle stroke spins the boat 180 degrees. As if standing in the boat isn’t easy enough, they added a stand-assist strap to make it even easier. 

Upgrades include a new locking bow hatch and tough bow and stern handles that make it easy to move the boat. The foot rests are simple to adjust and stay in place and there is even a fish ruler on the deck. Flush mount rod holders behind the seat are perfect for transport or trolling. There are paddle holders on each side of the seat so you can 

One of my favorite things about the Pelican line is the cool color combinations from bright yellows to muted oranges and greens. 

I saved the best for last. Pelican redesigned their high-low seat to look cooler and feel more comfortable. The new ERGOCAST high-low seat combines mesh and foam for padding and breathability. The seat doesn’t sag in the middle while still providing plenty of support. To move the seat, simply loosen a strap and lift the seat into the higher supports. Lower the seat and it sits flush with the deck for the best possible paddling position that is out of the wind. Integrated into the seat, a large pocket in the back will fit a tackle tray and smaller pockets on the seat are perfect for small tools or a cell phone.

Like the popular Catch 120, the new Catch 100 will also come in a Catch 100 NXT model that includes Scotty fishing accessories.

Length 10ft 

Width: 34in 

Thickness: 15in 

Weight: 60-pounds

Max Capacity: 350lbs 

Available Fall 2017

Catch 100: $649 Catch 100NXT $779 

H Crate Junior

Hobie H-Crate JR

I love Hobie’s H-Rail system, but I don’t have a Hobie kayak. Hobie includes sections of twelve-sided H-Rail tubing on their boats as a convenient way to attach compatible accessories like rod holders and tackle trays. Accessories can be tightened to the tubing in any direction without spinning or sliding. Most of the accessories connect with quick release to make moving and adding stuff easy. And you don’t need a Hobie kayak to use the H-Crate. So, I was stoked to see Hobie include H-Rails on the H-Crate storage system. Now, the H-Crate is available in a smaller H-Crate Jr. that fits perfectly in smaller kayaks and SUPs. Just like Dad, Junior connects to the deck with four heavy duty straps. The four walls of the crate are perforated with holes to attach more accessories. My favorite feature is the four corners supports are also rod holders with tie-down bungees to keep rods in place. The H-Crate is lighter than most kayak crates with all connections screwed together for a stiff and tough package. The H-Crate Jr. is a great addition to any kayak or SUP.

Scotty Holders
Photo cortusey of Scotty

Scotty 152 Ball Mount System

One of the most exciting developments in kayak fishing accessories is coming from one of the oldest manufactures of kayak fishing accessories. Since the beginning of the modern age of kayak fishing, Scotty has been making mounts and gadgets for canoes and kayaks. Now, they are making a ball mount system that gives users more options for adjusting and mounting their accessories. The corrosion proof construction is ideal for salt water applications and the super tough plastic will last a lifetime. The system are available with a variety of options including Gear-Head adapter, track mounts and Universal Mounting Plate. The coolest thing is the new ball mounts will fit on Scotty’s famous 241 Side/Deck mount so you can add it to your existing Scotty mounts. Leave it up to Scotty to re-invent a better wheel.

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