Innovative designs are leading the excitement, and for good reason. These are not listed in rank order. You'll have to decide for yourself which is tops on your list.
Since the first "accidental photo leak" earlier in the year, the Native “Slayer Propel” is seen by many as a game changer. A narrower kayak than its brother the “Mariner”, the Slayer Propel offers the hull of the original Slayer (with some improvements) but the versatility and speed of the Mariner. Native still hasn't given the Slayer any real underdeck storage, but I'm just one guy asking. The price: $2,399
At just over 13”long and 37”wide, the “Big Rig” from Jackson is exactly that. Designed for superior stand-and-fish capability, it should deliver. It's still listed as a prototype, but is available for preorder. The estimated weight capacity is 550-600lbs,which should bode very well for larger paddlers who want to fish on their feet. The price: $1499 w/o rudder, $1699 with rudder.
In two models (13 and MX) the OT “Predator” has made a splash in the kayak market. Combining lots of sought after features, Old Town is causing people to look their way. A three-position frame seat option, Rod Pod, and six removable mounting plates bring comfort and customizability to a big-water boat. The MX removes the Rod Pod. It is a slightly smaller boat for river running that makes a great fly casting option. The price: $1299 for the 13, $1199 for the MX.
The “Ride 115X” offers a new twist on a current favorite. The removable electronics bay in the front has been a huge hit with fishermen this year. Having a single box that all of your electronics fit on and in (for single transducer models), and that are easily removed, has been a major draw. With an already proven stand-and-fish capability, this adds another reason why people continue to buy Rides. The price: $1059.
5. FEELFREE “LURE”
The “Lure” has seemingly taken the lawn chair seating craze one step further. The leaked photos seem to have the Lure posed with a cushioned, lumbar-cradling, four-position seat that should rival any competitor on the market. Add in molded handles, tri-lock hatch, and available rudder, and Feelfree is swinging for the fences. Little in the way of thoughts and reviews are out yet on the Lure, but the Internet is burning up with talk of what “could be”. The price: $1099 w/o rudder, $1249 with rudder.
Love the list? Hate the list? What should be on the list that's not? Let everyone know in the comments below!
About the Author: I've been fishing over 30 years and the majority of my time on the water has been spent in Texas with the occasional trips out of state. In 2003 I bought my first kayak and a new era in my fishing life was born. I learned the ropes quickly about gear, paddling, fishing, packing, safety and got a degree from the school of hard knocks with a major in kayak fishing. I learned a lot of ways to not do something. I love kayak fishing. That's the bottom line.