Coleman Crawdad Boat Review

Sun Dolphin Sportsman Fishing Boat. Sort Of.

Key word: boat. We mean it: boat.

We know. We know. We know.

The Hughes Brothers, who promise you nothing if not integrity, are not writing at this moment about a kayak. No, we’re writing about the best, most inexpensive fishing boat we ever owned.

Coleman Crawdad Boat Review by Hughesreviews.com
Coleman Crawdad Boat Review by Hughesreviews.com

The Coleman Crawdad.

Also, we’re writing, or will be writing soon, about the SSun Dolphin Sportsman, which may come close.

Last built new in 1991, the Coleman Crawdad.

In the heyday of our fishing for bass and bluegill on Kansas-only waters in the early and mid-1980s, the Coleman Crawdad – with our puny shared little trolling motor attached – made us happy, the three oldest of us, in a way that, frankly, no kayak, no boat of any sort has since.

Damn, we loved our ‘dad.

Doubled-ended. Three times as long as it was wide. Flat-bottomed. If truth be told, built according to Phydias’ golden, Greekly rectangle. We spelled it a “john boat.” “John,” not the Englishly orthographical “jon.” But “John” after “John Howard Hughes,” our oldest brother who, as the oldest of us contributed more dollars to the Crawdad’s purchase than did the marginally employed rest of us.

Oh yeah, the mounting of the motor. Mounted back and forth among us.

You want versatile? The Hugheses give you versatile. That puny shared little trolling motor? It could be mounted at either end of the Crawdad. Either! We’d be on some twisted-up conservation impoundment, and the propeller was wrapping itself around some steroidal weed not yet identified by anyone unfamiliar with marine plants made mad by agricultural fertilizers, and one of us would muscle that motor out of the water, pull off the four-foot green killer snakes, and pass it back, or forward!, to the brother with best chance of pulling us out of our shared, if momentary, captivity.

Even Joel, probably the strongest Hughes boy ever, wanted some help.

Yep.

Its aluminum frame, its eighth-inch – okay, maybe its quarter-inch – thickness of the plastic hull aside, our Coleman Crawdad weighed 131 pounds. Joel could take our boat in and out of our sort-of-brand-new 1978 GMC pickup by himself, but even our young (then) third-oldest brother, Joel just come fishing fresh from the weight room, would strain. He’d turn as red as ever he did on a tractor on a long August afternoon, but he could – he could – lift our boat for us by himself.

But we love Joel, and we didn’t ever want him to hurt himself. And, all of us, we helped.

Poundage, schmoundage.

As we say, with Joel around we didn’t much worry about load limits. So what if we rode a little low in the water? Why, all the better to lip a smallish bass, to remove a barbless hook, to release the goofball, without every taking the little guy out the waater.

We were told, we read: 420 pounds maximum weight for our Crawdad.

Hell’s bells! How are three of us going to fish together?

So.

Forget published facts, even facts from the venerable Coleman Company, to this day a proud, a storied Kansas business. We usually loaded this way. John Howard, James, and Joel drawing straws for the fore and stern seats, and then a lucky younger bro – Curtis or Mike or Dave – amidships with his ass being split – in parallel – by our boat’s one-inch center stringer.

So it goes, Curtis or Mike or Dave. Just be damned glad one of you got to come with us.

Well, a fine mess of things, we’ve made here.

Remember the Sun Dolphin Sportsman Fishing Boat?

We were going to talk about that fine, fine watercraft hereabouts.

Not to worry.

We’re going to review the Sun Dolphin Sportsman now. Right now.

And never, ever – in the next half-hour – will you find the words “Coleman Crawdad” coming out of any Mac anywhere near us.

Promise.

Sort of.

Perception Triumph 13.0 Kayak Review

Good kayaks cost money. The Perception Triumph is a good kayak.

Best deal the Hughes Brothers have found yet brings this boat in at about $550, this hit for a boat lacking bells and yakking whistles of any sort. If fundamentally good throughout, stem to stern, is good enough for you, then let’s talk further about the Triump 13,0.

Perception Triumph 13.0 Kayak Features

Perhaps the shortest list of kayak features the Hughes Brothers have ever written.

Here we go.

· Comfort seating system

· Molded-in foot wells

· Bow and center hatches

There we go.

Product Dimensions: 161 x 29.5 x 15.8 inches ; 58 pounds

Perception Triumph 13.0 Kayak Design

Still, as we say, fundamentally sound in both construction and design.

Perception Triumph 13.0 Kayak Review by Hughesreviews.com
Perception Triumph 13.0 Kayak Review by Hughesreviews.com

Right from the start of your consideration of the Triumph, you can forget the traditional, perhaps clichéd, (If we might borrow the manufacturer’s name for a moment) perception that in no way might a sit-on-top kayak ever be considered high-performance – that elusive combination of speed, stability, and tracking, for which heretofore at least one of these three virtues must be compromised in a sit-on-top boat.

The hull design begins the performance.

Borrowed from touring boats, the Triumph’s hull.

A needful aside on the principle characteristics of a touring kayak.

The touring boats distinguish themselves as yaks more suited to intermediate or advanced paddlers, ready to boat off into big lakes, bays, rivers moving at a swift clip and, to a limited extend, the ocean itself. Unless you’re at least an intermediate paddler with considerable fast-stream experience or a natural athlete with strength and splendid hand-eye coordination – as two or three of the Hughes Brothers used to be – the Triumph is probably not the boat for you.

If, however, you’ve paid some kayaking dues, we give you simplicity, its perfect self.

The brevity of the features list above should in no way diminish the Triumph’s value, your understanding of its worth. Here we go again. This time we’re talking the advantages the boat will bring along, its benefits to experienced yakkers such as you.

· A smooth, smooth glide

· Easy paddling

· Daylong comfort, thanks to Perception’s Comfort Seat System, about which we have heard but one complaint accompanied by an immediate rectification: bared-boned John Howard Hughes found the seat turning hard and harder still at mid-afternoon. A cushion, JHH. A cushion of your own devising. As we say, simplicity itself.

Perception Triumph 13.0 Kayak Additional Features

Okay, hold it right there. We’ve found some more features.

Here we go.

· A molded-in kid’s seat

· Foot braces

· Soft-touch handles that make toting the sixty pounds of the Triumph’s heft not bad, not bad at all

· Good gosh, a cup holder

· More than adequate storage in a stern well, large but dampish, on a bad day deluged

· Lastly, a drain plug – not a bad place to stop in a splendid boat made to do simple things oh, so especially well

Your friend, the aftermarket

Given the skill levels recommended for the Triumph, the tracking will please, the turns will come true and good.

But.

But, but.

Perception Triumph 13.0 Kayak Review and Rating

Your Triumph will arrive rudder-ready. That is, with the necessary tubing. You will need to locate mounting hardware, cables, pedals, and the rudder itself.

Metal deck loops and the Triumph’s bungee system will facilitate your addition of accessories. Fisherfolk, you will find no rod holders hereabouts.

The brand. The brand. The brand.

Never lose sight of the boat’s manufacturer: venerable, venerable Perception For over 40 years now, Perception has built more boats – the Triumph and her sisters notwithstanding – introducing people to the joys of kayaking on a scale, at very least equal, to any other manufacturer.

Perception pioneered the plastic kayak. And again, in that simplicity, there comes the happiest, the most carefree days of a true kayaker’s life.

Paddle on, Perception pilgrim.


Click here for Amazon Purchase info: Perception Kayak Triumph 13

Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak Review

Into the water, boys and girls. We’re going to have some fun.

At the beginning of this growing series of reviews, John Howard Hughes wrote about our collective brotherly introduction to the beyond-gratifying sport of kayaking. We came to yakking through an uncle with an ancient boat. Uncle Ace taught us to paddle, to stay upright and safe. And we figured out everything else – testosteroned imagination far into play – on our own.

If you have a beloved kiddo in your life, buy this boat.

Look.

Most, almost all youngsters love the water. On our only, ever vacation the Hughes family stayed at a motel in Big Springs, Texas with a vague organ-shaped swimming pool, and that Friday-evening experience was more than enough chlorinated water for us. Back we went to the ponds, creeks, and precious few lakes of our immediate Kansas vicinity.

Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak Review but Hughesreviews.com
Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak Review but Hughesreviews.com

Your son or daughter, that splendid little grandchild, will love you for giving a chance to float like a leaf, like a wild and bespeeded leaf, on some water that will look, for all its worth, just like the Pacific Ocean at its Saturday-morning best.

This whole deal has turned into an impassioned, if possibly misplaced, love story about kayaks.

Sorry.

Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak Features and Benefits

Back to the Youth Wave, apologies all around. Here’s the manufacturer’s own take on the features and benefits of a can’t-lose birthday, a wait-until-spring-sweetheart gift.

· Perfect for kids of all ages

· Designed for extreme stability

· Twin-fin design for superb tracking and surf riding

· Ergonomic cockpit design for enhanced balance

· Scupper holes to drain the cockpit

Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak Review

Okay. Fine. Bullet points, let’s talk.

In order now.

· Bullet #1: “all” is a mighty big word. Let’s think ages four or five to whenever your growing adventurer says, “Grandma, I want to go fast.

· Bullet #2: yep.

· Bullet #3: alright, but as to this “surf-riding” – please, we Hughes boys learned to paddle on a lake originally built to give water to passing steam engines. “Surf” seems foreign to us, especially for these little ones. If you’re determined to make Dakota a Beach Boy, please be right next to him, both of you with major flotation devices. Anticipate a flip.

· Bullet #4: can’t argue here. This boat is balanced and stable, stable and balanced. Just what a proud grandparent would want in the best kiddo surprise present just ever.

· Bullet #5: never too early to learn that those holes need to remain open and unblocked, unblocked and open at all times.

Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak Comments

Consider them extreme if you wish, but here are some random claims from happy users of the Youth Wave.

“My son could use it (the Youth Wave) independently at the age of three.” The Hughes Brothers were never what you might consider “prodigies” but, damn, three years of age does seem to us a bit premature.

“These kayaks are fantastic for smaller children – my ten-year-old Logan is a little big for them now. That said, my kids do still enjoy light-hearted fun with them at the beach. However, for serious kayaking adventures my kids now use adult kayaks.” Yep.

“Not only does Jared love it, but so do his little sisters. He’s twelve years old, and he has no trouble carrying it. A bit tough to navigate on windy days but definitely a fabulous birthday gift!” Yep.

“Perfect size for our nine-year-old grandson. He said it was easy to handle. Five minutes in the pond, and he paddled it like a pro.” Yep.

“Light, easy to paddle, and refuses to tip over. My nephew Landon loves it. He has

even fished out of it” Way to go, Landon. You’re a stud.

“My seven-year-old stands and jumps off it. This kayak simply will not flip.” Alright,

kid and proud dad, you’re way, way into Hughes Brothers’ territory here, with

this proud discussion of jumping, of not flipping. The former movement is

good and true, the latter not so much. With a wildman of this dimension,

Curtis Hughes — by far the most circumspect, the most obtuse of the

brothers – well, Dad, he thinks you might be out of your mind.

Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak Specs

Dimensions: -Overall 24″ W x 72″ D, 18 lbs.

Dimensions: Overall Width – Side to Side: -24 Inches. Overall Depth – Front to Back: -72 Inches. Overall Product Weight: -18 Pounds.


Click here for Amazon Purchase info: Lifetime Youth Wave Kayak

Sun Dolphin Boss Sit-On/Stand-On Top Angler Kayak Review

Not a review yet. Just a heads-up.

Here in late January, the Hughes Brothers have gathered for green chili at John Howard’s house, where we have now discussed Sun Dolphin’s next entry into the very competitive market for fishing kayaks. So here’s what we know now – before the boat’s February introduction.

Key hyphenated word above: “stand-on.”

Sun Dolphin Boss Sit-On/Stand-On Top Angler Kayak Review by Hughesreviews.com
Sun Dolphin Boss Sit-On/Stand-On Top Angler Kayak Review by Hughesreviews.com

Sun Dolphin is promising us a catamaran hull with what the manufacturer deems “a flat stable platform.” Also non-slip pads and a stand-up strap will facilitate a double-haul on a favorite rod. Stand-on, truly stand-on – damn, the Hughes Brothers do hope so.

Sun Dolphin Boss Sit-On/Stand-On Top Angler Kayak Specs:

Sun Dolphin’s list of features for the Boss.

Front/rear storage wells large enough for a milk crate or bucket
One swivel and four flush mount rod holders
Below deck storage
Dual-position fold-down seat
Universal mounting plates
Adjustable foot braces
Carry handles and paddle holders
Beverage holder
Multiple finish colors available
The specs.

Length: 12’3″ / 375cm

Width: 32 1/2″ / 82.6cm

Height: 14 1/2″ / 36.8cm

Weight: 70 lbs. / 32kg

Capacity: 500 lbs. / 227kg

Please stand by.

We have a neighbor seriously considering a purchase of the Boss. He’s watching the price, hoping for a drop from the current $600+ price-point.

We’ll do our best to be quick.


Click here for Amazon Purchase info: Sun Dolphin Boss SS Sit-On/Stand On Top Angler Kayak

Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 130T 13-Foot Tandem Review

The Hughes Brothers just love packages.

Fact is, you had us at hello. The manufacturer’s name here – Vibe – rings bells all over Hughesland. These are good people making great boats.

Witness the Yellowfin.

A brand new kayak, just released from its Georgia manufacturer’s plant last October, the 130T has already made some waves. Big old waves suggesting that three fisher-people might angle in tranquility on but one boat.

Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 130T 13-Foot Tandem Review by Hughesreviews.com
Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 130T 13-Foot Tandem Review by Hughesreviews.com

A sidenote before the Hughes boys go one word further.

Brother James Hughes stumbled onto a remark in an Amazon set of commentaries, a remark to the effect that tandem kayaking will lead inevitably . . . without fail! . . . to the best of friends coming to fisticuffs. Such a sad conclusion, in the words of the reviewer, in that “it happens to everyone.”

Well, we don’t think so.

Sweet Georgia Browns.

Even though three of us Hughes brothers have never fished together from this boat, we rely on the reports of cousins, the wayward Browns from our mother’s side of the family, Georgia boys themselves, who bought the 130T, who have put in many times now on the Chattahoochee River from their homes in Anderson in the northernmost part of the Peach State.

Those boys, they’re just fine in their fishing.

As Vibe does its part.

Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 130T 13-Foot Tandem Facts

• Three-person sit-on-top fishing kayak: thirteen-foot, eighty-pound multi-person kayak perfect for fishing, travel, or family recreation with a five-hundred-pound weight capacity

• Optional center paddle position for solo paddling

• Two flush mount rod holders with caps and four mounting points for Scotty, RAM, or Railblaza Rod Holders.

• Multiple storage options — two sealed hatches with bag inserts, large bungeed rear tank well and bow cargo bungee system

• Adjustable foot rests for customized comfort

Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 130T 13-Foot Tandem Thoughts

A couple of thoughts on the preceding facts and features.

Firstly, the framed hero seats combine nicely with the foot braces for all-day comfort – most especially if you’re young, athletic, and in shape.

Secondly, you’ll need to shop around for a rudder. The Yellowfin 130T comes rudder-ready, but the maneuverability comes after-market.

Thirdly, the 130T will easily accommodate two adults and a child. And off you go.

Fourthly and not mentioned above — The Vibe Yellowfin 130T is covered by a limited lifetime manufacturer’s warranty for defects on all new kayak purchases and (one year on parts attached to the kayak).

Fifthly and also not mentioned above: expect two built-in cup holders, two side bungee paddle parks, and twelve scupper holes with plugs included.

Sixthly (Mike Hughes would have trouble pronouncing the word without a large grin forming.): here come four tackle tray holders, made just right for the Plano 3600 tray.

Seventhly, the seats. The seats, the seats, the seats. Always disparate opinion about the seats. In the Yellowfin’s case, the breathable mesh seats with sturdy metal frames move about the boat, stem to stern, for configurations that make the most sense for any given fishing day. To date, we’ve heard no complaints from the cousins about the ‘Fin’s comfort.

Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 130T 13-Foot Tandem Review and Rating

Wind and current, get lost.

The cousins report no problems with the Yellowfin in roughish weather. The tracking is affected, of course, but here’s where the add-on rudder comes in mighty handy. At a thousand dollars for the boat itself, the comparatively small price of a rudder makes good sense to even the tightest, most frugal of the Georgia or the Kansas family members.

Alright then, in the matter of the yak’s comfort, let’s hear it from the man who built it.

Sort of.

The Hughes Brothers say again, as we’re sure will again very soon, that Vibe just cannot be beat as a caring manufacturer, as a corporate citizen of the first rank after the sale. The best of companies listen to their customers. They listen hard. As here, from Vibe’s introductory news release for the 130T.

Josh Thomas, CEO of the company, said that the new Yellowfin 130T was ‘basically built’ by its customers. He added: “We listened and then incorporated the input from current Vibe owners and our design team. That guidance led us to build a ridiculously comfortable, capable boat that is perfect for serious kayak fishing.”

We’re with you, Mr. Thomas.

Best,

The Hughes Brothers.


Click here for Amazon Purchase info: Vibe Kayaks Yellowfin 130T 13 -foot Tandem Sit On Top Kayak

Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-on top Kayak Review

Another crowd favorite from Sun Dolphin.

In the straight fast tracks of the Sun Dolphin Aruba comes this sit-on-top version that, once more, attempts the perfect balance between paddling ease and maximized stability. Tracking matters too, and among the brothers who spent time in the Sun Dolphin – it belongs to Mike Hughes – Curtis, the tallest of us reported no problem whatsoever with his big old self’s access. Let’s review the Sun Dolphin Bali now.

Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-on top Kayak Size:

Perhaps size does matter.

The smallest Hughes, sister Cindy of course, reported a bit of difficulty with tracking. The adjustable foot braces accommodated her shorter frame nicely, but her paddling did not come with the natural grace that she has demonstrated in other yaks. A quibble really, because the Bali SS honestly is just about perfect for the calm waters of your favorite lake or mild-mannered river. It’s both rugged and lightweight, a friendly combination of durability and portability. The Bali will easily carry close to four hundred pounds.

Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-on top Kayak Portability:

Sun Dolphin likes its Portable Accessory Carrier.

Quite the versatile performer here, this P.A.C.. Use it as extra in-boat storage. Or, no fooling, strap it on as a backpack. Or again, use it as a slick little tow-behind. (Note: the Hughes Bros have encountered a bit of confusion in this last usage: we don’t believe that Sun Dolphin sends along any sort of connector (strap, rope, whatever) for the carrier as a follow-along. Mike certainly found none in his delivery package.)

The Bali’s storage compartment, decidedly non-portable, is large and very dry. A shock-cord deck rigging ensures the latter virtue.

Easy in and out, as Curtis Hughes so aptly noted.

Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-on top Kayak Review by Hughesreviews.com
Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-on top Kayak Review by Hughesreviews.com

As our photograph illustrate, the cockpit lies beyond open. It’s fall-in accessible, with exit almost as simple. The seat . . . no . . . the seating area is extra-large, very comfortable, and safe. Safe with protective thigh pads, a paddle holder, and Cindy’s adjustable foot braces.

About that gallon or so of water sloshing around below.

If one paddles with much less than proper form, with insufficient attention to keeping the keel perfectly flat, the scupper holes will admit some H2O. A return to straight-up, straight ahead paddling will drain the water, with no need whatsoever for concern. Oh, until this ideal form develops, you might expect a dampish bottom for a time or two on the water.

Anglers, take note, please.

In its simplicity of design, the Bali SS will not arrive in your driveway with rod holders. You’re free to place after-market holders exactly where you want. Mike reports that the simplest of placements, not a holder in sight, has resulted in some slab-sided bluegill on the supper table: he just positions his rod between his legs, extends the rod’s tip over the Bali’s bow. And off he goes. Mike belongs to a fishing club here in Kansas, and many of his fellow fishers have turned to kayaks as the boat of choice. His Bali is drawing solid reviews from the folks who have seen him in action atop it.

Of course, some nice after-market accessories will reward an investment of, say, $250 – an anchor trolley system, side handles and rod holders, if you want them.

Sun Dolphin Bali SS 10-Foot Sit-on top Kayak Rating and review:

Beginning paddlers, you’ll enjoy this boat.

On your first few outings, expect perfection neither from yourself or from your Bali SS. Naturally, the Hughes Brothers recommend a personal flotation device, initial paddling close to shore, and tethering. Better to swim to shore after an untoward inversion than any attempt – at first, just at first — to right the boat.

What’s with these delivery guys?

Admittedly, Mike’s boat arrived with a couple of dings. Certainly not Sun Dolphin’s fault. The Hughes Brothers nosed around on Amazon’s reviews. We discovered there multiple complaints about the Bali’s condition on arrival. Even on the timing of that arrival.

So there you have it: a great value at its price point, the Bali’s performance and longevity will far outweigh the peccadillos associated with it at the outset.


Click here for Amazon Purchase info: Sun Dolphin Bali SS Sit-on top Kayak

Dagger Axis 10.5 Kayak Review

A great kayak and some mighty good green chili.

Fellow paddlers, the wind-chill in Kansas tonight promises to be something like twenty below. That said, the four oldest Hughes Brothers have gathered here in Joel’s heated garage to eat some green chili guaranteed to remove the top of our collective head. And we’re discussing the Dagger Axis, a boat that more than a few of our kids and grandkids chose as their first boat.

Dagger Axis 10.5 Paddle Kayak review by Hughesreviews.com
Dagger Axis 10.5 Paddle Kayak review by Hughesreviews.com

Dagger Axis 10.5 kayak has it all.

The Dagger Axis: largely all things to all paddlers.

The Axis welcomes yakkers of all abilities, all sorts of experience trailing in their swirl. The Axis, first of all, is forgiving. Major reason why: a watertight bulkhead just behind the seat offers some flotation after an unplanned, upside-down entry into the water. Some tight, tight storage about the boat offers also some protection for your valuables, your equipment, your lunch in the event of a swamping.

But the worst that could happen is far from the best about this boat.

Let’s talk of drier, much warmer days when the Axis serves as just the best of all beginner boats. Junior would be wrong to expect a rudder in a kayak at this price point, and so here in windy Kansas the Axis’ drop-down skag dramatically improves tracking — far, far better than in most recreational boats. The skag retracts, of course, for excursions way, way upriver where the water shallows and the banks narrow. Chines, sharply defined chines, contribute to the Axis’ overall maneuverability in a big way. Know this much: you put down the paddle to pick up a camera or a fishing rod, and the Axis will keep right on a’trackin.

Dagger Axis 10.5 kayak Quick Review

The Axis in a hundred words. Or so.

– Contour Knee and Thigh pads, plus Dagger’s SideLock Footbrace System, for still more control, more stability, more comfort

– An adjustable, really quite comfortable seat which Dagger, big on nomenclature, has pegged as the ConTour CFS Seating System

– A stern hatch, bungeed deck rigging, plus a mesh deck cover – also bungeed – for all the gear you want to bring along for the ride

– Tough and tougher still, drag-worthy, unafraid of rocky shallows

– Not especially fast because of its beam/length ratio, a tradeoff between stability and speed

– Perfect for inland lakes, rivers, creeks, and the farm ponds where your state’s biggest-fish-ever-caught lay teasing you

Curtis Hughes — brother Curtis the quiet one but always the one of us with the most pertinent, the most cogent of comments – between largish mouthfuls of greenish, pork-flavored purgatory that the Axis is surprisingly tough given the thickness of the boat’s hull. This boat is light – but as old John Cameron Swayze used to say – “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.”

Dagger Axis 10.5 kayak Specs:

The vital statistics.

Type: Recreational (Under 12ft.)

Hull Design: Sit-In

Length: 10ft. 6in.

Kayak Width: 28.5in.

Weight: 50lbs.

Material: Polyethylene

Cockpit Length: 38in.

Cockpit Width: 21in.

Number of Paddlers: 1

Weight Capacity: 300lbs

Dagger Axis 10.5 kayak. The Seat

Sit your bad self down.

For a yak at this price point, the Axis comes along with the most comfortable seat ever. All-day comfortable. Wind and rough water comfortable. July heat comfortable with all the adjustability necessary to make the seat’s placement entirely your own. Paddle to your big heart’s content, with minimal or no fatigue to be contributed by a hard, misadjusted seat. Here in the Axis, expect a back rest that ups and downs itself to your specific lumbar situation, and a seat pad that keeps perfect up-down-right-left positioning with the angling of your legs.

Bring a spray skirt.

Dagger Axis 10.5 kayak. Where’s the drain plug?

Your Dagger will come to you minus a drain plug. So, if you anticipate any rough water at all on your weekend outside, bring a skirt. Much more fun than bailing for a half hour after a perfect day’s paddle.

Bring a friend in his/her kayak.

And compare boats. The Hughes Brothers’ money is on you, smart shopper.


Click here for Amazon Purchase info: Dagger Axis 10.5 Kayak 2017

Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130 13 Foot Angler Review

Here comes a thousand-dollar sit-on-top fishing kayak review. In the Hughes Brothers’ considered opinion, is worth every cent of that considerable, but more-than-fair price tag. And we are far from the first to find the Sea Ghost a high-performance bargain. Frankly, here in Kansas we have yet to hear a discouraging word about the boat. It’s an important point even though an old friend, Brian Kelly, tested the boat for us on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Brian paddled in the big wide-open and then took it up a favorite stream or two in search of the Sunshine State’s legendary largemouth.

Vibe Kayak SeaGhost 130 Review by Hughesreviews.com
Vibe Kayak SeaGhost 130 Review by Hughesreviews.com

Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130 13 foot Angler Rudder

Let’s hear it for the rudder!

Seldom does such a matter-of-fact part of a yak’s design merit such high, such specific praise. Your Sea Ghost will arrive at your door with an already-installed rudder which takes your toes as its guidance system. With your twinkles taking control, you can save serious energy during very long trips, for example, or on windy days, or in the strong currents Brian reported on his first day out in the Ghost. Remember too that a slick rudder such as the Sea Ghost’s is typically an add-on of a couple of hundred bucks.

Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130 13 foot Angler Stability

Stability, stability, stability.

An especially broad beam allows for a double-haul on a flyline, for a bait cast of longish distance, and for super-safe access to the far hatches. Our buddy Brian has been surfing since he was five. Forty years later, two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan behind him, he remains special-forces strong. Brian tells us that the Sea Ghost answered his every direction, responded with agility and poise to his surf-bound sense of adventure. And that wide, wide hull remains the reason why. Also, he found easy access to the Sea Ghost, his war wounds and warrior’s heft notwithstanding. The framed seat afforded him genuine comfort, he said, his spent knees, his aching back contentedly along for the ride.

Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130 13 foot Angler Specs

Rivers to surf, let’s ride.

A happy combination of steadiness and speed, the Sea Ghost weighs in at just seventy-four pounds, not bad, not bad at all for a kayak with so many features.

· Dual-position hero seat.
· Four integrated gear tracks for customized rigging.
· Two flush-mount rod holders.
· Fishfinder transducer port with mounting points and protective lid.
· Multiple storage areas: large center console, twenty-inch front oval hatch, rear hatch, and large bungeed rear tank well.

Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130 13 foot Angler Review and Rating

Vibe seems to have found a workable truce between the great yak trade-offs of the ages. A solid boat, with a beam sufficient to a standing cast, but which paddled like a garbage scow. Or a fine-tracking speedster in which only the most whacked-out daredevil would stand upright. The Sea Ghost comes as close to being a fishing kayak for everyone, in every sort of water, with any sort of fish on one’s mind.

A great product from a great company.

A note of confidence worth mentioning, Vibe will deliver the Sea Ghost 130 with a limited lifetime manufacturer’s warranty for defects on all new kayak purchases and one year on parts attached to the kayak. Well beyond the warranty, Vibe — as a company — is a waterborne pleasure, the people there friendly and helpful in the extreme. Vibe’s Facebook page illustrates the company’s quick, efficient, complete handling of the few issues that do arise with perhaps the best fishing kayak you will ever paddle.


CLICK HERE for Amazon Purchase Info: Vibe Sea Ghost 130 Angler Kayak

Viking Profish 440 Kayak Review

Two magic words. Twice.

Tackle pod.

Tackle pod.

The Profish 440 features a removable center console. Let’s take a look and review it up properly, now. In the words of Davis Hughes, “Boy howdy, does it ever!” — Davis the lucky tester of this yak, recently purchased by a buddy in the next county over. The pod comes round as the easiest, most convenient way of moving your fishing gear all about, here and there, in and out of the redoubtable 440. The Hughes Brothers, in these golden years of ours, value ease and convenience as two of life’s greatest virtues. You will too, if over the years you’ve collected even a fraction of the tackle – the lures, the flies, the line, the reels – that is our collective haul. It’d be embarrassing to count the items in our various tackle stashes, but the brothers pack the pod specific to the day’s outing.
Set up the kayak in seconds. Go fish.

The routine is simplicity, its own ready-to-go self. Pre-load the pod, saving room for jerky and cheese and crackers, and leave it immediate and accessible come the dawn’s early light. And off we go. Reverse the deal at long fishing day’s end and . . . voila! . . . the pod comes out of the Profish, leaving your boat primed for cleaning and, more importantly, your favorite gear – electronics included – ready for storage and reloading for tomorrow’s perhaps quite different waters, quite different fishy species waiting for the dramatic presentation of your fly.
Yes, in the matter of electronics.

Fishing with the Viking Kayaks Profish 440 Kayak

Fish finders find a fine home in the Viking pod, cables running from the yak into the back of the pod. And suddenly, your battery, your sounder sit smack dab together, safe in the same unit.

Viking, a proud and innovative manufacturer from New Zealand.

Upgraded, with Viking’s newest technology, the Profish 440 arrives with even harder materials of construction despite a lighter weight than its predecessor, the Profish 400. The Hughes Brothers are talking serious, serious fishing here, with the configuration of the boat designed for a market consisting, exclusively, of folks who would rather fish than, say, eat.

Viking Kayaks Profish 440 Kayak Specs:

The good things about this boat accumulate in a hurry, so please forgive the bullet points.

These then the features.
· Brass inserts for fitting accessories
· Large front and rear wells
· Tackle station with clear cover and bait board
· Softbait storage well
· Two fresh bait storage wells
· Eight – count ‘em – eight rod holders
· Adjustable footrest
· Free fisherman seat, identified as “deluxe” by the Viking pros
· Free composite, two-piece adjustable paddle
· Stern-mounted Railblaza Starport

This last bit of New-Zealandese bears a bit of explanation: Davis used, in turn, this easily adaptable “Starport” for the installation of a safety flag and then as, typically, our brother stayed way past sunset on the water, a telepole navigation light.

If you live to fish, the Profish 440 is your boat.

We’re relying here on brother Davis’ long weekend on the river and on the enthusiastic reports of the yak’s too, too satisfied owner. Their superlatives, their visceral excitement at the performance of the boat have led us to give this boat our highest collective endorsement.

What more might a competitive – if totally relaxed – fisherman want? The 440 combines speed, a gliding and lubricated sort of propulsion, with stealth, that most elusive of kayak qualities. No hull slap. None. Just silent approach to a hiding lunker.

Expect stability too.

Viking Kayaks Profish 440 KayakReview and Rating

The third virtuous S. To speed and stealth, add stability. The 440 will forgive an awkward cast. It will not punish a little misstep. This boat will remain firm and friendly, ready to stay with you, as with Davis Hughes, through the longest of happy days on a strong-currented stream, a serene lake near you.

And soon. Very, very soon.

For an extra fifty bucks, you may choose a custom color.

Davis anticipates crimson-and-cream, the school colors of the rural high school that managed to survive all six of us brothers. Cindy Hughes remained content to be both captain of the volleyball team and valedictorian.

Sort of like the Profish 440 from venerable old Viking.

CLICK HERE for Amazon Purchase info: Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak

The Review of the Vibe Skipjack 90 Kayak

It’s about time for a proper review of the Vibe Skipjack 90 Kayak. Vibe has packed a big bunch of kayak into the nice-looking nine feet of the Skipjack. At just 46 pounds, the Skipjack comes out of the bed of a pickup, off the roof of a late-model SUV smooth and easy. Just the way Joel Hughes describes his first — and all subsequent — paddles in the Skipjack he bought this past Christmas for his grandson. As one of the older among us, Joel learned his way around a kayak back on the calm waters of an uncalm boyhood. He finds in the Slipjack simplicity itself, simply made perfect. It’s ideal for all sorts of aqua-enthusiasts. this boat finds its first loves in those new to the joys of paddling a sun-splashed lake. Or even a river just teeming with smallmouth bass.

Review of Vibe Skipjack 90 Kayak by Hughes Reviews
Review of Vibe Skipjack 90 Kayak by Hughes Reviews

Young Kayak Reviewer:

Big boys in a not especially big kayak.

Young Tristan, as adventurous as ever his grandpa was, reports no trouble whatsoever with wind or waves in the chop that constitutes much of his paddling with his buddies. Tristan is a growing boy at 6’3”, 235 pounds. Tris jumped into his new Skipjack, with room to spare. He found much to like, of course, but his experience was crystallized in one strong sentence. “Grandpa, I paddled in a straight line across Barton Lake on my first try.” The relatively short length of the kayak not much detrimental at all to its tracking. Certainly not to its quite phenomenal maneuverability. At his football playing weight, the boy rode a bit low in the water, but he reported no problems with his stroke therefrom. Tristan especially liked the drywall positioned directly in front of the seat. His valuables riding safe and dry therein. While the posted weight limit for the boat is but 350 pounds, we know of multiple, quite safe and enjoyable outings with that limit exceeded a bit. The Skipjack exceeding our family’s expectations in just about every way.

Much, much to like in the ‘Jack.

The Vibe Skipjack 90 Kayak Review

Apart from some complaints with the seat – slipping about in its adjustments a bit, not overly, overly comfortable – we have only compliments for the boat. (As a matter of fact, even Curtis – the most tight-fisted of the Hughes Brothers – argues for a new after-market folding seat to replace the factory unit.) Its small size notwithstanding, this boat does not lack for features. Those features are four flush-mounted rod holders, mounting points for accessory rails, four easy-grip handles for light-hearted transport and all-day portability. Additionally you’ll get two sealed storage hatches with bag inserts, and a large bungeed rear tank well, and two secure paddle parks to prevent loss overboard. A zippered pouch hangs aft of the seat, comfortable and serviceable in its own right, as T. Hughes expects to discover on some extended trips on the Missouri River planned for the late spring.

Vibe Skipjack 90 Kayak Specs:

The second-most-cost-effective yak we’ve tested.

The cost too is spot-on, worth every penny of the, oh, four hundred bucks you pay. The brothers must say right out loud, however, that for the money the Sun Dolphin Aruba remains a greater value. That said, the Skipjack achieves its admirable price-point. It does so by delivering everything needful in a safe, stable, easily manageable, lightweight, comfortable sit-on-top kayak.

Neither Joel nor his grandson anticipate thus far any real need for it. The kayak only six months old, but Vibe offers a limited lifetime warranty for defects on all new Skipjacks. Additionally, most charitably, on parts attached to the boat.

Vibe Skipjack 90 Kayak Review and Rating

Right out of the box, your Skipjack will be ready to go fishing. Only one word of advice from your friends the bros: take that first standing cast slow, very very slow. We found the kayak perfectly stable once in position, but that first stand might be a bit wobbly.


Click here for Amazon Purchase info: Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 9-foot Angler Sit On Top Fishing Kayak