Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ocean Kayak Trident 11 Review - 08/28/08

Ocean Kayak Trident 11

Ocean Kayak’s Prowler line seems to be one of the more popular kayak designs around, everywhere I fish I run into a fellow yakker and their Prowler 13, 15, Prowler Big Game and the Prowler Trident 15. Well now Ocean Kayak has released two new additions to the Trident line of boats: the totally new Trident 11 and the Trident 13, with the Rod-Pod option (this allows for storage of fully rigged rods inside of the kayak itself).

The Trident 11 seemed like a neat little boat when I first saw it, relatively light-weight at 54lbs (fully loaded with rod-pod), and it is the widest of the Trident line at 30.5’’. This extra width makes for a small stable craft with amazing storage capacity . With the rod-pod spearfishermen can store their guns and catch, the rear tank-well is large enough to handle tank and BC so it’s not just for hook and line fishermen!

Before even paddling the boat we discussed how it could replace a solo canoe in the backcountry as it has a lot of storage and maneuverability, we will put this to the test in Hell’s Bay when the weather cools.

We first took the boats out in the ICW in Hollywood , FL for a test paddle Sunday morning and those present were quite impressed with the Trident 11. I usually find that 11’ kayaks will be sluggish, especially a wide kayak but surprisingly the Trident 11 responded quite well, even against the tide and wind. As a testament to its stability we jumped from the 11 to 13 several times on the water, you can actually stand two people on the 11 without sinking it, although I wouldn’t recommend it. I found it an incredibly dry ride at 6’1’’ 175lbs and some of the heavier paddlers who tested it that day mentioned the same thing, it’s great to have a kayak that accommodates a wide spectrum of paddlers.

As with all new Ocean Kayak boats the Trident 11 Sport Line model comes with a seat, perimeter lines, tank-well bungee, and carry handles, the Angler model comes with the rod-pod and flush-mount rod-holders but you may opt to save money and install the rod-pod yourself with the rod-holders of your choosing. Adjustable foot braces are a new standard for the Tridents 11 and 13 and definitely a welcome change as not everyone’s feet sat comfortably in the former fixed-position plastic foot braces.

The kayak paddled well, so it was time to head down to Flamingo and fish. I purposely planned a slightly ambitious trip for the Trident 11 test: Paddle halfway up into Snake Bight and then fish around Joe Kemp Key on our return, 7 miles round trip. I also paddled with a good friend who fishes out of the Trident 15; I assumed he would be waiting up for me most of the day but that would not be the case.

We arrived in Flamingo around 6:30am and launched through a hail of mosquitos, once we were out of the marina they slowly dissipated and I made a cast towards the shore and pulled a nice snook out of the mangroves…a good sign from the fish gods. I paddled the Trident 11 along the shore with great ease and marveled at how quiet the craft was while slowly poking along the mangroves. With Tarpon rolling around us and the sun just peeking over the horizon of
Florida Bay , you can’t help but pause and absorb it all for a moment…till the next tarpon rolls next to your boat and the hunting instincts kick in.

We made our way into Snake Bight and the Trident 11 had no trouble keeping up with its much larger cousin, I still found it hard to believe but this little boat has glide to it .Combine the good glide with a good paddle and this boat really moves. Snake Bight was deserted and we drifted and fished our way down to, and around, Joe Kemp Key with a few more small snook to show for it. I loved having the ability to stand and search for fish, I was spotting schools of mullet in the distance…just a shame there were no reds to be found. We called it a day around 11am, the paddle back was a breeze with the wind at our backs.

The long drive back from Flamingo gives one time to reflect on the day and the more I thought about the Trident 11 the more I liked the boat. It has everything I want out of a fishing kayak minus the heft and weight of the larger boats. It is a comfortable boat, it’s a stable boat, it has a ton of storage space, and it tracks very well. The only thing I noticed about the kayak was the larger scupper hole (made larger to accommodate the transducer) in the front made quite a racket when I attempted to paddle at speed. This is a minor complaint that is easily fixed with the addition of scupper plugs.

Ocean Kayak really hit a home run with the Trident 11; it’s a great platform for fishing or diving and even those just seeking a quiet cruise through our great states many waterways. The Tridents MSRP starts at $799 and the rod-pod retails for $84.95, I’d imagine this will be a great alternative for those who want the storage and convenience of the rod-pod but don’t want to spend more than $1,000 on the Trident 15. All in all I would highly recommend this kayak to anyone looking to get into the sport and for those old salts who want a kayak fishing machine in a more compact package, Tight lines.

Trident 11
Width: 30.5”
Weight: 54lbs

Sport Line: $799
Sport Line Angler: $909.00
Sport Line Angler with rudder: $1139.00

Rod Pod Hatch Kit for the Sport Line: $84.95

No comments: