First Trips in the New Kayak

The good news is I am feeling much better. I am almost completely healed and back to normal. The bad news is the weather has turned so cold that it has made it downright miserable to fish. I have snuck out for a few hours on some of the warmer afternoons recently though and have been able to catch a few fish in the new kayak.

My first impressions of the new setup are neutral. There are some major advantages and disadvantages. First lets start with the positives.

The motor is awesome. I have not been able to try out the spot lock feature in current yet because there hasn't been any current on the days I have fished. I have been able to give the course heading feature a good test run though. It has worked flawlessly. It is great to be able to set your direction and let the motor do the work for you. This has allowed me to fight the fish and not the kayak while reeling in the fish I have caught.

Another positive is the battery life. Obviously my first few trips have been short and I haven't dealt with any current but I have been pleasantly surprised with how little battery power the motor has used. For reference, I am using a group 27 109ah deep cycle battery. My last two trips have each been around 4.5 hours long. I have trolled at around 0.5mph the entire time except for moving at full speed to get to and from the launch. I still had 84% and 86% battery life remaining when I got home from each trip. That is much better than I had expected.
The seat is also much more comfortable than my Outback. Having the ability to sit up higher and also turn to get in a more comfortable position while fighting fish has been nice. This has allowed me to get back on the water a little sooner than my injury would have allowed in my other kayak.
Having the ability to pull planer boards is another awesome positive of this setup. When I have tried in the past, I have had difficulty due to the fact that the front of the kayak always gets spun back toward the resistance when reeling in a fish. I always ended up with a mess of tangled lines. The course heading feature of this motor keeps me moving forward and prevents that from happening which allows me to successfully pull planer boards.

Now lets to get to the negatives. This setup is very heavy. The motor weighs a lot more than I had anticipated. My original plan was to purchase a lithium battery to save on weight if the motor worked out as we hoped it would. Unfortunately, the weight of a heavy deep cycle battery is needed in the back of the kayak to counter balance the weight of the motor on the front. Between the motor and battery, the kayak now weighs around 100lbs more which makes launching and loading more of a chore. I have been wet launching the kayak like a boat which is fine for about 75% of the places I fish. However, some of the places I fish do not have a ramp so this much extra weight is going to be a real burden when I fish those locations.

Another negative is the fact Nucanoe does not make a rudder for their kayaks. While the motor will continue to move forward at the speed you have it set at when using the course heading feature, the back end of the kayak tends to get spun around when you are dealing with a wind hitting you from the back or at a rear angle. This setup could really benefit from a rudder or skeg to help with that.

The cruise control feature has been awesome when it has worked properly. It is supposed to work by maintaining the speed you have the motor set at regardless of external factors such as current, wind gusts, etc. I have had two instances where the motor abruptly went to full speed while using this function. Each time it happened, I had to turn it off and then back on again to fix it. This is a nuisance but apparently it is a pretty common issue with this motor.

I am also still not completely sold on the kayak itself. I mentioned in my overview video that the plastic was much thinner in this kayak than with other comparable brands. To help create more support for the rod holders, I had to make some mounting plates. We will see how they fare when I hook into a big fish. There have also been some other issues I have had to deal with. The internal rod tubes have fallen out numerous times. I am going to have to glue those in place when it warms up again. The hatch seal also came off and had to be glued back on. There seems to be some quality control issues with this kayak and it has me concerned about its long term durability.

Time will tell how this setup will work out. It has been nice to get back out on the water though. I have missed fishing while I have been on the mend. The monsters haven't welcomed me back yet but I have been fortunate enough to catch a few smaller fish. With temps warming up into the 50's later this week, I plan on getting back after them. Hopefully the big one is waiting on me.  
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