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Thread: Review: Viking Kayak Profish Reload

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    357

    Thumbs up Review: Viking Kayak Profish Reload

    I was given an opportunity to purchase a Viking Kayak Profish Reload at a great deal. I did substantial research and even talked to Stephen Tapp himself (the designer of the kayak) regarding what I wanted in a fishing kayak. If you have time, look into New Zealand kayak fishing and check them out. They are pretty hard-core.

    Having paddled/fished almost every brand in river/lake/bay/ocean, I have lots of experience (well, about 15 years) in different kinds of kayaks. So I am very picky about my personal kayak (just ask JohnE and MetroMan how often I bugged them!). I have taken this kayak out in both very rough and very calm bay conditions fishing and crabbing, as well as one trip out to the Pax for a Heroes on the Water event.

    http://www.vikingkayaks.co.nz ....
    http://www.austinkayak.com ....



    First things first, the hype about the speed on this thing is real. This is the fastest and most nimble SoT kayak I have paddled so far. It accelerates to speed in just a couple strokes and maintains that speed long after stopping. It doesn't matter if I am paddling into the wind, swell, or current. This thing does not slow down once it gets moving. And one of the best things about this kayak for me is it's ability to slice through the swell and waves. This thing was designed to take serious water abuse with ease. The Avg moving speed stats from my fishfinder make this point well:
    OK Tetra 10 (rudder): 3.5 mph
    Wildy Tarpon 120: 3.8 mph
    Profish Reload: 5.9 mph

    The tracking on this kayak is also very good. However, because I have adapted to using a rudder on my previous kayaks I don't wan't to comment much until I get one installed on this kayak. But I do feel like it travels pretty straight and I don't have to worry about correcting much. I just prefer a rudder over the paddle for controlling drift, positioning after a hook up, etc.

    Usually, with a faster kayak you sometimes sacrifice stability. That's not the case here. I put my dog in the back (who is rambunctious and always chasing gulls) and I was still able to stand up without an issue. Even when he was moving around in the back. At one point, I forgot he was behind me. I can reach over really far without threat of tipping, which is useful when crabbing and I need to reach for a trap float.



    Next is the storage, which there is plenty of, but is a bit different than I am used to. Instead of many hatches that lead into the hull, there are many hatches that lead into tubs with scupper plugs in them. This was strange at first, but ingeniously done now that I have had a chance to really use them. They were a bit hard to open at first, but I realized I was closing them way too tight. They don't need much tightening to get a good seal. I have big plans for these (live-well type plans). The only access to the hull is through the large front hatch. This is a large oval hatch that seals up very tight. I like everything to stay in it's place, so I added pool noodles to seal off the front portion of the kayak (prevents things from sliding to the back of the yak). This is really great for unpredictable conditions and surprise splashes. A few days ago, I took it out in the windy, rough bay and came back without a drop of water in the hull.



    Included is the Tackle pod. This thing is great! It's got the fishfinder transducer scupper that's closed off from the rest of the storage. You can mount the fishfinder right on top of it and the battery inside. This makes your whole setup removable in a flash. And I can fit the Plano waterproof big yellow tackle box, the blue one, and a small red one in there with room to spare.



    This is one of the best features of this kayak. It makes storing and transporting easy. I can go from fully rigged kayak to bare-bones lightened up kayak in just a few seconds. I put the tackle pod and chill pod in my truck and I can load her up roof-top by myself.

    ->

    I have not used either of these, so I can't comment here, but there is also the flat style tackle pod (more for the standing crowd): http://www.vikingkayaks.co.nz .... And the Kid pod: http://www.vikingkayaks.co.nz ....

    The rod holders are up to you, but there are spaces for 6-8 of them (maybe more if your crazy). I'll get more into all my rigging in another thread, but I talked to Stephen Tapp in length about a his style setup and decided to give it a try based on his reasoning. It was well worth it, but I will save that for another thread.



    Also an option (but separate purchase) is the chill pod, which is an insulated cooler that fits in the tank-well. I was on the fence about getting one but I went for it anyway and turns out, this thing is pretty useful. It's main benefit is how easy it is to open. I can just flip it open and haphazardly throw things in it and not worry about them. Such as crabs, which made keeping those little buggers alive super easy. I got a lot of positive comments on the chill pod at the HoW event. It also holds a lot of ice and a lot of fish. Really big fish that fit in here just fine. So go on, go get another 40" striper, you still have lots of room.



    Now the downside, as all things have. The way these are sold leaves the rigging up to you. Do you want 6 flush mound rod holders or just two? Do you want the chill-pod and rudder? What kind of seat do you want? The options don't come standard and cost extra. But this leaves the finished product personalized for you. If you get everything, including the rudder, look at spending around $1800. If you just want the kayak, more like $1500. Still, I think it's well worth it for the performance you get.

    By the way, I put the Yak Gear Manta Ray Seat on it and it fits and feels great. I have tried skwoosh, OK brands, and others which are all very nice. But I see very little difference between a $200 seat and the $100 Manta Ray. But everyone's butt is different.

    In closing to this long read... Some kayak companies design kayaks with kayaking in mind, then throw some rod holders on it and call it an angler edition. This is not one of those kayaks. This was designed by a kayak angler specifically for doing what he does: big water, big fish angling. And that's what I was looking for all along.
    Last edited by Frogsauce; 09-22-2014 at 09:11 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Elkridge MD
    Posts
    332

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    Great read.
    This was at the top of my list, but the cost was just too high for me. The big selling point for me was the removable electronics pod.. I noticed several other companies coming out with something similar for 2015... in a few years all angling kayaks will have it I think. The only other kayak out there that competes with this one for "big water, big fish, big distance" is the not yet released Kraken by Jackson.. that is base starting at $1800.. so you gotta pay if you wanna play.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    2,384

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    Yep...sounds about right.

    You're gonna love it more and more. I plan on getting the chill pod over this winter. Looks great.
    <insert witty comment here>

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Stone Ridge, VA
    Posts
    593

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    Awesome review if only I had unlimited funds :-)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Alexandria, Virginia
    Posts
    123

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    Great write up and great looking kayak. I did a lot of research on the Reload and was impressed and set to pull the trigger. When I did, I learned they were sold out and I had to wait for the next shipment. ADD kicked in and I opted for the Ultra 4.7 for the time being. It has a similar big water, Australian pedigree. From what I’ve read, and what you indicated the relative speed of the Reload is impressive. Other than the rudder system I have not complaints about the Ultra but still have an eye on the Reload.
    Ocean Kayak Ultra 4.7
    Predator 13

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Pasadena
    Posts
    294

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    I dont need a new kayak but I gotta test drive one love the way its set up
    D Hawk
    Green Malibu X-Factor stolen dream
    Sand Malibu X-Factor The replacement

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    357

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    The PaddleGuy videos were a big influence for me:



    And the Cambridge to Hamilton 26km SoT kayak race.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    357

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    I took this thing out on Monday when the waves and wind was kicking hard... No issues at all. Didn't even have to try to keep my balance, I'm trying not to get over-confident in this yak, but it sure will make you complacent! I almost got to surf a few waves like out on the ocean, but they just weren't powerful enough to get me moving sideways like in the big water. Now I am gearing up to take a trip out to the Atlantic and test this thing in more serious conditions. And of course, do some ocean-side fishing as well.

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