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Thread: Native Ultimate 12 Review

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Pasadena, MD
    Posts
    2,821

    Default Native Ultimate 12 Review

    Here’s a review of the Native Ultimate 12.

    First a few stats:

    Length: 12 feet, 1 inch.
    Width: 30 inches
    Weight: 49 pounds
    Capacity: 350 pounds
    Retail cost: $949

    Here’s it is set up for fly fishing:

    P1010545.jpg P1010547.jpg

    I have owned this boat since April 2016 and I have taken it out at least 4 times as often as my Hobie Revo during the past 12 months. I still enjoy my Revo but I absolutely love the simplicity of the Ultimate. And most of all, I appreciate its light weight which allows me to transport it to and from my van and the water with ease.

    You’ll notice in the photos above that the Ultimate looks a lot like a canoe. However, it has a unique hull design with a raised center channel on the floor that greatly aids its primary and secondary stability. I feel completely at ease in it and although it is rated for standing, I never do. That’s a personal angling choice, not because I cannot stand in it. Additionally, its sharp lines cut nicely through the water. It’s a fast kayak and it tracks beautifully.

    The lawn-chair-style seat does not have a height adjustment. Note that on some Ultimate kayaks (the slightly larger and heavier FX version) the seat has a high/low position. However, I find the seat extremely comfortable as is. I can remain seated for 3 and 4 hour sessions with no discomfort. That was not always the case.

    The Ultimate comes standard with small rectangular plastic blocks for foot pads. The blocks accommodate the balls of your feet but give your heels no support. The pads are adjustable with numerous discrete settings and I easily found the appropriate distance for my 33-inch inseam. However, I experienced some lower back discomfort until I replaced the standard foot pads with full foot pads offered as an option by Native. The optional pads support my entire foot and that has made a world of difference in my comfort. Hard to believe but true…

    Another standard feature of the Ultimate is two factory-installed anchor trollies, one on each side of the boat. Although I rarely use an anchor, the trollies are a nice addition and they came in handy when I recently fished in a double-digit gusting wind at Unicorn Lake.

    I have purposely kept this boat “unrigged”. It has never been drilled. It has no fish finder. It has no permanent rod holders. The only rod holders I use are attached to my milk crate with Scotty mounts. I have added two paddle clips on the gear-track on the right gunnel. Each gunnel has a factory installed gear track. I use the paddle clips only when I fly fish. When I fish with conventional tackle, I keep the paddle in my lap as I cast and retrieve

    The Ultimate has no scuppers. It is a single hulled boat and hence it is a light boat. Since it lacks scuppers, I do not use it in big water. I have indeed crossed the Severn in it in choppy water. I was not at all concerned even when I took water over the bow. I know from experience by paddling the 14-foot version of the Ultimate in FL that it can take on a lot of water and remain afloat. But I will not challenge the Ultimate 12 that way. It is my small water boat. I use it in creeks and ponds and it is the perfect boat in my mind for that application.

    Although Native Ultimates are commonly used in FL, I see very few of them here. My friend John Rentch has one but I know of no other Chesapeake anglers who own one. That’s understandable with the heavy emphasis on trolling here in the Bay. It would be ill-suited for that outside of tidal creeks.

    But if you’re looking for a calm water, lightweight, comfortable boat, I believe the Ultimate 12 will meet your needs.

    Summary:

    Pros
    Lightweight, easy to transport.
    Stable and fast
    Comfortable seating when equipped with full foot pads
    Large deck area

    Cons
    No scuppers
    Not suited for big water

    Ultimate 2.jpg Ultimate 5.jpg
    Mark

    Slate Hobie Revolution 13
    Hidden Oak Native Ultimate 12

    Author: The Simple Joys of Kayak Fishing (Tips and Tales From an Old Guy in His Plastic Boat)
    Available on Amazon.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Annapolis, MD.
    Posts
    491

    Default

    I would like to second Mark's comments on the Ultimate. I bought mine last August. If it wasn't for trolling for Rockfish, I would probably sell my Slayer 10. I have paddled the Ultimate 6+ miles several times and have not suffered at all. Great kayak for this area.
    John
    Annapolis
    Native Slayer Propel 10, Native Ultimate 12

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Edgewater MD
    Posts
    115

    Default

    I love the review–, You and John look very comfortable in those boats. No matter the boat, I learn a lot by reading about all of the circumstances and paddling/ fishing philosophies. Thank you for taking the time.
    Harlan

    Revo 13
    Trident 13
    Cuda 14
    Necky Tandem

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Pasadena, MD
    Posts
    2,821

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by harlanbud View Post
    I love the review–, You and John look very comfortable in those boats. No matter the boat, I learn a lot by reading about all of the circumstances and paddling/ fishing philosophies. Thank you for taking the time.
    Harlan,

    Thank you. I appreciate your thoughts.

    I hope others submit reviews of their boats.
    Mark

    Slate Hobie Revolution 13
    Hidden Oak Native Ultimate 12

    Author: The Simple Joys of Kayak Fishing (Tips and Tales From an Old Guy in His Plastic Boat)
    Available on Amazon.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    401

    Default

    Nice write up Mark.

    I have been eyeing an Ultimate for a while now, but have yet to be able to justify buying one to myself. I am thinking about mooring my Pampano at Rocky Gorge next year, maybe that will give me the excuse I need to pick up a paddle yak for other bodies of water.
    Drew

    Yellow Pompano 12
    Lime Slayer 10

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Pasadena, MD
    Posts
    2,821

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bunnielab View Post
    Nice write up Mark.

    I have been eyeing an Ultimate for a while now, but have yet to be able to justify buying one to myself. I am thinking about mooring my Pampano at Rocky Gorge next year, maybe that will give me the excuse I need to pick up a paddle yak for other bodies of water.
    Definitely check it out. I think it's a hidden gem among angling kayaks. If you ever want a test paddle let me know.
    Mark

    Slate Hobie Revolution 13
    Hidden Oak Native Ultimate 12

    Author: The Simple Joys of Kayak Fishing (Tips and Tales From an Old Guy in His Plastic Boat)
    Available on Amazon.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    401

    Default

    Thanks, I might take you up on that this summer. I am a fidgety guy and one of my favorite things about the Slayer 10 is how easy it is to move around and stretch. The comfort difference between it and my Pompano is insane, mostly due to the lawn chair seat. I can only imagine that the Ultimate, with both the amazing seat and an being a big open space, would be even better in that regard.
    Drew

    Yellow Pompano 12
    Lime Slayer 10

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Pasadena, MD
    Posts
    2,821

    Default

    Drew,

    The deck space is nice as you can see from this photo:

    P1010566.jpg

    Plenty of room to stretch.
    Mark

    Slate Hobie Revolution 13
    Hidden Oak Native Ultimate 12

    Author: The Simple Joys of Kayak Fishing (Tips and Tales From an Old Guy in His Plastic Boat)
    Available on Amazon.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    401

    Default

    Two observations;

    1: I had no idea that the hull channel (is that the right term?) was so pronounced. I see how it would be stable enough to stand in now.
    2: That is the fattest pickerel I have ever seen. Like, it has a beer gut. It's like looking at a fat greyhound. A pretty plump pickerel, if you please.
    Drew

    Yellow Pompano 12
    Lime Slayer 10

  10. #10

    Default

    I could not believe how light it was when I picked it up the one day I meet up with you. Definetly a great choice for the waters you describe.

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