My Diablo Amigo got wet for the first time this week. All I can say is Wow! Iím impressed. This is a nice setup.
The first trip was a short one to the neighborhood flood control lake just to paddle around. Iíve spent the last four or five years fishing out of a 10 ft sit inside style kayak in waters that are too small to launch a bass boat. So, that is my reference point for my comments.
Initial thoughts? Itís big! The size does bring some new challenges. You donít haul it around in the bed of a pickup with that tailgate closed and it is too heavy to easily carry to the water with one hand. So, I had to adjust and learn how to safely and legally transport it to water (turned out to not be very difficult) and I had to learn how to use one of those two wheel dolly things (that was a pain to figure out). However, all the transportation challenges are quickly forgotten once it is on the water.
On the water, the size is great. Getting in and out of it is as simple as just walking from the bank to the seat and sitting down. It paddled easily and was very maneuverable. Standing up was easy. Moving around while standing took a little getting used to the balance. But you quickly discover it is very stable. The kayak tracked well and I had no trouble getting across the lake to a small cove. The kayak really shined once in the cove. I tried standing up and paddling for the first time and I quickly started wishing I had a rod with me. It was very easy to control while standing and was a great way to explore that cove. For this trip I used the 230 cm paddle that I already owned. It worked fine for paddling and moving the kayak, but it was too short. The problem was that when one side was in the water, the other side was dripping water on my leg. The paddle drip was the only thing that got wet on this trip. I ended up getting a new paddle that is a Bending Branches Angler Classic in 260 cm. It worked great for me on the next trip, but I have no idea if a 250 would be better or not.
Then Friday and Saturday, the Amigo went fishing in the chocolate milk of Lake Fork during the Bass on the Fly tournament. This is a very maneuverable kayak. As someone this weekend commented, ďit will turn on a dimeĒ. It also tracked well while paddling. I was impressed by how easily it was to paddle, it is big, but it is easy to move. I was concerned that it would be slow due to its size, but I didnít have any trouble keeping up with everyone else that I was fishing with until we came around a point into a head wind and were going into some about 1 foot rollers. Those conditions definitely slowed me down and I was outrun in that section. However, it handled those waves very well. It cut through the waves and only a few came over enough to get the front of the kayak wet and none of them splashed over the front deck portion. The water quickly drained straight to the scupper holes. It is well designed to drain water. The lake was high and I even took it into the weeds to see how well it would do. Iím impressed! The draft is very shallow. You can take this kayak pretty much anywhere.
Fishing and casting was easy from both the chair and while standing up. The layout is very fly fishing friendly. Plenty of space for the line and not many things to get tangled on. This kayak was a joy to fish from.
I have the Casting for Recovery version of the Diablo Amigo. It has a Larry chair, Seadeck flooring, foot pegs, and two rod holders in the back. The chair was comfortable, stable and better than any kayak chair that Iíve ever used. Before using it, I was indifferent toward the Seadeck flooring stuff. However, after using it, I canít imagine having another kayak without it. It is very comfortable to stand on and offered great traction. I really liked that stuff.
Friday, I was able to visit with Josh, who had helped deliver it to Tailwaters when I got the kayak. I learned several tips and tricks for fishing from an Amigo. The foot pegs are easily removed if they are in the way while fly fishing. I also learned more about the skeg that is available for the Amigo. After a couple of fishing trips, I think Iíll add the skeg for a little more control while drifting and casting. Otherwise, it is rigged well for the way I plan to use it.
Bottom line, my first impression of the Diablo Amigo is pretty much: ďWow! This is a very nice kayakĒ. I am extremely happy with it and Iím looking forward to spending more time fishing from it.