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#12413921 - 09/04/17 04:55 PM Facebook local talk about how expensive the Hobie PAs have become
Brad R Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 03/09/15
Posts: 1508
Loc: Texas
Someone on the Facebook's D/FW Kayaking rightfully mentioned the price increase on a Hobie PA 14 for what looked to be just cosmetic things for the 2018 model. It is approaching $4000, then the endless and very expensive Hobie/and others' after-market add-ons. Whew!

I am constantly reassessing options. I use all three of my "rides" at different times.

I take the Propel 10 out and the Landing Gear makes this a snap. The downside is while I can stand to stretch, I can't stay up and fish unless it is dead water and no wind. And, while "first with reverse" is certainly a help, it is very situational. Just as often, I could get by with an anchoring plan.

I take the Big Rig out but I launch down at my boat house. It is heavy at about 105 lbs. as I have mine rigged . . . even pulling it down there with a C-Tug! It is slow, I think slower than my Meyers canoe. It is, though, a great paddle kayak for a big platform type vessel.

And, I leave my Meyers Sportspal S-15 down in the boat stall, use it all the time. The issue with an S-15 is its length is a bit too much for my tastes even with a bed extender. Fishing from the Meyers? It is a dream. This morning, I stood and paddled back up in and around the cove we live on. It is soooooooooo stable. I don't have it on the canoe now, but I have one of those folding lawn chairs with blades for legs instead of 4 feet . . . and it fits right in the canoe for a nice place to sit on occasion. It can straddle the bench seat, if I don't need it, I can fold it up and lay it flat.

If I owned nothing today, what would I buy with my current knowledge, with pricing the way it is?

I'd buy a Meyers Sportspal S-13 as it would be very hard to beat if fishing is one's only consideration. The "whys" are:

It weighs 57 lbs. This means it can be hand carried on a shoulder or overhead from the top of a car or back of a truck for most athletic men and some women. It eliminates the need for a trailer, even a cart. This is a big deal. I'd likely use a cart so I could load it and make a single trip most of the time.

It is 13'2" in length and 38" wide/ 44" wide with its sponsons (a boat collar). These are, coincidentally, the approximate measurements of a PA 14 and the length a rather standard one for many SOT kayaks. But, the whole canoe is so open: more places to stand, more room for very light Styrofoam ice chests, maybe one for gear, another for food and drinks, even another with ice for fish. And, it has endless opportunities to customize it for placing rods, paddles, stake-out poles, and more.

Because it is almost 100 lbs. lighter than a PA 14, it glides over the water better with much less draft. It'd easily out-paddle a Hobie PA 12 or 14 I suspect, though I have never paddled a Hobie. No, it wouldn't paddle as fast as a Hobie could pedal . . . but for a few bucks . . .

The S-13 has a square stern (the S-14 is double pointed and I'd buy this one if I knew I'd never power up) and it is designed to take up to a 3 hp outboard motor or a TM. I'd go small here and likely use a $99 Minn Kota C2 30 and use a set up like Kevin Dismuke and others rig up where a steering rod is used to steer and an actuator to lift and lower the TM. For a couple of hundred bucks invested in a TM, a battery, etc., you could push around all day. Or, you could use it to get to far off fishing sites then back to the launch area. The rest of the day, you could just paddle.

Standability? My S-15 is MUCH more stable standing than my Big Rig kayak which is considered one of the best kayaks for standing (I agree). I assume that the S-13, at the same width but two feet shorter, would be only slightly less stable. Still, it'd exceed almost all other kayaks for anyone wishing to stand at least some of the time. This really opens up a whole host of additional fishing presentations that involve long casts or very accurate casts, pitching, etc.

Because of its light weight, its very shallow draft and high sides, I'd want an anchor trolley, a stake-out pole and an Anchor Wizard. Between these three things and a brush clip, I think one could "hold water" very well and move quickly.

Tandem: Although it says capacity is up to 4 people, I have found that two large men can fish from an S-15 easily. I have had 475 lbs. of "people," me and a big friend, and we fished all of Wheeler Branch's perimeter over a long day. So, when a buddy shows up from out of town, a grand kid or two, you name it, one vessel works just fine. No second vessel needed for these social outings.

So, not a bad option: about $1300 for the canoe, $99 for a TM, another $99 for a battery, $99 for an Anchor Wizard, a $20 simple lawn chair with blade legs (talk about comfort!!!), a couple of Styrofoam containers, maybe a milk crate with some rod storage, a paddle. Sure, there is more one could and likely would add but these come to mind.

I think the whole thing could come in at < $2000 with the TM power option included.


Edited by Brad R (09/04/17 04:56 PM)

#12414035 - 09/04/17 06:32 PM Re: Facebook local talk about how expensive the Hobie PAs have become [Re: Brad R]
Doublehaul Offline

Registered: 07/05/07
Posts: 339
Loc: Denison, Tx
You may be right-those Sportspals are amazing. I'm currently fishing from a Diablo, and love it dearly for about 1300 bucks. Have you used your Sportspal on any of the rocky rivers-seems like she might get a little chewed on the Brazos.

#12414559 - 09/05/17 06:38 AM Re: Facebook local talk about how expensive the Hobie PAs have become [Re: Brad R]
Brad R Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 03/09/15
Posts: 1508
Loc: Texas
Doublehaul, no to really rocky rivers, not yet anyway.

I think you are correct that a Sportspal would take some beating since it is made from aluminum, aircraft quality aluminum, but still. We did have a Quachita canoe growing up and I used it on the Brazos many times. It handled it well, just didn't stay in "pristine" condition with scratches here and there, paint knocked off.

But, if I were primarily a river guy, I'd go with a Diablo or another with a low draft. Low price, too! The Sportspal would be my "fix" for high-priced HDPE kayaks on slow rivers, ponds and lakes. It'd "target" a bit more in the direction, usage wise, of having a small jon boat or a heavy kayak. Just one that can out-paddle them, utilize power (TMs or small outboards) better and/or cheaper.

One of my many "learning lessons" over the past several years was finding out that paddle craft do quite well in kayak fishing tournaments compared to pedalers. The local man who is dominating the kayak fishing tournaments, Guillermo Gonzalez? He fishes out of a Diablo, says he wants to stand at all costs, fish deep water doing so, needs the super stability.

There are places/circumstances where a Native's reverse is very handy, no doubt, many where wind and currents would be distracting, so one would likely drop an anchor anyway. The reverse advantage dissolves the moment that happens. Weeds, shallow water, unseen obstructions, again just the costs. Same for all pedal craft: generally heavier, expensive, maintenance required, circumstantial usage (think of those rocky rivers again with a drive unit hanging down).

So, I think my discussion, yours too, is more about the fact that with many, really almost all, kayak/canoe fishing circumstances . . . there are low cost options. We can push up and spend 4 grand for a yak, another grand for accessories, maybe another grand for a trailer/cart and those sorts of things. Or, we can do it much cheaper with a fishing platform that will perform just as well. At least, I now think so.

Another wake up call: go look at the price per pound for pelletized HDPE. Sure, I know it costs a lot for the machine to heat up and blow those pellets into a kayak but . . . wow!


#12414574 - 09/05/17 06:59 AM Re: Facebook local talk about how expensive the Hobie PAs have become [Re: Brad R]
Brad R Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 03/09/15
Posts: 1508
Loc: Texas
Outfitting the Sportspal. I noticed that the photo I attached above doesn't have a factory bench seat toward the middle. Meyers will add one. $66 I think. This way, if you are solo, you are sitting in the middle or approximate balance point of the vessel. A great place to stand. I'd carry along a folding chair that could straddle the bench seat, this depending on how I was fishing. A long day on the water requires a seat with a back, at least for me. Fold it and just drop it behind you at any time. They weigh about 3 pounds I'd guess. If I motorized the canoe with a TM, I'd use Keven Dismuke's simple idea to steer it from the middle seat with a rod. I'd use his control box, too, to lift the TM out of the water, drop it remotely with a linear actuator. For ballast, I'd put my gear within reach of my seat, maybe in front of or behind the front thwart bar. If it was a hard plastic ice chest, you could put a cushion on it and fish the other direction, an alternative seat location. Brad


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