Ocean Kayak Torque Angler
Length 13’ 10” (4.2m) Width 29” (73.7cm) Weight with motor 86 lbs (39 kg).
Back in the summer of 2009 I had heard a rumour that Ocean Kayak were developing a kayak with a built in Minn Kota motor, its not going to be of much interest to UK anglers I thought to myself.
The Southampton Boat Show saw the launch of the Ocean Kayak Torque, it took pride of place on the Ocean Kayak stand, and quite rightly so, it wasn’t the huge platform that I had been expecting, here was a sleek hull based around the popular Trident 13 with a slot in the tankwell to accept the Saltwater Trolling Motor, they might be on to something.
The slot in the tankwell for the Minn Kota Drive System.
It wasn’t till late October that I finally got my hands on the Torque; I was fishing with a group of friends from AnglersAfloat and the demo trailer from Ocean Kayak had arrived at our launch site on Oulton Broad late on Saturday afternoon. The Torque pulled quite a crowd, so I decided to wait till the next morning to take it for a spin.
Sunday morning arrived and I wheeled the Torque to the slipway and prepared for launching. Before setting off I had to make the decision of whether to drop in the moulded skeg and paddle out onto the broad, or drop in the saltwater proof Minn Kota Trolling Motor, well I wasn’t going to mess about with the skeg so dropped it into the forward hatch and popped the Minn Kota into the tankwell slot, this is best done with the kayak on a trolley or in the water as the motor drops through the hull. A webbed strap holds the motor in position, all that was required then was to connect the motor using the 100% sealed connection cable and plug, the plug is positioned in the rear of the tankwell. The motor fits flush in the tankwell leaving plenty of room for a fishing crate or tackle box.
Launched and ready to go.
Powering the motor is a 9.3amp leisure battery which is housed firmly in the Battery Box at the front of the cockpit, the battery box will be familiar to anyone with a Ocean Kayak Trident, it is very similar to the Rod Pod, although it doesn’t allow for any tackle storage. The size and weight of the battery was a bit of a shock, it amazes me that with all the leaps in technology, batteries for cars and leisure use haven’t shrunk in size and become more portable, however once on the water the battery is soon forgotten.
The battery compartment ready to accept the leisure battery.
Before setting off a quick tug on a knotted rope on the port side of the tankwell and the rudder was deployed; the torques rudder is extra large compared with the standard Trident 13 rudder and has been designed to optimise steering when under power, a cleat locks the rudder in the down position, although it will kick up in an emergency should you hit something hard. Positioning the rudder for steering is done through a pair of adjustable foot controls.
The Torque has a huge and efficient rudder blade.
One more thing to remember before setting off was the kill switch a coiled line which attaches to your PFD, should you be parted from your kayak the clip will pull out and the power cut to the motor.
I was ready to go, the motor is controlled by an infinitely variable lever which is directly in front of you, a slow twisting to starboard and you move forward, twist to port and the motor goes into reverse, the more you twist the faster you go, should you decide to change your direction of travel, there is a slight delay, perfectly normal with electric motors.
Green for forward, red for reverse, the Torque's throttle control.
Dropping into the Ocean Kayak Comfort seat I headed out between the moored broad boats and out onto the broad, the motor runs quietly unless provoked by a quick twist into full reverse, do this and a racket prevails from the Minn Kota’s Weedless Wedge Prop and then it’s back to smooth running; I was on my way, a push on the port peddle and the Torque responded well, guiding me out towards a pair of house boats, there are always pike around this area so I dropped my new favourite lure a Savage Gear 4Play in Blue Silver over the side and dropped my speed to around 2mph, almost immediately I was into a fish, I steered to port to bring me broadside to the Pike and killed the motor. A brief struggle pursued then my quarry was along side a 4lb pike double hooked in the chin so I had to grab behind its head, not the most dignified way to pick up a pike, but I didn’t fancy getting hooked up myself.
The first fish caught on a Torque in the UK!
After a photo call the pike was returned and I continued my trip along the broad, I could concentrate now as the pressure was off and the Torque had caught its first UK fish!
On the water the Ocean Kayak Torque sits level on the water, the weight of the battery keeping the bow down, this does mean that if motoring in rougher waters then expect to get some splashing over the bow. The whole set up felt comfortable and stable, even when leaning into a tight turn, when I say tight the Torque turns full circle in around 2 boat lengths.
Crusing on the Broads.
Normally I fish with a finder/GPS and have to admit I was a little lost without it, I didn’t know the depth of the water or how fast I was travelling, not ideal when your trolling lures, but I persevered for a couple of hours, the fishing was tough and few fish were being caught. On my travels the Torque was attracting a few comments from other water users, one Pike Fisherman his boat hidden within the reeds yelled out, “that’s my kind of kayaking,” I starting to think it was mine as well!
With no more fish I motored back to the slipway and ran off to my car, in my tackle box was my Garmin eTrex GPS, at least I would know what speed the Torque was capable of. With the Garmin slipped under the battery box lid strap I was ready for full throttle, gunning the motor the Torque managed a reasonable 5mph, I have to admit I had hoped for a little more, over the afternoon the maximum speed dropped only 0.2mph to 4.8mph as the battery started to get low on juice, mind you I had clocked up over 10 miles since carrying the GPS, would loved to have seen how many miles I could have got out of the battery, sadly after 5 hours on the water it was time to head back.
Moving quickly to the next mark.
Having spent a very pleasant day afloat with the Ocean Kayak Torque, I began to see where a Torque could fit into my life, for lure fishing and fly fishing it could make be the perfect companion, with a little concentration you can hold position in running water or in a head wind without the need for an anchor, changing lures or flies whilst heading towards a mark is easy when you can travel hands free.
Would I change anything, well it could do with a couple of rod holders, although the Torque is an Anglers Edition there are no flush mounts but this does give the opportunity to fit a pair of RAM Tubes which will allow you to see your rod tips whilst trolling. I would also fit a finder/GPS, the Torque’s hull comes with Ocean Kayaks Transducer/Scupper mounting, a transducer shaped hole in the hull on the starboard forward scupper hole, this allows easy mounting of a Humminbird transducer using the Transducer mounting kit.
Finally don’t be put off by the listed 86lbs weight, this is with the motor in place, motor removed, the Torque was easily lifted single handed onto my car roof rack, it felt no heavier than a standard Ocean Kayak Trident 13, sadly it had to come straight back off as it had to go back to Johnson Outdoors Headquarters!
Please note that some of the images are of a later trip to Coniston in the Lake District, others are from Oulton Broad as mentioned in the article.