Ocean Kayak , Prowler Trident 15
Length 15' 7.5" (4.8 m), Width 29" (73.7 cm)Weight 60 lbs (27.2 kg).
It's quite amazing how many fishing kayaks are now available to the prospective kayak fisherman, it wasn't long ago that a kayak designed specifically for fishing was only a dream, thankfully the manufacturers have started to listened to the needs of their new breed of customer, producing models to fit all body shapes, weights, lengths and pocket size; Ocean Kayak have ten Angler Editions in their line up for 2008 available in a range of four colours, yellow, olive, wheat and blue.
The arrival of the new Ocean Kayak Prowler Trident 15 tied in nicely with a planned fishing trip and demo day in Dorset. The shipment was cleared by HM Customs and the container delivered to Johnson Outdoors early on the morning of the trip, with the delivery van loaded, Andrew from Johnson Outdoors made the long drive down to Mudeford Quay; the arrangements ran like clockwork, we both arrived within minutes of each other.
It wasn't long before the Prowler Trident 15 was unloaded from the van and on the water, at 15ft 7.5ins in length and a beam of 29ins I was hoping for a fast ride, first impressions however were a little disappointing, the seated position felt a little high and my feet couldn't get comfortable on the new style foot braces, it was time for a fiddle.
Back on shore a few adjustments were made to the seat position, I was using my own seat rather than the Ocean Kayak comfort plus, this along with my own paddle helps to give a better idea of how a new ride performs. With the seat moved slightly forward my legs and feet were comfortable but things still felt out of sorts, the Trident 15 and I were not off to a good start, but as with any relationship you need to get to know your partners needs.
Speaking to Andrew back on shore he pointed out that the design had extra buoyancy built in immediately behind the cockpit and with only my body weight onboard the Trident 15 was floating like a cork, tackle crate, a couple of rods, anchor, bait, food were all added to the tank well and I launched again; was this the same kayak? A smile returned to my face it was nearly time to go fishing.
Richi of Extreme Kayak Fishing had arranged a conger hunt for some of the UK's experienced kayak fishermen and after checking we all had the right tackle for the job, safety gear onboard, including night lights, ten of us paddled the couple miles out to the mark. Richi had been out earlier and set up a couple of marker buoys to make it easier to locate the exact location as not all of us had fish finders onboard.
With no anchor trolley fitted to the Trident 15 I decided to clip onto one of the buoys attaching the other end to one of the rear deck lines which angled the kayak safely in the tidal run.
It was going to be a long night, the conger weren't expected to go on the feed for a few hours yet, this gave me time to appreciate the comfort of my new ride, the raised paddle position had kept me high and dry something that most of us appreciate, there is nothing worse than sitting in a puddle. The paddle to the mark had been uneventful, but there had been a continual need to correct my course with an extra stroke on the port side, with her added height in the water she is prone to weather cocking, turning into the wind, a rudder would deal with this problem and is high on my list of priorities.
Rod Pod set between your legs.
The Rod Pod is a dominant feature in the cockpit, a pair of straps keep the tight fitting lid (with built in cup holder) secure, opened you are given access to the hull and a sliding tackle tray, although swamping is unlikely given the Rod Pod's raised profile in the cockpit, it would however be wise to give a little thought to when you open it. Keeping all your essentials in the tackle tray negates the need to reach into the tank well an action that can occasionally mean taking an early dip, if you lack good balance.
Tackle tray inside Rod Pod.
Forward of the Rod Pod is the Sonar Shield, the hinged lid hides a recess designed to accommodate a fish finder, as with all Ocean Kayak models the Trident is designed around it's sister company, Humminbird's range of fish finders, the transducer required is not the standard one shipped with the Humminbird models, a through hull version should be used (ask when purchasing your finder), this transducer fits into the starboard front scupper hole which has been shaped to accommodate it neatly, A bolt runs from the transducer up through the scupper hole and fixes top side. The Sonar Shield keeps the display unit safe in heavy seas and gives added protection when transporting, the Sonar Shield lid is held down with a strap and buckle arrangement.
Scupper hole transducer mount.
Something that I didn't notice until one of the guys head torches caught the side of the Trident was that the deck lines were reflective, a nice feature.
By 9.15pm the first conger was doing battle with Chris who was only a boat length away from me, it was a very dark night making it difficult to see how he was doing, all I could hear was the singing of his reel as the conger made another dash for cover, thirty minutes later the eel was alongside for it's photo call and it was some eel, I was shocked to see it's head flop over the port side as Chris held it in his lap for the trophy shot! Meanwhile Richi had caught and released what was going to be the only other eel caught that night, my job appeared to be keeping all the crabs from attacking everybody else's bait, although I did manage a nice bass, and a few pout, all were promptly released.
A nice bass, returned to get a bit bigger.
At anchor the Trident 15 had felt extremely stable and safe, in fact with my feet up on the Rod Pod I very nearly nodded off, it was time to paddle back.
Paddling at night is surprisingly calming, only the rumble of waves breaking on the distant shore and fish occasionally jumping clear of the water, it was a quick trip back to the harbour with wind and tide behind us, the Trident 15 and I were starting to gel.
On arrival back to shore I started to unload and was surprised to find that the enormous tank well was actually dry, either the deep channels had drained any water quickly or all the extra buoyancy had kept her rear clear of the waves.
The next morning with the Trident already having proven herself as the perfect companion for the bait fisherman it was time to give the fly a try.
Ready for the off.
Heading off west to some rough ground I paddled out with my fly gear, the wind was stronger than the previous day so my Beulah 8/9 with floating intermediate ghost tip were the weapons of choice, along with a wallet full of flies.
My weight made little impression on the waterline.
With all the straps, buckles and external rigging on the Trident 15 I was expecting problems with line control, anyone that fly fishes will tell you if there is something for the line to wrap around, it will. Surprisingly there were no such problems, the line stripped neatly onto the rod pod and fired out through the rod rings, the only items to cause problems were my feet, the line wrapping around them abruptly halting a shooting line.
It only took a couple of casts before I was into my first fish there was a hell of a bend in the rod, a good size bass was the first thing to enter my mind, surprisingly what broke the surface was a wrasse, my first on the fly, the wrasse had hit the fly hard and all that was showing from it's tooth filled mouth was the knot in the leader, luckily for me it hadn't decided to bite down and severe the line. A few more casts and another wrasse came alongside, this time hooked in the scissors.
First wrasse on the fly.
The waves by this time were breaking over the stern and although things remained comfortable for me, the chance of taking a big hit from a growing sea was enough for me to call it a day telling myself that the tide was past its best.
The Prowler Trident 15 is set to be a hit for Ocean Kayak, her weight carrying capacity bettered only by the Prowler Big Game, the Trident 15 is 9 pounds lighter and considerably faster, but for shear fish ability and comfort she is hard to beat, the only downside being she takes a little getting use too, a bit like a new pair of walking boots.