http://web.archive.org/web/20080719104805/http://www.vikingkayak.com.au/images/profish5.jpg http://web.archive.org/web/20080719104715/http://www.vikingkayak.com.au/images/profish3.jpg http://web.archive.org/web/20090912144457/http://www.vikingkayak.com.au/images/profish4.jpg http://web.archive.org/web/20080719104837/http://www.vikingkayak.com.au/images/profish2.jpg
Length: 4.35m Width: .77m Hull Weight: 28kg Load Capacity: 135kg
- 2 x 6" hatches
- 4 x Rod holders Rudder
- Sounder Compartment & Clear Lid
- 2 x Burley Bin & Covers
- Centre Well & Cover
- Foot Rests
- Full Seat with Pocket
- Front & Rear Cargo well straps
- Rudder system
- Minn Kota Electric Motor
- Anchor line and bag
- Paddle holder
Disclaimer: I receive no rewards (financial, or otherwise) from any kayak manufacturer, paddle maker, or anyone even remotely connected to fishing/kayaking. All opinions are my own.
Caveat: Alex gave me 50c towards my 3 buck ferry trip back to coochie, when I paddled the spare profish back to the mainland last weekend for him, since I didn't have my wallet with me, and preferred not to swim back to the island. ;)
Alex, from Viking Brisbane, graciously donated a kayak to one lucky AKFF member in May 2008. The draw on coochiemudlo island, followed a bit of a fishing excursion by some enthusiastic AKFFers, who risked life and limb by attending a yakking event on mothers day!
We've watched the development of the Viking profish for a while now - from the initial hints of a new development, through 'leak', to completion, and release / full production.
I woke at 5am, and dragged my Adventure down to the beach, to paddle over and meet the rest of the AKFF crew. At the Victoria point boat ramp, a bunch of bleary-eyed yakkers gradually assembled, and Alex of Viking Brisbane rolled up with 4 profish kayaks on his roof racks - two blue/white, and two in the more traditional Viking 'orange/red' gradation.
First impressions? Interesting. Pretty. Lots of extra bits.
http://www.akff.net/forum/download/file.php?id=22238&t=1&type=image.jpg Profish on the ramp
They were obviously pretty long. I'd say about the same as a prowler elite in length - though perhaps a little wider at the seat. The bow looks a heck of a lot more streamlined than my old Espri, and looks like it should cut through the water a lot better. Not quite as much as the Adventure perhaps - though, that's not exactly a bad thing; the Adventure tends to slice through swell very nicely, but that also means that it tries to slice through surf as well - not always a good thing when you're trying to get over the top of a wave on the way out through the surf.
Hatches. Lots of hatches. Sleek too.
The yaks were gradually set up, and moved into the water ready to roll. There were two spares, so Alex towed one, while I towed the other behind the Adventure.
We arrived at Coochie front beach, where I gave a bit of a location briefing to the assembled troops, and then Alex and I towed the spare profish (which would be available later for people to play on) up to my place for safe-keeping while we went fishing. Alex had asked whether I'd be interested in doing a bit of a hands-on review of the profish, so the Adventure also came home with me, to sit out the fishing trip. I'd be without my sounder, and rudder, but figured that if I was going to do a proper review, I'd want to spend a bit of time on the yak.
http://www.akff.net/forum/download/file.php?id=22239&t=1&type=image.jpg Profish, on coochie front beach
http://www.akff.net/forum/download/file.php?id=22240&t=1&type=image.jpg That big front well
I took a few photos of the yak, including the major features.. Particularly that big front hatch, with the inset cutting board - which I thought was a pretty cool idea. I wouldn't use it much myself - but for the bait soakers amongst us, it looks pretty good. I wonder if it's locked in somehow? I didn't think to check - but that might be something to have a think about if you're doing surf launches / retrieves.
The attachment/bungie points were a bit fiddly for my big hands - easy enough to open up once you got used to it, but getting the hatch off took a bit of finger gymnastics the first few times. The hatch edges are moulded around the plastic, which is nice. There's no 'seal' as such, so expect a little bit of water to get into the compartment in heavy seas.
The sounder mount cavity looked quite nicely moulded too - far enough away from the seating position, that it's not in the way of anything. Maybe a touch close for long term examination though - I have a sneaking suspicion that having your head down for more than a couple of minutes at a time at that angle, could throw the inner-ear out, for people who are susceptible to sea sickness. Quick glances won't be a problem though.
There are two forward facing rod holders, which would be fine for re-rigging, or de-fishing. They're not designed to be used for trolling though - they'd get in the way of your stroke - the rear facing rod holders would be much better for that.
The little cavities to the side of the seats look interesting. I'm not sure what I'd use them for yet - they're not quite in the right spot for lures (I'd be worried about losing them over the side). Might be about the right size for a gaff, or lip grippers though I reckon.
The paddle keepers (one each side) are also nice - recessed below the top-line of the yak, which means that you won't be bashing your fingers on them during a paddle stroke.
After a bit of a cursory wander around the yak, I launched off the beach, and immediately started playing around a bit, to check it's stability, speed, and so on.
Moving around the cockpit is no problem. I could safely shuffle forward, sit side saddle, and even turn around and sit right in the front well, if that's what I chose to do:
http://www.akff.net/forum/download/file.php?id=22243&t=1&type=image.jpg Sitting in the front well.
http://www.akff.net/forum/download/file.php?id=22244&t=1&type=image.jpg Sitting in the front well (2)
Stability was never an issue. Even standing up wasn't a problem.
Reaching around to the rear well was nice and easy, and I could slide a fully rigged rod inside the hull (around 6 foot or so) without a problem.
http://www.akff.net/forum/download/file.php?id=22247&t=1&type=image.jpg Rear hatch cover.
What was really cool though, and a feature that I reckon will be a BIG plus to offshore types, was the two little hatches just behind the seat. They're not huge, but they're just about the perfect size for maybe 4 or so slimies each. Although they have a plug at the base, you can open them up via a scupper-style arrangement, in order to allow fresh water straight in. As long as your slimies aren't big enough to slip through the hole (or you use mesh of some sort perhaps), you've got a really nice method of keeping a few fish alive for a while, without having to resort to aerators, batteries, water pumps, and so on.
There's also the internal sounder mount that I mentioned above. Looks reasonably well thought out; Having a peek at Alex's setup, it should be pretty easy to put most transducers in, and they're pretty well protected by being slightly inset, in the hull.
So, it's a pretty stable beast, with some really cool attachment possibilities. I didn't have a rudder on mine, but never really felt that I needed one. A couple of little niggling issues I came across during testing though:
1) There's a little eyelet on the external tray thingie (the one I mentioned that might be ok for lip grippers) that is in the perfect position to whack your fingertips under a hard paddle. These little buggers gave me the sh*ts, until I changed my paddle stroke slightly to avoid them. Alex later mentioned though, that they're no longer putting them on by default - thank goodness for that.
2) The front hatch is just a little too wide at the aft for taller paddlers, and was rubbing on my lower thighs. I didn't notice it at all, at first, but after 2 hours in the saddle, it became a little noticeable. It never got to the chaffing stage, but perhaps after another couple of hours might have changed that - I'm not sure. I thought it was just me, but Redherring (who is 6 foot 6) confirmed the same thing.
3) The rear rod holders are:
a) Very close to the water. I'd definitely recommend long-butt rods, or alveys. You'll get a fair bit of splash from the kayak on your reels.
b) very close to your rear paddle stroke. I've done it before on the Espri, so I reckon there's an even greater chance of it happening on the profish - an enthusiastic back-stroke of the paddle has the potential to lift your rod from the holder, and make it disappear over the side.
The solution is pretty simple - make sure your rod butts are nice and long. I even understand why it was done that way - with those two cool bait tank thingies behind the seat, finding a reasonable spot for rod holders would have been a challenge. It's not too bad a trade-off I reckon, and you could always extend them with a bit of PVC if you have a short-butt rod you want to keep. On the other hand, with the rod holders off to the side, and close to the water, it certainly seems to keep the rod-tips apart nicely, making trolling two lures a little less of a problem (w.r.t entanglements).
On to the speed tests. I chose to retain my hobie paddle, rather than going for the Quantum bucket-style paddle that comes as a freebie with the yak, for the speed tests. No offence viking, but while the bucket paddle is probably really good for surf stuff, and for streamlined SIKs, it's just awful for the normal usage profile of a kayak fisherman. I found that the outside edge of the bucket tended to flex too much under heavy load, and it had a tendency to twist in my grip very easily. The paddle is an absolutely critical factor in any kayak, and I think supplying the profish with the bucket-style paddle would tend to be a disservice to the kayak - unfairly giving the impression that the kayak is responsible for the limitations that are the fault of the paddle.
With the assistance of a GPS, we did a few speed tests. I was pleasantly surprised. All tests were conducted cross-current, and without significant wind.
I could comfortably cruise on the profish at around 9km/h sustained. Way faster than trolling speed for most lures, and it compares pleasantly with the turbo-equipped mirage-drive speed of the Adventure, which was reasonably impressive.
The kayak topped out at 10.8km/h ('burst' speed for maybe 100-150m) - so the kayak quickly starts to hit maximum hull speed after you get past the comfortable cruise point. After paddling the prowler elite, I get the feeling that the cruise speed is comparable, and the top speed is slightly under - but not by a wide margin. It certainly puts the Tempo's to shame, and the more streamlined bow pushes out less water to the sides, than the Espri does in similar circumstances. Tracking is also significantly better than the Espri; the additional hull length means that there's no hint of slewing across the ocean.
Paddling down to the far green beacon at coochiemudlo island with the current, was a reasonable test of the capabilities - particularly since I had to paddle back up against the current and wind, on the way back. Performance was pretty reasonable! There was a bit of hull slap around the front of the yak, when the wind & swell got up a little, but it wasn't too annoying. In general, it was a pretty dry ride; A bit of a wet bum once the wind got up, but not too bad in general. It's also a fairly low profile yak, so I didn't notice too much wind resistance - it was pretty easy to keep the yak on track, even with wind at 45 or 90 degrees.
So, overall? I'm pretty impressed. It has the signs of being a mean offshore fishing machine. It's pretty fast, it has more spots to put things than you can poke a stick at, it's stable, and it comes from an Aussie company too. There are a couple of little niggling issues - most of which have been, or can be solved with a few tweaks to the accessories (rather than having to stuff around with the mould), but in general, it seems to be a well thought out fishing package. I think it deserves to be a success.