I've had my new Old Town Predator 13 kayak now for a week, and have been able to get out in it 5 times already. Man is this kayak more than I had hoped for! Being a father of 2 young boys and an avid kayak angler, I wanted a kayak that not only offered great performance, space, stability, and storage, but also something that I could use with a child till they are big enough for their own kayak.
Afterall, time spend fishing with a kid does not count against one's acquired brownie points.... am I right gentlemen!!!!
So 3 of my 5 outings this week was with a son in tow. I've taken my 3 year old out for a short jaunt on the Hammond River where we caught a few perch and trout, then I took him out with a kayak angling group to Wheaton Lake were we spent 7 hours on the water, and finally I took my 6 year old out to "Sturgeon Alley".
I can say with absolute conviction that a Dad can take a young child out on the Old Town Predator with 5 rods, all your gear, food, and whatever else you may need, with room left over, and not feel at all cramped for space! Not that you need all those rods, but really, we all have that need for many rods!
I put a small footstool behind my seat for the child to sit on, under which a couple plano boxes easily fit. Another plano box in the handy compartment built into the back of my seat and we have lots of extra gear at hand. Between the footstool and my seat, a standard bumpboard fits in perfectly for getting those pics of fish landed.
A scotty triple rod holder placed at the very top of the rod pod gives space for all sorts of extra rods beyond what you may place in those rod holders on the 6 face plates built into the side of the Predator. Personally I put 8" tracks (some Scotty, some YakAttack) on 5 of the side plates, with the 6th reserved for a cleat for my anchor trolley. On those tracks you can put an number of arrangements of rod holders, and other such gear, and then interchange them as you wish. The combination of gear arrangements are endless!
There are bungee straps built into the side to secure your net, pockets for tools, gloves and the like, a paddle clip, and all sorts of other handy features. I love that the anchor trolley can be installed into the moulded in handles without having to drill holes for any hardware! I can actually take the anchor trolley off, or switch it to the other side should I want!
Without a child, and using a milk crate with a PVC pipe homemade three rod holder I can fit 10 rods, all my gear for fishing and camping, and still have room and stability on the Preadator 13 to stand up and fish! I can't take a child with the milk crate, but you get my drift, the Predator 13 has way more cargo space and customization options that anyone should ever ask for!
As for how it tracks and performs when paddling, it puts my Old Town Dirigo sit inside kayak to shame. Fishing with a kayak angling elder in John Cail next to Reversing Falls this past week at night, John comments that while in very fast cross current, one I put my rod aside and picked up the paddle, I basically shot off from tricky water like a rocket. I have to say, that even with the extra weight of a child, the Predator 13 is easily faster, more stable, way more nimble and tracks much better than my 12 foot Dirigo on which I've landed many a big fish with ease.
If you are a Dad looking to get more fishing time in, and would prefer a kayak over a canoe, then you really have to look at the Old Town Predator 13. Even if you don't have child responsibilities playing into your decision making, you really cannot go wrong with the Predator 13. It is a truely amazing fishing platform!
Here are a couple of short videos from the past week showing the kids making memories that no video game could ever match!
Rowan on the Predator
Fynn on the Predator