Last month we reviewed one of the more expensive fishing kayaks fully equipped with a pedal drive system, rudder, deluxe seating and loads of accessories. This month let’s look at a much more basic option that is particularly good for flat-water fishing in the rivers and estuaries.
The Impulse 10 by Perception is a sit-in kayak (SIK) rather than the more popular and more common, sit-on-top fishing kayak (SOT). While equally good, SIKs have different strengths and weaknesses and these should be considered before purchase.
Firstly, a SIK offers a little more protection from the elements, such as wind and drips from the paddle, than its sit-on counterpart.
Secondly, a SIK will generally paddle a little nicer than a SOT of similar length. The seating of a SIK is generally closer to the floor of the craft, lowering the paddler’s centre of gravity, so the hull can be a little narrower than the comparable SOT. They also don’t have the scupper holes of a SOT so there is less drag and a dryer ride.
Thirdly, SIKs are generally easier to manually transport over land. This is especially true of the Impulse 10 under test, which can easily be carried thanks to its light weight and the shape of the cockpit coaming, which sits nicely on your shoulder.
Lastly, the biggest complaint about most SIKs is their lack of storage options compared with a typical SOT, which commonly has hatches and storage pockets within easy reach of the paddler.
However, the Impulse 10 designers considered this and it has a storage tray at the front of the cockpit and a tank well at the rear (most SIKs have hatches at the rear that are far less useful for the angler’s storage needs).
The combination of adjustable footrests and the padded backrest make this a comfortable kayak to paddle. The shape of the cockpit coaming allows you to lean your outer leg against the cockpit for even more support.
The Impulse 10 can easily be set up with lots of accessories, such as rod holders, sounders and anchor kits, but in an effort to keep things simple and lightweight we have used a fishing accessory that uses a milk crate to accessorise the Impulse.
This bag has two rod holders, storage for tackle boxes and loads of other gear. It is also a great place for your bait and fish as it keeps all your gear and mess contained in the one place, making for an easy clean-up afterwards.
Because your rods are stowed directly behind you, I found the best way to access them was by imagining you were drawing an arrow from your back. Alternatively, if the water is warm, it is easy enough to sit side-saddle, allowing easy access to your gear.
Getting in and out of a SIK takes a little more practice and technique than accessing a sit-on-top kayak. I’d recommend securing your paddle under the front bungy when launching or landing so that you have both hands free to maintain your balance.
The moulded-in handles either end make for a really easy two-person lift.
The pronounced keel in the hull of the Impulse makes it track well for a small kayak. Most small kayaks yaw from side to side as you paddle on alternate sides. The Impulse does it less than most other 3m kayaks.
It is no racing kayak but cruises at slower speeds fairly effortlessly. It is very easy to manoeuvre, making it a great option for fishing around the mangroves or pontoons.
A small sit-in kayak such as the Impulse is not designed for open water such as a bay or the ocean. If unfortunate enough to capsize, you would need to take this kayak to the shallows to empty the water.
It would not sink but would be extremely difficult to empty in choppy, open water. Larger SIKs such as sea kayaks are fitted with bulkheads to build more flotation into the bow and stern, making them more seaworthy options.
If you are not aiming to cover large distances in your kayak and want something small, simple and lightweight for ease of transporting and handling, the Impulse 10 would definitely be worth a look.
I enjoyed the secure feeling of a sit-in kayak and think this would be ideal for accessing some skinny waters in the upper creeks and rivers.
The Perception Impulse retails for $799. An Angler version is available for an extra $100 that includes two rear flush rod holders, one Scotty adjustable rod holder and an anchor kit.
For Perception dealers in Australia, visit www.perceptionkayaks.com.au
• Craig McSween of Splash Safaris Kayaking who is also a Sea Kayak Instructor with Australian Canoeing conducted this review. For feedback on this review you can contact Adventure Outlet (Kayaking, Camping and Outdoor Store) in Southport on (07) 55712929 or --e-mail address hidden--