Kayaks are amazingly popular and the range of products on the market today is staggering. One rig that I had not seen in the flesh but had always wanted to was the Stealth Beavertail 2000, a kayak originally designed for hunters but now finding some great support from anglers.
So what has made anglers look at this hunting kayak and why is it becoming such a popular fishing tool? Well to answer these questions we took two of them out on the water at Lake Mulwala to see for ourselves. On the day we had a base model with a few extras along with a fully pimped up model with a Minn Kota i-Pilot electric and a host of other fishy accessories.
Let’s start with the base model and move our way up from there as I’m sure along the way you’ll quickly discover that the fully pimped version is well worth a serious look.
At the heart of the Beavertail is a broad and robust hull that is foam filled to give the hull a strength that is virtually unparalleled in the market. The cockpit is designed to be extra wide and featured a rippled, non-skid floor that performs two functions. The first is to provide extra traction and the second is that the lows in the ridges trap water and keep it off your feet. The bottom of the hull has a catamaran style pontoon set up that assists with the incredible stability of this rig, yet allows the Stealth 2000 to float in 10-15cm of water making launch and retrieve a breeze. The construction of the hull is from 100% custom compounded polyethylene that is roto-moulded in one piece.
Other features of the Stealth include a 360 swivel seat that cushioned and has a folding backrest. There are grab and carry handles on both ends along with a storage compartment under the seat. There are tie-down slots front and rear along with a padded dog platform up front and a further storage area to the rear.
The Stealth can be set up for two persons with an optional extra seat (as seen in the base model images) and the gun racks (remembering this was designed as a hunting rack) can have all sorts of fishy extras attached to them to ensure your boat is set up with your fishing or hunting in mind. There are even options if you want to maintain the gun racks by adding on some custom built panels to attach rod holders, sounder brackets and the like. It’s an opportunity to really fit out the rig as you would like it.
The first Stealth 2000 I stepped into was the fully optioned rig. I have to admit to a bit of trepidation with the seat set so highly. In my mind I saw a high centre of gravity and a very tippy craft. But this was so far from the reality it was surprising. The seat was comfortable and even spinning it around 360 while seated did not make me feel like I was going to tip out and go for a swim.
From here I stood up and launched the Minn Kota i-Pilot, then went back to the seat and put some power through the electric. The Stealth was responsive and quick with a 55lb i-Pilot pulling it along. I could troll at a speed setting of 1.5-2 (depending on wind direction) and if I pushed out the power to full we scooted along faster than I ever would have been able to paddle. As expected Spot Lock proved invaluable allowing you to set your position, stand up and cast at the chosen structure with ease. But it was also the Stealth 2000 that allowed you to stand with ease as the catamaran-style pontoons underneath worked against the angler’s weight to keep the craft relatively horizontal.
So a big tick for the fully optioned fishing machine from me and I came back to shore thinking this craft would be magic on electric-only waters, in smaller waterways or if you were planning on travelling long distances and didn’t want to paddle.
With the test of the optioned up Stealth behind me I have to say I was not looking forward to having to paddle a boat around, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
Being the same rig, but only optioned up for two persons in a very basic format, this craft would give the best idea about what the Stealth offers anglers who do not want or cannot go for the expense of an electric motor.
Pushing off from shore I was immediately pleased with how well the Stealth tracked. It responded well to my rudimentary paddling skills and changed tack well with only one or two extra strokes. I paddled out about a kilometre into the lake before I realised how far I had gone. This will give you some indication about how easy it is to get around in the Stealth.
On the return trip I ramped up my stroke rate and really tried to go as fast as I could. As soon as I was cruising at top speed for me I dug the blade of the paddle into the water to see how quickly the Stealth would turn and stop. I was amazed at how quickly the Stealth turned left or right as I paddled backwards and it felt as though I could pilot the craft in forwards or backwards with relative ease.
Like its optioned up brother, the basic fit-out Stealth had good balance and it was easy to stand and walk around in the rig. Even when I went for a spin with Pete in the front seat there was no real noticeable difference in the work needed to paddle the craft around. Mind you there was a noticeable difference in my attitude as I was paddling and he was fishing!
I really liked the Stealth 2000 from Beavertail. They offer serious anglers a stable, easy to manoeuvre platform that will get you into and out of tight spots or take you over some distance to your favourite snag or weed bed.
I much preferred the i-Pilot optioned up rig as the electric motor meant all I had to do was concentrate on the fishing, the sounder and which lure I was using. For the extra investment, the optioned up unit is well worth the money.
Either way though, these craft will find many uses and the ability to rig them up for two up fishing means you no longer have to hit the water by yourself. And for me that’s just fine because fishing is all about sharing the time on the water with a mate and having a good time. The Stealth 2000 offers this in whatever fit-out level you desire.
For more information on the Stealth Beavertail 2000 log onto www.wildoutdoors.com.au or contact Steve on 0404 074 757.
|Overall:||3.66m L x 1.12m W x 0.38m D|
|Cockpit:||2.44m L x 0.91m W x 0.25m D|
|Price (fishing pack):||$1,850*|
* Note that the iPilot build cannot be completed by Wild Outdoors as they do not stock the I-Pilot motor. They can get the Stealth ready for you or a supplier to fit an i-Pilot though. The fishing pack can include a tiller steer Minn-Kota engine fitted by Wild Outdoors.Reads: 7830