The Tetra 12 Angler is described by the manufacturer as sleek and fast with excellent stability making it ideal for coastal, estuary and river fishing. This sounded like something I should check out, so we organised a test kayak from RU4Reel Adventures and BLA and hit the water on a blustery, rainy and pretty ordinary day.
The more time I spend in kayaks the more I am starting to appreciate the finer points of the game. Things, like tracking, stability, ease of access to tackle and rods and also the ability to stay as dry as possible, all come to mind. After all I am an angler and when I am in a yak, I want to make sure it meets my fishing expectations.
The Tetra 12 performed well in all these tasks and with a weight around 25kg, it was easy to use single-person. From lifting it on and off the car roof racks, to launch and retrieve, this little yak was in all ways a one person game. I really liked this, because some of the one-person yaks I have been in require two people to handle off the water. This yak gives you the opportunity to go on a solo adventure at the drop of a hat.
Stepping into the Tetra 12 sees the angler relax into a comfy hybrid seat that has strap adjustments for the back support and also adjustable foot braces. These items being adjustable is mandatory these days with the diversity of people who will likely step into this rig. A little time fine tuning the set and the foot braces will save you pain and misery in the rear end and your back at the end of the day.
Once seated, immediately in front of the skipper is the new modular fishing mod pod. This neat hatch has room for multiple rod holders, drink storage, sounder placement and access to the internal storage pocket if required. The mod pod gives you plenty of options to set up this vital area exactly how you want it for your fishing. Heading further towards the bow, there is the large storage area that features the new quick seal bow hatch with a cross lock buckle system. This storage area can take spare clothes, a raincoat or some munchies (all of which I should have been smart enough to take!) and keep them safe and dry for when they are needed.
To the stern of the yak there is a large tank well with bungee straps to hold larger items like a tackle bag or a fish bag for those lucky enough to catch fish. As you could probably guess, I wasn’t one of those lucky ones – again!
To the port and starboard, just behind the skipper’s seat are two rod holders. These can be used as storage for rods or for trolling at a pinch. I found that when the rods were stored here they didn’t interfere with my paddling stroke, however I like to see my rods when trolling so I would mount a rod holder or two on the fishing mod pod if I was going to be trolling for any length of time.
Transportation of the yak is easy too. There are two grab handles on the bow and stern if you are fishing two up and you want to lighten the load. Alternatively there are two carry handles located near the skippers seat on the side that are positioned beautifully to allow single person carrying of the yak. These two carry handles are also vital when it comes time to load or unload the yak off the roof of the car, they are just in the right spot.
On the water the Tetra 12 was a pleasure to use. It really was quite fast and the stability was excellent. I have been in more stable kayaks for sure, but none were as easy to paddle as the Tetra 12. From speaking to more experienced paddlers, this is the big compromise in yaks, stability versus speed. The Tetra 12 is close to ideal for me being fast and stable. I tried standing up a few times and I found it a little tough in the 30 knot southerly, but I don’t think that was the problem of the yak and it was more likely about the conditions and the fat, old operator. Having said that, I reckon one of the beauties of fishing from a yak is being so close to the water and if you have to stand up to fish, then you should probably be thinking about a small boat.
The Tetra 12 has the option to have a keel rudder attached. The test craft didn’t have this and because of the strong wind, the yak tended to wander a bit to the left or right, depending on how I was positioned to the wind. I’ve since had the chance to run this rig with a keel rudder and the tracking was brilliant. I would consider this an important accessory if testing and/or buying the Tetra 12.
As far as a wet ride goes, it was kind of an unfair test. The short and sharp wind waves were a bit annoying and if you were side on to them, they occasionally lapped over the side. However I can’t recall sitting in water and being annoyed by it so the scuppers did their job well being positioned forward of the skipper near his feet. I did get wet everywhere, but when a coastal storm blows over you, it’s super hard to stay dry, especially when you forget a rain coat.
My overall feeling about the Tetra 12 was that it was a good kayak. It was quick, stable enough for me to do whatever I wanted in it, stayed relatively dry in the cockpit area and gave me access to some water that I otherwise could not fish. And this is the real beauty of a kayak, gaining access to areas denied to the boat angler.
The base unit retails for $1,299, but like all things these days you can accessorise to the hilt. And for just over a grand, I think the Tetra 12 would make a great unit to discover the world of yak fishing. Simple, effective and it won’t break the budget.
Check out more about the Tetra 12 Angler from Ocean Kayak at www.oceankayak.com or log onto the BLA website at www.bla.com.au.
|Price as tested:||$1299|