Native Watercraft are well known for their pedal sit on top kayaks, but they also do a range of more standard kayaks that require the user to paddle. Peter Jung and I recently had the chance to play with a Slayer 12, a compact fishing kayak that will get you into some very fishy water.
Our test day was a real test. Strong southerlies, rain scuds and squalls and cool temperatures. Add to this a long paddle to the fishing grounds and it gave Pete and I a good opportunity to see how this kayak performed.
The Slayer 12 is specially designed to be a fishing machine with a range of functional accessories that allow the purchaser to customise their rig for their use. The kayak can perfectly fit you and your gear with a massive carrying capacity of just over 180kg. Yep that’s 180kg. I know I can maybe take a little too much gear when I go fishing, but I’m not sure I could ever threaten that load capacity. This fact alone makes the Slayer 12 an anglers dream.
Some other features that provide comfort and useability on the test craft included the super comfortable High/Low First Class Seat. This seat is adjustable in so many ways. You can drop it down low and get some extra grunt into your paddling or you can set it higher for a bit of extra sight into the water. It’s really comfortable on a long-ish paddle and I reckon that’s important these days as yaks are going further for longer as users push the boundaries.
The hull of the Slayer is also interesting. The design makes it stable, yet still quite fast through the water. The stability is always tested when Pete or I jump in a yak and the Slayer presented no problems on launch and retrieve, while paddling in a 30 knot southerly and also while casting lures. Pete did manage to catch a fish on the test day, but the less said about that fish threatening the stability of the craft the better. The fish may have just been hatched! The hull is designed with a shallow draft which allows you access to some really skinny water. This shallow draft also makes launch and retrieve much easier, while the self-draining scuppers keep the skipper’s bottom high and dry. There is an optional rudder that would have been handy on our test day to keep the craft tracking straighter, as the gusts tended to spin the craft around. I blame Pete’s massive frame for catching too much wind. He didn’t see it that way.
What I really like about the Slayer is the incorporation of the very handy Groove. The Groove is an accessory attachment system and it allows for some incredible modifications to be made. Rod holders, work benches, sounders, bungee straps and more can be clopped in, set in place and locked down. Extra literally can be slid on and off at your whim or moved easily during a day on the water. It’s a very neat way to handle the fact almost everyone wants something different in their set up.
Towards the stern there is a big open area that will swallow tackle bags or fish bags or pretty much anything you want to chuck in there. I made Pete drag around all my tackle in that area and it bought a smile to my dial knowing he was doing more work than me. Immediately in front of this hatch is a small waterproof area that can store wallets, keys and phones and keep them handy and dry. It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s a great little idea and shows that some serious thought has gone into what is needed.
At midship was a handy bungy arrangement that allowed a tackle tray to be stored in the most convenient place – right within your grasp. There is also room to store more tackle boxes under the seat, which is also a pretty handy location as far as access goes. So maybe I could get close to that 180kg payload. Hmmm, a few more Hungry Jacks Whoppers I think.
Up forward there was another storage area that could take plenty of anything. Both the aft and forward storage areas can have a dry storage container fitted as an accessory giving you loads of dry storage. I reckon dry storage is super important in a sit on top yak as all the elements are in your face. Keeping spare clothes, food and drinks, electronics, keys and the like dry is so important. It’s good to know this can be achieved easily with an accessory built fore the purpose.
The Slayer 12 has a lot of good points, but how did it handle in the ordinary weather?
Pete and I had a chat after the 5 hour session and we both concluded that the Slayer 12 handled the conditions well. Apart from the wind gusts turning you around (which can mostly be solved by the addition of a rudder), the Slayer 12 tracked well and got along at a reasonable pace. It certainly wasn’t the fastest yak we’ve been in, but as a fishing machine, which is it’s intention, the Slayer 12 offers a great option.
One point that impressed us both was the close quarters manoeuvrability. For a wide craft you could turn it on a literal dime. As an example, when the wind kicked the boat around, it didn’t take too much work to get the craft pointing the right way. This gave you more fishing time and that ultimately leads to more fish being hookled and hopefully landed.
The profile of the Slayer 12 kept the skipper mostly dry in the short, sharp chop and that was a very good thing. The last thing most people want is water coming over the sides and making everything wet. The scuppers did their job well as we got plenty wet during the rain patches and the seat arrangement kept your rear end dry, which again is a great comfort.
Overall the Slayer 12 is an easy to handle, easy to use kayak that will get users into some excellent water that can’t be accessed by a bigger craft. It’s stable, handles a bit of ordinary weather well and has options aplenty. The Native Watercraft team has deliberately aimed at having a massive range of really user friendly accessories that allow you to make an awesome craft for yourself.
Check out more on the Slayer 12 at www.capacitysports.com.au. Priced from $1599 for the base package, the Slayer 12 is an option you need to check out if you want a very angler friendly kayak.