The Prowler 4.5 Elite from Ocean Kayak that we had to test paddle was the XT model fitted with a rudder and adjustable peddle mechanism.
This is not your average piece of moulded plastic that some people go paddling on. This kayak has everything the kayak angler could ever want including:
• Comfortable carry handles for both one-person and two-person lifting.
• Numerous mounting and anchor points using Ocean Kayaks 100% waterproof ‘insert’ attachment system (so you can attach gaffs, pliers, lip grippers, knives, landing nets, paddle leashes, rod leashes).
• A moulded transducer scupper hole to make the kayak Humminbird Fish Finder ready. An installation kit helps is also available.
• A centre moulded bucket hatch to store bait or lures and compliments the waterproof tackle box, 2 flush mounted rear rod holders, paddle holders and comfortable seat/backrest.
• An enormous rear well with room to fit a large esky, live well, fishing crate, tackle box, large catches or maybe a game chair.
• Large front hatch that has enough storage space for a tent, camp stove and food for overnight or weekend trips.
The moulded seat pan and seat/backrest made provided a very comfortable paddling position. The adjustable footrests, standard on the ruddered version of the Elite, were good bracing points in rough conditions. We tried a number of different sized anglers in the kayak and all found it comfortable. The Elite would be suitable for both petite and larger paddlers (it has a 230kg load capacity). Paddlers also noted that their shorts stayed dry while paddling in flat water thanks to the position and height of the scupper holes in the seat well. The bow is shaped with wide flared sections at the top of the hull giving a dry ride in most conditions.
The Elite is extremely stable. A 100kg+ paddler reported that he could sit sidesaddle and still feel comfortable. The kayak’s hull has a central keel running the full length of the craft making it track well, even without the rudder engaged. If you lean the kayak over on its edge it can turn a reasonable circle. The use of thigh braces would assist for carving sharper turns and for bracing into the kayak while in the surf. The Elite’s sharp bow, smooth finish on the hull and overall waterline length allow this kayak to cruise at good speed.
We tested the Elite in 1m surf at Narrowneck and found that it performed admirably. It was very predictable as it moved down the face of the wave, and thanks to its flared bow it never looked like nose-diving. It also punched out through the surf easily with its sharp bow design. Once swamped I noticed that the scupper holes drained the kayak quickly and completely. The larger diameter scupper holes in the rear well were an excellent inclusion and worked well.
We didn’t get the opportunity to load the Elite up with gear but the kayaks performance suggests that it would handle the gear and the load easily.
It was difficult to find faults in the Elite while paddling it. Lifting it wasn’t quite so much fun. It is a bit on the heavy side, but this is to be expected of a poly kayak of this size. If you had to carry it any further than 10m a kayak trolley would be a wise investment and would stow away easily in the front storage compartment once you get to the water. I also noted that the position of the rear carry handle made for an uncomfortable carry.
A good performing, comfortable, stable and dry ride is what you can expect from the Prowler 4.5 Elite, and with its many features it makes a great package for the devoted yak angler. Whatever type of fishing you’re into whether it’s trolling and jigging out in the big water or cruising through the estuaries throwing lures this kayak has a good feel and would be ideal for either application.
The Prowler 4.5 Elite is priced at $1499 without a rudder, and $1799 with a rudder.
For more information contact Canoe Sports Australia on (02) 9979 4911, or email at --e-mail address hidden--
For Prowler dealers in Australia, visit www.oceankayak.com.au .
This review was conducted by Craig McSween of Splash Safaris Sea Kayaking who is also a Sea Kayak Instructor with Australian Canoeing. For feedback on this review you can contact us at Adventure Outlet (Kayaking, Camping & Outdoor Store) in Southport on (07) 5571 2929 or --e-mail address hidden-- .
Watch for more kayak reviews in next month’s edition.
The Prowler Elite 4.5 was built as a purpose built fishing kayak, which combines all the best features of the Prowler 13 and Prowler 15 and then some.
At 4.5m this kayak has the waterline length to deliver good speed, ideal for battling headwinds. With plenty of below deck storage this kayak is a credible alternative to the traditional sit-in sea kayak for touring and paddling expeditions and works incredibly well for inshore fishing.
The Prowler Elite 4.5 also has a new feature ‘the transducer scupper hole’ which allows for a simple and effective transducer installation.