The Old town Predator XL is one fishy machine, powered up through a 45-pound thrust electric motor. Paul Lebowitz photo. By Paul Lebowitz

The invite was also enticing to pass up. “We’ve shipped the first two production design Predator XL Minn Kota hulls to Florida. We’ve to be talking around fishing with each other for years. Fly on out and shot them,” David Hadden claimed on a welcome mid-December phone call.

A week later I met David in the unseasonably chilly 45 level predawn wait a stone’s throw from the IGFA headquarters near Ft Lauderdale. David’s cryptic title of Watercraft Brand Director because that Johnson outdoors Watercraft equates to very placed Old Town and also Ocean Kayak fishing honcho and industry veteran. The Predator family members of kayaks is his team baby.

Moments later on charter captain and also sometime fish model Troy Faletra (he’s anywhere the AFTCO catalog, amongst others) rumbled increase in his big red pickup, leading outdoor photog Jason Arnold in tow.

“Warm sufficient for you?” one of the Floridians cracked. “Did you view the surf report? The suggest break is going off at mine place. The swells room over 20 feet,” troy said, shower his head wistfully. Fishing the salt was obviously out.




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The Predator XL has actually high sides because that a drier ride. Paul Lebowitz photo.

“We’re going to Alligator Alley. Sit back and relax, we’ll gain there in an hour or so,” troy added, setup off west on I-75. We shortly traded a landscape of pastel sprawl because that an unlimited sea of grass reduced by canals: the Everglades, or at least the rather civilized border of that wilderness. Ns scanned for big lizards together we flew follow me at 70 mph.

We pulled turn off the freeway into a remainder stop complete with a watercraft ramp – Florida’s anglers have actually it great – and also unloaded a pair that Predators. The XL has actually an obvious family same to the warmly received Predator 13 introduced the prior year, just a pair inches shorter and wider.

So much is the same: the excellent multi-position aspect Seating System; high sides that make because that a dried ride; removable mounting plates; the distinctive textured Exo-Ridge deck; a big bow hatch. In short, a full-featured fishing machine. One substantial difference stood out, a slate grey pod that mounts in the center of the cockpit: the Minn Kota Console. (continued below)


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David Hadden shows off the an initial fish captured from a production Predator XL. Paul Lebowitz photo.

“Let’s set it up and hit the water,” David said, v no debate from me.

The optimal of the plug-in console projected a few inches above deck level. The prop unit listed below drafted about a foot. The front easily slid right into pegs; a rotating disc locked the stern of the unit into place. A cable at the prior plugged conveniently into a socket – whatever is prewired. Us attached the double kill switches, and also lashed under a battery crate containing a standard 12V naval power cabinet behind the seat. After plugging in one more cable, we were done. No more than a minute or two had elapsed.

“The dial in ~ the former of the console is the throttle. Rotate it right to move forward; twist it left for reverse. The rudder is foot-controlled. You really never should put under your rod,” David said.

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Simple: rotate the dial right to move forward; twist it left because that reverse. The colorful gauge is an LED charge meter. Paul Lebowitz photo.

That was enough for me. I hopped aboard, moved off and twisted the infinitely flexible throttle. With a short hum and just a note of vibration, ns was cruising easily upstream. I couldn’t resist. Ns dialed up full power.

The saltwater grade 45-pound thrust Minn Kota increased the XL quickly. In moments, the bank was paris by quicker than I can paddle, easily 5 or 6 mph. Ns slowed to let David catch up ~ above his very own XL, v Jason and also Troy complying with on a camera boat. “It appears a lot faster than the s Kayak Torque, Minn Kota’s very first electric kayak. Is it?” ns asked.

“Sure is. The Torque had a less powerful 36-pound thrust motor, yet the XL’s Minn Kota has advanced Digital Maximizer electronics for up to 5 times the run time. After ~ a day of fishing, we commonly have fifty percent a fee left on the battery,” David said. One LED voltmeter beside the accelerator acts prefer a gas gauge.


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here’s the Minn Kota console lifted and supported through the Quick-Stand. Pulling it up it s okay the prop the end of the method of shallow water, weeds or other obstructions. Paul Lebowitz photo.

David peeled off and also began to pummel the financial institution for bass, strength fishing the whole way. I required to know much more about the brand-new boat. It’s a quiet journey on flat water (we never obtained it into chop or waves), with an excellent maneuverability, but carving a course takes some planning as I was soon to find out. Wondering what would happen, ns motored intentionally into a grass mat. The XL Minn Kota made it through thin weeds without any trouble, yet the special stuff ultimately gummed up the prop.

It would have been a major nuisance top top the old Torque, through its engine console earlier in the tankwell. On the XL, no problem. Ns just centered the throttle, unlocked and lifted the motor, and dropped the Quick-Stand ~ above the ideal side. A minute later on I’d conveniently pulled the weeds loose and was ago in business. It would have been a an excellent idea to pull among the death switches. When I coincidentally nudged the throttle, the prop whirred, startling me. Far better yet, I can have elevated the motor and also paddled v the special weeds and avoided any bother.

And then there’s reverse. Therefore handy. Backing the accelerator brings the XL to a quick stop. Turning while backing calls for a small momentum build-up. Through the rudder top top the stern, the XL is more nimble moving forwards.


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Alligator Alley? Yep. The critters no mind the quiet XL Minn Kota. Paul Lebowitz photo. Picture by Bryce Duffy

A quick accessibility hatch top top the top of the Minn Kota Console opens to reveal the wiring and a many extra storage space. There’s many of room to mountain a sonar ~ above top, stash a second battery inside, and also mount a transducer on the mounting bowl below. There’s an are for tackle or – acquire this – a phone or camera plugged right into the included USB charge port. The a cool feature, one that juiced up my clever phone in an hour.

As ns was trial and error the XL Minn Kota, David was busy capturing a chunky largemouth in front of Jason’s camera plank Troy’s only boat. The was every smiles as we congratulated that on the an initial real fish ~ above a production design Predator XL.

We moved farther up the canal, transforming right in ~ a fork top deeper right into the bush. The very first gators showed up – one glided through eyeballing us before slowly sinking out.

I stood up to test the boat’s stability. Absent solid, and I’m no lightweight in ~ 6 feet and 210 pounds. The XL is rated to bring 600 pounds. I think it. Ns was able to cast to every sides there is no a worry or a wiggle, and also even damaged out an high value camera to catch David picking away at schoolie bass.

“Did you notice? The present is ripping. Someone must have actually opened a lock upstream,” David spicy out. He was right. I hadn’t – the Minn Kota renders travel effortless.

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Stand-up stability: camera watercraft operator troy Faletra takes his revolve on the XL. Paul Lebowitz photo.

We be crazy around and also headed back to the fork, where bass boiled in the eddy. David broke out his paris rod and also went to town. Because that a while ns forgot around testing the XL as a boat and also focused on the fishing. This is one hard chariot, with great fishing ergonomics. Back my boat didn’t have any rod holders set up on the mounting plates, I easily switched in between two rods laying all set on the deck, nestled naturally in grooves top top the hatch. The seat is all-day comfortable.

The bass frenzy went on and also on. Us all captured fish. Just as the skies darkened and we began to lose light go we avoid for a couple of final photos prior to calling that a day, yet not before Troy gave the XL a spin and played with a leaping bass. Jason had his photos, few of which will show up in ours upcoming print review in the feather 2015 issue.

“We’re pricing our hands-free alternative at $2,699, reduced than equivalent pedal kayaks. What did friend think of it?” David asked as we motored back to the launch. I didn’t stroked nerves concealing mine enthusiasm. “Very impressive, like the your earlier Predators. It’s a huge improvement end the Torque, which ns liked. That an exciting new choice best for power fishing or trolling,” i answered. Just prior to hitting the financial institution after part 8 hrs on the water, I checked the LED charge indicator. Tho a fifty percent charge left.

Later, together I flew earlier west, i jotted under a couple of notes. Old city lists the Predator XL hull at 92 pounds without the console – usual for this class of hefty hauler. The Predator 13 is an reliable paddler for its size. If I’d had much more time, ns would have liked to invest a work paddling the XL. The designed together a multi-mode platform, power and paddle. The Minn Kota Console is just one of three. The others space the Utility, a sonar management and also tackle warehouse unit, and the Exo-Ridge, which creates a wide-open level deck.

David no ask me if I thought fishing the Predator XL Minn Kota was still kayak fishing. I’d price yes, the experience is the same, stealthy fish stalking minus much of the physics effort. If a practice is critically essential to you, the Minn Kota option is most likely not your thing. Anglers focused on strength fishing will uncover the Minn Kota offers much of the services of a powerboat with a lighter fight on the wallet and also maintenance budget.

The Old city Predator XL: together 13′; W 36”; 92 lbs / 117 lbs v Minn Kota Console, battery extra; Cap. 600 lbs; $2,699 together tested with Minn Kota Console and rudder; Minn Kota Console add-on for Predator XL, $999. Www.oldtowncanoe.com/kayaks/predator_family




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Tangled: cleaning up weeds or various other junk that grabs the prop is a trivial matter. Paul Lebowitz photo.

The post was initially published ~ above Kayak Fish

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