Kayak Review as written for the Fishing Monthly Magazine
Prowler 4.5 Elite By Ocean Kayak. Manufacturers Goals: 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.
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.
First impressions...........this is not your average piece of moulded plastic that some people go paddling on. It has just about everything the kayaking angler could dream of:
The moulded seat pan combined with the seat/backrest made for a very comfortable paddling position. The adjustable footrests, standard on the ruddered version of the Elite, allowed you to brace into the kayak well for good control of the kayak in rough conditions. We tried a number of different sized ‘butts' in the kayak and all found it comfortable. The Elite would be suitable for both petite and larger paddlers (remember it has a load capacity of 230kg). Paddlers also noted that their shorts stayed dry while paddling in flat water as a result of 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.
Stability, Manoeuvrability, Tracking & Speed
The Elite is extremely stable. A 100+kg paddler said he was even able to sit sidesaddle and still feel really 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 you can make the kayak 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.
In the Surf and Cruising
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 with its flared bow 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 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. It was also noted that the position of the rear carry handle made for an uncomfortable carry.
A good performing, comfortable, stable & 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 $1899 with a rudder.
This review was conducted by Craig McSween, Level 2 Sea Kayak Instructor with Australian Canoeing. For feedback on this review you can contact me at Adventure Outlet (Kayaking & Outdoor Store) in Southport on (07)55712929 firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out our website for more fishing kayaks in brisbane and the Gold Coast atwww.adventureoutlet.com.au