Kayak manufacturers realize the rocketing rise of kayak sales and are expanding lines with improvement and innovation. Sometimes it’s retooling an old classic. Sometimes it’s starting from scratch. The Spring we are seeing some of the new ones battle for that space in the marketplace.Those two are the Perception Pescador 12.0 and the Pelican Catch 120.
At Outdoor Retailer in August I got a hands on look at two manufacturer prototypes that are competing for the sub $1000 market.
Pelican which has long made entry level kayaks introduced their new Catch 120 which boasts for the first time a frame seat to add additional comfort at a value price.
Perception has retooled the long famous Pescador 12.0 into the Pescador Pro 12.0 (also available in a 10 foot model).
The Catch 120 is $749 while the Pescador Pro 12.0 is $829.
While both of these kayaks are 12 feet long, have frame seats and come with a pair of flush rod holders behind the seat, the similarities quickly slow. What are the things you should look at?
The Pelican Catch 120 uses a two piece mold which is heat sealed together and bonded called thermoforming. The frame seat is really the most impressive thing. Many have come to expect a pan seat on the deck when thinking of Pelican kayaks but this is a foray into new territory. A troubling thing I spoke with the design team about was the small size of the scuppers, their placement and the drain lines. The recess for the water bottle mid-deck is going to be a gathering place for water. The slant of the deck will also pool water in front of your feet where no scuppers are present. The scuppers it does have are arranged along the midline of the boat so if water makes it to the sides, which it will, it doesn’t have a good escape path. After fishing in kayaks with at least four scuppers in the standing area, the small, center-lined pair of scuppers just doesn’t seem like enough to drain water as efficiently. What does that mean? You’ll be colder and wetter in the cooler months because there will constantly be water in the kayak.
The hull still seems a bit flexible for my taste and I wouldn’t recommend this as a kayak that would be used in rivers with stumps, rocks or shallows. It is 34 inches wide which should allow for a stable standing platform and the tunnel hull should perform well in small water situations. The Catch 120 also has some below deck storage with a front access hatch which is nice for stowing a dry bag or other gear. All in all I think it is a step in the right direction but the price point is going to be tough. With a more robust selection of kayaks on the market under $1000, the Catch 120 would find a much larger audience at $599 than at $749.
The Perception Pescador Pro 12.0 is a nice revamp. The Pro 12.0 has a nice frame style seat, built in gear tracks, ample scuppers for drainage and a lot more. It is also still rotomolded and one piece. A front storage pod for keys, wallets or other stowables is available and I see people utilizing this space to put a deer feeder battery in to run lights or electronics. The front hatch on the old Pescador has been removed and an on deck option has been added with a cover that can be bungeed over the space. I wish it had a triangle hatch with below deck storage instead but a growing trend away from large below deck access has flooded the market has apparently crept into the Pro 12.0.
The tankwell is large enough to fit a crate or soft sided cooler and the molded in side handles will protect you from busting your knuckles but still giving you the grip you need. The Pro 12.0 will come with YakAttack GearTrac. The picture here doesn’t show it but you can see the recesses for it. I was told they were not included in this picture because they were still discussing color choices for the Trac.
When you look at the feature differences and similarities, the signs overwhelmingly point to the Perception Pescador Pro 12.0 as the dominant kayak of these two. If the Pro 12.0 had a front hatch and sold at $700, the Catch 120 would be doomed. It still might be without some price adjustments.
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