Showing posts with label BPS Ascend FS12T. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BPS Ascend FS12T. Show all posts

Quick Takes On 4 Kayaks

Last weekend the North Texas kayak folks got together for the annual Spring shindig and fundraiser for Heroes on the Water. Several kayak dealers worked hand in hand to have a fun time and give folks the opportunity to try out a lot of different kayaks in one spot as well as meeting fellow enthusiasts.
I used the opportunity to take a test spin in a few different kayaks I've wanted to try. Today I’ll give my first impressions. Don’t take these as full reviews, just first impressions from what I prefer in a kayak.

Feel Free Lure 11.5

First off, the seat is everything they claim it to be. Comfy and the adjustment mechanism is cool. The kayak was easy for me to stand in without using a stand assist strap and I felt comfortable even in the chop out on the lake. I’m not crazy about the locks on the front hatch and it walks some when paddling. I also like the keel wheel in the back being wide and unobtrusive. This would make an excellent river boat or smaller water boat.

Ascend FS12T

The frame seat is a nice touch though it has a tendency to slide back. There are some things that they need to work out on the deck. Two more scuppers where the water gathers would be a big help. They STILL need to move that premounted rod holder. I’d also like to see a better locking system for the chair but for $549, you can’t beat it. The kayak paddles pretty well and stability was definitely better than expected. I stood up and rocked the boat a little bit and it did well in the chop. Sure it could use more rocker but for rivers and lakes this might be a winner.

Native Slayer Propel

This is another very stable kayak. I thought the stability had improved considerably over the Slayer 12. I’m not a fan of the process of dropping the propel drive but what can you do? The motion of the propel felt strange to me as if I lost torque when the pedal was farthest from me. It was just foreign after the back and forth in a mirage drive. The speed seemed pretty good and a little more response from the rudder would be nice. It’s not really for me but the improvements that keep coming from Native are good ones. Definitely worth a try if you are in pedal market.

Hobie Adventure Island

It’s daunting when you first slide into one of these sailing kayaks. It seems like a lot to remember and learn but the learning curve is actually pretty quick. THIS IS A FAST MACHINE!!! It’s a blast and a bit scary the first time the sail scoops the wind and you start flying across the water. I think it’s going to take some practice before I can fish off of one but wow what a rush! This is definitely a boat I want to try again.

Now Available: A Frame Seat Kayak for Less Than $600

It finally happened. A frame seat standard with a kayak for $549.

Manufacturers of kayaks have been scrambling to add offerings of frame or lawn chair style seats the past few years. The growing market of 35-65 year olds wantss something for better back support and kayak makers want to oblige. The problem previously was the price point. For a lot of those entering the kayak market, the $500-$600 range seems to be the ceiling. You want to make sure you like it and not be too invested if you don't right? At least that's the thinking. If you can, please demo the kayak you're wanting to buy. Sometimes that is just not an option. When it's not, consumers compare options and make a decision based on that.

Bass Pro Shops introduced an all new version of the Ascend FS12T Sit-On-Top Angler Kayak. Complete with an adjustable frame seat, large center hatch, day hatch, paddle clips, and side rails for mounting accessories. At 31" wide, with six scuppers and flattened deck, the new FS12T should be an option for those looking to stand as well. It has a 350 pound weight capacity and weighs in at 77 pounds. 

So how does it compare with other entry level kayaks? Truth is I haven't paddled one yet. Demos should be available soon at select Bass Pro Shops and I hope to be able to get to try one out. Looking at the specs, it is heavier than the super popular Perception Pescador 12. At an equal price point, the 17 pound difference is about the only advantage for the Pescador versus the new Ascend. The Ascend is 3 inches wider, has access to under deck storage closer to the seat and has two above deck wells with bungees opposed to the one of the Pescador. It's hard to tell the speed difference without actually paddling them but that will be remedied soon. 

One of my kayaking friends, Josh, sent me a great idea to do a multi-kayak comparison of kayaks under $600. We are hoping to pull that off early in May and will be gathering feedback from shoppers looking to get their first kayak as well as experienced paddlers. 

I don't expect this will be the last entry level offering we see with a frame seat. It also points out that manufacturers are listening and watching. Will these new Ascend offerings replace kayaks like Jackson, Native, and Diablo? Doubtful. What it will do is give people another offering to choose from. Hopefully Hobie and Malibu will follow suit. How many Outbacks would Hobie sell if it had a seat similar to the PA at the same Outback price point? Answer: A LOT! How about a lock in frame seat in the Stealth or X-Factor for Malibu? Yep, they'd sell a ton too. The trick however will be finding a way to do it without inflating the price. 

The future is looking bright for kayak design. It's a great time to be in the sport!

Readers' Recommended Kayaks Under $600

After asking for input on recommended  kayaks under $600, the walls opened up and an outpouring of models came to the forefront. Three of these were heard time and time again so I wanted to present them to you as a follow up. You guys are full of great info and while I haven't paddled these kayaks listed below, they received overwhelming support yesterday and today. Please keep in mind weight capacities when looking at kayaks, especially those at lower prices. If the weight capacity is listed at 350 pounds, I wouldn't recommend it to someone over 200. With weight capacities, a good rule of thumb is to take off 25% of the listed value. If you and your gear are under that, you should be good. The closer you get to that number, the more water that will come in through the scuppers. You can add scupper plugs but that will keep water from draining out and can in some cases reduce stability.

1. BPS Ascend FS12T- $399 (Limited Time)

"The ultra-stable hull of the FS12T handles almost effortlessly, making it ideal for fishing. To make it perform even better on the water, we packed it full of comfort and performance features.  The FS12T starts with an advanced hull design that utilizes an extended keep with performance rocker and strakes to deliver the maneuverability, tracking, stability, and easy paddling fishermen want to get to their favorite spots quickly. A large open cockpit area includes the ergonomic Adjustable Cushioned Seating System for comfort, five-position foot rests, deep position cup holder, large catch-all tray big enough for a standard-sized tackle box, and other work areas. The FS12T's dual flush mount rod holders make transporting rod and reel combos easy, while the fully adjustable, light tackle rod tender holds your rod with 360ยบ of horizontal adjustment and vertical rod tip adjustment. The large 18'' x 10'' dry storage hatch in the bow provides storage for dry bags and other gear. Dual quick hold bungee paddlekeepers let you set your paddle down for a quick rest or a quick cast. Built-in multipurpose sternwell gives you a convenient storage space large enough for a five gallon bucket, dry bag, or other gear with a built-in bungee to secure your gear. There are multiple drain holes in the sternwell and footwell areas. At the end of the day, the threaded and sealed drain plug allows you to quickly drain excess water, while the four molded-over rubber grip handles make carrying the kayak easier. "- from Bass Pro

BPS is running a special for the next couple of days. Normally this kayak is $499.

2. Perception Scout 12- $479

"The Perception Sport Scout 12' Kayak features an open profile for easy entry and exiting with easy access to gear, and a CSS seating system that holds up to 350 lb. The sit-on-top kayak includes a flush-mount rod holder and a center hatch and tank well with a bungee cord for storage, which makes it great for solo fishing or hunting trips. The Keepers foot brace system allows stability, while the Kayak Karrier handles offer easy hauling in and out of the water."- from

The lack of under deck access worries me on this one but some people don't pack the kitchen sink like I do. If you pack light and don't need dry storage, this could be a good option.Though there are indentions, there are not scuppers in this kayaks. You will need to bail water. It's more of a hybrid kayak so please be aware. 

3. Ocean Kayak Scrambler- $549

"The Ocean Kayak ® Scrambler 11 ™ Kayak can handle it all. Whether you want to surf, fish or cruise around, this 1 person sit-on-top kayak is extremely versatile for all water activities. Molded-in seat and foot wells keep you comfortable and the oversized tank well will keep your valuables safe with the bungee straps."- from Ocean Kayak

The Scrambler comes in an Angler model which is more expensive and has added hatches and features. This is a very stable platform for getting out there. For a few bucks more, maybe look at the Angler but it will normally put you over the $600 price point. 

Several other kayaks were mentioned but they were not nearly as popular among comments as these three. Later today we will be talking about mid-range kayaks from $600-$1000. Be sure to check back!