As far as offshore kayaks go, there’s no denying that Viking Kayaks are one of the more popular brands on the market. Here in Texas, you’ll find plenty of anglers in one around the rigs on the southern end of the state. Whether they’re trolling for kingfish, sightcasting to cobia, or jigging for red snapper, Viking Kayaks excel in the offshore environment. While they were designed with the offshore angler in mind, these kayaks have some great features that make them an inshore fisherman’s dream. If you’re looking for a kayak with great speed, good stability, and lots of versatility, the Viking Profish Reload is worth checking out.
At 14′ 9″, the Reload finds the middle ground between the popular 14 and 16 foot kayaks. The extra bit of length gives the tracking and speed a nice boost, while still maintaining the ability to navigate small marsh ponds and narrow channels that require you to make sharp turns in tight areas. As far as width goes, the Reload comes in at a slender 29.5″ wide, with a surprising amount of stability without sacrifcing any speed. At 68 lbs., it’s one of the lightest kayaks you’ll find in the 14 to 16 foot range. The dimensions and hull design of the Reload combine to produce a kayak with the perfect balance between speed, stability, and maneuverability.
So what makes this kayak a great choice for inshore anglers? For starters, speed and the ability to cover long distances with less effort. When fishing from a kayak, you’ll want to avoid spending a lot of time and energy while paddling to the area you plan to fish. Whether you’re making a short trip or plan on covering ten plus miles, you don’t want to waste a lot of time and energy paddling when you could be fishing. With a half a dozen paddle strokes, you can easily reach and maintain top speed with minimal effort. Not only will you reach your destination faster, you’ll feel less fatigued once you actually arrive.
Two important things offshore anglers benefit from include the ability to punch through rough surf and good stability while fighting big fish. While inshore anglers don’t have to worry about big waves or landing too many fish over 10 lbs., they can still take advantage of these features that are built into the Reload. When faced with high winds and rough water, the Reload handles them like a champ. The bow is slightly raised due to the fact that the seat sits more towards the back of the kayak. This slight elevation in the bow gives you an edge over most other kayaks when it comes to paddling through choppy water on windy days.
While standing is not something I do very often, I do like having the option in certain situations. The stability of the Reload gives most anglers with decent balance the ability to stand and fish. I can personally stand up, pole around the marsh, and sight cast to redfish without any fear of tipping over. While I may not do so every trip, there are certain days when it comes in handy.
As far as deck space goes, there are two types of anglers. Some want a clean, wide-open deck, while others like having the option to store tackle and gear in an easy to reach location. If you enjoy an open deck, the kid pod insert is perfect for you. It has a small, circular storage hatch that sits flush with the deck, allowing you to store a few items while still keeping a clean and open deck.
If you like storing all your gear where you have easy access to it, the tackle pod is the insert you’ll want. The Tackle Pod has the ability to house your fish finder, battery, transducer, and plenty of tackle/gear, all in one removable bin that sits between your legs. It only takes a few seconds to insert the entire unit into the kayak. Simply toss it in your vehicle and throw it in the kayak once you’ve unloaded it. When you return to the launch after a long day of fishing, remove the pod and toss it in your vehicle before loading up your kayak. Doing so will reduce the weight of your kayak by 5-10 pounds as you load it back up. The great thing about these two decks is that they are interchangeable. You can switch them out, based on your preference for that day on the water.
Other features worth noting include the front rod stagers, the seating area, and the front flush mounted rod holders.
The Reload has four rod stagers at the bow of the kayak to help keep your rods tip from sliding off the side of the kayak. I personally like to keep a rod in my lap at all times for those unexpected times when shallow redfish show themselves at the last minute. The ability to drop my paddle, grab my rod, and make a quick cast has helped produced more redfish than I can remember over the years.
As far as the seating area goes, it was designed so that you sit low in the kayak, which helps to improve your overall stability. While sitting in the kayak, you’ll immediately notice that your thighs are slightly elevated. By raising your thighs a few inches, you automatically enhance your overall comfort by taking some of the pressure off of your lower back. This is great for those long days on the water to help offset any discomfort that you normally experience.
The front flush mount rod holders that were originally installed for trolling baits are a great place to put your rod after you’ve landed a fish. This keeps your rod out of the way while you work on unhooking your catch.
As far as kayaks go, this is definitely a paddlers boat. You can cover long distances while maintaining great speed with minimal effort. Whether you’re punching through rough surf to head offshore or stalking skinny water reds on the inshore flats, the Profish Reload excels in both environements.
For more information, visit the Viking Kayaks website at http://www.vikingkayaksusa.com