If you get online and search for a fishing kayak, you’ll be bombarded with more choices than you can shake a paddle at. As manufacturers heap scores of new offerings on the market each year, I have to stop and ask myself: “What am I looking for in the first place?”
Speaking for myself, practical innovation rates highly. In this article, I’ll show you some of the innovative features about the that caught my attention. I’ll also cover some of the standard equipage that you can expect from this model.
The Gravity Seat will keep you comfortable all day
Planning to spend hours on the water chasing that trophy fish? Then you’ll love the patented Gravity Seat. As you recall from our buyer’s guide, we nearly guaranteed you soggy pants when you use a sit-on-top kayak. This comfortable seat creates an exception to that rule. The seat incrementally adjusts from flat on the deck to 10 inches high.
This means you get a low center of gravity when you need it. It also gives you a higher, more comfortable position when the water is calm. Why is this important? Because changes in seat height through your fishing day can eliminate fatigue and cramping in your legs and back. You can also easily unlock the seat from the kayak to use it as a camp chair on shore.
Mounting your electronics will be a breeze
You can install your fish finder, battery, and transducer on the cleverly designed center pod with ease. And they will be as easy to remove and store as a lunch pail. This facilitates safe transport and dry storage of your electronics investments. Get a look at how easy it is to unlock and remove the pod in this video from Kayak Angler Magazine:
As Scott McGregor and Jim Hager discuss some of the new features of the Lure 11.5, Jim easily removes the pod from the boat in a few seconds.
It’s easy to get to the water, too
Yet another of the small (but critical) items I mentioned in the big ‘ol guide is the problem of getting your kayak from your vehicle to the water’s edge without dragging it behind you like a child’s blanket. The usual solution for solo portaging is to use a wheeled kayak dolly. But it has to be small enough to fit in your storage compartment. The geniuses at Feelfree have come up with another winning feature: They installed a recessed wheel in the back of the keel. Simply grasp the front handle of your kayak and roll it into the water.
[alert-announce]Pro tip: Some kayakers suggest placing a strip of sacrificial gorilla tape on the keel to either side of the recessed wheel. This allows the tape to absorb any scrapes in the keel while you and your fishing buddy race to the shore like a couple of teenage girls at a Justin Beiber concert.[/alert-announce]
How stable is the Lure 11.5?
The is incredibly stable. Even people upwards of 300 pounds can stand up and fish with no major stability issues. Stability is hands-down one of the most attractive features of the Lure 11.5. If you don’t believe me, just check out this video where Ben Hall from Blade Kayak TV stands up on his and walks all the way to the front:
To be honest, I thought Ben was surely going for a swim while trouncing all over the kayak, but it never happened.
Aside from the inventive additions I highlighted above, here are a few notable facets of the Feelfree Lure 11.5:
- The front storage compartment seals shut with three cam locks. This compartment is generously sized and users report that it stays dry while fishing.
- Recessed Unitrack rails on the front and back half of the kayak allow accessories and tie-downs to be easily attached without drilling into the hull.
- There is a handy molded recess just behind the seat that accommodates a standard plastic crate. Kayak fishermen commonly use an inexpensive crate for additional onboard storage.
- It comes with recessed rod holders already installed. Each of these holders includes an elastic rod leash to ensure that your favorite rod doesn’t wind up at the bottom of the lake.
- Handles are molded into the hull on all four sides.
- Above each side handle, you will find a recess and bungee to securely hold your paddle while you fish with both hands.
- A non-slip structural pad allows you to comfortably stand while fishing.
Some of the optional features include a paddle leash, drain plugs, additional flush-mounted rod holders, a front Unibar for accessories and an easily installed rudder.
[alert-announce]Pro tip: While users report that the front storage compartment does a good job of keeping water out, Pete Duboise of The Outdoorsman suggests a double safety approach for all water-sensitive items. Place critical items in a standard dry bag before placing this bag in the front storage compartment. Your dry essentials will stay dry and safe.[/alert-announce]
Cons of the Lure 11.5
There’s only one major downside we found with the Lure 11.5 – tracking performance – as compared to other, more expensive fishing kayaks. It does not glide through the water as efficiently as other models. As strange as it sounds, this is something I would expect from a kayak that touts ultimate stability. The width and shape of a super-stable kayak result in sacrifices in speed and efficiency. There is always a trade-off.
The trick is to decide what is more important to you. The represents a vote for extreme stability. If you would like to trade some of that stability for a kayak that glides through the water a bit easier, the strikes a different balance between stability and speed.