When my wife and I set out last spring to buy “his and hers” kayaks, we juggled a list of competing demands.
I wanted a fishing boat – angling is part of my DNA. But my wife doesn’t fish, so our paddles together tend toward relaxed outings along Eastern Ontario’s abundant, scenic waterways. We also wanted safe, stable kayaks our adult kids could use for recreational outings with their friends.
So, the fishing rig had to be versatile.
That led us to Clearwater Design, an Ontario manufacturer of quality kayaks which, happily, include the Inuvik Angler ($999 Cdn). The Inuvik is a rec / touring boat which offers an upgrade to an angler package – a snap-in fishing platform and some add-ons to the shell.
At 13-feet long and 28 inches wide, the rotoformed hull weighs just 49 lbs. That means it’s easy to car-top and haul in and out of your favourite fishing spots — no matter how remote they might be.
The boat is a dream to paddle, allowing you to cover water with ease. On larger bodies of water such as the Ottawa or Rideau rivers, it comfortably handles wind, waves and boat wakes. The Inuvik tracks well at all speeds and turns crisply.
In heavy waves, though, it does tend to collect a lot of water inside the hull due to the large cockpit. A spray skirt is definitely recommended if you’ll be paddling in rough conditions on a regular basis.
One drawback to a sit-in kayak, when used by anglers, is that you can’t stand to survey the water or fight fish. But, in addition to the paddling features, sit-in kayaks offer another benefit in lieu.
Protection from the elements
As our sales rep Mike noted, “if you want to extend your season” – and hey, I live well north of the 40th parallel – the hull and deck shield you from wind and cold water.
This was demonstrated during a gusty spring outing on the Rideau with the temperature just cracking the freezing point. The shell did its job, protecting me from the worst of Mother Nature’s wrath during a four-hour, early-season pike quest with a bunch of newfound friends from the Kayak Anglers Association of the Outaouais.
Another much appreciated feature is the well-padded seat with thigh pads and inflatable lumbar support. This can significantly extend your fishing day – or at least make it more comfortable.
A handy paddle clip sits at your side; with practice you can strap-in the paddle with one hand while playing a fish with the other. Two flush-mounted rod holders are positioned behind the seat.
Accessing your gear while out fishing benefits from some advance planning.
The removable platform includes a Scotty rod holder, drink holder, covered compartment and recessed trays to keep a few lures and tools within reach. Extra tackle and gear can fit inside the open hull between the bow and your feet. But, with the platform attached it takes some manoeuvring to reach them.
Depending on conditions and your needs, however, you can actually leave the fishing deck at home.
Fish with, or without, the deck
This gives you a big 51×18-inch cockpit, and makes accessing your up-front storage much easier. What you lose is that shelf area to assist with lure changes, etc. but it’s a pretty fair tradeoff.
There’s additional storage in the sealed rear compartment just behind the seat.
Like most kayaks these days, it’s easily outfitted with lots of other gear, attachments, racks, etc. I’ve added an anchor trolley, a mount for a Scotty flag and light pole, plus a gear rack.
It will hold my new fishfinder next spring. I’ll also be adding a camera mount – the better to post more Instagram, Twitter and Facebook bragging shots and videos!
The bottom line? Clearwater Design’s Inuvik Angler serves multiple roles very well. If you want a fishing rig that’s great for more than just angling, it’s well worth considering.
NOTE: Clearwater Design has a factory location just outside Belleville, Ont., in Prince Edward County. If you’re looking to buy, they host a scratch and dent sale each spring — with new boats also available at the same time. The factory outlet is open year-round, though hours vary by season. As noted in a previous post, I am not affiliated with Clearwater, nor do I receive compensation for this review.