The floors of ICAST showcase the newest fishing watercraft options on the market. We inspected the latest and greatest new personal fishing boats.
The ICAST 2018 fishing convention in Orlando, Florida, offered a sneak peek at scores of upcoming fishing goods. Among the aisles bursting of new fishing gear were the newest fishing kayaks.
We spent a few days on the show floor to round up the most exciting new boats.
Old Town Topwater Series ($899-1,999)
Even before ICAST, the industry felt the buzz of the Topwater series from Old Town. Sneak peek videos fueled the fire of swirling rumors. The new series was unveiled on the ICAST floors with the slogan, “Fishes Like a Full Size, Handles Like a Compact.” The Old Town Topwater Series claims the performance of a large fishing kayak in a compact, lightweight package.
Small-water pond fishing specialists are suited for the 106, lake and inshore anglers will enjoy the 120, and deep-water and far-reaching fishers will enjoy the ranging capabilities of the PDL drive. All three kayaks feature the ultra-stable DoubleU Hull design, multiple rod holders, gear tracks, adjustable seats, four handles, and bow hatches.
Purchase the 106 or 120 before Sept. 28 and receive a free Humminbird PiranhaMAX4 ($99 value). Or get the PDL and receive the Humminbird Helix 5 Chirp GPS G2 ($299 value). You must fill out a rebate form to qualify for free sonar unit. Available in July 2018.
106 specs: 10’6″ L, 34.5″ W, 73 lbs, 440-lb weight capacity, $899
120 specs: 12′ L, 33.5″ W, 82 lbs, 500-lb capacity, $999
PDL specs: 10’6″ L, 36″ W, 76.5 lbs, 450-lb capacity, $1,999
Pelican Catch 130 HYDRYVE ($1,499)
Pelican International launches the lightest and cheapest pedal-driven fishing kayak on the market. The drive looks incredibly similar to Hobie’s Mirage unit. Hobie created the Mirage pedal drive approximately 20 years ago, but patents aren’t forever. Pelican seized the patent-expiration opportunity to utilize the pedal drive technology.
The Catch 130 HD was born, coming in at $1,499. The boat features four flush mount rod holders, gear tracks, and a mesh seat. Construction differs from the industry standard of rotomolding. The thermoformed molding keeps weight light, tipping the scales at 85 pounds. Available Dec. 1, 2018.
Catch 130 HD specs: 12’6″ L, 34″ W, 85 lbs, 425-lb capacity, $1,499
BOTE Aero Rover ($2,499-2,999)
The BOTE Rover took Best of Show in 2017. The mini-skiff/SUP hybrid was the sexiest craft on the floor, a personal watercraft capable of installing a six-horsepower motor. Motor to your secret spots, cut the motor, and paddle to fish in stealth.
BOTE takes it a step further and launches the Inflatable Rover for 2018.
The inflatable Aero Rover held the spotlight at this year’s ICAST convention. It’s loaded with all the same features as the hard-shell Rover, except you can transport this model inside vehicles and on planes for travel. Depending on your needs or budget, choose the Rover without the motor for paddle only ($2,499), or add on the six-horsepower Hidea motor with included Moto Rack ($2,999). Available late summer 2018.
BOTE Aero Rover specs: 12’6″ L, 40.5″ W, 63 lbs, 500-lb capacity, $2,499-2,999
Bonafide RS 117 ($999)
Bonafide came forward as the newest kayak company at ICAST 2017. The company debuted with two models of the SS kayak: the SS107 and SS127. Both kayaks fell into the premium offering with incredible stability and ultra-high seat placement.
The RS 117 comes forward in an economic price range as Bonafide’s newest option. The brand maintains the signature catamaran-style hull while downgrading premium features. Flush rod holders, deck padding, gear tracks, four handles, and a bow hatch cover outfit this model nicely. Available in early 2019.
Bonafide RS 117 specs: 11’7″ L, 33.5″ W, 75 lbs, 425-lb capacity, $999
NRS Star Inflatable Line ($895-1,095)
NRS is no stranger to the water or fishing. And Star Inflatables isn’t a fresh face in the paddlesports. This new kayak line comes with the recent NRS purchase of Star and relaunching the brand.
All three new Star models are built for recreationist anglers. The inflatable sit-on-top kayaks are built out with self-bailing floors, metal D rings, Scotty fishing mounts, handles, and 9-inch, 38-ounce, PVC-coated, 1,000-denier polyester tubes. Available in early 2019.
Pike Fishing IK specs: 12’8″ L, 38″ W, 3-chamber inflatable, $1,095
Rival Fishing iSOT specs: 12’6″ L, 38″ W, 3-chamber inflatable, $995
Challenger Fishing iSOT specs: 10’8″ L, 38″ W, 3-chamber inflatable, $895
Native Slayer 12 XC River Kayak ($1,499)
Native Watercraft launches the Slayer 12 XC for river kayak fishing. The hull is designed for cross-conditions performance. This design has a shallow draft for clearance and allows river anglers to maneuver and control the craft in currents.
Two flush rod holders, four gear tracks, a removable electronics pod, dual hatches, and a spring-loaded skeg are defining attributes. The feature-rich XC maintains a clean deck profile for anglers while allowing the customization gearheads desire. Available now.
Slayer XC 12 specs: 12’2″ L, 36.5″ W, 87 lbs, 450-lb capacity, $1,499
Bluesky Boatworks 360 Angler ($3,499)
The 360 Angler is no secret. The boat debuted at Paddlesports Retailer 2017 as an unfinished product. Jackson Kayak‘s sister brand has enjoyed expansive coverage as the final tweaks take place on its first watercraft launch.
2018 marks the launch. The finished product enjoyed the 2018 Best Boat category at ICAST as well. The dual pontoons sit 48 inches apart for unmatched stability. Pick your poison for on-water movement: Pedal, paddle, or install the motor mount for gas-powered transport. Available in late July 2018.
360 Angler specs: 13’4″ L, 48″ W, 140 lbs, 500-lb capacity, $3,499