Review by Local Angler Bill Laminak.
Last week end I demoed a Native Watercraft Slayer 12. I fished it in an Open Bay that was protected from the wind for a good part of the day, but later the winds shifted direction and I got to experience the boat in rough waters too, which it handled quite well. Our launch spot was a good long drag over soft ground with decaying vegetation on top. We fished for about 6 six hours. (successfully I might add!)
There is a lot to like about this boat. I was very comfortable all day. I had a very unique chance to get a first glimpse of this boat last winter when it was in the prototype phase. I had an opportunity to fish with Woody Calloway and John Grace. That day we fished some off of some Native Watercraft Versa Boards. As we were getting ready they pulled a Slayer off of the truck and I had a chance to check it out a little bit, but as it was a prototype they were a little shy about answering many questions about it. LOL Those two are really cool guys to hang out with by the way, and I hope that I get to do it agin some time in the future. Back to the Slayer.
At first glance what I see first about this kayak is the First Class seat. That is a great name for it. This seat is awesomely comfortable. Very adjustable and though I had heard of it being noisy until it was broken in, I didn’t notice any noise on my trip. Similar to my experience with the Jackson Cuda 14, I found the seat in the upper position less useful for me. Moving it higher creates a bit more instability than I like. But in the normal lower position, I found it to be just right. This seat is truly going to be comfortable all day.
The cockpit is great. I really like the flat open space. I like to stand to sight fish in a kayak and found that this is right up there with a Ride 135 in terms of stability and see no issues with some one standing to fish from this boat with a little practice. Standing in any kayak takes getting used to and this one is the same. The layout gives plenty of room for a larger angler. I am 6′ and 245lb. I had no problems feeling cramped or any thing like that. The cockpit is very well thought out for sure. There are tracks seemingly every where. This gives you the ability to mount all sorts of accessories where ever you like with out drilling holes that may leak later. This is a huge plus for me. The one down side in this is that I was looking for a place to strap down my paddle when I was staked out fishing. There isn’t really something built in for this. But I suspect that you could easily mount some tie downs on either side in the tracks to accomplish this task. The kayak that I used was basic and unrigged other than some rod holders that were flush mounted, so you can rig this to do what ever you like and that will not be a issue.
The storage areas in the deck are quite adequate for what ever you would like to haul. There are ridges molded in that are designed for a bucket or a crate also there are molded in places for tackle boxes. There are also tracks all down the sides of the back deck area.
The front hold area doesn’t come with a cover. If I were to buy a Slayer, I would buy the hatch cover the same day. I just like the idea of having a place that is some what out of the spray to put stuff. It is a GREAT storage area (it is huge, and yet still confined so that you aren’t going to be a contortionist when gear gets stuck down in the hull of your kayak.) and Native has some pretty cool options for it as add ons including Fish Bags and Coolers.
The scuppers are huge on this kayak and I feel that with the Front hatch cover in place and the scuppers out to keep the front drained this would be a great kayak for fishing off of the beach in the Gulf. The water will drain out of this thing so fast that it is crazy.
Paddling and tracking are comparable to the Ride 135 and I had no problems keeping up with my fishing buddy in his Ride 135.
There is a wheel mounted to the stern of the kayak and this feature is one that I am not really won over on yet. Two reasons. First, is that on soft ground it digs and plows and gathers all manner of debris and before long you are dragging a lot more than just the kayak. On firmer ground, it may be more usable. Unloaded the wheel seems to work better, and along with the molded in front handle that is turned 90 degrees to the center of the boat it is fairly easy to keep it up right and riding on the wheel, but with gear in the kayak loaded up, it will tip and drag on the side of the kayak where it is likely to experience some wear.
Over all, I am really impressed with this kayak and when I am in the market to buy another kayak for fishing, this one is going to very in the top of the list that I will choose from.