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Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...

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By TKFStubb
Ok, boys and girls, the long-awaited saltwater shakedown cruise in the new Santa Cruz Kayaks RAPTOR is finally on the books. FishinSETx (Chris) and I took her out in the heavy wind yesterday to see what she could do. http://www.santacruzkayaks.com

What first turned me on about this boat was its unique shape. The raptorlike nose and the split rear deck take me back to the days when I tried to get this modification on The Ride. Its way past time for a radical new approach to safety and stablilty! If these are criteria you are looking for, you have found your boat! Jim Martin has really come up with an innovative, forward-looking design that opens the door for a new generation of fishing kayaks that sacrifice little to get the most fishability for the money!


The split tail on this boat gives it unprecedented stability without extra drag created by added sponsons, floats, and other add ons. I was really concerned that this split tail would slow this boat down a lot. Actually, I didn't notice any extra drag as you'll see in one of the You Tube videos that I've attached. I'm 5'10" X 250# and this boat was easy for me to stand up, turn around, cast, reach to the tankwell and spot tailing reds (if they are present :(). And, this also makes entry and exit really eash because you can step in and THEN sit down, or stand up and THEN step out. Those guys on the west coast won't appreciate this as much as we do, but we'll certainly like these features.


By the looks of this boat, you would think that it had very little, if any, storage room. Well, how do rod racks INSIDE THE BOAT that will secure up to 4x 7ft+ rods for travel or spares. Also, there's a generous tankwell that will accomodate any crate-based pack. Two flush-mount rod holders are the only drawback that I found. I don't like 'em! But, they are fine to store your anchor and net. While fising, if I'm not standing, I usually lay my rod with the butt in the seat between my legs and the rod leaning against the front of the cockpit. This is no problem on this boat and its not hitting any metal that can bruise the rod blank and cause future breakage.
This boat has paddle holders on both sides so one can be used for your Stake-Out stick or push pole. I'm sure Jim meant these features to be needed by the West Coast anglers, but they sure work for me too!


Another thing that you might think about this boat is that it might get WET on the inside. NOT! Even the paddles drip OUTSIDE the coaming. I stepped into the boat from dry land and stepped out with my sponge totally dry! Not even a drop inside the boat! Comfort is not a problem inside the boat, either. A generous cockpit situated on a carbon fiber floor insert accomodates a Surf-to Summit seat or any other that you might chose. IF you do get in a situation where the boat swamps, the standard flotation bags for front and rear will keep the boat afloat. Get it to shore and drag it out with the rear drain plugs out and the boat will immediately start to empty. Stand it up to finish the job. The optional cover fits snugly over the cockpit and keeps rain and prying eyes out when traveling.

This brings up another great feature of this boat...
Pick it up from the front and you'll immediately notice that the boat does not spill all of its contents out on the ground or in the water! The split tail remains flat and can be dragged across the grass or sand without assistance! Equally easy is lifting it from the rear.


This is where I thought this boat would falter. NOT! Easy to get going, good, straight, glide and no deviation to either side. I opted for the optional rudder but Jim said that I wouldn't need it. I told him how we use the rudder to control drift downwind. He said to try it out and see. I finally found a boat that tracks downwind without a rudder! I think I'll take it off and start working on the trolling motor mount! Silence is golden in kayakfishing and besides a miniscule hull slap when you first get rolling, there is absolutely none when the boat is stopped or drifting.

I will have to admit that Jim has a convert in me. I'm ready for something fresh and new. But I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't have to give up any of the features that I need for fishing. This Raptor is a breath of fresh West Coast air!
Enjoy the videos. Pics to follow...

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By FishingSETX
I have to admit I was very skeptical about this boat the first time it was posted on TKF. I held off posting my initial opinion till I got a chance to actually paddle it. After only 5 mins in the Raptor, I must say I'm very intrigued! Comfortable, tracks like an arrow, and stable enough for on the water yoga! A much more in depth report to come in the near future!
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By OrangeQuest
I give it a few more months and someone will make a fishing platform that plugs into the built in rod holders. It will be just tall enough so the cooler in the tank well can be opened and have a swivel seat so you can seat up there, pole and fish in the flats. :wink:
By Baitman
Not the best place for support for a seat O. Q, BUT, Dang !!! , You've given me a great idea for a swivel seat support that would center the weight where it should be.
Now, back to the shop.. I'll send you a prototype for testing.
After spending 4 days in the raptor, one thing I can say is you could put that seat wherever you wanted to and still stay upright! Full report with pics and vids to follow when I can upload them!

I woukd say I'm a convert as well!
:D Four days, Marathon Man ... :D after about four hours I'm saddle sore.

Seriously, The Raptor has got to be the most stable kayak on the planet, and still surprisingly fast.

I'm anxious to see how it paddles side by side with something like a Hobie Adventurer or O K Prowler. Especially against a wind.
Well, I had certainly found it intriguing after my test paddle as well. I was looking forward to your review Tom, thanks for the info! Sounds like it weighs heavy in the + column, good deal. I've been in the market for something new and more versatile for tournaments. Food for thought.
I can't wait for Chris's review from the Devil's River trip.

I'll be using this boat for the remainder of the tournaments this year for sure. With this kind of speed and stability and comfort, I'd be crazy not to!
Baitman wrote::D Four days, Marathon Man ... :D after about four hours I'm saddle sore.

Seriously, The Raptor has got to be the most stable kayak on the planet, and still surprisingly fast.

I'm anxious to see how it paddles side by side with something like a Hobie Adventurer or O K Prowler. Especially against a wind.

Well there were 3 other yaks on the trip. An OK drifter, stealth 14, and a really nice wood yak. The last 2 days were spent paddling about 10 miles straight into a 25 mph steady wind with gusts pushing 40!!!!! It hung in there with all the boats. I'm going to try and write up a full report tonight. Been playing catch up at work. I've got some pretty good pics and vids of stability testing along with deep water reentry that show just how stable this boat is! I think once the word is out, this boat will be right up there with the other major players!

Again, full report to follow sometime in the next day or two!
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By OrangeQuest
Baitman wrote:Not the best place for support for a seat O. Q, BUT, Dang !!! , You've given me a great idea for a swivel seat support that would center the weight where it should be.
Now, back to the shop.. I'll send you a prototype for testing.
Thanks for the offer Baitman but I don't get to fish often enough right now to use it much. But I would suggest you go to the BTB forum and get one of the regular BTB fishermen to do a test paddle in the Gulf coast surf. Also, how are you figuring your weight capacity for this this? From when I test paddled it and from the reviews posted on here it seems to be very low or are you just being safe? And one more thing, has it been tested with a 5hp gas engine to see how well it planes? :lol: :lol: :wink:

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I'm definately intrested .. would like to test one and would also like to see how it would handle our rapid fire surf breakers. My first thought is it would definately need a skirt for the surf zone but then as large as the cockpit is I am concerned that the first big breaker over the bow will creater the very large skirt so I just don't know .. I'm thinking it may need an easily removable brace for under the skirt and once past the breakers it could all go under deck till re-entry time. A 2hp would be plenty i'm thinkng. Where can I try one out?? ........... am I gonna have to go all the way to South Padre Island ..... could be a fun trip but will certainly delay things since time can be hard to come by :|
Hey guys, So far the only store in Texas that has one is in S.Padre. I don't know what's going on with the others up closer to Houston, etc It seems like they are all flush with inventory they need to clear before they would be willing to take on a new product.
Since this is still such a radically new design,,, ( not to me ) in the arena of fishing kayaks. Maybe one of these stores will stick their neck out a bit and give it a try. If not, I can always ship them direct until then.

Would love to get some reviews on how it handles the breakers in your area. TD, shoot me an e-mail and lets see if we can set something up if you're serious. sales@santacruzkayaks.com Or phone 831 247 0150 Short of those really big breakers it shouldn't be a problem. The concave hull shape pushes it up over the wave, the narrow, sharp profile prevents the water weight from burying the bow. and the higher raised coaming directs the majority of water to either side.
That photo of a big wave, in my website isn't the best representation of how it performs. That was an early prototype run. That boat was 12 lbs heavier in the bow than the production model. There was no floatation bags inside, and the boat had water in it before he even started that run.

Outboards.... shhhhh. Attach an Electric with a lithium battery ! Quiet, lightweight. My Torqeedo version with battery weighs in at a mere 12 lbs. 6mph... www.bassyaks.com has a kit for the minnkota at around 500 dollars. Plus they're unobtrusive enough , that with a paddle in hand I doubt the water police will pull you over for lack of registration.

Basic model starts at $1,150 just add water.

Many Thanks !!
daveg99 wrote:It would be better if it were a sot.

I used to think that until I got my first Native Ultimate. I have been in some pretty wet situatiions with that boat with no cover at all and it was never anything that a Starbucks cub and a sponge could not handle. My ultimate and this Raptor stayed drier than any SOT that I own. Its a preconception that is easily overcome.

TD, you are welcome try mine in the surf anytime you want to. I'm off tomorrow if you'd like to get together and do that or you can take it out this weekend if you'd rather do it by yourself.
I was lucky enough to be on the devils trip with Chris and see just what the Raptor could do, and without any doubt it did it all well, very well, if ther was one flaw given the character of the river, not the boat, it was drafting a little more therefore grounding out a little more but it was impressive with its stability and re entry ability for a sit inside. Now if only I could buid one out of wood :D 35lb sounds about right :?:

Ok, what should be changes/improved on this kayak?, What should be in the future for the raptor? may be bigger load capacity of over 400 lb, a longer kayak around 17 ft, may be a SOT version with its forked tail?
Hello all, I apologize for the absence in this issue, I have taken the raptor out a number of times and seem to like it more and more, I understand all of the issues people have with new items, but I ask that people give it a try, and accept it for what it is, a new radical type of yak, I am sure people will be pleased with what it can do. Thanks to all who have given the Raptor a chance and have understood the possibilities of change. Thanks to Jim Martin for thinking outside the box and introducing something new into the kayaking world. We all have different opinions of what a kayak should look like, and behave like, but hats off to Jim for going beyond all that. By the way Jim, I need another Raptor :D , talk to you soon.
What's with these Texas fishermen... coming out here and winning First place in our NCKA tourney.

Paul Ngygn caught this 33" halibut out of the SF Bay yesterday. With his son sitting on the back ( as a guide ) . :D :D :D

Way to go Paul !
33 inch ARW.jpg

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