Is The Lifetime Sport Fisher Kayak For You?

 

“Hi folks. I’ve had a few requests to provide some details on the kayak I’ve been using. So I’m doing this off the lake edition to give everyone a closer look. This is the Lifetime Sport Fisher kayak it set me back $550 bucks and I bought it through Amazon since it wasn’t in any of the stores around here. I did get free shipping so there’s that. This kayak is 10 feet long which is actually pretty short for a kayak.

Most fishing kayaks tend to be 12 to 14 feet or even longer but I wanted a shorter length to make it a bit easier to transport and to store. The kayak is 36 inches wide across here which makes it actually a pretty wide kayak. A wider kayak is generally more stable and harder to tip over which you know for a man of my size was actually the biggest concern. Another thing besides width that makes this kayak stable is the shape of the hull.

The Sport Fisher is what’s called a tunnel hull it helps to slow the roll a bit when compared to a rounded hull that you might see in a more traditional kayak or in a canoe. Hopefully you can see the keel with the two channels there. Overall this kayak is rated at 550 pounds maximum weight capacity. I won’t go into the details of what that actually means in use just that it can hold more weight than most kayaks.

 

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And the last important spec on this kayak is that it weighs 60 pounds. Actually the company says it weighs 60 pounds but I’d wager it’s closer to 75. This is not a light boat. So those are the general specs, let’s talk features. First off, this is what’s called a sit on top kayak. As the name implies you sit on top of the hull instead of inside it like a traditional kayak or sit inside. What this setup does is give you access to the whole deck for easy access to your stuff. The downside is that you will get wet in this kayak. But this is Texas getting wet is really more of a blessing, not a curse. So a sit on top lets you sit a bit higher than in a sit inside which for fishing higher is usually better although higher seating is also less stable. So it’s a trade  off. Anyway, one thing most sit on top kayaks have are scupper holes. These holes you can see them here go all the way through the hull to allow any water that splashes over to wash back down into the water below.

However, this boat only has two scupper holes most sit on top kayaks have more and these aren’t very useful. As you can see, the water, unless it falls into this little spot here won’t go in there, or there is a lot of water which obviously then would drain But I haven’t had any issues with a deck awash with waves so so I’ve just kept the scuppers blocked with these little babies that are called scupper plugs. The kayak came with a couple already in the holes and then I got these spares as well. OK, so let’s go up to the bow and continue the tour. So, we’re here at the bow and the first thing here is the molded in carrying handle which is very useful I’m glad this is on here.

So moving down here a bit we’ve got the bungee cord here that crosses the deck to hold down loose items. This is handy. But it’s a bit far from the seat to be easily accessible when on the water So this is kind of storage that I don’t need to get to much. Now you can see next here each side has multiple foot rest positions molded into the deck. These work OK but I do find there are times that I find that my heels kinda want to rest between positions and that’s not so comfortable.

And as I just mentioned they catch and keep water away from the scupper holes. Up here you’ve got these holes. They don’t go all the way through, just a couple inches down Not sure what they’re designed to do really. But I came up with a use for them that I will show in a future episode. And in between the holes here you have another hole here that This is actually a water, a cup holder here. This other hole is intended to fit a mast for a sail. Yeah, a sail. It did not come with a sail and I’m not eager to try sailing to be honest but anyway Then we get to the first of three seats. Yes actually this kayak is designed for three passengers. It’s really more of a one adult, large adult one medium adult, one small child maybe but it does have three seats. But for me weight is a concern so it’s probably just going to be me and maybe one other person on this kayak.

OK, so over here on the side this is the carrying handle. When I first got this boat I figured I just lug it down to the water by myself just using this handle. So long story short: the hernia stitches come out in a week. OK, so it wasn’t that bad. But this thing is a beast to wrangle with just this handle. So I came up with an easier way to get this guy between the truck and the water which again I will talk about in a future episode. On the far side there you can see the first of three built in rod holders. I’ll talk more about these when I get back to the other two which are on the back. Along the side you can see these little pad eyes every now and then like with the bungees in the front.

These things are really useful they have many uses but the one we are coming to now is as the anchor points for the seat backs. The kayak came with two seat backs which attach as you see here. They don’t provide tremendous support especially when you are constantly paddling but since I don’t do much long haul paddling, these are fine for just sitting there. So anyway, this one is set up in the middle seat which is where I sit when I’m by myself. Here’s another bottle holder. Back on the outside here you can see, these are paddle clips, built in paddle clips. And there is another set on the far side. While we’re on the subject, the kayak came with two paddles which is actually a pretty good deal, most kayaks do not come with paddles. Paddles can run from cheap end 30 bucks to 150 bucks a piece so even more than that sometimes.

So even if these are 30 buck paddles that’s 60 dollars you don’t have to spend. They come apart in the middle as you can see there is a little spring lock you can adjust them to three angles I use the middle angle because I have no idea what I’m doing. They also have those little drip guards to keep the water from the paddles from going down and getting your hands all wet which is handy.

So back to the paddle clips. I use these to hold the paddle for the trip between my truck and the water. When I’m on the lake, I usually just hold the paddle on my lap and I haven’t noticed a need to put it anyplace else anyway. And so moving back, here is the third seat. And then we get to the other two rod holders. So before I complain about them, let me briefly praise them for doing the job they claim to do they hold rods. But how they hod rods is the problem.

The water line is about here and you can see where the reel hangs to. These holders only keep the reels a few inches from the water. I don’t like that. The one in front is actually worse because it’s lower and it’s a place where your stowed rod interferes with paddling stroke. You can’t even park your rod there for a few minutes when you’re adjusting your position.

It’s just bad placement. So the rod holders are pretty much a total bust on this model. I’m working on a solution to salvage the two rear holders but again that will have to wait for a future episode. Moving on. Back further here there are a few more pad eyes for tying down stuff. And on the back of the hull, this is where we get inside the hull itself. This door, which I unlocked before so I wouldn’t struggle with it on camera has a water tight seal. Let’s take a look inside the hull. So, empty space pretty much.

You can use that space for storage. But with no bulkhead, whatever you put in there could shift forward and get stuck. I’ve been careful about putting much in there. It’s not useful out on the water anyway since you can’t get to it. But it’s nice to have this, I do use it so it’s not a complete waste. This is the drain plug that allows you to empty the inside in case it gets water in it. I haven’t had that problem so far, knock on plastic. At the stern there is this curious little hole here. The kayak is actually made to accommodate a trolling motor. The company sells a mount that attaches here that allows you to putter around without paddling. Now the mount itself costs 250 bucks. So not a small investment even before the cost of the tolling motor itself.

But if you wanted to, you could get motorized on this thing. Underneath here there is a back grab handle. It’s just a depression in the plastic to let you get a grip. Nothing special but it does work and I use it. I guess that’s the tour, I think I’ve covered everything. This is the way it came, no modifications. The paddles, the seat backs, the scupper plugs all came with it.

So for my impressions of this kayak after taking it out several times are generally good. There are a few exceptions. It’s not a fast kayak. Generally wider kayaks are slower and I expected it to be slower. So it’s not a huge deal to me I don’t go a huge distance. Obviously, all things being equal, it would be better if it were faster. Secondly, it doesn’t track very well meaning, tracking means it goes straight. So this one is harder to keep straight than kayaks that track well. So again, length, the longer the kayak generally the better it tracks. This one is a little bit shorter so it doesn’t track very well. And lastly, it’s not really suited for the big waves or the white water. So probably on the ocean, not the best kayak.

But I don’t plan to bring it out there anyway. On the upside, it’s really stable. I;ve never felt like I was going to tip in this thing. Which, you know, prime concern. It’s short enough to transport and store. And it can hold not only my weight but can take more than just me. On the water I have been fishing, I have had nothing but good experiences with this kayak.

Lifetime actually makes a non-fishing version of this kayak called the Manta. The only differences between this fishing model, the Sport Fisher, and the Manta are the rod holders And actually some different color options. Had I known how useless the rod holders were I might have saved myself a few bucks and bought the Manta. But the basic design is what I wanted so I’m happy. So I guess that’s an overview and review. I hope you liked it. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments. And as always, thanks for watching.

 

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