Review Detail

 
Field and Stream Eagle Talon
 
Field and Stream Eagle Talon 2014-09-25 10:18:48 crroy09
Overall Rating of this Kayak For Fishing. 
 
5.0
crroy09 Reviewed by crroy09    September 25, 2014 View all my reviews

Great Kayak to start fishing

I bought a blue camo Eagle Talon on Sept 9th from Dick's. This is my 3rd kayak. I also own a wilderness system Pungo 120 and an older 10' Wilderness systems Mallard(10 ft). They are both great kayaks but I wanted to do some serious fishing so I was in the market for a SOT. I looked around and combed through ebay and Craigslist every day for months. Since I am on a tight budget price was definitely a factor for me. After having experience modifying both of the sit inside kayaks for fishing I was well versed in the installation of rod holders, Scotty mounts, bungee systems, hatches and anchor trolleys. The point being, I wasn't afraid to buy a base model and modify it for fishing. I finally settled on the Eagle Talon after reading the reviews and seeing the new blue camo color for 2014. It is the exact same paint scheme as the Feel Free Moken 12 , which I liked.
I love this kayak but I never tried it "out of the box" without some slight modifying. After reading tons of reviews I installed scupper plugs under the seat, Changed the seat to a really nice Feel Free kingfisher, and removed the standard scotty mount in the front and installed a flush mount with a rubber stopper. I did all this BEFORE it hit the water. There are too many reviews that say things like "this would be a great kayak if.... so I changed them from the get go. The result? This is a great kayak. I am 6'3, 240 lbs and I stood up in it with no problem (in my pool) I doubt I will try this on the water because I'd probably go swimming but it wasn't hard to stand. Here are the trials I have put it through so far:
I've used it in open water fishing several miles of the Gulf off crystal river Florida. Not just the flats but out in the fast currents, open water and some island hopping. It handles choppy water fine although I did get a bit wet from the sea spray and small waves. I had to go out and tow my Dad ( 70 yrs old) back into the harbor who was in my Pungo 120 when he got sucked out between the sandbars far out to sea from the low tide currents. he wasn't a strong enough paddler to come back in on his own. It was a great tow boat. I've been out to the Gulf 6 times this month already (Dad is fine and he stays in the flats now lol.) I have used it to tow my kids when they need assistance or just tethered for safety (line in hand)
I've fished Rodman reservoir (Lake Ocklawaha) and the barge canal bass fishing. The boat was comfy and stable, I wish I brought extra sandwiches. I fished Lake Weir as well as some more Gulf Coast trips to Yankeetown, FL. I list these to let you know that I have been getting to know this boat well.
This Kayak is not slow nor is it a wide turning boat. With the proper strokes I can 360 this yak just as easily as the Pungo. Take a few minutes to learn your paddling strokes. The reason it is not as slow as you would assume is probably because it is not 12 feet long, it is 12' 6" which makes a difference. Also, the Talon is not 30 inches wide but an honest 29" at its widest point. I can barely measure out the beam at 29 inches using straight 90 degree reference points pressed to the hull for accuracy, 30 inches is simply not true. The good news is that while it is slightly thinner and longer than reported, it is still a quite stable yet efficient SOT hull design. I just think that marketing believes fishermen want to see nothing less than 30 inches for a beam width.
The crate problem: If you've read reviews by now then you know a typical milk crate doesn't just slide in behind the seat. I did find a great alternative that needs no modification (but I did anyway.) At Lowes I picked up the Brute Double Bucket by Rubbermaid for around $11 (came in red only) so I painted it, added some rod holders and canopy ties which fasten it directly to the bungee grommets that are already installed for the cargo net. It fits perfectly and was easily accessible.
The front hatch: Having detailed expensive cars in South Florida in my youth, I knew a little trick to soften black rubber and moisten it while not leaving the rubber shiny and greasy. Use baby oil. Rub it on the hatch cover, both sides and under the lip. It absorbs into the rubber hatch cover leaving it soft and supple and very easy to lift off and put on. Apply each time before your trip for easy access and the added protection against the water. It does not make your hatch greasy , keeps it from drying out and it actually smells quite nice.
As far as the seat goes, like I said. I splurged on an expensive seat but it was worth it. How valuable is your comfort for the day? That is a personal decision. I felt I made the right one by dropping an extra $120 at ack.com for the Feel Free Kingfisher seat. Feel Free has a video which shows you how to properly install the seat on YouTube, it’s worth the three minutes of your life.
That weird little pre-molded hole behind the seat: It fits the Plano 3600 box perfectly, has a bungee installed to hold it in place AND holds a container of gulp underneath. It does not hold a Plano AND a small bait bucket as advertised. It’s either /or with regards to the bait bucket.
I haven’t had any problems with my foot rests but I am a tall guy and they are on the longest setting.
Enjoy your kayak, spend some time, do your research, make the right modifications that make a difference to your preferences and you should have just as great as an experience as I am having with this boat.

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