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Initial response is I'm going to love these kayak's for touring, very stable and tracking is excellent, the hatch seals work well and plenty of room for all my camping equipment, the cooler well is perfect for Kauai trips, handles chop great with just a little bit of spray.
The negatives are: The Yakima rudder system is cheap and plastic and sticks too high above the deck. I have already broken a blade when unloading the kayak. Kalalau and north shore beaches can have big surf even in the summer and it's inevitable you and your kayak will be rolling onto the beach. I see nothing but problems. One other negative is the seat area is very wet, no big deal for me as water never below 75 degrees. I will add a pad to raise my butt up...
A fantastic kayak and would rate a 10 if not for the crappy rudder system.
The boat is stable and tracks nicely with the rudder deployed. I'm not too impressed without it. I was out on Galveston bay in calm conditions and happy to report that it's a dry ride. The storage is great and I look forward to enjoying my great deal.
I gave it an 8 out of 10 because of the lack of carrying handles on the sides - makes this heavy yak difficult to load.
Great, watertight design, hatches, and gaskets! I have never had any water get into this boat, despite running a variety of electrical cables over the hull part of the hatch opening and under the gasket or through the gasket seam. The raised hatch opening really seems to keep water out, despite waves breaking over the bow. Only came to appreciate this after reading about water leaking into the hulls of other brands.
Perception is a great brand, in many circles the standard by which others are judged, so I figured it would excel. Secondly, I read a few of the reviews around the web, they seemed accurate regarding the other boats so I took them at their word. It's true, every design has its pros and cons. From what I learned thru my demos, one look at the Bimini hull and I knew it would track straight and glide well.
However, there were really 2 deciding factors:
Layout - outstanding! One look and I realized there would be no compromise when mounting my GPS, Scotty's and/or RAM's, etc. Plenty of handy flats and all within comfortable reach. Paddle holders on each side (or paddle PLUS gun!), drink in the middle, and take that cover off the small storage space between my knees and 3 boxes of shotshells are held adequately at ready.
I was having a hard time deciding btw. the two longer Tarpons (140 & 160) before seeing the Bimini, and it solved the problem ... dry storage fore and aft PLUS the recessed bucket holder with a drain in the center ... what a nice design for live bait!
Price - the clincher was it was a great deal - seems everyone hereabouts is buying Tarpons and Prowlers, the Bimini was a $499 close-out. I'd have gladly paid retail, however, so the deal was done.
After spending an afternoon in it, the other write-up I've read are accurate ... a bit tippy at first but excellent secondary stability.
Tracks very straight yet is maneuverable, no problem with u-turns in the 30 foot canals around here.
Glide and speed is every bit as good as the Prowler, significantly better than the Tarpon 140. Less wind-sensitive too.
One outstanding feature, I imagine because of the V-hull design, is that it glides thru the hydrilla and duckweed nearly as well as open water. No kidding, you can hardly walk (wade) thru it, that stuff is difficult to navigate with my Otter Stealth (pontoon-hull kayak), impossible in my jonboat, but the Bimini literally glides right thru it. This is very important to retrieving downed birds and reason enough for any duck hunter or bass fisherman to own one.
Additionally, the stern hatch will comfortably accept my 28" barreled shotgun and dry-bag; while a dozen full-bodied decoys, shell/accessory box and my Mojo Duck lash securely to the decks via the convenient click-straps and bungees factory-mounted fore and aft.
I should also mention that their customer service is exceptional - my dumb questions were thoroughly researched and responded to promptly. Many accolades to Perception for this in this China-centric marketplace today.
Additionally, adding a rudder was a snap and the factory only charged me $100 for the kit.
One thing I didn’t care for was the water that gathers in the seat well. I have researched a lot on sit on tops and knew this was something others have complained about. I have purchased through the hull drains that I am going to install. 2 in the seat and one thru the hull below the seat connected with plastic tubing. I hope that will solve the water in the seat problem. Other than that the kayak is fantastic. It paddles and handles as well as my Looksha.
I have a West Marine rod holder installed on the square plate on the front console. At first it felt to far away but after paddling, and getting used to the feel of the boat, I am comfortable with the location.
I have read everyone’s comments about their Biminis and found them to be very helpful in choosing mine. Thanks for all the info. Tight lines to all.
The Bimini is a great boat that is well laid out for fishing. Comfortable for large paddlers (I’m 6-1 and about 215 lbs and have plenty of room) and handles a large load (rated at 450 lbs). Lots of tie down hooks, paddle bungees that work great, a big hatch in front , smaller hatch and square tank well in back, plus a small round dry storage hatch behind the seat (one of these on the console in front of the seat would have been great).
Rudder works great and makes maneuvering a little with a fishing rod in hand while drifting and casting easy. I love the rudder and find it frustrating trying to keep going straight without it (an indication of my paddling skills). Seems very fast (gets going quickly) and maneuverable for a big boat. Stable enough for me and I’m a novice. I have heard others say it has great secondary stability but less primary stability than other boats and I don’t have much to compare it to. I can sit sidesaddle while fiddling with gear in a tankwell milk crate and a homemade rodholder without much problem.
My biggest reservation was the weight, but I wanted a big fast boat and that seems to be the price you pay. Both the Tarpon and Bimini are over 60 lbs, so figuring out how to arrange transportation and storage in my garage without lifting more than 1 end of the boat at a time was key. Hanging storage in the garage with ratchet straps that my pickup fits under and a simple cart that can be stowed in the boat have that problem licked.
It seems much drier than the OK boats, except the footwells are very wet unless you use scupper plugs (hardware store 1-1/8 inch rubber stoppers (about $1 each work great). I fish inland reservoirs in North Georgia so boat wakes are bigger issues than waves or chop.
The little tackle box on the console is convenient location, but very wet. I sealed it somewhat and now it is much more functional. Material was 1.5-inch door threshold weather strip that came with a ¾-inch adhesive strip worked great. Cut off the hard plastic edge that ran the length of the strip. Clean and sand the inside perimeter of the box on the kayak. The sticky side of the strip sticks to the walls of the box so the soft weatherstrip side sticks up out of the box, so it fits inside the lid. The threshold strip was pretty stiff, so I “dry fit” a couple of times to get the strip into the corners as tight as possible before taking the protective cover off the adhesive strip. Then just worked around the box on the kayak. Goop around the outside to fill the start/finish corner, corner gaps, and the outside perimeter of the weatherstrip to the box/console surface of the yak. This is a not watertight seal with the top of the box, but it made a big difference in how dry the box area stays and almost doubles the side wall height of the box. Now it will fit a stack 2 of the little plastic tackle boxes (about 1”x4”x3”) with split shot, hooks, swivels, flies plus a handful of odds and ends.
Also, I have dropped one end of the boat (twice actually) on a concrete boat ramp while first figuring out how to get it on and off my small pickup. Amazing how durable these plastic boats are. A small scratch and no worse for the abuse (but I don't recommend this test).
I put a Pirannah 5 fishfinder on the center console about arms length from me and just beyond my paddle dripping range.
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