I got my Kingfisher in '04 and have no complaints. It is my first kayak so I have nothing to compare it to. Never any leaks. Seat is comfortable it just has to be adjusted properly. I have spent 4 hours in it without standing and have been comfortable. It's fast enough for fishing. I am 6'2" and 215lbs. and I would say I can push it at a pretty good clip.
I usually fish out of it with a bucket behind the seat with anything I want to carry in it. Considerable storage room in the front compartment. The 2 rod holders behind the seat work great. It's light enough to carry although I wouldn't want to carry it far without a wheel attachment. Paddle stores well on the side (never had probs with paddle bungees'). The inner deck bends when I stand but I have no feeling that it will break under my feet. I have never tried to stand in it on the water but I have leaned over the side with a chainsaw to cut the tops off of 15 stumps or so and I had no indication that it was going to tip. It is very stable. I would guess I have caught more than a thousand bass out of it since I got it. A rudder would be a nice addition.I got this kayak about 2-3 years ago and have put a lot of hours in it so far. Its definitely got some good pros, and some bad cons, I'll run em down.
Pros, very stable. It is kind of tippy with primary stability i.e. you will have a hard time standing, or even kneeling in this if you want to get off your butt for a few minutes. But you can take a wake, wave, or heavy chop broadside and it wont tip. You can lean way over while grabbing gear from the back storage area and it wont tip. Ive had it in 30mph winds in the river with heavy chop against the sea walls and it stayed upright. It can handle a full size milk crate behind the seat without any fuss. The dry hatch up front is easy to cover and uncover and is quite roomy. I keep my kayak cart with me when I launch, and just tuck it inside the kayak. It has built in rod holders behind the seat and 4 scupper holes for drainage. All of which is good. Also the price was low, under 400 if I remember correctly.
Now the cons. Its slow. Very slow. This means a long paddle i.e. 7+ miles are either out of the question or plan on being the last guy back at the launch ramp. It doesn't track well, if you get a tail wind prepare to do lots of one sided paddling to keep it straight. Its fine in flat calm water, but not so much if its windy. Again it wont tip you, but it wont go exactly where you want either. The seat sucks. Its just awful. It sits low in the kayak, so it gets wet, and stays wet. Its also very low backed, so unless you upgrade prepare for a back-ache. Its also rather noisy. The scuppers are noisy in calm water at speed, making a gurgling noise. And the hull slaps a lot, especially if you are anchored up with your back to the wind. The back end slaps heavily in the chop which makes stealth a fantasy when it comes to fishing. So prepare to anchor a little farther from that snook dock you want to fish.
All in all it's a great kayak FOR THE MONEY. As in, for $400 or less it floats, gets you from a to b, has plenty of room, rod holders, very stable fishing platform and can handle adding some accessories such as a scotty rod holder up front etc. But it simply does not compare to $1000 kayaks when it comes to performance or comfort.I own a Kingfisher for about a year. All the comments above seem accurate. I would add the stock low back harmony seat is a disaster. I added an anchor cord, to allow me to drift from the front or rear. Also I added a small bungee loop to keep the paddle in place.
It's a neat stable platform, though the cockpit set up is the obvious compromise. It needs a place to put the fishing pole when in the mangroves, and a quick store and platform for lure box.
All those can be added. I am also looking for a canvas canopy. But overall the price for performance are excellent.I decided to buy a SOT to go on a solo camping / fishing trip in the Quetico / Boundary Waters parks. I had no kayaking experience, so I read a lot of reviews and visited a lot of websites before deciding on the Kingfish. I got a great deal from Gander Mountain (under $400).
I'm 6' tall and 210 lbs. That's about as big as this boat can hold. I loaded it with about 70 lbs. of gear and took off on the trip. Even fully loaded (I think it's rated for about 350 lbs.), it rode the waves well. The boat is very stable and I had no problem fishing. It's not exactly made for portaging, but by the end of the week, I was getting pretty good at carrying it from lake to lake.
This is a good, stable boat. I never had any concerns when I had it on the water even in high winds and waves. It did everything I wanted it to do. For the price, this is a winner.I purchased a Kingfish a few months ago & have had it out more than a dozen times so far. I like it myself, that is for the money spent I feel that I have already got my money's worth.
I have been on plenty of trips in other Yak's, some high ender's and some low. It's not to be compared against a Yak that cost 1000.00 +, but rather other Yak's in the 450.00 or less catagory. For what you get (options/rigging) for the cost its a winner in my book.
I find it easy to tote/lift, lots of room for gear and lots of space to move around in. I especially find it easy to get in and out of. Being that I fish more than tour, and need to get out and stretch or wade often. I find this a big bonus seeing as I have seen some other Yak'ers fall or slip while getting in or out sometimes.
As for performance, its not the fastest in the world, but who cares when your fishing!! (Thats whats its designed for) For stability A++, Tracking is ok. The water does not collect like in other S.O.T. 's that I have seen. The drains are nicely placed. The seat is ok, could be better, but for the money its just fine, I personally put HD velcro under the seat to prevent slipping forward, as well as a Skwoosh pad for confort. I can Yak all day and with little to no fatigue.
So to sum it all up, for someone that is looking to fish from a Yak, and be on the water for less than 500$ this is a worry free purchase. Yes there are better Yak's out there for more money. In my opion though, the FISH CAN"T TELL!!!Just bought the Mainstream Kingfisher and have had it out on a few trips. The boat is extremely stable and I feel quite safe in it. I'm 6'1" x #240 and am probably as large a person as this craft can handle. I fill up the seating area and my knees are slightly bent using the last foot holds. It is fast enough as I fish more than I paddle. Plenty of storage, although I'd like to install a deck plate diddy bag to hold my valuables.
The rod holders are useless for trolling, so add-on holders are a must. You'll also need an anchor and/or drift sock to control the boat while fishing. I enjoy the lighter weight (as compared to the t120 or drifter) when loading and transporting the yak. Overall, I'm pleased with the boat and would recommend it to those looking to get into yak fishing and not break the bank.
PS-a decent paddle goes a longgggg way on how a yak goes, so spend the extra money you saved from not buying the WC/OK boat and get a good $100 paddle. Keep it if you upgrade.What attracted me most was the features you get for the price. I got everything (not cheapie options either); kayak, seat, paddle, for the boat's retail price - the boat comes built in with large front hatch, rod holder, bungies, paddle/rod holder, tacklebox tray, bucket/crate well, 24 inch ruler.
I took it around a lake to fish and paddle around, and it's pretty stable and tracked ok. If you paddle too hard, it might off your tracking. Also, you will turn a bit if you lean - but you can do that with other kayaks.
The cockpit feels roomy and unrestrictive. The boat has rounded side swollen looking gunwales (for stability) and a v shaped underneath, with grooves (for tracking). I also found the rounded sides more comfortable than straight angled sides.
The hatch up front is large and can easily fit my rods - you can slide a 1 piece rod all the way into the back nearly the whole length of the boat - you may have to bend the rod a little to get it to go in, will also fit a small cooler for drinks and lunch, and there's still room for more. I like that this hatch has a raised plastic lip (part of the whole kayak) to keep water out - no need for gaskets.
There are 2 rod holders which are really modified scupper holes that taper down and become smaller toward the bottom. It has a built in tray/tackle box holder in the middle. My Plano 3500 barely fits in it. There's also a drink holder, but I used it to hold a plastic container of bait. There is a bungie in the very rear, I use it to hold the paddle - stick the blades into it. In addition, there's also a 24 inch ruler molded into the side to measure your fish, as well as a flat area just by the front hatch for compass, fishfinder, and or rod holder.
Seat was dry til we put a cushion in the bucket well and put another person there facing the other way, so total weight with 2 people was 260 lbs. Then a bit of water would come up through the seat scuppers once in a while.
Things I didn't like: I had to replace the side and middle (rod/paddle/tackle holder) bungies because the ones the boat came with were too tight and unuseable. Because it was so tight, the hook to hold it on the side got a little loose from wiggling the tight bungie on and off.
The plastic is perhaps just a tad softer and maybe thinner than more expensive brands - I didn't really notice this til I saw other brands up close and saw how hard and really stiff their plastics were. It is not flimsy though, but if you put the Kingfish kayak on hard ground and sit on the area behind the seat and on the bungie way in the back - you can feel the plastic go down a little bit. But it normally doesn't bother me, and you can't notice it once in the water. This may also contribute to the kayak's lightness in weight.
Because of all the built in options, this is a decent kayak for the money. Because of its stability, it's a good kayak for beginners. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to kayak around and maybe even fish.
But you should test drive one, like I did, before buying to make sure it's for you.