Research Kayaks in the Buyers' Guide!
Select Kayak to View in Buyers' Guide
This yak will handle just about any water, though at 12' 9" and 34" wide, it's not meant for large white water or tight/narrow streams. I really enjoy being able to hit shallows and narrow coves where other boats can't go, while still being able to paddle out into bigger water (even Lake Michigan) confident my PBGA will get me to wherever I'm going. The molded seat is fairly comfortable, though I added a Sqwoosh fisherman's seat for handling those longer periods "in the saddle". And 240cm graphite paddles are a must for a yak this wide. The adjustable foot rests were a must for me, and I love having the ability to change leg positions over time. The back well is nice and deep and provides adequate storage space for fishing gear, a cooler, etc. And there are an adequate number of scupper holes fore and aft to empty out any stray water. The front storage bin is large, and I've carried a portable wheeled carrier to help with portaging my yak out of the water after a trip. Having a 550-600 lb. capacity means the PBGA is somewhat more susceptible to being blown by the wind, but I've never found it to be unmanageable or a problem. One feature I miss is the snap-on cover over the long center storage tray. This feature was discontinued with the 2010 model.
Overall, I'd highly recommend this yak to anyone looking for a good quality, all-around kayak.
Only reason I gave 9 stars is cause everything can be improved. Maybe shaving off a few pounds, hopefully you don't have to transport on a roof of a vehicle. I have a low trailer and it's not a problem. A pickup would be good as well.
Pros for the kayak are as follows.
With the addition of plugs not the plug cups, the kayak rides extremely dry. I get more water in the boat from paddling then from it leaking in. Tracking is strong as well, even with a stiff breeze it seems to stay true to the destination in which you are going. With being so heavy I feared it's ability to draft in shallow waters, but I have been able to get in 8 inches of water and draft without a problem. The pole holders are in a great location. I feared the fact that I may not be able to cast with them there but have no problem at all. The stability of the Kayak is great as I can stand and throw my cast net with no problems. I did try to flip it in some shallow water and it did take some effort, really had to lean over and try to reach the center of the bottom before I got wet. The front hatch battery holders is perfect as I mounted up my fish finder and enjoy the comfort of knowing that the battery is not going to get wet.
Con's for the boat are that it is heavy, 60+ pounds but hey you are buying a large kayak. I found that by just backing the truck up to where I want to launch I could simply carry it to the water. It does take a few strokes to get the big beast going but once it is moving it takes very little effort. I do find though that the high dollar seat I purchased for it seems to slip a little, took it to the shop and they stated that it was just part of the design, nothing worth worrying about. The foot pegs do seem a bit cheap but they have not given me one bit of a worry. Make sure you install an anchor trolley with the boat as if you do not you will get a big seat of 42 degree water as I did.
All in all the kayak is a dream come true for me. I have the stability to get around anywhere without the worry of getting wet. I hooked up on a nice 42 inch red and did not have the roller coaster ride that many stated would happen. I can take all the gear, supplies and even my dog along for a nice day on the water. What a buy for fewer than 1000 dollars.
Looking forward to taking it out in the surf sometime. Already rigged for fishing, with an anchor trolley and zig cleat, I'll probably upgrade the seat by next year. Other add-ons include front rod holders, the center hatch and a fishfinder as well. This yak will carry massive loads, (up to 600lbs), so as a fisherman, I have no worries about bringing gear for camping trips. The polyethylene construction is solid and the front hatch features a battery holder that is off the bottom of the boat, keeping it dry. The boat does catch a bit of drift in the wind, but an anchor or stakeout pole generally solves this. And being a heavy kayak, it is recommended that a cart is purchased for transport to and from the water.
Having longer legs, I have no problem dipping my feet off the sides, and it's a refreshing way to fish. Hull slap is moderate, and can be tamed with more weight in the bow hatch. When transporting by car, it is recommended that the boat be put deck-side down, to save yourself $ at the pump. 36" wide crossbar pads are available that do the job nicely. I hope this review is helpful. Tight lines.
It is not a fast yak, but it is oh so comfortable with a Crazy Creek air yak seat and it is so stable even under rough conditions that the trade off for speed seems a mute point if you are a yak fisherperson. I have fished repeatedly a Prowler 13, Heritage Redfish 12, OK Trident 11, OK Drifter, and Malibu Mini-X: this is my favorite fishing yak period. Did I mention this yak is STABLE
I got back into fishing this summer up in Casco Bay Maine, taking out a used Hobbie Maui into the seas off Alewife Cove with just a rod, anchor and a Coors Lite for gear. Had a great time until being flipped by a monster wave and not being able to get back in, but thatís another story.
I did learn that I wanted a wider more stable fishing platform, and to me anything under 34Ē is far to narrow for a fishing kayak. Anyone over 200 lbs. with out years of kayak experience, wider is better, if your thinking speed, think again.
Looking at the hull of the Big Game, its like they put a fishing platform on top of a traditional sit in ocean kayak. The bow is narrow and reasonably sharp, cutting the water like a knife, above the knife it flares out to keep you dry and stable. For a Battleship it cruises pretty well. Iíve trolled the Back River VA. all day for miles, in all kinds of water, no problem, and Iím 60!
I was not looking for a rudder, but that was all they had and Iím glad it does! Tracking in winds and currents is a snap, plus drift fishing is actually controllable with the rudder. Even while anchored it gives you control in a current to position your casts where you want them. When you donít need it, like in the shallow flats, you can pull it up from your seat. Get one!
One of the problems I found in the Maui and other yaks with molded foot wells is that the ones you donít use are pressing into your calves. After a few hours my feet would get num from the unwanted pressure. Flat foot wells rule. They say it makes standing easier, but thatís beyond my imagination at the moment.
The deck has more usable accessory space then most. I mean you can put stuff everywhere. My suggestion is to hold off putting everything on it until you use it a bit. I started with my fighting position, a single Scotty upright rod holder just forward of the cup holder. There is this brilliant consol cover that you can mount stuff on, with storage underneath. Good place for the first aid kit and my cigar case. The Big Game comes with 2 recessed rod holders, outboard, behind the seat, perfect for trolling. The tank well is enormous, a tackle box fits right behind the seat, then there is room for a big cooler or milk crate, even a live bait system, scuba gear, whatever, itís BIG.
Hatches, there are two standard on the Prowler Big Game. One is right in front of your seat and its large, you can get to it easily. I put a dry bag with my rain gear and fleece there, with plans to build my working tackle box into it some day. The other hatch is even bigger and in the bow. It was a major factor in my selection of the Big Game over the Fish And Dive. I plan to camp with my kayak and this hatch allows me to bring all I need for some comfortable nights out on some gorgeous key somewhere sometime. Its load capacity of 600lbs. lets you bring just about anything you could want.
You do pay a price for all this, however, she weighs 70lbs! You just donít pick it up over your head and toss it on your roof rack. You need wheels to move it around; donít ever drag it on anything but sand for even 10 feet. And your choice of roof racks is critical, you want one with a slid out bar in the rear rack. I roll the yak up to my Honda Element on it scupper wheels in the stern holes. Then lift the stern up onto this slide out bar, holding onto her I then lift the bow up onto the front rack holders, finally moving the stern over on its rack. Iíve done it now a dozen times and have it down pretty good. I have no problem doing it myself with a crowd watching, cool.
To put it in the water I roll it in on its wheels bow first into the water then just lift it off the stern wheels, presto, your ready to board.
The only thing I changed before leaving the show room was the seat. It hit me in the kidneys like a rabbit punch. But thatís an individual preference based on your body type. A comfortable seat IS critical for fishing.
My next move is to add electronics. The Big Game comes ready for a Hummingbird transponder to be placed in one of the foot well scupper holes, and there is a battery shelf built into a spot just behind the bow hatch. Now I just need to find a place for a wet bar!
100,000+ people can't be wrong!
The Paddling.net Newsletter is a must if you like to canoe or kayak! Each week it is packed with great articles, photos, product reviews, and special features. Better yet, we promise not to sell your email address to anyone; that's right ZERO spam! Sign up today and find out what you've been missing!