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Written By: Dan Arbuckle, Headwaters Fishing Team, May 13, 2014
I know a lot of people want comparisons to Hobie. Well, since I fished out of a Hobie Outback 20+ times in the last year I feel that I am qualified to do that.
Many people feel that the Slayer is priced between the Hobie Pro Angler and Outback and that if it's that expensive might as well get a Pro Angler. I can understand the feeling if you've never seen the kayak in person. However, once I saw the Slayer in person, my doubts about the price went away. It's a high quality kayak that's worth the $2399.
I've sat in the Pro Angler and it feels awesome. It's big, it's stable, and there's a ton of storage. However, I'm 5'7" 160 pounds, so it's too much boat for me. Part of the reason why I fish out of a kayak is because it's easy to load and unload. Something as large as a Pro Angler wouldn't be comfortable for me, which would defeat the purpose.
I fished out of the Outback and was looking for a first class seat in a pedal kayak similar to the Pro Angler. I also saw the limitations of the Mirage drive and wanted to give the Propel drive a shot because reverse is awesome to have. That's how I eventually pulled the trigger on the Slayer. I feel that the Slayer is probably the maximum length and weight that I would consider taking out kayak fishing in the delta at my size.
The size of the Slayer makes it still easy to transport without a trailer with the pros of a kayak that's basically almost a boat. I feel that having reverse in the delta is a must when you're fishing docks, weed lines, points, etc.
Speed: I feel that the Outback probably gets a higher burst of top end speed, but to me that speed is not really sustainable. With a stepper like motion I feel the burning sensation building up too fast. I had turbo fins with the settings on medium-tight for more speed which may have affected my opinion on this.
Although I feel that the Slayer's top end speed is less (no proof from GPS-just from feeling), I feel that I can maintain that speed for a much longer duration. So a more realistic comparison of speed is the cruising speed and effort it takes to get to where you want to go and back.
You will see people comparing the Slayer to a Revo 11 in a 500 foot race, but that's not worth anything when you're fishing. At the end of the day, after pedaling miles my legs feel better from pedaling the Propel. I'm not saying that the Propel is more efficient than the Mirage drive, I'm just saying that my legs feel less tired.
For fishing I feel that the Slayer will get me to farther distances destinations compared to the Outback with less fatigue. With a bicycle like motion, my thighs get a chance to recover while pedaling which lessens the burning sensation. This kayak is a trolling fisherman's dream.
Maneuvering: Positioning with the Slayer is something that you can't achieve with the Outback without using a paddle. You can position the Slayer simply using the reverse and there's something to be said when drifting into the bank and just pedaling backwards. Turning, however is significantly better on the Outback unless you get accustomed to leaning on the outside edge when you turn the Slayer.
People who go from a Hobie to the Slayer may not like this and will become frustrated with the Slayer. Leaning on the outside edge is not a very natural feeling. I'm still training myself to do this instinctively. With that said, the Slayer is a great paddling kayak. I could never paddle the Outback in the same manner as the Slayer. It tracks straight as an arrow, although the speed is not eye popping it brings a smile to my face knowing that I can paddle the kayak like an actual paddling kayak.
Stability: Stability on the Slayer makes it feel larger than what it actually is. It's hard to imagine that the Slayer is the same width as the Outback. While I could stand on the Outback and feel perfectly stable, the platform is not flat. The non-skid pads on the Slayer are kind of cheap in my opinion and I am considering replacing them with SeaDek's kit.
I had my 14-year-old son riding in the back of the Slayer, leaning over to one side and I did not feel the kayak being tippy. I was still able to stand and cast normally. I also want to mention that the first class seat on this kayak is amazing. It's a shame that I have to wear a PFD because it is so comfortable.
Limitations: There are limitations with both kayaks and that's when encountering weed beds. I accidentally went right into a weed bed this weekend and the weeds just tangled the prop every time. Granted, Hobie fins would not work either, but taking weeds off the prop on the Slayer is not fun. The good thing is that I can just pull the prop up and paddle.
In the past with the Outback the rudder would get stuck in the seaweed and when you go to pull the rudder up, it would pick up a bunch of seaweed too. The good thing about the rudder on the Slayer is that seaweed doesn't catch on it.
The bad part is that it's not deployable which makes it less prone to scraping. Expect the rudder to scrape but realize that it's plastic and easily replaceable. You will still have to bring your paddle when going out on the Slayer in the Delta.
Last impressions: This kayak will not be for everyone. Those who aren't used to the bicycle pedaling motion will not like it. Those who've fished with Hobies will feel like it turns slower and may not like it.
For me, I feel that this is the most efficient watercraft for maximizing my limited amount of time fishing. It takes hands free to the next level and it makes kayak fishing more fun. So for that, I'm happy that I got it. At the very least, it deserves a demo.
Things I would improve: Recessed transducer scupper mount, front hatch to come standard, accessory on the prop to cut weeds and a larger rudder for quicker turning.
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