Native Watercraft "propel" fishing kayaks - anyone used these?

Hey Jim,

If you aren't able to make it over to the demo day just swing by another time and we can walk a block down the street to the water and let you try one out. We are right by the water and it is easily accessible.

Islander, the Diablo Paddlesports were another line we looked at but decided that we really wanted pedal drive for Puget Sound because of wind and current. Plus they're a lot more than the pedal drive Mariner and over double the price of Native's nicest standard SOT paddling kayak, the Manta Ray (under a grand). I think for lakes they'd be pretty cool. I saw a video recently online that highlighted the Diablo on the Missouri River. Looked cool, except that it only provided transportation, you couldn't fish out of it. At that point I'd rather just stick with a pontoon boat. For the Sound, having a yak that you can actually fish out of is huge.

Chris Bellows

Your Preferred WFF Poster
to the original poster, i also wanted to mention something many people don't think of when purchasing a kayak. when you are playing with the boat try lifting it and make sure you will be able to get it on top of your vehicle or in a truck bed. i have sometimes had to carry a boat a ways (especially at low tide) and the weight of the boat was not something i thought of when purchasing my boats. the weight gets even heavier when you start rigging the boat.

also think about the water types you will be fishing. under hull drives make paddling in really shallow water tough along with deeper water containing thick weed beds or kelp beds. every boat has drawbacks. try to minimize the drawbacks for the majority of the fishing you will be doing.


Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
Chris' last comment is something to consider. My Tarpon 140 SOT weighed in the upper 70's when I got it (78 lbs on the bathroom scale) and I added a couple of pounds of rodholders and other fittings. At 80 lbs, I use a cart to move it from my rig to the water. With my sealed lead-acid battery and gps/sonar installed, I'll bet it weighs 90 lbs.
Two people can easily lug it down a decent trail, using the bow and stern grab-handles (buddy system is a good thing).
Car-topping this beast was a hassle. The aluminum "slide trax" channels on my Tarpon stick up slightly from the plastic deck, which could get them dented by loading it topside down on the bare bars, or allow the yak to slide on the racks, so I needed kayak saddles mounted on the bars, which were an additional hassle to install and remove for each can't just leave those thing up there all the time, since they eat gas. I now haul it on a canoe trailer (lucky for me I already had the trailer), and then transfer it to my Wheeleez kayak cart to haul it across the sand, grass, or parking lot.
My Wheeleez cart has super-wide urethane low pressure tires that float over the sand and make it easy. I can load up everything and make one trip to the water, but I usually take the cart back to the rig. Some yak anglers take their carts out on the water with them (lashed to the rear deck, or even stashed below with the wheels removed) just to avoid the extra runaround. Whatever works for you.

My Ultimate 12 weighs less than 50 lbs with the seat removed, so I carry it slung over one shoulder. Then I have to go back to my rig for the rest of my gear. The farthest that I usually have to carry mine down a trail is only 150 or 200 yards. After the first 100 yds, the Tegris version of this hull suddenly doesn't sound so expensive. One of these days I may experience a moment of weakness and trade some rapidly eroding dollars for a super-lightweight high tech composite hull (that will retain more of its value over time than the dollars). However, the poly hull is easy to load/unload when car-topped on my Forester, upside down on Yakima racks.

Please note: Thule square bars resist the "saddle rollover" one suffers when trying to use kayak saddles on round Yakima bars (i've never heard a Thule user complain). The saddles aren't slick, so the hull wants to grip on them and roll them over. Its difficult to get the whole system tightened down enough to prevent this rolling when pushing your yak onto the racks. They sell expensive rollers that alleviate this somewhat, but I also wanted to get rid of the mileage-stealing junk on my roof. Trailer rides in the slipstream and doesn't up the gas consumption, and is way easier to load and unload.

I hope that relating my experience with all this helps shed some light on the subject.

Chad Lewis

NEVER wonder what to do with your free time

Jim, I use Yakima Gunwale Brackets to roof rack the Ultimate 14. I've never had them roll or move on the round bars. I used to put it on the bare bars, but I didn't like how tight I had to pull the tiedowns to hold it in place. The brackets are pretty small, so I leave them on all the time. Don't even know they're there- no wind noise and no cursing at the gas pump. Of course an FJ Cruiser is about as aerodynamic as a brick, so I could possibly put a gorilla up there to hold the boat and not notice a difference.

I do get the "rollover effect phenomena" with my Yakima Bowdown kayak racks. Kinda pisses me off sometimes. But I don't want to spend the money to re-rig, even with my REI employee discount.


Active Member
Everyone is, of course, kind of stuck with the vehicle they own when transporting kayaks. I just throw our yaks (13' Emotion Mojo Angler & 12' Future Beach 144) into the back of my 2007 Tacoma. They hang quite a ways out the end but a pair of camlock cargo straps hooked to the kayak ends easily support their weight. A couple of big bungees keep the whole thing very stable, even on logging roads. Easy to load or unload becaused they're at waist level. Of course the ends of the kayaks need a flag.

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
Chad, those gunwale brackets are nice. My U-12 rests on the bare bars OK and since its hull is shorter than a U-14.5, my straps do a good job holding it without having to cinch them overly tight. My racks bars are spaced as far apart as I can get 'em in the roof-rack tracks, and the straps go over the narrowing ends of the hull, so they hold it on securely even if a tad loose. And I always rig a double line from the bow over my hood to the front tow hooks.
My home-made roof-roller makes unloading and loading a breeze.

The canoe trailer is working great for my Tarpon 140. It makes for really easy trans-loading to and from my Wheeleez cart. Even an old cave man can do it. Yesterday, I had it down to a quick and simple routine.

Chad Lewis

NEVER wonder what to do with your free time
My U-12 rests on the bare bars OK and since its hull is shorter than a U-14.5, my straps do a good job holding it without having to cinch them overly tight.
Jim, the bare bars were working for me until I got a roof top box. I had to move the bars a lot closer together to fit the mounts on the box. That put the bars close enough that the tiedowns were both on the "fat" part of the boat's hull. I actually had the boat slide backwards on the bars once, and that was the end of that nonsense. The gunwale brackets are about perfect for mounting canoe style boats, like the Ultimates. I sell a set to just about everyone who buys a canoe at the store ;)

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
I just read some specs on the Mariner. It weighs 87 lbs with the drive and seat installed, but with those removed, the bare hull weighs 69 lbs. That's what my old 13' Sportspal aluminum canoe weighed.
Permanently attached rod holder bases and other mounting systems might add a pound or two.

There's some scuttle butt going on over on the Native WaterCraft owner's group forum about a new boat that Native is about to release. They are being "hush-hush" about it until it is ready for market. I'm excited to see it.
Its been suggested that it is an improvement over the Ultimate models, and will come in two sizes. The prototypes were recently being tested and refined. The forum moderator over there says "any time, now."
Like I said, I can hardly wait to see this new offering.

Blake, do you happen to know anything about this?

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
One more comment on the Mariner. I think the huge back deck is the best of any kayak I've seen for running crab pots. At 32" wide, I could still paddle it easily enough when I had to, since I use a low angled stroke most of the time, anyway. I'm seriously interested in test driving a Mariner. I'm already sold on the tunnel hull, since that is what the Ultimate series has.

I also just stole an idea for a simple one-wheel yak dolly for any of these tunnel hull yaks. It will make it relatively easy to wheel them down a single-track trail. Now I have to build it.