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Fishing Kayak Review: Ocean Kayak's Prowler Trident
Dec 18, 2007
by John Skinner

Ocean Kayak's Prowler Trident.
The walls of green water that periodically blocked my view of the beach while I sat on my 15-foot Ocean Kayak Prowler 100 yards from the shore looked pretty intimidating. I knew with proper timing I could avoid the big waves by slipping in during a lull between the larger sets, but there was always a chance of a miscalculation. The worst-case scenario would find me timing the waves wrong and rolling the yak during the surf landing. Considering there were kayak surfers 1/4 mile to my west doing this stuff for fun, I didnít consider my situation a serious threat to my health. With the water temperature in the low 70s and a good life vest, I should be safe. It was my gear I was most worried about.

My two fishing rods were leashed, and my fishfinder was advertised as waterproof, but they could certainly be damaged if the kayak ended up rolling onto the beach. If only I could stow all of the gear inside the kayakís roomy internal storage compartment. Unfortunately, the bow hatches found on most Sit-on-Top kayaks are very difficult to access on the water. I had done it before while using the kayak for scuba diving, but the water was rougher this time, and I didnít want to take a chance of flipping with the bow hatch off.

With some careful timing, I made it onto the beach without incident. A week later, I got my first look at the newest Prowler model, named the Prowler Trident. It was immediately clear to me that the Ocean Kayak company was well aware of the type of situation I had been in, and had incorporated some clever features into their new model that would solve the problem of protecting gear and accessing internal storage while on the water.

The first new feature that caught my eye was the Tridentís Rod Pod. This allows access to the inside of the kayakís hull while seated in the cockpit. The Rod Pod hatch is shaped so that one can easily store several rods by sliding them in tip first in the direction of the stern. Rods up to at least 8 feet store easily in the pod. Itís a useful dry storage area for other items as well. Beneath the Rod Pod hatch is a sliding tray thatís handy for items such as a camera, cell phone, or tackle. The surface of the hatch has a conveniently located cup holder.

Even though many fishfinders made nowadays can withstand a dunking, I wouldnít want to roll a kayak onto the beach with a several hundred-dollar unit sticking up from the deck. The Tridentís Sonar Shield solves this problem. Designed to work with several popular Humminbird fishfinder and fishfinder/GPS combos, the Sonar Shield covers an electronics unit when not in use, shields it from waves when in use, and blocks sunlight from the screen to facilitate reading. When traveling in and out of the surf zone, an angler can simply tilt the unit down into the recessed Sonar Shield compartment, and then secure the shieldís cover so that the electronics are no longer exposed.

The battery bag is suspended inside the hull and is accessible from the front hatch.
Ideal fishfinders for the Trident are the Humminbird 383C and 363 fishfinder/GPS combos. Both feature a high-resolution 320 vertical x 240 horizontal pixel display, a plotter, and enhanced UniMap charts. The 383C has a color display, and retails for approximately $100 more than the monochrome 363. Both units tilt down nicely into the Tridentís Sonar Shield when not in use.

Fishfinder transducer installation requires some effort on most kayaks. On my older Prowler, I carved a pocket in a piece of Styrofoam to hold my transducer, then glued the Styrofoam to the inside bottom of the hull. Standard transducers shoot just fine through the thin hulls of kayaks. Each time I want to use the fishfinder, I need to pour some water into the Styrofoam pocket to eliminate any air between the bottom of the transducer and the hull. This is a fairly common way to deal with a transducer on a kayak, but itís somewhat inconvenient.

The Trident addresses this with a scupper hole that is specially designed to hold a Humminbird thru-hull transducer. This transducer fits many of the Humminbird units. Humminbird has a Transducer Exchange Program so that you may exchange a new unitís standard transducer for the thru-hull and pay only the difference in price.

I power my old Prowlerís fishfinder with a 4-pound 12-Volt Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) battery. Itís stored inside the hull in a Tupperware container that has a hole drilled in the top for the wire. To keep it from sliding around inside the hull, I glued Styrofoam blocks to the inside of the hull to keep it in place. The Trident does away with all of this by supplying a battery bag that is suspended off the inside bottom of the hull. This keeps the battery in place and off the inside bottom of the kayak so that it will stay dry in the event that a little water gets inside the hull.

I purchased my Trident late in the season, but with enough time left in the fall run to paddle out to some schools of fish in Long Island Sound. The standard Prowler is known for its speed and stability. I found the Trident to have comparable speed and noticeably better stability. The cockpit is roomier on the Trident, and the leg area stayed drier than what I was used to with my older Prowler. The Trident is 3 inches longer, a half-inch wider, and 4 pounds heavier than a standard Prowler. I confirmed the weight difference on a digital scale. The extra weight was not noticeable when loading or unloading from the top of my Jeep Cherokee. The Trident is rated to hold an impressive 500 to 550 pounds, which is 100 pounds more than the standard Prowler.

The roomy cockpit of the Trident allows easy access to the Rod Pod and Sonar Shield.
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