Author Topic: Delta Catfish 12.5 Review  (Read 5394 times)

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Offline hoc

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Delta Catfish 12.5 Review
« on: September 06, 2014, 06:40:11 am »
The Catfish 12.5 is a kayak I had never heard of before.  It is made by Delta Kayaks from BC, and is designed for fishing as well as other sit-on-top friendly activities like photography.

I saw someone selling two of these on kijiji and did a lot of research before buying.  It seems like there aren't a lot of these out there right now, and I hadn't heard of anyone fishing from one, but on paper they had a lot of really compelling features, so I took the dive.

This review will be mostly from a fly fishing perspective, but most of the features carry well over to any type of fishing, with some exceptions.

Length: 12.6'
Beam: 26"
Weight: 43lbs!!

The first thing you notice is how boxy this kayak is.  It can get away with that because the hull underneath is actually divided into a catamaran style, with two thin pontoons that glide over the water.  This allows the boat to be very narrow for a sit on top (26 inch beam), while still being more stable than most 30" kayaks.  The other is that is looks like fiberglass.  It's made of a thermoform acrylic material that is supposedly as light as fiberglass and as durable as poly.  I believe the former claim, but the later I'm not quite sure yet.  It definitely feels more vulnerable to hitting rocks and damage, so a bit more caution seems to be necessary when using it.  This caution is made a lot easier by the fact that is is feather light, and you should never need to drag it.

This is one of the main reasons I decided to try this kayak.  My Trident 13 was extremely stable, but standing up (while fairly easy) wasn't exactly a joy for extended periods.  I can say that this kayak is quite a bit better for standing than the T13 or any other sit on top I've tried.  It is very easy to stay balanced, and you can almost stand sideways for easier casting in all directions.  My last two outings I spent almost 100% of the time standing and was very comfortable.

Very easy to stand, and lots of room to walk around.

Even at 12.5', this is the fastest sit on top I've paddled.  Including a Hobie 16' Adventure.  I think the Hobie is capable of a higher top speed, but the beauty of this kayak is how easily it gets up to speed and how long it stays there, even when skipping strokes.  It also tracks straight as an arrow due to the nature of the hull.  The downside of this, is that it can be slower to turn.  This is aided by a rudder that sits between the pontoons, under the hull.  My only complaint with that is it can't be retracted, and you have to be careful not to damage it during storage and transport.

Storage, Rigging and Weight
Rigging is one spot that this kayak lacks in.  There are no stock rod holders, and while there is a lot of surface to rig, you would be better off with any other fishing kayak if you want to load it up with lots of accessories.  Now for my purposes, this was just fine.  I wanted a flyfishing kayak with lots of space for line to coil without getting tangled.  Also, the lack of rigging allows you to keep the weight so low, that you can carry this thing for huge distances over your head, without killing your back or shoulders.  For storage, there are two sealed hatches, one at the bow and one behind the seat, as well as a massive tank well.  Unfortunately, while the hatches have the best seal system I have ever seen - they are oddly shaped inside, and you can't even fit a rod tube in them.  Plenty of space for stuff-able gear like clothes or a tent, but very limited storage for rigid objects.

It's like a stripping basket at your feet!

Seat, Other features
The seat is fantastic.  It's molded into the hull and made of a high quality neoprene covered gel pad.  The backband is height adjustable and provides great lumbar support, which you can keep below the back of your PFD.  It can easily be adjusted with one cleat which sits in front of the seat for easy access.  There is a clear window in the bottom for looking down, which I think is complete fluff.  There often isn't enough weight in the bow to make the window sit flush with the water, but on a clear day in the salt water, I can see maybe leaning up and looking through as a novelty.  There are no rod holders but there are paddle straps on either side of the boat, which actually do a great job holding a fly rod in place, as there is a grooved channel the whole length of the hull that the paddle/rod can sit in. Most people comment on the lack of scuppers when they see it, but there are two scuppers, I just have them plugged with the included rubber stoppers.  It's a very dry ride and I haven't needed to drain it yet.

The paddle holders work quite well as fly-rod holders, with the tip of a 9' rod even with the bow.

I'm pleased so far after just a few trips out in this boat.  It's clearly a very good fly fishing platform, and I think it will do well as a salt-water boat as well, due to its speed and straight tracking.  Without any rod holders though, I don't know that I would use it extensively for deep water fishing.  If the thermoform material lives up to half the claims about its durability and UV resistance, than I think this is a real winner, but I'll have to see it for myself to believe it.  In the meantime, this extremely light, sparsely-rigged kayak is perfect for me.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2014, 07:00:58 am by hoc »

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Offline Flyfisher

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Re: Delta Catfish 12.5 Review
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2014, 11:01:42 am »
Sweet review thanks for sharing!
Its funny, I'm looking at the sup boards for saltwater flats fishing!
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Offline Denwa23

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Re: Delta Catfish 12.5 Review
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2016, 01:38:18 am »
I know it's been a while but if you still have this yak, what to you think of it after having it for a couple years?

Might buy a used one next week.

Offline John Gibson

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Re: Delta Catfish 12.5 Review
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2016, 09:15:23 am »
He doesnt use it anymore, but I know its still in the family.
The deck has a small crack in it again if I remember correctly. 
I dont like to bad mouth any boats, but this wouldnt be a boat I would personally buy.

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