This was my first river fishing kayak and it served me well as I was able to catch many nice river bass out of it. I liked it so well I bought a second one and used it as my spare for friends. It has many positives and over time proved to have several negatives as well. Hey, I’m a positive kinda guy, so let’s start there.
Positive: The good thing about this kayak, and all Ocean Kayak boats is that they are light weight. The kind of fishing I do can be very tough in getting kayaks in and out of the river. Sometimes bridge access points can be very steep and having a light kayak can save some wear and tear on ones back! Another good thing about these boats is the fact that they are very stable. I realized I could stand and fish out of my Caper soon after I put it on the water, and I haven’t been sitting and fishing a river since. Being able to stand up in your fishing kayak is a major positive in my book. Standing up gives you so many advantages in fishing that can sometimes be overlooked. When you stand you can see down into the water better. What this does is allow you to see structure that others may overlook and more importantly where the shallow and deep areas are. I like to paddle through and definitely keep my lure out of any shallow water, where bigger fish are not as likely to be. Another positive about the Caper, to me, is that it turns very easy. Turning easy is very important when fishing rivers with rapids and shoals – it can be the difference in keeping you dry or losing gear and getting wet! Another very positive thing about being able to spin your kayak easily is when you get your lure snagged in swift current. If you have a boat that doesn’t turn easy you may get swept way downstream before you can head back up to undo your lure causing you to work harder. The longer a kayak is, the harder it will be to turn it around when you need to go back upstream. Another positive was that it had a big hatch opening and could handle most all the gear you would need for a camping trip.
Negative: The one main negative with this boat is directly related to a positive – it is thin. If you are fishing rivers with a lot of rock and shoals, and fishing them frequently, you will find that these boats rarely last more than three years. Most people I know have had theirs for one to three years until they get a hole in them somewhere and begin taking on water. You can try and patch the holes, but it is only a matter of time before the boat becomes useless. Take care of the keel and the area around the scupper plugs because these are the areas where the holes tend to occur. Of course, the OK boats are less expensive than most other brands so the positive is that you can buy a new one in a few years if yours does get a hole in it. Another negative is the fact that water pools up in the footwells of the boat. This may not be an issue for some people, but if you don’t like to sit in water then it may frustrate you. The boat is not the fastest on the market either, but it is fast enough for most river fishing purposes. However, if you are looking to do “paddle up” trips it could be quite a workout in this boat unless you are in top shape. A “paddle up” trip refers to putting in at a location and paddling/fishing upstream and then fishing and floating your way back down.
Length: 11’3 inches
Width: 31 inches
Price: Between $600 and $750 depending on if you get the angler package or regular kayak.
My rating: 8 out of 10