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Watercraft Review


A fisherman's dream, the affordable Sea Eagle 8 fishing boat
 

Date: 12/16/02
Tackle type: Watercraft
Manufacturer: Sea Eagle
Reviewer: JIP






Total Score: 8.71 + BEST VALUE AWARD

Introduction: Getting yourself moving on the water can be tough if you're on a limited budget. Anglers already spend a lot of hard earned money on fishing gear, but Sea Eagle aims to offer a fishing watercraft anyone that anyone can afford. The Sea Eagle 8 fishing boat offers great performance, durability, versatility, and the most important thing to us, a Fisherman's Dream package... all at an incredible price.

 

Sea Eagle 8 Fishing Boat Specifications

Material 33 mil PolyKrylar
Seam High frequency weld
Exterior Dimensions 9' 7" X 4' 8"
Interior Dimensions 6' 2" X 2' 4"
Deflated Dimensions 26" X 21" X 8"
Chambers 5
Tube Diameter 15"
Air Valves Deluxe one-way
Weight

32 lbs. (boat only)

Weight Capacity 3 adults or 950 lbs.
Engine Capacity 3 HP (35 lbs. max weight)
Features All around rope lacing, bow towing grommet, bow carry handle, molded oar clasps, four molded oarlocks, safety chamber above main chamber, and pressure gauge
MSRP $499

  

Impressions: Until now I have never seen the Sea Eagle 8(SE8) and I previously thought it would be something similar to what you could pick up at a sporting goods isle at Walmart or some other store.  Well, I was very wrong!  When I received the Sea Eagle 8 fishing boat I was quite amazed on how thick and durable the material was.  The inflatable boats you pick up at some local stores utilize a cheap thin plastic that most anglers would be uncomfortable fishing in from a safety standpoint. The Sea Eagle 8 uses a 33 mil PolyKrylar material that feels tough and solid as I unpacked the boat from its box. As we inflated the boat so did my confidence in the SE8 begin to rise. The boat is safer and more sturdy in design thanks to the integration of a 5 air chamber design: two on the floor section, 1 used to support the motor, and 2 larger main chambers.

  

The Sea Eagle 8 inflatable fishing boat is roomy enough for 3, many places to sit, useful built-on features and accessories such as the floorboards which allow you to fish standing up

  

You won't break your back when carrying the Sea Eagle 8 fishing boat from one point to another because it weighs only 32 pounds. (That is 20-30 pounds less then most ABS plastic boats) When folded nicely you can easily carry the SE8 from your vehicle to your desired location. While the standard boat does not come with a carry bag it doesn't have all that many separate parts so just a few trips to the car are necessary. However to make life even easier we recommend that anglers also purchase the optional 26" x 43" Storage bag which allows you to carry the deflated boat and pump over your shoulder with ease.

  

The Fisherman's Dream Package comes with everything you see here

  

The SE8 comes with some useful built-on features to help make it easier to handle this watercraft both during setup and through normal use.  It has carrying handles on both sides and one at the bow for easier portability. We found these comfortable even when wet while launching and pulling out of the water. A bow towing grommet is also helpful if you use the Sea Eagle 8 as a yacht tender. One feature I thought was quite nice to have is the molded oar clasps that will securely hold onto your oars while they are not in use.  Attached to the side of the boat, the oars stay out of the way while you are fishing. A pressure gauge is also provided with the Sea Eagle 8 which helps you to determine the correct amount of air necessary. The other accessories that are included in the Fisherman's Dream package are listed in the table below.

  

Fisherman's Dream Package Includes

Sea Eagle 8 FB-8 Floorboards
Two AB-25-3 oars MM-3 Motormount
SPW wooden seat MSB Motormount support bench
A-41 foot pump Repair Kit

  

A very useful and functional feature, the four built-on flexible yet firm oar clasps keep your oars out of the way while they are not in use

  
Real World Tests: The first time setting up the Sea Eagle fishing boat requires most anglers to follow the instructions closely, the second time is quick and easy. The SE8 has a total of 5 chambers and you have to inflate them in a specific order. If you want to use floorboards and a motormount that can hold a gasoline motor up to 3 HP or 35 lbs. max weight, you have to inflate the boat to 75%, put those on, and then inflate the SE8 the rest of the way. To stay out of trouble I would recommend you to read the instructions prior to set up. Once you learn how it's done, then the next time it would be a breeze. For anglers wanting the ability to stand and fish the floorboards are easliy installed in just matter of seconds. The motormount is probably the trickiest portion of the initial setup. If the bars are not even, putting on the mounting board is a bit of a challenge. To make this easier you should make sure the rear half part of the boat is on even ground (sloped and even is fine, as long as the boat isn't sitting on different levels, one side higher and the other lower) and deflate the chambers slightly.  Aside from that everything else sets up swiftly.

  

Included is a pressure gauge.  Using the pressure gauge on chambers 1 and 3 to make sure the SE8 is inflated correctly, ending any confusion anyone might have about how much air is needed

  
Maneuverability: The design of the SE8 is enhanced to allow the boat to flow through the water smoothly. The bow is larger than any part of the boat and it holds much more air then any other section. This way even if two people sat on each side of the bow the front end will still remain up high. Having the bow always high up will allow the fishing boat to maneuver through the water with less resistance. In our tests the boat sat high on the surface of the water even when it was loaded with 4 adults plus fishing gear.

  

The best way to move around the water when fishing from the Sea Eagle 8 is undoubtedly to use a motor.  A trolling or gasoline powered motor that does not exceed the limit of 3HP or 35 pounds can be used safely. With a motor the Sea Eagle 8 glides swiftly through the water allowing you to fish on larger lakes without much effort. This is especially useful when Striper fishing because you're always on the move hunting these fish. Also being able to operate in less water than normal boats the SE8 is able to get you into really shallow waters to target fishing spots where other larger boats cannot even reach. Rowing with the Sea Eagle is possible and should be used in some situations, but the preferred method is to use a motor since this is designed as a motormount fishing boat. It's good to row when getting near shore when you need to turn off that motor to land. Rowing around coves and sneaking up on nearby fishing spots is also good choice to row, as the vibrations of a motor can often scare weary fish away.

  

SE8's stability is great! Standing up to fish is my preferred way when using lures

  

Stability: This is where the Sea Eagle 8 shines! This fishing boat is incredibly stable with one or four people onboard. The wide beam hull designed on the SE8 is well balanced thanks to the large inflatable tubes on each side of the boat. Having a stable platform is crucial when fishing. It allows anglers to sit or stand up to fish. The Fisherman's Dream package is thoughtfully put together to fit our needs. These marine plywood floorboards create a sturdy platform to stand on. Two people standing up and fishing at the same time will not cause any stability problems whatsoever. At no time during the tests was I or others onboard were worried about capsizing the SE8.  But as always, be sure to be careful while standing up on any watercraft and wear your life vests, especially if the water conditions are rough. Being able to stand up on the Sea Eagle 8 is very nice because it is definitely easier to cast lures, and it allows us to stretch our legs to reduce fatigue. Overall stability was among the best we have seen in a watercraft this size, and more then competitive with traditional plastic pontoon and v-hull boats.

  

Even with two adults, fishing gear, and your pet dog on the Sea Eagle the wide hull design provides good balance.  Also the thin marine plywood can withstand much weight without any signs of deformation

  

Durability: Constructed out of K-80 PolyKrylar hull material, the Sea Eagle 8 has very good durability. This special PVC material was formulated to produce something that's strong, long lasting, and resistant to UV light, oil, gas, and other chemicals. The sections are airtight because the seams are joined using a high-tech process that involves 10,000 volts of electricity which guarantees that the two parts are welded together as one. After many days of fishing from the SE8, the inflatable boat showed no signs of wear on top and underneath. While landing the boat it would rub against dirt and rocks, but none of these damaged the SE8 at all. You can see minor scratches from the sharper rocks, but it's barely visible to the naked eye and definitely won't cause any problems in the near future.

  

How about puncturing the inflatable boat with sharp hooks?  That's almost impossible unless you are purposely digging the hook into the SE8. The boat has no rigid part where a hook will snag and puncture the hull. When the boat is inflated the hooks just glide over without any harm.  While we don't recommend this when fishing, during our tests I continuously pulled a crankbait out of the water and over the various chambers from different angles to try to snag any corner of the boat. After trying many times I can truly say that hooking into the Sea Eagle isn't a concern.

  

There are 3 durable Deluxe One Way values on the SE8 which are rugged and ensures that the air stays inside the chambers

  

When looking at durability, most of the time people look at the actual material used to make the inflatable itself.  But if you think about it, each part of the Sea Eagle is important in terms of an overall package. The components used on the SE8 are quite sound. The chamber values are rugged plastic, especially the one way values used for the 3 main air chambers. The oars aren't the best of quality like you see on some premium kayak oars, but are good enough for a fishing boat meant to be primarily used with a motor. The plywood floor and support bench are durable and coated to resist water and UV damage. After multiple trips the boards look as good as new, and are always easily cleaned with a damp cloth.

  

The Motormount: Aside from the floor boards, the motormount is the next biggest accessory that comes in the Fisherman's Dream package.  You might wonder how stable it is or how the frame would handle the motor's weight. Well, from what I have seen the SE8 handled it without any problems. After laying down the motormount support bench, the motor frame is installed using two bars that connect onto the boat via durable grommets, both above and underneath the vessel. Then you attach a wood block that joins the two bars together, this is where the motor will mount to. With the help of the entire motormount frame, support bench, and very importantly chambers 1 and 2, the Sea Eagle can now easily handle a motor up to 35 pounds. Even with a motor attached to the boat, it doesn't create any instability.  In addition to being a motormount you can attach additional accessories to the frame or support bench such as rod holders or a crate-like basket to store additional gear.

  

The motor mount assembly you see here consists of a support bench, two metal arms, and another board which forms a sturdy frame that will hold a gas motor up to 35 lbs.

  

Warranty: To further add value to the Sea Eagle 8 fishing boat, Sea Eagle has a 2 part guarantee.  1) On-Water Trial(30 days): Return for a full refund (excluding shipping) if you're not satisfied for any reason. This essentially allows you to test drive the Sea Eagle on the water.  2) 3 Years Warranty against Manufacturer's Defects: If any part of the Sea Eagle 8 becomes defective, simply return it for repair or no charge replacement.
 
Ratings:

SE8 Fisherman's Dream Package Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Manufactured with durable material that is made to last and it's not extremely heavy.  The overall construction of the built on accessories are excellent 8.5
Performance Not the best when using oars for larger lakes, but when using a motor there's no end to your fishing adventures.  Good hydrodynamics, floats high in the water, and very stable 8.75
Price Outstanding price for a complete fishing package that includes almost everything you need 9.5
Features Attached are some useful features such as the molded oar clasps, 5 chambers as a safety feature, and carrying handles.  But additional modifications would be required if you want to include other fishing tools 8
Design (Ergonomics) Being able to fit 3(I would recommend 2 max when fishing) Anglers and still have enough leg room to stretch and stand up is very nice.  The ability to be able to sit almost anywhere on the SE8 allows you to find comfortable fishing positions from all angles 9
Application A versatile launch anywhere inflatable that's useful for fishing in many types of water, but having a motor is the preferred method of moving about 8.5

Total Score

8.71


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Excellent price! L Best used with a motor
J Stable enough to stand up to fish  
J Portable  
J Packaged for Anglers  
J Durable  


Conclusion: Could the Sea Eagle 8 be a dream come true to the budget minded angler? We think so. Sea Eagle has designed and manufactured an easy to use and versatile inflatable boat that has built on features such as the 5 chambers, all manufactured out of durable material that will make sure you stay afloat even if one of the chambers is deflated. While utilizing a motor mounted on the SE8 for fishing, this fishing vessel will get you where you want and beyond. Its performance on the water throughout all our test was excellent. The stability of the wide hull design is safe and sturdy enough to fish standing up, a big plus if you are a lure fisherman. This is one watercraft truly designed with anglers in mind. With such a reasonable price, not only will you be cruising your lake in search of fish the next time you go out, but you will also have enough leftover money to invest in a new rod and reel combo, this is definitely a boat that really delivers without breaking the bank. Sea Eagle has put together a great fishing package at with an incredible price tag, and definitely deserves TackleTour's Best Value Award. While there are other inflatable boats out there that are similar in price, few can match SE's well thought out Fisherman's Dream Package in terms of value.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

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