Native Watercraft "Ultimate 12" Fishing Kayak as Good as the Name it Bears?
Total Score: 8.25 -
is quickly becoming one of the most popular angling forms out there. The
advantages of kayak fishing are numerous. Since kayaks have the ability to float
in mere inches of water, you can access waters that most boats just can't get
to. Less access means a greater opportunity to catch fish since these areas see
less pressure from boaters. Stealth is also an important component of kayak
fishing. Fishing from a kayak gives you the ability to get to the fish without
spooking them especially in shallows where fish are more sensitive to noise.
Paddling quietly can give you the chance of sneaking right up on fish. Not only
is the fishing better but it allows you to be on more of an intimate level with
nature. Native Watercraft kayaks embody all these important features when
choosing a kayak. There are decades of boat-building knowledge behind Native
Watercraft, and a passion for paddling's history and its future. They have a
long standing reputation for creating some serious kayak fishing platforms. The
Ultimate 12 is no exception and is a best selling model among kayak anglers.
Native also makes a 14.5 and 16' version of the Ultimate but the 12 consistently
continues to be their best seller. In this review, we explore the newest
upgrades in materials and techniques to the Ultimate 12 that have been getting
much attention and praise by anglers and the industry alike.
Watercraft Ultimate 12 Specifications
Depth at Beam
Height at Bow
Bow Hatch Length/Width
orange, lizard lick, copperhead, blue lagoon, gator bait
$799.00 - $1049
kayak guide for several years, I've had the opportunity to paddle numerous
brands but I keep coming back to the Ultimate 12. Not quite a canoe or a kayak,
the Ultimate 12 looks more like a little fishing boat. It's a cross between a
solo canoe and a sit-on-top kayak. I've paddled it in all types of water from
lazy rivers and backwaters to exposed flats and the open ocean. In evaluating
any kayak for seaworthiness I look for the following criteria: construction,
stability, handling, comfort, and user friendly outfitting. The Ultimate
delivers on all fronts.
The Ultimate 12 is a cross between a solo canoe and a sit-on-top kayak
boat itself is made of a roto-molded plastic more specifically a vacuum bagged
vinyl ester resin. It is far lighter and thinner than those made by some of the
leading manufacturers in the industry such as Hobie and Wilderness Systems.
Composite Elite versions of the 12' and 14' Ultimate models are available as
well. The roto-molded version is extremely light and has a very slick clean
finish much like fiberglass. The only downside to this is that the boat does
tend to scratch easily especially if you drag it over rocks or oyster bars or
fish where there is a lot of heavy cover or structure. It's so light I can pick
it up and tote it with one hand or even throw it onto my shoulder when I carry
it down to the launch site. The seat weighs 5 lbs and can be taken in or out in
about 30 seconds. The boat is so light there is not any real reason to remove it
other than for hauling it upside down on a roof rack.
plastic of the Ultimate 12 is extremely light and can be easily carried.
This is one of
the most comfortable kayaks on the market today. Native continues to raise the
bar on comfort and are always a step ahead of the evolving needs of todays
paddlers. Features include a removable First Class seat that offers incredible
back support and a unique elevated dry ride. The seat is constructed of a HiFlow
3D suspension mesh stretched over an aluminum frame. The mesh is a specially
treated solar screen fabric that will never damage or fade so it will most
likely never need replacing. It's very cool to sit in since the mesh ventilates
and moves with you. You can recline the seat to suit your comfort and activity
and remove the seat to lighten your boat when loading. I sit in mine for at
least 8 hours when I take it fishing and sometimes never get out until I get
back to the launch. Other boats I usually have to get out and stretch throughout
the day. With the Ultimate, I hop right out effortlessly at the end of the day
without any aches or pains to my lower back. Speaking of saving your back, the
Ultimate12 weighs in at a fairly light 55 pounds with the seat.
The First Class
seat offers comfortable support for your rear end and lower back.
that makes this boat so comfortable are the Easy Foot rests which are
ergonomically designed to match your feet when naturally relaxed. They provide a
sustantial surface area for you to find your ideal position no matter what your
height. Finding your ideal position is achieved with use of a push/pull system
that's easily within reach. Pull on the ends and the foot rests adjust smoothly
and effortlessly along the track. Easy Foot comes in two sizes but both are
equally comfortable and simple to adjust while seated.
The foot braces are adjustable so you can bear down and paddle more efficiently.
I can easily
fit two tackle bags up front in my Ultimate as well as a few rods. There is also
plenty of space behind the seat even after putting in my cooler, life jacket,
and drybag. There are bungees fore and aft to secure your belongings, but they
aren't the sturdy criss cross style bungees you commonly see in the rear hatches
of many sit on top style kayaks.
Ultimate has plenty of room for gear with it's spacious, open deck layout.
that faces most kayak anglers is the difficulty in reaching things we need.
Grabbing a tackle box from directly behind us and then putting it back in
position can be a task especially for those of us that experience discomfort
when having to twist your body to reach something. The Ultimate solves this
problem by allowing the seat to slide forward as far as you need to go. Just
grab the sides, pull yourself forward, and grab your tackle box or bag. Another
challenge we face is that there is no good place to put smaller items like
lures, sunscreen, pliers, scissors, cameras, etc. The
Ultimate offers molded-in trays to store smaller items with the seat flipped up.
There's plenty of
room to keep those little things that you need all the time within reach.
Ultimate 12 makes use of an exclusive accessory attachment system called the
Adapt-A-Track allowing you to fully customize your boat. It gives you the
ability to add additional work surfaces, rod holders, and even depth finders.
The groove track system allows you to easily slide components on and off.
Purchase of the Groove Adapter Slugs kit is necessary in order to make use of
this feature. Groove Adapters can be added to your favorite gear so it mounts
and adjusts quickly and easily on the Groove Track Accessory system. Accessories
can be locked down anywhere along the rail system, loosened and moved easily
along the track. You can attach and easily remove spray skirts, bags, bottle
holders, and more. There's an impressive amount of optional accessory items made
exclusively for the Ultimate.
Next Section: Time to get this kayak into the water