By Brian Milne
It was one of the first kayaks made with fishing in mind, and years later it's still the best fly-fishing kayak on the water.
I searched everywhere for an all-around fishing kayak a couple years ago and the Ocean Kayak Prowler 15, Angler Edition, was one of the few sit-on-top ocean fishing kayaks I could find.
Sure, I could have gone the traditional route, and spent hundreds on fishing add-ons like rod holders and storage hatches, but I didn't feel comfortable taking a saw to my plastic kayak to install all of the fishing accessories on my own.
The best solution then, and now, is the Ocean Kayak Prowler 15.
Additional Details About the Prowler 15
The Prowler 15 takes its name from the 15-foot length (mine is technically 15 feet, 4.5 inches). My particular model, which was about $1,000 out the door (excluding seats, paddles, etc.), is yellow and is 28.5 inches wide and weighs about 60 pounds without accessories.
The maximum weight capacity is listed at 400-450 pounds.
Other specs include: Rudder option, molded-in rear storage, self-bailing scupper holes, optional crotch hatch, deck storage (for tackle/fly box), large enclosed front hatch, molded foot and seat wells, cup holder and bungees.
Colors: The regular edition runs in blue, yellow, red, lime, aqua, tangerine, white, sky, sunrise and titanium, while the Angler Edition comes in yellow and green and includes brass eyes on most straps to prevent corrosion in saltwater along with rod holders.
Suggested add-ons include: Seat/backrest, paddle, PFD, paddle, rod clip/leash, helmet, marine radio, rudder system and ice chest/crate (for rear storage).
How the Ocean Kayak Prowler 15 Paddles
The Prowler 15 is a bulkier kayak that isn't made for paddling rivers, but is a reliable open-water paddle that can handle sketchy surf launches and landings while cruising quietly across enclosed bays and lakes without much resistance. In fact, I used this exact model during a six-day, 98-mile, open-ocean kayak trip down the Central Coast of California in August 2007, and didn’t run into any problems. It handled 3- to 4-foot waves in the surf zone and was a nice safe paddle across the open ocean as well.
The Prowler 15 is stable, tours with the best of the current fishing models on the market, and has tons of storage - which is key for camping and fishing adventures.
Because this is a stable sit-on-top model, anglers don't have to worry about tipping over and losing tackle or their fish. In fact, in three years, I've never flipped my kayak in open water, only dumping over during my faulty attempts at kayak surfing and landing at beach breaks during a large swell.
Evaluating the Ocean Kayak Prowler 15
Likes: The stability, extra storage, fishing add-ons and all-around versatility. While the sit-on-top model isn't the best for stand-up fishing, it still allows the angler to sit on top of the action while casting from your seat or knees and is much less likely to tip than a sit-inside model.
Dislikes: The toggle handles on the front and back of the kayak don’t hold up to heavy use and may have to be replaced after a couple of years. During my most adventurous beach landing, in 5- to 6-foot surf, one of the rod holders popped out when I crashed to shore and had to be reinstalled -- but that was only a result of trying to land during a big swell.
While this might be considered an oversized model by some kayak experts, the Prowler 15 Angler Edition is a solid all-around option for saltwater anglers who fly fish along the flats, bays and open ocean. It's a safe, stable sit-on-top kayak that keeps the angler on top of the action at all times.
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