Nu on the block
Ive been playing around with an American-made Nu Canoe Pursuit fishing kayak for the last several weeks. A combination of indifferent weather and a very busy work schedule meant I haven’t used it as often as I would have liked, but the three or four occasions I took it fishing were enough to form an opinion on its pros and cons.
THE SEAT The alloy-framed mesh seat is comfortable and height-adjustable. Mounted on rails, it also slides fore and aft so you can achieve the best balance and paddling efficiency (not raising the seat shifts the centre of gravity forward). I prefer the seat in the down position for paddling.
STABILITY Though less stable that the 12-foot Nu Canoe Frontier, this 13.5-foot kayak is plenty stable enough to stand up in if the water is flat. That’s handy for casting and fish spotting and it also allows you to pole the boat or propel it like a paddle board – the good-quality carbon and plastic paddle is convertible. The stability helps in other ways too, like reaching behind the seat and managing fish boat-side, as well as getting in and out of the boat. It makes it easier to re-enter the boat from the water too, which is an important safety consideration.
LAYOUT The slide-mount rail system is versatile and Nu Canoe has a range of rod holders and other fittings to suit. The rear box with its integrated rod rack is useful and the drawer forward accepts small tackle boxes or other items; I tended to secure an insulated catch bag on the nonslip upper surface of the plastic drawer unit. I like the internal rod tube storage for four rods along the decks, but reels are vulnerable to saltwater ingress should the deck flood. The rear scupper bungs are hard to reach from the seat.
PERFORMANCE This kayak paddles much better than the Frontier and tracks straighter too, despite not having a rudder. Though not quick, it performs much like other kayaks of this length and once you find a comfortable cruising speed, you can cover the ground at a steady pace.
ACCESSORIES Nu Canoe offers an extensive range of proprietary accessories to fit its versatile rail mounts, many of which featured on this kayak. A leaning rail is an option, along with electric power, and the kayak can even be rowed with the addition of a rowing kit.
TRAILER The boat was supplied on a Kiwi made trailer, which takes most of the pain out of transporting, launching and retrieving a kayak. I’m sold on it. At 37.2kg, plus gear and accessories, it’s essentially a two-man job to lift the kayak on and off the roof of the car and it can only be transported right way up unless you want to remove the seat. Life is much easier with a trailer.
BEACH TROLLEY The Nu Canoe beach trolley slots into a hole in the transom. It worked okay on the Nu Canoe Frontier I trialled, but on the Pursuit the transom distorted so much under load the kayak dragged its hull on the ground. I used my C-tug trolley instead.
LOW FREEBOARD In choppy conditions, I shipped quite a lot of water over the decks, especially when paddling into a head sea. This kayak has relatively flat, open decks with minimal flare in the bows and low freeboard. It’s great to stand up on, the self-draining decks clear the water quickly through the scuppers, and the raised seat keeps your bum dry, but any gear stowed at deck level, including rods and reels, gets wet. There is decent dry stowage in the bow locker, though.