Ocean Marauder – kayak review
Ocean Marauder fishing kayak
Ocean Marauder Fishing Kayak
Well its taken a while due to work and other interests as well as it being December but we managed to meet up to wet this new, incredibly cheap kayak and boy oh boy were we surprised! Unpacking the kayak we expected to find a cheaply made and flimsy piece of plastic that would fall to bits given the price tag of it and the bundled gear but we must be totally honest when we say that both Wayne & I (Andy) were blown away by the quality of the finish and the good design of it. I was personally expecting a bit of a bathtub of a yak but instead found a big game look-alike and was pleased too.
We were originally offered a “Ranger” for review but I saw the Marauder and was intrigued due to the look of it and the low price tag so here we are. For me its like getting on a Prowler Big Game with £250 in my back pocket to spare. It literally feels the same as my trusty old Big Game I had for 5 years and I loved paddling it. BUT, I kept clipping the sides with my paddle which eased off after a while as I adjusted my stroke to the yaks width and remember I rarely paddle these days with pedaling the Outback all summer in 2014. This yak is going to sell loads in 2015 for sure! In short I’d say it’ll be ideal for the larger paddler where as the Galaxy Sturgeon we recently reviewed is quicker on the water but the Marauder has got a beautiful finish to it that when sitting side saddle is comfortable and doesn’t snag or rip your dry suit/wetsuit or whatever your wearing unlike others yaks out there. The gunwales are nicely rounded and are comfortable to rest your legs over.
The paddle is very light weight and two-piece. I’ve never been a fancy dan where paddles are concerned, to me its a blade to get me to my fishing marks
The rudder didn’t perform very well BUT I have to say its not been set up properly and was hastily rigged and simple to do too. The cord lift/dropper is too thick for me but I only used it once so will comment further when I fish from it….
The pic here doesn’t do the kayak justice as it looks too wide and short which isn’t the case at all. At 12ft 9″ long the kayak is a good length to fish from and on a choppy sea should be okay but we’ll add that later once it warms up…
The tank well is large enough to cater for a good size box as well as fish landed and has 2 scupper holes in it. I plugged all holes prior to launching her and the tank well filled up pretty quickly but when I removed them it drained out and stayed empty so there’s something to keep an eye on.
The two front rod holders for me are too close to the paddler as if a rod is in them you can’t paddle but they’re good for fishing as you could bait up or land a fish without reaching. Personally I’d add another couple further forward or use the given deck mounted rod holder (not used today) but we’ll see…
I think the centre hatch is awesome! the 2 separators in there make keeping your bits n bobs apart easy. The lid is thin and the hinges look a tad flimsy but again its only an initial review (1st look) at this new cheap kayak. The supplied rod holder is very tough but doesn’t come with anything to keep your rod in so you’ll need a leash and possibly drill for a clip.
I’m currently 14 1/2 stone and it sat on the water like I wasn’t on it so weight wise I’d say it’ll take the larger guys no problem I stood up on her as Wayne videoed and the video will show you how it went
Paddling her is okay, I kept clipping the sides at first due to the shape of the hull and not having paddled all year. Its certainly no Hobie or Ultra 4.3 (my last yak) on the water but not too slow either. It tracks superbly well due to the hull shape and recessed tracks down it but I found it pretty hard to turn quickly (as expected on such a yak). The rudder blade is quite thin though and I just noticed in the video that it was pushed out and wasn’t vertical so we’ll need to test its holding capabilities and fit it properly as the pedals were a tad out of my reach for pressing against on the day. Remember that its about getting out there fishing safely not paddling a race and for me I think this yak will do the job nicely around the UK.
The only gripe so far is the lack of ‘flare’ on the bow (edit: I noticed though that watching the video the bow actually sits fine on the water.) It reminds me of the old Perception Caster from 2005/6 I had and I’d change this as the bow hatch seems to have a little ‘play’ on the inward side of it but I’ll water test it asap…
The bow hatch seems rather small to me and I think it’ll struggle with a CTug or RUK trolley but again we need warmer weather to do it as today was the coldest we’ve seen so far this year so we didn’t hang about.
The rear circular hatch is great for accessing the hull and storing stuff but going by experience they get sand in them and stuck or water locked and for me I think a rectangular hatch would of been a better idea with a square tank well wall so a box fits snugly up to it and the back of the seat for access and keeping your box tightly fitted. The rear hatch is also good for installing transducers and battery holders etc.
On landing the kayak we both opened a hatch and checked for water and the hull was bone dry.
We managed to get out one fine spring day to test this kayak on the open sea and in flat to changeable (perfect) conditions. Currently weighing in at (an incredible 😉 ) 13, 1/2 stone, I felt like I was sitting on a prowler big game that I spent 5 years paddling and fishing from and I have to say I felt right at home. The yak sits safely and very safely on the water and is ultra stable. I like the two front rod holders as their angle lies your rod away from the yak at around 45 degrees. I took her out of Eyemouth and St Abbs in Scotland in summer 2015 on weekend trips and absolutely loved it. One time the westerly wind was so strong that the drift took me over a mile off but the paddle back was slow and steady and completely stable.
Eyemouth harbour, landed at the ramp/launch, lovely kayak at a lovely place
I’ll try to add more pictures if I can find them but it was difficult to get any being alone most of the time.
We’ve been pleasantly surprised by this cheap and well made fishing kayak. It really did shock us at how well its made and how stable it is on the sea. After a good 8 or so trips out on her we see a sturdy, stable, sea worthy kayak that looks a genuinely good deal. The front hatch leaked on a choppy sea and we reported it so hopefully this has now been rectified but it wasn’t bad, about a pint of water at the most had leaked in but it was in an 8ft rolling swell though so a little water ingress is quite normal in such conditions.
The rudder movement issue was due to the lack of a cam cleat which it really should have so may be added as standard if it hasn’t already (6 months on).
I took a few lads out on her in summer 2015 to see how they’d react as they were all completely new to the sport and all say they felt very comfortable and secure. It was in a harbour on a flat sea though as expected for safety purposes. The kayak isn’t the quickest on the water but its a fishing kayak and the rudder gives it great tracking and keeps the speed up too.
If your on the larger side and looking to getting into the sport on a budget then don’t go past this yak without a good reason! If you’re simply want stability and safety on the sea then this kayak is possibly the best out there in its price range! I’d go so far as to say I’d happily buy one and out of all the kayaks we’ve reviewed so far this was my favourite 🙂
You can buy the kayak here as well as get all the full specs and information