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12' "fishing" kayaks side/side

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This is my second season of playing with a kayak as a fishing boat. I have also found they make an excellent duck hunting platform. All that said and combining my relocation to live on the water as well as my daughter becoming old enough to duck hunt lead to the need to purchase an additional boat. Thus the opportunity to look at a couple side by side. 

If you have anything to add please feel free to do so. I don't claim to be an expert so if you think I got something wrong please share. 

So here we go... Dry land testing...

image.thumb.jpg.b769ca6c4ea8b468421fd976sorry about the rotation, on the right is my first boat, Old Town Vapor 12'. The left is a Field&Steem Eagle Run 12'. Both are sold as "Angler" models. The O/T has remnants of last seasons paint on it. Both came factory with their versions of camo coloring. 

image.thumb.jpg.8f4725acaa77de3c8bcfeb4aThe cockpit looks to be about the same size on both boats. However, a #7 splash skirt will fit easily on the F/S but will not stay in place on the O/T. 

The seat in the F/S is definitely more comfortable than the O/T. However, the O/T has the seat cut out so the transducer of your flasher can make contact with the hull of the boat. Those who have used a sit in style kayak know there is just enough water in the bottom to keep good contact. 

Both boats have a storage well in the back. The O/T is much deeper that the F/S. The F/S has a bigger footprint and comes with a removable snap in water proof pod, and bungy rippers. Both boats come equipped with 2 rod holders. The F/S has strange tethers that are supposed to clip to your rods. (A moment of personal comment here: I don't like the rod holders in either one. They are a pain to reach and awkward to use. I have had better luck stuffing my second rod into the belly of the boat)

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image.thumb.jpg.54ff06415951a0c09c5fe576now for inside the boats. The F/S was easy to climb into. The seat was a bit difficult to adjust but felt solid when I found the sweet spot. The foot pedals were very awkward to adjust and it took a few try's to get it to where I felt good. Once in the boat it feels small. The padded gunnels are definitely needed. I'm also not sure I can get much for duck decoys inside the boat. image.thumb.jpg.b9537a5621903ad6c349673fIn comparison the O/T feels HUGE!!! The seat adjusts quickly with the pull of the orange ball by my right foot. The pedals are also much quicker to adjust although they don't feel as solid as the others. From experience I know I can creatively pack myself, shotgun, blind bag, 2dozen mixed puddle duck decoys, 3 goose floaters, and a limit of ducks into this boat. And still paddle where I'm going and back home. 

The F/S was markedly more comfortable to lie down in and easier to come back up to a shooting position than the O/T. I'm guessing it was due to the ability to hook your legs to the top deck of the boat for leverage. 

I will say I noticed at this point the design difference in the two. The O/T has a definite crown to it and the entire front deck has an arch like a turtle shell. This feature makes it feel a lot bigger and opens up the inside of the boat for more storage. Wear as the F/S has a much larger and flatter front deck. 


I will get them in the water this weekend if not tonight than Sunday and give my thoughts on the side/side on the water comparison. 

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Ok, time to play on the water. First one more dry land observation. When I flipped the boats over to look at the hull shape this is what I found...


The Old Town has a shallow arch hull and has a lot of front to back rocker to it. 


By contrast the F/S is much flatter



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On the water they are different animals as well. The O/T takes a little more effort of paddle. I use a 240cm double blade paddle and find myself wanting for a 250cm. For a couple reasons. 1st is I get a lot of water off the paddle. Second is I tend to bang my paddle against the side of the boat a lot. It tracks very straight and glides straight when you aren't paddling. It is bothered by the wind though and a drift sock is definitely recomended  if you are drifting along a break line or weed line. 



Things i like about this boat

1. It's huge inside. I am not that big of a guy at 5'8" and 200lbs. But am plenty comfortable in this boat 

2. It is easily paddled with a traditional canoe paddle.

3. You can pack it full of everything and the kitchen sink and it still floats

4. It comes ready to fish. Anchor track and anchor. Decent seat, transducer holder. Lots of things that make life easy when on the water. 

Things i I didn't like.

1. It can be difficult to turn. Like a battleship in the harbor.

2. It failed the cat tail test miserably. The square stern didn't part anything  it plowed into the cattail's about 4" and that's where it sat. If you want to tuck this one in you will need to find a natural shoot or just tuck up against it.

Modifications I have made... The anchor track only goes from the stern to the middle of the boat. I extended it to the bow. I also put some paint on it to dress it up for the duck blind last fall. I will also be changing the seat. Not sure how yet, but it will happen. 

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The Field and Stream felt small to me by comparison. On the water I felt like it needed another foot or two in length. It is a much sleeker boat and much faster than the Old Town. With my 240cm paddle it was effortless to propel unless I was towing my kid back to the landing. (Poor planing on my part) It was not effected by the wind much and drifted very nicely when fishing. It did not do well with the single blade traditional canoe paddle. You could likely get away with a 230cm and still not have the wall banging problems I had in the O/T.

When challenged with the cat tail wall test it passed with room to spare. It backed in up to where I could grab the cat tails and easily pulled as far in as I would have wanted it to. 


1. It fished very well. 

2. It was a much drier ride than I am used to. 

3. Fast and manuverable


1. Felt small to me. I am not sure how it will be with waders on. If I had bigger feet it would be an issue. I also don't think I can get decoys and myself in the boat. May need to rig up another method of decoy transport. 

2. No anchor trolley system.  While there are plenty of places to tie things off to they did not include an anchor or trolly.

3. To spot for a transducer. 

I haven't had this one long enough to make any modification plans. It will get a getto duck blind paint job before September. But that's the only 100% plan at this time. 

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Over all impressions....

Its only my personal opinion, so please take it as such. Over all, I think the Old Town is a more versital boat. It seems to be a good compromise between Kayak and solo Canoe. It would also be a better entry into the Kayak world if you were more used to using a traditional solo canoe. 

But the Field and Stream is going to be more fun. It is all Kayak.

I managed to get into each of these critters for $450 on sale. One last summer and one this spring. They go in the $6-700 range normally. For entry level craft both will get the job done. 

Personal take aways from this review. .... If you have a chance to try different boats, try them!!! Don't just figure a kayak is a kayak or a canoe is a canoe. There are big differences in the way they play and perform. What I like or am looking for in a boat is going to be different than someone else. 

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Replaced the seat in the Attack 'yak with a low sling style turkey/predator seat. Way more comfortable and has made the Old Town a dream to spend time in. The seat wedges in tight and doesn't slip at all. I haven't booted it in yet cause I'm not sure how to do it while still being able to remove the chair. Still a work in progress  

Been fishing in it a couple times since the change. While it makes the seat much more cozy and really enjoyable, it has a bit of a sail effect. So the wind definitely accelerates the drift if I don't plan and position correctly. 

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