I finally got off my duff and put a review of my Cobra Tourer together. Hope this helps you guys.
This has been my first season kayak fishing. I have chosen the Cobra Tourer instead of going with a Cobra Navigator/Explorer. I recognize the Cobra Tourer is a more advanced kayak but I knew I would be staying with the sport for a very long time. Eventually, I would have outgrown the Navigator/Explorer and would have needed to move up to a faster kayak. In the areas that I fish, I typically cover several miles in a day in addition to the trolling I do back and forth trying to scare up some fish.
My impression of this kayak is very positive. I am by nature a very cautious person and have found the Tourer sufficiently stable for all to fish that I have caught this year (largest about 7-8 lbs.). On occasions, I have leaned over the side the little too much or I have taken a wave broadside that resulted in a scare, but I have not flipped yet (touch wood). I have taken waves about 2 1/2 feet over the side and been in white cap situations with pretty big rollers (see other post from Stan) and the kayak has performed well. Maybe the kayak is more stable than my nerves will allow it to demonstrate (read: chicken s4it, but alive
), but I have gotten a lot braver than when I started.
The speed of my Tourer is in a class by itself. I have developed a more aggressive paddling style and this kayak can generate all the speed that I need. Currently, I am using the small touring paddle and I need to move up to a larger blade because the small paddle gurgles as I pull the blade through the water. Maybe I have bad technique, but I will work on that in 2003. This yak picks up speed very quickly and the glide is incredible! This yak will creep up on a blitz extremely well without you having to paddling up to the edge of the feeding fish like some of the wider kayaks. In light chop, you will have some hull slap, but I'm not sure that I have lost any fish as a result of it.
One thing that I don't like about the boat is that without a rudder, it takes several sweeping strokes in order to begin to turn/correct the kayak once you are up on speed. This is understandable because the kayak is 15 feet long. On the other hand, this kayak tracks very well in smooth conditions. Although the yak has very sleek lines and has a very low profile on the water, the kayak does have a tendency to exhibit weather c0cking and the waves if it rolls the yak around, it can affect your tracking. This hooking is present on all yaks, and the Tourer is not different. That is where a rudder comes in handy. Do yourself a favor and get the rudder if you buy this kayak!
Storage inside this 15 ft. kayak is wonderful! With the A Hatch in the front, I can slide my two-piece paddle and a rod down the center rib, two runs along either side of the c0ckpit, with room to spare for a dry bag containing a change of clothing and a small tackle box. The hatch is pretty well forward on the yak and I have not built up the nerve to try and shimmy up to open it while on the water, so I ask my yak buddy to get whatever it is I need. The tankwell can fit a large milk crate along the top edges leaving enough room for your anchor and other stuff including fish to slide underneath and be covered/retained. The 10 inch hatch on the center rib is large enough for you to have access to a small tackle box/lure box via your internal pulley system. The nylon bag that comes with the 10 inch hatch is sufficient for me to have my scupper plugs, stringer, rod tethers, snacks, lunch, phone, keys and wallet.
I am 5'11" with 30" inseam and I am on the second to last foot well. Room for taller guys if needed. Seating is contoured but hard on my bony a$$. You need to get the inflatable seat cushion (aka, blow up air pillow) and your tush will allow you to fish ALL DAY LONG without any problems! Ride is a little wet around the foot wells, but not much water elsewhere. Get scupper plugs if you want all dry. BTW, the yak with my hatches weigh about 56 lbs with some stuff inside (50lbs bare) and is the lightest in it class/size range. Handling is a little cumbersome cause of the length, but even with my rubberband arms, I can press it over my head and heave it onto my SUV.
Did I forget anything? Let me know.