Last year, at the end of April, I won the Monthly Drawing
and received a very generous gift in the form of an Advanced
Elements Dragonfly 1 Kayak from the generous donor
Kayak Pro Shop.
It was some great news when all the other news at the time
was bleak. I promised LadyFisher a nice review article on
it and I'll be darned if 'Life' didn't just jump right in
and say, "Not so fast, mister. I've got other plans for you."
Well, those other plans life had, as well as the loss of a
great man, really sent me into a tailspin. By the time I
figured out how to pull out of it, it was a tad bit too cold
to put my butt in a small puddle of water in the cockpit of
a kayak. You'd think I could have found time last summer,
but I didn't. If you need to blame someone, point at me.
But this is a new year, folks. The weather is turning warmer
(except for the 75 degree days in February, and the snow storms
in April). Today, that nifty little kayak hit the water and
made my son and I two very happy people.
First, the easy part. Inflating the kayak. It has a main
chamber for the hull, and smaller tubes for inflating the
floor and the collar. You can get a foot pump that fills
it up in pretty short order. Need to deflate it a little
so it will fit in the Jeep? The valve unscrews and it
deflated enough in 10 seconds to get it in the back. I
suppose the more practical approach would have been to carry
the whole kit in its Carrying Bag and inflate it lakeside, but
then practical was never my middle name.
It has some great features to make life a little easier on
the water. On the side are two Velcro fasteners to hold your
flyrod firmly in place. When you're ready to start fishing,
switch the paddle with the rod and you don't have to worry
about sending your paddle to "swim with the fishes." There
are carrying handles on the front and back (or bow and stern
for those that know the lingo). A nice, tight bungee cargo
strap cris-crosses across the front and holds more gear.
There's a gear bag and even a little mesh pouch that's attached
in the cockpit so you don't send your keys down to hang out
with your paddle. I'm not a small man, at 6" and 230 pounds
(unfairly collected at my waist). As with any kayak, it's a
close fit, but not uncomfortable, especially with the padded
"Yeah, yeah, that's great but how does it handle," you may ask.
The answer, in a nutshell, is GREAT! I know this will seem
hard to believe, but today when we took it out, it was windy.
In South Dakota, wind is a fact of life. It has often been
said that if the wind ever stopped, all the people would fall
over. The Dragonfly 1 rides pretty low, so the wind didn't
treat it like a sailboat (unlike my pontoon). Paddling was
easy, so when I drifted downrange, it didn't take much effort
to go upwind against the little waves. It rode very smoothly,
and handled the wake from a few speed demon motorboats with ease.
My son, who is 11 years old and has a slight build, had no problems
maneuvering in this kayak, and that's a good thing because the
water was too cold for me to have to swim out and rescue him.
I have never owned a kayak before, but have been in a few.
Maybe it's just because I knew it was mine, but this inflatable
seemed steadier than the other ones I have been in before.
Maybe it's in the design, or because the inflated sides can't
sink so the water keeps them from going under, but I rocked
the kayak pretty good and couldn't even get sideways enough
to take on water.
I'll tell you all this: This is a kayak worth having. The cost
is easy on the pocket, and they even make a 2-person model. I
went to the website before I wrote this and here's some great
news for you…. They reduced the price $20.00 and now include
free shipping. You might want to consider picking one up.
Sale price: $219.95.
I'll leave you with a few small pieces of advice. First, use
a longer flyrod than the 6' I used today. I ended up with a
fly in my ear (never done that before). Second, don't drive
off and leave your Aqua Socks by the Jeep. Gas is too
expensive to have to drive back up to the lake when you
know you don't have time to fish. Tight lines, everyone!
~ Elliott Warshaw, (ilmbaba)
Kayak Pro Shop
Olympic Outdoor Center
P.O. Box 2247
18971 Front Street
Poulsbo, Wa. 98370