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juicecarlson

Yak Decisions: Native Slayer Pro 12 vs Bonafide RS117

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Hey y'all,

 

I just went to a local purveyor of kayaks with my heart set on a Native Slayer 12 Pro. It's marked down to $1100 from around $1370. Pretty sweet kayak. Seating and other features seem great. Materials are fine. Not really any dry storage - bow storage isn't exactly water-tight (not a deal breaker).

 

Asked, on a whim, to see a Bonafide RS117 because it had comparable features at first glance... Actually, materials are better. Metal in place of plastic and the design seems a bit more stable.

 

I primarily fish medium-sized lakes and prairie potholes and smaller rivers and streams (The Milwaukee River is the largest I fish). I want to be able to stand and fish for prolonged periods of time and still be able to handle some moderate river fishing.

 

The Bonafide is $100 cheaper and seems like more boat, honestly. I'll be test-paddling both in two weeks. But before I do, I thought I'd ask y'all. What do you think?

 

~Juice

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I recently purchased a fishing kayak. (Purchased but not fished yet). Did tons of research. Read plenty of reviews on the most stable fishing kayaks. Would like to be able to stand and fish. One measure of this ability is to look at the hull design. Is it "pontoon like".

The Bonifide SS 107 (no, not the RS 117) made my short list. I eventually went with Wilderness Systems Radar 115. 

I'm bringing this up because sounds like you may be going down a similar path that I walked through.
 

Karl

 

 

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The Bonafide is probably a better fit for what you describe.  It doesn't have the in hull storage, but I find that's really overrated.  You'll like the handles better than the Native's.  Standing, tracking, and maneuverability is probably about the same.  The Bonafide is made here in the USA, which is becoming a rare thing.

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They both look very similar at 1st glance. The handle setup does look like it's easier to deal with on the Bonafide as J Franco already stated.

 

Get some seat and paddle time and decide which one would work out best for you. 

 

Native Watercraft kayaks are also made in the USA. 

 

Good luck on your quest for the perfect for you yak!

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1 hour ago, diehardbassfishing said:

I recently purchased a fishing kayak. (Purchased but not fished yet). Did tons of research. Read plenty of reviews on the most stable fishing kayaks. Would like to be able to stand and fish. One measure of this ability is to look at the hull design. Is it "pontoon like".

The Bonifide SS 107 (no, not the RS 117) made my short list. I eventually went with Wilderness Systems Radar 115. 

I'm bringing this up because sounds like you may be going down a similar path that I walked through.
 

Karl

 

 

I took a gander at the Radar 115. You made a great choice - it seems to do a lot of things well from all I've read. That boat is technically in my budget.  So, in a couple weeks when i paddle a few, I'll make sure to give it a whirl. (That is, if i can keep myself from buying one before Sunday! 71 degrees in Wisconsin...)

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10 minutes ago, kenmitch said:

Native Watercraft kayaks are also made in the USA.

Thanks for that, I wasn't sure.  Lots of boats coming from China these days.  Seems crazy to me that it's cheaper to roto-mold them there, and ship them here, than just do it all here.  I already knew the WS boats are US made - I used to be a Wildy pro. ;)

 

One note on the Radar, many smaller guys have said it's a little too big, leg wise.  Like it's made for taller people.  I never got in one, so can't really comment.  As stated above and can't be stated enough: get seat time!

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1 hour ago, J Francho said:

The Bonafide is probably a better fit for what you describe.  It doesn't have the in hull storage, but I find that's really overrated.  You'll like the handles better than the Native's.  Standing, tracking, and maneuverability is probably about the same.  The Bonafide is made here in the USA, which is becoming a rare thing.

Yeah i suppose i couldn't go wrong either way. It was funny - i had two different guys from the shop advocating for each respective yak, making good points. I'll let y'all know what transpires when i pull the trigger.

4 minutes ago, J Francho said:

Thanks for that, I wasn't sure.  Lots of boats coming from China these days.  Seems crazy to me that it's cheaper to roto-mold them there, and ship them here, than just do it all here.  I already knew the WS boats are US made - I used to be a Wildy pro. ;)

 

One note on the Radar, many smaller guys have said it's a little too big, leg wise.  Like it's made for taller people.  I never got in one, so can't really comment.  As stated above and can't be stated enough: get seat time!

For the record, I'm 6' 1" 175 and a lanky son of a gun haha.

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I think your decision is gonna come down to some intangible, like the seat on this boat just feels right.  You're looking at a couple very nice boats.

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Your best bet is to do exactly what you say, test both out then

make your decision. Bonafide is the new kid on the block and

from all I've seen, makes a great yak.

 

The Slayer was once called the Native Ultimate with scuppers.

I happen to rock the Ultimate 12, had it for a long time. It was

really between that yak and the Wildy Commander (which @J Francho)

used to rock. For me it came down to in-store time, sitting and

standing in both. I liked the U12 better. Wish I could have taken

both on the water for a demo.

 

If and when I'm back in the market for a new yak, most brands

will be on the table to look at which allow me to stand, easy 

setup for a foot-controlled trolling motor, etc., unless I go pedal.

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1 minute ago, J Francho said:

I think your decision is gonna come down to some intangible, like the seat on this boat just feels right.  You're looking at a couple very nice boats.

You're totally right and it's gonna be the all-metal tracks and platforms for the foot pegs on the Bonafide. The pegs on the Native are really flimsy and not angled upward.

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3 hours ago, J Francho said:

Thanks for that, I wasn't sure.  Lots of boats coming from China these days.  Seems crazy to me that it's cheaper to roto-mold them there, and ship them here, than just do it all here.  I already knew the WS boats are US made - I used to be a Wildy pro. ;)

 

People seem to gloss over that fact when they recommend certain brands *cough* Vibe *cough*. Then complain about quality issues. I was interested in a Sea Ghost 110 until this years model came out with a $100 price increase and don't come with a paddle now. I'm sure they're still great kayaks, but for $900 there are great American made options in a similar price range. 

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Check out a NuCanoe Flint too.

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I just bought a Bonafide RS117 and I can tell you it is definitly stable, and there is plenty of room at least IMO, to stand and fish for hours at a time. The longest I’ve had it out so far was a 7 hour day last week. Aside from sitting to paddle to different spots of the lake and the 35 minute paddle back to the ramp in the 15mlh head wind, I was standing the entire time. 

 

I dont have great balance to start with, so I wanted something in the “super stable” category and the RS impressed me the very first time I put it on water. I stepped on and paddled away from the bank while standing. 

It will rock side to side, but if I shift my weight just right, I can stand on one leg on one side of the boat and it will not try to tip. On rougher water with boats wakes or big rolling waves that’s going to be different. I have a hard time standing on dry land at times, but I can easily pop up and stand on the RS. I imagine an SS would be even better since it’s a wider and heavier boat. That one was on my short list, but my decision came down to budget and the idea that a slightly smaller yak would be better for what I want to do, which is smaller lakes and small rivers with areas of class 1 and 2 rapids. I haven’t taken it on a river yet, we had heavy rain last week that pushed river levels and current up, and lots of rain today which will probably have most rivers in my area at or near flood stage. I’m sure it will perform just fine, if river levels ever get back to normal. 

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17 hours ago, TBAG said:

Check out a NuCanoe Flint too.

I was also going to recommend the Flint.  NuCanoe makes great kayaks and has amazing service.  If your prefer an open deck and the ability to customize more then NuCanoe is the best.  Bonafide and Native are also great kayaks as well though so certainly nothing wrong going that route.

 

Also, NuCanoe's kayaks are made in Wisconsin.

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42 minutes ago, Hawkeye21 said:

I was also going to recommend the Flint.  NuCanoe makes great kayaks and has amazing service.  If your prefer an open deck and the ability to customize more then NuCanoe is the best.  Bonafide and Native are also great kayaks as well though so certainly nothing wrong going that route.

 

Also, NuCanoe's kayaks are made in Wisconsin.

I looked into NuCanoe Flints, too. They may be too bare bones for me. I wish my preferred kayak shop carried them so I could really give them a good once-over. I'm in Milwaukee and the nearest dealer is in Rockford, Illinois!

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Gosh, I think I'd consider the new Native 12XC for almost the same money. It has a retractable skeg, chain anchor chutes, under-seat storage, high/low seat, and it's 36.5" wide making for a very stable platform. I also like the horizontal rod storage which is very nice for river fishing near banks with trees overhead. A whole lot to love here.

 

It is heavy, no doubt, but other than that, it just seems like it has a ton of features for the places you describe fishing.

 

 

Slayer-12-XC-Features-1.jpg

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13 hours ago, Fairtax4me said:

I just bought a Bonafide RS117 and I can tell you it is definitly stable, and there is plenty of room at least IMO, to stand and fish for hours at a time. The longest I’ve had it out so far was a 7 hour day last week. Aside from sitting to paddle to different spots of the lake and the 35 minute paddle back to the ramp in the 15mlh head wind, I was standing the entire time. 

 

I dont have great balance to start with, so I wanted something in the “super stable” category and the RS impressed me the very first time I put it on water. I stepped on and paddled away from the bank while standing. 

It will rock side to side, but if I shift my weight just right, I can stand on one leg on one side of the boat and it will not try to tip. On rougher water with boats wakes or big rolling waves that’s going to be different. I have a hard time standing on dry land at times, but I can easily pop up and stand on the RS. I imagine an SS would be even better since it’s a wider and heavier boat. That one was on my short list, but my decision came down to budget and the idea that a slightly smaller yak would be better for what I want to do, which is smaller lakes and small rivers with areas of class 1 and 2 rapids. I haven’t taken it on a river yet, we had heavy rain last week that pushed river levels and current up, and lots of rain today which will probably have most rivers in my area at or near flood stage. I’m sure it will perform just fine, if river levels ever get back to normal. 

It sounds like you fish really similar settings to me. The Rise is starting to sound the strongest, but I'm not counting out that Slayer. I initially started out with three boats in mind - the third was an Old Town Topwater 120 and its hull design looked less-than-hydrodynamic.

 

Thanks for the input! I'll be standing a ton in my yak, too

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13 minutes ago, Brad Reid said:

Gosh, I think I'd consider the new Native 12XC for almost the same money. It has a retractable skeg, chain anchor chutes, under-seat storage, high/low seat, and it's 36.5" wide making for a very stable platform. I also like the horizontal rod storage which is very nice for river fishing near banks with trees overhead. A whole lot to love here.

 

It is heavy, no doubt, but other than that, it just seems like it has a ton of features for the places you describe fishing.

 

 

Slayer-12-XC-Features-1.jpg

I'd be getting the pro for $1100 (overstock on sale). So, an extra $400 for the XC is a bit much. It's a great boat though

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Hey y'all! Ended up getting the RS117. Both kayaks tracked about the same. The Slayer had a lot of extras it came with (anchor trolleys, scupper plugs, keel wheel, paddle holder, sewn tool caddy), but the RS117 was more stable while standing. I figured I could slowly accumulate the extras. First day out on the water confirmed I made the right choice!

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On 5/6/2019 at 8:08 AM, juicecarlson said:

Hey y'all! Ended up getting the RS117. Both kayaks tracked about the same. The Slayer had a lot of extras it came with (anchor trolleys, scupper plugs, keel wheel, paddle holder, sewn tool caddy), but the RS117 was more stable while standing. I figured I could slowly accumulate the extras. First day out on the water confirmed I made the right choice!

I looked at those last week in Pickens, SC hoping I would go away with one, but I could not get comfortable in anything. I drove over to Anderson and bought a little Sun Dolphin Sportsman. Cool little boat that’s much more comfortable for my 6’-6” self, but I wanted a Bonafide! Really well made. 

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