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Old Town Predator PDL Reviews

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I was offered a deal on the new Old Town Predator PDL that is too hard to turn down. For those of you who have a Predator PDL, what're your thoughts on it? How does it perform on the water? Is it easy to put up on your truck or do you prefer getting a trailer for it? Is it easy to stand up and fish out of? Any disadvantages that you have had with this model? Any thoughts/comments are greatly appreciated. I'm fairly new to the whole Kayak scene, but have heard great things about Old Town Kayaks!

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Ive sat in and played around in the non pedal predator. coming from a slayer 10 the predator felt like i was in a caprice classic. very spacious and stable to paddle and stand on. but like the caprice classic its a big heavy ride. being a smaller guy i dont think i would be happy loading and unloading that beast by myself. my friend is a big guy and he asks me to help him load and unload it on his suv. 

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I have one.  It's easy for me to stand up and fish from, and I am overweight and ruined my ankles in the service.  I have only loaded it in my truck, haven't cartopped this kayak yet, and don't have a trailer.  I can definitely load it on my truck; certainly no 10' Tarpon, but I manage.  With the seat and pedal drive out of it, I can lift it by the side handle to move it short distances, but wouldn't want to do that for much over 50 yards (same for my Jackson Coosa HD). If I move it any distance, it's on a cart I built.  It's over 13', but it's fine in my truck, which has a 8' bed with a toolbox.  For me, it was better than anything else on the market for me, and I guess that still stands from what I see.  The others I considered were the 13' WS Radar, the Jackson Coosa FD, and the Hobie Outback.  The Predator PDL won out for me because it was more stable and I liked the more open layout than the Radar, maneuvered/turned a lot better and was also more stable than the Coosa FD, and was hands-free in reverse.  The old Hobie system was hard to go from forward to reverse (which is really useful for a pedal drive), but it looks like the came up with a 5 grand solution with the 360 drive.  The new Predator PDLs that they showed at ICast are going to have deck padding, a front facing flush mount rod holder, and be about $300 less than the last model, so take that into consideration when you look at the discount.  I think the new one will have a cheaper front hatch cover, and maybe the small hatch in the PDL drive itself will be cheaper.  But I'm just guessing, I haven't seen the new ones in person.  The plates look like something I'd still change out for a rail system.  I have the YakAttack ones, so there's another $160. 

I really like my Predator PDL.  The pedal drive feels rock solid.  It needs about 2 feet of water to operate, no feathering the pedals like a Hobie or 1/2 up position like the Jackson FD.  It is fast, and you will get a workout pedaling it, but it's much easier than trying to paddle a fishing kayak with these dimensions and weight.  The rudder is capable of turning the kayak sharply enough that you'll want to slow down if you have some speed built up when you move the rudder control deftly.  I bought the adapter so that I can use it as a paddle-only kayak (they're about $100) in shallow water, and I use that when I take someone along that doesn't have their own kayak.

The things I'm not crazy about: 1) It has some serious curves topside that make it a challenge to strap a cart to (I strap it right under the seat, but that makes getting the cart that far forward a challenge) and I had planned to put the Boonedox wheel kit on it, but I think that might be a challenge.  I stack this on top of my Coosa HD when I'm hauling them both, using a 4"X4" as a spacer.  To stack something on top of this you'd need a piece of 12" I beam. 2) The tranducer scupper only accommodates a tiny transducer, like the ones that come with a $100 graph.  I ended up with a box that houses my graph, transducer on a arm, and the battery.  I've grown to like the setup because it all comes off as one piece, but originally I hoped to set it up a graph differently, but that scupper really threw a wrench in my plans.

At the rate the new kayaks are coming out, the next best thing may be just around the corner.  If you're not chasing that, this is a solid pedal kayak.

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If OK doesn't come out with a pedal drive Big Game soon, I can see myself in a OT PDL.

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I'm moving from a Hobie PA14 to an Old Town Predator PDL 2020 off word of mouth and reports like the one @CountryboyinDC just posted.

 

Ain't paying no tariff fees, Hobie.  Thanks, though. 

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Headwaters Kayak has a vid on YT on how to install Boonedox on a Pred PDL. Seems pretty simple. Looks like its the "non groovy "or older version of Landing gear in that vid. You need to "add" the small rear hatch to provide access to install the backing plate. Everything else seems straightforward. I think a cart, any cart is simpler than a trailer but would do one or the other for that boat, its a beast. I've fished from a Predator Pdl and they're pretty sweet. If I didn't already own  an Outback I'd get one and still might and let the Mrs use the OB. Not sure from your OP if this Pred is new? The OT warranty is probably the best in the industry. Lifetime on the hull, 5yrs on pdl drive. Sounds too good to pass up. Keep us posted and good luck

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11 hours ago, CountryboyinDC said:

I have one.  It's easy for me to stand up and fish from, and I am overweight and ruined my ankles in the service.  I have only loaded it in my truck, haven't cartopped this kayak yet, and don't have a trailer.  I can definitely load it on my truck; certainly no 10' Tarpon, but I manage.  With the seat and pedal drive out of it, I can lift it by the side handle to move it short distances, but wouldn't want to do that for much over 50 yards (same for my Jackson Coosa HD). If I move it any distance, it's on a cart I built.  It's over 13', but it's fine in my truck, which has a 8' bed with a toolbox. 

My main concern is how I'm going to tow it. Is it doable to cartop it do you think? I would like to go that route since it would be cheaper than buying a trailer for it IMO, unless you have a better solution? I have a Ford Escape with a hitch so the trailer is possible, but I would like to just cartop it if I could. What're your thoughts?

26 minutes ago, fishnbear said:

Headwaters Kayak has a vid on YT on how to install Boonedox on a Pred PDL. Seems pretty simple. Looks like its the "non groovy "or older version of Landing gear in that vid. You need to "add" the small rear hatch to provide access to install the backing plate. Everything else seems straightforward. I think a cart, any cart is simpler than a trailer but would do one or the other for that boat, its a beast. I've fished from a Predator Pdl and they're pretty sweet. If I didn't already own  an Outback I'd get one and still might and let the Mrs use the OB. Not sure from your OP if this Pred is new? The OT warranty is probably the best in the industry. Lifetime on the hull, 5yrs on pdl drive. Sounds too good to pass up. Keep us posted and good luck

Yup, the Predator PDL is brand new so that is great news about the warrant in case something were to happen to it! What're your thoughts on cartopping it since it is 115 pounds or so? I just need to have the trailer or cartop set up prior to me going to pick it up, otherwise I plan on going for it!

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@Harold Scoggins, I think the OK Big Game is enough like the Predator PDL that you'd feel at home in one.  Obviously they share hull design elements, and the same parent company.  I have seen, but not paddled a BGII, but I know they have a reputation for high weight capacity.  I don't know what the chance is for OK to come out with a Big Game PDL.

@Hook2Jaw, I usually don't see people moving from PAs to Predator PDLs.  I think that the PDL does have some advantages from my perspective even over a PA, but most would see it as a step down/backward.  You might miss the seat on your Hobie, though.  There's no kayak seat that comes within spitting distance of the PA IMHO.  

7 hours ago, fishnbear said:

Headwaters Kayak has a vid on YT on how to install Boonedox on a Pred PDL.

This video is great.  It addresses some of the troubles I predicted.  I'm still not sure if the plastic on the gunnels where the brackets/backing plates go will won't fail over time.  There's not very much flat surface on a Predator PDL like most kayaks.  I was planning to put a 6" hatch to install some lights anyway, so I may still may go the Boonedox route.  I don't like how far back he ends up installing it - I wish there was a way to get them closer to the seat, but it looks like that's the only feasible location.

@Largies4Life, I think it depends on you as to whether cartopping is going to work out.  If you already have the rails and crossbars, then all you'll need is a bath mat with a rubberized bottom, and you'll find out when you try it.  There are a lot of videos showing this method, and a lot of guys I fish with that have 14' ATAKs and Big Rigs get their kayaks on the vehicle this way.  You'll want to keep the kayak right side-up as opposed to a canoe which you want gunnels down.  If it works out, you'd probably want a saddle of some sort - this kayak has a pronounced keel line.  I have the Yakima Big Fish, which has worked for my other kayak, and I bet it would be fine with the Predator PDL.  It is a big kayak though; I'm guessing 95 lbs with the PDL drive and seat out.  If it means saving your back, the trailer may be worth the expense and hassle.

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26 minutes ago, CountryboyinDC said:

 

@Hook2Jaw, I usually don't see people moving from PAs to Predator PDLs.  I think that the PDL does have some advantages from my perspective even over a PA, but most would see it as a step down/backward.  You might miss the seat on your Hobie, though.  There's no kayak seat that comes within spitting distance of the PA IMHO.  

I kid you not when I say an Ascend Kayak seat I modded onto a 2010 Hobie Outback was more comfortable than the PA seat.  I'm not that big of a fan, and don't need a super comfortable seat to be okay.

 

I'm really looking forward to accessing reverse quicker. 

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16 hours ago, Hook2Jaw said:

I kid you not when I say an Ascend Kayak seat I modded onto a 2010 Hobie Outback was more comfortable than the PA seat.  I'm not that big of a fan, and don't need a super comfortable seat to be okay.

That's the first time I've heard that, and I don't know that I've sat in an Outback seat from the pre-180 Mirage drive era.  We all have different bottoms, though.  I'm one of the few people that doesn't like the Bonafide seat.  After fishing it a day, I came off it feeling like I was 80.  My hips hurt and I had a hard time walking for about 15 minutes.  A lot of guys and girls with more posterior than I have sit in them and love them.  

The reverse function is a huge deal - you're going to be amazed at how much you use it on days with even a little wind.  Instead of the stakeout pole or anchor, you can just keep your feet on the pedals.  It's awesome!

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