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New to Kayak fishing...bonafide pwr129 vs old town autopilot 120

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52 minutes ago, Jmilburn76 said:

@Zcoker the rudder is one of then things I dislike about my Native since it’s on the bottom and bolted into place. I do have an aftermarket metal one that has been bulletproof but I have even bent it a little unloading.


Same here. Rest of the hull looked nice. I think I've even seen aftermarket flip-up rudders for the Native kayaks similar to the Old Towns. 

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The rudder system on the Natives might be exposed for hauling to and from the water but it's better if you want to add a trolling motor down the road and keep the existing rudder system.


The PWR129 has really caught my attention, for it's rigability, lots of flexibility on outfitting/personalizing and the possibilities for mounting motors. Take the motor out of the AP120 and try paddling it - I bet it would be an absolute chore compared to the PWR, which is a river kayak first. AP136 would be DOA in any kind of wind or heavy current scenario. These two kayaks are wildly different, and the all-in-one solution vs. tinkerers dream is what sets them apart.


Let's not forget price, you could get an Torqueedo 1103 AC, PWR, side kicks, a captain's bridge,  massive battery plus fish finders and still save $$$ over the Old Town + all the accessorizing you're going to end up doing no matter which kayak you end up in. OT does have a pretty good warranty. Bonafide is made in the USA, if that's important to you.


You won't be car topping an AP120 or 136 based on it's weight alone. So trailering or truck bed are a must - do you have the space? Do you have a truck?

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On 3/31/2024 at 9:07 AM, clemsondds said:

Has anyone tried out the pwr 129?


I've been fishing from a Bonafide PWR129 since December of last year.  I'll try to go over it as thorougly as possible.  Let's explore the boat from bow to stern.




Starting at the front of the PWR, the carry handle here has held up to abuse over the past couple of months and done so very comfortably.  I, like all the other kayak fishermen on the planet, and boat fishermen before us, take too many things.  I add about 120# worth of gear onto the boat and regularly drag it over grass via this handle or wheel it around on a C-Tug cart.  I don't think it's going anywhere ever.  Behind that there's a paddle park that Bonafide refers to as the Boss Strap, and it does a lot for me.  I keep my Ketch board on the boat at all times and during travel it's held securely using this strap in conjunction with the Bullwinkle rod stager/Ketch board holder.  They're both very useful accessories and I'm glad there on the boat.  The Bullwinkle is affixed to the rear of the front hatch, which is spacious, secure, and as waterproof as any hatch of this size on a kayak can be.  Additionally, that hatch opens from the front or the rear and it makes it very easy to stow my rods inside the boat for travel should I need or desire to do so.  Also, there are two horizontal rod tubes at the bow of the boat.  I'm not a fan of storing my rods horizontally, so I never use these.  Finishing up the bow, there's a removable plate just behind the hatch that Bonafide calls a Powerlink Port, if I remember correctly.  I haven't utilized this yet but plan to when I add a livescope down the road and it will certainly prove useful as these plates are relatively cheap.  If I ever want to sell the kayak, I can simply replace the plate and the new owner won't have to deal with the holes I've created.  Additionally, it lessens the amount of actual hull drilling one will need to do to fully rig a kayak.  That about wraps up the bow.




Continuing on, the cockpit of the PWR129 is overall spacious and comfortable.  The two Yakattack Tracks serve their purpose for many people, but I'm not one to clog up my working area with accessories after trying many on previous kayaks.  I enjoy using my paddle for small adjustments and things along these get in the way of my paddle stroke.  The Drypod is my favorite part of the boat, allowing me to keep my Garmin Echomap UHD 93SV off my gunnel and directly in front of both of my eyes.  It's a complete system for running a single electronics unit; the transducer is mounted to the bottom of the pod, the cordage and battery live inside of it, and the head unit sits on top.  The deck padding is soft underfoot and the deck itself does not flex.  The scuppers do an excellent job of draining the boat and I submarined the front the last time I was on Lake Lanier catching magnum spotted bass.  The sliding foot braces enable steering via the stock rudder or connection to an aftermarket motor, like the Newport NK series.  They're a little sticky, but I keep a can of silicone spray in the truck to hit them with before I fish and that's made them as smooth as butter, though they still work fine without lubricant.  There are two carry handles along the gunnels that also function as paddle parks, and they hold the paddle securely when bungeed down and just fine without being secured for quick paddle access.  The Hirise Seat is comfortable and high, as I can come to a standing position without the use of my hands to assist if I desire to make a quick pitch or grab a tree limb to get a found lure out of it.  It also has a low position that I've never had to utilize due to the stability of the boat, even when getting absolutely swamped by crosswaves in big water.  Under the seat is the junk drawer, which is easy to slide out from under the seat but also easy to tighten down for transit.  I keep about 30# worth of plastics in the drawer in three large KVD Speedbags.  To the right of the drawer is an area that offers 3700 Box Storage, to the left is another Powerlink Port to save the hull from holes in case you want to mount a switch panel or have more wiring exit.  This is where I plan for my LVS34 cable to exit in the future.  There are also two more tracks just behind and to the left and right of the seat.  Once again, I'm not big on tons of track mounted accessories.  Let's move on to the tankwell.




The tankwell begins with a recess just behind the seat that offers 100ah lifepo4 battery storage and a track to enable a strap to be added to secure it.  The storage area itself is capable of holding several 16x16 kayak crates.  The tankwell tracks are of the side loading variety which allows a t-bolt mounted rail accessory to be quickly slapped on.  These are the tracks that I use to mount my navigation light and I'm sure over 30 trips they've saved me a minute when it comes to setting up the light.  Bonafide has also utilized a bungee system to secure your crate and four omni hooks that work quite well to secure a Yakattack Blackpak Pro.  Mine never leaves my boat.  Finishing up the tankwell, there's another Powerlink Port to route wiring or mount whatever you like at the read of the area.




The Bonafide PWR129s stern is where your rudder lines connect, and I can say I've never utilized the rudder.  My rudder lines connect directly to my Newport NK180s.  There is mounting area here that will accept most anything you could want to add -- a PowerPole, or two, and electric outboards come to mind.  There are an additional two tracks back here to add even more rail mounted accessories, if your heart desires.




The hull was built with stability in mind, and in that area it excels.  It paddles decently and tracks very well.  The underside is best suited to a bunk style cart, but I get by just fine with the flat platforms of a C-Tug that I've had for years.


On 3/31/2024 at 9:07 AM, clemsondds said:

Has anyone tried out the pwr 129?


Now that the build has been covered, I'll tell you how I've built my boat in as few words as possible and my reasoning why when there are other options.


The Build 


First, I powered this boat with a Newport NK180s.  It moves the boat at five miles per hour at full throttle and does what a spot locking motors do, speed wise, at 60% throttle.  A Motorguide xi3 55# will move kayaks between four and five miles per hour at 100%, and drain a 100amp lifepo4 dead in plus or minus two hours.  The outboard also allows me to fish incredibly shallow without adjusting motor height.  I've ripped my xi3 off the front of my Crescent Crew before, the Newport will lift up if reverse isn't locked and has done so on my boat many times with only minor cosmetic damage.  It can also come close to spot lock functionality by feathering the throttle or running it at low speeds forward when fishing into the wind or current or in reverse to fish with the wind or the current.  It also blows through vegetation much cleaner than my xi3 did.


Second, I added additional positional control to the PWR129 via an Anchor Wizard with a chute mounted at the rear.  With a bit of line out it will anchor you in place in wind or current in up to fifteen feet of water almost statically.  I've also accomplished decent holds in forty feet of water with a straight drop of a 6# anchor.  Coupled with the motor, one can make adjustments to the positioning of the bow to continue facing the direction you wish.


Finally, my Yakattack Blackpak Pro 16x16 houses the 24v 50ah lifepo4 battery that powers the motor and holds a small KVD Speedbag loaded with line, scent, and packaged swimbaits.  It also holds seven Plano 3600 boxes loaded with cranks, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, jigs, chatterbaits, etcetera and two Plano 3601 slim boxes that house regular terminal tackle and what I classify as finesse terminal tackle.  The Newport NK180s plugs directly into the rear of the crate where I've added a plug.


To set up my boat, I grab my rods, paddle, life jacket, motor, and pod from the truck.  This is accomplished in two or three trips from my trailered kayak to my cab.  First I carry six rods, put them in the rod tubes of the Blackpak, and then go grab the pod and motor.  Then I'll hook up both and at some point I've put my life jacket on.  The boat is more or less ready to fish in ten to fifteen minutes.  My previous experiences with my xi3 powered Kayak take a few minutes longer.  The xi3 is also thirty pounds heavier than the 180s.


On 3/31/2024 at 9:07 AM, clemsondds said:

Has anyone tried out the pwr 129?


With the tour and the build done, I'll talk about performance and my kayaking experience along with it to justify my assessement.




The boat is stable, fast enough, very well outfitted for the price you pay, and I am very satisfied.  Stability wise, it isn't quite as impressive as the Hobie PA14 I used to run years ago.  Speed wise, I made an Old Town Predator PDL touch eight miles per hour with the pedals and could sprint at seven briefly.  It doesn't paddle as well as either of my Crescent Kayaks, but it's more stable than both.  The Hobie severely lacked in the area of outfitting in comparison.  The Old Town did so slightly.  I've been kayak fishing for fourteen years, starting in a 10' sit-inside and moving to a Hobie Outback, Hobie PA14, Old Town Predator PDL, a pair of Crescents; a CK1 I still paddle and a Crew that needs to be rewired to utilize my xi3, and finally this Bonafide PWR129.


I've been six miles offshore the coast of North Carolina and snatched a 30# king mackerel into a Hobie Outback.  I've done eighteen miles in a day on Lake Murray on an Old Town Predator.  I've caught smallies in the Augusta rapids on my CK1.  I've got a lot of kayak bass fishing experience, way more than some like yourself, and way less than others.


All the kayaks mentioned in this thread are great boats.  You can turn a thousand dollar kayak into a fishing machine.  You can drop a million dollars on a Hobie PA360 and look like every other kayak pro out there. 


With all that said, I'll say the Bonafide PWR129, dollar for dollar in comparison with every other kayak on the market, stands in the upper echelon.  It's a great boat and you won't be sad you went with it instead of any other kayak if you choose to do so. 


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20 hours ago, Dangerfield said:

where's the pics @Hook2Jaw?

I'll get you some pictures on the 15th, that will probably be the next time I'm out.  My little boy is out of school for the summer so fishing has been out of range.

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Ive been in a yak every season since 2006 and although I dont have the PWR or Auto pilot I do have a a SS127 and a Predator as well as a few other high end fishing yaks ( hobie, Jackson and wilderness )


I think the PWR is a better option than the Old town but using a bonafide for the last two season of heavy fishing I can attest that they are not lifelong boats like Hobie and Wilderness. 

I have things breaking, falling off, or failing on my Bonafide regularly. In fact being a member of a few different groups it's pretty common knowledge that they make a great boat, super stable but you have to baby them or they will fall apart. Ive replaced rubber parts or latches multiple times at this point. Its frustrating replacing the same parts every season.

Granted there will always be the retired guy who fishes his once a month from a trailer launch but some of us tourney guys run our boats 3 days or more a week and we see the flaws faster.

Cant go wrong with Bonafide, just treat them gently and they will last you a bit.

Im not saying they arent worth the cost as there is truly some great R/D behind them, as well as they are STABLE, and comfortable to fish but just thought Id give my experience from fishing one of their boats for the last solid two years.

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Both kayaks are great choices. You will not have issues with the stability of either kayak, in some ways the Autopilot 120 might be even better. I'll explain.


I used the SS127 for the past few years and it was a very well thought out kayak. It also has secondary stability that matches or tops anything on the market and one of the better seats. I could step on the side and I might fall in the water and push the kayak away from me, but it won't flip. The PWR 129 seems to take the best of the SS127 and make further upgrades and improvements in terms of rigability. I don't care for the rudder design much as others have said, I tend to drag my kayak from where I take it off the trailer to the water if I'm on grass or sand and with that design, you'll be dragging it on the rudder and not the drag plates. A cart is a must. I didn't have many issues with anything breaking on mine, but the pads don't hold up well, the one at my left foot tore and the seat pads don't stay glued in place. I've heard from several other owners that theirs blew off on the way to the lake. What I found worked the best was double sized tape - I always  kept a roll in my truck and some sandpaper and restuck them every couple of outtings, which was annoying. Also I would have to tighten the handle a couple times a year, because it does come loose.


My kid had the Old Town Topwater 120 for the past few years. The seat on that was rather lacking (it's better on the Sportsman line but not as good as the Bonafide). It didn't allow for the nice little things like the ability to mount the fish finder on the dry pod and have a center mounted fish finder and not as many places to set a rod down in front, although the rod holders on the front sides do work and are also great for rigging on the water. One thing I did like a lot better about my kid's Topwater 120 which should be the same hull as the Autopilot 120 is the performance. I could paddle it about 1mph faster than my SS127, it was almost as hard to flip but it was much less rickety on choppy water, which was great for me since I have terrible balance. There also a ton of storage space in the back, you can fit a 16x16 blackpak pro and a small ice chest and they're accessible - due to where the bungees on the SS127 were, if I put a cooler back there it was behind the Blackpak and I couldn't reach it.


We both now use Old Town Bigwater 132 PDLs. The Bigwater is designed for speed, probably the fastest pedal fishing kayak on the market now (some say the Salty is faster). Navarre Kayak Fishing sells a lot of great upgrades, including a "dashboard" which you could probably mount your fish finder on. The scupper transducer mount is great and keeps my transducer protected from anything it might hit and side view still works as far as there's any light.


My kid did flip his kayak once, intentionally. We went out on the St Lawrence with no gear just to scout it out and see what to expect and we were in a shallow and still cove so he decided to flip it since he had nothing to lose. My other kid took this video right as he went over, but he probably had it rocking for a good couple minutes before this, it took a lot of work!

Ethan Flipping his Kayak.mp4



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