2023 Native Watercraft Slayer Propel Max 12.5

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In the world of freshwater fishing, there is a cult of anglers who prefer getting it done from a kayak. And there’s a lot to be said for that—you’re closer to the water; you’re quieter and stealthier; and if you hook a really big fish, you can get towed around on an exhilarating “sleigh ride.” And you can do all of that just a little better when your mode of propulsion is not with your hands but with your feet. Kayaks that eschew paddles for pedal power have been around for years, but there aren’t any ­others quite like the new Slayer Propel Max 12.5 from Native Kayaks.

Native watercraft Slayer Propel Max 12.5 out fishing
The pedal-drive system converts foot-power to propulsion through an actual propeller system. Courtesy Native Watercraft

The key to Native’s propel series is its pedal-drive system that converts foot-power to propulsion through an actual propeller system. The new Slayer ­Propel Max 12.5 uses the Pedal Drive 701 series—an anodized-aluminum pedal ­system with a 10-to-1 gear ratio. It is incredibly easy to install (and remove) in the pre-cut hole in the kayak’s centerline. Once you put your feet on the no-slip ­pedals and start cranking, the silky-smooth pedal drive gets you gliding through the water. You steer it with a stern rudder that’s controlled by a handle to your port side. It’s so simple to use: If you want to go left, point the handle left; turn it right to go right. If you want to back up, simply start pedaling in reverse. It’s so smooth and intuitive, operating the kayak will not interfere with your fishing efforts while casting, drifting and vertical ­jigging, or working a trolling spread.

Native watercraft Slayer Propel Max 12.5 standing and fishing
The Slayer Propel Max 12.5 is stable enough for stand-up fishing. Courtesy Native Watercraft

The three molded-in rod holders make it easy to fish, or have spare rods at the ready when casting. There are also horizontal rod stowage slots along ­either side of the adjustable, hand-stitched  seat. ­Both sides have built-in slots for plastic tackle trays, and there’s an easily accessible slide-out tackle drawer under the seat. There’s plenty of room to bungee in other gear just aft of the seat.

It takes two to car-top the 125-pound yak when it’s fully loaded, but the BMX-style grips on the bow and stern make it easy to lift and handle. You can also opt for the Sidekick wheel system ($279), which makes it easy to transport to and from the water. When you’re on the water, just flip them out of the way and get to fishing.

Native watercraft Slayer Propel Max 12.5 storage
Tackle and rod storage is found throughout. Courtesy Native Watercraft

High Points

  • Propel Pedal Drive 701 -Series provides excellent foot-powered propulsion.
  • The groove track, mounting plates and battery-stowage capacity make it easy to install a fish finder with a transducer.

Pricing and Specs

Price: $2,999 (base)
LOA: 12’6″
Beam: 2’10”
Draft (max): 1’1″
Dry Weight: 125 lb.
Seat/Weight Capacity: 1/500 lb.
Propulsion: Pedal Drive 701 or paddle

Native Watercraft – Fletcher, North Carolina; nativewatercraft.com

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Source: https://www.boatingmag.com/boats/2023-native-watercraft-slayer-propel-max-125-fwbbg/