The Perception Pescador Pilot is an affordable sit-on-top kayak packed to the gills with fishing features and complete with the included Pilot Drive pedal drive system. The Pilot Drive is performance-engineered to achievethe perfect balance of simplicity and ingenuity, and is ergonomically optimized for all-day hands-free fishing. Outfitted with a Captain's Chairwith on-the-fly adjustable gear tracks and tension knobs, four molded-in rod holders, two YakAttack accessory tracks, a transducer scupper,and two storage consoles for mounting electronics. The best feature? A price that propels the Pescador Pilot into a class all its own.
|Length:||12 ft 5 in / 3.78 m|
|Width:||33.75 in / 85.73 cm|
|Weight:||74 lb / 33.57 kg|
|Capacity:||525 lb / 238.14 kg|
|Number of Paddlers:||1 - Single/Solo|
|Type of Kayak:||Sit on Top|
|Moss Camo †||9351587031||0729282088161|
|Red Tiger Camo||9351587145||0729282088154|
|Sonic Camo †||9351587157||0729282088147|
Took the yak out for the first time yesterday. Great boat. Handled chop and wind very well. It is very stable and tracks very well with the rudder. Also very easy to paddle. Only a few concerns. As everyone else has pointed out, rod holders are overly large and shallow. Can be fixed by making mods and adding flush mount holders. The more concerning issue if the Quick Key. Due to the slight side-to-side sway of the drive while pedaling, the Quick Key kept working itself out. Had to keep pushing it back in with my heel every few minutes. Will try to fix that with a spring clip. I would still recommend this boat for the money. Hopefully Perception can address these issues in the future.
I've put some miles in on this kayak, inshore and offshore. On calm days inshore standing up is no problem. Offshore I wouldn't recommend trying to stand up even on calm days. While launching this kayak in the surf I am able to pull myself onto the kayak no problem, it never felt like it was going to flip ever. My biggest complaint is the pedal drive, its loud. It also pops out of place very easily when pedaling normally so you'll have to put the drive back into place. It happens so much I would not recommend this kayak to anyone who is serious about fishing. Spend the extra money on a kayak with a better drive system. Perception needs to address the issue of the drive popping out of place.
I have wanted a kayak you could peddle for some time, but the prices were just too high and the boats weighed too much. I noticed when Perception came out with the Pilot a year to so ago, but the reviews on the initial products did not sound very good. After several months on the market, Perception had addresses the concerns of the initial product and I decided to give this boat a try. I'm glad I did! I've had this boat for about 6 months and have used it in lakes and saltwater flats so far. This boat has just about everything you need in a fishing kayak. - I really like the storage compartments up front that make mounting a fish finder super easy and you don't have to drill any holes! This boat really is fish finder ready with a transducer recess on the bottom. The compartments are a great place for keeping your wallet and keys too. I noticed that water could get in the holes for the bungee cords, so I put some RTV on the inside of the lid around the bungee cords to help seal the holes. Made the compartments much drier. - Lots of room for stuff in front and rear. I prefer the open bow design instead of a covered compartment. - The seat is comfortable- maybe not as comfortable as my Slayer seat (I also have a Slayer 14.5) - but I can sit in this thing for hours just fine. The seat is easily adjusted for the peddle drive with two thumb screws. Just make sure you tighten the screws down after you remove the seat from the boat or you might lose them if they fully unscrew. - The weight is very manageable unloaded. Compared to other peddle kayaks, this boat is VERY light - 10 to 30 pounds lighter than other peddle boats. - Stability is excellent - you can stand easily and you can use the peddle drive as a pull up bar when getting up. - The rudder system is fine. It can be hard to raise and lower it, but if you turn the rudder so it points toward the cords it raises and lowers much easier. The turning radius is not super tight. If I find an aftermarket rudder with more surface area, I would probably buy one just to get a tighter turning radius. - Tracking is good. you typically need to adjust the rudder some to keep it on track. If you are paddling the boat, make sure the rudder is down - it does not track well without the rudder in the water. - Peddle drive is easy to retract into the hull for paddling in shallow water and is built very solid. I don't see this drive failing any time soon. I can cruise around 3.5 mph with a moderate effort on the peddles. If I really push it, I can go a little over 4 mph. The peddle drive is geared just right. You can get some gear noise when peddling hard, but that does not bother me. Let address some of the initial concerns with the first year's model since once bad reviews get out, it can be hard to overcome the initial negative publicity even after the issues have been fixed. 1. Prop would come loose. This has been address on my boat by using 4 nuts along with lock washers to hold the prop to the shaft. My prop has never come loose after 6 months of hard use and I don't think it ever will. The original design only used a couple nuts and no lock washers. 2. The drive would kick up during normal paddling. The drive is designed to kick up if you hit a submerged object. Unfortunately, early models had issues with the plate that sets the kick up tension coming loose. Some of these reports may have been due to the pivot pin that holds the peddle drive not being fully inserted into the bracket. Shortly after I bought my boat, I found that the drive would kick up just like other reviews said. To make a long story short, I realized that I was not always fully inserting the pin into the bracket. This pin has a shoulder machined into it, and you must make sure that the pin gets FULLY inserted past the shoulder. Once I did that, it has never kicked up again when paddling. 3. The pin that holds the peddle drive in the down position would work its way out during paddling. This problem was fixed by the addition of a cotter pin to hold it in place. All the hardware is mounted so it can't be lost. Even the nut that holds the pivot pin is large enough so it won't go down a scupper hole if dropped (I checked). 4. Molded in rod holders are too wide for most rods. This is true, rods can wobble around in the molded rod holders. I've used them like this anyway, but I will probably install aftermarket rod holders at some point. The Pilot fills a niche in the market that was missing - an affordable peddle fishing kayak. Hobie is trying to do the same thing with the Compass, but I personally feel that the Pilot is a better value, costs less, and has quick reverse which is a big advantage for fishing. I considered both before buying the Pilot. Just be careful if you let someone else use it - you won't get it back! My wife and I went paddling and I let her use the Pilot. I did not get that boat back until we got back to the dock. I'll take peddling anytime over paddling!
I have owned my Perception Pescador Pilot now for almost a year and felt that I have field tested it enough to give it an honest real world review. I have used it in fresh water lakes and rivers, the intercoastal waterway and offshore so I have put it in every type of water one could fish. Overall I am very happy with the Pilot. I think for the price and what you get, you can't beat it. The weight is manageable even loaded with my fishing gear. I have done several YouTube videos showcasing the Pilot and some of the modifications that I have done. A couple minor issues with the kayak have been mentioned in previous reviews and involve the rudder line and wheel. The line becomes very stiff especially in saltwater. I have rinsed it after every time it’s been in saltwater and have used lubricant on the line where it enters the run and they still get rigid and make the kayak hard to turn. Another issue with the rudder is the width, there are times when I am in wind and current that the boat will not turn quickly enough and this can be fixed by making the rudder wider. As also mentioned, the stability of the kayak in open water can be a bit of a challenge. I have poor balance to begin with so the stability was a factor for me. I ended up adding some homemade outriggers which give me the added stability I needed. A tradeoff for the stability is the weight, I am happier being a little less stable than having the increased weight. Even with a larger heavier kayak the amount of time I spent standing was far less than the time I would be loading/unloading, dragging the boat to the surf, dragging it out of the surf, etc.… so overall for me this is a non- issue, especially with the added outriggers. I added YakGear flush mount rod holders which fixed the issue of the rod holders being too shallow. It’s a simple easy modification and they work great. Finally a major issue that I wanted to mention. I had the Boonedox Landing gear installed by the guys at Boonedox and they used my Pilot to do an installation video on closed hull kayaks. Everything worked great but after having the kayak on the landing gear out in the sun I noticed that one of the backing plates had ripped through the top of the kayak. I took the Pilot back to Boonedox and they plastic welded the tear and it’s as good as new, but they did discover something that you may want to be aware of. The plastic on the top of the kayak is pretty thin so if you decide to mount anything or add landing gear this is something that you need to be aware of. Boonedox actually started making special backing plates that have since fixed any issues I had with the landing gear. This is obviously one of the areas where they used less of the plastic to save a little weight and if I didn’t have the landing gear on it, it would probably never have been an issue. Some may read this list and think that there’s a lot wrong with the Pilot, but that is clearly not true. All of the mentioned “issues” are very minor and the thin plastic would have never been an issue if I didn’t add the landing gear. Now that it has been discovered the landing gear comes with correct backing plates so you won’t have that problem. I have heavily modified my Pilot to customize it for the way I like to fish and with all the money I spent on it I have still spent less than about any other bare bones pedal drive kayak. If I were given $4000 and could get any kayak out there, I’d buy two more Pilots and have money left over.