Below is a post I have put on on kayak fishing site KFDU (to explain the context of the audience not knowing sea kayaks). I figured it is worth repeating on here - many sea kayakers do fish occasionally from their boats plus some of the other mods may be helpful. Also, it may be useful for those considering acquiring a Mirage 582.
Plus this forum is way too quiet so even my crap content is better than nothing
Many people fish from time to time from their sea kayaks but very few go to significant efforts to outfit sea kayaks for fishing. By ‘sea kayak’ I mean the line of sit-in seaworthy kayaks with designs derived from the traditional Inuit/ Eskimo kayaks.
Below is an overview of how my new Mirage 582 sea kayak has been outfitted for fishing. I fish most of the time when I am kayaking – quite often simply trolling as I paddle to where I am going but I also stop and fish actively on numerous occasions.
From pure fishability perspectives there are better kayaks than a sea kayak. Something like a Stealth or Kaskazi has more room, under deck rod storage (very useful for big surf launches), better fish storage and being much wider, greater primary stability. And some of the better fishing kayaks are quite capable at sea and no slouches in paddling speed.
So why a sea kayak? Sea kayaks as a craft excel at all-round versatility and dependability. Even compared to the best fishing kayaks the sea kayak is faster (more efficient to paddle long distances), more comfortable (and capable) in rough conditions and able to carry large volumes of gear in the sealed bulkheads (e.g. for a week long kayak camping trip). Surf launches (other than the rods and gear on deck) are no problem. Long distances, camping trips and occasionally taking on pretty rough water are a priority for my kayaking, so the fishing part, whilst important, is prioritised second to this. The primary stability is not there compared to a typical fishing kayak, however the Mirage 582 is in sea kayak terms a very stable kayak (broadly seen as very stable, lazy to paddle, lacking flair and dynamic range but undoubtedly efficient over distance and proven capable in all sea conditions). The key with stability in the sea kayak is that there is a learning curve, and you need to get to the point where rolling your hips to let waves flow under the boat (using the secondary stability) becomes second nature.
The boat does look pretty good on the roof racks
Also something that entered my mind is the stereotypical sea kayaker (out-dated, grey-beard, fuddy-duddy’s) suits me slightly better than the stereotypical surf skier (midlife crisis, trying too hard, fitness types) or stereotypical recreational kayak fisher (ute-driving, cheap beer swilling, bogan types). Oh yes, and then there are the Stealth fishing ski big surf guys, the Bra Boys of kayak fishing
. Now that I have equally offended all kayakers let’s move on!
My previous kayak is a Mirage 580 – almost identical to the 582. Both are 5.8m long and 55.5cm wide – I believe the hull is identical. Compare this with say the Stealth Profisha 575 (which most readers would be more farmiliar) at 5.75m long (though longer waterline due to the plumb bow) and 60.5cm wide. I stuck with the Mirage as it fits the bill for what I want (great long distance cruiser, stable as a rock for fishing, a known quantity and good prices). I had played around quite a bit with outfitting the 580 for fishing over the 9 years I had that boat (many ideas from the other kayak fishers) and so when it came to ordering the 582 I had a pretty good idea of the customisation I wanted to have done at the factory. Mirage were very helpful in working through my ideas (I doubt they get too many customers with so many requests!). I was in no rush to complete the boat and a few ideas went back and forth (no doubt confusing the poor staff at the workshop).
Anyway, enough babble - to the kayak from the factory:
1. Construction is carbon /Innegra. Innegra is a relatively new fibre – I believe it is in some ways similar to the spectra/dyneema fishing lines we nearly all use. Used in composite boats it is light, highly impact resistant and stable over time (unlike Kevlar). It has proven to balance out the very stiff and light carbon making it much tougher (some interesting videos online of trying to destroy carbon / Innegra samples). I still maintain there is not a great difference between carbon and fibreglass on the water (there is a fraction better responsiveness and acceleration with the greater stiffness) but the weight (or lack of) of the carbon boat off the water is nice. I chose a heavier (stronger) layup which means the boat is however by no means ultralight. Whilst recognising the carbon / Innegra choice was one of paying significantly more for a marginally better boat (than fibreglass) I wanted to try out a carbon boat and am glad I went that way.
Unlike my very subtle colour scheme on my previous boat I went with a gaudy semi-Swedish flag colour scheme – yellow hull, blue deck and clear coat carbon darts and cockpit. I think it looks pretty flash and the yellow should be nice and bright if the worst happens and a chopper is looking for me hanging on to the side of the upturned kayak. Yellow will show the scuffs more than white but I am ok with that.
2. Compared to the 580 the 582 adds:
a) The fluting on the deck (apparently to add some strength);
b) Larger front hatch (25cm – used to be 20cm) to make loader camping gear easier;
c) Kajak Sports Oval rear hatch instead of the old neoprene gasket with fibreglass lid. I prefer this new hatch – the neoprene is a bit fiddly and with a little age can get loose and leak a bit;
d) The external seam line is much wider than the 580 and has a bulky, textured look (I presume from the fibreglass tape used). I presume this was done to increase the strength of the join and I personally find the more industrial look of this seam nicer looking than the thin join of my 580;
e) The thigh braces on the 582 are moulded as one part with the cockpit rim and are of a different geometry to the old ones which were also factory fitted (I know as I compared my foam padding cut-outs between the two boats and also took some measurements). The new thigh braces extend back further to the seat. I have found these new braces superior to the old ones and being one with the rim they feel very solid.
3. Now for the customised options I had the factory build into the boat and the additions I have made myself:
a) I had the electric bilge pump fitted which many sea kayakers request. This pumps out water from the cockpit should it be flooded. However the usual practice of the battery being in a dry bag in the day hatch was a problem. I put lots of tackle boxes and stuff in the day hatch and am regularly rummaging around in there on the water trying to locate a particular box of lures. A loose battery and wires would easily get tangled up and risk having the wires pulled. I asked about having the battery placed in the rear hatch -instead the factory came up with the solution of placed the battery in a sealed box bungeed tight against the bulkhead wall. This has worked well in practice (I tidied up the wires a bit more with some stick on hooks) and no snagged wires so far. I notice Mirage now offers this battery box solution as standard for the bilge pump (the photos on their website are from my kayak). The switch for the pump (located on the back deck just behind the cockpit) is coved by a bridge – this prevents it accidently being switched to on, e.g. by a fishing rod tether;
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