Tim Bauer is an avid fisherman in Hawaii. He has been a loyal Stealth customer for many years. Here’s his story on the ProFisha and Fisha kayaks…
I had been fascinated by Stealth for many years but was detoured by two unfounded concerns:
1) That the ski would be destroyed by the lava rock launches of Hawaii
2) That a fixed rudder would be damaged and that fish would wrap themselves around it.
Neither turns out to be an issue, a trolley facilitates an easy launch and retrieval with solo use and the fixed rudder withstands very significant accidental impact. The new line guards are a snap to install and prevent any entanglement. Another barrier was that the closest ski was 296 miles away on a neighbour island and the closest dealer was 3,907 miles away on the mainland thus making a test paddle all but impossible. This sent me on a search to read everything possible about Stealth and to watch every You Tube video I could find. I was easily convinced to order a ski but was left a bit confused as to which one. To make a long story short, I ended up starting with a Fisha 500 and after paddling it for a few months ordered a Pro Fisha 575. This had nothing to do with any unhappiness with the 500 rather it gave me the ability to see what different qualities the Pro Fisha would offer and I am very pleased to have both.
The characteristics chart on the Stealth web site is very helpful, but does not tell the full story as to how each ski may apply to your specific fishery or physical needs. If possible it is well worth a bit of a trip to paddle the full line. If this is not possible (as was my case) I hope the following is helpful…
The Fisha has a slightly wider and flatter hull. It is approximately 1 mph faster than a similar rotomolded polyethylene kayak. It is nimble and turns on a dime. The foot wells are a bit wider so those who typically paddle in a colder environment may find that dry suits and boots fit better. It has a larger carrying capacity and its flatter hull may be better suited to those carrying more or heavier gear. Anglers carrying crab pots, using downriggers, or fishing depths for bottom fish with heavy leads may find it advantageous. Likewise pulling divers and flashers for salmon may be better suited to the Fisha.
The Pro Fisha is approximately 1mph faster than the Fisha. Its turning radius is not as tight and with its longer hull it takes a few extra strokes to turn it up into a stiff wind. That said, once you are headed into a short choppy sea it moves more steadily than the Fisha and seems not to stall as easily and overall gives you a quicker ride in those conditions. It has a quicker moment which is not to be confused with instability. For those changing from plastic, the ride will feel a bit twitchy at first but that feeling goes away quickly. The glide is longer and like the Fisha uses less energy over a day on the water. I have found that while it does not drastically effect performance or speed you do feel some sluggishness with significant weight in the fish hatch (50 lbs and above) with the Pro Fisha while it does not seem to effect the Fisha as much.
There is a lot of talk about stability in kayak fishing. Neither of these ski’s should be considered unstable, as previously mentioned the Pro Fisha has a quicker moment but I have leadered Marlin in the 150lb range with no more concern about stability than the Fisha. While there are many reasons to choose one Stealth ski over another I personally do not think stability is one of them.
While the perfect fishing kayak may not have been conceived as yet, Stealth is by far at the top of the pack. They combine a fast stable ride and outstanding comfort with a no nonsense fishing platform that has been extremely well thought out. Both have a fish hatch that will accommodate the largest catch. The manufacturing quality is outstanding and superior customer service accompanies the sale. In essence, these are all custom built skis and there are colour and accessory options available with a factory order. While this will delay your acquisition the special attention to your needs is well worth the wait.
If I give the impression that I am a true believer…it’s because I am. These skis are truly outstanding in every aspect and for off shore fishing they provide a transformational experience. If I can be of any assistance to you please do not hesitate to contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t say enough about the USA distributor Dan Arbuckle at the Headwaters kayak shop in Lodi Ca. Dan can be contacted at email@example.com. Lastly, Mahalo Nui to Adam King for bringing Stealth to the mid Pacific and giving us the impetus to make the change to Stealth!!!
Eat, Sleep, Paddle, Fish