Native Watercraft Slayer 13 Propel...Unbelievable!!!

With the introduction of the Slayer, I was amazed at how Native Watercraft listened to their Pro Staff and Endorsed Guides and also the general public when considering the construction of a new craft. With the Slayer, Native brought some new ideas to the board and refined some that were already out there to produce a fishing Yak that at the time I thought was darned near perfect. How could you improve on this recipe?

Well they did 2014 the Slayer 13 Propel was released and boy did it cause quite a stir. Being a Native Watercraft Endorsed Guide and Pro Staff member, I was very excited when the Slayer 13 Propel was finally released for sale to the public. However I was not in a position myself to snatch one up at the time. So I waited and planned until I thought I could swing the purchase of this much desired (on my part) craft.

When I got my new Copperhead colored beastie home I could not wait to get her outfitted and in action,  So the plastic began flying in the Mad scientist's workshop, and what follows is what rolled out when the (plastic) dust settled.

The first order of business was to install some rod holders and modify my bait tank to fit this new vessel. I had previously used Ram products rocket launcher tubes for my trolling rods but after a couple of years of use they began slipping. I had sanded and cleaned the balls and sockets with solvent to no avail. So I decided to get back to basics and installed flush mount rod holders.

Rod holders for the front required that they be installed in such a way as the rod handles did not extend into the cockpit area and encumber peddling. The solution here was not some of the elaborate contraptions that I am known for cooking up in the past but the Zooka Tube by Yakattack. it worked really well for this application. You will also notice I created some extra storage in the cockpit by installing the nets which come installed on some Hobie kayaks. (Please no ribbing here, They work well)

The bait tank is supported in the front, by sitting on the shelf just in front of the rear grove tracks and is actually attached to the track in the rear. I learned early on that eight gallons of water were heavy and would tend to warp the back deck of the bait well. The gunnels are the strongest points to support weight and are perfect for supporting this kind of weight.

The next order of business was gear storage. The Native Watercraft High/Low First Class Seat organizer fit the bill perfectly here. If you will look closely at the picture you will notice that I also used the two holes drilled in the lower seat bar on each side to make a loop for attaching biners.

Put some bungee and a hook on the Grove track to hold my SOP when not in use.

I also put a set of hooks on the Grove tracks that reinforce the seat support shelf and added some bungee so there is another hold down behind the seat for gear.

I installed the new Lowrance Elite 4 HDI on the starboard side using the Ram ball mount to secure it.

Once the wires exited the Grove track I passed them through the hull using water proof bulkhead seals.

One trick I figured out with my 14.5 Slayer that instead of removing the access cover each time you want to charge the battery was to install a accessory cigarette lighter socket and wire it directly into my wiring harness.. This enables me to attach a male cigarette plug onto the charger leads and just plug it in to charge the battery. The added bonus is that I can use this to also power other things in my kayak that are not hard wired in, as well as charge my phone while out on the water.

I then custom built a rod rest and placed it on the drive unit with a SS 1/4-20 bolt. I like having my favorite top water readily available and with the handle resting on the seat this keeps my Shimano secure and handy.

I added the  Slayer Propel Hatch to keep my stuff dry in the front storage area, and maybe I will install install some Sea Deck one day.

I also installed some LED cockpit lighting just below both gunwales, so I can see how to tie lines in the dark when chasing Striped Bass at night.

Now for the actual impressions and review of this craft. I will first give my impression of each category that I think are important to me.

Layout: Fairly roomy for a peddle kayak, It's only rival in a peddle kayak would be the Hobie Pro Angler which has a ton of room. As with the Slayer which this yak takes it's lineage; the seat, front storage area and Tank well are very nicely laid out and gives the angler a sense of room. there is a ton of room to stash stuff under and behind the seat also.

Stability: This yak is ten times more stable than the original Slayer, mostly due to most of the flotation being on the out side with a tunnel hull design. No shaking or need to shift weight here. You can literally put your foot against the gunnel and completely pick up your other foot to place all your weight against one side and still feel comfortable.

Speed: The best speed I could get from this craft on flat water with no gear in yak was around 5.50 mph. The great thing about the sweet spot is you can literally run 3.5 mph all day at an easy cadence.

Comfort: The issues that others have complained about in the Mariner, I think are a distant memory as Native shortened the crank arms on the drive unit and also set the seat at a height that aligns the operators hips with the axel of the drive unit. It is easy to peddle non stop for an entire day and still not be tired or even slightly uncomfortable.

Reverse: "The Game Changer" all I can say is NICE! You will never know what an awesome ability it is to be able to stop quickly from a full run or even to go in reverse and handle a rod at the same time until you have used it.

Steering: This is one area that I found slightly different to deal with in switching from a paddle kayak. At any speed above 1.5 mph the steering is responsive and turning radius acceptable. However at trolling speeds of .3 to .5 mph and when trying come along side of another kayak the turning suffers slightly and could be improved with a little more surface area on the rudder. I have learned to use a hand paddle to make up for this. Added later, I installed a Boone Dox aftermarket rudder. This baby made all the difference in the world! This craft is now responsive at the slowest speeds and turns on a dime.

Rough water: This yak rides well in the water has good sideboard and handles waves and wakes well. However be warned if you head into a wave at full speed you will have stuff swimming around in your cockpit. (ask me how I know this) This is not due to a design problem as it has to do with the speed of the kayak.

River drifting: If you want to drift with current pull the drive up and use your paddle. The rudder requires water to be moving across it's surface to affect the position of the kayak. If you are drifting the kayak is moving at near the same speed of the water. However, when you want to run up stream drop the drive and take off.

Here is a short clip of me peddling into about a 15 mph head wind and at an easy cadence was able to maintain 3 plus mph. No more struggling against wind and strong current here. Woohoo!

Out of all the kayaks I have owned and the ones I still use, this is perhaps the most versatile and capable kayak in my stable. You will never know how great it is to be hands free until you try it!.

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