The Ocean Kayaks ‘Trident 15’ was acquired as an upgrade. My previous kayak, Emotion Kayaks ‘Mojo’ had served me well but I never felt totally comfortable on it when there were big waves on the seas or lakes. There were a few features that attracted me towards the Trident series of kayaks and its ability to store gear like rods (Rod Pod) and echo sounders (Sonar Shield) out of harm’s way during surf launchings and landings was one of the main selling points.
Sizes and Measurements
The Trident series of kayaks come in three sizes – 11ft/3.3m, 13ft/3.9m or 15ft/4.5m. I opted for the 15ft/4.5m boat in camo colour.
As opposed to my previous kayak, one look at the Trident 15 will tell you that it is a kayak that is designed and built for nothing other than paddling and fishing. The Rod Pod, Sonar Shield, transducer compatible scupper, Cannon Rod Holder, flush mounted rod holders and generous crate storage space bear testament to this. There are also many, many flat surfaces that can be utilised for a whole host of rigging projects.
The Trident 15 is a long boat. This makes it a fairly fast paced ride which is certainly of benefit when paddling to those marks that are a little bit out of the way. The bow of the boat is high and shaped to cut through surf and ride over waves, which the boat does admirably. It also has no issues or hang ups about traversing a fast flowing tide, cutting through the water with ease.
One downside to the length of the boat is its tendency to ‘weather cock’, interfering with your tracking and pushing you off course. Anticipating this, I ordered a rudder kit with the kayak and an activated rudder makes for an incredibly easy paddle. Without the rudder the Trident 15 is hard work to paddle, even in low winds. I see the rudder as a necessity with this boat and well worth the extra expense. I would go so far as to say that you should avoid this kayak unless you intend fitting a rudder to it. With the rudder, it tracks straight as an arrow with no fuss and I can’t fault the paddling of the craft with the rudder deployed and in use.
The other downside to the length is that you lose a bit of maneuverability. I found that the kayak was hard to turn at first but I am getting used to it now and am becoming more proficient at turning in ever tighter circles. Perhaps this is more to do with me paddling a shorter boat for a few years and becoming too used to its dimensions, rather than a fault of the manufacturer?
The Trident 15 measures 29inches/74cms across. This is less than I was used to and I did worry slightly about the resulting effect on stability but I need not have been concerned. The length of the boat coupled with the width and hull design means that this kayak can handle swells and waves without being put off its stride. The Trident feels a lot more stable than my older boat in anything more than even a light swell.
Starting at the bow, let us now have a look at some of the features of the Trident kayaks. At the very tip of the bow you find a bung. With the kayak inverted, the water runs to this point of the kayak and drains easily. Next to this is the front carry toggle. A heavily thought out design has seen these attached to the kayak with elastics from the bow deck lines, which are all reflective. This ensures that when not in use, the toggle sits flush with the kayak. With no loose toggles hanging down, there is far less chance of snagging an unreachable toggle with fishing hooks when you are a couple of miles/kms offshore.
Next up is the hatch to the hull. To say this is cavernous would be an understatement. There should be no issues for any kayakers, campers or divers that like to store trolleys or large amounts of camping/diving gear in this recess. There is a rubber seal around the diameter of the hatch opening. The cover is a hard plastic that is tethered to the kayak and is held in place with buckled webbing arranged in the shape of an ‘X’ when closed. This secure fitting is referred to by Ocean Kayak as their ‘Cross Lock buckle system’. The fastened hatch cannot be moved and seems to do an excellent job at keeping water out.
Just inside the hatch towards the cockpit is another smart, innovative feature in the form of the ‘Battery Bag’. This hangs from the top of the hull interior and provides the perfect place to store the battery that powers your echo sounder or any other electronics that you may use. Whilst this bag is very handy, it is not 100% waterproof. It may be wise to store your battery inside a drybox before putting it into the ‘Battery Bag’, especially in a marine environment.
Next up; the cockpit. With a seat width of 17inches/43cms and being able to accommodate a leg length of 51inches/130cms, it is fair to say that the Trident 15 should be able to afford space to all but the largest of paddlers. Looking at the bow end of the cockpit, the first thing that we see is the black hatch which is the Sonar Shield. Just ahead of this is a large, flat surface which is ideal for rigging projects. It is here that I have attached a couple of RAM mounts for cameras. The Sonar Shield itself is a small, hinged lid that gives access to a recess capable of holding an echo sounder’s LCD screen. The lid of this recess can then be leaned onto the top of your screen, providing shade for optimum viewing opportunities. During rough landings, the screen can be folded away neatly to keep it safe and out of the way, the lid held in place with webbing and buckles.
After the Sonar Screen, we come to the Rod Pod. This consists of a long hatch that runs through the centre of the cockpit. The lid is made of moulded plastic and tethered to the kayak. It is held in place with webbing and buckles and features a rubber seal for improved water resistance. The top of the cover has been shaped with many fixing points for various bits of hardware to allow you to customise the layout of your cockpit. Here are a couple of my ‘Rod Pod Mods’. The possibilities are endless. The most useful aspect of the pod is access to the full length of the hull whilst you are afloat. This can be utilised to extra store rods, fully made up and ready to fish, while you paddle to your destination. It also allows for your rods and expensive reels to be stowed safely should bad weather and rough seas be encountered. The Rod Pod is another fantastic idea that has been very well designed and thought out.
At either side of the Rod Pod we can see moulded foot braces for paddling. These seem to be sensibly spaced and I found them more comfortable than I thought I would. Above these, I have foot pedals installed, necessary to turn the rudder to keep tracking in a straight line. The scupper holes are also of a good size and allow the kayak to shed water fast if you do happen to take some on board. As you sit in the cockpit, the scupper on your right hand side is the one that is transducer compatible.
Finally, the last thing that you find in the cockpit area is the seat. The standard seat that comes with the Trident series is high-backed, fairly well padded and reasonably comfortable. Held in place by attaching it to pad eyes, it offers decent support when paddling and is rigid enough to lean back into when you are fishing.
Moving back from the seat we find a pair of flush mounted rod holders. The angle and positioning of these rod holders did not appear to be as well thought out as the rest of the kayak, I thought that rods placed within would fall into the path of the paddle stroke and I have had problems with them impeding my paddle stroke. They are effective as storage for rods while paddling but they also do a good job of holding a rod when trolling baits or lures.
Moving further back again, we come to the tank well. This area is divided into two parts. The first, directly behind the seat, is the place to store a small tackle box while keeping it within reach of the angler. The larger of the tank well spaces is well able to hold even some of the larger crates that a lot of kayak anglers favour. Everything is held in place with bungees that are of good quality and all of their fixing points are securely fastened to the boat. There is also scope to add a deck plate to the rear of the tank well, something that I will do at a later date.
After the tank well we see more bungee cord which can be used to secure items such as tents or tarps to the rear of the kayak. Once again, we see another toggle attached to the bungee cord which makes it sit flush with the kayak when not in use, as with the toggle at the bow end. Moving right on to the end of the kayak is where you will find my optional extra, the rudder.
Any fittings that have been added to the kayak are of high quality and have been well secured. Deck lines, bungees, pad eyes, carry handles and all other hardware are mounted expertly. All parts of this kayak seem to be very well thought out designed for their intended purpose – kayak fishing in choppier waters for challenging species. If I am to be very fussy, the one exception to this is the paddle keepers. I think they are poorly positioned and result in the paddle sometimes getting in the way when you are fishing. A minor problem and one that a small rigging project can rectify later on.
Weight and Handling
So what does this kayak and all its features weigh? The answer to this question was one of my deciding factors. The Trident 15 weighs in at 60lbs/27kgs. With the rudder, which is essential on this craft, added you are looking at an extra 5lbs/2kgs. I am not the strongest man in the world and yet I have no problem van topping the kayak on my own in all but the strongest of winds. Anybody of a reasonable level of strength and fitness will be able to do the same.
And now for the sixty four million dollar question; how does it handle? On flat water with no wind it tracks like an arrow and moves like a dart. A long, leisurely paddle is effortless in calm conditions and somebody of a moderate level of fitness would be able to paddle this craft all day. Throw some swells and breeze into the equation and the boat starts to take command of the situation, riding swells with ease and doing nothing erratic to alarm the paddler. With the rudder deployed, the boat goes where you want it to go and feels very responsive to even the deftest paddle movements. Without the rudder, paddling in these conditions becomes very hard work. The stability is excellent and I have not yet felt nervous about potentially tipping the kayak.
The roughest I have taken the Trident 15 out in was a 15 knot wind with 30 knot gusts. This is not ideal fishing conditions but I wanted to see how the boat would handle them. My reasoning was that if a squall blew up on an otherwise calm day, would the Trident be enough to get me through it? It was and more, riding over the waves while the hull cut through the foamed tops with ease. I have a boat that I can depend on to get me out of a tricky situation, should it arise.
The Final Verdict
To summarise; the Trident 15 is a fantastic boat. It has been designed for the avid kayak fisherman and a quick glance will show any kayak angler plenty of useful and interesting features. Using the boat and these features endears you to them even more so. It paddles fantastically well and feels tailor made for fishing in Ireland and the conditions that Irish weather and seas can throw at you. All that said, it is a dog to paddle without the rudder and my advice to anybody considering purchasing the 15ft/4.5m model would be to make sure you get the rudder with it. After speaking to owners of the shorter models, it would appear that they don’t seem to have the same issues with weather cocking.
The Trident 15 will be able to carry almost any amount of gear that the average angler would want/need. It can handle flat water and choppier seas with ease. The craft and its features have been meticulously planned and designed. Use one for a couple of hours and this becomes obvious. The build quality and components used are to decent standards.
The Ocean Kayak Trident 15 – absolutely made for the adventurous kayak angler, just make sure you get the rudder fitted……
For anybody that is interested, my kayak was sourced from Bantry Bay Canoes, Bandon, Co. Cork.