In 2015 NuCanoe came out with their latest kayak, the Pursuit. It’s a slimmer and longer version than their other kayak, the Frontier. It comes in at 13.5’ long, 35” wide and has a open deck with lots of rigging options. Plus NuCanoe released a new frame style seat that takes their chair game to a new level. Let’s take a closer look and see if it’s a Catch or a Release.
The rotomolded polyethylene kayak has two access points to the hull. One small circular hatch, similar to Hobie’s, in the back and a big hinged hatch with a removable tray in the front. The hatch in the back is too small to pack much of anything inside the hull, but it does allow you access to the back for any rigging you may want to do. In the front the hatch has a deep removable tray which easily holds extra bottles of water, lunch, straps, and much more! When traveling, I removed the tray and stored it in my car. In it’s place, I was able to pack 2 spinning rods, 1 fly rod, fly bag, hawg trough, and life jacket. The Pursuit offers 4 rod holders that stretch the front third of the yak and small ledges to rest the butt of the rod near the seat. I was easily able to fit my 9’ fly rod with room to spare. Plus it offers a paddle holster on each side near the rod holders. It is easy to place the paddle down on either side with a single hand.
As far as rigging, this kayak has endless possibilities. There are 6 sets of freedom tracks, which are similar to YakAttacks Gear Tracks. Two 14” tracks in the front, 54” tracks on the floor, and 18” tracks in the stern. This allows you to move the seat anywhere on the floor tracks plus you can easily add your gear on the floor, the front, or back tracks!
Looking at the stability and speed of the Pursuit I was quite impressed. As I mentioned earlier the kayak is 35” wide. This puts it wider than many of the kayaks on the market, but helps tremendously with the stability. At 6’ tall and 160lbs I was able to stand up, turn around, walk to the front and back without any fear of tipping. I even had my 75lb dog with me and he walked all around, looked over the edge, and even walked off the kayak and the boat never felt like it was going to tip. Now even though the kayak is wide it has some good speed. When I was paddling casually, I was able to get 3mph. When I pushed myself and paddled fast and hard I got up to 4mph. Is it the fastest out there, no, but it has very good speed for the width.
They have raised their game with the new seat. It is a lawn chair style seat that offers high/low positions and lumbar support. The seat back can easily be adjusted easily with straps and clips. Plus you can adjust how tight the cloth on the seat is with straps pretty quickly. With the freedom tracks the chair can easily be moved along the 54” freedom tracks and is completely removable. After kayaking for 7 hours I had no back or leg pain. Plus my bum and back stayed dry due to the breathable mesh.
Now let’s look at the weight. This kayak comes in at 82 pounds. It has a self bailing capacity of 350lbs and a max capacity of 500lbs. At 82 pounds this kayak is only a little heavier than many other kayaks on the market. At this weight, and without any handles on the side, it makes it very hard to cartop. I’ve tried a couple different ways and still struggle. If you had a friend with you that could help, or a bar that extends out of the car rack, or a trailer that would make all the difference and loading/unloading it wouldn’t be much of an issue.
However there are some other issues that I’ve noticed. Two have to do with the seat and attaching it. This is a personal issue but when I get to the water, I want to be on the water asap. The seat takes a little bit of time to attach to the tracks. Nothing horrible, but it does take more time than other kayaks. The second is that the nuts that holds the seat to the tracks loosen up over time. Especially when moving between the high and low seat position. On multiple occasions when I moved to the higher seat position the whole chair slid back and the back bolts came out of the track. To reattach the seat I needed to go to the shore, get out, and fix the seat. The one way to solve this is to periodically check the nuts and make sure they are tight. I have noticed other issues but NuCanoe has been on top of it and solved those issues. After contacting them about the issues they quickly responded and sent me an update kit. Plus they solved these issues in all their new kayaks so anyone who purchases one from now one will have the ones with the updates. This kit fixed many issues, like the rod tubes coming out of the front plate, the front and back handles popping off due to too short of bolts, short seat straps, and the screws holding down the hook for the paddle leash. I’m very happy to see that they resolved these issues and were on top of fixing them for customers who already purchased the kayak.
Overall, the NuCanoe Pursuit is a super stable, speedy kayak that paddles very easy and tracks straight. The rod tubes keep the rods safe and out of the way when not needed and the paddle holster helps hold the paddle in place. With a wide open deck it makes it an ideal kayak for fly fishing and the tracks lets you add accessories easily. Even with the issues, especially since they resolved many of them, this is a fantastic kayak. At the price point of $1599 it is in the higher end for some paddle kayaks, although this is where the trend seems to be going. Even for that price, the Stable, Fast, and Open NuCanoe Pursuit is a CATCH! Check one out and see if it’s the right kayak for you!