A Review of the Ascend FS12T 12ft Kayak
I've been on the verge of writing a review of the FS12T kayak from Bass Pro for awhile now. The main reason I haven't is of course is procrastination but for the sake of this blog we will just say it was to learn and use the kayak more increase the weight of the review!
When I first thought of getting into kayak fishing two years ago I had two goals. One was to buy a kayak that would not break my budget (huge Dave Ramsey fan) and secondly, I wanted a kayak that would help me get to more fish. That's was it, pretty simple. I spent hours and hours reading reviews, searching craigslist and visiting several of the top kayak manufacturers websites to learn more about the sport and kayaks.That's when I came across the Ascend kayaks from Bass Pro and more specifically the SOT FS12T. I liked the layout of the Ascend FS12T and the price at $499 was perfect. It also looked pretty sweet and we all know that's just as important!
You never see a review of any kayak without this question being addressed or asked. I'd even say this may be the most important aspect of fishing kayaks. The question is of course, how stable is it? In my experience I've felt comfortable in everything from small ponds, lakes and even the ocean. It also handled perfectly on the few trips down the Oconee river. Most people tend to ask now "Can you stand up in it?" The short answer is yes, I've stood up in it and casted. The real answer should be no as I don't think your going to find anyone comfortable standing and fishing in this kayak! That shouldn't, however, take away from the overall stability of the kayak.
It's durable. Whether being stored for months, loaded and unloaded in my truck or drug across dirt its held up great over the two years I've used it. The bottom does have a tendency to dent or warp inwards if not stored or laid flat but even when this happens as soon as it flat again or out on the water it goes back to normal.
The price. It's perfect for the entry level or budget minded person looking to get into kayak fishing. At $499 your not going to find a 12 foot fishing kayak that is better in my opinion.
It's ready for fishing. It comes stock with 3 rod holders (two flush mounted behind the seat, one in the front). There's not much you need to do right away other than just grab some rods and hit the water. If your new to kayak fishing though you'll quickly realize that customizing the kayak for you is one of the best parts about kayak fishing.
Its heavy! I debated on whether or not this is actually a con. It weighs in at around 65-70lbs which, yes that is heavy, but I think that's fairly average with today's SOT kayaks. If it were to lose a little weight without hurting the durability or stability it would really help this kayak.
The front rod holder position. Its just not good for fishing due to its placement so far forward in the kayak. It's only good for holding your rod while paddling around. My guess is they wanted to leave the other areas closer to the seat left open for fish finders or GPS devices. Typically I don't even use the front rod holder. I find that it's just easier to lay your rod down in front of you (and there's plenty of room for that).
The storage area. I think a better job of adding storage areas could have really helped this kayak. The dry hatch in the front is a good size but I think the rear storage area could have really used a 8" twist and seal hatch. It even looks to be molded for one and of course the hatch can be easily added later, but it should have been stock. It's also difficult to access the areas where a fish finder would be mounted. In comparison to my buddy's Jackson there is improvement needed on the FS12T.
|Ascend (left), Jackson Cuda (Right)|
Overall the Ascend FS12T is a great entry level kayak that won't hurt your budget and will last you for year's (or until you get jealous of your buddy's decked out Jackson!). One things for certain...it will get you to the fish. Its up to you, however, to catch 'em!