The timing was perfect. Blake Young, owner of NuCanoe, was blasting through Virginia Beach a few days before the Tidewater Kayak Angler’s Club tournament. I wanted to fish the tournament with my daughter, Daria, and Blake had the perfect kayak on his trailer. Long story short: Blake lent us the boat, Daria caught a huge sea trout, she won the Junior Division and I fell in love with the Frontier.
When the NuCanoe Frontier hit the water in 2012, it made big waves with anglers and recreational paddlers. Based on the Franken-boat concept of mad engineer Tim Niemier, the Frontier improved on the best qualities of the NuCanoe Classic. The NuCanoe takes high gunnels and an open cockpit from its canoe roots. The rotomolded plastic construction, a central paddling position and scuppers come from the kayak side of the family.
With an open design, the NuCanoe offers a wide range of rigging possibilities. A 70-inch track system in the deck allows the boat to transform in minutes from single paddler to tandem, low seats to pedestal seats, paddle power to gas power to stand and paddle. The boat’s stability doesn’t sacrifice performance. The Frontier’s moderate rocker enhances maneuverability. At 41 inches wide and 12 feet long, minimalist rigging keeps the boat’s weight down to 77 pounds with a maximum capacity of 650 pounds. It easily carries everything and the kitchen sink yet remains nimble enough to paddle solo.
The design appeals to family anglers or fishermen looking for a stable platform that blurs the line between kayak, canoe and skiff. It also fits the needs of professional anglers like Joe Mahler, who is sponsored by NuCanoe.
“When I first saw the Frontier, I knew it was the perfect kayak for guiding fly anglers,” Mahler says. He points to the boat’s wide stance and open hull as top draws for fly anglers and pro guides.
Mahler has rigged his Frontier 12 with a stand-assist bar in the bow and a pedestal seat. “I can swivel the seat to sit sideways and cast towards the bank, or face the stern, drop an anchor through the scupper and cast into the current,” he explains.
The big benefit comes when Mahler guides a kayak newbie. “Putting my client in a streamlined and stable craft makes a better experience for me and the angler.”
Many anglers have fallen in love with the Frontier. Daria and I are two examples. After an epic day of trout catching, I paddled back to the launch while Daria slept in the bow. Now that’s a scenario any fishing father can love.
This article first appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of Kayak Angler magazine. For more great kayak fishing content, subscribe to Kayak Angler’s print editions and digital editions and digital editions, download issues on your device or view the Spring 2015 issue for free on your desktop.