I arrived to the ICAST On the Water Demo early, but there was already a line of anglers anxious to paddle the new SS127 from Bonafide Kayaks. After a year of build-up, everyone was excited to see the new kayak from the folks who make YakAttack kayak fishing accessories.
Bonafide SS127 Specs
Deck Height: 15.5”
Weight: 94 lbs
Capacity: 475 lbs
MSRP: $1,649 USD
Bonafide’s SS127 is Worth the Hype
Last summer, Luther Cifers announced that he was putting his creative energies into a new kayak company. Immediately, kayak anglers blew up social media with speculation, but Cifers released few details about the new boat. Each leak resulted in a deluge of likes and shares.
I met Bonafide designer Hans Nutz and Product Manager Jake Fuller to get the lowdown on their hotly anticipated boat. “SS stands for ‘Sit/Stand’ because that’s what it is designed for,” Fuller explained as I ran my hands over the sharp angles and flat planes that make the boat’s Stealth Bomber design.
Since we first paddled a prototype of the SS127 a few weeks before the show, the Bonafide design team has been busy getting the boat ready for its big debut. The rest of the world has waited, very impatiently. After waiting my turn, I found a few tweaks in the utilitarian boat.
SS127 Has Rock-Solid Stability
First, the innovative tunnel hull has been shaved to reduce noise, increase speed and improve handling. Average paddling pushed me at 2.5 to 3 miles per hour. Stability remains the boat’s strongest suit. The rockered hull made for easy turning while the pontoons improved tracking. The primary stability is loose enough to enable maneuverability, with rock-solid secondary stability to keep the angler upright whether standing on the bow or the stern. You can even turn around backwards to make the SS127 a 360-degree fishing machine.
At our demo, Cifers kicked off his shoes and stood up in the kayak. “Our focus has been on stability,” he said, demonstrating the broad, flat deck. Then, he pushed the seatback forward, and stood on small pads on the gunnels. “We call them perch pads,” he explained. They give the angler a few more inches of elevation and a very stable platform for poling or paddling.
One of the early photos of the SS127 released on the Internet shows Kayak Bassin’ TV’s big man Chad Hoover standing with both feet on one side of center. The boat barely leans. The more I played with the boat’s stability, the more I was impressed with the performance.
Sit High and See Far
Bonafide also tweaked the high-low seat to improve comfort and toughness. I put the mesh material to the test in the hot and steamy Orlando sunshine. Moving the seat forward and back or raising and lowering it is made easy with over-engineered clamps that lock the seat in place. It’s also easy to move the seat out of the way to stand up on the boat’s sweet spot. The seat is one of the highest in the industry, allowing anglers better visibility and improved comfort.
The star of the show is the deck layout. Flush mounted gear tracks on the gunnels and in the deck allow plenty of rigging options without snagging lines. Non-slip, closed-cell foam padding covers the deck. The boat includes a waterproof center pod for gear or electronics.
My favorite detail is the bow hatch. Not only is it large enough to fit fishing rods and camping gear, it’s also grooved to hold rods horizontally on the deck. The best part is the removable hinges in the front and back of the hatch. I can open the hatch from the bow, the cockpit, or remove it completely.
The stern well is huge, with bungees and clips that accommodate any crate or livewell, but is specifically designed to host the YakAttack BlackPak. The broad flat stern has room for a rudder or electric motor and Power-Pole.
Fish All Day With the Bonafide SS127
While the SS127 is a boat for all waters, it will really shine on back waters and skinny water. The incredible stability and ultra-high seat make it great for sight fishing and all-day standup action. At 75 pounds, the Bonafide SS127 is light enough to car-top and easy to move to the launch.
Most important, this boat is fun to fish. Every inch is intentionally designed to make fishing and paddling easier and more enjoyable. Many features are completely new and totally unique. With so much excitement proceeding the release of Cifers’ latest invention, the heat is on. “Do you think the boat will meet everyone’s expectations?” Cifer’s asked me after the test drive. “If it meets your expectations,” I told him, “then it will exceed anyone else’s.”
Video Review of the Bonafide SS127 Fishing Kayak:
Kayak Angler’s web editor stands on the Bonafide SS127. | Feature photo: Ric Burnley