Can you hear it? The rumble of ICAST excitement is building, which means the time for new product sneak peeks and first looks is now! Sure, there are a few companies that release the full details of their newest products before the show, but where’s the fun in that? Super high resolution images you can zoom in on and count the individual grains in the plastic of the hull and the rivets in the outfitting? No, we want the speculation.

Feelfree just sent us these two exclusive first look photos of their newest fishing kayak: a boat designed for offshore called the Dagon.

No, that’s not a spelling error right there—what do you think I am, a fishing writer? That’s right, the new boat is called Dagon, as in the Mesopotamian god of fertility who later evolved into a major Northwest Semitic god of grain and fish (and/or fishing). At least, that’s according to Wikipedia… so it’s like a 100% fact: this boat will either make you very, very busy in the bedroom (and maybe responsible for a small herd of children), or it’ll allow you to catch a ton of fish. Either way, no arguments here.

Grey and white fishing kayak
Feelfree’s new boat looks long, sleek and fast–where will you paddle it first?

What to expect

Of course, you’re waiting for the dirty details—the features, the stuff that will make you daydream and drool at your desk all day at work. Well, this is a leak, which means we have no hard evidence of the features except what Feelfree’s Jim Hager told us when we reached out to him in the middle of the night as we frantically zoomed in on the photos like maniacs (more on that below). All he told us was that the boat was “designed for the angler wanting to go the distance, complimented by solid features and a combination of performance and comfort.”

Alright, so this boat sounds like it’ll be sleek, fast, a dream to paddle, able to punch through the surf, and because it’s a Feelfree (and he just said it) it’ll be comfortable. So far, so good. With a little more prying and light begging, Hager also told us the boat is 14 feet long, and features a sonar pod and a horizontally adjustable seat. Hmm, that’s different.

First I wondered if the seat was designed for aiding in paddling with unbalanced loads or trickier conditions like a cross-breeze, but I think the real intent for the horizontally adjustable seat is sliding the seat over for sitting side-saddle and jigging deep offshore. Instead of letting your legs go numb sitting side-saddle in your old kayak, with the gunwales cutting off all circulation, that’ll feel like sitting on a cloud.

Analyzing the photos

Okay, okay, I know—let’s address those juicy leaked photos. I’ve chopped up the photos into easily digestible tidbits, but you’ll have to excuse the quality. While these photos look like they were taken with a cell phone from 1994, I think we can pull some useful information about the new features and what they’ll be good for. Of course, you could just wait for the full video first look at ICAST 2016, but who has that kind of patience and self control? Not me, so let’s begin.

Bow handle and rod tip protectors

The first photo below shows the bow, where I think there’s a large recessed handle that looks comfortable enough to be used to drag your boat across the beach, on a cart or just with brute strength. Next, those two hole-looking things to each side of the center handle in the bow look to me like rod tip protectors, which will be great for protecting your rod tips during not only transport or hairy put-ins, but also tough surf launches. I’ve had my kayak flip in the surf before (not my fault, it was that damn whale-watching boat’s wake, I swear) and if I had my rods in these rod protectors, they wouldn’t have nearly snapped like twigs.

Bow of fishing kayak
Rod tip protection is going to keep your gear protected during rough surf launches.

Storage hatch and sonar pod

A large storage hatch toward the bow, right in front of the paddler’s feet, I assume, looks to be the perfect spot to stash fish, bait or gear, depending on where the hatch leads and the kind of insulation it provides. I assume, based on Feelfree’s other models, the hatch will double as a cooler—perfect for quickly throwing your hard-earned catch in and getting back on the fish. Maybe not, only time will tell (as in two weeks, at ICAST).

Just behind that there is a storage spot for stashing and lashing a few tackle trays of essentials you want to keep close at hand. Directly after that is the sonar pod. With so many anglers looking for a quick way to swap their fish finder and transducer from boat to boat in a nice, all-in-one package, this just makes sense, especially in an offshore model.

Cockpit of fishing kayak
Tackle storage and a sonar pod make the Dagon as technically ready for fishing as a center console.

Horizontally adjustable seat and gear track

Next comes the seat. Some may notice there isn’t much room between the sonar pod and the seat. That very well may be the way the photos were taken, but I assume the lack of standing space is because this boat isn’t made for standing—it’s made for slicing through the water quickly and getting out to sea fast.

Just behind that horizontally adjustable seat, which looks as plush and comfortable as Feelfree’s famed Gravity seat, is a long gear track that extends the entire width of the kayak. With two flush mount rod holders behind that and even more gear track to follow alongside the tankwell, anglers won’t be left wanting for rigging space on the Dagon.

Back of the seat of a fishing kayak
The horizontally adjustable seat means you can sit side-saddle and jig with ease.

Tankwell

Now that tankwell. Damn, that is a nice tankwell. Not only is it big enough to store all your gear, you could probably also fit a bait bucket, livewell, your cooler with all your snacks and lunch and, who knows, maybe even your dog? We’ll find out soon enough.

Raise your hand if you want to find out how many Kayak Angler editors can fit in there. Anyone? Again, there is so much gear track on this boat that you won’t be forced to leave anything behind. That’s something I can get… well, you know.

Stern of fishing kayak
A truly giant stern tankwell makes the Feelfree Dagon ready to haul some offshore gear.

Stern grab handle

In this photo we get a closer look at the grab handle that I suspect is also up front. It’s nice and recessed into the Dagon’s hull, which means you won’t accidentally hook it mid-cast when you’re miles out and can’t unhook it yourself. The back of the tankwell also looks like it has a spot recessed slightly for mounting what I guess would either be a motor option or a Power-Pole setup. I’ll have to look at what that is at the show, but either way, it has my attention.

Stern of fishing kayak
Big grab handles at the bow and stern are going to make the Feelfree Dagon easy to move around.

Rudder

I really can’t tell, but I’m 99.999979% certain the black thing sticking up in the air is a rudder, which would be great for offshore handling and tracking. Speaking of handling, Hager also mentioned the kayak was designed to be lighter weight, which will further add to its speed on the water and ease of transport back on dry land.

Stern of fishing kayak
Outfitting like bungee cords, gear track and rod holders make the Dagon ready to fish.

Second look at the cockpit

A better look at the cockpit of Feelfree’s new Dagon reveals there is in fact very little standing room and this kayak is 100% an offshore paddling machine. I have to imagine this long and slender boat is going to feel very fast to the majority of anglers first getting into a fishing kayak, especially the ones who are used to much wider and more stable boats.

Once I see this boat in person I’m going to look at the hull design more closely to get a better idea of the stability, because even though this looks fast and skinny, that doesn’t mean it has to be tippy. Can you hear the big sigh of relief from all the beginners out there?

Seat on a fishing kayak
The Dagon’s seat looks like Feelfree’s plush and comfortable seat, but with a twist.

Second look at the bow hatch

Last, but certainly not least, we see the Dagon logo, and get a better look at that hatch near the bow. Judging by the way the bow is contoured to match the hatch (any fly fishermen out there just get a little excited?), I think the hatch is in fact designed to hold fish, but we won’t know until we can open it up at ICAST and see for ourselves.

Stern of fishing kayak with words: Dagon
Feelfree’s Dagon, like the god of fishing (or fertility, based on who you ask).

If you’re as excited about this boat as we are, just hang in there—the show is only a few weeks away. Stay tuned for almost-live coverage of the show on Kayak Angler’s social media, as well as daily articles on the site and in-depth videos starting to roll out the very same week. Also be sure to hang in there with all the patience you have for a full in-depth kayak review of Feelfree’s Dagon coming in a future issue of Kayak Angler.

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