When I say Brooklyn, most people don’t think of kayaks. The New York city borough is famous for Coney Island, Brooklyn Bridge and losing the Dodgers. But the most populous bite of the Big Apple is not well-known as a kayaking destination.
Unless you’re a local. Look at a map of Brooklyn and you’ll see a peninsula surrounded by the East River opening to the Atlantic Ocean. Brooklyn has miles of shoreline and acres of marshland. And, the surrounding boroughs offer more paddling and fishing opportunities.
“There are many areas for kayaking in Brooklyn and New York City,” says Isaac Ashkenazi, president of Brooklyn Kayak Company. Ashkenazi says the area offers suburban fishing and paddling with the big city in the background. “The water is usually calm, so it’s perfect for fishing.”
The bays and tidal rivers around the borough are the inspiration for Brooklyn Kayak Company. Looking for a kayak that could cover inshore water, ocean and river, Ashkenazi developed a line of versatile boats at a price anyone can afford. “Whether you’re rigging the kayak for hours of fishing or taking the kids for a beautiful day on the water, this is the perfect kayak,” Ashkenazi says.
BKC’s TK122 Offers Two Seats, Two Paddles and Too Much Fun
Brooklyn Kayak Company TK122 Specs
Weight: 74 lbs
Capacity: 770 lbs
TK122 Key Features
The TK122 is a 12-foot, eight-inch tandem kayak with a 34-inch beam. This is small for a tandem kayak, but the compact size makes it easier to carry and store the two-person boat.
At only 76 pounds, the TK122 is one of the lightest tandem kayaks I’ve tested. I really appreciated the size and weight when I’m moving the boat from the house to the launch and back. I’m more likely to use a convenient boat that isn’t a pain in the butt to lift and drag.
Molded in foot rests and bow handle will not break, so I don’t worry when the kids are rough housing. I always like molded foot rests for a solid foundation for my paddle stroke.
The TK122 has a small cargo space in the stern and smaller space in the bow. I was able to fit a 13- by 13-inch YakAttack BlackPak Pro into the tankwell to hold four fishing rods, a couple tackle trays and a drybag.
To increase storage, the TK122 has a large deck hatch ahead of each seat. Inside the hatch, a polyester bag holds my phone, camera and lunch. Remove the bag to access the inside of the kayak.
On the under side, the TK122 has a wide, flat hull with shallow channels to improve straight line tracking. This boat is intended for confident, stable fun. The short waterline aids turning performance and the sharp entry and exit allow the boat to cut through the water. The BKC TK122 is easy for two paddlers to propel and control and still manageable for a single paddler.
BKC TK122 Rigging
The most appealing feature of the BKC TK122 is the price. At $1,300, the simple kayak fits in the class of bargain tandems including Jackson Take Two, Native Watercraft Stingray and Vibe Yellowfin 130T. These boats offer a solid platform, simple features and comfortable frame seats. You can save a few bucks by dropping down to the Brooklyn TK122 with low profile seats. Or upgrade to a pedal- or motor-powered version BKC PK14.
I chose to review the TK122 because I was looking for a tandem kayak I could take fishing solo. The basic fishing features are sufficient to support quick fishing trips when I get a few hours on the water.
Behind the rear seat, BKC installed two flush mount rod holders at an angle for trolling, drifting or soaking baits. The rod holders are sealed to prevent water from entering the hull.
Next to the forward seat, the TK122 has two inserts for a post-mount elevated rod holder like a Scotty No. 279 Baitcaster/Spinning Rod Holder.
Gear tracks ahead of the forward and rear seat allow more rigging options. I can add a cup holder when the family takes the boat for a spin, or a track-mounted fish finder base when I take the boat fishing.
For a complete, ready-for-fun package, the TK122 comes with two aluminum paddles with high-impact plastic blades. The paddles are solidly constructed to survive the abuse of amateur paddlers.
Upright Aluminum Frame Seats
Surprisingly for a bargain boat, the TK122 includes two premium frame seats covered in padded mesh. The seats are super light and sturdy for easy transport. The padded mesh is breathable with plenty of support. The seats fit into molded channels in the deck and a web strap through the base secures the seat to the boat.
The seats are simple but comfortable. Compared to single layer mesh, the padded mesh goes a long way for durability and support. Frame seats make the kayak more comfortable and user friendly for the family. Older paddlers appreciate the lawn chair seats, which are easier to enter and exit.
Each year, my mother’s family gathers for a huge reunion. Thirty relatives from babies to grannies fill a vacation house on the North East River in Maryland. In addition to family traditions like the annual talent show, group photo and eating way too much, kids and adults hit the water in a couple of canoes.
The Brooklyn Kayak Company is a perfect fit for the lake house, riverside campsite or neighborhood pond. The old folks and kids can have fun paddling the boat around as a tandem. Then, I can replace the front seat with a tackle crate and take the TK122 as a solo fishing platform.
Paddling around the shallow, weed-choked creeks and bays of the northern Chesapeake Bay, the TK122 was a capable fishing platform. Of course, it lacks the fancy electronics and extensive storage in my premium fishing kayak, but buying it as the family boat that can go fishing isn’t off the mark.
Adding a 13- by 13-inch crate in the stern well and replacing the front seat with a few tackle trays, a second gear crate or small cooler, the boat has plenty of capacity to carry the works. Granted, it’s not the fastest boat in the fleet, but the 12-foot, eight-inch waterline gives the TK122 decent efficiency with a single paddler.
The boat shines in shallow, sheltered waters; it’s stable enough for easy sight fishing with a very shallow draft. The high sides and wide flat hull make the boat rock solid, even with two people standing.
With the forward seat removed, I added an elevated rod holder for a convenient place to hold my rod while I’m standing and paddling. To explore deeper water, I threaded a portable fish finder onto the gear track.
Each morning of the family reunion, before anyone is awake, I load a tackle box and a couple rods and sneak way into the orange and red mist. I search the creeks and flats for fish swirling in the calm morning water. I fish until I smell breakfast cooking and return the boat for family fun.
Then, each evening, after the family spends the day splashing around in the BKC TK122, I sneak away and explore the marsh creeks and grass flats until someone calls across the water that dinner is ready.
So, the question is, does the TK122 satisfy the family and the fisherman? The short answer is yes. While the bargain tandem isn’t going to replace your pimped-out bass sled, it will kill two birds with one boat. The stability, ease of use and comfort are family favorites while rod holders, gear tracks and deck hatches make the BKC TK122 a solid fishing platform.
Where to buy the Brooklyn Kayak Company TK122
BKC TK122 Angler Tandem Coastal Cruiser Kayak
- Large Hull for Best Stability
- Great for customization such as rod holders or other add-ons
- Large storage capacity with watertight hatch
- Easy transportation with built-in T-handle
Pros and cons
- Bargain price
- Easy to move and store
- 2× Deck Hatches
- Limited space
- Poor drainage
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Brooklyn Kayak Company’s TK122 is a sturdy tandem with fishy features. | Feature photo: Patrick “Buzz” Hayes