ICAST First Look: Bonafide RVR 119

Buyer’s Guide | Kayak Angler

This first look is literally a first look. While we were able to see a digital image of the new Bonafide RVR 119, we were not able to touch the boat. That’s because the latest kayak from Bonafide’s design wizard Hans Nutz isn’t available until January 2023.

Bonafide’s RVR 119 sets our minds running

Even if we weren’t able to paddle the new kayak, we were able to talk with Nutz for a sneak peek at the embargoed kayak.

“I’ve been thinking about this kayak for three years and working on it for a year and a half,” Nutz says of the completely new design focused primarily on river fishing. Not only is Nutz a long-time kayak designer, but he is a die-hard river angler. Designing the RVR 119 was designing his dream river boat.

rendering of the upcoming Bonafide RVR 119 river fishing kayak
Bonafide’s upcoming RVR 119 in profile and overhead. | Image: Courtesy Bonafide Kayaks

Nutz showed us two digital renderings of the boat. One image showed the RVR 119 in profile and overhead. The other image displayed the boat fully rigged with two Anchor Wizard windlass, motor and horizontal rods. Nutz took us through highlights of the boat’s design, starting with the hull.

To perform best in rocky rapids, Nutz gave the boat a significant rocker with a bend in the keel from bow to stern. The bow and stern are both upswept to handle moving water from the front or the rear. The boat is built on a modified pontoon-style hull with a sharp entry. A retractable skeg keeps the boat paddling straight on flat water the tucks away when the river gets rocky. River boats need to bounce from rocks to shoals and into deadfalls. “This boat runs over stuff better,” Nutz explains.

The cockpit is open from bow to stern. Hanz adds, “To keep the hull watertight, I didn’t include hatches.” The deck is angled towards to seat to quickly drain water through huge scuppers.

For the new boat, Nutz designed a new, sturdier seat. “The frame tubing is heavier and stronger for greater durability,” he says. Generous mesh padding provides all-day comfort. To balance the boat, the seat moves fore and aft to better distribute the weight. Adding a motor and battery to the stern, slide the seat forward. Without the weight of a motor and battery, slide the seat back to lift the bow for greater paddling efficiency.

RVR 119 River Fishing Features

To slide under trees and overhangs, the RVR 119 has multiple options for horizontal rod storage. Nutz pointed out a strap in the bow to support the rod tip and space under the seat for the reels. He says he can store a half dozen rods on the deck.

River anglers rely on a drag chain to slow or stop their kayak. Nutz designed the RVR 119 with mounts for an Anchor Wizard windlass on each side of the seat and below-deck anchor rode routing to the bow and stern.

rendering of the upcoming Bonafide RVR 119 river fishing kayak
Here’s the RVR 119 fully rigged with two Anchor Wizard windlass, motor and horizontal rods. | Feature image: Courtesy Bonafide Kayaks

At 11-feet, nine-inches long and 35 inches wide, the RVR 119 is the perfect balance of tracking, maneuvering and stability. “I wanted it to be maneuverable for working through rocks and stable for standup fishing.” Weighing in at 80 pounds, the boat is light enough to drag across the shallows to reach the best fishing spots. To make the RVR 119 even more maneuverable, the boat is outfitted with six grab handles.

For anglers who want powered options for anchoring and propulsion, the RVR 119 transom is shaped to accept a motor and Power-Pole bracket.

Even looking at illustrations of the new boat, I can tell the RVR 119 is focused on swift, shallow water. In a world of kayaks designed for “any type of fishing,” it is refreshing to see a craft designed for a specific pursuit. River anglers facing rapids, rocks and rough water need very specific features in their boats, and the RVR 119 delivers.

Watch Chad Hoover’s preview of the Bonafide RVR 119 here: