Pelican’s The Catch 120 Fishing Kayak Review

Buyer’s Guide | Kayak Angler

When Pelican released The Catch 120 at the ICAST trade show, regional sales manager Joel McBride told me: “This boat is a game changer.” The Catch 120 was the company’s first sit-on-top designed specifically for standup fishing, featuring a large, wide and flat deck with lots of room to mount accessories. Pelican’s bet has proven to be a good one, as anglers continue to look for an affordable, lightweight boat with the right  mix of accessories and features—just like The Catch 120.

Pelican’s The Catch 120 Specs
Length: 11’8”
Width: 34”
Weight: 69 lbs
Capacity: 400 lbs
MSRP: $749.99

Getting Our Hands on The Catch 120

Lately I’ve been looking for a light and stable boat that I can use for quick trips after work. I needed a daily fisher, something I could throw on the truck and hit the local honey holes for black bass and striped bass. The Catch 120 seems to fit the bill, so I was anxious to get one on the water and test it out.

Pelican Provides Lightweight Stability

What is most impressive about The Catch 120 is the boat’s lightweight thermoformed construction. The rule of thumb is that a standup boat is a heavy boat. The extra width and volume for stability usually add up to extra weight, but Pelican’s thermoformed kayaks break the rule. Their Ram-X Premium multi-layer polyethylene is light and stiff, tough and scratch resistant.

Paddling The Catch 120, the weight savings are transferred into energy savings. At 11-feet, 8-inches long and 34 inches wide, this boat manages to weigh less than 70 pounds, remaining surprisingly fast for such a wide and stable hull. That means standup boat stability that I can cartop without getting a hernia.

Pelican The Catch 120 fishing kayaks on a lakeshore
Pelican’s The Catch 120 is a lightweight option for a standard standup fishing kayak. | Feature photo: Courtesy of Pelican/YouTube

Pelican designed The Catch 120 for fishing. The boat paddles well and turns quickly, and the sturdy hull and solid tracking make standing and paddling a breeze. As you cut through the water, the tunnel hull moves the volume away from the centerline for maximum stability. A flat deck offers plenty of room to move around, and I can go from the bow to the stern and turn circles without a wobble. Granted, this is not the fastest boat in the world, but it may be the most stable. New anglers and boater-converts will find it easy to fish off The Catch 120.

The Catch 120 combines big boat stability with ultralight performance. | Photo: Harry Duchesney
Fish Friendly Features:
  • Two flush mount rod holders
  • Accessory eyelets for securing gear
  • Quick-adjust footrests
  • Ergocast seating system
  • Rigid carry handles that won’t get hooked by lures
  • Quick-lock bow hatch and stern tankwell gear storage

Affordable Boat is Rich in Features

Pelican didn’t skimp on features, either. The new Ergocast seat is as comfortable as it is simple. An aluminum frame and mesh seat hardly add to The Catch 120’s waistline. I can change the seat from high to low while on the water without getting up.

The kayak features pad-eyes throughout the deck, a large stern tankwell and stand-assist strap. The tankwell is designed to be big enough for a crate, but it could fit a dry bag in there as well. A quick-lock hatch in the bow will hold fishing rods or the day’s catch. Perfect for all day adventures.

Standing, casting, fighting fish and paddling felt solid and stable, even in current or heavy chop. There was a slight body-roll when the seat was in the high position, but the boat’s secondary stability is solid. I could sit side-saddle in the seat and let the boat lean on one edge and still fish with confidence.

Get Premium Fishing Value With The Catch 120

A smart design and a long list of features come in at under $750.  That’s an entry-level price for a big-time boat. That makes Pelican’s The Catch 120 a game changer for value-conscious anglers.

Video Review of Pelican’s The Catch 120:

This article was first published in the Early Summer 2016 issue of Kayak Angler MagazineSubscribe to Kayak Angler Magazine’s print and digital editions, or browse the archives.

Pelican’s The Catch 120 is a lightweight option for a standard standup fishing kayak. | Feature photo: Ric Burnley