Big Rig 4 Months On! by David Blair | May 10, 2014 | UK | 2 comments After taking delivery of the Big Rig back in February I have been out on the boat a good few times now and feel I can give it a fair going over. I have had it out on fresh water and each trip has been very bad weather. Loch Lomond twice with winds and rain easily over 50mph, Loch Ken glorious sunshine but with gusts over 40mph and finally today at Loch Ard where it was very windy and guessing around 30-40mph mark and a few times in grwat weather. I had a few teething problems with the kayak and have now sorted them out as you will read below. Now these creases have been ironed out and little problems fixed I have taken it in the sea twice now. First time crossing a Scottish Sea loch in glorious sunshine and second time a bit of a chop and moderate wind conditions. I had no real problems each time but you do have to put a little more effort in if paddling against the wind and tide. I chose the Big Rig due to my size, being 6 foot 5 inches and weighing in around 19-20 stone I find it difficult to find a kayak I like to accomodate my paddling and fishing requirements. Primarily I like paddling and exploring, fishing is an added bonus. I need a kayak not only to carry myself but my tent, roll mat, sleeping bag, food (and that is a lot), fishing tackle which now includes 4 rods, spare clothes, beer, pots and pans, water, radio and the list goes on. The Big Rig does this and more as my friend Marc found out when on our last trip I had so much room left I carried his sleeping bag for him. The big rig excels in carrying capacity. In my view, the kayak is not heavy to carry on its own by yourself, however the carry handles are far far too small and rigid they hurt your hands. This is overcome by wrapping a towel around it or pulling your sleeve over your hand. The metal handles are solid though and you can feel the firmness of them I do feel it would be much easier if the handles were chunkier and maybe rubber coated. I would also like to point out here that I carry my kayak to and from the water, I do not use a c-tug or the likes. This would make life easier if the weight was a problem for you or you were a smaller kayaker. The kayak once loaded with everything mentioned above can become heavy and two people or a c-tug is needed to carry it mainly due to the fact I over pack the kayak as I go away for 1-3 days at a time on it. The front hatch – well its huge, the whole kayak is hollow. It has struts inside to keep it rigid. You could fit your granny in it and more. however, my kayak was not watertight which I will cover later on. It is held down with elasticated string/bungee attached to a hooking mechanism. It works well and is very easy to get in and out of. The hooking mechanisms are straight forward to use. The kayak is that stable and wide it is easy enough to kneel forward and access the front hull even in high winds. The stand up assist bar – the one part of the kayak I have yet to use, I do not feel the need to stand up when fishing. I know its there if I need to use it. I have stood up on the kayak a few times now for this reason or that and done so without having to use it. Coming down from that you then have a mount for your go pro which is factory fitted. Beside that you then have a flat space to drill for your fish finder which comes in very handy. The seat, ohhhh the glorious seat. I was very dubious of the seat when I had ordered it. I did not think it would be stable with the seat raised like that. In the UK we like to sit low to the water, well let me tell you once you try out the seat you will never want to sit low down again. It is waterproof and it ties to the boat very easily. I normally fish on the lowest position and find it very comfortable. Pins and needles, wet bums and numbness are all a thing of the past and I personally think because of this it keeps you warmer. The added lumber support which can be inflated or deflated via a blow tube also adds to comfort. The seat is also water proof and can be detatched and used as a camping seat around the fire at your pitch. The Big Rig excels for comfort to the fact you could be on it for 24 hours easily without having to get off. On the back of the seat is a handy little zipped pouch which I store tools, my peice for the day and a wee transistor radio. If you put the seat in the highest position you have space underneath to store a couple of storage boxes. To the left and right of the seat there is a compartment with bungees for storage also. I normally keep my knife, tackle box and a few tackle items I use often in them. Heading back from there there is a giant storage compartment outside of the boat. I have had no need to use this yet as I store things inside the boat I do not need access to or I keep them infront of me if I need access to them. Behind that there is another hatch lid, again tied with bungee and hooked on at the sides. This gives you access to the rear of the kayak. Both front and back hatch are linked as there is nothing seperating them. It is great to store spare rods in. The rudder system is a new system called SEA-LECT design. The draw string to raise and lower your rudder is placed right beside you in your seated position and is a peice of cake to use. The rudder itself, well I have mixed views. When it works it works well but I am finding it very difficult to set up. The initial set up took me forever as the Allen Keys needed to assemble it dont seem to be a UK size, the screws are somewhere between a 2 and 2.5 size which I cannot find online. Allen Keys supplied with the kayak would really help. After I had prized open the outer casing I was into the bones of it and set it up nicely then on my first outing the wire slipped and I was without a rudder as I had no tools with me. Each other outing I have tightened the screw at the back but the wire keeps slipping but I have been doing this with pliers. I do feel this design could be a lot simpler and work more effectively. Once I have managed to fix this problem I do think the rudder system will be a great system for turning such a big boat. It makes the boat much more nimble on the water than what you would expect. I normally fish in a lowered seating position and have the rudder pegs set at my height, however when I change to the higher seating position I cant quit reach the pegs and have not yet found a way to fix this. There may be a simple answer or I am overlooking something, I will get there in the end. Behind the seat you have two rocket launcher rod holders fitted in the factory which are awesome, they work a treat for trawling or just holding your rods. They can be easily repositioned while seated. You do however need your own leashes especially if trawling. My favourite design feature of the Big Rig is the two channels that run along the side of the kayak which protect your rods, the tips of the rod fit nicely into the protected ‘tunnel’ at the top of the kayak and there is bungee at the bottom to secure it to the kayak. I have done self rescue with two rods in these and also my paddle bungee’d to the side and they all stayed fastened tightly. There are three yak-attack rail mounts, two at either side of you and one running in front you you. These come factory fitted with a ball mount and another scotty rod holder. Perfect for fly or spinning rod. The main deck in front of you is very very spacious, I often sit back with my feet crossed drinking a coffee whilst fishing. You could easily have your partner or dog sitting on the kayak with you while out paddling. The kayak for me has everything I could think of. I have not yet looked into fitting an anchor system yet as I wanted to see how it handles and the best places to attach everything. This is the only modification I will probably do to the boat although I normally tie up to buoys and run my rope and carabiner through the front carry handle.. Everything about the kayak shouts quality, the build of it and the extras given when buying it are all made very well and its very noticable. Handling, I know everyone will be interested in this as it is a monster of a kayak. The Big Rig actually handles very well, she is fast enough to keep up while out fishing but it wont win races. It glides along great and you can keep a steady pace no problem at all. I use a 230cm Lendal Nordkapp Crankshaft Paddle. I am looking at getting a longer paddle aroubd 260cm as I think this will help out a lot more and make paddling a lot easier. The Big Rig is very light on the water and is easy enough to get up to speed and keep it there. Like i said earlier I have only had her out in windy conditions and with the rudder it is a peice of cake to keep in a straight line. It also cuts through waves with ease, I was never a fan of choppy conditions but you dont even notice the waves when you smash through them, I was actually craving more. The boat stays very flat and solid in these conditions. You cant get bigger than Loch Lomond in the UK for fresh water fishing as it has the largest surface area of any lake or loch. It is prone to weather changes and actually gets swells, the big rig has been out in raised winds with burst banks and heavy rain and it was relaxing to paddle. We did get blown backwards at one point but so did the sea kayak I was with. I had the kayak out this weekend to practice self rescue to which I can say I found it more difficult to capsize than to right. Capsizing is definately not easy to do on this kayak as it has amazing primary stability, I have never been worried about capsizing in the slightest. I would imagine it will happen, especially for sight fishermen who like to stand up but I do not think it would be easy in the seated position. Righting the kayak is a peice of cake, the only reason I could not do it straight away was because my flip flop was hanging on by a thread and I wanted to secure it before I jumped back on. You cannot reach the other side of the boat unless you have abnormally long arms so dont waste energy trying. The scupper holes on the far side are big enough to get your hands in and pull it back round. There is a slight lag when you do this due to the seat but if you have a good enough grip it will come round absolutelt fine. Then climbing back on, again dont try and grab the far side, instead grab hold of the rod protector raised channels and pull yourself up. The space in the cockpit for you to clamber on like a seal and get yourself together no doubt much more graceful than myself. It is a peice of cake to do. However the front and back hatches are not watertight in the slightest, I had capsized about 20-30 meters from the shore deliberately, the water temperature was around 3 degrees and I had wild swimming friends with me swimming in the water so I was very safe but when I took the kayak back on land there was lots of water in the hull. This was something I was desperate to overcome before I took it out on the sea. I took the lid off the hatch and removed the rubber seals around the hatch and replaced them with the rubber seals you get around car doors (you could pick these up from a scrappies for nothing). I also tightened the bungees on top of the hatch lid which makes it much more robust and watertight. I have capsized again since and found this to help with water ingress. Overall, I love the kayak. The leaky hatches are a pain initially but they can be fixed, the weight is not a problem for me, speed, stability and the fact you can pack enough kit inside to live on it is the biggest attraction for me. The kayak is lucky and I have had some impressive catches. I think there is a lot of kayak for the price and already planned my next adventure out on it. I urge anyone interested in it to have a shot, you will be pleasantly surprised. 2 Comments Eric Jackson on May 11, 2014 at 2:42 pm Great review from the UK! thanks for sharing what somebody overseas thinks about it! I hope you don’t keep your Granny in the boat, however! 🙂 EJ Reply Jan Liska on May 15, 2014 at 3:13 pm Yeah David loves his Big Rig. We are going fishing together in June, looking forward to meeting david. 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