Ocean Kayak Venus II Review
Recommended Retail Price: $1249
Made in the USA by Ocean Kayak, Distributed in Australia by BLA.
Colours Available: Pink, Oceans, Camo, Flame and Mango Flame.
Recently I was given the opportunity to try an Ocean Kayak Venus 11 by Garry Fitzgerald from BLA for a few weeks. These versatile smaller kayaks were first designed with women in mind utilising less polyethylene in the moulding but are suitable for both men and women. Cutting back on thickness allows a lighter weighted kayak to be achieved without compromising on strength. As the kayak weighs in at 18kgs, I found the job of lifting the Venus 11 on and off the roof of my Toyota Hilux easily managed, even for a female who's lacking in the height department. With a central handle conveniently placed to make loading on the top of the car easier as well.
The Venus 11 has ample storage with a front and central storage hatch. Other features included are a slightly wider seat, two rod holders, cup holder and rear cargo area. With the central storage hatch I was able to store a small selection of lures in a couple of round waterproof containers which sit on top of each other and are handy for forays into small quiet backwaters chasing our natives, on our impoundments or fishing the small estuaries. In the front hatch goes my dry bag containing a first aid kit, insect repellent, rain jacket and my keys. In the rear storage hatch I have a small tackle bag with an extra lure tray, Soft Plastics, spare leader, food, water and other odds and ends. I try to maintain the KISS principle (Keep it simple stupid) but I'm not always successful. But with over 3 years I have been kayak fishing, I am getting better at not taking the kitchen sink! There is a paddle keeper on the right hand side which I did feel could have been better positioned as when securing the paddle the straps from the seat were in the way. There are two rear rod holders and as I normally take only one rod the other holder is great for storing a landing net.
With small freshwater bass fishing in mind the lighter weight also makes hauling the kayak back up steep embankments easy using a rope. I use a 5m length of 8mm polyester racing double braid which is easier on the hands when handling. When launching and retrieving up/down river banks, I store my rod/s down the side anchoring the rod butt/s with the paddle keeper and threading the tips under the bungee straps on the front hatch.
The overall look and design of the bow on the Venus 11 cuts through the water well with its smooth lines. I did notice that any variation on your balance did have the kayak tracking to the opposite side in which you are leaning.This I found handy when coasting up quietly in tight areas as it allowed me to adjust my line of travel without having to create any disturbance on the water surface with my paddle.
I was also able to trial the Comfort Deluxe Seat from BLA. This seat is designed with a high back which provides great lumbar support and the two vertical supports on the sides give added comfort. The wrap around side wings gave a snug support and the straps were easy to adjust to the required comfort position. There is also the ability to utilise the seat as a camp chair if required using the front seat clips when removed from the kayak. For someone who can spend a large portion of their day out on a kayak fishing, I found the Comfort Deluxe Seat extremely comfortable with no sore derriere or back at the end of the day.
I have experienced a few fishing trips on my local waters now in the Venus 11 and have found it a fantastic little kayak for this type of application. I think I am going to add it to my fleet I like it so much.
Submitted by Toni Potter, Ocean Kayak Pro Team Australia.