Seeking to replace my Hurricane Phoenix 140, purchased new and used for fishing since 2005, I opted to stay with the made in the USA (North Carolina) Hurricane line, due mainly to my terrific experience with the Phoenix, Lydia in Customer Service, and the lighter weight of the Hurricane line, which shuns rotomolding in favor of Trylon (thermoformed ABS.) While the longer Phoenix with its aftermarket seat, anchor trolley, and rodholders weighed in at 60 pounds, the Skimmer 128 with its adjustable, comfortable and integral “Airestream” seat and aftermarket rodholders and Scotty comes in at under 50, perfect for my 5’8″ and 160 lb,, 68 year old body throwing it up onto the TrakRak of my pickup. No cart or dolly needed. The lighter weight comes at perhaps a 25% increase in price, well worth it for ageing me. Both kayaks purchased from The Dinghy Shop in Amityville, NY.
At first surprised that an angler version wasn’t offered in the 128, I quickly realized that it allowed me to customize to my heart’s content. I added flushmount rodholders to port and starboard behind the seat on flat sections large enough to do so, and use them for a second rod and a landing net. Forward, I added a Scotty using a backplate since I could access it through the bow hatch, putting it on the sloped console and just in front of a bottle holder. I admit I added a suction cupped bottle holder courtesy of Amazon as the integral bottle holder was a bit too close to the Scotty. Although it’s a stretch, I can grab my rod from the Scotty and troll and catch fish from it as well. I used through bolt and nut for the forward anchor trolley pulley, using that well-placed bow hatch, and well nuts for the stern, putting pad eyes on with stainless screws and Marine Goop. With the Phoenix, I was comfortable with the foot stops all the way forward, with knees still bent somewhat. With this Skimmer 128, I have to move the foot stops halfway in as it would really fit a guy at least half a foot taller than I. Another plus is the 5.5 inch hatch directly in front of my seat. My truck keys, small needlenose and Iphone fit in them and for the first time I find myself using my cell while fishing. I have yet to use the stern 5.5″ hatch but it came in handy when I added a flush mount Scotty for my safety flag. While the initial stability of this yacht designer’s hull is a little more “tippy” than the Phoenix, secondary stability seems good and in 15kt wind and one foot bay chop I was able to turn, head into it, and retreat with it without incident. Despite it being shorter, the Skimmer 128 seems as fast and easy to paddle as the Phoenix, actually tracks better, and is definitely more maneuverable. In the aforementioned wind and chop I utilized a DIY drift sock, made from a canvas grocery bag, and experimented with the anchor trolley I installed, afixing the carabiner bow, stern and amidship. I got mine in mango orange, preferring a bright color for visibility in these busy Long Island, NY waters. I should add that after fourteen seasons in the sun, the Phoenix never lost its gloss and I expect the same from the Skimmer. I took the aforementioned Lydia’s advice and unscrewed the generously padded seat bottom and sewed on and taped velcro in order to take it off and easily wash down after each saltwater paddle and allow thorough drying. Speaking of which, if I didn’t hose the seat bottom down, it would not have gotten wet. While I wear bathing trunks kayaking, I have yet to come home with a wet derriere, and the Great South Bay is no pond. I did however have one washover from a passing yacht, whose owner was an apparent newbie, coming off plane when he approached and of course throwing a much bigger wake. No biggie. While it may not matter to some, this is also one exceptionally good looking kayak. Of course I shun pedals and rudders (rudders are an affordable option) so the look is pretty streamlined, especially with its raked bow. Definitely worth more than a look !”