Monday, December 14, 2015

Sun Dolphin Kayak Experienced Review

Sun Dolphin Journey Kayak 10 ss review 2
Sit-on Angler Ready

  This is a follow up to my first review as now I had the chance of fishing with it during the summer and fall. I have fished with it in a fast moving trout stream, river, bays along Lake Erie and a bass swamp in the Allegheny National Forest. With this experience I can get into a little more detail of the likes and dislikes.
 From talking to others with kayaks I have learned that the longer the Kayak the better it will track. As far as this Kayak goes it tracks fairly well in current flowing streams. As far as ponds or lakes the front moves quite a bit if you're in a hurry paddling, not so much with an easy pace.
 I used it fishing Presque Isle Bay in Lake Erie as well as a few other bays up that way. It wasn't fun trying to keep the Kayak from drifting around in the open water from the wind. This is where I found an anchor would be needed in windy conditions. When cutting across the entrance/exit of one of the Yacht clubs I had the experience of how well this sit-on kayak would handle the waves. I was a bit nervous of course but knew that the bigger waves I had to point the kayak straight into them for fear of tipping. Turning the Kayak into the wave was quick and easy and I got comfortable enough that the kayak wasn't going to tip over.
 In the swamp I fish for large mouth bass I found a claw hammer was all I needed as an anchor to grab hold of the moss on the bottom of the swamp or in the lily pads. For an anchor I used a wooden handle claw hammer that I simply dropped off the side of the kayak. Once it took hold it kept the kayak pretty steady. I had drilled a hole in the wooden handle and attached my rope to that. The claw hammer head worked great and I never had too much of a problems getting it out. I would tie it off on the seat straps for ease of lifting the hammer if I wanted to just drift a bit. The paddle cords, on each side of the kayak that holds the paddle during transport, was a good spot to hang the claw hammer out of the way when I was moving to a new location. I wouldn't recommend hanging the anchor off the side of the kayak in stream currents though. As far as reaching over a bit to net a fish wasn't a problem and I didn't have any fear of tipping.
 Before I bought this, angler ready, kayak I figured out the cost of a non-angler kayak and what it would cost to fit it with rod holders and other necessities. It was cheaper to just go with the angler ready kayak. The two extra rod holders behind the seat are easy to get to. I actually use the one to hold my net at the ready. The adjustable swivel rod holder in front I found was handy and wouldn't have placed it anywhere else. With my added Velcro strips it held my fly rod steady, secure and out of the way when paddling. The rear removable water tight compartment is handy also. I had built a kayak carrier when I need to travel with the kayak to distant locations and being that the compartment is removable, I was able to fit my kayak hauler in the back securely with the compartment removed.
 There is a bottle holder in front of the seat and holds a bottle firmly and out of the way.
Now for the dislikes.
There is a small cylinder lidded compartment that is in front of the seat as well. It is not water tight and because you will get water inside the kayak it will fill with water. I just use it as a small trash container. It holds the empty granola wrappers, cut leaders/tippets and cigar butts. Just don't forget to empty it after using it.
 I am only 5' 7". I have the foot pads extended all the way forward and for me this is the most relaxing position. I'm not sure this 10' kayak would be suitable for longer legged individuals. Before buying I would suggest sitting in one and get a feel for it.
 I learned about scupper holes which are only in the sit-on Kayaks. These scupper holes go through the hull to the water. Yes, you can put a stick through these holes from inside of the kayak right down inside the water. I suppose these holes are to drain any water should it get inside the kayak. In lakes and ponds I didn't get much water in the kayak but in current moving streams and rivers I'm sure more water will enter through these holes. They do sell scupper plugs that I plan on getting a few for when I use the kayak in mild water conditions.
 Now this brings up the next subject with water getting in the kayak. I will also combine comfort in with this. With the paddling, bringing the anchor in and out of the kayak and at times wet feet when getting into the kayak, you will get water in it. A sponge is a handy thing to take along to squeegee out the excess. As far as comfort goes forget about paying any extra $$ for what some manufacturers claim is a comfortable seat. Fishing all day in a kayak you want a comfortable seat for sure. I found a closed cell foam hot seat is as comfortable and light weight as it's going to get for me. On top of that I place the bubble plastic packing material they use in boxes for fragile merchandise when mailing. This keeps me up off the bottom of the kayak. Since water does enter the kayak, it also keeps me dry for awhile and not sitting in a puddle of water throughout the day.

As far as I'm concerned this Sundolphin 10' Journey  SS angler ready kayak has the features needed and stability to fish out of all day. For my kind of trout/small mouth fishing in large creeks, streams and rivers this sit-on kayak is perfect. It is easy to get in and out of as most of my fishing is done wading the waters anyhow.
 One more thing, with all the times I've taken this out I have yet to had to drain any water out of the enclosed hull. There are drain holes if needed but so far no water has entered. I did seal the rod holders and trash cylinder with silicone before ever taking this to the water to be extra cautious.
 I got the 10' mostly because it fits in my full size van so hauling it isn't a problem. Some kayaks don't feature side paddle holders but I would recommend them, they do come in handy. There is a weight limit so I would pay attention to the recommendations. From what I read, and I can understand, the longer the kayak the better it will track.The wider it is I would imagine the better the stability. There is a chart that will guide you as hull design for more info on speed, tracking and stability that might be worth checking out before purchasing. I don't consider myself an expert by any means and there might be ones better but for the price I paid for this and the use I've had so far I'm well pleased.

My Kayak Dolly
made out of an older golf bag cart.
Ready to bass fish



  1. I can't see my words as I write t his...excuse the typos. I thiink this is a great review. I I was just talking to someone in AR about this exact kayak. T Something else to consider in shallow water is a stake out pole. I use a broom stick for th thru th escupper hololes in shallow water. Works great and hold well. I Welcome to the kayak world.

    1. Stake out pole sounds like a good idea and a broom handle sounds like an easy and inexpensive way to go. thanks.

    2. Drew - Do you own one of these? If you do, what is your experience with these. The reviews from actual users or people who actually have some used these over time seem to be favorable. Just looking for additional opinions. Thanks!

  2. Just read both of your reviews and THANKS. My Sun Dolphin Journey 10SS arrives tomorrow. I read so many reviews with both great reviews and poor reviews that I was really nervous about this purchase. Those were usually from store on-line reviews and believe some people had agendas. Yours I felt was totally hones and provided some great feedback. I feel better about the purchase. Thanks!

    1. I could only let people know what I felt from my point of view. For the short time I have had it I put it through some different situations and it was satisfactory for me. Hope your new Kayak serves you well.

    2. I have now used my Sun Dolphin Journey 10SS on at least 10 occasions and have been happy with the Kayak. It does not track as well as a longer kayak but it is 10' and light, so did not expect a lot tracking wise. It does track good in moving water, both with and against the current. once I got used to sitting up higher, it is a sit on top, it is stable, never posed a problem. As for water in the little "water tight" container, I sealed around the container and have never had any problems with water inside it. I keep my flip phone and wallet inside this container, never any water. Also no water inside the hull of the kayak, sealed everything attached and any through holes and it has not leaked a drop. Also, sealed the scupper holes by the seat and left the front ones open. No water problem or wet butt. All in all, this has been a good experience for me and a purchase I am happy with.

    3. Aleman, Glad to hear you're happy with the kayak and your positive review.I use scupper plugs for all the scupper holes. I carry a sponge with the kayak just in case i do get water in but so far i haven't been caught in the rain. ~jerry

    4. I sold my Sun Dolphin last spring and bought an Ascend FS12T from Bass Pro. I wanted more space, increased stability, and a comfortable seat. The FS12T gave me all 3. The Sun Dolphin was a nice kayak, but I like the additional advantages of the Ascend. It does weigh a lot more so if being light weight is a large factor the Sun Dolphin may be right for you.

  3. Just got mine today. Thanks for your review. Is there supposed to be something in the kayak like sand? When I pick up one end it sounds like sand is moving around. I'm not sure about this or how to see it.

    1. No sand that i know of. I would think that it might be plastic shavings from the holes they drilled in the kayak for the rod holders and such. There are drain plugs on each end of the kayak. I would open these up and turn the kayak over to see if something comes out. Either that or unscrew the rod holder screws and pop the holder out. You should be able to see inside.

    2. I bought my ss10 about a month ago and had it on the water once.the lake,no problems with stability,but had a huge water issue,have since filled it with water and no leaks in the botto,only thing I can figure is the scupper holes letting water in,and then all of the unsealed plugs in the cockpit leaking,am gonna silicone all the screws and rod holders and try it again.was happy with overall performance,with the exception of the water,I’ll try and follow up after the attempted repair,thanks and happy yakking

    3. I would try sealing them also. I would think if the scupper holes were leaking water it would seep through when the Yak is on dry land if there is water in the hull. Raise the Yak on each side and see if water is leaking.