Ascend FS128T Sit-On-Top Angler Kayak - Desert Storm
Great kayak but has DIY issues.
I'm giving 4 stars because this kayak has some important features that make it worth buying: stability and comfort.
My first thought would be to install a bilge pump, maybe even with an automatic float switch.....cause it is going to leak. I have pulled every top deck hatch, removed what little caulk (plumber's putty?# there was and resealed them with
waterproof Marine Goop. Until I did that I got anywhere between 1 and 3 gals of water in the hull on a 5 hr trip. Even now if the kayak is left on top of my SUV in a rainstorm I have to bale out 3 gals of water before I can unload it. I would rather have limited hatches than hatches that leak. There was no option to add a rudder system nor was it figured into the design. It's like this kayak was designed by someone who was not a kayak fisherman. Being a pretty good DIY'er I came up with a way to install a COD universal rudder system #see my pics). Kayak has extremely good secondary stablilty and I could not turn it over even when I sat sidesaddle on the gunnell with my 200lbs and had my feet off bottom. The starboard gunnell is warped downward and was when I bought it. The foam blocks inside the hull for deck support do not stay put. Even though it is about 75lbs in weight I can still load it on top of my Explorer by myself......I am 66yo and 185lbs. Overall I really like this kayak despite the issues that as a DIY'er you will need to fix. The comfort, stability and price outweigh the cons. Once I got the rudder on it the manuverability was excellent. Without the rudder I was pushed sideways in just about any speed wind. Since I am retired I cannot afford the price of the higher priced kayaks of this style. So I am happy with the FS128T and have now gotten it set up just the way I like it. ps: can't even begin to reach the flush mount rod holders on the bow so have now idea why they were put there. Also, the rod holder to the right of the seat is in the way.....I took it off, sold it on eBay and replaced it with a Scotty Rocket Launcher holder.
June 27, 2013
A good Starter Yak
My wife bought my Ascend Last year for fathers day. I have had it over a year now. I love the kayak the price has let me add fishing accessory and modifications. My only gripe is the leaking inside if anyone writes that their Ascend FS128T does not get water inside either has not taken it through waves or been caught in a rain storm. Because they all hold water. I have yet to speak to any one who owns one. The putty the manufacturer uses to seal the hatches is useless. I had to reseal all my hatches with a Marine grade sealant.
Other thank the leaking i have no complaints about the starter kayak for the price and what comes wit it I can not complain and I do recommend it to anyone just starting to join in the Sport of Kayak fishing.
You can check my ASCEND FS 128T videos on You Tube under TIG-Master
July 12, 2014
Well Worth It
First review ever. Anywhere.
I bought this boat after considerable research. My desire was to have a second "bass boat" for getting to those hard to reach spots and get some exercise while in that pursuit. I hate fishing sitting down and so being able to stand on the thing was a high priority. I sail small boats and have reasonably good balance as a result, so I thought a kayak might be a better solution than a jon or pontoon boat. Additionally, rowing is a form of cross training for sailing and as I have some shoulder issues I figured the yak might help.
Sea trials were affected in the Gulf on 18 July. I bought the thing on the way to Ft. Morgan (Al.) and took it straight to the water. It was rough (1 to 3 ft. seas and 15 kt.s of wind) with a ripping current, so the red (no swimming flags) were flying. I got it out through the surf (pulling it) boarded and paddled upwind and current for a mile which took about 20 minutes. The boat tracked remarkably straight and rode well but with little reserve boyancy in the bow, it punched waves regularly and yes, took on water through the hatches which lack gasketing and, I suspect (as others here have noted), the harware bedding leaks. Nothing ring seals and polybutylene can't cure. Next I stood up. It was rough with small rythmic ocean waves and a nasty chop on top of them so I had to concentrate to keep it under foot but I tried it several times, for minutes at a time, and never once fell or flipped. I paddled down wind (and waves) and got back to the point of origin in about ten minutes then tried to paddle it through the surf to the beach. Flipped twice, made it the third time. When i got it on the beach I drained about four gallons of water which explains why it would trip on the bow when I got on a wave coming in. I've spent three days in similar conditions doing pretty much the same thing with the same results and had my kids and their cousins (teenagers will try anything) on it when I wasn't, so the boat got plenty of use and abuse. We lost the drain plug (somebody, ok me, forgot to screw it down after one of the drainings) and I once had to swin out to retrieve the paddle after my neice had a particularly spectacular wipeout ( a spectra leash was installed thereafter---- to the paddle, not the neice), but otherwise, the boat took all we could give it. It will never see salt water again. Thats not what it's for and not why I bought it.
Yes, the boat takes water. It's a kayak. If you want to see boats reallly taking water look up the Finn or VX One on youtube. You'll see why I don't care about water in the boat. Yes it's heavy. I purchased the scupper mounted dolly and can't give it enough praise ---- drug the boat through 100 yards of sand and back without bogging down. I don't plan on cartopping the boat because I have a suitable trailer which gets me better gas mileage but, if I were to car top, I'd plan on bringing a small block and tackle and finding a tree limb high enough to get the boat and my vehicle under it. Otherwise bring a buddy to get the thing on the car. By way of disclosure, I'm 5' 10" 180 lbs., 54 years old and reasonably fit. I expect I could muscle the thing on top the SUV but I doubt that's how the Egyptians built the pyramids and I'm smart enough to create some leverage where needed.
I have no doubts about stand up fishing on this boat. I'm after bass, in rivers and lakes, not marlin on the high seas. I'll likely change the rod holder set up as I don't see having all those rods sticking up around me while I'm flippin and pitching, and I haven't figured out where to put the fishfinder (open to any and all suggestions) and will extend the anchor trolley to get the anchor line to the back and/or front of the boat. The rod launcher is a piece of junk which would become a fishfinder but for the location being too far aft. There may be a Scotty in my future but I won't make that call 'til I find out if I'll even use the launcher. Otherwise I won't change anything.
Lifes a trade off. If you want fast, you lose stability. If you want light, you lose accommodation. If you want to catch tuna, get a Contender. I'll be paddling this thing up into the trees and pitching a brush hog just to see what lurks. Cheers.
July 21, 2013
Was originally going to purchase the FS12 sit in after researching for some time....(reading on-line reviews, you tube videos, ect..) Then about the time I was set to go get the FS12 this new kayak came up on the bass pro website, the FS128T. Of coarse I started all over again with the research on it, there were only like 3 or 4 videos on you tube showing this model, after checking on it I decided to call the nearest store(about 50 miles away) to make sure they had both of the kayaks I was considering in stock before I made the drive, figured worst case I would still come home with the FS12. Walked up to the kayak display and saw the FS128T and new it was the one...it was big, FULL of an array of features the others couldn't come close to and just reeked of quality. Even people shopping for a completely different type of kayak or canoe seemed to eventually gravitate to the FS128T for a look, and I heard many comments about how nice to was. That being said...one of the video reviews talked about the screws and nuts holding the seat together (the pivot between the seat back and the bottom) that on his first trip out it came apart and stopped his first outing before it even got started, having forgot this on my first outing out, I went to get on the yak and sure enough the nut on the screw was launched into the shallow water about 10 feet away...lucky for me I was able to find it and had a pair of pliers in my tackle kit to put in back on. Later at the house I reinstalled it adding a couple of washers and some locktite just as the guy in the review did. Not a big deal and thus far its the only problem Ive had with the yak. Liked the camo color but many reviews suggested the sand color, stating the dark color attracted the suns heat and made the yak untouchable after being exposed to the sun after a short while, makes sense if you think about it ,I did get the sand color and it says cool and the color has grown on me. There was a review that stated the two trunks were not waterproof and had no seal at all, and that after kayaking a while that they had lots of water get into the hull, they must have worked that out because mine had a seal and everything below stayed dry. And speaking of below...if you camp from your yak this is definitely the one for you...had all kinds of stuff with me and had lots of room left. The seat was comfortable and seems as if will hold up, Im right at 6 ft.and 260, and it handled well, with a little more practice Im sure I could stand on it, but on my first trip out wasn't going to try it yet. Its not a light boat...but for the size and features built in its not going to be, I got the 49.99 sit on top kayak cart...the one that has the two upright rods that slide into the scupper holes. Thought it would be cheap and to light weight to hold up but its constructed very well and makes moving the yak by yourself a snap. Also got the ascend paddling personal flotation vest,sand colored..the 79.99 one that's designed for fishing and kayaks. Its the best and most comfortable pfd Ive used...and with a boat and jetski...and three boys, Ive got and used a lot of em over the years. Got the xl sized one, adjusts to fit me very well and the pocket configuration and overall quality is awesome. Also got the Carlisle Day Tripper paddle...think it was 49.00 it is very sturdy and used it to push off with many times and seems strong enough to hold up...the reviews on the ascend paddle were not as good and it was 10 dollars more, some reviews said it was too flexible and was prone to break where the paddle hooked to the shaft. I looked it over in the store and in my opinion was not as sturdy as the cheaper Carlisle paddle that I decided on. Wouldn't hesitate to recommend any of the described items in this review, and although Ive never made a you tube video, I may do my first one on this yak...there need to be more done, and done well on this little boat. And really that's what it is..
June 3, 2013