The Stealth Profisha is an excellent fast fishing kayak. If you want to be first to the fishing spot, make the first cast while your mates are still paddling hard? The Stealth Profisha is one of the best high performance fishing kayaks available.
Most high performance composite fishing kayaks come from South Africa. Out of them all, the Stealth ProFisha 525 might just be the best fishing kayak for longer trips. With a waterline over 17ft, it effortlessly glides through the water. Its paddling performance has more in common with sea kayaks than ‘barge like’ plastic fishing kayaks which dominate the market. The composite construction means they are lightweight, the 17ft long ProFisha 525 weighs in at under 60lb. I can carry it several hundred yards to the beach. I wish I could do the same with my plastic yaks.
Stealth kayaks are designed in South Africa. Making them well suited to handle the big swells and rough seas. That makes them among the most rough water capable fishing kayaks on the market. If you want to head far offshore to target the big fish the Profisha has performance to get you there and home safely.
Do not get intimated by the length. You do not have to be a big strong paddler to get the most out of it. My Stealth is my wife’s favourite boat to paddle in the sea. The reassuring stability combined with efficient hull makes for an all round pleasant experience.
Why is a fast fishing kayak good for trout fishing?
The Profisha is an excellent fishing kayak, and its performance opens up many options for the trout angler. It is best suited for open water such as deep rivers or large lakes. The under hull rudder does not play nicely with rocks so not suitable for downriver adventures. If you can source one with a rear mounted rudder, then it has few downsides for freshwater use.
The primary stability is also not good enough to stand up to sight fish. So scouting needs to be from seating level.
I rate it as the best kayak for trout fishing in lakes. My local lakes have a few hot spots where the trout like to hold and feed, there can be several miles of barren water in-between. The efficient speed of the Stealth allows me to zoom from river mouth to weed bank with minimal time spent paddling.
The streamlined hull makes for a very quiet kayak. It creates very little wash. When approaching the shallows it is possible just to glide, one stroke, glide, one stroke glide. Barely any disturbance to warn the trout of your approach. The ultimate in stealth fishing.
The Profisha is primely a trolling kayak. The rear facing rod holders perfectly angle any lure behind the boat. Trolling for trout is normally low intensity, after several hours on the water an efficient kayak is simply kinder on the body. Spending eight hours pushing a barge like kayak through the water is not fun. I have had great success trolling rapalas and other jerkbaits.
Finally, if you are out wide when the offshore wind picks up. No paddle powered fishing kayak is more capable of punching into it to get you home quickly.
How is the seat?
I like the Stealth bucket seat, it provides good back support and allows for a powerful stroke. At the same time, it is spacious enough not to feel squeezed in. I have done 40 mile days in my Stealth, and the seat was not the cause of any discomfort. Some paddlers, complain about inadequate back support, but I have not noticed it.
Just how fast?
For an indication of speed, I have owned and paddled the previous model, the Stealth Fisha 550 for over 15 years, in that time I have completed several 10km (6 mile) time trails in it. During which I paddle 3 miles up a slow flowing river, then turn around and paddle back. I averaged 5.3mph, that is only 20% slower than my racing kayak on the same course. It is not a slow kayak.
The Stealth ProFisha 525 is 24 inches across, that is quite narrow by fishing kayak standards. I was a bit nervous the first time I took it ocean fishing, but it was unfounded. I have never capsized. The hull while relatively narrow is very flat, and when combined with the length and low seating position results in a surprising stability.
And yes, it passes the standing test (just). I can stand up when floating in shallow calm water, although it is not stable enough to fish or do anything useful from a standing position.
Maneuverability and on the water handling.
The Profisha comes with an under hull style rudder, most commonly found on Surf Skis. This style of rudder is excellent when surfing waves, but has a few downsides.
To avoid the rudder digging into the bottom, the Profisha must be launched in several inches of water. More worrisome, is that the rudder can easily make contact with any log or rock submerged just below the surface.
A mate of mine who owns one, also complains about the rudder catching weed. Installing an after-market weed deflector can help reduce that from occurring. Short rudders also catch significantly less weed, so are worth considering if you are not planning on ocean paddling.
Due to its length and lack of rocker, the Profish is not the most agile kayak. In most paddling situations that does not really matter, I have never had any need to turn it on a dime.
How is the onboard storage?
Compared with most fishing kayaks storage volume is about average. The main dry storage is the day hatch located behind the seat. The storage compartment has been enlarged on the Profisha. It goes all the way under the seat. It is easily big enough to store all the essentials for a day trip. Ultralight and compact camping equipment might fit at a squeeze.
The other main storage is the ‘fish hatch’ located between the paddlers legs. This hatch is very long, it is possible to store many fish or even entire rods inside. Due to drainage holes this area does get wet.
Just behind the fish hatch is a Live bait well which can also double as additional dry storage if you leave the plugs in.
Towards the stern there is a shallow well and bungees, it is possible to secure various other equipment. It is a bit far back to access easily on the water, but I have stored various anchors, and freediving fins there while paddling.
Any other downsides?
No kayak is perfect, the ProFisha comes with no forward rod holders by standard. Most owners probably will install additional rod holders pointing forwards.
Storage is somewhat limited. The ProFisha is not really suitable for overnight camping tents.
Distribution, Stealth Kayaks can be difficult to purchase in many countries.
Stealth makes a wide range of fishing kayaks, the Profisha comes in three lengths the 575, 525 and the shortest 475. Larger paddlers might prefer the 575, while the 525 might better suits lighter paddlers.
For a composite kayak with more stability, there is also the Fisha range. That includes the 460, 500 and the 555. Both the Profisha and Fisha ranges share many features in common, the main difference is the width. The fisha comes in at around 27 inches (68.5cm). One trick, the model number corresponds with the length in cm of the waterline.
One last note, if looking at older models. The original Fisha Kayaks such as my 550 had dimensions more comparable to today’s profisha. While today’s Fisha is an upgrade of their old evolution range.