Review of the Jackson Kayak Kraken 13.5
Following in the footsteps of the Jackson Kayak Kraken 15.5 is a trimmed down version, the Kraken 13.5. This kayak has been on the market for a little while but has been a big hit with a variety of anglers. The Kraken 13.5 fits a wide range of paddling and angling situation making it a staple for many. Coming in at a nimble 13'3" length, 30.5” width, and weighing 70 pounds, it is a little more manageable for smaller paddler looking for a feature filled kayak. The hull design is built for handling larger bodies of water while being right at home just about anywhere. For this review we will be looking at the Kraken 13.5 Standard. It is also available in Kraken 13.5 Elite model which comes with additional accessories.
This kayak comes with many great features. The bow hatch comes with a Thermoformed Hatch Cover along with a Neoprene Seal giving you double protection from rough water and surf launching. It also provides bungee storage for a paddle park or other items. This hatch gives you access inside the kayak for storing gear and fish you might catch. Just back from this towards the footwell is the large Hinged Center Hatch. The Center Hatch gives you additional access inside the kayak for storing rods or even fish while offshore fishing along with a Hatch Storage Insert for storing items that you need quick access to. I am able to fit 3 Plano 3600 tackle boxes along with other fishing gear in the Insert. This is a great feature that I take advantage of all the time. On top the Center Hatch is two YakAttack Gear Tracks to mount a variety of accessories on. The YakAttack Accessory Plate works really well here for fishfinders and RAM Tough Balls. There is also an additional storage hatch in the stern. I like to use this area to mount any non Raymarine transducers that will be using the shot through hull method. This keeps it out of the way from most of your normal daily access. Also a good area to put non-essential items in case of an emergency.
The Kraken 13.5 is very comfortable with the new Elite Seat 3.0. This seat gives you the ability to move fore and aft, enabling you to adjust the trim of the kayak based on the weight in the kayak and also current water/weather conditions. The Elite Seat 3.0 is certain to make your time on the water more enjoyable with sturdier and more comfortable than ever before design. It has a new look with 3D mesh fabric and improved ergonomics and comfort, along with more storage capabilities. Jackson Kayak has also coupled this with the NEW Therm-a-Rest lumbar pad to help you stay on the water longer. Along with the adjustable seat, it does offer you the ability to choose between a high a low seat position. The high position is very helpful when you are looking to stand up and fish. And yes, this kayak does afford this reviewer the ability to stand up and fish quite easily. The Kraken offers even more flexibility with the adjustable foot pegs and it is also rudder ready. The rudder is a fairly straight forward install and will help this excellent tracking kayak perform to its best when conditions are less than ideal.
The footwells are long and flat extending back into the seatwell area which is also flat. Both of these combine to give you a large flat standing platform. It also provides you with some storage space beneath the seat. Unlike many kayaks on the market the Kraken 13.5 doesn’t separate the seating area with the rear tankwell with any plastic. Instead Jacksons design continues the flat area of the seatwell all the way to the stern with an open tankwell. This is divided by a gear track that is used to secure the KKrate or Plano box. The tankwell has gear track on both sides with bungee to help secure your gear. The tankwell is large enough to use the KKrate and still have extra room for storing dry bags or extra tackle boxes.
The Kraken has two nice accessories specific scupper locations built into the hull design. The first is the Transducer Scupper which is located just behind the center hatch. This was designed to fit the large Raymarine Dragonfly transducers. This is a nice option to keep your transducer in the water and protected. The second is the Bait Pump Scupper which is located just behind the seat. This allows you to mount an aerator pump below the water line so there is no need for priming the pump. We couple this with an OEX Jackson Kayak Quick Disconnect Pump Kit to allow you fast install and removal of your KKrate or similar tank system like the Kraken KFS Ultimate Bait Tank. With the KFS tank you have two battery options; 6 or 12 volt.
This kayak has gear track from bow to stern to help you mount a variety of accessories including camera mounts, rod holders and whatever else you can think of. There are also a couple of 1/4” x 20 threaded inserts molded into the kayak to allow for mounting camera accessories or even RAM Tough Balls. The Kraken comes standard with 2 flush mount rod holders mounted behind the seat and also threaded inserts in the same area to allow for mounting of RAM or Scotty rod holders that come with the rectangular base.
Getting this kayak out on the water was a real treat. The Kraken 13.5 has a really nice feel in the water. Though only 30.5” wide this kayak is really stable. Trimming the seat makes it easy to find the right paddling posture for this kayak. Tracking is excellent combined with a good glide. This is a fast paddling kayak in all conditions. With these two things working for it you wouldn’t think that it would be very stable but it is. I was really surprised at how stable this kayak is. This kayak will definitely allow those that would like to stand and fish that ability. We have even put guys up to 6’3” and 230 pounds in this one, and that was after they did a demo paddle and loved it. The Kraken will fit a wide variety of uses form offshore saltwater fishing launching through the surf, a spearfishing platform, to flat water lake fishing. This kayak, The Kraken 13.5, from Jackson Kayak hits a home run. This is one of the best kayaks on the market when considering many factors; features, size, and price.
If you are in the market for a new kayak and especially your first kayak, you owe it to yourself to give the Kraken 13.5 a good look.