L.L.Bean Manatee 12 Deluxe Angler
I purchased this kayak mainly for duck hunting. I…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $400
I purchased this kayak mainly for duck hunting. I bought the 12' version as I am 6'3" tall and over 250 lbs. This kayak is easy to paddle, carries me in full winter clothes plus decoys and gear. I have had it out on the Delaware River in strong crosswinds and had no issues paddling it through the waves. It’s a comfortable kayak that I can sit in for hours duck hunting.
- Easy to paddle
- Weight carrying ability
- Rod holders
- Rear storage area is large
- Difficult to carry. There is no easy way to carry this alone. For two people it has carrying handles at each end.
- Foot pegs can fall out while carrying
I mainly bought this kayak for duck hunting three years ago. I have used it for fishing and for pleasure paddling too. My two sons (ages 20 and 22) have the 10' version. This kayak is made by Perception and branded for LL Bean. All three of us like the kayak. The 10' version being able to get in tighter spots but is slower than the 12'. My sons left their kayaks outside for a few days in the sun after a trip and one of the kayaks ended up with an impression or dent in the bottom from lying against the side rails of our utility trailer while hot. He is still trying to get that out as it does affect how it paddles. Other than that they seem well made.
We use the kayaks in New Jersey waters including the Delaware River, Delaware Bay, Mullica River, Batsto River, back waters behind Wildwood and behind Atlantic City. Various other wildlife management areas too. We have used them in all seasons from 95-degree days in July to 14-degree days in the winter to hunt. They have done well on all water conditions and temperatures.
All in all, for the price (we got them on sale and then with a 25% off coupon) they are pretty decent kayaks. They are the first ones we have owned. I have been a longtime canoe/boating guy and this was my first time owning a kayak.
Would I buy it again? Really not sure. I have been looking at the new line of solo canoes out there that are meant to be used with a kayak paddle. My almost 30-year-old Old Town Penobscot is still a great canoe, but I moved to the kayak as my old knees can't handle kneeling. I think if I was buying a boat for the same purpose now I would not purchase the kayak and go for an Old Town Next or Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman.
I have been boating since I was 8 years old starting with a Chris Craft mahogany 8' kit boat built by my grandfather in 1949. I have and still own a 12' boat, a 16' boat, and a 21' Mako Center Console. I have canoed for almost 30 years. My experience in how boats handle and what they can do is extensive in smaller crafts.
I have had this kayak for three years and have used it 12-14 times for various things—duck hunting, fishing, pleasure. I have used it in the heat of the summers to snowing conditions in December.