Very good kayak for anyone from beginners to seasoned veterans. Plenty of on deck space. Lots of cockpit room and deck rigging standard.
- Lightweight (~50lbs)
- Tracks straight well
- Lots of above deck storage w/ bungee rigging standard
- Shallow, awkward angle rod holders behind seat
- Scupper holes are right at waterline
- No factory "large" deck hatch for below deck storage
First impressions: Nice, lightweight kayak. Easy to grab handles at the ends and hand holds in the sides. The handles front and rear are also molded into the kayak so no more handle hardware being pulled through the plastic. They are large and easy to grab and make for excellent tie down points for car-topping.
You can easily lift this kayak up and load it on top of an SUV (I have an XTerra and it loads very nicely). The back of the seat is molded into the top of the kayak, making a large "hump" in the top of the kayak. On roof racks it's not a big deal, if you're loading it on a car, you might have to load it keel down. This wasn't an issue for me as my X came with a factory roof rack system.
The factory seat is thin but surprisingly comfortable, although the back rest is non-adjustable due to the previously mentioned molded back. There is a small dry storage hatch right in front of the seat which holds keys/wallet/cell nicely and keeps them out of the water and easy to access.
The foot rests are molded into the cockpit, but there are several so it fits pretty much any size person. The cockpit is set very low in the kayak and makes it very stable, but this causes the cockpit scuppers to be right at water level, scupper plugs should solve this without any issue.
The front and rear deck storage areas are large and both have molds for 5-gallon buckets and come equipped with bungee rigging. There is no large deck hatch, but adding one shouldn't be an issue as aftermarket ones are fairly cheap and simple to install. Before even getting it wet, I added a paddle holder on one side and an anchor trolley on the other with some "do-it-yourself" bungee rigging material from Attwood, these worked perfect when I got it on the water.
Fishing from the Access 11.5 is comfy and easy. The large cockpit allows freedom of movement and plenty of space to change lures and hold fish while de-hooking and photo-ing. There is a cup-holder cutout between the knees on the "console" along with two small rectangular areas for holding hooks or extra lures or for mounting rod holders or fish/depthfinders later.
One thing I was really impressed with is Perception thought to add a replaceable (2 simple screws) piece of high impact nylon to the last 5-6" at the end of the keel. This keeps you from grinding through the hull when moving the kayak across rough surfaces. Very nice feature.
The rod holders... Not to my liking. They are shallow (maybe 4" deep) and hold rods almost vertical and they are a bit too close to the seat, I almost hit my reels when paddling hard. I'll be solving this with some homemade PVC holders that will angle back and then hold the rods at about a 10* angle to the water. This is just personal preference and not necessarily a "bad" design.
Overall I'd have to say, for an entry level priced kayak, you get a decent amount of features, and a comfortable, useable boat. Some simple add-ons and customization and this really would be a very nice fishing kayak that just about anyone can handle.
Source: Got it as a gift for Christmas