Cobra Kayaks Marauder
($899 in roto-molded super-linear polyethylene, $1,089 Recreational Package adds hatches and rod holders, $1,495 with rudder, cobrakayaks.com)
L: 14’3″; W:29″; 55 lbs., 450-lb. capacity
Get this straight right from the start: This is a new Marauder, a meaner machine than the predecessor that shared its name. The new design, imported from Cobra’s New Zealand offshoot, is built around a comfortable, copious cockpit. That’s only the beginning of the improvements that put this ride on the cutting edge.
Chief of those is the excellent new Custom Center Hatch system topped by a handy cutting board. As-is, it provides ample tackle storage without sacrificing the hull’s seaworthiness. Add plumbing, and you’ve got a livewell. Or slice out the bottom section for better hull access to easily stash rods and other gear right from the cockpit. It’s puzzling that the next fishing nicety isn’t a universal standard: a transducer-compatible scupper that provides the best possible fishfinder performance, which is a big plus for serious anglers. Other goodies include a huge bow hatch, upgraded foot pegs, Cobra’s trademark Xtra Fishy molded-in measuring tape, and acres of deck real estate for easy rigging.
The 14-foot-long hull is heavily rockered, with shapely upturned ends that give the boat plenty of wave-riding lift and make for nimble performance in tight spots. That means a minor loss of speed—one we scarcely noticed. The new Marauder comes in a variety of optional configurations and offers a fine all-around fishing craft.