Perception Pescador Pilot 12.0
When Perception Pescador Pilot 12 first came out, it was one of the most affordable pedal-driven fishing kayaks on the market. But with all the new models entering the sub-$2000 niche, it becomes harder for the Pescador to hold its ground.
- Good capacity
- Seat is trimmable
- Transducer ready
- No dry storage
- No in-hull storage
- No high/low seat positions
- Drive screws can come loose
- Rod holders are too shallow and wide
Size and Weight
Perception Pescador Pilot 12 is 12.5 ft (381 cm) long and 33.75″ (85.7 cm) wide with a deck height of 16″ (41 cm). At 85 lbs (38 kg), it is not the lightest boat around but still manageable. If you remove the drive, the seat, and whatever you have in the storage compartments, you should be able to cartop this kayak without too much trouble.
The Pescador Pilot 12 has a maximum capacity of 475 lbs (216 kg), which is more than enough to carry an average-sized adult with a lot of fishing gear. Keep in mind that loading it to capacity will cause some water to enter through the scupper holes. For best performance, it is usually recommended to stay within 80 percent of the kayak’s maximum capacity.
Perception makes their kayaks from a proprietary High-Density Polyethylene material using the company-specific, one-piece rotational molding technology. The process involves pouring beads of polyethylene into the mold, which gets heated up and slowly rotated so that the material fills up every nook and cranny. After the mold cools down, you get a one-piece, leak-proof construction that is extremely rugged and durable.
Perception Pescador Pilot 12 offers an essential set of features which might be all you ever need.
Starting with the bow, there’s a soft-touch plastic handle. We think molded-in handles are the best, but this design also feels pretty solid. Just note that these handles are usually not designed as strapping points for transportation.
Next, there’s a pretty large bow tank well. It has a stretch-mesh storage cover that doubles as a paddle park. A good way to quickly secure your gear, but you don’t want your treble hooks anywhere near that mesh cover.
Further back, you’ll see a scupper hole that connects to a recessed transducer scupper at the bottom. There’s also a molded recess for your wires.
An interesting feature of Perception Pescador Pilot 12 is two rectangular storage compartments on the front deck. Although not waterproof, they provide enough splash protection for most use cases. An indent on the coaming lets you store your fishfinder battery inside one of the compartments and easily run your wires. The second compartment is a great place to store your tools or accessories that you need at hand.
Pescador Pilot 12 has two YakAttack gear tracks on the side gunnels. These let you easily mount any accessories without drilling holes in the kayak. There are also several shallow recesses for temporary storage of small items such as lures or pliers. Finally, there are two tackle box trays, one on each side of the seat.
The rudder is controlled with your left hand. On the right side, there is a large cup/bottle holder. There is also a bungee paddle holder on the left side.
Four flush-mount rod holders are located behind the seat. Unfortunately, they are too shallow and too wide to be of any real use. Perception does sell rod holder extensions for those.
The rear bungee-secured tank well is larger than many of the other 12-footers. With dimensions of 32″x21″ and a 5″ depth, it allows loading enough equipment and accessories for a weekend of fishing or hunting. There is also a 5″ hatch that allows access to the rear of the boat.
The Pilot 12 also comes with a pre-installed retractable rudder kit. There have been some complaints about the system coming loose, but that can be easily fixed with occasional bolt tightening.
On the stern, there is a flat spot where you could install a Power-Pole Micro Anchor. There are no pre-installed inserts, however, so you’ll have to do everything yourself.
The Pilot pedal drive sits lower than many other pedal units, which provides a more comfortable pedaling position. To deploy or pull up the drive, you need to align your pedals in a certain way, and then pull out a metal pin that holds the drive in place. This is not always a smooth process but totally doable. Note that you need at least 18 inches (46 cm) of water under the kayak to deploy the pedal drive.
The lawn-style seat is basic but pretty comfortable. The backrest is adjustable with two side straps. The mesh material is very breathable and dries quickly. However, there is not much cushioning, so you could get a little numb on longer trips.
The seat slides on two tracks, so you can easily move it fore and aft to adjust your pedaling position.
Unfortunately, the seat does not have high/low positions.
The Perception Pescador Pilot 12 is an excellent performer in calm waters. Its prominent tracking keel (especially pronounced at the bow) helps it maintain its course. The broad shoulders provide incredible stability for stand-up fishing and on-deck movement.
Considering the boat’s width and length, you cannot expect top maneuverability, but the rudder does a good job steering the kayak in the desired direction.
The Pescador Pilot 12 isn’t the most agile kayak, but it does offer good all-around performance.
Perception kayaks are warranted against material or manufacturing defects in the hull and deck for 5 years from the date of the original purchase of the kayak. Parts, accessories, and outfitting are warranted for one year.
To learn more about Perception Kayaks’ warranty terms and conditions, click here.
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