Viking Kayaks ProFish 400 Review
Fishing Kayak Overview
With the arrival of Viking Kayaks to Canoe Shops Group stores, it is only fit for us to take a good close look at these kayaks and show you the reason why we have chosen to bring you these awesome fishing kayaks. The clever guys designing and producing Viking Kayaks over in New Zealand are also mad keen kayak fisherman. They design their hulls to perform well in the open coastal waters around NZ and have equipped the kayaks with features so that you can make the most of your session on the water. Given that our waters are very similar to those on the opposite side of the world it comes as no surprise that the Viking Kayaks are very well suited for UK kayak fishing.
First up, the Viking ProFish 400, a superb all-rounder for kayak fishing in calm to moderate conditions, on inland waters, estuaries and coastal waters, with impressive amounts of stability for its size. At only 26kg, this lightweight kayak is more than manageable off the water too. Useful features are plentiful. If you are looking for your first fishing kayak for inshore waters and inland waters, this is one of the best. Let’s take a closer look...
Fresh out of the bag, a Viking ProFish 400 in the rather snazzy Green/Blue colour option....
Hull Design and Construction
The 4.1m hull starts with a well pointed bow widening out to the foot well. This will see the hull cut efficiently through the water. The widest section of the hull can be found beneath the seat and bow end of the rear tank well. With plenty of volume in this area, this provides the hull with great stability as the paddler and any heavy kit will be located over the widest section. The hull then tapers back to the well-defined rear keel.
Looking from the side we can see that the ProFish 400 hull has a nice long keel line which sweeps out from the stern – great for straight line tracking! The bow is slightly flared which will help with paddling through choppy waters, allowing the bow to ride over small waves rather than cutting through them. The sides are fairly well rounded and are scalloped in beside the seating area. Now this is quite a clever design feature. These scalloped edges reduce the chances of hitting your hands against the hull whilst paddling, allowing for efficient paddling strokes yet with good hull width beneath the seat for stability. Nice! The hull is fairly shallow in height too. This is great as there is not too much kayak on show for the wind to catch - less windage and less one sided paddling to battle a cross or side wind!
Looking underneath we can see the keel line running much of the kayaks length. The hull itself is tri-form in design. A large central bulge, with central keel line, runs the length of the kayak with flatter sections found towards the sides of the kayak. The central section provides great tracking properties and handling in lively waters, whilst the flatter sections provide lateral (side-to-side) stability on the water. Soft chines (edges) can be found between the under hull and the sides of the kayak, which will help the kayak perform and remain stable in livelier waters.
This hull has clearly been designed to offer performance in typical coastal waters whilst maximising stability from the hull design.
The hull itself is constructed from virgin Linear Medium-Density Polyethylene (MDPE). This is the industry standard used by many main brand manufacturers for its excellent durability qualities. This grade of plastic is stronger and stiffer than lower grades of plastic (such as Linear Low Density Polyethylene LLDPE) used in the manufacture of cheap kayaks. Viking use UV stabilisers in their plastic to ensure the colours resist fading in sunlight. All fittings and accessories are either Nylon or Stainless Steel – perfect for freshwater and saltwater use. No corners are cut here. These kayaks are built to high quality standards to meet the demands of kayak anglers.
The ProFish 400 weighs in at an impressive 26kg! This makes the ProFish 400 very manageable off the water and getting this kayak on top of a car for transporting is easy. This is often one of the biggest considerations for those buying a fishing kayak – at the end of the day if you are unable to, or struggle to, put your kayak on your car roof then you will be less inclined to go kayak fishing.... and that’s no fun is it! Luckily this kayak is light for its size so you will be able to car top it, and you will be able to go kayak fishing!
Designed by kayak anglers, the Viking Kayaks have plenty of useful and well placed features that make fishing from the kayak more efficient and comfortable. Let’s start at the bow and take a look over the features that come as standard on the ProFish 400...
The bow features a soft touch webbing handle for carrying the kayak. Deck bungees sit across the bow for gear storage – quite handy for tucking your rod tips under whilst trolleying the kayak too. Take a closer look towards bow and you’ll find two threaded brass inserts, these are found on both sides of the bow. These are designed to allow easy fitting of a pad eye for an anchor trolley system and get around the need to drill the kayak. The Feelfree pad eyes available in CSG stores fit perfectly and the inserts take M5 bolts.
Further back we find a screw hatch, giving access to the hull for gear storage. Not quite big enough to fit a trolley inside but the C-Tug trolley frame and pads will fit inside, leaving just the wheels to store in the tank well. At the bow end of the foot well we find a flat area – ideal for accessory mounting. In fact, we find 8 x M5 threaded inserts in a pattern compatible with Railblaza StarPort HD and Scotty Rectangular bases.
In the foot well we find a large centre storage well. A tough polycarbonate lid sits over this and has a nice big wooden chopping board built into it! This is a really nice touch and whilst great for cutting up bait on, it also makes a handy spot to mount a fish finder.
The lid is held down by 4 corner bungee loops. You can undo the front two bungees to hinge the lid open, or undo all 4 bungees to remove the entire lid. Beneath we find a moulded in recess, sealed off from the rest of the hull.
A small drain plug sits at the bottom of the well – this leads to a transducer scupper on the underside of the hull. This recess will fit the Lowrance Broadband and CHIRP transducers and Garmin transducers but not the longer Raymarine Dragonfly transducers – these can always be bonded inside the hull.
Back to the foot well and we find good solid adjustable foot rests. Scupper holes are also found at the low point in the wells to allow for auto-draining of the deck.
Between the centre well and seating area we find a small screw hatch. Open this and beneath is a gear bucket – a handy spot for storing bait or small bits of tackle. The bucket can be removed giving access to the main hull for further storage if needed.
Beside the seating area we find forward facing flush mount rod holders – handy for fishing on the drift, when at anchor, or just for storing your rods whilst tackling or baiting up. Soft touch webbing carry handles sit at the centre of weight on the hull, this helps with car topping. Notches feature just inside the seat well beside the handles and allow for a firm purchase when you need to carry the kayak on its side. The scalloped sides can clearly be seen here, allowing for good hull width beneath the seat, providing great stability, whilst still allowing for efficient paddle strokes without hitting your hands on the hull! A bungee paddle keeper features on both sides of the kayak. Pad eyes feature to clip a seat onto.
The whole seat/foot well is sculptured to provide a comfortable paddling position. The seat section sits lower (low centre of gravity is great for stability) and then rises beneath your thighs for under leg support before lowering again at the footrests. This promotes a good paddling posture and feels comfortable when seated in the hull. Again, scupper holes are found in the low point under the seat for auto-draining.
Just behind the seat we find 4 more flush mounted rod holders! This time they are rear-facing, and great for storing your rods whilst paddling or trolling a lure behind the kayak. A couple more pad eyes feature for attaching a seat too.
On to the stern section of the kayak and we find a massive rear tank well! This offers a huge amount of storage area and will easily take a storage crate with room for more. Again scupper holes feature for drainage.
This tank well will take the optional Viking Chill Pod – an insulated pod with bread-bin flip-up style lid, ideal for keeping your catch fresh whilst on the water, and easy to access from the seat.
On to the very stern and we find an assortment of threaded inserts and a Railblaza StarPort. The Starport makes a handy place to fit a Railblaza Safety Flag, or the pole-mounted visibility kit with Flag and Navigation Light. The threaded inserts back from the StarPort are for the installation of the Viking Rudder Kit. The ProFish 400 comes ‘Rudder-Ready’ with pre-installed rudder tubing for the rudder control lines. These can be seen protruding at the stern and run through the inside of the hull to the footrests. Having these pre-installed makes rudder installation very easy!
Larger threaded inserts sit around the edges of the tank-well. These can be used to install bungee buttons to fit bungee across the tank-well if required. Two soft touch carry handles sit on the stern, and a drain plug is well-placed towards the very back of the kayak. Look closely below the side handles and you’ll notice more M5 threaded inserts for pad eye installation for an anchor trolley.
That about covers all the features found on the ProFish 400! Plenty of useful and well placed features that make this kayak very well equipped for the kayak angler. This kayak has been very well-thought out indeed.
Standard sit-on-top seats with 4 attachment points will fit the ProFish 400. We have found the Feelfree Deluxe to be a very comfortable seat to use with this kayak. For extra back support and padding, the Feelfree Kingfisher can be used, although with its thicker padded base (great for stopping a numb bum!) the Kingfisher does give a slightly higher seating position, which some may not like. You can see both seats fitted to the ProFish 400 below....
This kayak has clearly been designed by kayak fishers! The 12-13ft size range is a very popular choice for first time paddlers and those buying their first fishing kayak, particularly for use on the sea. The guys at Viking have come up with a superb fishing kayak in this size range. The ProFish 400 hits a number of key points often looked for by those taking their first steps into the kayak fishing world, but also for those who may be upgrading from a short fishing kayak and want a great all-rounder.
- The hull design will see the ProFish 400 paddle well in calm to moderate conditions, handling choppy waters well and moderate ocean swell. Whilst great for general inshore kayak fishing, the ProFish 400 will also be at home on calmer inland waters. A true all-rounder!
- The hull is very stable for its size, providing confidence to first time paddlers who may want a very stable kayak, but also for the more experienced paddler who wants stability to target big fish.
- The lightweight hull is easy to manage off the water and is easy to put up onto a car roof rack.
- There are plenty of great features which make kayak fishing from the ProFish 400 easier and more comfortable.
This is one of the best suited 13ft fishing kayaks available for UK waters, and it comes at a great price too. We are really looking forward to putting this kayak through some UK kayak fishing abuse! Over the coming months our staff will be paddling and fishing from the Viking ProFish 400 so keep an eye out for updates with in-depth reviews and hopefully plenty of fish!
Liam (Cornish Kayak Angler)
The Canoe Shops Group Ltd.
Viking ProFish 400 Review Update - On The Water
Pro Fish 400 Review
Viking kayaks have been gaining in popularity throughout the UK kayak angling scene.
Most of the attention has been on the flag-ship ProFish Reload model which has been very popular and has performed well at competition level.
However, not everybody is after the full-on 4.5m Profish Reload and require something lighter and more compact, so I was very interested to try out its little brother the Pro Fish 400…..
Most of my kayak fishing is in-shore coastal and estuary fishing, so I was keen to see how well the 400 would fair in the places I like to paddle and fish. So, a venue and a tide were chosen and the species target was the elusive Gilt Head Bream in one of Cornwall’s stunning estuaries.Now before getting stuck into the fishing, let’s take a look over the hull design and the features….
First up the Profish 400 is 4.1m long (approx 13 foot) which is generally regarded as a good all-round length of kayak for distance and speed, but also light enough and manageable for a single person car-top. At 78cm wide in the cockpit area, it offers a stable platform for angling and also for paddlers wanting a little more stability.
I’m 5’9’’ and 12 stone and it suited me fine, but also felt plenty stable enough for a bigger paddler and more leg room for the taller guys too; so a tick in the box for accommodating a wide range of paddler-size.
It has a slightly flared hull shape which was easy to sit side-saddle and cast from, providing a positive amount of secondary stability when on edge. This coupled with a sleek and slightly upswept bow should make this hull shape a good boat for slightly rougher days coastal fishing and paddling.
Another very characteristic feature of the hull shape is the extended keel line on the stern. Aside from aesthetics, this actually serves a purpose. This maximises the forward speed and straight-line tracking of the hull buy extending the water-line length without increasing the overall length and weight of the kayak – quite a clever trick!
On the water:
What can I say; it’s a nice boat to paddle. It’s reasonably quick and felt balanced in terms of forward speed and cockpit stability. I paddled against the ebbing tide for 2 miles up-river to reach our venue with ease, and it felt very predictable whilst setting up anchor and beginning to fish.
Straight-line tracking is good, which it should be when looking at the hull shape and extended keel line.
There is a bit of width in the cockpit area which gives the stability and predictable feel of the kayak, so you will need a paddle of 220-230cm ideally dependant on your paddling technique.
For those who’ve paddled different anglers, I would say its forward speed and stability is somewhere close to the old Prowler 13 (or Ultra 4.1), which I’ve always felt was a well-balanced craft as-well.
First impressions are this is a feature rich craft without going over-the-top on bells and whistles.
Six rod holders (2 forward & 4 rear) is more than I needed as I only ever take out 2 rods, but I found the extra rod holders useful for carrying my landing net, and for sitting the rods whilst bait changing.
The centre console is one of my favourite features on this kayak, simplistic yet functional!
Simple bungee system holds the hatch cover in-place, which covers a sealed/moulded centre hatch area, so no risk of flooding the hull with this hatch open.
Many of today’s high performance fishing kayaks have large overly complicated hatch consoles which add Kilos to the hull weight – this is simple and light.
The wooden chopping board is a nice touch for preparing the crab and shell fish boats that we were using on the day.
Best of all; the hatch area has a little drain bung, which empties that hatch area if water gets in, and a great feature for hosing down the smelly remains of bait and fish guts after a good trip-out.
Carry handles bow, stern and side are fine. I would have liked solid moulded side handles, but this is probably the only negative I could find on the out-fitting of this boat.
The stern comes as standard with a Railblaza star-port to mount an accessory such as a flag-pole or camera mount.
All of the Viking kayaks come out of the factory ‘rudder-ready’, meaning the tubes and difficult parts of the fitting process have already been done – this makes for an easy rudder retro-fit if required.
Keeper footrests are also fitted as standard with various positions to suit a range of paddler height and leg length.
The hull has a number of brass inserts for mounting anchor trolley systems and for mounting bungees or straps in the rear tank well, so no holes need to be drilled in the hull when fitting anchor trolley systems or tank-well fixings.
The rear tank well on the ProFish 400 is spacious. Viking produce a ‘Chill Pod’ which clips into this spec if required to keep your catch cool, or like me you can just use this space for your trolley, tackle bags and anchor system.
We are not always lucky enough to catch the target species on such trips and especially when doing product reviews. Today was a good day though, with one bite turning into a Gilt Head Bream hook-up and a small gilthead netted and safely aboard.
This was the only bite I had in a 6 hour session and this particular fish was caught on a crab bait.
A really nice all-round fishing kayak that successfully blends stability with forward speed. Light and easy to handle of the water and a Feature rich deck lay-out without being over-the-top.
Its worth mentioning that Viking kayaks are designed and built in New Zealand; an Island that has rough water fishing conditions that have been factored into their hull designs, this makes them very well suited for UK waters. With many kayak manufacturers investing their entire R&D into large, heavy fishing kayaks with stand-up platforms aimed at the North American market; here is a kayak design more suited around the UK kayaking demands.
The Canoe Shops Group Ltd.
- Large rear tank well that also accepts the Chill Pod
- Centre storage well with black polycarbonate cover and wood bait board
- 6 x Flush Mount rod holders - 2 front facing, 4 rear facing
- 2 x Screw Hatches
- Brass inserts in front of cockpit for adjustable rod holders
- Brass inserts at bow and stern for easy anchor trolley installation
- Adjustable Footrests
- Soft Touch Bow, Stern and Side Handles
- Bow Bungees
- Paddle Keeper
- 'Rudder-Ready' with pre-installed rudder tubing for control lines
Length: 13' 5" / 410cm
Width: 30.7" / 78 cm
Weight: 57 lbs / 26 kg
Capacity: 385 lbs / 175 kg