We at microskiff.com profess to be all things micro. Admittedly we are not all things very micro, namely kayaks. Our idea of manual propulsion typically comes via a push pole. So when we received an invitation to check out the latest kayaks from a skiff builder with a form of propulsion outside the necessity for upper body strength, we decided it was worth checking out.
Mark Caslow from Dragonfly Boatworks LLC contacted us about checking out their new line of kayaks, the Midge 14 Elec-Trek and the Midge 12 Fly Fisher. These kayaks are two very different approaches to a single goal according to Mark: “Build the best possible, most functional, kayak for the angler.”
The Midge 12 Fly Fisher is the smaller of the two designs from Dragonfly Boatworks with a length over all (LOA) of 12’ and a beam of 35”. The Fly Fisher is their “car topper” kayak. For propulsion the angler can use a paddle, or when optionally equipped, a wireless trolling motor.
The Midge 12 Fly Fisher with wireless trolling motor we tested came with a footpad control though we didn’t use it with our feet. Instead from the seated position we picked up the controller and used it like a game console controller. It was like playing a video game, only in super high resolution. After a few minutes familiarizing ourselves with the controls, we were zooming around, carving tight turns and wild zigzags. The Fly Fisher behaves like an expensive Italian super car. It was light, quick and responsive. The kayak can easily spin in it’s own length. One feature we liked about the Midge 12 was the fact that if the water depths got too shallow for the trolling motor, it can be tilted up and a paddle can take over.
For the angler, the Fly Fisher includes an adjustable backrest to stabilize against while fishing. It was a touch unsettling at first. Balance and positioning is imperative. Once we gained a sense of how the kayak would react under our feet it proceeded to be amazingly stable and comfortable for it’s size.
The Midge 12 comes in several build options. A simple 40-pound all composite model with padded backrest and integral rod holders, to a tricked out Fly Fisher with optional removable wireless trolling motor. Prices start at $1000.
For an entirely different approach, Dragonfly Boatworks offers their Midge 14’ with the optional Elec-Trek package. The Midge 14 is 14’ LOA and a beam of 28”. While the Fly Fisher could loosely be considered an open sit inside style kayak, the Midge 14’ is much more reminiscent of a sit-on-top style kayak.
Midge 14 base models start with an all-composite construction. Dry forward storage, center storage with an optional shotgun configuration, rear storage sized to fit a 5 gallon bucket and 4 integral rod holders finish the design while tipping the scales at 60-pounds.
Dragonfly Boatworks then add their “Shallow Drive” system that includes a 12-volt sealed battery, 12-volt 53lb thrust wireless trolling motor integrated into the Shallow Drive pod, and a charger.
Maneuvering the Midge 14 is quite different from the Midge 12. To steer, it uses a foot-controlled rudder system behind the fixed trolling motor, making it handle more like a classic American car from the 1960’s. However, when pared with a paddle, the turning radius is reduced. On the Midge 12 Fly Fisher we relied on the wireless trolling motor for most of the propulsion and maneuvering. On the Midge 14, a paddle was used with a higher frequency.
Fishing from the Midge 14 will mostly be done from the seated position. Forward storage is plentifully for a day’s tackle even when the electronics and battery are installed. Rods can be stored away in one of the 4-rod holders and if using small crustaceans like shrimp or crabs, they can be held in a bucket behind the backrest. Prices start at $2,200.
Both kayaks are built and finished with the same attention to detail that Dragonfly Boatworks gives to their skiffs. The kayaks are hand-laid fiberglass over composite construction. Each kayak is custom built to their customers’ specifications.
Developing a kayak for a market like discerning anglers is a difficult task. Developing two very different and distinct kayaks for the angling market is a serious challenge. This is what Dragonfly Boatworks LLC does best with their think-outside-the-box attitude.
Video courtsey of Dragonfly Boatworks LLC.
DRAGONFLY BOATWORKS LLC.
4574 North US1 Suite 11
Vero Beach, Florida 32967
web site: dragonflyboatworksllc.com
SPECIFICATIONS AS SUPPLIED BY MANUFACTURER
Midge 12 open Fly Fisher w/ wireless motor Specs:
* 12′ X 35″
* weight 90-pounds (45-pounds without wireless motor)
* all composite construction
* adjustable back rest
Midge 14 Elec-Trec Specs:
* 14′ X 28″
* weight 100-pounds
* all composite construction
* 12 volt (sealed) battery
* 12 volt charger
* 12 volt 53lb thrust “Shallow Drive” motor
* wireless hand held control
* 4 integral rod holders
* forward dry storage
* padded backrest
* foot-controlled rudder
* rear storage (sized for 5 gallon bucket)