I was recently asked by the Canoe Shops Group to write a review of the RTM Abaco 4.20 for their fishing kayak review website. I have been paddling and kayak fishing from an Abaco 4.20 for almost 2 years now and have fished from it in all sorts of conditions around the Cornish coastline. I feel i can give a comprehensive review on the pros and cons of this kayak. Despite being sponsored by RTM, I hope you will find this a fair and balanced review and I have highlighted the reasons why i like this kayak, as well as the areas that could be improved on in future designs. This review is not based solely on my experiences but also includes the comments from those who have paddled my Abaco along with others who also own and fish from one.
I have often contemplated targeting Tope from the kayak but have never got round to trying for them. News was in of Tope showing on the North Cornwall coast so hatched a plan to dedicate a session targeting them. A bit of research online into rigs, gear and conditions and I was ready. I spent the evening before tying tope traces – 8/0 Mustad o'shaughnessy hook double crimped to 12” of 100lb Sakuma coated Wire biting trace attached via a swivel to 5ft of 80lb Fluorocarbon rubbing leader. If I hooked one I wanted to land it!
It was time to get my new Tempo in the water. Elliot was dead keen to get out on the water after suffering the same exam revision ordeal as i had for the past month. A plan was set to see if much was about in the deep waters off West Cornwall.... we were in for a surprise.....
The swell and wind has finally dropped enough for me to launch from one of my favourite fishing marks. The winter storms had destroyed most of the harbour wall protecting the slipway, with the boulders from the wall strewn across the once pristine sandy beach and slipway. This makes launching and landing tricky but possible in the calm and impossible with 2-3ft of swell. Kieren and Dwyer were keen for another trip after the successful mackereling trip the day before. A local came over to me whilst unloading the car and informed me that the beach and slipway would hopefully be restored soon, with diggers coming to move the rocky rubble, so that piece of news was promising. We negotiated the boulder field and made our way offshore to fish the deep water in the hope of catching whiting and haddock......
The weather has settled down and the sunshine is warm…. Spring has arrived and with it the mackerel have moved inshore to chase shoals of sand eels. The plan was to have a session afloat to hopefully find a few mackerel to stock up the bait freezer for future fishing trips. Me, Kieren and his friend Dwyer headed to a mark on the Lizard Peninsula in search of the shoals. Kieren and Dwyer shared the Hobie Outfitter Tandem and I used the RTM Abaco. The forecast was great, the sea was glassy calm and the tide would be pushing. All was looking well for catching mackerel.
An anchor trolley is a fairly essential part of anchoring up whilst fishing. It allows you to position the point along the kayak at which your anchor line will enter the water. This allows you to position the kayak in a comfortable and, more importantly, safe position relative to the wind, swell and tide......
Slide tracks can be fitted to many kayaks for mounting various accessories onto. The RTM Abaco 4.20 luxe comes with slide rails factory fitted either side of the footwell. Some accessories such as the Yak Attack screw balls or purpose made Ram ball slide track mounts will fit directly to the rails. I was planning to mount a scotty base onto the slide track but wanted a solid board on which to attach it to. Slide track mounting boards can be purchased but seem very expensive for what looks like a simple strip of plastic so i planned on making my own.
At the start of the year i was lucky enough to be offered a place on the 4-man RTM UK fishing team. I happily accepted the offer and will be sponsored/supported by the company over the next year. RTM are based in France and are Europe's largest kayak manufacturer. I very much look forward to using and testing their products over the year. After browsing through their catalogue i settled on getting a RTM Abaco 4.20 luxe, as it looks most suited for what i will be using it for. An order was placed with RTM and on friday i received my brand new kayak! Here's the initial overview with lots of photos.....
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