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.....
Abaco 4.20 Luxe Specifications:
The kayak came very well packaged. Here it is straight out the wrapping, my new weapon - An Abaco 4.20 Luxe in Orange/Black!
First thoughts: this is a kayak designed for fishing, it looks fantastic!! Time to have a closer look at the features.....
At the nose: a drainage plug and a carry handle with a chunky rubber grip - should be easier on the hands than the solid plastic ones on my previous kayak. The handle also incorporates a plastic D-ring - I'm assuming this can be used to attach an anchor trolley too, as another one can be found on the rear carry handle. As you can see from the photo the kayak has a completely smooth finish.
The front storage hatch has a soft rubber push on lid - its a fairly tight fit which looks to be completely waterproof. Underneath is a removable plastic basin which should come in handy for keeping stored items dry and in one place. Removing the basin creates even more storage space and a C-Tug trolley fits in with the wheels and cradle pads removed with some space left for other bits and bobs.
Inside the hatch: 2 long buoyancy foam blocks run down the sides of the kayak.
At the bow end of the footwell there is a recessed area for a storage/tackle box: dimensions 18x15cm. Either side there are 2 flat areas for mounting accessories. The footwell runs down into the 2 scupper holes shown.
The centre console lid is made from a hard plastic and looks good for bolting accessories too. Its held down by 2 sturdy straps and buckles. Adjustable footrests, rubber storage pouches and aluminium slide rails can be found on both sides of the cockpit. There is a fish ruler (50cm) moulded into the footwell - i have a designated fish measuring stick but this will come in handy if i ever forget it! The seating area is slightly elevated above the rest of the footwell.
The centre storage area is completely sealed so there's little risk of filling your hull with water should a wave top the kayak when you have it open. A thick rubber seal runs around the rim which should provide a waterproof seal. At the bow end of the centre storage area there is a space designated for a battery - the perfect size for a Yuasa 12v 7.0Ah lead acid battery. At the rear of the storage area there is a rod tube running to the stern of the kayak. The length of the storage area and rod tube allows for a 145cm long rod to fit inside or a 2 section 290cm ~ 9ft rod - quite a handy feature and i will be keeping a lure rod stowed away in there for sure. A 8ft rod will fit in the storage space with a battery.
Behind the seating area are 2 flush mount rear facing rod holders and a recessed storage area, slightly elevated above the rest of the rear storage space , dimensions: 30cm x 16cm. Its designed for storing tackle boxes which are held in place by the elastic bungee strap, although I'm planning on using it as a place to put a small open top storage box for bait or fish. 4 strong D-rings are bolted to the kayak for attaching a seat.
The rear storage area is huge! the standard storage crate fits in with plenty more storage space. There are 2 scupper holes for drainage and thick bungees to help keep everything in place. On the side of the storage area there is a small jam cleat and threaded brass inserts for attaching a stabiliser kit if required.
At the stern there is another carry handle and plastic D-ring along with a hole for fitting a rudder. A rudder comes fitted as standard on the Hi-luxe version.
Deck lines and paddle grooves run down each side of the kayak. At midship on both sides there is a carry handle and elastic paddle keeper.
Time for a look underneath...... I've tried to capture the profile of the hull the best i can. It looks like it will slice through the water well whilst being stable although i will have to get it on the water before finding out.
One of the front scupper holes has a moulded in recess with a threaded brass insert for a fish finder transducer, dimension: 12cm x 7cm. At the very stern there is a hole through which an Abaco trolley can be fitted.
Whilst looking through the RTM catalogue i came across the Abaco dashboard. It looks like a great bit of kit for mounting rod holders, a fish finder, a camera and other accessories too so i ordered one. It attaches to the slide rails so can placed at varying distances away from you. The dashboard is 70cm x 11.5cm and sits 19cm above the slide rails. It comes pre drilled holes for bolting on rod holders and i will be mounting my fish finder in the middle. It look a great place to attach a camera for front on shots. The rod holders shown on the dashboard are the deluxe articulated rod holders, which can also be attached to the slide rails.
Here it is with a seat and paddle....
The kayak came with: 2 large lure boxes, 2 small lure boxes, 1 deluxe articulated rod holder, 4 rubber scupper bungs, a jam cleat and thread brass squares and star handled bolts for attaching rod holders, the jam cleat and the dashboard to the slide rails.
So there it is.... the RTM Abaco 4.20 Luxe. Initial thoughts: a very well thought out kayak designed specifically for fishing. The build quality is fantastic, in fact its pretty much flawless and the smooth finish looks superb. It has lots of very useful features which should make this kayak a very comfortable fishing platform. Im hoping to get it on the water very soon so shall see how it performs then. I am very impressed with the kayak so far and I'm sure it will be a great kayak to fish from. Next step is rigging then it will be time to look for the next weather window!
Here's the full list of Abaco 4.20 Luxe features:
The Abaco 4.20 luxe retails at £1050. For that price you get the kayak and everything listed in the bullet points above. The items that i have purchased extra but shown in this overview are the dashboard, one of the rod holders, the seat and the paddle.
RTM have also just released a new Abaco model for 2014.... the Abaco 3.60 - its shorter than the 4.20 but still packed full of features, check it out!
UPDATE: After 21 months of use and abuse i have written a review on this kayak, covering the features i like, performance on the water, suitability for kayak fishing and things which could be improved on in future designs - Check it out by clicking the following link: RTM Abaco 4.20 - Review
RTM Fishing kayaks are available from Cornwall Canoes - give them a call or check out their website for more info
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