I figured since I’m a Bonafide team member and brand ambassador for the Loveland canoe and kayak team that I’d write a review about the kayak I spend so much time in.
First, let’s start with the stability. The Bonafide SS127 is one of the most stable fishing platforms I have ever fished off of. Quite often I paddle this kayak from the standing position and it never compromises the stability. The Perch pads on the sides by the seat are surprisingly easy to stand on as well. I thought it would very be unsettling standing on those pads, but it’s honestly not bad at all.
The Bonafide SS127 is a very fishable and comfortable vessel. I have fished numerous tournaments and spent hours upon hours fishing out of this kayak all year long. The comfort level is amazing. I love the open deck space in front of the seat. The seat is the best seat on the market in any kayak and it’s not even close. There are 2 seat positions for the Bonafide ss127, high and low. I rarely ever put the seat in low position because the high seat position is just amazing on its own. Under the seat is a junk drawer which I absolutely love and use every trip. I store my soft plastics underneath the seat as well as my donkey leash, fish grips, and ketch board while on the water. The junk drawer is installed on a gear track and can be pulled out and pushed in and locked so it does not come open on it’s own. The junk drawer also has molded spots of the front top part of it that allows you to place rods while paddling to your next spot. I have been utilizing this feature quite a bit when paddling. It keeps my rods and reels out of the way and without having my rod tips hang over the bow of my kayak.
The Dry pod is also a great feature. I used the dry pod to mount my fish finder on top of and transducer below. With how the Bonafide SS127’s hull is shaped, it’s like a catamaran hybrid type hull. The sides are almost like it’s on 2 outside pontoons with a smooth middle part that doesn’t hang down as far underneath into the water as the sides. That allows for the transducer to be mounted onto the bottom of the dry pod without any issues of the transducer hitting the bottom surface of any lake or river. I have not had a single problem with my transducer hitting whatsoever. The dry pod also comes out with the push of a hinge and a rubber part. The rubber part was a genius idea because if for any reason you do hit soemthing on the bottom of the lake or river with your transducer, it gives the dry pod a little bit of play without ripping off the transducer and breaking the dry pod or it’s hinges to keep it in place completely.
One of my favorite features of this kayak is the storage space. The front hatch opens both ways because of the hatch hinges Bonafide created. You can access the front hatch from inside the kayak by opening the lid away from you toward the bow and also open it away from the bow toward the stern if you’re outside of the kayak storing your gear after trips. The storage inside the hatch is unmatched. Inside my hatch, I can store all my rods (5), life vest, paddle, fish finder, rod holders (4), batteries, ketch board, and dry bag and still have room for more. When I’m talking to people who are interested in Bonafide, I ALWAYS mention the storage space because it’s something I believe other brands fall short.
The rear well is also a great storage area for the yak attack blackpak or a crate. The rear well will hold the blackpak in any position well you want to place it length way or width way. Bonafide also left the bungee system open for storing a crate or blackpak. The bungee system has these clips on the bungees, two on each side, that clip onto a blackpak or crate. I thought that was an amazing idea because the crisscrossing of bungees often get in the way of crates on other brands of kayaks. Also included in the rear well is a rear access plate for running wires and cables for a trolling motor and cable to control it with the foot pedals. On the stern of the kayak, they have 4 areas pre installed for a potential rudder or power pole. A lot of guys use those holes for mounting their trolling motors.
Back up to the foot pedals. There are 2 settings on the foot pedals, locking them in place and free motion of foot pedals. The locking of the foot pedals are used to lock those foot pedals in place for bracing yourself or while you’re paddling. The free motion settings is for controlling a trolling motor with the foot pedals. Bonafide has thought everything through with this kayak.
First off, this kayak paddles extremely well in rivers and going upstream against current, even without the flex wings they released for the SS series. On lakes, the back end of the SS127 does sway even after the last paddle stroke, but the flex wings Bonafide created fix that with no issues. Those flex wings are a must have for Bonafide owners. The flex wings definitely help with the tracking of the SS127 but beware that they aren’t meant to be used on rivers. Using flex wings on rivers can cause issues with catching current wrong and turning you while going through riffles which is not recommended. The SS127 is a harder kayak to paddle up to speed, but once you get momentum, it’s fairly easy to keep a decent speed. I can paddle around 3.5 MPH with this kayak no issues.
Honestly, the only con I have about this kayak is the weight. It is a heavier kayak at 94 lbs with the seat. All my gear in the storage make it a lot heavier than it actually is though, but it’s a trade off I’m willing to make. I know not everybody will have that same view as mine. Another con I have is the paddle keeper bungee the paddle keeper bungee is hard to manage. If somehow Bonafide made a tab for pulling down the bungee, it would make it a whole lot easier to use.
I plan on doing a few things with my Bonafide SS127 to make it how I want it to be for lake tournaments. Eventually, I will be getting myself a torqeedo or trolling motor setup. I’m still brainstorming, but I think I have a decent plan. I do plan on getting a Bonafide RS117and scaling down in gear for my river trips. A lot of stuff that stays in my SS127 is unnecessary for river trips. Scaling down would make it a lot easier on myself with loading and unloading and dropping a lot of the weight I carry. Thanks for taking the time to read my review on the Boanfide SS127 and hopefully this inspires you to purchase one and catch some fish’ I know I completely stand behind Bonafide kayaks and their products and I know they too take pride in what they do.