Aquaglide inflatables – ideal for all forms of fishing

Inflatable kayaks are great for fishing – in all its forms. In a slight break from the norm, free diver and spear fisherman Marko Lubonic (aka @markospearo) explains why his Aquaglide Chelan 155 is the perfect craft.

Unlike regular rod and reel fishing, spearfishing is not only a more challenging and “sportier” way of harvesting fish it is also a more selective way of harvesting marine life, allowing us to pick and choose legal size and mature fish while leaving the juveniles aside.

Freediving and spearfishing in the Pacific Northwest, more specifically British Columbia, is nothing short of spectacular when all the conditions are right.

However, accessing spots that hold greater concentrations of larger fish and marine life almost always means accessing reefs and offshore pinnacles that are more remote – so I need a boat or kaya to get me there.

Since a boat, outboard motor and trailer come with a hefty price tag not to mention maintenance costs and the need to find launch sites, the clear choice was an inflatable and durable high-pressure ocean-worthy kayak I can transport it in my compact SUV and store it in my apartment.

It is also a much sportier and more eco-friendly solution and kayaking is simply a more meditative and enjoyable form of covering a distance, going hand in hand with the meditative nature of freediving.

Key requirements

For kayak spearfishing, it is important to have a stable enough kayak when exiting and entering, large enough to accompany two spearos since you never dive alone, plus all the dive and spearfishing gear.

The Pacific Northwest has rugged coastlines so a thicker-skinned (durable) kayak that can take some accidental beating and occasional contact with barnacles is more than just a bonus, it is a requirement.

I did extensive research before finally settling on Aquaglide’s Chelan 155 as it was the only ocean-worthy kayak that fulfilled all of the aforementioned criteria.

It is extremely durable, constructed from 1000 Denier Duratex reinforced PVC that would require considerable force of a sharp object to puncture it.

It is a true tandem kayak that can transport two full-grown men while still having additional space to accommodate the long freediving fins and other gear such as weight belts, masks and spearguns.

A keel inserted at the bottom of the hull and some coordinated paddling made the Chelan track perfectly and it was effortless to paddle.

It is a very streamlined high-pressure kayak with drop-stitch floor inflating to a pressure of 6 psi, making it perform like a rigid kayak.

During exit and entry it was impossible to flip it over, so that summarises its stability. We had some pretty strong currents at our dive spot so we anchored in about 20ft of water using a 5lb anchor.

Turning the Chelan 155 into a spearfishing kayak is easy: long freediving fins are best kept at the deck of the bow and suspended by deck bungee cords. At the stern deck, spearguns are held in place by bungee cords with tips pointing behind and away from the kayak bladders. An inflatable or rigid hydrodynamic/low drag spearfishing buoy with a fish stringer is tied by of paracord line to the stern carrying handle.

In summary

Simply put, Chelan 155 is a well thought out and extremely well-made kayak that proved to be the ultimate inflatable kayak for spearfishing and a true game changer; those remote offshore reefs abundant in fish and marine life are no longer distant desires or far-fetched spearo dreams, they are easily and confidently realised by the Chelan 155 and two enthusiastic spearos who are no paddle experts but who can synchronise while and sharing a few funny stories en route to their destination…