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Yakima Big Catch Saddles - Most excellent


TL:DR if you are on the fence with what roof rack saddles to buy for your heavy fishing kayak, get these, they are fantastic. 

Full review: I am cheap in all the wrong ways and it typically goes something like I buy the cheap option first (then maybe try another cheap option) before finally forking over for the more expensive option that I should have just gone for in the first place.  With kayak racks, I started with rec kayaks and had J-hooks (Yakima) and they were fine.  When I bought my first fishing kayak (WS ATAK 140), I needed a different system. 

At the time, there weren't any fishing kayak specific roof racks so I went the cheap-ish route and built my own.  Since the ATAK had kind of a catamaran-ish hull with a center keel, I was able to fashion a rack out of some 2x4s bolted to the cross bar and padded them with some foam and bunk carpet.  Overall these worked okay, but were a bit finicky.  They also worked for my Hobie Compass after I sold my ATAK.

Then I sold my car (Outback) and the new car (ascent) had a different rack with new cross bar shapes and spacing that didn't align with my home brew solution.  So cheapo me went out looking for new saddles. I was looking at the Big Catch then but didn't really want to pay the full price and found some Yakima Hullhound saddles at Re-rack that were 100 bucks for a set of 4 (new).  These saddles are essentially the old version of the sweetroll and while they are probably a good product, they did not work with the rounded hull shape of the Hobie Compass.  I was finally able to get them setup to a position that "worked" but the boat was not stable, it would move around over bumps.  To combat this I would loop the straps through the drive well and rear scuppers to go around the cross bar and secure the boat better.  Strapping the boat on was a pain and took forever.  Still it wasn't uncommon for me to stop multiple times on an hour or hour and a half drive to adjust and tighten.

Tired of this I finally decided to go for some Big Catch saddles.  I luckily found some used and man I wish I went for these from the start.  Loading the boat is quick and easy, as is strapping in the boat.  The saddles keep the boat stable and there is no need to loop through the scuppers or the drivewell.  Really the only drawback on these is that they cannot accept an SKS lock core to secure them to the cross bar.

So don't do what I did, buy the rack made for the heavy fishing kayaks first and go fish and be happy.

Captain Redbeard:
Great review/info, thanks!

I've been using the big catch saddles all year after using some Malone ones last year.  Was waiting on availability to get them as a lot of Yakima products seemed to be out of stock last year.  I think they fit my sportsman 106 nice, easy to maneuver the kayak on top for best position during loading and I've always felt like my kayak was well secured during transit.  They kind of flex as you tie the kayak down so them seem to be well suited to supporting a variety of kayak sizes and shapes.

The other nice piece of Yakima gear if your car topping a bigger kayak is the showboat roller.  I'm in a Honda pilot so roof is reasonably high.  The showboat allows me to load one end then just push from the bottom end.  Never have to lift the whole weight and protects the back of the vehicle.

Downside to both is the cost new.  I think my roof rack set-up is worth more than my first car.

Helium Head:
I use the discontinued? Yakima Mako saddles. I have tried others and go back to these, always some used ones available on eBay and if patient can get a good deal.


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