Based out of Quebec, Pelican have been making accessible watersport products since the 1960s, and have been a family owned and run business for over 60 years.
If you started kayaking when you were a kid, there’s a good chance you used a Pelican boat at some time or other!
They also make one of the most popular and best-selling kayaks on the market – which just so happens to be the subject of this review – the Pelican Mustang 100X.
But how does it fare as a fishing kayak? What makes it so desirable? And, more importantly – is it the right choice for you?
Read on to find out.
Our Verdict on the Pelican Mustang 100X Kayak
The Pelican Mustang 100X is one of the most popular and best-selling kayaks ever made, perfect for recreational paddlers and the whole family. And you can catch fish from it. But a fishing kayak it ain’t!
- The Pelican Mustang 100X Angler Kayak Review
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The Pelican Mustang 100X Angler Kayak – What is It?
Billed as an entry-level recreational kayak, the Pelican Mustang is a sit-inside hardshell, with multi-layer construction.
It’s been designed to offer a budget-friendly balance of comfort, stability, and performance; to get more paddlers out enjoying the water with a minimal learning curve.
Perfect for beginners, it has also been marketed as a fishing kayak – although the sit-inside design is not as popular as sit-on-top models for this purpose.
That’s not to say there aren’t some great sit-inside fishing kayaks out there, and you can follow that link for some examples. And go here if you want to learn more about sit-inside vs sit-on-top kayaks for fishing.
What’s it For?
If you’ve been anywhere near water in the summer, there’s a good chance you will have seen at least one person piloting a Pelican Mustang.
You can find this kayak enjoying quiet ponds, rivers, lakes, and maybe even a calm coastal inlet or two, sheltered bay, or beach.
And although marketed as suitable for fishing, let’s be honest here, it is a recreational play boat first and foremost.
It’s perfect for the kids, new paddlers, or anyone who wants a proven hardshell kayak on a budget. It’s an ideal gateway kayak for people who want to get started in the sport.
Furthermore, it’s also very lightweight and compact, which makes it easy to transport and store. Take a look at this article for more kayak storage solutions.
But while any competent angler can land a fish in just about any watercraft, the fishing features in this kayak do feel like an afterthought, and you’ll need some modifications to turn it into a true fishing machine.
Let’s explore the boat in more detail, as there’s still plenty to like, and you can check out the video below to see how one fisherman has pimped his Mustang to be a more worthy fishing kayak.
The Pelican Mustang 100X Angler Kayak Review
Made from multi-layer polyethylene with advanced resin, the Mustang incorporates something called “RAM-X” for a more durable construction.
I’ll trust the design boffins on that one, but it supposedly makes the kayak more impact resistant.
Having taken one of these craft out on the water, I’d say it does feel pretty sturdy and durable, although I’m not the biggest champion of two-piece kayaks.
That’s just my personal preference, and it’s more for aesthetic reasons than anything else. The hull is certainly never going to suddenly detach from the deck, that’s for sure.
In short, this is a super-durable craft that should last a lifetime with care. And speaking of, check out my ultimate guide to kayak maintenance to improve your boat’s longevity.
Turn the Mustang over, and you’ll notice that Pelican has designed a twin-arched multi-chine hull, that’s typical for their kayaks in this class.
But what exactly does that mean?
In layman’s terms, it’s basically a pontoon-style hull, with two arches and multiple “edges,” creating a more rounded shape, but not quite as “hard” as a V-shaped hull, or as “soft” as a rounded hull.
This ensures the Mustang offers a happy medium of performance features, thus making it the perfect craft for new paddlers.
The Mustang is pretty easy to handle, given the fact that it’s been designed for beginners.
And while it does well in the stability and maneuverability stakes, unfortunately, the tracking isn’t as sharp as it should be.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad – it’s just not as good as Pelican says it is. You’ll still be able to get from A to B with reasonable efficiency, but this is not a boat for traveling long distances.
Expect the onset of fatigue very quickly if you attempt such an endeavor.
The multi-chine, pontoon-style hull might be good for a balance of stability and tracking, but it’s not that great for speed.
There’s certainly no need to slow this Mustang down – because it’s not going very fast in the first place.
Being a bit of a slow coach is often the trade-off when it comes to favoring stability over speed, so this comes as no surprise, and beginners usually don’t want to go that fast, anyway.
That said, you could probably still get a decent amount of zip out of the Mustang, given that it’s lightweight and compact, but it might take a fair amount of effort to do so.
The pontoon-style twin-arches I previously mentioned are responsible for creating a confidence-boosting stability in the Mustang, and while I wouldn’t recommend trying to stand in it, it doesn’t feel too “tippy,” when you first climb aboard.
That’s great for first-timers, and you’ll also feel comfortable casting and reeling, albeit from a seated position only.
Take a look at this review of the best stand-up fishing kayaks, if you’re more in the market for a super-stable fishing platform you can comfortably get to your feet in.
A compact 10 feet in length, coupled with the relatively slimline hull and multi-chine design, ensures the Mustang is pretty efficient when it comes to maneuverability.
I had no problems making tight turns in this kayak, and it offers a pleasing amount of control and peace-of-mind, ensuring it’s a great little craft for fishing rivers, structures, and negotiating hazards.
Features and Accessories
Across its 10 foot frame, the Pelican Mustang offers a very basic amount of features, and it certainly doesn’t come anywhere close to a dedicated fishing kayak.
Let’s take a look at what’s included:
- Two flush mounted rod holders.
- Adjustable footrests.
- Knee pads.
- Ergonomic carry handles.
- Dual position bottle holder.
- Smartphone holder in the cockpit.
- Spray skirt rim.
- Drain plug.
Pretty much everything else is related to storage, which we’ll explore in more detail, below.
While there are no accessory rails, there is plenty of scope to add your own aftermarket.
And although there’s not a lot of real estate on the deck, you can still find some room to add some Scotty mounts or other such hardware if you so choose.
An articulated rod holder would have been nice, but visit this review to check out the best kayak rod holders available, and with a spot of DIY you can install one yourself.
Another bone of contention is the lack of a paddle park. This might not be too much of a concern for a recreational paddler, but for a kayak angler it’s a mark in the black book.
If you purchase this kayak for angling purposes, I’d make adding one a top priority.
For feature rich fishing kayaks, you’re going to have to seriously climb up the food chain – and the price spectrum, too.
With eye-watering price tags to match.
Let’s face it, sit-inside kayaks aren’t the most comfortable craft, especially not compared with a sit-on-top model with lawn-chair seating.
And if you’re a human who happens to be on the larger side, you might find the Mustang to be a bit of a squeeze. The cockpit is 25-inches wide, and 47-inch long.
That said, it does its best to keep its occupant comfortable, and the knee pads are a nice touch – otherwise you’ll be walking away with thighs that are red-raw.
Adjustable foot braces are useful for setting to your height, but they can be a bit of a fiddle to access, and you’d better get it right before casting off.
Once you’re out on the water, you’re going to find it difficult, or near impossible, to re-adjust if you haven’t got your calculations quite right.
Trust me – this is one of the most frustrating things about using sit-inside kayaks with adjustable foot braces. There’s not a lot of scope for adjustments once you’re out there.
The Mustang uses something called ErgoForm seating – with an adjustable, padded backrest that’s supposed to give you day-long comfort on the water.
It’s not bad, and certainly better than other budget kayaks and cheaper inflatables, but there are more comfortable options available. You could be sitting in the lap of lawn-chair luxury with the Lifetime Teton 100 for around $100 more, for example.
Considering this is a 10 foot sit-inside kayak, the Pelican Mustang doesn’t do too badly when it comes to on-board storage options.
Starting at the bow, you’ll find a small storage hatch on the front deck with bungee cord to lash additional gear. Bear in mind that this is not waterproof, and is more like a simple lidded hatch into the hull.
On the rim of the cockpit, there’s a small center console that features a smartphone holder – or whatever tool you’d prefer to place there.
It also has a small bungee cord to keep things secure.
Moving down, there’s a dual-position bottle holder in the cockpit, so you can keep a beverage close to hand. Paddling and fishing can be thirsty work!
To the stern, Pelican has included a generous 17 liter “EXOPOD,” which is a removable, hardshell storage bin. This is great for packing extra gear and equipment, and is ideal for kayak camping/fishing adventures.
And the fact that it’s removable is a nice touch, too, as the tank well it’s stored in offers enough space for a compatible kayak fishing cooler, or even a kayak crate. Check out those links for some great options.
With or without the EXOPOD installed, the rear tank well has a bungee cord tie down keeping everything secure and in place.
For such a compact craft, the maximum weight capacity of 300 lbs is pretty impressive. There are dedicated fishing kayaks that offer less.
That said, you don’t exactly have a lot of room here to bring extra gear with you even if you wanted to, so the weight capacity here is arguably more beneficial for general peace of mind.
At just 39 lbs, the Pelican Mustang is one of the lightest hardshell kayaks out there, and an absolute breeze to transport.
One person can hoist this little craft onto a vehicle roof with relative ease, and it can slot into the back of a truck bed as if it isn’t even there.
There are durable T-handles at the bow and stern, but for some strange reason there are no handles at the sides. And although the Mustang can be lifted by the cockpit rim, I would recommend adding extra handles to make it even easier.
In fact, this kayak is so portable, I’ve included it in my review of the most lightweight kayaks on the market.
I also believe it to be the lightest hardshell you can buy, and when it comes to going toe-to-toe with the best inflatable fishing kayaks, in a race to see who gets on the water first, I wouldn’t bet against the Mustang.
And that’s not bad for a hardshell, at all.
Ease of Use
Pelican are famous for their accessible, easy-to-use kayaks, and the Mustang is no exception.
Even if you’ve never paddled a day in your life, you can just sit in this craft and go – it’s that intuitive. It’s almost as if the kayak is actively encouraging you to improve your paddle stroke.
You’re going to feel safe and secure, and the Mustang has a knack for breeding confidence. I think it’s one of the best beginner kayaks ever made.
If you’ve read some of my reviews before, you’ll know I’m not a big fan of two-piece kayaks. I prefer my craft to be from a single piece of polyethylene, as I think that’s much easier on the eye.
The separate color sections of the Mustang is one such example where I just find it a little harsh to look at. That’s just my personal preference, and it might be perfectly fine for you.
Through the years, the Mustang has been available in a rainbow of colors, but right now I believe you have a choice of four – Borealis (green), Fusion (orange), Neptune (blue), and Stardust (purple).
They’re definitely geared towards recreational fun rather than fishing fun, and would certainly suit younger paddlers over serious anglers of advancing years.
There’s currently no camouflage option available, but if you’re looking for something that blends in a little better with your natural surroundings, might I suggest the Pelican Sentinel, instead?
That is, after all, a much better fishing kayak than the Mustang – right across the board – and for not much more of your hard-earned cash to boot.
For a sit-inside kayak, the Mustang offers a nice balance between primary and secondary stability.
That means it will feel pretty sturdy getting into it, and you’ll feel confident, even in moderately choppy conditions.
It’s also super lightweight, so should you ever manage to flip it, it’s not going to be too challenging to turn it right side up.
The Mustang is available in a variety of vibrant color schemes, so you can easily be spotted on the water in poor weather. However, if the craft has flipped over, the more muted tone of the hull might be harder to pinpoint.
And even if a kayak is overflowing with the very best safety features, you should always make sure you’re wearing an accredited life jacket or preserver. Check out these awesome fishing PFDs for some practical, life-saving solutions.
Perhaps one of the main reasons this all-rounder is so popular is that it has a price point to match.
At the time of writing, the Mustang was coming in at a shade under $400 – which is excellent considering its versatile specifications.
But if you’re a keen angler looking for a dedicated fishing kayak, for a hundred dollars or so more you can pick up something like the Lifetime Teton 100, which knocks spots off the Mustang as a fishing craft.
And if you want a wider selection of the best budget-friendly fishing kayaks, you can follow that link.
There should be two ratings for the Pelican Mustang. One for a beginner’s recreational hardshell, and one as a fishing kayak.
For the former, there’s a lot to like.
It’s affordable, lightweight, easy-to-use, highly portable, and offers some decent storage options.
But is it good as a fishing kayak?
I would say just about – but with a few caveats.
You’ll probably want to make your own modifications. Add some accessory tracks, and an extra rod holder or two.
Adding a paddle park is an absolute must, as there’s no way you’ll be able to keep your paddle secure while you’re fishing without one. At the very least, you need to pick up a paddle leash.
And it’s nowhere near as comfortable as a sit-on-top fishing kayak with lawn-chair seating, so be prepared to call it a day on the early side. If you like to fish from dawn until dusk, the Mustang isn’t for you.
In short, the Mustang is a decent, all-around kayak that’s perfect for beginners. And you can catch fish from it. But a fishing kayak it ain’t!
If it’s angling you’re after, I highly recommend paying a little extra for more comfort and fishing friendly features.
The Pelican Mustang 100X is one of the most popular and best-selling kayaks ever made, perfect for recreational paddlers and the whole family.
And at a pinch, it can also do pretty well as a fishing kayak.
I hope this review has helped you make a decision as to the right watercraft for your needs. Let me know in the comments if the Mustang floats your boat.
Stay safe out there, tight lines, and happy kayaking/fishing!