Quebec-based Pelican Sports have been at the forefront of kayak and watercraft design and manufacture since 1968, and they have an extensive and interesting history within the industry.
Known for their budget-friendly, accessible pedal boats, kayaks, canoes, and SUPs, they are particularly adept at helping new paddlers get out onto the water.
Not to be confused with the secure case and luggage company of the same name, Pelican’s range of kayaks is affordable, no-nonsense, and perfect for beginners.
For fishing, this is the Pelican Sentinel 100X kayak review. Read on to find out if this awesome little kayak is right for you.
Our Verdict on the Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler Kayak
The Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler is a no-frills fishing kayak, and what it lacks in fishing features, storage and performance, it more than makes up for when it comes to ease of use. One of the easiest and lightest fishing kayaks to get out onto the water.
- The Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler Kayak Review
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The Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler Kayak – What is It?
The Sentinel kayak from Pelican has been around for some time now, but its popularity shows no signs of waning.
It’s available in both a standard recreational model, known simply as the Sentinel 100X, and the fishing version, the Sentinel 100X Angler.
Performance wise, the two are almost indistinguishable, but – as you might expect – the Angler has more fishing-friendly-features, which we’ll explore in more detail, below.
What’s it For?
Due to its compact size, you might think that you could get away with taking this on whitewater, but it’s not recommended. Like most sit-on-top fishing kayaks, it’s best to not go on anything over a class II.
The Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler is best suited to calm rivers and lakes, or close to shore in well-protected inlets and bays.
It’s suitable for both saltwater and freshwater fishing, but just make sure to give it a good rinse off if you’re taking it out in the former.
As the video below shows, you can take it out offshore, but I would highly advise against this, especially for beginner paddlers. This is going to be way outside the comfort zone for new kayakers.
The Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler Kayak Review
Made with high-density polyethylene, the Pelican Sentinel is a robust craft that should last a long time with the right care and maintenance.
This RAM-X composite material is stronger than most other plastics, and is resistant to UV rays, abrasion, impact and liquid damage/staining.
However, unlike many kayaks constructed using similar materials, this isn’t made from a single piece of plastic, but rather two halves that are then fitted together – hull and deck.
Pelican have used something called twin sheet thermoforming (TST) technology to fuse these separate parts onto each other.
And while it’s not going to split apart unless it’s subject to some extreme rough-housing, it’s still something you should be aware of.
Some people prefer the peace-of-mind that a single piece of rotomolded polyethylene brings, although with this design, Pelican has managed to include additional flotation devices inside the hull.
Pelican kayaks aren’t generally designed to be world beaters, and at this price point – that’s perfectly okay. There’s no way these vessels are going to be able to go toe-to-toe with a high-end fishing machine, anyway.
Short, stumpy boats are never going to track particularly well, and while the Sentinel can turn easily, it has not been designed for effortlessly traveling great distances through the waves.
If you’re looking for something that is going to be easier to paddle from A to B, then check out this review of the best 12 foot fishing kayaks on the market.
With a wide, flat hull, the Sentinel has not been built for speed, and you might find it difficult to get going in this little kayak.
Try the Vibe Shearwater 125 or the Bonafide SS127 if you really want to pick up the pace. Remember, the longer and narrower the kayak, the faster it will go – generally speaking.
The Sentinel has a flat hull design, which ensures the boat offers good primary stability (how stable the kayak feels when you first get into it/on calm water).
I wouldn’t recommend trying to stand up in it, but beginners are going to feel comfortable using the Sentinel for seated casts and reels.
As a rule of thumb, the shorter a kayak is, the more maneuverable it’s going to be. While this isn’t always the case, it’s a decent enough marker to bear in mind.
At 9.5 feet, the Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler is one of the shortest fishing kayaks available, which makes it a highly maneuverable craft for negotiating obstacles and hazards when you’re on the water.
It’s super-lightweight too, which means even young paddlers (or those of advancing years) should find it very easy to turn.
Features and Accessories
The Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler kayak takes a simple recreational craft as a base, and adds a few nice touches to turn it into something most kayak fishermen and women would be happy with.
And there’s still plenty of scope to customize if it’s missing a feature you can’t do without.
Here’s what it comes with as standard:
- Two flush-mounted fishing rod holders behind the seat.
- Smartphone holder.
- Center console.
- Two accessory eyelets.
- Molded carry handles set in gunwales.
- T-carry handles bow and stern.
- Paddle park.
- Scupper holes.
While it certainly doesn’t have a mind-blowing array of features, the Sentinel 100X Angler has enough to get you started in kayak fishing, and you could argue that it’s everything you’d ever need.
In addition, there’s plenty of scope to upgrade and customize the Sentinel with aftermarket fishing accessories – including a dedicated space on the gunwales for adding Scotty mount accessory tracks.
Budget-friendly kayaks aren’t known for their super-comfortable seating options, as prices can skyrocket when you start talking about premium, stadium/lawn-chair seats.
As such, the Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler kayak has a simple, padded seating system known as the “Ergolounge.” It’s extra thick, and extra wide to provide additional support and comfort.
It’s also fully adjustable with straps at the sides, so you can angle the backrest how you see fit.
Unfortunately, it’s just nowhere near as good as advanced seating in other sit-on-top kayaks – and not as “extra thick” as one would like. You get what you pay for.
I would highly recommend upgrading this seating area as soon as possible. One advantage that the Sentinel has is this is fairly straightforward to do, and the roomy cockpit is ripe for customizing.
The recreational Sentinel 100X has molded footrests, but the Angler improves on this to incorporate adjustable foot braces, which are preferable for fine-tuning your paddling position for your feet and legs.
However, if you’re lucky enough to be over 6 feet tall, I’d recommend purchasing a larger kayak than the Sentinel.
I’m 5’10, and I’ve had my braces set to the second-to-last position – which is perfect for me, but I can see taller paddlers maxing out the amount of legroom pretty quickly in this compact yak.
For more information, check out this article on what size kayak do I need?
Finally, it’s worth noting that the Pelican Sentinel Angler sits low in the water, and as a sit-on-top kayak with an open deck, there’s a good chance the paddler is going to get wet – particularly if you’re out in windy or choppy conditions.
Anyone who isn’t comfortable or prepared for this should look elsewhere.
Starting at the bow, the Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler kayak offers a small, recessed well with a rubberized mesh to secure your belongings right at the front of the boat.
At midships, there’s a center console organizer with a number of molded storage compartments, which can also double as drinks holders. There’s a section for your smartphone, which can be held in place with a bungee tie-down.
The console is secured with this same bungee cord, but it can be unhooked and lifted to reveal another small storage compartment set into the hull.
This is not considered to be watertight, but anything you want to keep dry would be better stored there rather than on the open deck.
Behind the seat, you’ll find the EXOPAK compartment, which is a removable organizer with a lid that can hold tackle boxes, clothing, or other gear and equipment. Again, this is not watertight.
Alternatively, you can remove this section completely, and use the remaining tank well to store your own small fishing cooler or crate. Check out this review of the best kayak fishing coolers to find something suitable.
A simple clipped bungee cord in this location keeps everything tied down and secure.
Overall, I’ve seen fishing kayaks with better storage options, but I’ve seen them with worse, too.
Either way, you’re not likely to use this craft for several nights of kayak camping, or longer fishing excursions.
That said, when you consider the compact size of the Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler, this isn’t a bad selection of options to help keep you organized for most light-load, day-long fishing adventures.
With a maximum weight capacity of 275 lbs, the Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler Kayak is at the lower end of the scale when it comes to how much gear and equipment you can safely carry with you.
Given that you should never come close to this figure, there’s not a lot of wiggle room here.
It’s still plenty enough for most casual, weekend anglers who only require the bare minimum of tackle.
For kayaks with a higher weight capacity, capable of carrying a heavier load – including catching larger, heavier fish – take a look at tandem kayaks, or inflatable kayaks – which are generally considered to be more buoyant than hardshells.
Weighing a featherlight 44 lbs, the Pelican Sentinel has to be one of the easiest hardshell kayaks to get to and from the water, and is one of the most lightweight fishing kayaks on the market.
Generally speaking, only inflatable kayaks are going to be lighter than this, although the Sentinel will certainly give them a run for their money when it comes to who can get on the water the fastest.
Coupled with the fact that it’s just 9.5 feet in length, this compact craft is one of the most portable fishing kayaks available – particularly considering it’s a hardshell.
Toss it on the roof of your car with ease, or throw it in the back of a pickup truck, and you’ll be on the water in no time.
And when it comes to boat launches, docks, and other put-in points, the facilities sometimes leave a lot to be desired.
With the Pelican Sentinel, you can put-in comfortably from pretty much anywhere, and it gives you the freedom to find the best spot along the shore or bank.
Ease of Use
The Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler is a no-frills fishing kayak, and what it lacks in fishing features and storage, it more than makes up for when it comes to ease of use.
With virtually no setup required, the Sentinel has a shallow learning curve, and is perfect for anyone interested in trying kayaking and/or kayak fishing for the first time.
The molded-in carrying handles at the side are nice and deep, ensuring you can get a good grip and easily lift this kayak with one hand.
While the Sentinel range is available in a variety of color schemes, the only one you’re interested in as an angler is the black-green-khaki option. This is the fishing version of the model.
And I personally think it looks pretty good. I like the shade of green, and the brushed effect. It looks smart, and like it’s meant to be out there in the wilds, catching fish.
I’m a fan of budget fishing kayaks that look like higher-end models, and the Sentinel just about pulls this off.
However, I’m not a champion of the two-tone aesthetic, with the deck being a different color to the hull. I think this looks a little jarring, like the kayak can split into a top and bottom half.
Still, it’s a nice looking little vessel all in all, with smooth, rounded edges, and finished in that stylish shade of green.
When it comes to safety, the Pelican offers enough stability and buoyancy for casual, recreational paddling, but I’d be cautious about taking it offshore, or out in rough, choppy waters.
Although the additional flotation technology included in the hull design ensures the Sentinel has surpassed the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) standards, which is always good to know.
As the Pelican is so lightweight, it would be very easy to flip back over should you ever manage to capsize.
And while the recreational version is brightly colored, the Angler has a smart green livery. Although this looks the part for fishing/hunting, it will make it harder to spot in low light and inclement weather.
Pelican have always been a by-word for affordable watercraft, and the Sentinel 100X Angler kayak is no exception. It’s one of the best fishing kayaks under $1000 on the market.
In fact, it’s one of the best fishing kayaks under $500 if you ever find it below this price!
But I wouldn’t pay any more than $350-$500 for the Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler. That’s the price-point you should be aiming for with this budget-friendly, accessible fishing kayak.
While the Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler kayak isn’t going to light up the industry with its innovation, or cutting-edge kayak technology, what it does do – it does well.
Straightforward to use, with just the right amount of features with nothing superfluous, and one of the easiest and lightest fishing kayaks to get out onto the water – there’s plenty to like here.
Of course, it falls short in the performance category, and isn’t going to be the best paddling experience out there when it comes to comfort – but it does the job.
And considering the price-point, you’re getting an attractive package with the Sentinel that just lends itself to new kayakers, while being versatile enough for fishing and recreational paddling.
Go here for more of the best fishing kayaks for beginners, although I’ve included the Pelican Basscreek in that review – which is also well worth your consideration.
A no-frills, easy-to-use craft, I hope our Pelican Sentinel 100X Angler kayak review has helped you make a decision as to whether it’s the right option for you.
Let us know in the comments if the Sentinel can fill that kayak-shaped void in your life, or if you’ve decided on another model.
Stay safe out there, tight lines, and happy kayaking!