Based out of Long Island, New York, the world’s premiere manufacturer of inflatable boats began life back in 1968.
And Sea Eagle has been at the forefront of inflatable watercraft technology ever since.
Today, the Sea Eagle 385fta FastTrack fishing kayak is one of their flagship models, a top-of-the-line inflatable that comes with everything you need to catch fish just about anywhere.
But is it worthy of our very respectable 4.6 rating?
Read on to find out, and discover if this is the right fishing kayak for you.
Our Verdict on the Sea Eagle 385fta FastTrack Fishing Kayak
Durable, stable, comfortable, and highly portable. The Sea Eagle 385fta FastTrack is one of the finest inflatable fishing kayaks ever made.
- The Sea Eagle 385fta FastTrack Inflatable Fishing Kayak Review
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The Sea Eagle 385fta FastTrack Fishing Kayak – What is It?
First released circa 2018, the Sea Eagle 385fta FastTrack is a sit-on-top, inflatable fishing kayak that can accommodate up to three paddlers.
It’s 12.6 feet in length, and 36-inches at its widest point externally, and 11.7 feet and 18-inches inside the air-filled tube walls.
Designed by anglers for anglers, it’s the ultimate in portable fishing watercraft, available in a number of packages to suit every budget.
It’s also one of the finest inflatable fishing kayaks ever made – and you can follow that link for more.
What’s it For?
With their highly portable design, rugged construction, and streamlined shape, the FastTrack series of fishing kayaks can be taken just about anywhere, and used on almost any body of water.
Offshore, rivers, lakes, ponds, inlets, bays…you name it.
It’s even rated for class II whitewater, so it can handle more peppy rivers than your typical fishing kayak.
But its main plus point is in its portability.
This is the ultimate in grab-and-go kayaking, where you can simply throw the bag in the back of your vehicle and be at the water’s edge in moments.
Capable of supporting up to three paddlers, the Sea Eagle 385fta is also useful as a recreational play boat for you and your family, but given its compact internal space, things might get a little cramped.
Either way, it’s a versatile kayak that offers paddlers a wealth of possibilities.
The Sea Eagle 385fta FastTrack Inflatable Fishing Kayak Review
To the uninitiated, inflatable kayaks are about as durable as those cheap, blow-up rubber dinghies we took to the seaside as kids.
But they’ve come a long way since then – particularly when it comes to a brand like Sea Eagle.
How can I prove that?
You can literally watch videos of people driving vehicles over these things, or taking a claw hammer to them with gusto – and it doesn’t even leave so much as a mark!
Modern inflatables are arguably even more durable than hardshells, given the fact that if you were to hit rocks or other obstacles, a hardshell will take cosmetic damage, whereas an inflatable will simply bounce off.
And the 385fta FastTrack is no exception. Certified by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), this is a boat that’s built to last.
Made with 1000 Denier reinforced materials, with electronically welded, quadruple overlapped seams, it’s 29% thicker and as tough as crocodile hide!
There are four air chambers, located in the port and starboard sides, as well as the floor and the keel; and the bottom and tubes are double-layered for additional protection.
In short, you don’t need to be worried about the durability of the Sea Eagle 385fta FastTrack, and you certainly don’t need to be concerned about puncturing it with a fishing hook!
It’s no secret that inflatables are still lagging behind hardshells when it comes to performance.
But the latest and greatest products – like the Sea Eagle FastTrack – are doing their best to close the gap.
Let’s take a look at what it offers under the hood.
Featuring a patented keel design called “NeedleKnife,” the hull of the 385fta is super solid, with a drop-stitch construction that significantly improves tracking – especially compared to other inflatables in this class.
As such, the FastTrack…tracks straighter than ever before, and with the bow and stern molds and buoyancy lift, you can make short work of wind and waves.
The rear center skeg will also keep you on course, and it can be easily removed if you plan on negotiating whitewater or shallow conditions.
Even the slowest hardshell is going to be a match for most inflatables when it comes to pace, but not when up against the Sea Eagle 385fta.
It’s not called “FastTrack” for nothing.
That pronounced, raised bow and NeedleKnife keel that helps tracking also helps with speed, and the kayak naturally rises over chop to ensure an impressive tempo in the water.
I’d love to see it go head-to-head with the Vibe Shearwater 125, or Bonafide SS127, but I still think the hardshells will have it well and truly beat.
But you can always add a trolling motor so you can zip along with minimum effort.
With the high-pressure, drop-stitch floor, and the EVA non-slip deck pad, you can enjoy the confidence to get to your feet in the Sea Eagle 385fta for those standing casts and reels.
And that’s a real boon for an inflatable, as not all products in this class are capable of such impressive stability – or the room in which to even try such a maneuver.
With the double air-filled tubes at the port and starboard of the boat, you have a rock-solid fishing platform that would take quite an effort to flip over.
Check out this article for more of the best stand-up fishing kayaks.
Light and nimble, the FastTrack can turn on a dime, and is easy to handle when it comes to negotiating hazards, obstacles, or whatever else the waterways are going to throw at you.
You can have the confidence to fish structures, tight to the shoreline, and anything in between.
And given that it’s rated for up to class II whitewater, you might even like to down the fishing rods for a while and take this boat on a more adrenaline-fueled adventure!
Features and Accessories
Inflatable kayaks can sometimes be a little light on features, but Sea Eagle has designed the 385fta FastTrack to primarily be a fishing craft, so let’s take a look at what’s on offer.
- Customized front and rear spray skirts have built in tool and rod holders.
- 360 swivel seating (more on this below).
- Two universal Scotty deck mounts on the seat frame.
- 18 stainless steel D-rings.
- Non-slip EVA flooring.
- Built-in 36-inch fish ruler.
- Trolling motor compatible.
- Center balanced ergonomic carry handles at the bow and stern.
- Two open and close drain valves.
- Removable tracking/speed skeg.
- Paddle, pump, repair kit, and carry bag included.
Some points to note:
The features that you get will depend on the package you purchase, but for the sake of this review, we’re covering the Fishing Rig option with 360 degree swivel seating.
There are four rod holders in the spray skirts, two at the bow and two at the stern. The seat frame also sports two Scotty articulating rod holders, so you can have poles close to hand.
If you’re looking to add a trolling motor, it can be a maximum of 34 lbs of thrust, and a weight of 15 lbs.
Sea Eagle does offer a package with one included, or you can check out this review of the best kayak fishing trolling motors and source one yourself.
One downside of an inflatable fishing kayak, such as the 385fta, is that you’re limited in options when it comes to customization.
You certainly can’t drill into the hull to add extra accessory tracks, or holes for fish finders/transducers, so you might need to think outside the box if you want to use such technology.
Typically, inflatable fishing kayaks leave a lot to be desired when it comes to the comfort score.
Sitting on those inflatable seats, low down in the waterline, and hunched over can be agony after even just a couple of hours paddling.
And even just looking at someone sitting cross-legged makes me feel uncomfortable!
Not so with this version of the Sea Eagle 385fta FastTrack.
It comes with a premium-quality, 360-degree swivel seat. This thing is arguably more comfortable than most lawn-chair style seats in all but the most high-end hardshells.
The frame it sits on lifts off easily enough, so you can paddle without the luxury if you so choose.
Interestingly, there are no foot braces – molded or otherwise – so that might be an issue for some paddlers when it comes to stroke technique.
And with an internal width of 18-inches, and 11.7 feet in length, it’s not the roomiest kayak on the market, which might be an issue if you’re a larger human.
If that’s the case, why not try this review on the best fishing kayaks for bigger guys and gals?
Unfortunately, inflatable fishing kayaks aren’t known for their extensive storage options. They lack the tank wells, hatches, and compartments that a molded hardshell can offer.
But the Sea Eagle 385fta gives its best shot, and there are two storage areas located under the spray skirts – one at the bow and one at the stern.
Both skirts include bungee cord webbing on top, so you can store extra gear securely. Be aware that whatever you place here is going to be fully exposed to the elements, so you might want to try a dry bag for extra protection of valuables and items that shouldn’t be allowed to get wet.
Around the boat, there are no less than 18 stainless steel D-rings, which offer plenty of locations to secure just about anything you want to bring along.
There’s also plenty of room under the seating position to add more belongings, and given that the kayak is 18-inches wide internally, there’s still room (just about) to add a compatible kayak fishing crate or cooler.
Given their additional buoyancy, inflatable boats typically have a higher weight capacity than their hardshell counterparts.
The Sea Eagle 385fta FastTrack is no exception, and offers a whopping 635 lbs maximum load.
That’s more than enough for you and all your gear, and is rated to comfortably take up to three persons.
Remember, no matter how high (or low) a kayak’s maximum weight capacity, you should never attempt to come close to it.
And don’t forget, that figure includes your weight, and the weight of any potential catch!
Right, we all know that this is the department that an inflatable kayak excels at. This is their selling point. This is their moment in the sun.
But what about the negatives?
The downside of inflatable kayaks is the time it takes to inflate at the water’s edge, but with the Sea Eagle 385fta you can be up and running in as little as seven minutes.
Another negative that is often overlooked, is the time it takes to deflate it, and pack it back down. This can shave a few points off when it comes to the portability stakes.
All that aside, the Sea Eagle 385fta FastTrack is one of the most portable fishing kayaks out there, and has a hull weight of just 45 lbs, along with center-balancing ergonomic handles to help carry it securely.
Not to mention how easy it is to store, taking up a fraction of the space compared to a hardshell.
It’s fair to say that Sea Eagle has knocked it out of the park with this highly portable fishing kayak.
Ease of Use
Inflatable kayaks do come with more of a learning curve than their hardshell cousins. At least, when it comes to setting them up.
You need to figure out how to inflate them – and this can be trickier than you might first think – particularly in choosing the right valves, and inflating the right areas in the right order.
But it’s not rocket science, and the Sea Eagle 385fta comes with full, clear instructions on how to do so.
Nevertheless, this is something you simply bypass if you’re buying a hardshell – it’s pretty much ready to put into the water. Once you get it there, of course.
On the water, inflatables are generally regarded as being excellent beginner craft, and they can be great options for learning the basic strokes and techniques, while simultaneously breeding confidence.
In windy or choppy conditions, however, new paddlers might struggle to maintain control of an inflatable, and keeping them on course can take effort.
If you’re a total beginner, I would maybe recommend trying a cheaper inflatable, before splashing out on the Sea Eagle 385fta FastTrack. The Intex Excursion Pro is an ideal alternative – especially when it’s so affordable.
And you can check out this article on the best kayaks for beginners for some more great choices for new paddlers.
Personally, I’ve always thought that inflatable boats aren’t the most attractive vessels out there.
This is particularly true when you look at some of the cheaper options, or something like the Sevylor Coleman Colorado – which I think is a hideous kayak.
But companies like Advanced Elements, BOTE, Aquaglide, and Sea Eagle are making more eye-catching craft.
The FastTrack 385fta has a pleasing, streamlined shape that tapers to a durable point at the bow and stern.
There are no unnecessary bells and whistles, and everything that makes the craft what it is has been designed for functionality. Not an inch has been wasted.
As such, it’s free of clutter, which is a plus point for any minimalist anglers and paddlers out there.
Color-wise, there’s only one option, but it’s a smart shade of hunter green with black trim to help blend in with surroundings.
Great for stealth and camouflage, but not so good for being visible on the water.
When it comes to high-end, modern inflatables, the days of cheap blow-up play boats are a thing of the past.
I would say that a quality inflatable – like the Sea Eagle 385fta – is even safer than a hardshell kayak.
These things are simply designed to float, and the increased buoyancy will give you peace-of-mind when you’re on the water.
Not only that, but because they’re super lightweight, they’re easy to flip back over if you ever do happen to capsize.
And the multiple air chambers ensure you can safely get back to shore even in the unlikely event of one becoming compromised.
As mentioned above, the smart camouflage colors might make you harder to see when you’re out there – so if that concerns you, I’d recommend using a safety flag or other such marker.
This one from YakAttack is a great example – and even comes with an LED light.
And as always, be sure to wear your kayak fishing PFD at all times when you’re out there, regardless of how safe your kayak is.
Inflatable fishing kayaks vary wildly in price.
You can pick up a decent one for around $200-$300, like the Intex Excursion Pro.
All the way up to a Sea Eagle, BOTE, or Advanced Elements model which can set you back over $1000.
The 385fta FastTrack is available in a number of packages, and there’s an option to suit most budgets.
The version we focussed on is usually available for $1,200-$1,400, but this can fluctuate higher or lower depending on sales and inflation (pun not intended).
Compare it with a quality hardshell around this price point, such as the Sea Ghost 130, and you might think the inflatable is a little on the expensive side.
But the very best inflatable fishing kayaks aren’t cheap, given that they use premium materials that the military would be satisfied with.
You’re paying for the peace-of-mind that the latest inflatable technology affords you, and that’s very much worth it to a great deal of on-the-go kayak anglers.
I’ve long been a staunch admirer and supporter of inflatable fishing kayaks, and Sea Eagle are almost certainly the best of the best.
I think the only companies that can get near them are maybe Advanced Elements, Aquaglide, Elkton Outdoors, and BOTE. But the likes of Vibe, and even Hobie are making inroads into the inflatable market these days.
Not to mention the more affordable options from Intex and Sevylor.
As for Sea Eagle, the 385fta FastTrack is probably their best model to date – for angling purposes, at least.
Durable, stable, comfortable, and highly portable, I think this is the finest inflatable fishing kayak currently available.
And it can even rival some hardshells when it comes to performance – which is a huge step in the right direction for craft that often leaves you wanting more in this department.
From the inflatable specialists, the Sea Eagle 385fta FastTrack is the one of the finest inflatable fishing kayaks ever made.
I hope this review has helped you towards making a decision as to the right fishing kayaks for your needs.
Is it this one? Do you agree with the review scores? Perhaps you own a Sea Eagle kayak and would like to have your say?
Drop us a line in the comments, and as ever, stay safe out there, tight lines, and happy kayak fishing!