Crescent Kayaks has caused a stir with the introduction of the Shoalie. Designed with heavy input from professional kayak angler Drew Gregory and given a name that nods to his favorite fish species, Micropterus cataractae, a.k.a. the shoal bass, the Shoalie is designed to attack the skinniest water far up creeks where even other kayaks dare not tread.
Crescent is rooted in the culture of paddling and the Shoalie should be an excellent option for those who prefer that type of propulsion over peddles. There is ample space to mount a trolling motor or PowerPole Micro on the rear for those who want every advantage on tournament day.
When Crescent enlisted Gregory’s help to build a fishing platform on their quick, agile hull the result was the kayak fishing equivalent of the peanut butter cup – the best of both flavors. What does Gregory know about fishing? He’s won 3 major tournaments in 2022 alone, including a pair of Bassmaster Kayak Series events, on Grand Lake and Lewis Smith Lake, and a KBF tourney on Lake Champlain. He’s also the 2020 Hobie Bass Open Series Angler of the Year. Combine that with Crescent owner, James Derbecker’s knack for building great paddle craft and you get the Shoalie.
Anglers who are used to fishing from plastic battleships may initially say that the Shoalie feels a bit ‘tippy’. What they are actually feeling is the boat’s ability to turn in tight places and cut in circles in fast current, exactly the reason you choose such nimble craft. Along with extra volume in the rear third of the hull to steady the ride, the Shoalie boasts tremendous secondary stability.
Rod management is a strong suit of this vessel. A couple of full-length bass fishing rods can be stored below deck via the front hatch.
The lid to the hatch is rotomolded so Crescent was able to shape it to accommodate a couple of rods that can be strapped down via a Rod Saver which comes installed on the hatch lid and which also serves as a convenient paddle park.
The rod holders are angled low so they ride behind the cockpit nearly flush to the deck, a posture which greatly reduces hang ups in the tight quarters anglers will want to explore with this lightweight kayak. This should also eliminate the problem of smacking stored rods on the back cast and causing backlash and other problems. Anybody do that a couple of times a day? My hand is up.
One feature that rises above, literally, is the seat which can be placed in a high position to extend the angler’s line of sight without sacrificing the stability and maneuverability that Crescent has come to be known for. A high seat position also makes it easier to stand, as does a stand assist strap, easily attached to a thoughtfully placed stainless steel padeye in the front of the cockpit. Extra elevation via the seat or a standing position enables sight casting and pitching/flipping techniques along with longer casts for cranking and Carolina rigging as well as better rod control while working a lure and fighting a fish.
The seat can also be tucked into an extremely low position for those adventurous paddles through wind, whitewater, and surf.
Perhaps the best thing about the seat is it is made in the USA from materials fabricated and assembled in Georgia and South Carolina.
Gregory is a river fisherman and, as such, he wanted to keep everything as low to the deck and clean as possible. There is a space in the head of the cockpit for mounting a graph down low but angled for easy viewing. It sits beside the generous front hatch which can accommodate a marine battery and still leave room for tackle storage and as mentioned previously, a couple of extra rods.
There’s even a dedicated phone storage slot positioned perfectly for hosting live video or taking selfie snaps with your new finned friend.
Tournament pros will make use of the molded-in Ketch board slot that keeps your measuring device at the ready but out of the way. No need to grab it, it’s right there in the perfect position to photograph your catch.
Width: 34 inches
Weight 77 pounds
Weight Capacity: 450 pounds