Vibe Shearwater 125 kayak review

The Vibe Shearwater 125: A Fast and Versatile Fishing Kayak

The Vibe Shearwater 125 is one of the most popular fishing kayaks on the market, known for its speed, stability, and storage capacity. This 12.5-foot long kayak is 34.5 inches wide and weighs just 62 pounds.

Lightweight polyethylene construction and slim hull allow for efficient paddling and provide stability when casting or fighting fish. This review details the Shearwater 125’s features, real-world performance, pros and cons, and how it compares to similar kayaks.

Overview of the Vibe Shearwater 125

Vibe fishing kayak.

Vibe developed the Shearwater 125 specifically for kayak fishing with a focus on performance and functionality. The wide hull provides primary stability when stationary and secondary stability to deal with waves while on the move.

The right amount of rocker allows the kayak to stay straight and cut through choppy water. Despite its lightweight design, the Shearwater 125 can carry a lot of gear.

The open deck layout gives the box structure a versatile storage option. There’s also an enclosed hatch, bungee rigging, molded rod holders, and a framed Vibe hero seat for all-day comfort.

Multiple attachment points allow you to attach fish finders and other accessories. The Shearwater 125 uses Vibe’s signature one-piece polyethylene construction.

Thermoforming the kayak as a component eliminates seams and improves structural integrity. The rotational molding process results in a durable and rigid hull that can withstand impact and UV rays for many years.

Key Features

  • Capacity of 425 lbs for paddler and gear
  • Molded-in flush mount rod holders
  • Hero seat frame with padded seat
  • Two sealed hatches for storage
  • Rear tank well with bungees
  • Four integrated gear tracks for accessories
  • Bow and stern carry handles for transport
  • Side paddle holders to stow paddle
  • Replaceable UHMW skid plate on bottom
Bixpy Jet Motor of vibe shearwater 125 kayak

On-Water Performance of the Shearwater 125

The Shearwater 125 truly excels in its speed, glide, and tracking. Thanks to the extended waterline and smooth polyethylene hull, this kayak features excellent range. Paddlers report cruising speeds of 4 to 6 miles per hour with minimal effort.

The curved bow allows the kayak to glide over rough water, and the flared sides improve stability.
Despite its narrow 34.5-inch width, the Shearwater 125 can compete with wider kayaks when it comes to stability.

The hull is designed to be solid and stable when drifting or anchored. Stand fishing and sight fishing are also possible in relaxed conditions. Kayaks are suitable for waves, surfing and gentle currents.

Storage and mounting options are perfectly tailored for kayak anglers. The Shearwater 125 offers space to store your tackle box, crate, cooler, fishing rods, and electronics for a full day on the water. Bungees, hatches, molded rod holders, and accessory rails provide versatile storage options. There is space for everything an angler needs.

Where the Vibe Shearwater 125 Excels

The Shearwater 125 earns praise in certain applications:

  • Coverage Distance: With a slim, efficient hull, the Shearwater 125 can quickly travel to the fishing hole with its long paddle.
  • All-day comfort: A padded hero seat and adjustable footpegs keep you comfortable all day on the water.
  • Stand Up Fishing: The Shearwater 125 is stable enough for stand up sight fishing in calm winds and calm waters.
  • Storage options: With so many hatches, tanks, and tie-down options, kayaks can carry a lot of gear.
  • SURF LAUNCH: The curved bow cuts through waves with ease when launching through the surf and waves.
  • Customization: Anglers can equip the Shearwater 125 with fish finders, rod holders, anchor systems, and propulsion options.
seat of vibe shearwater 125 kayak

Potential Drawbacks

The Shearwater 125 also comes with a few drawbacks:

  • Not as stable as wider sit-on-tops when standing
  • Large hatches can allow splashing in rough water
  • Minimal scupper holes limit draining from the cockpit
  • Hull scratches easily during beaching and transport

Despite these shortcomings, the Shearwater 125 remains one of the most versatile and popular fishing kayaks in its class. The pros heavily outweigh the cons for most anglers.

Ideal Uses for the Vibe Shearwater 125

The Shearwater 125 features the following common fishing applications:

  • Coastal Fishing: Kayaks are fast and maneuverable enough to perform well in bays, estuaries, swamps, and other protected waters.
  • Rivers and Streams: Boat speed allows you to keep up with the current of the river as you paddle.
  • Offshore and Surf: Although not ideal for heavy waves, the Shearwater 125 handles swells, swells, and offshore waters well.
  • Fishing Camps and Resorts: Guides and fishing resorts prefer the Shearwater 125 for its versatility on client trips.
  • Paddling Practice: Even non-anglers appreciate the Shearwater 125’s efficient planing, cargo space, and all-day comfort.

Vibe Shearwater 125 vs. Similar Kayaks

How does the Vibe Shearwater 125 compare to the competition?

Vibe Sea Ghost 130: The Sea Ghost 130 has better glide and capacity, but is not as maneuverable as the Shearwater 125.

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120: The Tarpon 120 is faster but less stable. Tarpon are good at crossing long distances.

Perception Pescador Pro 12.0: Pescador is slower but more stable. There are no amenities or charging capabilities like Shearwater.

Feel Free Lure 11.5: The Lure 11.5 is comparable but has a lower weight capacity and fewer adjustment options than the Shearwater 125.

Bonafide SS127: SS127 is very similar but costs over $250 more. Performance is the same for both.

The Shearwater 125 remains competitive with high-end kayaks, but at a lower price point than others. It’s the perfect compromise between performance, functionality and affordability.

Verdict: Ideal for Inshore Anglers Prioritizing Speed

In summary, the Vibe Shearwater 125 is the perfect kayak for inshore anglers looking for a lighter, more maneuverable boat with plenty of speed. It accelerates quickly, tracks well, and has enough adjustment and storage for all day fishing.

Anglers looking for a stable platform for stand-up sight fishing may want a wider hull, but overall the Shearwater 125 will appeal to a wide range of fishing styles thanks to its balanced performance.

With proper care, it will remain durable and functional for many years on the water. For paddlers who value speed and ease of fishing over heavy loads, the Shearwater 125 offers the ideal combination.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the weight capacity?

The Shearwater 125 has a generous weight capacity of 425 pounds and can be fully loaded with anglers and gear.

What length paddles work best?

Paddlers are recommended to use a Shearwater 125 paddle with a length of 230-240 cm (9-10 feet) for optimal fit and comfort.

How much gear can it hold?

A rear tank well and front oval hatch provide ample cargo space for tackle boxes, crates, coolers, and fishing rods. There is enough space to store a full day’s worth of equipment.

Is the Shearwater 125 stable enough to stand up?

Stand fishing is possible in warmer climates. It may be a bit tipsy for larger anglers. Wide kayaks ensure more stability.

Does it need to be registered?

Because the petrel 125 is less than 13 feet long, registration is not required in most states. However, be sure to check local regulations.

Can outriggers be added for more stability?

Yes, some anglers use a Scottie boom attached to a gear rail when using the Shearwater 125 offshore.

Can a trolling motor be added?

Yes, some anglers use a Scottie boom attached to a gear rail when using the Shearwater 125 offshore.

Can a trolling motor be added?

The Shearwater 125 is compatible with most trolling motors on the market. Aftermarket converter bracket required.

How well does it handle surf launches?

When you start surfing, the curved bow gently glides through the waves. Thanks to its design, the kayak copes well with surfing.

Is the Shearwater 125 suitable for rivers?

Yes, the track is good and there is enough speed to paddle upstream. Be careful near screens in fast moving water.

full picture of vibe shearwater 125 kayak


The Vibe Shearwater 125 continues to earn a reputation as one of the best all-around fishing kayaks under $1,000. Paddlers appreciate its stability, speed, storage, adjustability, comfort, and durability.

Although not as stable as wider barges, they are ideal for fishing in more maneuverable coastal waters. Overall, the Shearwater 125 will appeal to a wide range of anglers with its versatility.

For those focused on inshore fishing, it offers the perfect combination of fishability, load capacity and paddling performance.

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