The Sun Dolphin Boss SS 12 fishing kayak appears to have made quite the hassle when it was introduced.
Very attractively priced, it offered a wide array of features out of the box! However, there sure have to be tradeoffs or caveats somewhere, right?
Well, let’s find out whether it is the case on our Sun Dolphin Boss 12 SS review!
Specs & Gallery
Sun Dolphin Boss 12 SS Review
Let’s start with the Sun Dolphin Boss 12 SS’ advantages. And there’s a lot to talk about since this is one feature-rich fishing kayak!
The Son Dolphin Boss SS kayak features a rather durable polyethylene hull. To be more precise, Sun Dolphin calls it a Fortiflex High-Density Polyethylene hull, which doesn’t tell us that much, to be fair.
However, we know from our kayak buying guide that polyethylene is a cheap material that is highly resilient and abrasion-resistant, so it should take a long time before it shows wear and tear. However, polyethylene hulls generally tend not to resist UV rays well.
This hull is different though. It is UV-stabilized, meaning that it has a protective coating that will screen out UV radiation and significantly reduce its damage to the hull!
While you definitely should not store the kayak under the sun, the hull should experience no discoloration or other signs of UV damage after your regular fishing trips.
And all in all, all of the above means that you are getting a UV-stabilized and quite a rugged kayak hull!
Perhaps the biggest pro of the Sun Dolphin Boss SS angler’s kayak is its stable hull design, which Sun Dolphin calls “catamaran hull design.” This kayak is stable enough to allow you to angle while standing.
The main contributor to this kayak’s stability is its hull width – 33.25 inches is not the widest you will meet, but this kayak nonetheless is among the ranks of the widest and most stable kayaks at its price point.
Sun Dolphin has also placed a stand-up assist strap to help you get up, as well as equipped the kayak with a few non-slip pads inside for standing assistance. Minor additions, these should make fishing in this kayak while standing a safe experience.
Ample storage room
The storage capacity of this kayak is very decent. The Boss SS has two large bungee wells – one in the front and another in the rear – as well as two watertight storage hatches.
As Sun Dolphin claims, the bungee storage wells are large enough to fit a milk crate or a bucket. Aside from that, they are going to be perfect for a backpack containing fishing essentials. And for water-sensitive items, the watertight storage hatches are going to be perfect.
This fishing kayak also has a couple of paddle holders on the hull. And since the cargo capacity of this thing is 500 pounds, you shouldn’t have any issues with hauling all the equipment you need.
Several fishing rod holders
The Sun Dolphin Boss 12 SS kayak comes with a good number of rod holders – 5, to be precise. 4 of those are flush-mount fishing rod holders – 2 in the back and 2 in the front – and one is a swiveling rod holder mounted on the side of the kayak.
5 is a lot – this will likely be overkill for the overwhelming majority of anglers! But if you are one of those few who bring along more than one fishing rod for their trip, then 5 should be a good enough number for you.
Adjustable foot braces
The Sun Dolphin Boss SS fishing kayak also has a pair of adjustable foot braces. Unlike kayaks that have several recesses in the hull for kayakers to place their feet in, the adjustable braces allow for excellent flexibility when it comes to foot positioning.
With prebuilt foot positions, you only have so many spots you could place your feet onto. But foot braces allow you to flexibly adjust your foot positioning in accordance with your needs and preferences.
Solid dual-position seat
Sun Dolphin equips this kayak with what appears to be a very decent dual-position fold-down seat. This certainly isn’t the best kayak seat in the world, but it’s quite solid given the price of this kayak and the feature set you are getting with it.
Even if you don’t like the seat in the end, you may replace it with a better one. Alternatively, you may try out a kayak seat cushion, which is a more affordable and easy to use option.
Accessory mounting points
The Sun Dolphin Boss 12 SS kayak has a few universal accessory mounting points scattered around.
Namely, it comes with a few gear tracks placed on the sides, where you can mount kayak accessories like additional rod holders. In addition, you can use the scupper holes for equipment installation.
Overall, the universal mounting points can allow you to transform this already quite functional kayak into an ultimate fishing unit – the Sun Dolphin Boss kayak may be equipped with a transducer, a fish finder, an anchor kit, and many other accessories that would make the kayak more reliable and functional for fishing!
In spite of being quite feature-rich, this fishing kayak is not at all expensive. It isn’t a budget fishing kayak either, but it is priced very attractively!
You may need to spend a little more money to make the Sun Dolphin Boss SS your dream fishing vessel. However, it comes with all the basic equipment that an angler would need!
The Sun Dolphin Boss kayak indeed has many advantages, but it isn’t free of downsides as well. We have found 4 disadvantages in this kayak.
Not the best out-of-the-box quality
First off, this kayak may need some work before your first trip. We’ve seen complaints about lacking factory sealing, unfinished scupper holes, or whatnot, which the buyers had to deal with on their own.
While the vast majority of reviews on this kayak are positive and not many people have complained about its build quality, this still was a thing worth mentioning.
Shallow waterproof hatches
We mentioned above that this kayak has watertight hatches. Not every fishing kayak has such hatches, and they are certainly functional in this kayak, but the not so good thing about them is that they are shallow.
You can find many kayaks with much deeper hatches that can easily accommodate larger dry bags and several paddles. The hatches of the Sun Dolphin Boss 12 SS aren’t quite that capable. If you are intending to carry a lot of water-sensitive equipment with you, this kayak may not be the right option.
Only one carry handle per side
The Sun Dolphin Boss fishing kayak has a traditional carry handle layout – 4 handles, 2 on the sides and 2 on the front and back.
Well, one handle per side is insufficient for this kayak.
Just have a look at this kayak – it’s pretty long, and the one handle per side that you are provided with clearly is not enough. Add to this the considerable weight of this kayak – 78 pounds – and you are getting a fishing kayak that is inconvenient and fatiguing to transport.
You will certainly want to get a kayak cart for the Sun Dolphin Boss SS kayak!
The foot braces need manual adjustment
Lastly, the foot braces.
Above, we’ve mentioned that the foot braces allow a wide range of foot positions. This is an undeniable advantage of foot braces over foot recesses. However, there is one big downside to foot braces – they need manual adjustment.
With foot recesses, you can reposition your feet any time without any adjustment. On the other hand, you need to manually adjust foot braces to reposition your feet.
Is this a big downside? We think yes. Is it a critical downside that makes this fishing kayak bad? Not at all. In the end, it will come down to your personal preferences whether foot braces will be good for you or not.
Sun Dolphin Boss 12 SS Review Bottom Line
That’s it for our Sun Dolphin Boss 12 SS review!
Is the Sun Dolphin Boss 12 SS fishing kayak a great fishing kayak? It certainly is.
Is the Sun Dolphin Boss kayak worth the money? Yes, we think it is.
Is the Sun Dolphin Boss kayak perfect? No, it is not. However, it doesn’t have any critical downsides that would make it a bad buy.
We give a solid thumbs up for this kayak.
With that being said, be mindful of the downsides we mentioned in our Sun Dolphin Boss 12 SS review. Pay special attention to them, more than to the kayak’s upsides. Only if they are alright for you should you go for this kayak.
In the end, if you aren’t sure, check out other Sun Dolphin Boss 12 SS reviews. Others will provide you with their own insight on this kayak, and getting acquainted with multiple points of view should ultimately allow you to make an informed decision.
If you do feel that this is your kind of fishing kayak though, then don’t hesitate and go buy it!
If you are looking for a paddle as well, then check out our review of the best paddles for the money.
Besides, if you are looking for kayaking accessories, have a look at our roundups of the best kayak carriers and the best kayak seat cushions.