Stand Up and Fish

The Coosa and the Cuda are two new dedicated fishing ’yaks from US company Jackson Kayaks. Scott Thomas reports.

JACKSON Kayaks is a newcomer to Australian waters with a good range of ’yaks suitable for a wide variety of fishing styles. The kayaks are built and tested in the southern US state of Tennessee. Jackson designs its products as specialist fishing kayaks – not just “recreational” kayaks with some rod holders and fishing accessories  attached.

Boat Fishing recently tested two Jackson kayaks, the Coosa and Cuda, during a few hours fishing the muddy Nepean River west of Sydney. The Coosa is the smaller of the two kayaks and perfectly suited to the small sheltered water we fished. The Cuda is larger and better suited to open stretches of water and offshore fishing.
As I mentioned, the Coosa is ideally a freshwater or saltwater river kayak. It’s best suited to calmer waters. At 3.45m (11’3”) long and 80cm wide, the Coosa is incredibly stable. In fact both kayaks are designed and fully capable of allowing the fisho to stand and fish in calm water. Standing took some getting used to. I’m a “sitter” but standing is a handy option when opportunity calls.

Both Coosa and Cuda models feature a unique and very comfortably designed seat. The seat actually resembles a deck chair and almost looks out of place on a kayak. But it’s very practical! The seat is elevated, which provides better circulation for your legs during lengthy onwater sessions. It also allows the fisho to stand up more easily from the slightly higher position.

The raised seat is also useful for storage underneath. There’s space available for two decent sized tackle boxes and a few extras underneath. You can also slide rods up under the seat so they’re not protruding beyond the kayak’s bow. The seat can be lowered to a standard position and it can also be fully removed and used as a camp chair on multi-day trips. Great idea! The only problem with the elevated seat was once you have your gear stowed, it’s best to keep the seat in the same position, otherwise you’ll need to find a place for all your excess gear. That could prove awkward on the water.

Further forward, Jackson has placed some “grooves” which hold the rods in place when laying flat towards the bow.This a great idea for fishos, like myself, who quickly place the rod down between fishing spots without using the actual rod holder. The grooves hold a couple of rods nicely. There’s also a rod holder either side which holds a rod flush alongside the ’yak. And the standard flush mount rod holders are placed behind the seat. That’s more than adequate rod storage with little need for installing any aftermarket rod holders.

Storage for excess gear is abundant. Hatches fore and aft give access to dry storage space and there’s a square space directly behind the seat for a storage crate, tackle bag or small cooler.
The Cuda is the bigger brother of the Coosa. While they look similar, the two kayaks have very different applications. The Cuda is far better suited to open water or offshore fishing. It’s longer at 4.36m (14.3 ft) and measures 75.5 cm in width. I can’t vouch for its performance offshore as we only tested it in nice calm conditions, however, all things point to it working well in an open saltwater environment. It moves along at a fast pace and would be ideal for covering long distances on the water.

The Cuda is still designed for standing and fishing, at least in calm water. It also features the same elevated comfortable seat. I actually preferred fishing from the lower position on the Cuda and found it easier to paddle.

The Cuda shares many other specs with the Coosa. It features hatches front and rear, along with the same handy rod grooves and plenty of space for tackle boxes and other gear. There’s also an additional hatch in front of the seat.

Apparently, rigged rods can be stowed beneath the hatches for surf launches. However, I’d imagine retrieving the rods could be challenging in rougher water. It depends how brave and balanced you are …

Performance on the water
The Coosa tracks pretty well for a kayak of its short length. The nose tends to sit just above the water and moves very slightly left to right as you paddle. However, for such a stable and versatile fishing kayak, that’s not a bad compromise and it still moves along quite well. The Coosa was never meant be a speed machine. It turns on a dime and can be controlled with a quick turn of the paddle to manoeuvre around a snag. That’s what matters when you’re fishing.

The Cuda, however, is fast in the water and tracks exceptionally well. It doesn’t turn quite as easily, but for the style of fishing its designed for, quick turns are not so common.

Ben Hankinson from Horizon Line kayaks in Penrith recommends a slightly longer paddle for both Coosa and Cuda kayaks. We tested the kayaks using standard length 210 cm paddles and found the paddle occasionally bumped the side when seated in the raised position. It’s no big deal, but if you want the best paddling performance, go with the longer paddle.

Stand up fishing
Dedicated stand-up fishing kayaks are becoming increasingly popular. There are even some US manufacturers modifying stand up paddle surf boards with ice boxes and rod holders. While it would take more than a short fishing session to adjust, I could easily see myself standing and casting a fly or lure along a small creek or river sand flat. This ability to stand and remain safe, together with all the fishing additions make both Jackson kayaks a worthwhile choice if you’re in the market for a new specialist fishing ’yak.

Jackson Coosa
Length: 3.5m (11.3ft)
Beam: 80cm
Weight: 30kg
Capacity: 170 kg

Jackson Cuda
Length: 4.3 m (14.3 ft)
Beam: 75.5cm
Weight: 33kg
Capacity: 180kg

What's your reaction?

Related Posts

Load More Posts Loading...No More Posts.