Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Jackson Cuda 12 First Impressions...

I bit the bullet and made the decision to upgrade both of my kayaks. Jackson Kayak is a young company but they really have their stuff together with the design and construction of the new line of fishing specific boats. A Cuda 12 and a Big Tuna are the newest members to my fleet.
So my first sampling of the Cuda was on Choupique Bayou. The black widow color scheme just so happens to match my car pretty darn well. The built in rod stagers are key, I really like all of the combinations you can put up. Most of the time I'll have a fly rod and a spin rod and they both stage cleanly against the boat. The seat is comfortable, probably slightly less than the ultimate's seating and doesn't breathe quite as well. but the HI-Lo option is great. I prefer the high seating for most situations though.
The stability of this boat is good. Took just a few minutes to get used to after fishing a Native for awhile. The Ultimate edges the Cuda in the stability category but it's like comparing apples and oranges when you consider a SOT vs. a sit-in boat. Another awesome feature that comes completely STOCK on the Cuda are the RAM rod holders. 2 rocket launchers in the back to hold a net and rod and a universal Scotty holder up front for quick access. All set up on ball mounts for quick change adaptability for other add-ons. Having your rods at your side is nice and keeps the streamlined profile down instead of sticking them all up behind your seat.

This is my first sit on top and I thought it would take awhile to get used to. Not the case. I was instantly comfortable in the boat. The hatch is something I really like for keeping everything except for the tackle/fly boxes. It's nice to keep things dry inside the hull and not rely solely on dry bags to keep gear out of the elements. And speaking of the hull, it is pretty flat. A major difference from the tunnel hull design of the Ultimate. After getting used to the stability, I really liked how I was able to glide over some of the marsh mud when I pulled up into TOO shallow of water. The boat moves easier in places where the Ultimate would have had me poling and jumping to get unstuck.

The rear of the boat has a lot going on for a small space. Bungees and hooks seemingly everywhere. The only thing that will be back there for me will be my AO cooler. After taking a look at the setup I found a quick, easy way to secure it. The straps hang down and get bungeed to the top of the gunwale. This is quick, secure and actually holds to cooler open when unzipped which is nice when using a soft cooler.

Jackson knocked it out of the park with this one. We'll see what I change over the upcoming months. Big thanks to the fine folks at Pack & Paddle here in Lafayette for having such an awesome place to buy gear. The outdoor scene would be nothing without them. If the weather holds out I'll be taking a trip to Point Aux Chene or somewhere down there on sunday for some more redfish action and gear testing. Here's to hoping the weatherman is wrong in my favor. Look for a review on the BIG TUNA in the near future.

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