The KRAKEN E-mail
Written by Sean White   
Monday, 26 January 2015 16:10

1  Caspar Since joining forces with Jackson Kayak in 2012, Jim Sammons has been on a mission.  His mission? To partner with one of the most innovative brands in kayak fishing to produce the offshore fishing kayak of his dreams.   That mission came to fruition in late 2014 with the introduction of the Kraken.

Bringing the Kraken into its final form was truly a team effort.  Jim set the ideological course, Tony Lee carved and sanded prototypes and a whole cadre of kayak fishing junkies added their ideas and critiques as the process moved forward.  The result is a turn-key offshore battle wagon that is ready for big water and big fish.

At 15’ 7” feet long and 30 inches wide this is a big kayak by any standard.  The concept for the hull was to provide enough volume for navigating surf with a big payload while maintaining a profile that would foster speed, glide and range.  The design crew referenced, evaluated, and test-paddled many of the kayaks that embodied these traits as our sport has evolved.  The Kraken represents the latest boat in the evolutionary chain.  

In addition to paddling performance, the design team wanted to create a kayak that was feature rich, easy to rig, stowed gear securely in the surf, but remained clean and uncluttered.  As a result the Kraken comes from the factory with a staggering amount of gear standard including 7 pieces of Yak Attack track, a total of 8 rod holders (two flush mounts behind the seat, two rear-facing Ram Tubes, a forward Ram rod holder, and 3 more on the rear of the included KK Krate.  The KK Krate is designed to be easily plumbed into bait tank.  If that weren’t enough there is a drop in liner for the center hatch with two sealed Plano tackle trays, and a Plano tackle box for behind the seat.   Both the KK Krate and Plano tackle box have mounts that allow them to be attached to the track so they are secure.  

All of this gear was designed in a modular fashion and can be configured in a multitude of combinations.Want to bring it all and troll for pelagics? No problem.  Want to leave it all at home and flyfish for stripers? That’s ok too! 

  5 SW tankwell 2  Bassin TW

The abundance of track and standard accessories makes reconfiguring the Kraken for the day’s mission a breeze.

The hull also features a combination of details not found anywhere else.  The seat is able to move forward and aft to accommodate changes in load or configuration while maintaining optimum trim for paddling performance.  There is a dedicated transducer scupper designed to accommodate large transducers for down-vision units like the Raymarine Dragonfly.  There is also a dedicated scupper for a bait pump that ensures your pump is always primed and eliminates the need for dragging a pump.  To minimize water intrusion in the surf, the forward hatch was designed with a peaked cover to shed water and full neoprene skirt to seal the entire opening.  

3  center hatch

The Kraken’s center hatch features a sturdy stainless steel front hinge that makes access and closure a snap.  The yak comes standard with a removable hatch liner and a pair of matched Plano tackle boxes that keep your tackle dry, secure, and at your fingertips.

The Kraken’s grand finale is the latest iteration of the famous Jackson Kayak seat.  Improved comfort and durability have been achieved with new contours and materials for both the frame and cover.  If that weren’t enough JK partnered with Thermarest to develop a first-of-its-kind adjustable lumbar support. 

4  seat

In addition to improved comfort and adjustability, the seat in the Kraken is easier to secure.  With no bulkhead between the tankwell and the cockpit, stowing a measuring board at your fingertips has never been easier.

As a JK pro-staffer and good friend of Jim Sammons, I was lucky enough to participate in the process from the beginning and could hardly wait to get my hands on a Kraken.  After many months of  anticipation I received my custom-colored boat in October of 2014 and have paddled it extensively since that time.  

When I picked up my Kraken from the Headwaters Shop in Lodi, my first impressions were largely based on aesthetics.  This is a sexy looking boat, and I have garnered comments nearly every time I launch.  The second thing that really hit home was just how much “stuff” this boat comes with.  Back in the day when you got a “new” kayak you got new naked hull.  No seat.  No rod holders.  Nothing.  This boat comes with everything you need except a paddle and electronics.   

Back at home I then noticed just how easy it has become to add those final few items.  With tracks on the hatch, a dedicated transducer scupper, and an integral battery tray installing my Dragonfly was a one-beer job.   

Once on the water it was readily apparent that our primary objectives were achieved.  The hull is silent and efficient.  While it does take a bit of effort to get the boat up to speed, sustained cruising speeds over 3 miles an hour are easy to maintain all day. Another immediate observation was that this long hull really wants a rudder, the one “accessory” that isn’t included.  After installing the factory Kraken rudder kit, paddling has become a pleasure and is very reminiscent of my beloved T-15.  

The new seating is nothing short of phenomenal.   The seat is high enough to be dry while being low enough to afford stability and proper reach.  All day comfort has never been so effortless.  I have also found the “modular” design concept to work in the real world. The numerous recessed tracks make a for a clean, snag free, versatile fishing platform.  It takes a matter of minutes to go from my preferred freshwater two-rod trolling setup to saltwater jigging mode.  

 

6  two rod heaven 7  November lings

The Yak Attack track on the center hatch are awesome for mounting electronics and rod holders.  Being able to place out of your stroke while within easy reach make two-rod trolling a pleasure.

I have launched and landed in north coast surf and found the boat to be very proficient in the surf.  I have heard some state that the cockpit can be somewhat slow to drain after piercing surf. This is likely due to the limited capacity of the small, efficient and QUIET scupper in this hull.  I did not “plug” my transducer scupper and that minor improvement seems to alleviate this issue.  I will gladly trade a silent hull for this minor misgiving.

Like anything there is always room for improvement.  I found the center hatch to flex more than I’d like under the load of two rod holders but in practice it is plenty strong for the task.  I also normally love JK’s paddle parks but the paddle keeper on this boat feels like an afterthought and gets a C+.  Fortunately the flat top gunnels adjacent to the seat make adding a Scotty paddle clip a quick mod that works fantastic.

While the Kraken may not be “revolutionary”, it has taken the evolution of the fishing kayak to new levels of refinement and versatility.  Designed with input from decades of combined experience this boat seemingly has everything I’ve always wanted, right where I’ve always wanted it.  Comfort, speed and a near perfect layout make the Kraken a good choice for fun and effective days on the water.  

  

 

 

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