Jackson Kayak Coosa First Impression E-mail
Monday, 31 January 2011 14:26

Coosa sitting on bar in creek

 

I couldn’t wait to check out this kayak. Jackson Kayak has made its living in the whitewater kayaking world. So when I read about their designing a kayak for fishing with a whitewater pedigree I was very excited. It’s the middle of winter here in New Jersey and most lakes are frozen and some rivers too. However Danny was having his annual Passaic River paddle day and I figured it would be perfect for getting the Coosa out on the water.

The first thing one notices is the unusual look of the kayak and the seat. The Coosa doesn’t have a seat pocket like other SOT kayaks. The area is flat. That’s because the other very noticeable item is the seat. It looks like a low sitting beach chair and it’s just as comfortable. The Coosa is designed with 2 seat positions. I started off with the lower position and paddled a bit. My initial strokes created quite a bit of wobble as the bow went from 11 to 1 o’clock until I was up to speed. Then it tracked nicely. The next thing I noticed was how easily the kayak pivots. It must be its whitewater ancestry because the Coosa can turn in its track making a circle. I have never been in a kayak that can do this. This is easily the most maneuverable kayak I have ever paddled.

Next I put the seat in the higher position, which is easy to do while on the water. The up position put me at least a foot higher than anyone else on the water with the exception of Mike in his Hobie Pro Angler, but I was still higher. I didn’t have any problem paddling from there but I had to change my stroke a lot to compensate for the angle. A longer paddle would have been nice and an adjustable shaft paddle would be great for the Coosa but not necessary.

The next thing I noticed was how quiet the kayak was. Stalking fish in the shallows requires stealth and this kayak has it in spades. From the elevated seat position it’s going to be great for sight fishing and very easy to fly fish from. I can’t wait. The other thing that’s nice from the higher position is standing up. It’s easy. Many kayaks will allow you to stand. Some need outriggers though. However the biggest problem is usually there isn’t a good area to put your feet. The Coosa has a very large flat area just for standing. This will allow an angler to rotate while on the kayak and face any direction. I wobbled a bit while standing at first because it’s been several months since I’ve stood in a kayak. It got better in just a few minutes. I noticed the kayak has terrific secondary stability.

Jon in the Coosa on the Passaic River in January

 
 
 
This was just a preliminary first look. I can’t wait to spend more time and put the Coosa through its paces. When I do I’ll have a more in depth review. I can already say if you fish where the water’s moving the Coosa has to go on top of your list. If sight fishing is important to you it gets high marks in this department too. It’s a great choice for a Mothership kayak because it does so much well.  Its only 11’3” long so it’ll fit on a boat nicely. If you’re fishing flats and use a boat to get your kayak there it’s hard to think of a better choice. The company calls the Coosa and all waters fishing kayak. Of course it can fish a lot of environments but at 11’3” and 31.5” wide it’s no speed demon. It’s obviously not going to cover long distances and that’s its only real weakness. No kayak design can do it all. That’s about the only category where it wouldn’t be my choice but for everywhere else, wow. I sure wish I had a Coosa when I lived in the Everglades as it would have been fantastic in the backcountry. Next time I will as this is a very welcome kayak to the stable. Stay tuned.

I'd like to add I was at the Harrisburg Sportsman show for the duration and quite a number of people there asked me about the Coosa. When they learned I had already been in one they were quite excited. One couple had one on order for the wife. They could only swing one at the moment and he's already got a kayak. He's gonna be jealous. 

 

 

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