Jackson Kayak Coosa HD
First Trip – First Thoughts
Up until now all my fishing experience had been from a bass boat, shoreline, or a dock. I hated having to fish from shoreline and docks knowing I could only cover so much water and the uncertainty of depths and structure. I always enjoyed fishing from a boat, but on those days when I did not want to deal with putting a boat in the water I needed something to help curb my addiction. But I still wanted give myself the best opportunity to catch fish. I immediately got in the market for a Kayak. A Kayak was easily the way to go from seeing the success other fisherman have had from their kayaks.
I did a little research, talked to a couple buddies, and found the kayak I liked that felt like would give me everything I needed while I was on the water. The Coosa HD by Jackson Kayak. After a little more research I found a local shop Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe about ten minutes from my house in Portland, Oregon. They were very knowledgeable and answered any question I had. A few weeks later I had myself a new kayak and all that was left to do was get it ready and get out there.
The thing I love about the Coosa HD is that it is a fisherman’s dream. It is a sit on top kayak that allows you to adjust the seat and foot pegs for comfort. I am all about capturing my fishing experiences on camera. The Coosa HD has a perfect track system that is compatible with the easy to use Ram Mounts. These are awesome for your extra rod holders and camera extensions not to mention there is already a GoPro clip attached on the front. The back of the kayak has another adjustable gear track with bungies, so that you can strap items down or open up space for your tackle box or other gear. There is an extra storage compartment for any items you want to keep dry along with two built in easy to reach rod holders. While it may seem small and over looked I quickly realized how convenient it is that nearly every compartment or feature is secured with strong easy to use bungies.
The next and maybe one of the most important features I was looking for was that the Coosa HD is depth finder friendly with a built in scupper. This gives your transducer a safe place under the kayak to keep it from being exposed to whatever may be in the water, but directly under your kayak for proper sonar readings. Once again the gear track and Ram Mounts allow me to attach and remove my Garmin EchoMAP 53dv screen. The removable easy to open center console is what I used to store my battery and extra wires. Along with a waterproof cubby on top for keys, cell phone, wallet, or anything else you don’t want to get wet.
After purchasing a few extra ram mounts and camera extensions I had my kayak all ready to go at this point to go try and find some fish. There was only one problem! I live in the Pacific Northwest and if anyone has been out here in the winter months they know that there is no shortage of rainfall. I typically chase bass and have spent the most time on the Willamette River, so I thought I would start there for my first trip. I knew the river was probably up seeing how it had rained a few days straight, but I did not know how much or how rough the waters might be. I was in for a rude awakening. The water was muddy and right off the dock in West Linn, Oregon flows a tributary the Tualatin River. This river is known for great steelhead, trout, and salmon fishing during the runs. Well needless to say this river was pumping water through it. I didn’t let that discourage me the only thing I was worried about was how well the kayak could get me to the other side of the Tualatin’s flow.
I set out and about 50 yards from the dock I immediately met the Tualatin’s current. I was worried that it was going to push me out into the middle of the Willamette, but my doubts quickly went away. I was paddling at a steady pace, but the Coosa HD cut right through the inflowing river. I made it to the other side in no time and thought, “Hey! Smooth sailing from here.” I learned quickly that was not the case.
The Willamette while on top looked smooth, its current was flowing harder than anytime I have been on it before. I got about 100 yards up the river to a spot I have had luck in before and made a cast. It was not thirty seconds later I was nearly back to the Tualatin input again. At this point I knew I was going to have my work cut out for me. I decided I was going to paddle up stream to another spot that I knew probably had at least a little slack water that I could fish in and then float and fish back down. The Coosa HD was easy to paddle upstream in a short amount of time. A nice steady pace was all I needed to cover a lot of water. I got to a spot my friends and I call “Gitzit Ridge.” It’s been known to produce plenty of big Smallmouth Bass for us. This spot gave me an opportunity to really make some accurate casts. I could feel how easy it was to maneuver the kayak while I was fishing. It was nice I could easily control the movement and position of the kayak with a couple small strokes with my off hand if I needed. I immediately realized how fishing out of a kayak was going to help improve my casting as I am often not casting at perfect angles or a forward facing direction due to the current. When I was making my casts the kayak was very stable giving me a chance to relax and not be tense and worried about rocking the kayak too far one way or the other. I did not have any luck in our honey hole as the current was still too strong to present my lure as slow as I would have liked given the water temperatures.
I started my float back down the river casting a swimbait at all angles down the shoreline. I knew it would be nearly impossible to land a fish with the current being so strong but mostly I wanted to test the functionality of the Kayak. It performed well. Even when I hit a strong spot of water I could easily give it a paddle or two and put me back into a safe position to get a few more casts in. It was not long before I came all the way back down to the Tualatin and once again I was not sure if it was going to push me back out into the river or not but like earlier it performed better than I imagined. I went right across the Tualatin with almost no push in another direction. I floated up to the dock feeling way more satisfied and confident knowing that this kayak tackled and performed in probably the worst conditions I would see this year. Had I used the recessed area on the stern for an anchor I probably could have managed to find a good spot to pull a fish out or two.
Setting up, loading, and unloading the kayak is very easy given its functionality geared towards a fisherman’s needs. The hardest most challenging part of the whole trip is loading and unloading the kayak onto my roof rack. Being 12 feet long and weighing about 100 pounds your average slouch may have trouble, but if you are like me, you enjoy the heavy lifting. The easiest solution for this problem is to find a good fishing buddy, so you can help each other out and have fun in between the load up process.
Even though I did not catch a single fish, overall the Coosa HD worked to perfection. I know that come the start of Spring I will have no trouble maneuvering all over the Willamette River and Pacific Northwest in search of Small and Largemouth Bass. If you’re interested in finding a top of the line fishing kayak then the Coosa HD by Jackson Kayak is going to be tough to beat. With a little research I am sure like me you will have no trouble finding a local store near you to help you with all your kayaking questions!