A kayak is a small, narrow boat which was originally created to hunt on inland islands. Today, after an estimated 4,000 years since its birth, the kayak is very popular for leisure and adventurous activities especially during the summer.
There are many types of kayak. A sit on top kayak, for example, is deemed to be the most user-friendly. It is the most stable and easiest to paddle so it is recommended for beginner kayakers. Moreover, it is self-bailing, which means that it has small holes – also called scupper holes – that allow water to drain. A sit on top kayak is usually used for fishing and scuba diving since the rider can easily enter and exit the water.
A sea kayak, on the other hand, is used for the sport of paddling. In general, it has a longer length and is faster than touring kayaks. A touring kayak is designed to be narrower for efficient long-distance paddling.
A fishing kayak, as what its name suggests, is used for fishing. The kayak has long been a means of transportation for most and kayak fishing has risen to fame because of the fact that it’s more environment-friendly. It is also more cost-efficient compared to the motor boat. Other common types of kayaks include white water kayak, inflatable kayak, and kayak for children.
What to Look for When Buying a Fishing Kayak
Before purchasing a fishing kayak, one must be cautious enough to know the brand’s features, and pros and cons. There are several factors that you need to consider:
Length for speed, width for stability
A kayak is that is longer and narrower is recommended to those who want to have a racing-worth kayak. A wider and shorter kayak, on the other hand, is best to those who want a more stable kayak. The same is also true to those who have “less extreme take on the sport.” Moreover, “anyone who is interested in going down fast currents will need to opt for a kayak that features more support. The support comes in the form of a rocker that looks like an upswept bow.” Finally, a rocker kayak is not recommended to be used for calm waters.
Seat location and positioning
A kayak has two types of designs – sit-in or sit-on top. As mentioned in the first few paragraphs, both have its pros and cons. For those who already have much experienced in the field of kayak fishing, the sit-on-top design is most recommended “because it allows for more freedom of movement.”
Additionally, a sit-on top kayak when used for fishing in lower temperatures “is not a good idea because of being exposed to the cold water.” In water with strong currents, however, it is more recommended to “fish in a kayak that’s equipped with a contraption similar to a cockpit.”
Sit-in kayaks, on the other hand, are famous for fishermen who have tons of fishing equipment and accessories. Its storage is definitely a big plus. “One of the biggest downsides of those is that having to sit low will limit visibility and slow down your reaction time.”
Unrigged or rigged
With regards to technicality, “the only big difference between a pre-rigged kayak and the other type is that the rigged one has a build-in holder for your rods, fishing baits and other standard fishing equipment.”
Stock kayaks are way cheaper. “Veterans are able to save a lot by purchasing a stock one and rigging it themselves.” However, rigging a kayak is not an easy task so it is not recommended for inexperienced anglers. “Maintaining the balance by doing the alterations is a challenge even for the most experienced fishermen.”
As to the brands of fishing kayak, there are many out there – may it be online or in the market. Two of the best brands are the Jackson Cuda 12 and Jackson Cuda 14.
Jackson Kayak Cuda 12
The Jackson Cuda 12 is one of the best kayaks for fishermen as it is light, with its convenient features making it easier for fishermen to maneuver it.
- Length: 12’6″
- Width: 31″
- Weight: 74 lbs.
- Type: Sit-on-top
- Capacity: 350 lbs.
- Rigged For Fishing: Yes
- Propulsion: Paddle
Here are the main product features of the Jackson Cuda 12:
The Jackson Cuda 12 was designed to fit between the maneuverability of the Coosa and the speed of the Cuda 14. It has an adjustable seat that can either go high or low depending on the preference of the fisherman. According to jacksoncuda12.com, “the position of the seat has a determining impact on the stability of the kayak” thus, making the Cuda 12 a really stable fishing kayak.
One main product feature of the Cuda 12 is its storage space. Every fisherman would always prefer a bigger space for them to store their equipment. Also, a sufficient space is an essential in enjoying the fishing kayak experience.
The Cuda 12 has a roomy center hatch. With this, the fisherman can store more stuff in his kayak. Moreover, the fisherman can add a tub insert that will permit him to keep plenty of water accessories he needs.
The fisherman has also options to choose from bigger boxes, storage units with dividers or the ones without. It will always depend on his preference. If he has more fishing equipment, then it is recommended to choose the one that has a bigger storage unit.
Rod Tip Protector
This feature is perfect for all fishermen out there. You can use the rod tip protector “to store your rods when they are not in use or if you are paddling through tight areas like mangrove tunnels.” Through covering or hiding the rod tips, you prevent your equipment from being destroyed when they brush on weeds and mangrove brances.
Adjustable Foot Pegs
The adjustable foot pegs make the Cuda 12 really user-friendly. The peg is the part that your foot rests on. In Cuda 12, the foot pegs adjust easily.
There are times when one needs to stand up when fishing. In order to do this easily and in a more convenient way, Cuda 12 has the stand-assist strap that will make standing up and sitting down completely safe.
Jackson Kayak Cuda 14
The Jackson Cuda 14 has many features that kayak fishermen love. It has the speed and the stability – two factors that make an efficient fishing kayak.
According to most reviews online, the Cuda 14 is just “too good to be true.” It includes a roomy storage that keeps rods, tackle and other equipment within easy reach, a hull that boasts of massive secondary stability and completely high-end comfortable seating.
- Length: 14’3
- Width: 31
- Weight: 80 lbs.
- Type: Sit-on-top
- Capacity: 400 lbs.
- Rigged For Fishing: Yes
- Propulsion: Paddle
Here are some of its main product features:
Elite Hi/Lo Seat
This feature is what fishermen love about this kayak. The Elite Hi/Lo seat has a new look and feel with its three-dimensional mesh fabric. To note, a mesh fabric is perfect for athletic wear and casual summer apparel.
Bow and Stern Hatches
Just like the Cuda 12, Jackson Cuda 14 is famous for its hatches. A roomy storage can enable the fisherman to keep more equipment. It can also hold dry bags full of snacks, clothes, or gadgets. The center storage hatch can hold the fisherman’s other equipment including his extra rods. For people who want to camp by the seashore, you can also store your tent in it.
Adjustable Foot Pegs
Another feature that stands out is the adjustable foot peg. The peg is the part that your foot rests on. In Cuda 14, the foot pegs adjust easily.
The Cuda 14 is packed with brand new ergonomic handles. The handles have an added grip textured inserts that can aid the fisherman to keep good contact when he is carrying his kayak, even when wet.
Wide, Flat Hull Shape
With its wide and flat hull shape, the Cuda 14 makes it possible for the angler not to get blown around when there is strong wind.
The Cuda 14 boasts of a seating area that has a flat section of deck and a stand-assist handle. With this, the angler can experience the kayak’s secondary stability by standing for a better casting position.
You can store your other goods in the rear tankwell.
Colin Klemp, a long-time kayaker, wrote a review on the Cuda 12 and Cuda 14. Here is the text:
“I took my Cuda 14 out on golf course ponds, farm ponds, lakes of every size, dirty rivers, clear rivers, rivers with 3 ½ ft. haystack waves, hidden creeks, and the gulf coast. I even paddled from Oklahoma to Texas and back on Lake Texoma one summer day! They told me I could stand and fish on it so I went to Arbuckle Lake in March in an attempt to catch a 40+lb stringer of Florida bass. I had camped out in my hammock where I was rudely awakened by the howling wind early the next morning. I decided I had driven too far not get on the water so with 30+ mph winds I took my chances. With waves capping over the bow of my Cuda I paddled from cove to cove not having any luck. So bright, intelligent me decided to paddle to the middle of the lake with 35 mph winds to try my hand at standing and casting an Alabama rig to which I can thankfully say was a success! On many occasions I would pack the Cuda down with a weeks’ worth of camping and fishing gear to jump on the Illinois River with Talli and disappear from the world for a while,” he recalled.
Comparing the Cuda 14 to Cuda 12, Klemp said the latter “became a huge hit in the kayak community.”
“In 2013, Jackson came out with baby brother, the Cuda 12…The Cuda 12 hit dead center on the spectrum of speed vs. stability and could be used in almost all environments and water conditions allowing it to be known as a universal fishing kayak,” he narrated.
Jackson Cuda 12 vs Cuda 14
Before Cuda, there was the Coosa. It was Jackson’s first true fishing kayak. After a few years, the brand launched the Cuda. It became an instant hit.
The Cuda is way more efficient than Coosa when it comes to performance. The Coosa may be nimble and navigable. But the Cuda is faster and is less affected by the strong wind in open water. The Cuda 12 and Cuda 14 have almost similar features but the latter boasts of some tweaks that for some are “too good to be true.”
The Cuda 12 has an overall capacity of 350 pounds, making it perfect for the average-sized angler. Despite its longer length, its stability remains intact. It has a perfect balance of stability and maneuverability, suited to the skills of an experienced angler. However, the Cuda 12 weighing at 74 pounds is quite heavy compared other fishing kayaks. Thus, it is not recommended to those who are not strong enough.
The seating of this kayak, made mostly out of aluminum, is also very comfy. Its comfy seat gives a great back support. It can also be adjusted depending on your fishing needs.
Its storage room is also a highlight. Its intricately-designed rudders can enable the anglers to move them from the cockpit while maintaining power.
The Cuda 14, meanwhile, is almost the perfect kayak as it is packed with too many great features. Its long length looks good as it feels when it is on water. Thus, the thrill of kayaking is very much alive. Its sleek design will make fishing in the wind a walk in the park. For veteran kayakers, the Cuda 14 is the best option.
But no matter what type you purchase, always remember to be safe.
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