In my last post I emphasized the importance of research and finding the best kayak that fits your needs. As a relative noob to the sport of Kayak Angling, what I have discovered is that our paddling and fishing needs change. We grow in our skills, and we become more confident in our abilities, and this tends to lead towards taking more risks , or expanding our comfort zones.
When I jumped into this sport with both feet I was a daddy wanting to get out with his three small kids, explore my local lakes, and catch whatever would nibble on my line. I am still that dad, and I can still bring my six year old son out in my Native Ultimate 14.5 Tandem. It is an amazing kayak, that I will likely, never get rid of, but with my children getting older, we have not been able to share the Tandem experience as we once did, and they have started asking for their own rides to navigate when we hit the water. My oldest daughter owns a 2012 Wilderness Tarpon 1oo. As my children have become more proficient anglers so have I, and I have found myself drawn to the competitive aspect of Kayak Fishing Tournaments. These tournaments have put me on big water that quickly pointed out the disadvantages of a Hybrid kayak, and after a short love affair with the Jackson Cuda 14 and some divine intervention that’s worth it’s own blog I have welcomed the Jackson Big Rig into my fleet.
The Big Rig is not for the feint of heart. Jackson has proclaimed it a fishing machine loaded with “out of the box,” features. This kayak delivers what Jackson promises with a slew of fishing features that make it ready to fish without adding a single piece of equipment. I am a big dude and this kayak was intended for big people. At 37 inches wide there are few kayaks on the market that boast this type of width. At 13 feet 2 inches its long enough to track fairly well but this kayak was not designed to cover water fast. What it does profess to be, is a stable beast that allows the angler to sit in a high position without sacrificing any stability.
Jackson prides themselves on putting fishing innovation into their designs and the Big Rig is no exception. From bow to stern this kayak is packed with well thought out features. The bow handle is rigid in its design allowing for a solid grip which will be needed as Jackson lists the weight on the BR at just under 100 pounds. Similar to the Coosa, Jackson placed priority in protecting your equipment and there are rod stagers on each side of the kayak with rod tip protectors. The hatch, not my favourite feature of the Jacksons, allows for access to large storage that will easily fit eight gloved rods without getting tangled. Without the Rod Glove I cannot make any promises.
On my Ultimate, I discovered the advantages of drifting and with that I installed an anchor trolley. That allowed me to position my anchor, stake out pole or my drift sock to angle my kayak in the most appropriate casting position. My grandfather always encouraged me to have the right tools for the job and with that being said I invested in a rivet gun. Using the rivet gun has really cleaned up the look of my add-ons and made the installation quick and easy. With the wide stance of the BR I added two pad eye guides so that the anchor line remains tight.
I feel I accomplished the goal and the pad eye guides will prevent the tight line from snapping up above the gunnel line. I used marine goop on each of the rivet holes and shrink tubing on each of the knots as I am a bit particular about loose line and fishing hooks. With the ease of the installation, I have decided that I will add a trolley on the other side allowing me to drift based on the wind rather than having to re position, and alter my casting based on what side I drift from.
The fishing deck is the most important part of of the kayak in my opinion. This is your office where you do your day’s business and the BR provides a wide and open deck with easy access to three gear track that provide ample opportunities for accessories. I have decided to keep things clean and simple The centre track is home to the GoPro3 which is currently mounted on a Scotty camera mount. I find RAM mounts to be more versatile but have not been able to locate an appropriate RAM mount in stores and will likely give in and purchase the mount online eventually. Yak Attack also makes a pole mount for high angle, over the shoulder shots, that make for some unique angles. I have positioned a RAM rod holder on my left side that I typically use for staging my rod while measuring and photographing my catch and am currently toying with the position of my Raymarine Dragonfly 4 Pro on my right side. I have not finished the install of the transducer and intend to write a blog on the installation and review the sonar in a later blog.
One of the great features of the BR is the preinstall by Jackson, of the the tubing for the anchor line. After much deliberation, and first hand viewing of a friend working a dock in a windy situation, I decided to install a retractable anchor line. I found the right tools and utilized an in-line retractable clothes line, and built a system that will neatly organize and hold 50 feet of line allowing me to deploy my anchor from the stern of the kayak and hold position in wind and current in deeper water situations. This makes the anchor line a permanent mount which may pose challenges in the future, as it does not provide me a quick release option other than cutting my line in an emergency. Jackson really thought out the positioning of their predilled screw mounts making the installation of a anchor cleat a snap. This will lock the line in place taking the pressure and pull off the spring within the retractable system and allowing me to lock my line at the desired length. I am currently using a 5 pound retractable claw anchor and with 50 feet of line I should be able to anchor in water depths in 15-20 feet of water. For my shallow water scenarios, I hope to utilize my Yak Attack stake out pole paired with either the anchor trolley system or through the scupper holes.
With the Big Rig, much of the rigging has been thought out for you but as I have started to show there are still many options for creative planning and individualizing the kayak to your specific needs. Given the extent of the rigging I will finish describing my Big Rig in my next blog. The winters are long here and the fishing season is never long enough, I hope my ideas, some borrowed from others, some original, give you the ideas you are looking for when rigging your kayak.