Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Big Rig's "B" Side

At any given time of day there is a good chance that one of two things are going on inside my head. There's a good song playing or I'm scheming for my next kayak fishing trip.

 I'm always listening to music and its been that way since I was a young boy. I grew up in the mid 70's - early 80's and the highlight of the week was going to the record store at the mall with my $5 allowance. I'd buy a new single record from my favorite band and then hit the arcade for a few games of Pac Man. A single was a record with two songs. It had an "A" side and a "B" side. The "A" side was always the feature song and the most popular. The "B" side was normally a forgettable song but every so often there was a hidden gem on that "B" side. I remember buying The Police's "Every Breath You Take" single and the "B" side had a song called "Murder by Numbers" which is still one of my favorite Police songs.

   Now that I'm much older and in the age of music downloads the "B" side is a forgotten term and I no longer save money for records, now I save to buy kayak fishing equipment. Last year I purchased a brand new Jackson Big Rig kayak from my local Jackson dealer, Cohutta Fishing Company. They had the urban camo edition standing on its end just inside the front door and I was impressed. The boat came from the factory completely rigged and ready to fish. They laid her down on the floor and asked me to try the seat. It was the most comfortable kayak seat I'd ever sat in. I knew it would be stable due to the width, the side fishing rod troughs were perfect for the type of fishing I do because I tend to get in some brushy areas. The storage capacity and weight limit would more than suit my needs for multi day float trips, the leaning rail really excited me because I could picture slowly drifting the grass flats of St.Joe's Bay in the Florida panhandle for schools of redfish. This boat's "A" side was exactly what I was looking for. I went home and tried to do some research on this newly released boat and found some very good reviews. They all talked about the stability, deck rigging, seat and the ability to stand while fishing which were the same features I'd been told about at the dealer. I decided to buy what seemed to be the perfect boat for me. I stopped at a public lake on the way home and paddled my new Big Rig for the first time and I loved it.

   My passion is river fishing and my first trip was to my favorite North Georgia tailrace river for a true boat test and hopefully a trout or two. On this river is where I discovered my boats dynamic "B"side. The Big Rig has a very shallow draft and allowed me to float through areas that my last boat wouldn't. I expected some added resistance in the river current due to the boat's size but it actually turned and maneuvered very well allowing me to duck into pocket eddies along the river. When I came to a favorite section of river that is slower and deeper I stood up. As I stood there drifting in the standing position I realized that for me, this is the perfect river boat. That higher point of view offered me the ability to see underwater structure, eddies, current breaks and even fish from a distance that allowed me to cast before the fish were aware I was around. On that trip I landed my largest brown trout ever, a 24 inch 5 pound female beauty.

   Since that first float trip I've owned my Big Rig for 14 months. I've had it on the water over 175 times, its been on 7 different rivers ranging from the mountain tailrace I mentioned above to a blackwater river in North Florida.  This boat is by no means a "whitewater" kayak but I've ran some decent class 2 plus rapids in it. I've had it loaded down with enough equipment for a 3 day float trip plus my fishing gear and the boats performance was only slightly affected. Best of all, I stand for hours on end fishing. I can cast and set the hook without feeling unbalanced and I can stand and sit with ease. It is literally like having a bass boat on my favorite trout river. The Big Rig has added a whole new dimension to my river fishing that I didn't expect. I've caught more fish and I'm a better fisherman because of it.

   I don't know if Jackson had planned on the Big Rig being such a diverse fishing platform but this unknown side of my boat is the most exciting feature I've found. It is an outstanding kayak for all types of water and fishing applications and if you're in the market for a new kayak this boat should definitely be on your list to try. Her "A" side is a huge hit but the "B" side rocks too.