The Heavyweight Cuda

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Jackson Kayak in keeping with one of their best selling kayaks the Cuda, has added a new member to the family. Coming in slightly longer, wider, more stable and packed with fishing features is the new Cuda HD. I was really excited unwrapping the Cuda HD for the first time. At a nimble 12’10” length, 33” width, 425 pound weight capacity and weighing 85 pounds; the Cuda HD is a very stout kayak with the ability to handle a wide range of anglers and water.

The Cuda HD comes with some new and exciting features. Starting at the bow of the Cuda HD you can see that the top deck of this kayak has had a complete make over. The bow hatch is a newly designed Thermoformed Hatch Cover with two easy open twist latches to ensure a tight seal with a new Hypalon paddle park system attached to it, both of which worked very well. This hatch gives you access inside the kayak for storing a good amount gear. Still up on the bow, Jackson Kayak has made two molded in Rod Tip Tubes. Slide your rod tip inside and secure the rod handle with one of the multiple bungee attachment points on either side of the kayak. This was nice to accommodate rods of various lengths while providing the ultimate protection while paddling through all types of cover. After taking a rod out of the rod tip tube you can keep it in place on the deck with the Rod Stagers that came on both the Cuda 12 and 14 have been used on the new HD. This new bow layout packs lots of function into a small space.

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Moving towards the center of the kayak is a great feature that has carried over from the previous Cuda, the large Hinged Center Hatch. The Center Hatch gives you additional access inside the kayak for storing rods or larger gear along with a Hatch Storage Insert for storing items that will need quick access. I am able to fit the included Plano 3640 tackle box along with other fishing gear in the Hatch Insert. On top of the Center Hatch are two YakAttack Gear Tracks to mount a variety of accessories on. The YakAttack Accessory Plate will work really well here for mounting fishfinders, RAM Tough Balls and a variety of accessories.

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Jackson has added YakAttack gear tracks on both the left and right side of the kayak, 1 17″ set and 1 4″ set. These are great for adding accessories without drilling into the kayak. The footwells are long and flat extending back into the seatwell area which is also flat. Both of these combine to give you a large flat standing platform which is covered by Standing Pads to add comfort and stealth while standing to fish. These pads make a big difference in your overall comfort on this kayak and I would say is a very nice feature. The Cuda HD offers even more flexibility with the adjustable foot pegs and is also rudder ready. The rudder is a fairly straight forward install and will help this excellent tracking kayak perform to its best when conditions are less than ideal. The Cuda HD has two specific scupper locations built into the hull design. Both of these are Transducer Scuppers, located in the footwell on the left and right side. This was designed to fit the large Raymarine Dragonfly transducers but will work with other manufacturers transducers as well. This is a nice option to keep your transducer in the water and protected.

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The Cuda HD is very comfortable with the Elite Seat 3.0 mounted on a 4 way adjustable track system. This seat gives you the ability to move fore and aft, enabling you to adjust the trim of the kayak based on the weight in the kayak and also current water/weather conditions. It has a 3D mesh fabric with good ergonomics and comfort along with more storage capabilities under the seat for 2 tackle boxes. Jackson Kayak has also coupled this with the Therm-a-Rest lumbar pad to help you stay on the water longer. Along with the adjustable seat, it does offer you the ability to choose between a high a low seat position. The high position is very helpful when you are looking to stand up and fish and provides you with some storage space beneath the seat.

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The back of the seat comes with the Seal Line Waterproof seat back bag which is great for holding just about anything. I use it to hold my phone, food, misc tackle and hand towel. Sheltered between the seat and the SealLine pouch is the new Platypus Hydration System, a protected pouch that holds water and other hydration liquids in a BPA-free plastic sac for your day on the water. The hydration system has a tube that runs to the side of the seat for easy access and quick sips via hose and quick sip end. This is a nice feature to help eliminate waste from plastic drinking bottles.

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Unlike many kayaks on the market the Cuda HD doesn’t separate the seating area with the rear tankwell with any plastic. Instead Jacksons design continues the flat area of the seatwell all the way to the stern with an open tankwell. This is divided by a gear track that can be used to secure a JKrate, additional rod holders or any accessories you desire. The tankwell has gear track on both sides with bungee to help secure your gear. The tankwell is large enough to use the JKrate or for storing dry bags and extra tackle boxes. There is also an additional storage hatch in the stern. I like to use this area to mount any non Raymarine transducers that will be using the shot through hull method. This keeps it out of the way from most of your normal daily access. The rear storage area is good to put non-essential items in case of an emergency.

This kayak has gear track from bow to stern to help you mount a variety of accessories including camera mounts, rod holders and whatever else you can think of. There are also a couple of 1/4” x 20 threaded inserts molded into the kayak to allow for mounting camera accessories or even RAM Tough Balls. The Cuda HD comes standard with 2 RAM Tough Tube rod holders with quick release bases, 2 flush mount rod holders mounted behind the seat, 1 RAM 2007 Rod Holder and 1 1.5″ RAM Tough ball. Also included is a Plano Tackle Box, 27oz Orion Cooler Tumbler, Line Cutterz and is Power Pole ready.

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We really wanted to see how this kayak would perform with the new hull design. Once in the water you can really feel the changes in the hull compared to the Cuda 12 and 14. The increased width, 33”, companied with a slightly modified bottom hull made this kayak really stable. With all of these features the tracking and glide are excellent combined with speed slightly slower then the Kraken. This stability of this kayak will definitely allow those that would like to stand and fish that ability along with accommodating larger paddlers. The Cuda HD will fit a wide variety of uses form offshore saltwater fishing launching through the surf to flat water lake fishing.

The Jackson Kayak Cuda HD might be new to the game but feels right at home on the water and is sure to become a favorite for many anglers.

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