A few weeks ago a group of friends and I were planning a trip to Tennessee in hopes for some muskie. After losing one and missing a few others on my first trip, I definitely had my hopes up to land one of these toothy critters. But as luck would have it, a front moved through earlier in the week dumping a lot of rain and blowing out the river.
Our back up plan was a three day trip down the Flint River instead. The Flint rises from the edge of the Appalachians in Tennessee and flows south through Alabama until it finally meets the Tennessee River. Our trip would cover a little more then a third of the river’s almost sixty six miles. We would start on the upper part of the river characterized by shallow fast moving shoals and transition to deeper, slower moving water on the last day.
This would be the perfect maiden voyage for my new Kilroy. The Kilroy was the Jackson fishing model I was least interested in. Having cut my teeth in kayaking using sit on tops, I was not too sure, or comfortable, with the idea of being down inside the kayak. That was until I actually spent time fishing in a demo Kilroy from my local Jackson dealer. Now it is my go to boat for a wide range of fishing situations. The Kilroy is light, fast, and has plenty of room which would come in handy since we would be camping on this trip.
I consulted some of my Jackson teammates who own Kilroys and asked how they load them out for long trips. The biggest thing is simply make sure the weight is distributed evenly throughout the boat. My load plan was to store hammock camping gear and extra clothes in the bow using waterproof bags. The cooler would go behind the seat with my cooking and cold weather gear being stored in the dry hatch. I made a conscious decision to limit my tackle and tackle storage was done with the bungee cords running down the inside of the boat.
Once on the water, there was no noticeable change in the Kilroy’s handling characteristics. Even with the extra weight onboard the boat remained very stable. The tracking was spot on and I was able to maneuver in and out of the moving water with no issues. This was my first real experience with the new Jackson Ergo Seat. To be honest I was skeptical because let’s face it, I am in love with the Elite Seat. But after taking sometime, using the adjustment points and fine tuning the Ergo, I think it is an awesome seat. The time spent in the Kilroy on this trip just reinforced why I really like this boat. While there is no “perfect” fishing kayak, the Kilroy is definitely the most versatile for me and the kinds of conditions I paddle.
After three days and twenty three and a half miles the landing was in sight. Unfortunately our trip had come to an end but it only fueled the desire to get out and do more multi day trips. I can hardly wait for next one. It is planned for a small creek tucked deep in a national forest where we will be chasing fish with lightweight fly rods…and Kilroy will be there too.