So I’ve been kinda wrapped up in my environmental activist stuff and other things the last 2 months. A trip to Capitol Hill with the Wildlife foundation and a day spent with the Virginia Outdoorsmen’s Conservation Roundtable were just 2 of the activities taking up my time lately. And now I’m getting some painting done on my house before the winds of winter arrive and having new flooring installed. A bathroom and kitchen remodel back in the mother-in-law apartment is on tap for later this Winter/Spring. My poor MayFly has been sitting out back all covered up for almost 2 months now and I’m getting twitchy myself. But hopefully next weekend I can go get her wet again. I miss being in her. But after a full season of being in her almost exclusively, I can definitely say this boat is, to date, my favorite in the pantheon of Jackson fishing kayaks.
The first thing you notice about the Mayfly is the super clean deck in front of you. Nothing to snag a fly line on as you strip off line onto the deck or strip a Cloueser minnow back to the boat or gently work a Walt Cary popper around a weed bed. You have the same storage options under the new redesigned seat as any other Jackson boat and maybe a tad more because of the 2 fly box storage compartments next to your legs in the sides. Speaking of storage, you also have the rod tip protectors up on the bow as the other Jackson offerings but just aft of your seat, you have 2 reel pockets to hold your fly rods snugly and securely. I originally thought it would be hard to use them from the seat on the water, but not so, they’re just an arms-length away and the bungee ‘latches’ are easily applied. You can easily have two 9 foot fly rods stored away to either side of you…and I usually do. Well, one stored and the other in my hand that is.
The second thing you notice is the low profile of the MayFly in the water. I thought maybe it would be an issue for those of us in the “Big Boys Club” but it doesn’t seem to be. I get no more water inside the boat than I did with the Big Rig or my CoosHD. The strategically placed scuppers drain out any excess water quickly and efficiently. What the low profile also does VERY well, is help keep wind from effecting the boat. A stiff breeze can blow a boat downriver or change its direction pretty easily. But the MayFly seems handle these breezes much easier.
Storage hatches have been beefed up with heavier hinges and swinging latches rather than just depending on bungee cords to keep them closed. The forward hatch has a very nice internal tray to keep those items you need on a regular basis from sliding down into the hull. And the wide rubber strap helps keep your Bending Branches paddle secure and ready when you need both hands to re-tie, use the camera for that big fish selfie to send to the buddy that couldn’t make the trip or to just take a break on occasion.
Liberal use of YakAttack’s Gear Trac makes it easy to accessorize your boat with all manner of attachments and gadgets offered by YakAttack. One of the best attachments for me is the cup holder and Orion Mug included in the Mayfly. I need my coffee along in the mornings when I’m headed out on the water and when you finish the coffee, you can drop the mug in the tank well in back and move the cup holder over to the side and use it for used up baits or trash or what have you to keep that clear deck in front of you uncluttered. I also like the ‘lip’ that’s replaced the handle at the stern of the boat. It offers a more secure grip to my mind and makes the boat easier to carry and hoist up into the back of my truck when it’s time to call it a day.
Now all this being said…the true test of a kayak is how it paddles and handles in the water on my rivers. This is where I spend 99% of my time. And I can say without equivocation, the MayFly is a very smooth and easy handling boat. My first trip on her was in some water on the Shenandoah that I probably hadn’t been on for well over a decade and a half so I had forgotten a lot about the features the first 2 miles of this float. Several drops and technical sections were part of the deal and the MayFly didn’t let me down. She handled herself very well and felt rock solid under me as we negotiated several drops, hidden rocks, and shoal areas.
I’m looking forward to seeing how she does on some winter floats later on. Of course that’s dependent on the child-bride’s decorating schedule. See ya out there!