Eric Atkins 30/05/2018 | Posted in Fishing, Liska, Reviews
The all new Liska fishing kayak a sweet blend between an original Coosa and a Mayfly and it has paddled wonderfully in the moving creeks and rivers of Alabama. The Liska, with its weight savings, storage capacity, and extra fishing features, is arguably the best value in a Jackson Kayak fishing kayak. And with only a few extra accessories, a stock Liska could well deserve the title of Liska HD. You could call it a great “starter” fishing kayak, but you can also just call it a great all-around fishing kayak.
The Liska is a feature-rich boat. It comes with inserts to adapt a Power-Pole Micro anchor, has adequate gear track for attaching accessories, a storage compartment on the deck, and a large tank well all in a lightweight package. The Liska weighs less than a Coosa HD and approaches having the stability of a Mayfly. This is a small stable boat with a wide cockpit and a comfortable seat on a sliding system to easily adjust trim on the water. I am able to fit a large KKrate in the tank well behind the seat and still have room for accessories. This a great affordable fishing boat!
While there are plenty of attractive fishing features to look at on the boat, one thing I noticed when I was fishing out of my Liska was that I was NOT thinking about my kayak. If I had been thinking about my boat, I would have likely been thinking about features that it is missing or how it is not performing well on the water. However, I was quick to realize that I was making six to eight-hour long fishing outings and I did not have to think about compromising. I was not missing my Coosa HD or Mayfly. I simply hopped on the kayak and concentrated on the fishing, not my boat. To me, that is a testament to the performance and fishability of the boat.
Fly line management on the Liska is tolerable. While it doesn’t have the completely clean deck that found on the Mayfly, the footpegs are about the only place on the deck where the line is likely to snag. You will find plenty of blank space for your line to freely fall. A future fly fishing mod to this boat would be to 1) remove the footpegs and 2) remove the center console. Once the center console is removed, one could subtly rest their feet against the lip around the console mold.
I have combat-launched this boat on a concrete embankment under a bridge. And I have hauled it up steep embankments to return to the truck. The weight savings come in handy in those situations.
Despite the lightweight package, the standability rating is outstanding. To me, it is more stable than a Coosa HD and slightly less stable than a Big Rig and Mayfly.
On the water, the boat handles great. I consider the Liska a nimble boat as it maneuvers just fine in flowing creeks and rivers. In just a few stokes it is able to navigate to corners of eddies and to push up into riffles below shoal complexes. The Liska tracks well, requiring few course corrections down long stretches of current. This boat requires about one more power stroke than a Coosa HD. I would consider this just one level under the Coosa HD as a river boat.
The seat on the kayak is very comfortable. Don’t tell Jackson, but their “low end” seats are actually my favorite. They feel more comfortable with more lumbar support and I like the mesh bags on the back. And they offer plenty of room underneath the seat for my Bass Mafia Bait Coffin. The seat slides forward and back on rails allowing you to dial in the balance of the boat. It also allows you to have a lot more leg room on the deck of your Liska.
I would like to see longer gear track on the boat but there is plenty on there. The gear track it does have is located in handy areas such as beside the seat, on the console, and on the rear of the boat. However, I would like to see about two more inches worth of track on each piece that is already installed. I would also like to see the rear bungee cords detachable from the side of the tank well. That would allow for more options on strapping down containers. Both of those issues could be solved with post-purchase modifications.
So, should you get a Liska or a Coosa HD? If you absolutely require more rigging options, take a look at the Liska to make sure you will have enough gear track. If not, the Coosa HD has slightly more rigging options. For the majority of kayak anglers, you will have plenty of rigging options on the Liska. If you primarily fish fast moving water, then you may want to spend the extra money on the Coosa HD. While the Liska will be capable of performing well in moving water, moving what is for what the Coosa HD was designed. But this boat does very well in most of the environments you would use a Coosa HD. If price is not a major factor, get the Coosa HD and have the top of the line all-around boat. If price is a factor, you will make only a few compromises with the Liska.
Should you get the Liska or the Mayfly? The Mayfly is a large comfortable full feature kayak. If you fly fish, there is no better snag free kayak than the Mayfly. The Mayfly has much more gear track but it is heavier and requires one or two more paddle strokes to make a turn. The Mayfly has slightly more stability.
If I had to spring from just one kayak, I would have a Mayfly or a Coosa HD. They have a few more features and offer slightly more performance. However, if you want a lightweight full-feature kayak, the Liska is your boat and it probably replaces the original Coosa. So, unless you really know of one or two features on the Coosa HD or Mayfly that you need, give the Liska a lot of consideration.