When you break it down into the simplest terms, there are two kinds of kayak fishing: lakes and moving water. There are multiple differences between these two types of water that demand a different approach when kayaking. Lakes can require more energy from the angler, and rivers require a more tactical approach which is why I consider having a combination of the Jackson Kayak Coosa family is the best approach to being ready for any water conditions you may find.
The Coosa FD is hands down my choice for flat water situations. Being 6’ 2” and hovering around 240 pounds, the stability makes for a very comfortable fishing platform. I can launch, stand, set the hook, and perform many actions on the kayak without the worry of rocking the boat too much. Typically with lakes, I find I have to take a lot more tackle and gear with me to figure out a pattern or find some fish. The Coosa FD has plenty of space in the stern tankwell for a crate and extra rod holders. The amount of gear you take is dependent on your creativity in storage solutions.
When I first got the Coosa FD, I was not sure I would like pedaling. I was afraid it would wear me out because, let’s face it, I’m not in shape. I was blown away when I had the complete opposite effect for me. Although I was tired after the day was over, I found that all the work was being done by my legs, leaving my upper body fresh and reserved for fishing. I didn’t have the upper body exhaustion from paddling to the spot, and instead I was ready to start fishing without having the annoying tired arms and shoulders from paddling right away. This is a huge confidence boost for me and allows me to explore more distance because I am less afraid of being able to make the trek back to the ramp if I decide to go explore the next cove or run across the lake.
The second part of this equation is a moving water kayak. Moving water creates more situations that require specific needs from a kayak. The Coosa FD can perform in excellent fashion in some river situations but is ultimately not the best choice for a go-to river runner. This lies on the shoulders of the original Coosa or the Coosa HD.
Being able to maneuver rapids, shallow stretches, a dragging portage, going upstream, surfing current, boat positioning, and even getting the kayak to the water all provide unique challenges when trying to explore these wild waters. This is where I prefer the Coosa HD. The Coosa HD is my choice because it provides the ability for a larger person like myself to perform in all these conditions. When I am in a lazy section, I can stand easily, access my gear, and even take a nap. I’ve been known to take naps on the water.
The Coosa HD is also nimble enough for me to paddle through white water. Corrections are easy to make, and the kayak is very responsive to my paddle strokes. This also accounts for heading back upstream. The Coosa HD will cut right through a current to head back up towards an eddie or small rapids to gain position to fish where hardly anybody else can even think about trying. The Coosa HD can also take a beating. I try not to, but I have bounced off rocks, dragged of rack beds, dragged down trails, lowered off concrete bridges, portaged over construction sites, and even had one come off my car on the highway (equipment failure). None of these scenarios has stopped the Coosa HD!
This leaves the original Coosa. This is an excellent river boat. It is lightweight, quick, extremely responsive, and tough. My only issue with the Coosa is my comfort. I do not feel comfortable in the kayak due to my size. I could train myself to work in the boat very easily, but the Coosa HD just fits my style more easily. Do not sleep on the Coosa though! I’ve seen it perform flawlessly and has a major advantage to the Coosa HD in moving water with the right paddler.
Ultimately my one-two punch is the Coosa FD and the Coosa HD. I feel with these two kayaks, I can be ready for any fishing adventure I may come across. The most convenient use I have found was a two day tournament I was participating in. Day one was a river, and day two was a lake. I did not stress about water type or conditions because I knew I just had to take both kayaks. The Coosa family will always be a staple in my mind, and I would be hard pressed not to have them in my fleet.
– Ken Morris