In several of my previous blogs I have talked about my Liska to which I refer to most of the time as “Blue”. I’ve spent close to a year and a half in the Liska with a few other Jackson Kayak models sprinkled in between. As a matter of fact there are 2 newer, shiny kayaks parked right next to her in a Big Rig HDFD and the Bite but I just keep going right back to the Liska. The real question is why with multiple newer kayaks do I keep to my beaten up older Liska?
Out of the gate I think you have to talk about the performance of the kayak because at the end of the day that’s really what we all want out of our boat. The Liska is not going to win any drag races she’s just not built for it but on average I can keep a pretty steady 3 mph moving across the lake. One key feature to the performance on the water is the lower profile. The low profile is such a sweet, sweet thing when you are paddling into a head wind. It allows you to keep moving forward with out over exhausting your energy trying to push a kayak with a high profile can feel like a ton of bricks on a day with a good head wind. When you can move your kayak around a little easier it makes for a much more efficient day of fishing and you are going to be a much happier angler.
The layout of this kayak really speaks to me the most. Now some of this is just user preference but it fits well with the way I use it. One thing I dislike from a personal standpoint is having to drill holes into my kayak for wiring up something like a depth finder and the Liska solves all that with the center console. The console allows me to neatly hide my wires and battery from open view along with housing the transducer scupper. It’s just a nice, neat package that keeps your deck space clear. The front hatch of the kayak offers up great through hull storage for extra gear or to aid in gear storage during travel. In the back of the kayak the tank well is huge and leaves you plenty of room for your tackle crate or cooler. Under the seat it’s pretty wide open, you can leave that space open or you can also add our seat tray. The seat tray is one item I added on in order to help keep things from sliding around; it also works great for river fishing when I don’t need to take much tackle.Stability is something that’s always a hot topic, people like to have that “safe” feeling when they are out on the water. So let’s start this with a disclaimer, I am 5’-8” and have a much lower center of gravity than someone that is 6 foot tall. My height with the 34” width and flat hull design of the Liska allows me to move around very well on the water. The kayak has great standability and in the seat it’s so comfortable. The best part is that all this stability comes without the girth of some of the other bigger kayaks out there. This allows for easy entry and exit for things like river fishing where you may need to jump out to wade or drag through a stretch of water. For me it’s just a very comfortable sized kayak.
Off the water management is a big key for me because there are times when I am completely on my own. The smaller sized kayak is way easier to load and unload. The Liska is not the lightest kayak on the market but the size of it makes it way less stressful if you are faced with having to do a dry offload at your favorite spot.
The last topic I will cover is the fit and by fit I am talking about my local waters. In Indiana we have several electric only lakes that are a little smaller and typically filled various grasses. These are the areas where it’s nice to have a kayak I can paddle and not have to worry about cleaning out the Flex Drive every few feet. If I know I can’t use the Flex Drive there is no point in me exhausting energy to paddle the extra weight around. It’s just one of those little things that help move this kayak to the front of the line for me.
Is the Liska a perfect kayak? No, none of them are but it fits my needs and fits them well enough to be my go to for most weekends. I still use Big Rig HDFD for bigger open water lakes because it’s the right kayak for that situation. The Liska is a kayak that does so much and so much well that it’s hard to put it away. It’s one of the kayaks at Jackson that has started its own little following like the original Coosa or Kilroy because of being multifaceted. If you are a Liska owner reading this I can almost bet you understand and completely agree with everything above, if you’re not then maybe it’s time for a test drive. It might be the new kayak you’ve been looking for.
Stay Crazy – Chad Brock