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Fri, Apr 18, 2014
Fishing Kayak Reviews Jackson Kayak “Big Tuna”

Jackson Kayak “Big Tuna” Hot

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February 04, 2013    
 
0.0
 
4.2 (6)
21388   0   8   0   2
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Jackson Kayak Big Tuna

Kayak Make & Model

Brand:
Jackson Kayak
Model:
Big Tuna
MSRP ($):
1,599.00
Length (ft):
14

Sometimes you fish alone, and sometimes you need to bring a buddy with you. The Jackson “Big Tuna” combines legendary fish-ability and stability into a tandem kayak with unique features like a built-in bait livewell, molded drift chamber for anchor systems, rod storage in the hull, and more. The Big Tuna features multiple seating positions and standing platforms for one or more anglers.

Features:
  • Stern and Bow Deck Rigging
  • Peg and Molded Footrest
  • Peg Rudder: Optional
  • Tuna Tank

Specs:

  • Width: 30.5"
  • Weight: 102 w/Elite Seat, 87 w/0 Seat and Tank
  • Capacity: 500 lbs

Photos

Tandem fishing in my Big Tuna
Big Tuna Tandem
DDO_BigTuna.JPG
Fishing in my Big Tuna
First shark from a kayak
Big Tuna Tandem
Standing in my Big Tuna

User reviews View all user reviews

Average user rating from: 6 user(s)

Overall rating 
 
4.2
Speed 
 
3.7  (6)
Stability 
 
4.7  (6)
Durability 
 
4.3  (6)
Features 
 
4.2  (6)
Value 
 
4.2  (6)
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I have owned my Jackson Kayak Big Tuna for about a year and a half now. I have used this boat in a variety of waters and it has served me well. Below are my observations and impressions.

As a tandem, it has exceeded my expectations. My son likes to swim when we go out. He is able to jump out and climb back aboard with ease. Also, on a camping trip, I was able to take both my son and one of his friends at the same time so they could go for a swim. The Big Tuna was very stable with two 5 year old boys who were anything but still. 

The Big Tuna has officially become my big water solo boat. It is a big guy's dream. I can stand with great ease. As I said before, it paddles surprisingly well for a big boat. My Tuna included a rudder and I appreciate it more and more with each trip. Having the rudder allows me to keep the paddle in my lap and my hands on my rod and reel more. With strategic boat positioning, I can use the wind to move along controlling the drift with the rudder. 

Make no mistake, this is a big boat and is not for the faint of heart. I have a trailer so transporting is not a problem for me. I'm sure someone is doing it but I would suspect that car topping a Big Tuna would be a tough proposition. A full length truck bed should be able to handle it with no problem though. I have had to use a cart on it when a boat ramp wasn't available and it wasn't bad to pull at all. 

Now that the Jackson Big Rig is available, many anglers looking for a big kayak capable of accommodating bigger guys in a solo only configuration may not consider the Tuna. However, anglers needing the versatility of both solo and tandem configurations should give the Big Tuna serious consideration.

Overall rating 
 
4.4
Speed 
 
4.0
Stability 
 
5.0
Durability 
 
5.0
Features 
 
4.0
Value 
 
4.0
Darrell Klein Reviewed by Darrell Klein January 21, 2014
Top 50 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (6)

Jackson Kayak Big Tuna

I have owned my Jackson Kayak Big Tuna for about a year and a half now. I have used this boat in a variety of waters and it has served me well. Below are my observations and impressions.

As a tandem, it has exceeded my expectations. My son likes to swim when we go out. He is able to jump out and climb back aboard with ease. Also, on a camping trip, I was able to take both my son and one of his friends at the same time so they could go for a swim. The Big Tuna was very stable with two 5 year old boys who were anything but still. 

The Big Tuna has officially become my big water solo boat. It is a big guy's dream. I can stand with great ease. As I said before, it paddles surprisingly well for a big boat. My Tuna included a rudder and I appreciate it more and more with each trip. Having the rudder allows me to keep the paddle in my lap and my hands on my rod and reel more. With strategic boat positioning, I can use the wind to move along controlling the drift with the rudder. 

Make no mistake, this is a big boat and is not for the faint of heart. I have a trailer so transporting is not a problem for me. I'm sure someone is doing it but I would suspect that car topping a Big Tuna would be a tough proposition. A full length truck bed should be able to handle it with no problem though. I have had to use a cart on it when a boat ramp wasn't available and it wasn't bad to pull at all. 

Now that the Jackson Big Rig is available, many anglers looking for a big kayak capable of accommodating bigger guys in a solo only configuration may not consider the Tuna. However, anglers needing the versatility of both solo and tandem configurations should give the Big Tuna serious consideration.

Pros & Cons

Pros:
versatility, room for gear, stability
Cons:
weight
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I have had the tuna for a while now and love. it I originally got it to take kids fishing and use my ocean yak for solo but I find I am using the tuna almost exclusively. I can stand on it and sight cast the flats which is rare in a kayak, and the live well works so much better than dragging a flow troll. I don't have any trouble paddling this monster and think it fishes great as a solo rig. as a tandem rig I really cant say the heaviest person I have had on it was my daughter @ 40 lbs and she does not paddle she normally stands in the front and cast as I paddle on flats and on the bay I set her up to face me in her chair. the platform is stable enough that she almost always jumps off and swims and is able to clime back on with no issues. one of the best things about the tuna is the seats many of the Jackson kayaks have them and they are great by far the most comfortable kayaks chairs I have ever used you can fish all day and never get tired. As far as the cons its big and rough surf will beat you to death not designed for it like paddling a john boat out in to the surf once past the break water its a great platform but again paddling back in is rough do to the size its almost imposable to ride waves like in a smaller set up you have to fight hard to keep strait. on flats and in the bays it is great but does catch the wind fairly bad I am thinking about a rudder but haven't got one yet. but the biggest con is it is heavy I can not pick it up and carry it out of garage to truck by myself I have to use a cart or have my wife help and unloading and loading is not an issue alone you simply cant carry it any distance its either cart or back up to water. all in all if you are looking for a do it all kayak that is not particularly the best at everything but does a good job at all, or are looking for a huge boat for all day trips or stand up fishing this is the boat for you. If you are a surf guy that lives alone and has a small hatchback and lives on the third floor apartment you should look elsewhere.
Overall rating 
 
4.4
Speed 
 
3.0
Stability 
 
5.0
Durability 
 
5.0
Features 
 
5.0
Value 
 
4.0
greg wallace Reviewed by greg wallace September 19, 2013
Top 500 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (1)

Big Tuna review

I have had the tuna for a while now and love. it I originally got it to take kids fishing and use my ocean yak for solo but I find I am using the tuna almost exclusively. I can stand on it and sight cast the flats which is rare in a kayak, and the live well works so much better than dragging a flow troll. I don't have any trouble paddling this monster and think it fishes great as a solo rig. as a tandem rig I really cant say the heaviest person I have had on it was my daughter @ 40 lbs and she does not paddle she normally stands in the front and cast as I paddle on flats and on the bay I set her up to face me in her chair. the platform is stable enough that she almost always jumps off and swims and is able to clime back on with no issues. one of the best things about the tuna is the seats many of the Jackson kayaks have them and they are great by far the most comfortable kayaks chairs I have ever used you can fish all day and never get tired. As far as the cons its big and rough surf will beat you to death not designed for it like paddling a john boat out in to the surf once past the break water its a great platform but again paddling back in is rough do to the size its almost imposable to ride waves like in a smaller set up you have to fight hard to keep strait. on flats and in the bays it is great but does catch the wind fairly bad I am thinking about a rudder but haven't got one yet. but the biggest con is it is heavy I can not pick it up and carry it out of garage to truck by myself I have to use a cart or have my wife help and unloading and loading is not an issue alone you simply cant carry it any distance its either cart or back up to water. all in all if you are looking for a do it all kayak that is not particularly the best at everything but does a good job at all, or are looking for a huge boat for all day trips or stand up fishing this is the boat for you. If you are a surf guy that lives alone and has a small hatchback and lives on the third floor apartment you should look elsewhere.

Pros & Cons

Pros:
stable, comes decked out needs little mod, live well
Cons:
heavy, catches wind, not the best in surf
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I have had my Jackson Big Tuna on the water 20+ times in the months since I have owned it. I have paddled plenty solo, tandem, and with a third seat taking my kids. It has been fantastic in every situation I have used it for. And the more I use it, the more I like it.

For the size it is plenty fast. In fact, I paddle this Kayak faster than I paddle my F & S Eagle Talon. I can keep up with a friend in a Cuda 12 without issue. Tracking is good solo, however in tandem it is a bear to steer and track whether you have help paddling from the front or not. If you plan on paddling or fishing tandem very much at all, I highly recommend the rudder. In fact, since I have installed the rudder, the tracking on this thing is fantastic. I was out solo in 20mph winds this last weekend and no issue at all keeping her on course. Paddling with 2 people is easy because you can keep a cadence with no pauses for steering correction. Get the rudder!

Stability is great. I have had it up over a 45 degree angle, and the boat stayed upright. Standing and fishing, no problem.

I have no use for the tankwell other than as a cooler, of which it works very well for that. As a previous reviewer stated, I would definitely purchase a flat, no profile no holes no indent cover if jackson made one. It does get in the way at times. My depthfinder is mounted to mine so I can flip the lid and have the DF in front of me in both solo and tandem.

My last comment is to think through all accessory installations. It has taken me some time to find the perfect mounting points for everything, as you always have to plan on sitting in two different positions(solo and tandem). So as with any boat, it is especially important to try before you drill in this one in both positions.

If you had asked me after about a month of owning this kayak if I liked it. I would have told that I loved it, but am still planning on getting a smaller solo boat. Now that the rudder is installed and I am fine tuning my mounting positions, I am not so sure. I like this kayak more and more every time I use it.

Would highly recommend this Kayak, and I would purchase again, with a factory mounted rudder of course...
Overall rating 
 
4.2
Speed 
 
4.0
Stability 
 
5.0
Durability 
 
4.0
Features 
 
4.0
Value 
 
4.0
Mike Flander Reviewed by Mike Flander September 16, 2013
Top 100 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (1)

The Versatile Jackson Big Tuna

I have had my Jackson Big Tuna on the water 20+ times in the months since I have owned it. I have paddled plenty solo, tandem, and with a third seat taking my kids. It has been fantastic in every situation I have used it for. And the more I use it, the more I like it.

For the size it is plenty fast. In fact, I paddle this Kayak faster than I paddle my F & S Eagle Talon. I can keep up with a friend in a Cuda 12 without issue. Tracking is good solo, however in tandem it is a bear to steer and track whether you have help paddling from the front or not. If you plan on paddling or fishing tandem very much at all, I highly recommend the rudder. In fact, since I have installed the rudder, the tracking on this thing is fantastic. I was out solo in 20mph winds this last weekend and no issue at all keeping her on course. Paddling with 2 people is easy because you can keep a cadence with no pauses for steering correction. Get the rudder!

Stability is great. I have had it up over a 45 degree angle, and the boat stayed upright. Standing and fishing, no problem.

I have no use for the tankwell other than as a cooler, of which it works very well for that. As a previous reviewer stated, I would definitely purchase a flat, no profile no holes no indent cover if jackson made one. It does get in the way at times. My depthfinder is mounted to mine so I can flip the lid and have the DF in front of me in both solo and tandem.

My last comment is to think through all accessory installations. It has taken me some time to find the perfect mounting points for everything, as you always have to plan on sitting in two different positions(solo and tandem). So as with any boat, it is especially important to try before you drill in this one in both positions.

If you had asked me after about a month of owning this kayak if I liked it. I would have told that I loved it, but am still planning on getting a smaller solo boat. Now that the rudder is installed and I am fine tuning my mounting positions, I am not so sure. I like this kayak more and more every time I use it.

Would highly recommend this Kayak, and I would purchase again, with a factory mounted rudder of course...

Pros & Cons

Pros:
Versatile, plenty of room, extremely stable.
Cons:
Fishing from the back in tandem is not that fun :). Heavy, and too wide/big for most cradles.
Was this review helpful to you? 
Marian and I received an invite to fish Flounder Lakes in Meggett, SC. So I thought why not test the Jackson Big Tuna out tandem style while fishing Flounder Lakes know for huge redfish, giant black drum, and doormat size flounder.
The small town of Meggett is a charming small southern coastal town which connecting the waterway with the truck farmers in the 1920s. It was also known as major distribution point for the second largest oyster and fish cannery in South Carolina. Today Meggett is peaceful, quiet community of creeks, marsh, old homes and new, old families and newcomers; located just 30 minutes from historic downtown Charleston and 30 minutes from the sandy shores of Edisto Beach on the Atlantic.
Since the Big Tuna is set-up for the solo configuration, I had to reconfigure so that Marian and I could use the kayak in the tandem set-up. This involved installing my seat over the area where normally my YakAttack Black Pac goes. Since I like the high seat position of the Jackson Elite Seat, I placed the seat in this position. Marian prefers the low seat position, I set-up the spare Jackson Elite Seat in the low position having her face forward. Of course the plans also included have Marian dangling her fingers in the water while I paddled.
When configuring the Jackson Big Tuna for two people you will need change up the aft foot pegs. My Big Tuna has a rudder system so you well need to remove the foot pegs from the peg slider (my technical term). Then you will need to remove the foot sliders from the peg tracks. You will then flip or rotate the peg slider and reinstall the peg slider. Ensure that the rudder cable is adjusted and not wedged when the peg slider is installed into the peg tracks. Slide the foot pegs onto the sliders and adjust for use.
Now your Big Tuna is essentially configured for two people.
With the various RAM Ball positions, I was able to strategically position rod holders for both Marian and myself. The small about of tackle that we would need for this trip was placed beneath my seat if we needed to replace any terminal tackle. The mud minnows were placed into the center hatch that had been converted into free flowing bait well to allow water to circulate and keep the bait at a consent water temperature.
When Marian and I launched the first thing we both noticed that the Big Tuna seemed a little tipsy. Now I do not have any other experience with tandem kayaks so I would have to assume that the Big Tuna is more stable than other tandem kayaks. After all we did not fall into the water.
The Big Tuna paddled well with both of us on the water. It tracked great and the rudder system steered the Big Tuna with no issues.
When we got to the small dike that allows water from the Wadmalaw River into Flounder Lake, we were probably an hour late as the dike had a great flow of water coming into the manmade impoundment. I positioned the Big Tuna so that both of us could cast into the fast flowing water coming from the other side of the dike. I baited Marian’s rod, explained to her how to fish for flounder, and she made her first cast. In the mean time I set up my flounder rig and hooked a mud minnow through the lips and made my cast. While Marian was slowing retrieving her bait by turning the handle a turn or two and wait; I proceeded to start to set up a rod for those monster black drum and spot tails that swim these waters. While setting up this rig, my flounder rig started streaming; this was not a flounder.
The next thing I knew, I needed to have Marian bring in her rig but it was too late. We were already tangled. We managed to get the two lines separated. Line was still streaming off and the rod tip was bent nearly to the rod butt and under the Big Tuna. I have fought plenty of large fish from the Big Tuna but this was the first time that I could not move the rod around the kayak to work the fish correctly. Next thing the monster decided to circle the kayak and then I had the line wrapped around the stick-it pin. By the time I got the unwrapped around the stick-it anchor it was too late. Whatever I had either a large redfish or a huge black drum managed to break itself free. I was actually pretty upset. So upset I wished that I had decided two bring the Jackson Cuda for Marian and just maybe I would have landed this huge fish.
Then I had to replace the terminal tackle that I had lost form the mystery monster. During this time Marian was still perfecting her cast and technique for flounder fishing. By the time I had the rod set-up we did not have any flounder yet. A few cast later I had a bump and slowly let the fish take the bait. Then I set the Eagle Claw Kahle hook and it was fish on. In no time I had the first flounder on the kayak. The flounder measured just short of 14 inches and was allowed to grow up and fight another day.
A few more cast and this time I had a big hit. This time it left like a bigger flounder. After some jumping and finally got him into the net, he sure put up the fight. The flounder measured 18 inches and he went into storage for a nice dinner. We hoped to catch a few more. After catching a few rats (small redfish) and releasing them to grow up. It was time to head in for the flounder dinner that will not happen at our host home in Meggett.
Overall the Big Tuna performed satisfactory to our experience with tandem kayaks. I would highly encourage a couple or family to consider the Big Tuna as a family kayak. Fishability, The Big Tuna in the Tandem configuration is a great fishing platform for two was long as the fish remain on the not so huge size. The bottom line is that Marian and I had a memorable experience with the Big Tuna that would never be matched with two solo kayaks. After all we will have to learn how to fight a Flounder Lake monster as a team and not just me. Team work just might have brought this mystery fish in.
Overall rating 
 
3.8
Speed 
 
4.0
Stability 
 
3.0
Durability 
 
4.0
Features 
 
4.0
Value 
 
4.0
Darrell Olson Reviewed by Darrell Olson July 29, 2013
Top 10 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (13)

Jackson Big Tuna Tandem Fishing Review

Marian and I received an invite to fish Flounder Lakes in Meggett, SC. So I thought why not test the Jackson Big Tuna out tandem style while fishing Flounder Lakes know for huge redfish, giant black drum, and doormat size flounder.
The small town of Meggett is a charming small southern coastal town which connecting the waterway with the truck farmers in the 1920s. It was also known as major distribution point for the second largest oyster and fish cannery in South Carolina. Today Meggett is peaceful, quiet community of creeks, marsh, old homes and new, old families and newcomers; located just 30 minutes from historic downtown Charleston and 30 minutes from the sandy shores of Edisto Beach on the Atlantic.
Since the Big Tuna is set-up for the solo configuration, I had to reconfigure so that Marian and I could use the kayak in the tandem set-up. This involved installing my seat over the area where normally my YakAttack Black Pac goes. Since I like the high seat position of the Jackson Elite Seat, I placed the seat in this position. Marian prefers the low seat position, I set-up the spare Jackson Elite Seat in the low position having her face forward. Of course the plans also included have Marian dangling her fingers in the water while I paddled.
When configuring the Jackson Big Tuna for two people you will need change up the aft foot pegs. My Big Tuna has a rudder system so you well need to remove the foot pegs from the peg slider (my technical term). Then you will need to remove the foot sliders from the peg tracks. You will then flip or rotate the peg slider and reinstall the peg slider. Ensure that the rudder cable is adjusted and not wedged when the peg slider is installed into the peg tracks. Slide the foot pegs onto the sliders and adjust for use.
Now your Big Tuna is essentially configured for two people.
With the various RAM Ball positions, I was able to strategically position rod holders for both Marian and myself. The small about of tackle that we would need for this trip was placed beneath my seat if we needed to replace any terminal tackle. The mud minnows were placed into the center hatch that had been converted into free flowing bait well to allow water to circulate and keep the bait at a consent water temperature.
When Marian and I launched the first thing we both noticed that the Big Tuna seemed a little tipsy. Now I do not have any other experience with tandem kayaks so I would have to assume that the Big Tuna is more stable than other tandem kayaks. After all we did not fall into the water.
The Big Tuna paddled well with both of us on the water. It tracked great and the rudder system steered the Big Tuna with no issues.
When we got to the small dike that allows water from the Wadmalaw River into Flounder Lake, we were probably an hour late as the dike had a great flow of water coming into the manmade impoundment. I positioned the Big Tuna so that both of us could cast into the fast flowing water coming from the other side of the dike. I baited Marian’s rod, explained to her how to fish for flounder, and she made her first cast. In the mean time I set up my flounder rig and hooked a mud minnow through the lips and made my cast. While Marian was slowing retrieving her bait by turning the handle a turn or two and wait; I proceeded to start to set up a rod for those monster black drum and spot tails that swim these waters. While setting up this rig, my flounder rig started streaming; this was not a flounder.
The next thing I knew, I needed to have Marian bring in her rig but it was too late. We were already tangled. We managed to get the two lines separated. Line was still streaming off and the rod tip was bent nearly to the rod butt and under the Big Tuna. I have fought plenty of large fish from the Big Tuna but this was the first time that I could not move the rod around the kayak to work the fish correctly. Next thing the monster decided to circle the kayak and then I had the line wrapped around the stick-it pin. By the time I got the unwrapped around the stick-it anchor it was too late. Whatever I had either a large redfish or a huge black drum managed to break itself free. I was actually pretty upset. So upset I wished that I had decided two bring the Jackson Cuda for Marian and just maybe I would have landed this huge fish.
Then I had to replace the terminal tackle that I had lost form the mystery monster. During this time Marian was still perfecting her cast and technique for flounder fishing. By the time I had the rod set-up we did not have any flounder yet. A few cast later I had a bump and slowly let the fish take the bait. Then I set the Eagle Claw Kahle hook and it was fish on. In no time I had the first flounder on the kayak. The flounder measured just short of 14 inches and was allowed to grow up and fight another day.
A few more cast and this time I had a big hit. This time it left like a bigger flounder. After some jumping and finally got him into the net, he sure put up the fight. The flounder measured 18 inches and he went into storage for a nice dinner. We hoped to catch a few more. After catching a few rats (small redfish) and releasing them to grow up. It was time to head in for the flounder dinner that will not happen at our host home in Meggett.
Overall the Big Tuna performed satisfactory to our experience with tandem kayaks. I would highly encourage a couple or family to consider the Big Tuna as a family kayak. Fishability, The Big Tuna in the Tandem configuration is a great fishing platform for two was long as the fish remain on the not so huge size. The bottom line is that Marian and I had a memorable experience with the Big Tuna that would never be matched with two solo kayaks. After all we will have to learn how to fight a Flounder Lake monster as a team and not just me. Team work just might have brought this mystery fish in.

Pros & Cons

Pros:
Solo & Tandem Configuration
Cons:
Fightig monster fish in tandem configuration an issue
Tandem fishing in my Big Tuna
Big Tuna Tandem
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As my 2012 Jackson Cuda is had approached about 4,000 miles of fishing adventures, I was leaning in the thought process that it must be time for a new fishing kayak. First I had to decide what I would replace the 2012 Cuda with. I knew that I wanted to have a rudder system this time around. I have also been very happy with the Jackson product line so I thought why not another Cuda with the rudder system. After some discussion with Marian, she gave in and gave her concurrence for another Cuda. She did have one requirement that it could not be the Black Widow or one of the camouflage patterns. It had to be bright and easy to see. So I explained to her how the illuminati color was bright. The white shows up better then yellow on the water during the day and that the fact that it would glow at night also would make it visible.
With that settled it was time to make the trip to the KARS Park Boondoggle to fish with old fishing buddies, maybe fish with new acquaintances, enjoy the adventures that are provided during the Boondoggle, and hey maybe demo a few other kayaks. You never know something might feel just right and change my mind.
Thanks to Gregg “Hammerhead” Crisp for allowing me to demo his Big Tuna while we were fishing at Mosquito Lagoon during the Boondoggle. With the short time that I had in his kayak I really felt that the Big Tuna is easier to paddle then my 2012 Cuda. The other thing that I noticed was the stability of the Big Tuna when standing comparing my experience with my Cuda. So my mind was made up and I contacted Time Out Sports to change my order from the 2013 Cuda 14 to the Jackson Big Tuna.
I have had the Big Tuna now for about six weeks using it only in the solo configuration so my review is based on this experience.
My first impression of the Big Tuna is the ease of paddling. I have used both a 240cm Bending Branches Angler paddle and a 250cm Werner Tybee paddle, these paddles prove to me that the Big Tuna is not the barge that it looks like being nearly 36 inches wide and slight over 14 feet long. The ease of paddling is observed in both the low and high seat configuration. As stated earlier I felt that the Big Tuna paddled easier. One glance at the hulls between the Cuda and the Big Tuna reflects a significant difference between the two kayaks. Where the Cuda appears more flat the Big Tuna appears to have two slight pontoons with a slight keel between them.
The Jackson Elite Seat is very comfortable. The seat offers two options for seating on the Big Tuna. I need to stress that the low seat position is actually 5.5 inches higher than a normal kayak when the angler is seating on the kayak itself. The high position is truly high. The angler is nearly 10 inches above the deck of the kayak. I do have a rule of when I use the low or the high position. I have paddled the Big Tuna from calm days to very windy days with gust up to 30 kts or so. In high wind conditions and in the high seat position I find myself being a very effective sail. So my rule is that if the winds are over 15 kts I use the low seat configuration. Anything less I’m using the high seat.
While testing the Big Tuna is those high wind conditions, the waves were about 2 – 3 foot white cap waves at very close intervals. The Big Tuna handles these waves very well paddling into them or even riding the wave sided ways. These conditions proved to me that the Big Tuna is very stable. How I might not try standing in these conditions but with wind conditions up to 10 kts is not a problem for me to stand on the platform of the Big Tuna. This kayak is so stable I’m able to cast from the Big Tuna using a bait caster, a spinning rod, and even a fly rod.
The tracking of the Big Tuna does very well without the use of the rudder system. This is do to the slight keel design of the hull. I do find the use of the rudder system that I can control the drift of the kayak more efficiently as I do not have to use short paddle strokes to maintain alignment when casting to various target areas searching for fish. When standing the use of the rudder system is not available so a short paddle here and there is needed to maintain the drift while searching for those tailing redfish.
One thing for sure Jackson made sure that the Big Tuna has plenty of storage for the angler. While the seat is in the high position you have plenty of storage for tackle trays under the seat. There is also a long bungee cord attached to the port and starboard gunnels to secure tackle tracks, bags of plastics, a small cutting board, and your hog trough. The Elite Seat also offers a small pocket in front of the seat where I keep my bait knife and fish grippers. There is a zippered pouch behind the seat that I keep a needle nose plier, a small water proof box for my wallet and keys, and a small bag of zip ties for my anchor. While in the solo configuration there is a small tank well for your fishing crate. There is a nice oval shape center hatch that can be used for dry storage or can be modified for a natural flowing live/bait well. I did notice that due to the cover that water does get into the center storage area. The cover is hinged in the center of the hatch cover so water from paddling or from waves crashing into the kayak so I have experienced some water here. So I have decided to convert the center hatch for use as a live/bait well. This was accomplished by drilling a series of holes to allow water to flow into and out of the plastic compartment.
There is plenty of rod storage as well. The rear hatch provides a convenient access point to store your fishing rods inside the kayak for storage while transporting your Big Tuna to a launch site. The Big Tuna also has two flush rod mounts that are very accessible while in the tandem configuration. There is also eight threaded inserts (1/4 x 20) that will accept RAM Balls or several GoPro cameras. The Big Tuna does come with one GoPro camera mount near the rod tip protector and one RAM Ball with a RAM Rod 2007 Rod Holder. All this rod storage you also have a rod tip protector to assist in keeping your tips out of the tall grass and to prevent any possible breakage. The three rod stagers help keep your rods organized when keeping them in front of the huge open deck in front of you.
The open deck area is huge for me. I can keep my fish bag/cooler secured near the bow and have access to it when on the water. The deck is a great place to measure those monster fish that you will land. With the stability of the Jackson Big Tuna you should be able to stand to get that great photo of the fish on that measuring board.
Overall the Jackson Big Tuna in the solo configuration is an excellent kayak for fishing the near shore, inshore, the flats, large rivers, and lakes.
Overall rating 
 
4.4
Speed 
 
4.0
Stability 
 
5.0
Durability 
 
4.0
Features 
 
4.0
Value 
 
5.0
Darrell Olson Reviewed by Darrell Olson May 20, 2013
Top 10 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (13)

Jackson Kayak's Big Tuna

As my 2012 Jackson Cuda is had approached about 4,000 miles of fishing adventures, I was leaning in the thought process that it must be time for a new fishing kayak. First I had to decide what I would replace the 2012 Cuda with. I knew that I wanted to have a rudder system this time around. I have also been very happy with the Jackson product line so I thought why not another Cuda with the rudder system. After some discussion with Marian, she gave in and gave her concurrence for another Cuda. She did have one requirement that it could not be the Black Widow or one of the camouflage patterns. It had to be bright and easy to see. So I explained to her how the illuminati color was bright. The white shows up better then yellow on the water during the day and that the fact that it would glow at night also would make it visible.
With that settled it was time to make the trip to the KARS Park Boondoggle to fish with old fishing buddies, maybe fish with new acquaintances, enjoy the adventures that are provided during the Boondoggle, and hey maybe demo a few other kayaks. You never know something might feel just right and change my mind.
Thanks to Gregg “Hammerhead” Crisp for allowing me to demo his Big Tuna while we were fishing at Mosquito Lagoon during the Boondoggle. With the short time that I had in his kayak I really felt that the Big Tuna is easier to paddle then my 2012 Cuda. The other thing that I noticed was the stability of the Big Tuna when standing comparing my experience with my Cuda. So my mind was made up and I contacted Time Out Sports to change my order from the 2013 Cuda 14 to the Jackson Big Tuna.
I have had the Big Tuna now for about six weeks using it only in the solo configuration so my review is based on this experience.
My first impression of the Big Tuna is the ease of paddling. I have used both a 240cm Bending Branches Angler paddle and a 250cm Werner Tybee paddle, these paddles prove to me that the Big Tuna is not the barge that it looks like being nearly 36 inches wide and slight over 14 feet long. The ease of paddling is observed in both the low and high seat configuration. As stated earlier I felt that the Big Tuna paddled easier. One glance at the hulls between the Cuda and the Big Tuna reflects a significant difference between the two kayaks. Where the Cuda appears more flat the Big Tuna appears to have two slight pontoons with a slight keel between them.
The Jackson Elite Seat is very comfortable. The seat offers two options for seating on the Big Tuna. I need to stress that the low seat position is actually 5.5 inches higher than a normal kayak when the angler is seating on the kayak itself. The high position is truly high. The angler is nearly 10 inches above the deck of the kayak. I do have a rule of when I use the low or the high position. I have paddled the Big Tuna from calm days to very windy days with gust up to 30 kts or so. In high wind conditions and in the high seat position I find myself being a very effective sail. So my rule is that if the winds are over 15 kts I use the low seat configuration. Anything less I’m using the high seat.
While testing the Big Tuna is those high wind conditions, the waves were about 2 – 3 foot white cap waves at very close intervals. The Big Tuna handles these waves very well paddling into them or even riding the wave sided ways. These conditions proved to me that the Big Tuna is very stable. How I might not try standing in these conditions but with wind conditions up to 10 kts is not a problem for me to stand on the platform of the Big Tuna. This kayak is so stable I’m able to cast from the Big Tuna using a bait caster, a spinning rod, and even a fly rod.
The tracking of the Big Tuna does very well without the use of the rudder system. This is do to the slight keel design of the hull. I do find the use of the rudder system that I can control the drift of the kayak more efficiently as I do not have to use short paddle strokes to maintain alignment when casting to various target areas searching for fish. When standing the use of the rudder system is not available so a short paddle here and there is needed to maintain the drift while searching for those tailing redfish.
One thing for sure Jackson made sure that the Big Tuna has plenty of storage for the angler. While the seat is in the high position you have plenty of storage for tackle trays under the seat. There is also a long bungee cord attached to the port and starboard gunnels to secure tackle tracks, bags of plastics, a small cutting board, and your hog trough. The Elite Seat also offers a small pocket in front of the seat where I keep my bait knife and fish grippers. There is a zippered pouch behind the seat that I keep a needle nose plier, a small water proof box for my wallet and keys, and a small bag of zip ties for my anchor. While in the solo configuration there is a small tank well for your fishing crate. There is a nice oval shape center hatch that can be used for dry storage or can be modified for a natural flowing live/bait well. I did notice that due to the cover that water does get into the center storage area. The cover is hinged in the center of the hatch cover so water from paddling or from waves crashing into the kayak so I have experienced some water here. So I have decided to convert the center hatch for use as a live/bait well. This was accomplished by drilling a series of holes to allow water to flow into and out of the plastic compartment.
There is plenty of rod storage as well. The rear hatch provides a convenient access point to store your fishing rods inside the kayak for storage while transporting your Big Tuna to a launch site. The Big Tuna also has two flush rod mounts that are very accessible while in the tandem configuration. There is also eight threaded inserts (1/4 x 20) that will accept RAM Balls or several GoPro cameras. The Big Tuna does come with one GoPro camera mount near the rod tip protector and one RAM Ball with a RAM Rod 2007 Rod Holder. All this rod storage you also have a rod tip protector to assist in keeping your tips out of the tall grass and to prevent any possible breakage. The three rod stagers help keep your rods organized when keeping them in front of the huge open deck in front of you.
The open deck area is huge for me. I can keep my fish bag/cooler secured near the bow and have access to it when on the water. The deck is a great place to measure those monster fish that you will land. With the stability of the Jackson Big Tuna you should be able to stand to get that great photo of the fish on that measuring board.
Overall the Jackson Big Tuna in the solo configuration is an excellent kayak for fishing the near shore, inshore, the flats, large rivers, and lakes.

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