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Thu, Apr 24, 2014
Fishing Kayak Reviews Jackson Kayak “Big Tuna”

Jackson Kayak “Big Tuna” Hot

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February 04, 2013    
 
0.0
 
4.2 (7)
21809   0   13   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: 35.5"
  • 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
Big Tuna Tandem
First shark from a kayak
Standing in my Big Tuna

User reviews View all user reviews

Average user rating from: 7 user(s)

Overall rating 
 
4.2
Speed 
 
3.6  (7)
Stability 
 
4.7  (7)
Durability 
 
4.4  (7)
Features 
 
4.2  (7)
Value 
 
4.2  (7)
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I've owned 2 Jackson Big Tunas and they are some of my favorite kayaks. With plenty of room for 2 adults but still paddles great as a solo you can easily customize it to fit you individual needs. I have used it in all conditions from small ponds to off shore. The kayak is not a speedster but it can be paddled at a steady rate easily as a solo kayak and I have covered over 12 miles in a day with no issues. My wife was even able to paddle a Tuna 4+ miles to our camping spot one summer with my 7 year old sitting in the bow.

Tipping the scale around 270# I had no issues standing in this kayak to be able to site fish for bass. Because of it's versatility some of the days days fishing with my kids are owed to this great kayak. If you have a family and can only get one kayak and want to be able to use it by yourself just as well as with your family this is the kayak for you.
Overall rating 
 
4.2
Speed 
 
3.0
Stability 
 
5.0
Durability 
 
5.0
Features 
 
4.0
Value 
 
4.0
Gregg Crisp Reviewed by Gregg Crisp April 21, 2014
Top 10 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (15)

Big Tuna -Unmatched Versatility

I've owned 2 Jackson Big Tunas and they are some of my favorite kayaks. With plenty of room for 2 adults but still paddles great as a solo you can easily customize it to fit you individual needs. I have used it in all conditions from small ponds to off shore. The kayak is not a speedster but it can be paddled at a steady rate easily as a solo kayak and I have covered over 12 miles in a day with no issues. My wife was even able to paddle a Tuna 4+ miles to our camping spot one summer with my 7 year old sitting in the bow.

Tipping the scale around 270# I had no issues standing in this kayak to be able to site fish for bass. Because of it's versatility some of the days days fishing with my kids are owed to this great kayak. If you have a family and can only get one kayak and want to be able to use it by yourself just as well as with your family this is the kayak for you.

Pros & Cons

Pros:
Unmatched Versatility
Cons:
Heavy
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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.
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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
Big Tuna Tandem
Tandem fishing in my Big Tuna
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