Kayak Fishing Ultimate Resource

Tue, Jul 22, 2014
Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me
Kayak Fishing Answers Forum

TOPIC: Looking for some advice/tips/wisdom

Looking for some advice/tips/wisdom 1 year 3 months ago #1


  • Posts:4624 Thank you received: 1380 Points:12528
  • Neenah, Wisconsin, USA
  • smj190's Avatar
  • smj190
  • MOD Squad
  • OFFLINE
  • Columbus Day Boondoggle 20132014 YakAngler Supporter Boondoggle Website SupporterYakAngler Mod2013 YakAngler Supporter Ambassador MedalTravelerReviewerGreen SkullNovice YakAngler
Allright everyone, I need some advice, comments, and suggestions from you all. As many of you know when I fished the Bluegrass YakMaster Open I was fishing out of a Jackson Cuda. I absolutely fell in love with it, mainly the adjustable, super comfortable seat and the stability of it. After getting back home I researched the heck out of the Cuda and found the Native Ultimate and Jackson Cruise have the same seat, which is an essential for me.

I really like the storage aspect in the front and back of the Cuda. I don't think I would store my poles in it, but my dry box, first aid, and maybe some snacks. The Slayer doesn't have that kind of storage, or at least it doesn't appear to. The Cruise has the front storage, and plenty of room in the back for a crate and gear.

The one main difference between the Cuda and the Native and Cruise is the Cuda has a large center hatch. When I fished out of it I used it a couple times, but Mainly it held my snacks. Another difference between the Cuda and Slayer and the Cruise is that the Cruise has a rounded front.

Another difference is the length. The Cuda and Slayer come in both 12' and 14' while the Cruise only comes in 12'. I currrently have a 12' which is perfect for the size water I paddle. It works great on the Lake Winnebago, rivers, and creeks. Although I thought I would like a 14' because it would be even better on the Lake and slower rivers, but I am not sure if it could handle the faster rivers and creeks as well.

So here are my questions:

How does the paddling, tracking, stability differ between these three yaks.

How relevant is the Center storage in your fishing and adventures? Does it get in the way of standing and fishing?

For Native owners, does not having a hatch (or a large hatch) to the inside of the yak a problem?

Does the Cruise track ok? Can a rudder be installed?

Any other tips/advice that you have for me.

I sadly can't purchase one right now, but am saving up, playing at restaurants, weddings, etc. Although I can't get one yet, I'm am doing as much research and seeking advice so I can make sure I focus on the right one and get the right one when I pull the trigger. I know and I will demo them if I can. But there are not many places here in Wisconsin that have them available to test. Thank you in advance for all your advice, tips, and wisdom.
Tight Lines and Smooth Paddling!

The administrator has disabled public write access.

Looking for some advice/tips/wisdom 1 year 3 months ago #2


  • Posts:2551 Thank you received: 968 Points:7622
  • Charleston, South Carolina, USA
  • DDOlson's Avatar
  • DDOlson
  • 2K+ Posts!
  • OFFLINE
  • Presidents Day Boondoggle 2014Columbus Day Boondoggle 20132014 YakAngler Supporter PhotographerBoondoggle Website SupporterAuthorPresidents Day Boondoggle 20132013 YakAngler Supporter YakAngler Pro TeamColumbus Day Boondoggle 2012 Presidents Day Boondoggle 20122012 YakAngler Supporter Columbus Day Boondoggle 20112010 YakAngler Supporter2011 YakAngler SupporterReviewerGreen SkullSavant YakAngler
How does the paddling, tracking, stability differ between these three yaks. I can only offer advice on the Cuda and tell you that it does track very well in my opinion. It will track even better with a rudder system.

How relevant is the Center storage in your fishing and adventures? Does it get in the way of standing and fishing? The center hatch for me on the Cuda became my tackle box or crate. There was no need for me to use a crate in the aft tank well when using the Cuda. Everything that I had in my crate originally fit into the center hatch. The center hatch never interfered with the standing and fishing. I have heard reports that the center hatch is an obstacle for fly fishing but the cure is to place a towel over the attach points to prevent the fly line getting tangled.

Does the Cruise track ok? Can a rudder be installed? Although I do not have a Cruise the design closely matches the hull design of the Cuda. Jackson did not design the Cruise to have a rudder system. According to some Fly Fishermen the Cruise is a better platform for fly fishing then the Cuda. If the rudder system is importance and you would prefer a 12 foot kayak consider the Cuda 12 over the Cuda 14.

Any other tips/advice that you have for me.

I'll reserve this question for later.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: smj190

Looking for some advice/tips/wisdom 1 year 2 months ago #3


  • Posts:832 Thank you received: 564 Points:4532
  • Benkelman, Nebraska, USA
  • Kayakjak's Avatar
  • Kayakjak
  • 800+ Posts!
  • OFFLINE
  • Author2013 YakAngler Supporter YakAngler Pro Team2012 YakAngler Supporter Proficient YakAngler
We have found that a 12 foot kayak is much easier to navigate on rivers than a longer one.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: smj190

Looking for some advice/tips/wisdom 1 year 2 months ago #4


  • Posts:787 Thank you received: 238 Points:1478
  • Clearwater, Florida, USA
  • ABadBackcast's Avatar
  • ABadBackcast
  • 500+ Posts!
  • OFFLINE
  • Presidents Day Boondoggle 2013Columbus Day Boondoggle 2012 Presidents Day Boondoggle 2012Presidents Day Boondoggle Jax 20112010 YakAngler Supporter2011 YakAngler SupporterSeeker
I paddle a Malibu Stealth 12. Super stable and lots of storage. The only time I've ever come close to flipping it was at night trying to uh...take a leak in the dark.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: smj190

Looking for some advice/tips/wisdom 1 year 2 months ago #5


  • Posts:652 Thank you received: 341 Points:2494
  • New Smyrna Beach, Florida, USA
  • one more cast's Avatar
  • one more cast
  • 500+ Posts!
  • OFFLINE
  • 2013 YA Spot Tail Tournament WinnerColumbus Day Boondoggle 2013PhotographerAmbassador Medal2013 YakAngler Supporter Traveler
I have the Slayer 14.5 so I can give You a bit of insight.

Tracking- I am kinda surprised how well it tracks, I dont have a rudder for it but I do plan on it.

Seating- I think the seat is awesome, some people like the jackson seat more, some like the native... I cant tell them apart when Im sitting in them.

Storage- I was torn between the cuda14 and the slayer 14.5 and I chose the Slayer because it has an open bow hatch. I mostly do saltwater fishing, some of that being offshore. The open bow is easily to access due to the kayaks stability. I purchased the fish bag that fits the hatch, but I can also store my tackle bag in the front, leaving the rear open for a large livewell. Being a big fly fisherman I like the open area in the cockpit.

I think the cuda and slayer are both awesome boats, but the slayer fit MY fishing style. Large gear, a big baitwell and long fish hold seperate requirements than bass fishing.
The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.
-John Buchan
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: smj190

Looking for some advice/tips/wisdom 1 year 2 months ago #6


  • Posts:416 Thank you received: 191 Points:1680
  • Glennville, Georgia, USA
  • joedoozer's Avatar
  • joedoozer
  • 250+ Posts!
  • OFFLINE
  • Presidents Day Boondoggle 2014Columbus Day Boondoggle 2013Ambassador Medal2013 YakAngler Supporter Traveler
Advice and tips I got tons of......wisdom on the other hand.....that's a debatable topic. I can't offer much advice on the yaks you are asking about. But I can offer a bit of advice on boat length.

My first yak was an Ocean Kayak Caper. 11 foot little boat. I car topped it and fished ponds and inshore saltwater. Fantastic little boat, I loved it. Except it was slow on the inshore. Long paddles I just couldnt keep up with the bigger boats.

My second yak is a Ocean Kayak Prowler 15. This thing is fast! I could finally keep up in the open water. But that added length without a rudder made it extremely exhausting to fish winding tidal creeks.

So I you fish a short boat now. And the rivers and creeks you fish are tight and winding. A longer boat will need a rudder. Turning a long boat when its up to speed is exhausting. And then as soon as you get going again, it's time to turn again.
Whoooaa man! FISH ON!!!!! Woooohooo, this thing is big............................................nevermind I'm hung up.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: smj190

Looking for some advice/tips/wisdom 1 year 2 months ago #7


  • Posts:893 Thank you received: 312 Points:4114
  • Tidewater, Virginia, USA
  • standingyak's Avatar
  • standingyak
  • MOD Squad
  • OFFLINE
  • Ambassador MedalBoondoggle Website Supporter2013 YakAngler Supporter 2012 YakAngler Supporter
I have a Cuda 14, and the speed is great, but it can be a pain to maneuver in tight quarters.
You'll likely want a shorter boat for rivers and streams. 12' sounds like a good compromise for what you want to do.

How relevant is the Center storage in your fishing and adventures? Does it get in the way of standing and fishing?
I use it primarily as dry storage. It does not get in the way of standing or fishing (although I wish the previous owner had not installed a rod holder on it).
Last Edit: 1 year 2 months ago by standingyak.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: smj190

Looking for some advice/tips/wisdom 1 year 2 months ago #8


  • Posts:513 Thank you received: 286 Points:2325
  • , ,
  • elhoward622's Avatar
  • elhoward622
  • 500+ Posts!
  • OFFLINE
  • AuthorPhotographerYakAngler Pro TeamDilettanteExpert YakAngler
I only have legitimate information on the JK's so here goes:smj190 wrote:

So here are my questions:

How does the paddling, tracking, stability differ between these three yaks. The Cuda 14 will track and paddle better than the 12 and the Cruise. I think the Cruise is slightly more stable than the Cuda 12, but not quite as stable as the 14.

How relevant is the Center storage in your fishing and adventures? Does it get in the way of standing and fishing? It is a really nice option to keep more and bulkier items at hand or important items easily accessible if you don't have a dry box. I really enjoy being able to keep a ton of items at my feet. It is also really nice to store all your rods away for the transport. It does get in the way of standing a bit because there is only so much room allotted for your feet. You can, however, stand just the same as in the Cruise.

For Native owners, does not having a hatch (or a large hatch) to the inside of the yak a problem?

Does the Cruise track ok? Can a rudder be installed? The Cruise tracks well, but no rudder option is available.

Any other tips/advice that you have for me. I am really impressed with the Cruise and it is an excellent value at it's price point. I would choose the 12' model with any river or stream fishing you are doing. I traveled a lot of river miles in a 14' boat and turning it around is a pain and you miss a ton of prime fishing spots in moving water. If you spend the majortiy of your time in open water, however, I say Cuda 14 hands down.
Last Edit: 1 year 2 months ago by elhoward622.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: smj190

Looking for some advice/tips/wisdom 1 year 2 months ago #9


  • Posts:811 Thank you received: 291 Points:3248
  • Portland, Oregon,
  • The Nothing's Avatar
  • The Nothing
  • 800+ Posts!
  • OFFLINE
  • 2010 YakAngler Supporter2011 YakAngler SupporterYakAngler Pro TeamSeeker
Ah, big lakes and small rivers. This is how people start owning multiple kayaks.

How does the paddling, tracking, stability differ between these three yaks. Are you asking about just the 14' boats? Because you mentioned more than three kayaks - Cuda, Cruise, Ultimate, and Slayers.

The 12-ish foot models would include the Jackson Cuda 12, Jackson Cruise, Native Ultimate 12 and Native Slayer 12. Yes, I added the Cuda 12 to the mix. It IS a different boat than the Cruise, and I thought it'd be important not to over look the kayak.

Paddling these kayaks are going to be fairly similar, in my experience. When it comes to speed, I'd rate the Cuda 12 just a bit faster than the Ultimate 12. I'd say the Ultimate 12 probably offers the most stability because does have the lowest center of gravity--especially if you have the desire to stand and fish. Tracking is something that I've always found lacking in any kayak under 13' long. The Jackson Cruise is actually a bit more stable than the Cuda 12. These boats are made to maneuver in tight places so speed and tracking are usually minimal.

The 14-ish foot boats will include the Jackson Cuda 14, Ultimate 14.5 and Slayer 14. Without a rudder (which is technically to aid tracking in wind, not steering), I'd argue the Ultimate 14.5 is probably the fastest and straightest tracking boat. With a rudder, I go with the Cuda 14 as a slightly faster than the Slayer (which I did not enjoy paddling, at all). Again, all of these have very similar dimensions, and, since the Ultimate not really a SOT kayak, it will have the better stability with it's lower center of gravity (but the Ultimate also has some issues of its own). If there's a breeze, then I'll go with the Cuda.


How relevant is the Center storage in your fishing and adventures? Does it get in the way of standing and fishing?
For me it's a huge deal. I'm also running my kayaks through 5' waves, so to be able to store my rods inside the kayak is essential to their protection. On top of that, the center hatch, as well as all the other hatches on the Jackson Kayaks, makes it very convenient for rigging the kayak and storing other gear.


For Native owners, does not having a hatch (or a large hatch) to the inside of the yak a problem?
I'm not a Native owner, but I will chime in here. For me it is a problem. Inside the kayak is where I store gear to stay dry. It might just be a change of clothes, or a first aid kit, but it will also include a lot of my camping gear for overnight tips. I like to be able to do this without having to buy additional custom bags (in the case of the Slayers) which will also reduce the amount or size of gear I can carry. Internal access also makes it easier to more securely install various rigging items (rod holders, etc) with backing plates and/or fender washers.


Does the Cruise track ok? Can a rudder be installed?
For a 12' kayak, the Cruise tracks very well. There is not a factory rudder option for the Cruise as the drain plug is directly at the stern. I do think the Sea-Lect TruCourse Rudder might work with this kayak.

Any other tips/advice that you have for me.
IMO, the Ultimates are more akin to Canoes than kayaks. They're canoes made to kayak specifications. They offer no inherent dry storage nor are they self bailing. Flipping an Ultimate can end up pretty serious.

It sounds like you already have a good kayak for the small rivers, so how about the Cuda 14 for the bigger bodies of water?
~Isaac

The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: smj190

Looking for some advice/tips/wisdom 1 year 2 months ago #10


  • Posts:935 Thank you received: 355 Points:3201
  • Nicholasville, Kentucky, USA
  • wolfewiz's Avatar
  • wolfewiz
  • 800+ Posts!
  • OFFLINE
  • 2014 YakAngler Supporter 2013 YakAngler Supporter Ambassador Medal
The Nothing wrote:
Ah, big lakes and small rivers. This is how people start owning multiple kayaks. ?

Classic. So true.
Hobie PA14
Bourbon Pro Staffer


The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: smj190
Moderators: smj190, Aggroman
Find this topic helpful? Why not share it with other kayak anglers?