|All loaded up on the Nissan|
Not too long ago, I pulled the trigger on a kayak. It was a fantastic Ebay find that I couldn't pass up. The kayak is a 2011 Jackson Coosa Elite and was a lightly used demo.
I had originally set the morning hours of this past Sunday aside to go do some salmon fishing. Unfortunately, those plans never really fell into place, so I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and take the new yak out.
After a bit of playing around and a few different attempts, I found the easiest way to load her up in the back of my Nissan Frontier. Once I was all loaded up, I headed out to my first choice of locations - the bowfin spot. Unfortunately, as I arrived, it was still way too swampy for me and I didn't feel like taking my first kayak trip in the smelly swamp. Instead, I decided to go to the Route 6 quarries in Joliet that opened to the public earlier this year.
Upon my arrival, I unloaded the kayak and set her down by the waters edge. I grabbed all of my tackle and loaded her up. I have to admit that this thing looks fantastic when it's loaded with gear and has a couple of 7' casting rods loaded into the factory rod holders. Once I finished loading her, there was only one thing left to do....
Keep in mind, I am brand new to kayaking and this was my first trip. With that being said, I nervously pushed off and gave it a couple of quick paddles. I found myself to be quite shaky out there and I was constantly correcting my self. The kayak would lean slightly left and I would over correct to the right. Am I saying that the kayak is unstable? Definitely not - I was just overly nervous.
Once I figured out that this wasn't going to tip, I decided to just relax and quit being such a baby; after all, I have a life jacket on and the water is nice and clean. Sure enough, as soon as I relaxed, everything fell into place. There were no more feelings of tipping or unsteadiness. Instead, I paddled out to the opposite end of the lake where there were a number of islands. I couldn't help but notice how easy the paddle was and how nice it felt to be out there. Now it was time to fish!
I reached behind me and grabbed one of my rods and started casting a natural color swim jig. This took me a minute to get used to this as well as I am not used to casting from a low sitting position. With a few minutes, I had my first bite. I set the hook and after a few seconds, whatever it was came off and so did half of the rubber paddle tail trailer. I am thinking something with teeth grabbed that baby. I also noticed that when I set the hook, the whole kayak changed directions. I wanted to cast back to that same spot, but was now facing the wrong way, so I put the pole down and grabbed the paddle for a quick direction change. Which brings me to my next point - modifications!
I was out there for a few hours total and in that time, I already found a few things that I want to change or add to the Coosa. In it's factory form, it is a fantastic kayak with a ton of great options like an unbelievably comfortable seat. Best of all, it is clean slate to customize at will. So here are a few things I will be adding to it:
1. Rod holder in front of the seat. I did a little bit of trolling and found it difficult to know when I got bit. The only tell tale sign was when paddling seemed to get a bit harder. I would like to be able to view the rods a bit better; this will be great for trolling the big lake for salmon and trout.
2. Anchor/drag chain set up. I think I will ultimately have a chain in the back and anchor up front.
3. Depth finder
4. Easier location to put the paddle. This way, I can quickly grab it if I need to change direction.
As of right now, I think that's about it! I am sure it will be a constantly evolving thing, but for now, I am beyond satisfied.