Review: Jackson Coosa

Payne Outdoors

Two years ago the Jackson Coosa caught fire and a buying frenzy ensued. As Jackson continued to release new models like the Cuda 12, the Big Tuna and the Big Rig, less attention has been given the Coosa yet for river rats everywhere, the Coosa is still a strong contender.

I’ve had more than a couple of adventures in a Jackson Coosa that have shaped my thoughts on where it exceeds expectations and what future improvements could be.

The Good

The Jackson Hi/Lo Seat is nice. The frame is comfortable, more ergonomic than in years past and allows you to keep fishing rather than giving in to back cramps and strains. 
The underdeck storage on the Coosa is amazing. River camping trips or stowing gear to run rapids is no problem. The large hatch in the front and nice sized hatch in the back make it easy to stow and retrieve gear. 
They also have reinforcements which enable them to be locked when you run into the store or overnight parking and don’t want people getting into your stuff.
The Coosa is a shallow water kayak. Skimming through water only a few inches deep is no problem.
Fly fishermen should definitely think about this kayak. The open deck layout is pretty clean of excess gadgets and gizmos. The Coosa is a blank slate. 
The stern skid plate is really nice too. I had quite an ordeal happen going to fish with a buddy where my Coosa decided to escape. Lets just say that thanks to a removable skid plate my day wasn’t ruined. If you’d like to read about it, click here.

Needs Improvement 

All of the videos I remember seeing that talked about rod stagers showed casting rods, not spinning. Spinning rods don’t fit well in the rod stagers or the rod rest on the sides. I had to flip the reel skyward to secure it down on the side and the downward facing eyes on a spinning rod don’t sit on the v style stagers. A groove in front of the stagers could accommodate those of us who like spinning gear on the river. It would cradle one of the eyes on the rod and keep it from sliding everywhere. 

Standard gear tracks should be available on the Coosa. Most folks are adding them after market and even if you don’t use them, they don’t get in the way. Make them recessed with three inches of room on each end to slide t-bolts in and out of the groove. I know the YakAttack Coosa has the orange poly track GT90 up front but you have to buy that color and package or you are on your own. 

I’d also like to see the recessed track in the back as opposed to the predrilled holes for a RAM mount. What if I don’t want it in that exact position?  Give me some track and I can slide it forward and back. 

Final Thoughts

The Jackson Coosa doesn’t get as much talk as it one did but it is a very nice kayak for running rivers, small lakes and ponds. In protected marshes it could also do well. The hard thing to overcome for the Coosa is wind. If you are in an area unprotected from the wind, it’s going to be a long day. 

Stability is a big seller but it is important to know that what you see on TV or in pictures is not always the case. Each person is built differently and each has a different balance than the next. Just because Joe can stand in a kayak doesn’t mean you can. Please demo this kayak and any others you are wanting to be able to stand and fish in. Guys like Drew Gregory who have been doing this forever and a day make it look easy. Test it before you buy it and you’ll know for sure. 

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