Friday, May 23, 2014

Sliming the Jackson Coosa

If you have not heard; I have signed on to represent Jackson Kayaks on their Regional Fishing Team. What an honor for me to represent such a great company. So the first thing I had to do was to determine what Jackson kayak I will use and keep in Conway, New Hampshire for the two weeks that Marian & I are staying at the Greely Family cabin on Conway Lake. This lake has Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Pickerel, Rainbow Trout, and Landlocked Salmon.  Also in the area are the opportunity to fish the Saco River, Androscoggin River, the Ellis River, and others in the White Mountains in the search for native Brookies, Rainbows, Browns, and Smallmouth Bass.

The Coosa is designed to answer to the continually evolving needs of the kayak fisherman. According to Jackson Kayaks the Coosa is made to cater to the river angler and is set up with rod staging areas, easy reachable gear storage areas and molded-in accessory mounts. This is why I personally feel that the Coosa is the correct kayak for my fishing needs in New Hampshire. So to test out the Jackson Coosa, I contacted a friend that has access to a private pond that contacts some nice largemouth bass.
Fishing this private bass pond would also give me the opportunity to catch some nice bass for an online tournament that is called “Kayak for a Cure” that will be used to raise money to help a family that has a daughter that is diagnosed with leukemia. The tournament will be using a AMI calculator to even out the fishing waters for bass from all over the United States. The AMI Fish Calculator will determine the point value for twelve eligible fish that is caught in any freshwater lake, pond, river, or stream in Canada and the US. The calculator uses mathematical algorithms developed by Angling Masters ( to determine each point value. The algorithms consider how large each species typically grows in each area and scores them independently. This algorithm equalizes the fishing waters making it possible to have a cross species ranking. The twelve species are: Bluegill, Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Channel Catfish Crappie, Lake Trout, Largemouth Bass, Musky, Northern Pike, Perch, Rainbow Trout, Smallmouth Bass, and Walleye. For the benefit tournament over 200 yak anglers signed up for “Kayak for a Cure” to catch two black bass using conventional catching methods but no live bait. Bass that fall in this area are largemouth, smallmouth, spotted, etc.

I arrived at the Charleston Angler in West Ashley to meet up with some other anglers that were going to this pond. I would be fishing out of Jackson Coosa and the other five will be in a flats boat. So we decided to see who would be the more productive angler. I thought that maybe the odds were a little one sided. After all it would be five anglers in a boat vs. a yak angler. I had no doubt that I will be the champion on this first trip for the Jackson Coosa.
Launching from the shore with the Coosa was pretty easy and with no problems as the launch site that I was given had some brush and small over hanging trees. Once on the water the boat went to the left along the shoreline and I paddled the Coosa to a point across from the launch site.  For this challenge I decided to have one setup with a Texas rig with a watermelon color Z-Man Saw Tail WormZ with a 1/16 oz bullet weight and a Gamakatsu Extra Wide Gap (EWG) Monster 5/0 size hook. Later when the sun would be setting I would use the watermelon color Z-Man Pop FrogZ using the same monster 5/0 hook for top water action.

Drifting along the shoreline casting the Texas rig towards the dead fall and trees growing out of the water I was hoping for a monster bass. I had a light hit but no hookup. Later I saw a nice bass following the Saw Tail WormZ so I stopped the retrieve and BAM!! Fish on. With a nice battle I could feel that this bass was able to pull the Coosa. There was some jumping action and finally I managed to have a nice 18” largemouth in the Fishpond landing net. Using this setup I must have caught another four or five and even more misses on largemouth bass.
With the sun starting to set I decided to change over for the top water action using watermelon color Z-Man Pop FrogZ using the same monster 5/0 hook. The bass were starting to be aggressive using the Pop FrogZ and I was struggling in getting a hookup. I just kept missing the hook set. So I decided to change up my approach of setting the hook on a nice bass. I decided to let the bass take the FrogZ down under the surface and then set the hook.  This technique worked as I managed to get a hookup on the top water. A nice bass was jumping out of the water and in no time I had the bass in the landing net. Removed the hook and placed the bass on the hawg trough from yakangler dot com. This bass measured just over 18 inches.

By this time I had drifted and paddled the Jackson Coosa around this large pond and was almost back at the launch site. The Coosa on this pond proved to be a great fishing platform. The kayak tracked very well and I did not have to make many corrections as I worked the edges for bass. The Coosa paddled easily using the 260 cm Werner Tybee Paddle. With the sun setting and the fishing done my arms were sore from all the catching and missing.
I can tell you that I managed to miss more bass then I landed. In the four hours of fishing I managed to land a dozen bass. The smallest of the largest bass measured 20.25 inches which scored 969.64 points on the AMI Fish Calculator. The largest bass of the day scored 1005.56 points from the calculator. This bass measured 21 inches. When the tournament closed at the end of June I managed to be ranked at number 16.

Is the AMI Fish Calculator a level setter? There is a lot of discussion on this on various forums that splits the vote 50:50. In my opinion I would have to say that it is a start in the right direction to try to level the fishing waters across the states. If you get the opportunity to fish an on-line tournament and the rules state that the fish will be scored using the AMI Fish Calculator don’t be afraid. Enter the tournament to then make your judgment if this calculator is fair yourself.
As for the Jackson Coosa I can hardly wait to give it a try on Conway Lake and the Saco or the Androscoggin River in New Hampshire.

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