UPCOMING EVENT: FLW Pro Circuit - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

From Kayak to Bass Boat

From Kayak to Bass Boat
Eric Jackson caught a big bass out of his Big Rig Jackson Kayak.

(Editor’s Note: The writer's opinions and observations expressed here are his own, and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views, policies or positions of FLW.)

Like many anglers, I am a fanatic about my equipment for the things I do. For example, I’m a four-time world champion whitewater kayaker and have won three of them in a boat of my design. I started Jackson Kayak to take kayak design to the next level and to do things that the bigger company I was working for wasn’t willing to do. I am also a long-time bass fisherman, which led me to fishing 2015 Walmart FLW Tour as a co-angler.

Four-time world champion whitewater kayaker Eric Jackson enjoy's training in Rock Island, Tenn.

In the process, I’ve come to realize some of the interesting differences in fishing from a kayak and fishing in a bass boat, as well as some of the advantages of each, which I’ll outline in this blog.

I’ll start with the advantages of kayak fishing, and the reasons why it is exploding in popularity:

  • -It’s new
  • -It’s affordable
  • -It’s an effective way to get to where the bass are and where they don’t get much pressure
  • -It’s really fun
  • -It’s good exercise

There are millions of fishermen in the United States, but not that many kayakers. Yet, fishermen buying kayaks to fish from are responsible for most of the growth in the kayak industry today.  

It isn’t just the weekend anglers who are getting into kayak fishing, either. Top pros are finding that kayaks make their fishing more productive and fun. Scott Canterbury and Shad Schenck, both top FLW pros, have recently taken to kayak fishing with the Jackson Kayak Coosa HD. Billy McDonald, Wesley Strader and more are getting into it as well.    

Eric Jackson with a nice bass on the line in his Big Rig Jackson Kayak.

Why? Because the bass boat is amazing, but it isn’t everything.

When kayak fishing I use the Jackson Kayak models we design and make in our Sparta, Tenn., factory. I’m partial to our Big Rig, which is the biggest, most stable of the boats, and the Coosa HD, our newest creation that has awesome bells and whistles and comes ready to fish. I equip my boats with the Power-Pole Micro Anchor and a fish finder, because I love tools that help me catch more fish. The Coosa HD comes ready to add those accessories – just plug and play. It also comes with an elevated camera mount to capture amazing photos and videos. Elevated seating, “stand-ability,” rod storage, a pair of Buck Knives Splizzors, tackle storage and more make the fishing experience amazing.   

This past season I began fishing as a co-angler on the Walmart FLW Tour. Lake Toho was the first tournament of the season and my first time ever on a bass boat. I fished in Jim Moynagh’s Ranger. It was an awesome experience on many levels. Going 70 mph across Toho, using the trolling motor to cruise the grass beds, and going from waypoint to waypoint, covering more than 100 miles of water in eight hours, got me hooked on the bass boat on day one. I followed up that day with Jacob Wheeler, then Jimmy Houston, Scott Canterbury, Wesley Strader and more over the season. I can’t tell you how fired up I am to get my own boat for the 2016 season. I’ve already talked to my local dealer, Chattanooga Fish-n-Fun, and spec’d out my new Ranger with an Evinrude G2 250-hp motor and Power-Pole Blades …  Oh yeah!

Eric Jackson flew down Lewis Smith lake with bass fishing legend Jimmy Houston.

A top-of-the-line bass boat isn’t cheap, and is a big commitment, but if you can pull it off, it certainly will add to the quality of your life if you put it to good use.

So what are the advantages of the bass boat over the kayak? 

  • -It’s fast and fun to drive
  • -It covers lots of water
  • -It’s comfortable for multiple people
  • -It’s equipped with the tools to find and fish for bass.  

So which is the best boat to get for bass fishing? Both, if you can! If money is your challenge, start with the kayak and save up for a bass boat.   

You can find me out fishing in my kayaks around the United States and into Canada for the rest of the summer, and look for me on the FLW Tour in my new Ranger bass boat in 2016. Go to JacksonKayak.com to learn more about fishing kayaks, or go to RangerBoats.com to learn about your new bass boat.

Tags: kayak  eric-jackson  blog 

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