2017 Jackson Big Rig Review

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Brad in Texas
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2017 Jackson Big Rig Review

Postby Brad in Texas » Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:01 am

First, my primary fishing kayak has been a Native Slayer Propel 10, a small but great pedaler. When we moved and built on Lake Athens in Texas, the issue at hand was the incredible amount of lake vegetation. I'd need a paddler, too. I started with a Jackson Cuda LT, 57 or so pounds but I had an issue with it, warranty provided me with a swap so I chose to go to a Big Rig. Yes, I gave up the lightness, that is for certain.

A Big Rig is very close to being outfitted and ready to go fishing right off the showroom floor. It has:

1) a stand-up bar with a paddle cradle;
2) a stand assist strap;
3) one movable rod holder, two on either side just behind the seat;
4) mounting tracks on each side of the cockpit, in its center, and in the tankwell area;
5) dedicated "through the hull" routes to snake your anchor line and also for rudder cables;
6) built in 1/4" 20 bolt holes for a Zig Zag Cleat and another for miscellaneous;
7) a large "hole" in the stern with a groove built in running back to it for anchor line to an anchor chain;
8) Pre-designed slot for a Micro Power Pole, if wanted;
9) Molded in areas on each side of the seat for large (3600 at least) Plano tackle boxes;
10) A horizontal rod holder area with tip protector guards on each side of the vessel;
11) Two hatches: the bow hatch is big enough to hold at least eight 7 ft. rods; a stern hatch for miscellaneous gear;
12) A seat with two height positions and it has a "back pack" storage device hanging off the rear of it.

I'll stop at a dozen "fishing specific" standard pieces of equipment. For the finesse crowd, you could grab 2 or 3 rods, an anchor chain and a couple of Plano boxes . . . and never add another after-market item.

Performance-wise, the upside is 13'2" and 37 or 38" in width (I see both numbers claimed). It'd be hard to fall out of. It is likely one of the top kayaks for standing and fishing. It tracks very well without a rudder. 99 lbs. with its seat. Not light but great over a C-Tug cart for an easy roll.

The downside? That stability comes at a cost in speed and acceleration. I'd say 2.5 to 3 mph at an average pace, probably 4+ mph in a sprint. Most fishing kayaks split the difference between speed and stability on the "speed/stability" continuum. As a few go more directly to the speed side, the Big Rig goes more directly for stability. It'd likely be about as stable as a Hobie PA 14 as it shares similar size metrics.

I think for the size and quality of the kayak, that, and all of the built in accessories, that it is a bargain at a retail price of $1699. This would also be a good kayak for anyone who wants to mount a trolling motor.

Best usage ideas? Lakes, small and medium sized for sure, slow moving rivers, ponds, inshore.

Hope this helps someone!

Brad

Tack22
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Re: 2017 Jackson Big Rig Review

Postby Tack22 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:33 pm

Nice review you've done there, pal

JBcrankaddict
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Re: 2017 Jackson Big Rig Review

Postby JBcrankaddict » Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:06 pm

Nice review man, thanks for taking the time to write it up. I have a friend looking into getting a Jackson as his first kayak and he's looking into this and the Cuda right now. What would you say the difference is between the 2 in the wind, as far as how much it pushes you around and any issues with the way it tracks when it's blowing out there? Thanks for any info!

Dalleinf
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Re: 2017 Jackson Big Rig Review

Postby Dalleinf » Mon Aug 21, 2017 8:20 am

Nice review - thx.
You write "inshore". I am looking for a kayak that I can use in small-ish lakes and inshore. I will not be paddling many miles - perhaps 6-7 max during a whole day of inshore fishing. Will the Big Rig be up to that task or should I look for faster rig?
Btw I am a relatively big guy (6'5" and 220 pounds) - therefore I have been looking for a big and stable ride...

Brad in Texas
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Re: 2017 Jackson Big Rig Review

Postby Brad in Texas » Sat Aug 26, 2017 6:50 pm

Regarding the Big Rig versus a Cuda, I actually had a Cuda LT first but it had a bad leak so I ended up just moving to a Big Rig via a warranty claim. Hmm? The Cuda LT is thermo-formed and super light, was very fast on the water but not particularly rigged for fishing, not as much as a Big Rig is right off the showroom floor.

For a big guy, I'd likely go for the added width and length. I am 6'3" and 250 lbs. and I really like to stand while I fish. I'd use a Big Rig for lakes, slow rivers and inshore fishing. I have heard that some Big Rigs have been taken out BTB and do well but speed will be an issue as one often has a long pull to a desired fishing spot.

As regards wind, I felt blown around a bit more in my Cuda Lt. A Big Rig weighs around 99 lbs. with its seat but no added gear. My Cuda Lt weighed 57 lbs. and I think 64 with its seat. So, a heavier boat has more inertia to overcome in the water.

Getting back to speed as a final observation, most fishing kayaks are made to balance speed and stability. Some lean a bit toward speed, others toward stability. I'd say the Big Rig can be paddled at around 2.5 to 3 MPH, takes a bit more effort to bring it up to a nice cruising speed, but holds it well, tracks well without a rudder. Top end speed is likely around 4 mph. Stability is about as high as any fishing kayaks go. A Cuda LT is about 1 mph faster cruising and top end and is easier to get up to speed. It is much less stable than a Big Rig.

Hope this helps! And, Jackson Kayak is coming out with a low end priced kayak named Liska in early 2018. $1349 I think, 34" and just over 12 feet if I recall. A nice clean looking vessel.

Brad

Dalleinf
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Re: 2017 Jackson Big Rig Review

Postby Dalleinf » Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:37 pm

Brad, thank you very much for all the information.
I am still trying to decide between a paddle and a pedal kayak, but if I go for a paddle kayak, it will be the Big Rig.

Brad in Texas
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Re: 2017 Jackson Big Rig Review

Postby Brad in Texas » Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:01 pm

Both pedal and paddle propulsions are just great. I have one of each.

At first, I thought that pedal kayaks would dominate in kayak fishing tournaments, then someone posted the top ranked kayak anglers in Texas and I was very surprised that both pedalers and paddlers sort of shared the list's top spots. One of our very top ranked, if not the top ranked kayak angler in Texas, Guillermo Gonzalez, fishes out of Diablo paddle kayaks, puts a whipping on the big pedal kayaks. Others, too.

I like both for different circumstances.

Brad

Dalleinf
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Re: 2017 Jackson Big Rig Review

Postby Dalleinf » Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:47 pm

Brad - which paddle do you use ? I guess a tall guy in a Big Rig will need a long paddle (at least 260 cm).
Thank you.

/Michael

Brad in Texas
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Re: 2017 Jackson Big Rig Review

Postby Brad in Texas » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:22 pm

Michael,

I use a Werner Shuna Hooked Carbon straight shaft paddle. I thought it was a 255 . . . but I think it is actually 250cm. It is a high angle paddle with mid-sized blades according to the information about it.

For a Meyers Sportspal S-15 canoe I own, much wider than the Big Rig, I use a Bending Branches 280 cm paddle to get well outside the gunwales. It seems to work well for my canoe: 15'3" long and 44" outside the sponsons (sort of a float collar on the outside of the gunwales).

Hmm? The 250cm is about right for me (6'3"). If anything, I'd like to try an even larger blade for a comparison as my general belief is that you need a big blade for a big vessel to overcome greater inertia.

And, a 260 would work well if it fits. But, I am clearing the sides on my strokes with the 250cm.

Brad

Dalleinf
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Re: 2017 Jackson Big Rig Review

Postby Dalleinf » Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:10 am

Ok. I went with the Bending Branches Pro Angler Plus (240-255) - found a good deal.

Brad in Texas
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Re: 2017 Jackson Big Rig Review

Postby Brad in Texas » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:57 am

That is a very nice paddle and should work great!

Brad


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