Testing out the Big Tuna prototype in the Keys! by Drew Gregory | Feb 19, 2012 | Big Tuna, Fishing, Fishing Reports, Saltwater, Saltwater Fishing | 13 comments When working with the Jackson Kayak team in the concept phase of this kayak, we imagined it in places like the Florida Keys. So, it only made sense to take a prototype of the Big Tuna to the Keys to do the first real Big Tuna review and get some cool marketing shots. Fellow team member Brooks Beatty, our southeastern sales rep Dave Blanding, and I headed down to see what we could learn about the boat in preparation and anticipation of the production mold which is expected to arrive within just a few weeks. We met up with Eric Hughes, one of our GA based dealers (Tallapoosa Paddling Company) who spends some of his winter in the Keys, and he even had some killer white Cudas made just for this clear, tropical beachy environment. He also turned us onto Randy Morrow, who, as far as I know, is the only kayak fishing guide in the Keys. Both of these guys were a blast to be around and we all learned so much from them about the fishing in the Keys and the ecosystem as a whole. It is a completely different world down there and one that can be very difficult fishing-wise, but yet you don’t even mind because the scenery is so spectacular. However, stick with it and you’ll see that you can catch fish here, and nice ones! The weather didn’t fully cooperate, which is crucial in Keys flats fishing, but we did catch some fish and accomplish our main goal of really putting the Big Tuna to test, and we loved it! I spent most of the entire time in the boat, both solo and tandem (with Brooks) and in both scenarios it was a true joy to fish from. In the tandem position, like any tandem, we had to communicate well and utilize teamwork to get things done. The boat was plenty stable with two people and Brooks and I could even both stand and fish from it. I’m not sure everyone could do this, but both being kayak fishing veterans it wasn’t too hard for us. We also enjoyed soaking some live and cut bait while in the “face-time seating” position, and getting to hang out and have some good conversation while we waited for the fish to bite. Brooks even mentioned “I really like how in this boat you get to have a conversation with the person you’re fishing with” because sometimes when we are in our solo boats we tend to drift away and lose touch for most of the day. That is fine of course and I love the peace of being alone, but it was nice when fishing with bait (which can be boring at times while you’re waiting on a bite) to have someone to laugh with about everything under the sun that came to our minds. During a photos shoot we had Eric and Brooks in the boat (combined weight 400lbs + about 50lbs of gear = 450lbs) and it performed exceptionally well under such a weight capacity as well. The “Tuna Tank” (live bait well) also performed very well and I selfishly wanted to use the Big Tuna on days where we split up solo just because it was SO EASY to just put my boat in the water and then dump my bait into and paddle off to catch the fish – no electricity or plumbing required on this bait tank. Even with just myself in the boat (all 155lbs) there was about 3 gallons of water in the tank, which was plenty to keep 2 dozen shrimp and several crabs happy and spry until their number was called! With the Tuna Tank using water from below the kayak to circulate through the tank it allowed the bait to essentially be getting all the oxygen from the entire ocean below. They were the liveliest bait could possibly be. Plus, I loved the fact that the bait tank was in front of me so I didn’t have to awkwardly reach behind me (like everyone else) to try to pull my bait out of a bait bucket. To top it off because the bait well is in front of me it allows the water inside it to be in a location that doesn’t cause my boat to trim improperly like having 40lbs of water from a tankwell bait tank will do. The boat solo was a blast to paddle and actually went a lot faster than I thought it would, given its super stable 34-inch beam and 14 ft length. The stability when using the boat solo is extremely stable as one would imagine with such width. For anyone who is looking for a great “big guy” solo boat, you definitely need to check this one out. I was even standing on the gunnels to get extra height (may not want to try this) so I could spot fish on the flats and it was rock solid! Eric also used it solo on the last day and he fell in love with it and said, “This is going to be my new favorite boat down here on the flats.” The only thing this trip was missing was the fact that our glass bottom boat insert wasn’t quite ready for us to test out, and that is definitely an accessory meant for the Keys! Oh well, I guess that just means that another Keys trip must be set for the future so we can test that out too! 😉 I can’t wait for all the consumers to get this boat and put it to good use this season because I think you may be won over by the Jackson Kayak Big Tuna the way I was on this trip! 13 Comments Ron Durst on February 11, 2012 at 5:15 pm I was gonna get a canoe for my wife and i but it looks like i’ll be getting a Big Tuna instead! Reply Drew Gregory on February 14, 2012 at 7:51 pm She’ll love it! Reply Chuck Armentrout on February 12, 2012 at 7:03 pm The video link in the middle of the page is not working. I would love to see video of this boat in action. Reply Drew Gregory on February 14, 2012 at 7:45 pm Chuck, it is a slide show and should work fine. It is working on my end so check back soon and maybe it will be working. Reply alan wray on February 12, 2012 at 7:20 pm IM going back to the keys in march !!!!! i would like to try one !!!! thx. alan wray Reply Drew Gregory on February 14, 2012 at 7:47 pm Alan, they will not be in production until April but if you go to the Keys and want to take one of the best guided fishing trips where you have a legit chance to catch a permit, try calling Randy Morrow at 305-923-4643. Reply jimmy on February 14, 2012 at 8:58 pm Drew, really hope your wrong about not being ready till april. I talked to mr. stewart at jackson kayaks a week ago feb 7th and he informed me it would be late march, I Have TARPON FEVER, been waiting for months for this boat, sure hope your wrong! sorry1 Reply Tex on February 15, 2012 at 3:35 am Drew, How does the Tuna compare to the Cuda? I was set on the cuda, but like the tandem ability of the Tuna so I can take the littl’uns. Are they close as a solo craft? Thanks, Tex Reply Daniel on February 15, 2012 at 7:22 pm I would like to see on video, (no seats) need to buy a tanden and single kayak. I love the Coosa and cuda, exxelent custom colors.Big snook and tarpons is waiting for mi. Thank you Reply Terry on February 19, 2012 at 11:34 pm How can I get in line to buy one? Would like to get one straight away once they are commercially available. Any suggestions? Reply Emily Jackson on February 20, 2012 at 11:00 pm Look at our dealer section, find a dealer closest to you, pre order through them! Hope that helps! Emily Reply Tony on February 23, 2012 at 3:25 am It’s just what I’ve been looking for to take my twin seven year olds out on. I live in Big Pine Key and have been looking for a boating alternative after selling my last one. I want to combine exercise with fishing after a bad bike wreck. I’ll be watching for this rig both online and poking around the backcountry. Hurry up and start producing this things…it’s perfect. Reply jimmy on February 29, 2012 at 6:54 pm have we got a date yet, its the first of march, tarpons will be here soon!this big tuna has my name on it, hell it should its already paid for, haha! Reply Trackbacks/Pingbacks The Big Tuna « Mountains to Marsh - [...] https://jacksonadventures.com/blog/2012/02/11/testing-out-the-big-tuna-prototype-in-the-keys/ [...] Submit a Comment Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.