I sold my beloved Jackson Coosa last week. The Coosa is a great kayak for sure, but it just wasn’t for me. Admittedly, I think I was too eager to buy the popular Jackson brand without fully understanding and experiencing the Coosa’s full pros and cons. The Coosa is surely pretty to look at, particularly in the urban camo color but after many trips out on water, something wasn’t right. I kept trying to convince myself that it was me and not the kayak. I was wrong and realized that my false sense of assurance shouldn’t be ignored.
Over the past 2 years, I’ve learned a lot about what’s most important to me in a kayak. When I bought the Coosa, I primarily fished with conventional gear. Fast forward a few months and I now fly fish almost exclusively. The Coosa, for me, wasn’t the ideal platform for fly fishing. At 32″ wide, it was a bit tight for my 215 lb frame. Stability was also a major issue. I tried over and over to stand and fly fish, but I never felt comfortable and lost confidence very quickly. Drew Gregory made it look easy. I am not sure how tall he is, or how much he weighs, but I would suspect he’s much smaller than I.
Fly anglers understand the importance of a clear deck to prevent line tangles and snags as fly line is stripped. Every little gadget, nook and accessory on a kayak serves as a magnet for catching fly line. Ask any fly angler, getting your line caught on literally anything, is annoying to deal with. This is especially difficult when you’re fishing with a 9′ rod with at least 25′ of exposed fly line. The Coosa’s deck is semi-clear but not ideal for line stripping.
After countless weeks of research, I narrowed my choices down to the Nucanoe Frontier 10, the KC 12 and the Diablo kayaks. The KC 12 was too bulky. A very stable kayak indeed and it did have the clear deck I was looking for, but honestly, I didn’t care for the look and it felt too big. I wasn’t too fond of the Thermoformed ABS material the Diablo kayaks are made from plus I’ve heard they make for a very wet ride.
The Frontier 10 exceeded all my expectations and I knew it was the kayak for me after just a few minutes on the water. At 39″ wide and a 500 lb weight capacity, this is one super stable kayak. For the first time, I was easily standing and fly fishing with confidence. I love how simple it is. Not a ton of bells and whistles, just the essentials. For me, the simpler the better. Speed was never really a top priority for me but the Frontier 10 is surprisingly fast for a 10′ kayak. I did take the advice from some fellow kayakers and bought a longer (275cm) carbon fiber paddle. The additional length and super lightweight carbon fiber material make paddling a breeze.
The seat options on the Frontier are very unique. You can choose from the normal swivel seat, a captain’s seat and an elevated swivel seat. The adjustable seat base is secured to the Freedom track, which allows you to re-position your seat to essentially anywhere on the kayak. Simply unscrew the bolts, adjust the seat position and tighten. The Freedom track runs the length of the kayak and offers easy customization with many kayak fishing related accessories, without having to drill holes.
If I had one complaint, it would be the overall weight at 67 lbs. That’s without the seat, anchor and any added accessories. Sure, with a weight capacity of 500 lbs at only 10 feet, a small compromise in weight is expected. The transport cart Nucanoe offers is the perfect solution. It fits snug in the pre-drilled hole off the stern of the boat.
Overall, I am very pleased with the Frontier 10. Her maiden voyage will be this weekend.