By Eric Jackson
I was quite nervous about heading to a place that I have never been, to fish for Redfish, which I haven’t done since I was a kid, and never in a place like Delacroix Island Bayou Flats. The reason I was nervous is because we were going to be fishing in a major tournament, which included lots of long distance paddling, navigation, shallow water and lots of potential to get stuck out in the middle without enough water to get back, etc.. Finally, weather was blowing in, and it was expected to be rainy, colder, and winds at 20-25mph with gusts up to 30.
My group was Steve Fisher, James McBeath, and Ken Hovie. We were part of two different teams of two, and we all had Krakens to fish from. We were all new to Redfish and this was more about putting the Kraken to the test than anything else.
Steve and I mounted Power-Pole Shallow Water Anchors on ours, as well as Raymarine Dragonfly fish finders/navigation systems. We had the JKrate, Werner Paddles, Ardent reels, lots of different lures, safety equipment, like PFDs, first aid kits, a flare, whistle, and a gallon of Gatorade each. Kristine made us Gorp for our food during the 11 hours of competition.
The Kraken is designed to be very fast, and handle rough water well. It is also designed for hard core fishing in the ocean. While few people have been talking about standing up in the Kraken, fishing for redfish by site fishing means standing up, and that was our plan.
I brought 6 rods on the boat and used the flush mounts behind my seat, the three rod holders in the JKrate, and the single holder that I have on my console hatch in front of me. My tackle was stored in the Plano tackle boxes that come with the boat, and were right at my hips where they were easy to access at any moment.
Steve got the map of the area installed on his Dragonfly so we used that for navigation around the complex marsh system.
The first most obvious thing about the Kraken is that it is faster than any other fishing boat out there. We passed all of the pedal drive boats with a big margin in deep water, and in shallow water they were almost decommissioned due to grass, weeds, and the muddy bottom. The pedal drives did have the ability to fish while pedaling, which was a good feature for when they were in deep water. Steve and I were able to keep tabs on our speed and we were cruising at speeds up to 7.2 mph, but averaged closer to 5. This helped us when we had checkpoints to hit and knew it was 3.5 miles to the check point, we knew we could get there in 30-45 minutes, for example.
The next obvious thing about the Kraken was how easy it was to fish from. Laying rods up front, paddle stuffs easily under the bungee for the front hatch which is great for high winds, or you can put it next to the seat and lay it on the hatch. I found standing up in it to be the way to go for redfish as you can see and catch them easily. I was not sitting down after a while, even when lifting and dropping the power pole. When the power pole engaged the bottom, even when going fast, I never got thrown off balance. This made fishing downwind easy and productive.
Clearly the Kraken is a long fast boat, which also means it doesn’t turn very fast. It is super easy to paddle in the wind, but doing a 180 degree turn takes about twice as long as in a Big Rig for example and longer than in a Cuda 14.
The JKrate held more than enough gear to and will make for a good camping tool this summer.
The waves I was paddling in where often whitecaps, but small steep waves, as well as the occasional power boat wake when in the canals. The speed through the waves is impressive and I never felt off balance when sideways to the waves.
I used a 240 cm Werner Cyprus paddle. This is the perfect length for my elevated seat fishing kayaks, like my Big Rig, but for the Kraken I recommend a 230 cm Cyprus.
I am glad I got my own personal Kraken for trips like this! Big lake fishing where you want to go long distances, the Kraken will do very well, just like the open ocean that it was designed for!
I personally will be using my Power Pole anchor and Dragonfly fish finder in mine almost every time as they really make the total package. However, as per usual for a Jackson Kayak Fishing Craft, it comes ready to fish right from the dealer!
Look for some edits to come out soon from our trip to Louisiana. I did this short edit as a teaser, but we have some really good GoPro footage to make videos with an some big redfish! I caught the second biggest fish of the tournament with a 29″ Redfish. 29.5″ was the biggest one.
I had a lot of luck using both a spinner bait and a swim bait for catching fish… Anything I could run totally weedless was best as I caught most of my fish in less than 8″ of water and lots of grass and weeds. I had my swim bait texas rigged and found that I lost too many fish that way (I lost 50% of them my first day). Eventually I managed to run them hooked like a jig, but just kept them moving and off the bottom to prevent weeds and never lost another one.
If you are looking for a great boat for the ocean, bays, or flats, and want speed, fishability, and comfort- try the Kraken!
See you on the water!