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I finally got a chance to spend some time in my new Cuda last weekend. I got together with my friends in PACK for our annual Shoalwater trip. This trip involves a five-mile paddle from Charlies bait camp in Seadrift Texas to grass island at the opposite end of the bay where we set up camp for the weekend. This would be my first trip with the Cuda loaded with fishing and camping gear. The amount of storage in the Cuda was perfect for an extended trip. We took our time paddling to the island, exploring and fishing along the way. After a quick lunch and setting up camp I decided to check out the flats close to camp. Within 15 minutes I was hooked up with a nice red. I made a few more drifts through the area with nothing to show so I moved on to another spot. I picked up a few more reds later in the afternoon but overall the fishing was a little slow so I headed back to camp to cook dinner and relax.

The next morning started with some oatmeal and a beautiful sunrise. My game plan was to drift some open water throwing a topwater and hopefully find some trout. After a few hours with no blowups I switched to a paddletail and hooked up with a small trout. Thought I was on to something but I never got another bite. I was getting hungry so I decided since I was close to camp I would paddle back and eat my lunch in the shade. After lunch and a quick nap I headed back out to the flat close to camp. I was standing in the Cuda poling along the flat when I spotted a good looking push of water about fifty yards away. Finally, a school of reds! I quickly sat down and paddled over to cut them off and get within casting range. I laid out a perfect cast and as soon as my lure hit the water, a huge explosion and fish on. As soon as it took off I new this was not a redfish. It nearly spooled me on its first run. I thought to myself get ready man, this is going to take a while, you just hooked a Jack Crevalle. I tightened down the drag a little and started my sleigh ride. About fifteen minutes in I finally got the first look at what was on the end of my line. Sure enough it was a big Jack Crevalle and it took off again nearly spooling me. This process repeated itself several times. About an hour and a half later and being towed several miles from where I originally hooked up I finally landed the fish. It was around 35 inches long and probably 40 lbs. It took a while to revive the fish but eventually it came back and swam off strong. Luckily I had a tail wind to get me back to camp so I took it easy and drifted back. My buddies were already back at camp starting dinner waiting for my story. After dinner we sat around the campfire with a few cocktails and enjoyed the beautiful sunset and fellowship.

We all slept in a little the next morning, casually had breakfast and packed up camp. About 10:00am we shoved off and began our journey home. It took us just over two hours to make the paddle back to Charlies bait camp. I got to know my new Jackson Cuda very well this weekend and I couldn’t be happier with this kayak.