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I know my neighbor must have thought I was crazy.…… For at least two days I just stood in the yard staring at my new Jackson Coosa. Sure, I was proud of my new yak, but this was a serious matter. I was thinking about where I wanted each piece of rigging. After a couple of river trips in the Coosa and shifting my gear around in the yak, I began my final rigging and I think I have finally turned out something I can get excited about. This boat is truly suited to my fishing style, custom rigged to carry my personal gear and tackle and properly trimmed for my size and weight. Before I get the boat totally slimed and scared from the season, I thought I would take a few photos and share one of the ideas I used to rig my Coosa.

Because I am a heaver paddler (6’3 245lbs) and spending most of my time shifted back a notch in the high seat position, I realized I was going to have to shift a lot of weight from the rear cargo area of the yak toward the bow to find that perfect sweet spot for its best paddling performance and stability. Considering that my cooler and drinks would be the heaviest item of gear, it was the first obvious choice to be shifted toward the bow.

The Coosa’s large bulkhead in the bow is one of the great advantages to this boat. The large lockable hatch makes it really easy to stow bulky items and it’s secured water tight with a crisscrossing of bungee straps. The downside; however, is that it makes things a little complicated if you are paddling in over 6 feet of water and want to get a cold drink from a stowed cooler. Well…. as they say, “necessity is the mother of invention”. As I stood there staring at its smaller 5” hatch, the thought occurred to me; “Hummmmm….. Wouldn’t it be nice to have another 5” hatch installed on top of the larger one?” I called Jackson and within a few days I was holding a new 5” hatch in my hands ready for install. Although I do admit I was a little nervous when I was about to cut a 5” hole in the bow hatch of my new Yak, the modification was a fairly simple process and well worth the effort.

Hatch Install

The first thing I did was to cut a template to match the correct diameter of the hatch where it fits through the surface and placed it in center of the larger one and between the bungees.

Just so that I could see where I was cutting on the black surface of the hatch, I used masking tape to give the lines some visibility. I held my breath and drilled a hole near the cut line, which was large enough for my Jigsaw blade. I was surprised how easy it was to cut the 5” hole.

After trimming a few edges for a tight fit, I used the hatch itself as a template to drill my rivet holes.


After placing a little clear silicon around the edges, I used six rivets to complete the job.

The process only took about 30 minutes and turned out pretty well I think. Shifting weight toward the bow to get my boat trimmed out has made a big difference in the way it performs on the river; less turning in wind, more stable and greater paddling efficiency. The small forward hatch has worked out great and I highly recommend this modification for those looking for a way to shift a little weight toward the bow or just a convenient access to stowed items. Good luck on the water this year and I wish you all Tight Lines!

Dave Williams
All Rivers South