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The theme for 2013’s river fishing seems to be swollen, silt laden, post flood flows many feet over optimal fishing levels. In my line of work, beggars can’t be choosers and prime fishing time, for me, is determined by off time rather than weather patterns and stream data. This small flow was several feet above optimal flow, but that did not deter us or the fish. The dropping water had the fish scattered, but hungry.

Gold, suspending jerkbaits in the pushwater, the accumulated water directly above a shoal, was the early favorite, but that bite soon evaporated. Dark jigs flipped into cover and swam out proved to be the defining pattern for the rest of the day. Navigating swift, flooded water is difficult enough, but trying to make precise presentations into cover adds even greater difficulty. Multitasking becomes an essential skill where paddle adjustments, casts, scanning for upcoming obstacles, avoiding dangers like snags and strainers, watching your rod tips, and landing fish are all done at the same time. This is the exact environment where the Jackson Coosa is King! Many people misunderstand the Coosa’s loose handling and freeboard, poor tracking and wind abuse on main lakes becomes instantaneous paddle response, agility, and stability that allows you to perform those multi-step maneuvers.

The fish in the main photo serves as a prime example. I targeted a complex laydown sheltered by a massive strainer, the dangerous collection of limbs or snags that can tangle you in current an cause gear loss, capsizing or worse, this required me to paddle hard and shoot my boat toward the structure, skip a jig to the bank, back-paddle to maintain boat position, set the hook and then one-hand paddle back into the current away from the strainer. These types of multitask, fishing operations can’t be performed in long, sharp keeled boats that track well and handle the wind with ease. I have lost or broken rods and equipment and almost capsized many times when trying these maneuvers with other boats. One man’s curse can be another man’s blessing, and for the Jackson Coosa, those traits that seem a curse in windy, open water shine bright like a diamond on the rivers.