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At long last, the Jackson Kayak Flex-Drive kayaks have been unleashed on the world! And as far as I can tell the response has been very positive. I, too, have joined the pedal kayak family, but with my very own Cruise FD!

After receiving it a couple of weeks back, and fishing out of it a few times since, I’ve gotten a little bit of time in the boat and gotten to know it. I’ve also gotten most of my rigging done. The following video explains in detail the modifications that I’ve made to make the Cruise FD a little more fish-ready. Don’t worry – if you can’t watch the video now, I’ve got a brief write-up following the vid.

First off, I’m super stoked on the new boat. The Cruise FD is a bit less rigged up coming straight from the factory, but is everything I need it to be. Coming from a loyal owner of the Cuda 14, stepping into a pedal model is going to take a little adjusting, but I’m up for it.

Other than the factory rigging, the other obvious difference between the Coosa FD and Cruise FD is in their size. While the Coosa FD comes in just over 12 ft in length, the Cruise FD is a little shorter than 12′. It’s not quite as wide as the Coosa FD either, which means that the cockpit isn’t quite as roomy and the boat isn’t quite as stable. I’m a small guy though, and have had no problem standing in it (again, I’m use to the Cuda 14). It’s smaller size also means it’s lighter, and it can be loaded into the back of my short-bed truck. That fact makes me happy!

Let’s get on to the rigging. The first step I usually take when rigging a kayak is to put on an anchor system. Ironically, in this case, the anchor system was the last piece of rigging I did. This is mostly because I wasn’t sure which type of system I wanted to install. I ultimately went with a system that we call the “Choupique” system (pronounced shoo-pick). It was developed by a guy here in Louisiana who uses “Choupique” as his handle on the club forums. With this system, two anchors are attached to the kayak – one on the bow and one on the stern. They are held in place using pulleys and clam-cleats, and can be dropped simultaneously, or individually. This system allows you to anchor up quick when sight-fishing.

From there I moved on to the lack of rod holders on the kayak. It’s not usually a problem for me as I have three rod holders attached to my crate and I usually use those over attached rod holders. However, I did want to have some installed, just for those moments where they’d come in handy, or for GoPro mounting.

One note of caution – after drilling the hole for the flush-mount, I realized that I hadn’t considered the rudder line which runs through the same area of the boat. I ended up being able to work around it, but just remember that it’s there.

The cockpit is where I’ve done the most custom rigging. Everything from a cupholder mounted to the gear-track that the seat is attached to, to a full-on Raymarine Dragonfly Fishfinder set-up. Two easy installs that help me when fishing that I’ve included in this set-up are: A) adding a YakAttack Park-N-Pole clip which actually holds a set of fish grips (the likes of Boga Grips or Lucid Grips), and B) adding the Side Bro Gear Organizer made by Berley Pro. It offers spots for my pliers and scissors as well as a few small tackle boxes.

The last big install that was made on the kayak was the addition of the fishfinder. I have my transducer mounted through the front-right scupper, using the scupper mounting kit by Lowrance. The cables run from the transducer into the hull, where they’re coiled up. The plug end of the cables make it’s way out of the hull just forward of the cockpit area of the boat. The cables enter and exit the hull using a thru-hull wiring kit, made by another kayak company. This install has come out very clean, which I’m very happy with.

The Dragonfly transducer fits nicely in the scupper molds.

There’s a few other modifications and additions that I’ve made to the boat that are mentioned in the video, but I think I’ve tackled all the main rigging details for this section of the article. Please take a look at the video when possible and let me know what you think, or how you would do something different.

Writing this article on the Cruise has really made me want to go jump in it, so that’s where I’m headed. See you on the water!