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I was in the factory and Matt Cunningham, one of our top customer service people, asked me if I wanted to go fishing with him, Charlie, and Bridgett.        When, I asked?   “5am tomorrow- meet at the VFW”….  Thinking…. 5am… dark out… but getting light soon… fishing will be good.    “OK, I said”, as if it was a hard question.

When I arrived at the VFW on the Colins River, Matt was already putting his boat down by the water.    I got mine off and ready as well as Charlie pulled up.   Bridgett’s truck wouldn’t start and we were going to have to go without her, bummer… except that she would have caught all of the fish!

Charlie and I were in Coosa HDs, while Matt was rocking his Liska.     We each had ours rigged up differently, and were going to be throwing different lures by looking at our rods.    Matt was going to be focusing on his Jig, while Charlie had the Strike King 1.5 in sexy shad, and I was focused on the rage swimmer 3.75.     I also had the RAM Mounts Ball paddle mount, but forgot my GoPro.    

Matt and I ran Shuttle, about 6 miles downstream.    I left my Nissan Titan XD Diesel as the truck to pick up all three boats since they all fit in the bed easily.   
When we got back to the put in at the VFW, Charlie was warming up his rods from the bank.    

We didn’t make it but 50’ before Matt hooked into a nice smallmouth in about 2’ of water on his jig.    I had a bite on my Tour Grade spinner bait in Bluegill color but didn’t hook-up.       I had already told Matt and Charlie for them to take the lead and that I would just float behind them.   somehow, they managed to stay behind me and I never took a stroke!!  I was just standing up, floating down the middle of the slow current fishing just the right bank as Matt and Charlie were fishing the left.   

Nothing was hitting my spinnerbait or swim-jig so I started throwing my Rage Swimmer on a 1/4 oz jig head….   Bam, Bam, Bam….  I was catching one nice smallmouth after another on this bait, while the spinner and the swim jig wasn’t producing.   Meanwhile, Charlie was killing it on the Strike King 1.5 square bill, and Matt was going to town on the finesse jig in blue and black.

I sat back for a minute and watched the two of them fishing away and, in that moment, was so proud of what Jackson Kayak has created.    These guys walk the walk and talk the talk.    They were not fishing to impress me, they were fishing because that is what they do.    

We were fishing on the morning of our staff party, which would also be on the Collins River at “Smooth Rapids” where you can rent Jackson Kayak and float the river.    They have a big campground where we staged up the party, which was another story in of itself… 5 kegs, a great band (Smoke and Bricks), and the best kayak making staff in the world.  

     Dave Olson and Emily

Tony pretends to be upset that his beer hasn’t arrived yet… Dave Olson in background as we wait for the staff to arrive



Back to fishing….  Two highlights for me were:


  1. Burning the Rage Swimmer through the middle of the river in 3’ of water a big smallmouth nailed it and began tail dancing around the river.    I landed it but it was a crazy fish!
  2. Burning the Strike King Bluegill colored Tournament Grade Spinner along a grass-line in 12” of water a “V” came at it going about 100 miles/hour and destroyed the lure.  I yelled, “Muskie on!”  It broke the water one more time and I realized that it was a huge river bass!    I couldn’t believe it!      Two or three jumps in a foot of water and I got it to the boat and lipped it without losing it.    A Largemouth over 5 pounds, fat as can be, and aggressive like I crazy.

We were 1/2 mile from the takeout and I was on cloud 9. GREAT fishing day with great guys…    Matt got this photo of it with his phone….  

We got to the takeout and I was thinking how I wish Bridgett could make it as she is a joy to fish with as well.     I knew I would see her at the Staff party and she would be jealous of the fish photos.

When you call up customer service, we have strong whitewater kayakers, fisherman, and everyone’s product knowledge is top notch.     This is what separates a corporate type business from a family, enthusiast based business where the people know what they are making, selling, and servicing, because they use it too.

Thanks Charlie and Matt for inviting me out!!