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2019 is quickly upon us and with the crazy advancements we’ve seen in our industry over the last several years, it’s becoming more and more common for anglers to more frequently purchase the latest and greatest kayak to fit their needs.  I am no different, and there’s a new boat on the block that I’m looking to get my hands on.  The Big Rig HD/FD for 2019 is shaping up to be a game changer in our industry.  Here are the four things I’m most looking forward to with this new boat…..

Stability – I typically fish all sorts of water, from large lakes, to private strip pits, to rivers.  The most stable boats I have owned, to date, are the Coosa FD and Coosa HD.  Both are excellent boats, but I am looking forward to the premier stable kayak on the market and seeing how I like the extra platform stability across the different waters I fish.   Kansas has a ton of wind, and traveling long distance across larger lakes here can be a bit sketchy at times, so having a boat that is ultra-stable is going to be a huge plus for me.   On the opposite end of the spectrum are the river waters.  It’s fun to stand and fish in rivers, but it can also be dangerous depending on the river flow and obstacles in the water.  Falling in, or tipping your kayak over and losing all your gear is never good, so having the extra stability on the rivers is going to be key.  I’m also curious to see how the new Big Rig handles on the rivers.   I have several friends and teammates that fish out of the current Big Rig and always talk about how well it handles on the rivers in comparison to its size.  

Storage Capacity – I enjoy doing overnighters or multi-day trips out of my kayaks on the rivers, and while I love the storage capacity I have with my CoosaHD, I think I’m really going to like the added capacity of the Big Rig HD/FD.  For the rivers I fish, I will not be using the Flex Drive, but instead I’ll have the HD pod installed.  I’m super stoked to have the easily accessible storage area in the HD pod that we’re seeing on the early production models.  It appears to have a large hatch for easy access and to fit larger items.  If you don’t plan on using it for storage, it will most likely make an excellent live well.  And like the predecessor, the new Big Rig has the same great rear tank well area and rear storage hatch area.

Rod Storage – Ok, so this is a BIG one for me.  One of the accessory upgrades I’ve been looking forward to for a long time with JK is multiple rod storage where I don’t have to get my rod tips tangled up.  I fish with fairly pricey gear, so the ability to separate out my rod tips at the front of the boat is REALLY nice.  When I’m on a river, there is rarely a case where I’ll need to take more than four rods, so having four individual rod tip protectors is pretty sweet too.  I love having my rods behind me, standing up when I’m on lakes or open water, but when there’s current, or I’m in amongst the trees and reeds, I really like to have my rods down so they don’t get snagged and potentially end up in the water.  The first tournament I ever fished, I set off from my launch, paddled a few minutes and reached back to get my froggin’ rod and it wasn’t there.  I paddled back to where I put in and it was actually hanging by my frog in a tree where I launched.   

Hybrid Use – So I rent a condo and I have a one car garage at my disposal.  As much as I want eleven different kayaks, one for each specific use, that’s just not an option for me.  I limit myself to two kayaks, and along with that comes some limitations on my end-goals for kayaking.  Right now I have a Coosa FD and a Coosa HD.  Excellent choices, but if I want to take someone with me on the river, that’s not really an option unless I get a second kayak without a Flex Drive.  The new Big Rig HD/FD is going to be a game changer for me because I can rig it with the Flex Drive and head out for a tournament or peruse the larger waters as needed, or if I want to throw the HD pod in and take it on a shallow river, I have that option too.  Where things get great is now I’ll have two boats I can take on the rivers with me, which means I can get my friends out with me and enjoy their company, but I also have the option of a pedal boat when I want it.  Multi-use equipment should definitely be a consideration when budgeting for your boat.  The Big Rig HD/FD is not the least pricey boat on the market, but when we consider we are actually getting the use of two different boats for the price of one boat, budgetary priorities sure shift quick.