This is one of the best paddling fishing kayak hulls out there. Looks like Jackson may be phasing it out since they now only make the recreational version. Very stable, fast enough, tracks nice, and turns easily. With manufacturers going with heavier and wider kayaks, the cruise 12 is a manageable weight. The front storage compartment has the tupperware type lid and is large enough for rods and an extra paddle. The rear tankwell is huge. The con for me is the hull cracked where the seat legs make contact with the kayak. Jackson did honor their warranty and replaced the kayak after I paid the amount the warranty required. I wish they would update this hull, but not make it too wide and heavy.
I bought a Cruise 12 in 2013. It fit me very well (6'3", 250lbs). Easy to handle, enter/exit, etc. My complaint is that the hull cracked open where the seat "foot" rests. Jackson's warranty had "just" run out by a few weeks. 40 such boats in this category failed at the same spot, but Eric Jackson (owner) say's this is an acceptable number compared to how many went out their door. I ended up buying a new one at a "discount" but it was heavily damaged when it arrived. Jackson failed.
This sit on top has an exceptionally comfortable seat, I felt like I was sitting at home on the couch! The Cruise is very stable and tracks as well as a sit-in. It maneuvered well even in tight and faster moving spots. I never felt like I was going to turn over or go astray.
I am 60-something 5'10 225 lbs so this is a kayak I can keep for the rest of my life.
The only thing I struggle with is the weight, but I still manage to put it up on my suv by myself. Obviously, it's way easier with two people. I don't think there is a 12 foot angler kayak that isn't over 60 pounds. Not many bells and whistles but you can rig it up yourself.
I'd recommend this kayak unless you've got the extra cash to upgrade to a Coosa which has a few more features. This one does more than enough for me.
At 12'3" the boat has good volume and is roomy, much more so than my Perception Tribe 11.5. I still recommend the Tribe to those on a budget though, very good kayak. The Cruise however basic it may seem compared to Jackson's pricier models, has so much potential for using the mounting points that are given, and doing some additional upgrades of your own, that you can make it into what you need to fish out of. Hopefully I'll slowly learn to stand in it from the high seat position. 10 years ago with the old style WS Ride I had no problem, but my legs aren't what they used to be.
This is also a very quiet hull design with zero noise in most conditions, making for a stealthy fish stalking craft. There is only one slight negative, it is a little on the slow side and if you need to cover lots of ground this wont be your boat. All that being said it's not a slug and you'll get a comfortable middle ground pace without too much effort. It's not a kayak to be pushed in the speed department. I'll compare it to my Necky Vector 14 in terms of speed. The Vector is effortlessly fast and efficient. It's drawback is it's niche, but when I want to get down to the Chesapeake Bay it will be my choice. Otherwise the Cruise will do nicely in terms of comfort stability quiet and things most fisherman want.
Great all around boat that I highly recommend. If you are ever near Phoenixville, PA I also highly recommend French Creek Outfitters where I bought this boat - great selection and service.
I bought this boat because I wanted a kayak that I could take on the small rivers and creeks to fish close to home but also big enough to take out on the lakes and bigger rivers with confidence.
I am absolutely in love with this boat. As an angler first and a paddler second I figured this would be a perfect boat for me,and it is but let me tell you, its fun enough, fast enough and stable enough for me to consider an entire day of paddling with no fishing.
All that being said, This boat is a perfect, entry to moderate(and even advanced) fishing kayak. Easily customized with the pre-fitted holes for mounting ram ball mounts and accessories, it's like a blank canvas just waiting for an artist to give it purpose.
I would strongly recommend this kayak to almost anyone, and from my experiences Jackson Kayak has my stamp of approval.
All in all it's a great kayak that holds value and can be easily outfitted to your needs thanks to the ram mount screw-ball fittings. Wouldn't recommend if your trying to paddle long distances like extended bay fishing or BTB though it's stable enough for that kind of fishing.