This is a monster of a kayak at approximately 85 lbs. and that is about the only drawback. I'm rigging the kayak with a few more options (a rudder, sound deadening mat, longer stand up strap, standup bracket and and anchor). I haven't decided on which rudder system to install yet. The Jackson factory option rudder or a Sea-Lect Designs Trucouse rudder. I want to fly fish the rivers here in Indiana and up in Michigan. I hope that the rudder system will make it easier to guide the kayak in a current so I can have my hands free to handle the fishing equipment.
The Cuda tracks well without a rudder and has good speed for a kayak that gives you the ability to stand. The Elite seat 2.0 is a major selling point for me because I stay dry and comfortable all day without any back soreness. I can carry plenty of gear in the center storage hatch and you can add or remove accessories without drilling into the kayak thanks to the Yak Attack gear tracks. Great American made product.
The boat tracks very well for me, and actually handles the wind better than I expected, considering how high I sit above the boat. The built in features are excellent, leaving plenty of storage room for all my gear, plus some. The boat comes ready to fish, and little needs to be done to modify, but keep in mind, if you decide to add to it, a lot of this has been thought out ahead of time, and the indents, cutouts, etc already exist, all you do is install in the location already designed into the mold for the addition.
I would recommend this Kayak to anyone, from beginner to pro. Well thought out, well built.
I am very happy with the durability and structure of the Cuda. It is strong plastic and I am not worried about damaging it at all. It tracks straight and turns very well for a boat it size. I have no worries about taking it on rapids. The hull storage is amazing. Lots of storage that you can access in the front, back, or center. Although I do find it it a little tricky getting my poles in with the round hatches, I think the Cuda 14 would not have this issue at all. The Hi/Lo chair is amazing. I used to have pains after sitting down for a couple hours, but no more. Every now and then it feels good to stretch but no pain like before! I find that I prefer the high position for comfort. On top of all of that it comes with three rod holders and 3 RAM ball mounts. Two right behind the seat and one that you can screw in front. The rocket style holders work great for my long and short butted rods. I found that I do not use the rod holder in the front at all and will be putting an arm for my fish finder. I will also be adding an anchor trolley.
A couple things that I knew about before purchasing but wish was better was the off center carrying handles. When two people are lifting it via the handles it leans to one side. Not awful, but can be a pain when you have gear on it. Also, they advertise that it is so stable you can stand up right away, this I don't think is true. You CAN stand, but it just takes a little practice and time. After putting in many hours on the water and slowly practicing every time I was out I can now stand and fish without any problem. It probably took me 5-6 times in all to practice before I felt relatively comfortable standing and fishing. The last thing that I found is the open storage in the back. I like to have a crate, some folks just have their gear in the easy accessible center hatch. But you need a special size crate because there are two tackle box storage lifts that make the crate off center. Other than those couple small things this kayak is fantastic!
The Jackson Cuda is easy to paddle, comfortable, and is a very versatile kayak!
I have heard some say that water shoots up through the scupper holes but that has not been my experience. Some water comes in but then goes right back out. I can see where a rudder would be great for boat control while drifting but it is really not needed. I recommend a 240cm high angle paddle especially with the seat in the high position. There are two buckles that hold the Center Hatch down. I recommend leaving the farthest one unbuckled on the water because its hard to reach when you need to access its contents.
What could make this boat better would be:
1) "Aim" the rod holders 90 degrees out instead of straight back. This separates the lines for trolling purposes.
2) Put some scupper holes in the rear deck. Not for drainage but so you can mount some wheels under it easily.
3) Make it lighter. At 74 lbs it's a beast to load and port
4) Add a break away stringer mount. So when you wish to keep fish on a stringer a shark, gator, or large grouper wont drag your boat under.
5) Finally add a Slide Trax mounting system. This is one place Jackson Kayak was sleeping.