Took the Cruise out for the first time Sunday, before the rain moved in. I went to a local pond where I’ve had good luck on sacalait in the past. I only managed one small bass, but what I did accomplish was some seat time in the new Cruise.
The weight of the Cruise feels similar to the Coosa, which is a little lighter than the Cuda 12. One thing I’ve noticed about the Cuda 12 that I love is that the weight of the kayak from front to back is centered on the grab handles on the side when lifting the boat above your head. Makes transport from the top of the FJ to wherever I’m launching super easy. The weight of the Cruise is not quite centered on the handles, but because it is a tad lighter, it is easy to adjust your hands to support the heavier end.
In the water the Cruise feels pretty quick for it’s length and tracks pretty well. It turns a bit easier than the Cuda 12, but not quite as easy as the Coosa, which you can turn at right angles with super aggressive paddle strokes. I felt a little tippy in the high position at first, but once I got comfortable I was standing in no time. I would rate the stability as slightly less than that of the Cuda 12. One thing I noticed about the Cruise was that there is no paddle keeper or molded in paddle stager like you see in on the Cuda 12, so no convenient way to store a paddle while on the water. That’s an easy fix, I actually took care of it today and will write up something about that soon. Another thing I noticed is that the elite seat on the Cruise doesn’t come with the seat back pouch like those in the Fishing line. Another easy fix, I just have to order the pouch. I find myself using that pocket a lot on the water.
I enjoyed my short trip in the Cruise, look forward to using it more throughout the year. It’s not as ready for fishing right out of the box like the Cuda 12 is, but it will be really easy to get it ready. Paddle keepers and rod holders aren’t a big deal to install, though it’s always tough to drill that first hole in a boat. I love the openness of the deck on the Cruise, it should be a really fly-friendly boat. I could see it becoming my go-to boat when I head out with the fly rod.